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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady

Lakeview Terrace‘s start has to be a little dissapointing for the once can’t-miss Screen Gems team. The thing that strikes me is that the movie is genre, but it’s not Screen Gems genre, which is to say horror, girls, teen splat, and black/hispanic/urban. What teen wants to see a thriller about suburban angst? What black audience is running to see Sam Jackson terrorize the nice white guy next door? And how can a quick turn studio division think that the adult audience, who this movie really is after, will show up before weekend two?
Dame Clunk may finally be going away, with this weak’s release looking at half of what last year’s Jessica-Ablba’s-skirt-twirls-up weak shite did.
Igor did not convince the kiddies that this was a must see… not a shock… one actually has to spend TV dollars to do that.
And the not-so-shocking shocker is Ghost Town, which reminds us that America has no idea who the f Ricky Gervais is, no matter how wonderful a performer. WB has him next and I expect to see them lay down a much thicker base coat than Paramount – in one of their weakest efforts on outdoor and print images that I have seen in a long time – did. How ugly is it when Tea’ Leoni can’t get a second of TV-spot time and Greg Kinnear just slightly less? Maybe someone had a bet that they couldn’t open a Gervais movie and was trying to win… probably not.
Of course, it’s good to keep in mind that we are still in the studio Dump Zone for movies… which ends next weekend with Eagle Eye and Nights in Rodanthe… we hope.

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38 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady”

  1. martin says:

    I don’t know the tracking, or the budget of Lakeview, but based on the elements and marketing of the film, I’d say it opened pretty well. Lets say $16 mill weekend, $45-50 total domestic. That seems like exactly within expectations. How is that in any way less than expected for a moderately marketed Sam Jackson/Neil Labute thriller?

  2. RDP says:

    Since I spend the day working from home while watching my young daughter, I saw a ton of Igor ads on Nickelodeon. At least once every other commercial break.

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    I wonder if Ghost Town — which, BTW, I quite enjoyed — is a textbook example of a movie that should be slow-released to give time for public awareness to build?

  4. Doesn’t it seem like Lakeview Terrace is just hovering in limbo land? It doesn’t look good enough to lure the adults who are waiting for the good Oscar season, nor is it shlocky enough to lure the horror crowds.

  5. PanTheFaun says:

    I think Joe’s dead on.
    I saw “Ghost Town” at a 7:50pm show tonight in a very full (possibly sold out, but the front row was empty) 450-seat auditorium on Long Island, and it played like gangbusters. You could sense of a little hesitancy, and a feeling of “who is this guy” at first, but there were big laughs in all the right moments, and a smattering of applause at the end.
    Our local paper’s 3.5-star review probably inspired some people in our area to check it out, but with solid reviews and Dreamamount blanketing the airwaves with TV spots, why/where exactly did things go wrong?

  6. Nick Rogers says:

    Tea Leoni may have stopped truly caring about publicity for “Ghost Town” given that she’s dealing with this:

  7. Nick Rogers says:

    I also saw “Ghost Town” tonight with someone who didn’t know Ricky Gervais from Adam and who loved it, and him. It was a far cuddlier cringe comedy than I expected, but the damaged-goods aspect of each of the characters made it palatable. My one friend’s observation (no spoiler, promise): The mom would have looked under the seat.

  8. “Lakeview Terrace” is doing fine I think…but having seen it, the ad campaigns have painted the film into a corner. it’s not *really* a “Pacific Heights” type thriller the way they’re making it out to be. It’s more like a Hollywood version of an early Neil LaBute film that cops out (no pun intended) 3/4 of the way through to become a lame Hollywood flick.

  9. PanTheFaun says:

    To tie into your friend’s observation, Nick, I wondered how Gervais (legally) gained entry into the car to find the retrieved item.

  10. Nick Rogers says:

    Pan: That might make for an amusing deleted scene, if it exists.

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    Rck and Pan: Actually, what I found most striking about that particular subplot was, that gray, middle-aged father is played Alan Ruck, who played Ferris Bueller’s best buddy years ago. Ouch, but that made me feel even older than I am.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    P.S. to Pan: I saw Ghost Town at a 9:50 a.m. bargain-price matinee Saturday here in Houston. To be honest, I don’t know how many people in the small crowd were there simply to seek air-conditioned refuge for a couple hours. (Reportedly, half the city is still without electricity.) But here, too, was a smattering of applause at the end. I can’t help thinking — and hoping — the word of mouth will be good for this one.

  13. PanTheFaun says:

    The word-of-mouth will, unquestionably, be very good. The problem lies with how effective that positive word-of-mouth will be when there are so few spreading it.
    When movies open wide as poorly as “Ghost Town” seems on track to, they often just drop off the radar, regardless of how seemingly crowd-pleasing or demographic-satisfying they are (e.g.: “The Girl Next Door’s” second week drop of 54%, “Find Me Guilty” dropping 75%, “Reign Over Me” at 49%, “ATL” down 67%, “The Rocker” plunging 63%, “Charlie Bartlett” at 55%, the list goes on).
    For the flick’s sake — and Gervais’s — I hope “Ghost Town” bucks the trend, but I’m not optimistic.

  14. raskimono says:

    Panthefaun has just named some of the least crowd pleasing movies of the last few years. The girl Next Door starts off well and deteriorates into nonsense. Not a peep from the audience at the end. Charlie Bartlett. Good idea. Extremely unfunny. Find me Guilty. Too slow paced and confusing. That was the word. Reign over me. Horrible movie. The Rocker. Extremely unfunny. This assertion is based on audience opinion, the audience being myself, co-workers, friends etc and has nothing to do with natty rotten tomato reviews. When the audience likes a movie, in most cases, it holds. Meanwhile, I avoided this movie because I was burned by the last Brit import movie starring Simon Pegg and directed by David Schwimmer. Opinion. Extremely unfunny. But if the audience appreciated it, maybe I’ll check it out.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Find Me Guilty was in no way crowd-pleasing, but I liked it anyway.

  16. LexG says:

    One of the only, if not THE ONLY, director out there to PORTRAY WOMEN AS THEY ARE and male/female relationships as they are exactly in REALITY.

  17. jeffmcm says:


  18. movieman says:

    Has anyone else seen “Rodanthe”?
    I was actually looking forward to this one despite the Sparks connection (Lane, Gere, George C. Wolfe), but found it blah-blah-bland.
    And why hasn’t anyone called Sparks out on his flagrant romantic sadism (a trend in all of his work)? The “tragic ending” (no additional spoilers) feels both cheap and unmotivated. If you don’t know the book it’s more likely to piss you off than to make you cry.
    Pretty to look at, but dramatically inert and pretty much of a non-starter all around. Nice one scene perf by the “where-ther-heck-has-he-been?” Scott Glenn, tho.

  19. As someone who has never heard anything about Ghost Town before this weekend’s box office came in, I can’t say I’m surprised it’s failed since it looks like it appeals to the same sort of “in the know” type people who didn’t show up for Hamlet 2, either.
    And, really, doesn’t the plot sound like it’s ripped right from the ’80s? I’d rather watch Chances Are again.

  20. tjfar67 says:

    Maybe “Ghost Town” will do better overseas where Ricky Gervais is more well known.

  21. Nicol D says:

    Apropos of nothing, I am pleased to see the Anna Farris House Bunny quitely go on to make between 45-50 million. She is easily one of the more gifted comic performers out now and it’s good to see someone finally put her in a film to use those talents.
    I still maintain she was the best thing in Lost in Translation.
    As for Gervais, perhaps he is better known in Canada due to our proximity to British culture, but I did find the lack of ads for this film baffling. When I read it was out this week I was surprised.
    Extras is brilliant.

  22. PanTheFaun says:

    “Panthefaun has just named some of the least crowd pleasing movies of the last few years.”
    For the record, I like almost none of the movies I named. The opinions of you and your friends/co-workers is scarcely relevant. I know not one person who enjoyed “What Happens in Vegas” or “Chuck and Larry,” but clearly people somewhere did.
    I was spouting off films that were made to be audience pleasers, and certainly played very well to the crowds that saw them. “Crowdpleasing” is not just a synonym for “raskimono liked it.”

  23. Krazy Eyes says:

    Is Anna Ferris a conservative?

  24. The Big Perm says:

    KK hit the nail on the head…I’m not familiar with Gervais beyond his reputation, and so when I saw a commercial for his movie I didn’t recognize him. And I had that exact thought…this looks like some cheap shitty comedy from the 80s where everyone runs around a lot as a substitute for actual funny things happening. Since it’s Gervais I assume it’s not that, but damn does that movie look unappealing. Especially since we’re in a great age of comedy right now. The late 80s and 90s were pretty much shit.

  25. Anna Ferris is hosting SNL next week so, if anyone still watches that show (and I have no proof that people do) House Bunny should get a nice boost. I think Ferris is a terrific and hilarious actress. Plus, Tina Fey will be going her Palin schtick next week so that will draw more viewers.

  26. udterp says:

    “Crazy” Nikki is practically begging you to comment on her box office blog and her part in making “The Women” a “hit.”

  27. David Poland says:

    Yeah… not worth much bluster.
    The movie will, as it turns out, lose about the same amount of money opening wide as if they had stuck to Picturehouse’s original intentions.
    It’s not complex. The release will almost make back the additional costs of WB marketing it for wide release. So the only money against the picture’s cost will come from DVD and other ancillaries. But the wide release and its gross will trigger a somewhat higher pay-TV number and put more units into rental. So unless you thought that the film would somehow leap forward based on a conservative release, one has to guess that it would have done a little better against P&A in theatrical, but not as well in post-theatrical.
    So… pretty much a wash… not counting the team that wasted their time at WB trying to make Shinola out of the shit.
    Robinov gets Nikki off his back. (Really? A “studio source” told you that you were right? Really? Wow. You must be right then.) And the movie remains a failure, both aesthetically and financially, though it makes Diane English and her peeps, who launched the campaign via feminist-so-long-as-its-not-a-threat-to-her-comfort Nikki, feel less screwed.
    And now, the studio can decide whether Nights in Rodanthe will pay a price in broken trust with the female audience next weekend, dump the far-more-commercial-than-The-Women Rocknrolla, try to figure out what went wrong with Body of Lies, rationalize not having a movie in November where half the $100 million+ holiday season films launch (though moving Potter to summer, because it will be Nov 2010 before the next film launches is not without reason), and see how much they will have to pay Fox on Watchman (which is getting an identical-to-300 pre-launch in a couple of weeks).

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    On the flip side of the slow-rollout issue: I wonder if, all things considered, Warners should have gone wide with Appaloosa this weekend?

  29. T. Holly says:

    Ghost Town with Assayas
    on the brain: linear, but emotionally and visually fractured, operating so tightly and loose at the same time, you wet your brain. Of the four adults who went last night, only the simple one was thrown. It’s an adult fantasy with a PG-13 afterthought, you’ll go for the laughs and stay for the visual effects. I liked it, I really liked it.
    Assayas on the brain, Wilmington made me think it was going to be (my only frame of reference for old movies with a touch of the supernatural) “It’s a Wonderful Life,” natch, I had already read this and went woah:
    FaunThePan, 22, Long Island, blog film critic, you should click. Joe, I am so happy you have your electrician back.

  30. movieman says:

    ….”what went wrong with ‘Body of Lies’……”?
    You’ve seen it already, Dave?
    Tell us…something.
    I don’t think Warners has even scheduled a Cleveland
    screening/promo yet, and the damn thing opens in 3 weeks.
    The TV ads selling “BOL” as “by the director of ‘American Gangster'” are scary enough.
    Love me my Leo, but “Revolutionary Road” is the 2008 Leo flick I’m most interested in seeing.

  31. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, that’s a curious phrase re: Body of Lies for the 99.999% of us who haven’t seen it.

  32. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “Ghost Town” isn’t a flop yet — it opened in ~1500 theaters while everything else opens in ~2500.

  33. martin says:

    Dave may simply be saying that Body of Lies is not tracking well, and WB is unsure why. I don’t know anyone that’s seen it. But it does look more like Tony than Ridley. That said, Crowe and DiCaprio are 2 of the best working today, so it may surprise at the box office.

  34. movieman says:

    I’m not saying that “BOL” looks bad per se, Martin, although your Tony Scott comparison seems apt, particularly since some of the visuals remind me of “Enemy of the State” (a damn good T. Scott movie btw).
    …just that it’s peculiar “American Gangster” would be trumpeted in the ads as though it were Ridley’s defining moment as a filmmaker…I mean, c’mon, the guy directed “Alien,” “Blade “Runner,” “Gladiator” and “Thelma and Louise” among others; all considerably more significant achievements than “Gangster.”
    Of course, you’re only as good as your last hit, and “AG” made some serious coin despite being one of the weaker films in the R. Scott ouevre. Plus, American moviegoers have notoriously short attention spans and might not even remember some of those (superior) early movies.
    If it’s a tracking problem, maybe it’s because the ads make “BOL” seem–eeek!–“political.” Might be another “Kingdom”-style marketing hurdle. In retrospect, maybe “From the director of ‘American Gangster’ AND ‘Black Hawk Down'” wasn’t such a great idea. In the current “no politics please unless it’s another cutesy human interest story on darling Sarah Palin” I bet “BHD” would have stiffed if it opened today.
    Still waiting for Dave to weigh in on precisely what he meant by that ominous “what went wrong” phrase.

  35. martin says:

    movieman, the fact of the matter is that movies are getting lost in the shuffle of our niche-ified culture. So a marketing technique these days tends to focus more on the “new”, as opposed to the “classic”. Particularly when going for the younger audiences, that just don’t have the film history. I would tend to agree that Blackhawk Down or Gladiator would be a stronger marketing hook, but I’m sure they did their sampling and AG came up stronger.

  36. T. Holly says:

    RE Ghost Town, the bunny problem doesn’t exist because it’s obvious the habit of the lady in question is to have looked already and the songs covering the increasingly montagey scenes at the end transcend the storyline.
    Naturally, the simple one in my group mentioned the bunny too. I’m so sure she didn’t hear the song, I’m not even going to ask her.

  37. movieman says:

    …but they do mention “Black Hawk Down” in the trailer, Martin (“…from the director of ‘American Gangster’ and ‘BHD’….) which could be interpreted as a negative if it’s indeed the “political” aspects of the film that are causing the tracking problems.
    You’re probably right about “Gangster” coming up stronger in market research, though–if only because it’s the most recent Ridley Scott movie. And there’s no way “Black Hawk” would/could have made $100-million if it had opened today.
    Of course, we’re all just second-guessing until Dave tells us precisely what he meant by his “what went wrong” comment.

  38. yancyskancy says:

    I don’t know what’s wrong with Body of Lies, but I know what’s wrong with the TV ads for it — they give you almost no sense of what the thing is actually about. I can’t imagine anyone seeing the ads and saying, “Wow, I GOTTA see that one!”

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