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David Poland

By David Poland

Here Come The Excuses

There is nothing wrong with a $5 million Thursday night pre-open, starting at 8pm.
In fact, it’s quite good.
And Paramount has not been selling the hype that box office “experts” have been cooking.
But what it doesn’t suggest is a $100 million 3-day. The films that have done that – or close to that – and that have stunted the night before have seen numbers more like $8m – $10m, often with a later start, like the 10pm start for Matrix Reloaded, which ended up with about $5m for shows between 10p and midnight. The midnight and later shows added to the $37.5m Thursday number. And still, the 3-day was $92 million.
I am still comfortable with a projection of a $75 million 3-day, plus, perhaps, another $5m from Thursday. The number is still a record… nothing that needs defensive explaining at all… and pretty much on target for the run of the film, though I must say that no movie that’s opened to over $70 million in May has ever not cracked $200 million. So my final number from 20 Weeks is probably a little low, with $210 looking more realistic.
Target number for Friday to do $75m for the 3-day… $27m to $30m.
And if that is where it lands, everyone who LOVES the film should be very, very happy. Really.

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60 Responses to “Here Come The Excuses”

  1. Crow T Robot says:

    Iron Man is a “comic-geek” property. Like Ghost Rider. Like Daredevil. Like Blade. If it were anywhere as as big as Spidey and Supes and Batman (what I’ll call “movie-geek”), it would have been made years ago.
    The question will be if, like X-Men, it can transcend its comic-geek origins to movie-geek level. Given its pumped up ads, charismatic lead and great reviews that seems pretty likely. My parents, the mainstream crowd everybody wants, are telling me it’s a “maybe.”
    But come on, 75$ mil would be very good for untested comic-geek. If the first X-Men where opening this weekend it would be overjoyed to get that.
    Of course when Indy 4 does less than that, what’s everyone gonna say?

  2. Blackcloud says:

    Didn’t even know there were Thursday showings until I read this.

  3. doug r says:

    I’m thinking Iron Man will do Batman Begins numbers-over $200 million….
    Posted by: doug r [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 21, 2008 06:58 PM
    Called it. 🙂

  4. Expectations got way overblown in the last week leading up to this. I think even Dave’s overestimating on this one. Box Office Prophets had it at $88 m.I don’t know why Universal didn’t keep expectations in check on this one, they really should have.

  5. Also, 95% at Rotten Tomatoes – WTF?

  6. christian says:

    We’re living in sad days when a movie opening to around 60 million or so is considered disappointing. Geez, I don’t thin Paramount will be applying for unemployment just yet.
    It’s a fun, smart superhero film with a powerhouse central performance, the best since Christopher Reeve. And chicks will dig it. I’m just sayin’.

  7. David Poland says:

    The funny thing is, Christian, that studios, like Paramount in this case, get caught up in that overhype and hope that the buzz will actually broaden the audience… and then on opening week, start trying to bring things back into perspective.
    $60 million or so for this weekend, though a record, would be disappointing… as it was for Van Helsing. But you’re right that it’s silly.
    I may be a little high… or a little low, Bart. Either way, anything over $70m is a big marketing success… and legs are a different issue.
    As for why Iron Man wasn’t made until now, I don’t think it is below Daredevil in popularity. Movies like Daredevil were made on a smaller budget, with the idea that they could have more performance and cheaper effects. Iron Man is a CG thing, whether the filmmakers want to admit it or not. And really, to me, that is another of its problems. They kind cheaped out on CG. And in fact, the best suit stuff is the non-CG stuff of him getting “dressed.”
    And Crow, I will be willing to bet that Indy is looking at a $100 million weekend… and likely the only one of the summer, unless Hancock goes crazy. So what would I say if Indy did less than $75m? I’d say that it was the biggest shock of the box office decade.
    You may not care much, but it is a movie that parents want to see, are not afraid to take the over-8s to see, and that many grandparents will want to see. It has both male and female appeal. And no CG, which is a novelty these days.
    (And now… waiting for the $300m or Bust screamers to comment… before we get Friday numbers that are higher than I am anticipating…)

  8. TMJ says:

    When you use a headline like “Here Come the Excuses,” it suggests you are in attack mode. That’s why people assume you have a grudge against IRON MAN (for whatever reason) and want to see it fail.
    Also, maybe I missed it – these threads tend to ramble on – but who DID say $100 million 3-day? I thought $75 million was pretty generous for a second-tier Marvel superhero.
    I’m more surprised with the 96% Fresh, after the suggestion in your review that it was equal to The Island (39% … not even close)

  9. David Poland says:

    I am actually in attack mode against the hype… as I have been on this film from the start.
    I think it is you – and others – who have the grudge. My position on the box office on this film has been completely consistent from Day One.
    And as I wrote, the excuses are not Paramount’s to make. They have not hyped it as a $100m opening or a $300m grosser.
    And the movie is slightly better than The Island overall. Anyone who has an opinion on a movie based on the RT score – aside from saying what the reviews were like – has no opinion at all.
    In fact, I said that critics were giving this film a pass. So… please… stop Clintoning/Fox Newsing me, trying to take my words and twist them into what I didn’t say.
    Yes… I am not a fan of the film. But my sense of the business and my sense of quality are not attached at the hip. A movie of this size in this slot is – as I have said for a decade – about the marketing, not the movie.
    And as I warn every summer, the next step is for the weekend to pass with a record number and for the people who said it was going to be bigger to start spinning about why it “underperformed”… which is terribly unfair to Paramount and the filmmakers.

  10. LexG says:


  11. Tofu says:

    If we could convert LexG into pure energy, the oil crisis would be finished.
    Poland is 100% correct in his weekend estimates and overhype, but simply not on his final estimate as he admits could happen.
    94% on RT? Saw it last night. Best comic book film since Batman Begins, and the best Marvel film since X2. But… 94% on RT?!? Yes, the critics wanted a blockbuster just as much as any of us did.

  12. York "Budd" Durden says:

    Just got back from IM–it’s the best comic book movie since Spidey 2, though with a final battle sequence that maybe underwhelms just a bit. Time enough in the sequel, one supposes, what with the origin stuff out of the way.
    Paltrow is just about as lovely and appealing as I’ve ever seen her. Bridges, I dunno, I kept hoping he would spark up a doober and throw on the Creedence. (And Downey is note-perfect, a career making perf from an actor who’s already had a fine career–except as a box office star.)

  13. doug r says:

    Anyone else catch that one of the files Pepper downloads is named “Lebowski”?

  14. Alan Cerny says:

    I feel dumb for asking this, but what’s the first $100 million three day release? Is there one?

  15. NickF says:

    Spider-man in 2002 was the first.

  16. LexG says:


  17. messiahcomplexio says:

    My guess…
    What I think people sometimes forget, is how fast word of mouth spreads in this, “the texting generation”. Especially with the 25 and unders.
    Until recently, my “job” had me out at theaters on weekends dealing with , and that “saturday texting bump” is very real.
    It was not at all uncommon to watch “herds” of young movie goers come out of a movie on a friday night , cell phones in hand, texting to all their friends their thoughts.
    If they liked it, You’d see the difference in the next mornings matinee’s. Especially for a movie like this. If you didn’t see them (13-25’s) in large amounts till early evening (minus the parents), you knew the word was bad.
    Of course, my experience was antidotal, but my guess is If the good word holds, it will beat the tracking.

  18. messiahcomplexio says:

    … on weekends dealing with “movie goers”…
    that preview button is there for a reason. I should take advantage more often.

  19. Crow T Robot says:

    I dunno… the new Indy 4 trailer today looked more Allan Quartermain than The Mummy. Not a single money shot or one-liner. The preview reaction from today’s super-savvy Iron Man audience was like “Star Wars, this ain’t.” Unless my finger is way off the pulse here, it’s looking to go the way of the other 80s fossil, Superman Returns. The trailer needed five seconds of a guy pulling out a big gun and Indy throwing a sword into him.
    Speaking of need… aside from Downey cutting up in the first half and some sexy shots of the suit doing assorted sexiness, I-Man really didn’t resonate for me. The third act, a shoddy reworking of the Transformers climax, added up to kill the bad guy and move on.
    What’s this movie, with all its Middle East and military stuff, about anyway?

  20. brack says:

    Crow, I think you need to recheck that pulse again.
    This is Indy we’re talking about. Ford. Spielberg. I can’t think of a more sure thing.
    The Indy trailer had some good one liners, especially when he crashes into that truck after missing another truck he was swinging for, saying “Damn I thought that was closer”), and the tv spots are good. They don’t give away too much, which I’m happy about.

  21. Blackcloud says:

    I couldn’t really hear the new Indy trailer–or any of the trailers before Iron Man. The volume was not as loud as it usually is. As for crowd reaction, the Indy trailer got big cheers, as did the trailer for the Dark Knight.

  22. At the theatre I was at, the Zohan trailer started out with massive amounts of laughter, and it all fell completely flat as soon as the hairdresser jokes started. I felt vindicated.

  23. I’m just so happy my Gwynnie is finally gonna be in a hot movie. Although if it “underperforms” she will be blamed.

  24. IOIOIOI says:

    Heatiscle: it’s not about Iron-Man. It’s about the MARVEL UNIVERSE. If Iron-Man does not make a 100 million this weekend. There’s no AVENGERS INITATIVE because you need FREAKIN THOR, and the THOR FILM has a script that requires a 100 million openning weekend.
    You can make an Ant-Man film with Edgar Wright, have it make 50 million, and secure Pym’s and Janet’s places at the Avengers’ table. It simply does not work that way with Cap and Thor. They need to be out of the park smashes to justify the budget that an Avengers film will cost.
    So please understand that it’s about making that FINAL SCENE HAPPEN. It’s about Marvel Studios pulling off something with the AVENGERS that seems incredibly unlikely unless all of these films are hits on a big scale. It’s kind of odd that Mr. “I KNOW DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING ABOUT THE BIZ ON BOTH SIDES” Heatsicle fails to understand why this movie needs to make a 100 million this weekend. Nice myopia there, chuckles.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    Okay, I’ll say it: an Avengers movie is one of those geek fantasies that will almost certainly never be made.

  26. Tofu says:

    IO, an Avengers movie can be made with Iron Man only making $60 million this weekend. Chill.
    That said, yeah… Not likely in any event. The logistics and franchises need to be worked out, and by that time Downey may have already moved on.

  27. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: you seem like the type of person that sprang from the people who looked at the people creating the wheel and said; “That’s never going to work.” Seriously. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
    IRON-MAN: 2008.
    IRON-MAN II: 2010:
    IRON-MAN III: 2012.
    Hmmm. I wonder what we will do with all the gaps between Iron-Man films? Hmmm… let’s see.
    Why don’t we put Hank Pym somewhere in 2009.
    The GOD of THUNDER needs to share a year with Iron-Man in order to get a PUSH like the HULK is trying to get this Summer. So let’s put him there.
    This leaves us with the Cap movie. The rights are settled. They keep working on a script. They just need someone to put the pieces together.
    Let’s go with someone finally gets Cap going at the end of 09, production in 10, and let’s put it out in 11.
    After the final Iron-Man movie… Marvel has two years to get Avengers going or they can make a sequel to either the Cap or Thor movies. It just makes more sense to have those two characters show up in IRON-MAN III as CAMEOS, then have them return AVENGERS.
    This is all spec of course, but there is a reason Marvel became it’s own studio. There is a reason why they have Nick in this flick, and Stark in another. They are putting the pieces in play to make the most expensive and possibly risky COMIC-BOOK MOVIE OF ALL-TIME! If you are too blind to this obvious ploy. Well… you and Jeff need to go back to 1994, find a LOTR fan, and ask that person if he/she would believe that a LOTR flick was coming out in seven years. I would imagine they would think you to be just as crazy.

  28. Drew says:

    I’m hearing as high as $42 million for Friday for IRON MAN.
    And if that proves to be the case, what excuses will you be making, David?

  29. christian says:

    Well based on Friday’s 35 million buck take, I guess we might be talking very soon about the Avengers Initiative…

  30. jeffmcm says:

    My take is, by the time Marvel has managed Thor and Captain America movies (both re-requisites for an Avengers movie) trends will have shifted to makean Avengers movie not financially viable. If WB can’t even manage their Justice League movie, I don’t see what purpose an Avengers movie would serve. And I mean that both in terms of business and art.

  31. Skyblade says:

    I agree with the sentiment an Avengers movie would never happen. The logistics aside, (I think unless each and every movie makes a similar amount, agencies will tear the project to shreds–look at how Justice League has been brought down and it’s not like Batman Begins was insanely profitable) I think the movie is bogged down by a few other things.
    The book is not insanely popular. I think in the early seventies, and when Kurt Busiek was doing it, it was a top seller. (Actually, I think Bendis made it one too, but by really deviating from the concept) Fantastic Four and X-Men have their own “niches”, their own thing that makes them stand out. The Avengers is Marvel’s answer to the Justice League, except with one glaring difference–it’s not really a collection of Marvel’s A-Listers. (Until recently, and even then, that’s pretty questionable.) It features three pretty popular characters, (The Hulk’s presence in the whole thing has been sporadic) and usually rounds itself with a bunch of second-stringers, some with a pretty complex background. (The Scarlet Witch might be nearly impossible without major changes)
    A major problem is, Marvel’s most popular characters have been outsiders and antiheroes–not the types to make the ranks. It’s a kind of book that makes the most sense in the context of the Marvel Universe–they’re the most well known and respected heroes in contrast to Spider-Man and the X-Men. I’m not even sure that makes a very good sell.
    When you combine this with a name that might get confused with the British TV series and terrible ’98 movie, well…

  32. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, and “what do we do with all the gaps between Iron Man films?” The answer is, nothing. You keep the franchise from getting worn out and Downey isn’t going to want to do more than three, tops, anyway.

  33. christian says:

    Well, I’ve heard a lot how Iron Man is one of Marvel’s “second-tier” heroes and therefore less of a “brand” or “franchise” (gawd I hate those words). But if audiences turn out for the film (as they will), and Marvel is clearly setting up the characters, then I’d say there’s a strong chance for an Avengers film.

  34. Martin S says:

    I am still comfortable with a projection of a $75 million 3-day
    You mean a studio projection, right? Because I distinctly remember dropping the 80M threshhold number in response to your 60-65M a few weeks ago, a number you reiterated in your IM review.
    Crow – Arad stopped IM for being rushed through New Line precisely because how the other properties were being churned out and also because he felt they were getting soaked in the profit-sharing. I remember Murphy went on a rant about how little Marvel was getting from FOX and company, but that was shortly after he got whacked from IM so I was never sure what was accurate. His numbers were abysmal but very possible since they were based off deals made in the early/mid-90’s when the company was Chapter 11.
    IO – a runner who’s ahead of the pack can actually be in last place because he’s about to get lapped.
    You don’t think any of this has been discussed here, ad nasuem? Or since you weren’t here, it didn’t count?
    Poland knows what’s up and he knows the numbers for what you’re throwing around are impossible for a company with a half-billion bank loan, not an equity firm partner. IM cost 140, Hulk 125 – half the loan. Profits split with Paramount and Universal since they are covering A&M. The payback is most likely built into the toy line, but stagflation is certainly to effect the projections. Now, couple in an underperforming Hulk, and it will be in Marvel’s interest to fast-track on IM2, push the other properties like Wolverine, Punisher2, Namor or Surfer and look for an investor akin to Legendary. Because to do what you’re stating, based off the IM boom now, could lead to a forced sell-out/merger with Paramount or risk losing the copyright library.

  35. MASON says:

    Looks like they won’t be needing to make those excuses after all.
    And I love how an opening under 75 would be considered a disappointment by some. I mean, unbelievable.

  36. MASON says:

    94 mil. LMAO.

  37. Rothchild says:

    David’s head is going to explode when this ends up at 310-325.

  38. Rothchild says:

    I loved Speed Racer, too. So it’s not like we always disagree, but Poland can get really stupid when it comes to films he perceives as geeky.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    Thanks, Martin, now I understand why Don Murphy seemed to be rooting for the film to fail.

  40. Rothchild says:

    You’re way behind on that, JeffMCM. I like Don but his version of Iron Man was probably going to suck (and I like a lot of Don’s movies). John Cassavetes and Tom Cruise? Fucking ew. They even met with Timberlake (great singer but no Tony Stark).

  41. jeffmcm says:

    I think ignoring Don and his bad ideas as much as possible has tended to be a good choice.

  42. Rothchild says:

    Don’s love for genre properties, toys, video games, comics etc., has pushed a lot of projects forward when no one else saw their potential. If you ignore the internet and the anger he’s not a horrible guy.

  43. yancyskancy says:

    Rothchild, you mean NICK Cassavetes of course. But boy, what I wouldn’t give to see John Cassavetes’ “An Iron Man Under the Influence.” He could’ve made it at the height of the Vietnam war, with Ben Gazzara as Stark, Gena Rowlands as Pepper, John Marley as Stane. The mind boggles.

  44. no way this is gonna get to those numbers rothchild, i’m thinking $275 mil tops, unless it has great legs.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    Okay, I’ll give Don marks for good taste in material, but no credit for poor ability in execution.

  46. jeffles says:

    Long time Poland reader, first time contributor…
    Love his website, box office commentary, reviews, etc…but the one thing I think he’s never gotten right is the “geek” world. Dave simply doesn’t get it. And his Iron Man review and box office 1st weekend guess is an example of that…Nuff said.
    To the person who said the Avengers movie won’t happen. I’d bet all the money in my bank account (not much) that it DOES happen. If you spend time on and check out the list of best selling comics each month, you’ll see that for the last 2 years, the Avengers family of comics have been best sellers. New Avengers and Mighty Avengers dominate the charts, and when you throw in titles like Thor, Iron Man, Captain America into the mix, they outsell Spidey and the X-Men…yes, we’re only talking about 100,000 copies a month on each book, but, my only point is that the Avengers are incredibly relevant in the comic book world, more so than ever before.

  47. Crow T Robot says:

    I think the reason geeks are responding to this movie in such a big way is because the lead character is such a great representation of the geek psyche. He sits at home alone and mulls all the details… his hot rod car, his cluster bombs, the color of his suit. A cynical, shallow man-child with no life beyond his fetishes. His purpose seems to only be the pursuit of “cool shit.” Even in the end he can’t help but blow his own cover and admit he’s the hero (apparently, this jerk is too self-absorbed to protect anyone he loves from potential enemies).
    The more I think about it, the whole thing comes off as one big valentine to geek emptiness. AICN running 30 glowing reviews of the thing makes perfect sense now.
    The most touching relationship of the whole film, in fact, is Downey and the robot factory arm which, like a geek and his home computer, ends up being the only thing really there for him.
    Iron Man is actually in love with a goddamn arm.
    Talk about your jerk off metaphor.

  48. Blackcloud says:

    ^ Maybe that’s why he’s so hands-on.

  49. Skyblade says:

    The Avengers titles have been doing so well by adding Spider-Man and Wolverine to the team, and trying it into company-wide crossovers.

  50. martin says:

    I agree that the Avengers bombing back in 1997 is not a good sign for a remake.

  51. Cadavra says:

    Damn you, Martin, you beat me to it! 😛

  52. The Big Perm says:

    Awesome analysis, Crow.

  53. I think (especially after reading OTHER message boards) that THE AVENGERS is more certain that ever. I admit I missed the little special sneak at the end of IRON MAN but having read about it, what they’re doing seems to be quite clever.
    They’re throwing out tidbits of info-almost like viral marketing-that will slowly gain steam as more Marvel titles emerge. For instance (and this is a guess) there will be some sort of cameo in the WOLVERINE movie and then one in THOR and ANT MAN and so on. It’ll all add up to the eventual AVENGERS movie and I think that’s a really clever way to build it up. Someone mentioned Arad didn’t like the way Marvel flicks were getting churned out and I think what I’m saying speaks to that.
    The “flaw” in X-Men is, people who didn’t follow the comic book didn’t get all the references or how characters flowed in and out. It was always a new crop of undeveloped, cool looking mutants who we just kind of got on board with. I think people will buy into this slow leak of characters and the fanboys, as was apparently evidenced in the Sam jackson/Nick Fury scene, will continue to poop their pants in anticipation.
    Of course, I could be wrong.

  54. messiahcomplexio says:

    once again, the tracking was off. Surprise! surprise! surprise! Who could have possibly seen that coming?
    will the “experts” finally realize their formula is fatally flawed? Or will they continue on their bataan death march to box office hell?
    See you next week prognosticators!

  55. ManWithNoName says:

    Care to analyze the reason it’s so popular with the non-geeks as well?

  56. christian says:

    Tracking is an integral part of the incessant marketing that in the end really knows very little. It’s a racket.

  57. Crow T Robot says:

    I’ll give you a hint, Man… It’s not the director. It’s not the movie. It’s not the geek property.
    Downey, perfectly cast, is the story here.
    As it was with Depp in Pirates.
    As it was with Pitt & Jolie in Smith.
    As it was with Vaughn & Wilson & McAdams in Crashers.
    When the right stars align with the right planets, you’re gonna get supernovas like this weekend.
    Someone had the idea of putting this troubled actor with no career in this role. Someone who knew a bad boy should be played by an actual bad boy (a la Captain Jack). Huvane? Lourd? Lovett? Whoever. But the genius of that gamble is the story here.

  58. Martin S says:

    Crow – you’re batting a hundred. My 40ish sister called and told me I have to see this in the theater. Her boys went Transformers crazy, but IM apparently just kicked that to the curb.
    Re – Avengers. Just break down a normal blockbuster sequel cost, and multiply it by two or three.
    Marvel has a choice; become the Jim Cameron version of Lionsgate, (few films with bigger budgets), or risk a Weinstein Company fate. Everything changes the day they announce a financial partner along the lines of Legendary. But if super-team films were a sure thing, WB would have gone ahead with Justice League and beaten Marvel to the punch by several years. Instead, they trimmed Superman and Batman from the story, then sandbagged the whole thing and blamed Australia while they never intended on making the damn film once the strike was over.
    What has to be taken into account is the 800lb gorilla named Cameron and his venture into 3D. If that works, Marvel will have to adapt any future mega-production for 3D, but can they afford it? WB can do it because of Legendary, and IMO this is the real reason so many DC projects have come to a crawl. Marvel has to be breaking this down right now because how mundane is a 200M Thor film going to look if Del Toro’s Hobbit is 3D? What better way to re-boot Spidey, than with a new visual gimmick. If you want a year to project for, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the FF and Marvel. That will most likely be the year for whatever huge project.

  59. Jerry Colvin says:

    “2013 is the 50th anniversary of the FF and Marvel”
    Now that makes me feel really, really old…

  60. Martin S says:

    From the Reuters piece
    The company has set April 30, 2010, as the release date for “Iron Man 2” and confirmed that it will not have a new film out next year.
    “Thor” is slated for June 4, 2010. Marvel also is planting its feature film stakes for 2011 with an Avengers-themed summer.
    The May 6, 2011, release of what is now going under the working title “The First Avenger: Captain America” will be followed by “The Avengers” in July.

    It appears they are prepping a LOTR style shooting schedule which Fav’s and Billingsly were lobbying to take in a larger producer umbrella. It also appears the Avengers film will be the sequel in everyone’s contract. It a ways off, but they seemed to be staking ground to best WB. I’m guessing Matthew Vaughn is still attached to Thor.
    Strange that no word of Wolverine, Punisher2, Surfer, etc…popped up. I’ll have to find a more detailed account.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon