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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady

The Shia-Getting-In-Trouble franchise continues to grow, from a $22 million opening for Disturbia to what looks like a somewhere-near $30 million opening for Eagle Eye, an inferior retread with some excellent ads.
Lane & Gere are doing about what they do. The last time out was Unfaithful (the movie that convinced college girls to have stairwell sex for a few months), which opened to $14.1 million.
Another boring week at the box office…

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29 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady”

  1. EthanG says:

    Boring except you finally have a Christian themed movie breaking out at the box office. (btw the theatre count for Fireproof is 839…) Who had heard of “Fireproof” before the weekend, yet it is going to make at least 7 million…the makers of this film previously made “Facing the Giants,” which opened to only 1.3 million…
    Wow, Disney is going to have trouble paying for its prints with that opening for “St. Anna” a $50 million film which is well within “Meet Dave” and “The Rocker” territory for bomb of the year. Time for “Chihuahua” to come to the rescue. Chihuahua!
    Speaking of paying for prints, just when you think it can’t get any worse for Iraq movies, “The Lucky Ones,” is going in at less than $400 per theatre this weekend!!! 400!!!! This could really finish Neil Burger’s career. No idea of the budget for this but it has to be one of the biggest bombs of the decade in terms of recouping.

  2. anghus says:

    i remember years ago saying that making movies about the war on terror was going to be a painful experience creatively and financially. i’m not always right, not by any stretch, but man was i dead on about that one.
    People don’t want to see movies about the war on terror. I would love to see a spreadsheet with all the Iraq/Afghanistan war on terror films’ box office versus production & P&A. That is a deep fucking hole right there my friends.
    Unless you included Farenheit 9/11 in the number crunching, you’re in for some embarassing returns.

  3. jeffmcm says:

    What is Eagle Eye a retread of?

  4. THX5334 says:

    North By Northwest, or so I thought. I haven’t seen it.

  5. On Friday The Lucky Ones averaged $111. How awful.
    Not sure what Disney were doing with that Miracle at St Anna release. What on earth convinced them to open on 1000 screens (always indicative of something not being quite right).
    And those Burn After Reading legs didn’t quite last long enough, did they?

  6. marychan says:

    It is true that “Miracle at St. Anna” was cost about $45 millino to make.
    However, Disney’s Touchstone Pictures only paid about $6.25 million to acquire the US rights of “Miracle at St. Anna”, so they will be fine with it.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    EtahnG: Actually, there’s been a fairly steady direct e-mail campaign for Fireproof for the past few months. Seriously. Don’t know if it’s because I reviewed Facing the Giants for Variety, but I’ve been on the mailing list for quite some time. And if the same e-mails have been going out to thousands — millions? — to other folks, well…
    BTW: Many of these e-mails specifically emphasized the need for people to see the movie on opening weekend, to boost opening-weekend box-office and thereby attract mainstream media attention. These people are nothing if not media-savvy.

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    Marychan: Also, I don’t think you should underestimate the DVD potential for Miracle. Hell, I may have to buy a few copies for students who don’t believe me when I tell them the US military was segregated during WWII.

  9. chris says:

    It’s not just “North by Northwest” for “Eagle Eye.” Also “The 39 Steps,” “The Wrong Man” and, at the climax, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (the violence-at-a-key-place-in-the-music bit, although Caruso finds a much less way of helping us follow along with the music than Hitchcock did).

  10. Cadavra says:

    Re FIREPROOF: I believe many churches bought huge blocks of tickets in advance. Whether or not people actually used them is a subject for more in-depth research.

  11. PanTheFaun says:

    While I’m sure being about Iraq didn’t help, I would blame the failure of “The Lucky Ones” more on the fact that Roadside/Lionsgate chose to open a movie virtually no one’s heard of on 400 screens with almost zero P&A.
    I have a feeling the movie could’ve been about anything and it would’ve done just as poorly. Incidentally, the four other people in my theater seemed to enjoy it.

  12. leahnz says:

    damn, i was actually looking forward to ‘the lucky ones’ (primarily due to my girl-crush on rachel mc.), if it goes down the gurgler stateside it’ll probably never make it here. yet another dvd to look out for.

  13. I saw a truly awkward Tim Robbins interview on one of those American morning programs as he advertised The Lucky Ones. The awkwardness came at the end when the interviewer had asked him a question, he was answering it quite well and then half way through his response she goes “Tim Robbins, thank you” and he just looked around confused and went “what? what’s going on?” and cut to commercial break.

  14. leahnz says:

    how rude!

  15. movieman says:

    “Facing the Giants” was actually a nice little film; I caught it on DVD since it never played northeastern Ohio.
    That said, I’m not sure whether to bother with “Fireproof” or not. The reviews have been a lot kinder than anticipated (including Joe’s), but it almost feels like the purchase of a ticket is a vote for Sarah Palin. And that feels me with revulsion and terror.
    Maybe I should just wait for home video.
    “Eagle Eye” jumps the shark–hell, it jumps an Orca!–in the final third, but it’s still a well-made, uber Spielbergian action thriller with another confident leading man performance by Shia LeBeouf. Not sure how Monaghan could’ve missed out on playing Laura Bush in “W,” though. She certainly looks the part more than Elizabeth Banks.
    No tears from me for the beyond-dismal performance of “The Lucky Ones.” I thought it was a terrible film that should have bypassed a theatrical release altogether…and I’m a big fan of Robbins, McAdams, Pena and Burger’s “The Illusionist” (which I still think is a better period magician flick than “The Prestige”).
    I’m a little stunned that “St. Anna” didn’t even “open.” The reviews were mixed bordering on negative, but some crix really loved it. Maybe a platform release–like many Lee films–would have been the way to go. My take? It’s an interesting mess (again, like so many Lee joints), but infinitely worth seeing if you care at all about cinema.

  16. EDouglas says:

    Not bad at all for Fireproof, which I only heard of because the NY publicist wanted me to interview Kirk Cameron without seeing the movie (right, that’s going to happen)…
    I don’t know if I’d necessarily consider the Narnia movies “Christian-themed” because they work as straight fantasy, but Fireproof is doing pretty good and should open near Jonah: A Veggie Tales (another “surprise” Christian hit)

  17. EthanG says:

    Disney won’t lose money on the financing, but this is one of those rare instances (along with Lucky Ones) where they might actually lose money on distribution.

  18. chris says:

    Sorry, but the real problem with “Lucky Ones” is that it sucks.

  19. leahnz says:

    my angst over likely missing ‘the lucky ones’ has now diminished considerably!

  20. movieman says:

    DVD is soon enough for “The Lucky Ones,” Leahnz!
    I’m a McAdams fan, too, but this isn’t one of her better performances: for starters, her Southern accent sounds forced and inauthentic.
    If I had run across the movie on cable–on the Lifetime channel perhaps?–I might have suck with it for 10 minutes out of respect for the actors before switching the channel.

  21. martindale says:

    You have to hand it to Goldwyn films. They know how to reach a Christian audience: Facing the Giants, Amazing Grace, Bella, and now Fireproof.

  22. LexG says:

    Just saw MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA, and while it’s a pretty severely mixed bag, ultimately I ended up feeling pretty positive about it. For one, that Blanchard score, persistent as it is and much as it will be drilled into your head for weeks after, is one of his most powerful.
    The first and last third — yes, even including those bizarre 1983/84 tags — are rather gripping and powerful. The prolonged, sometimes aimless mid section is where the problems lie, plenty of didactic “scenes” that don’t cohere into a whole, with little forward momentum.
    Then again, other bits — the ice cream flashback, Train trying to communicate with the kid, all that Italian intrigue about the mole, the post-sex scene with the Italian chick in the helmet — lots of great stuff there, and the four main actors and the kid were effective.
    Some of it felt like a total slog but then Spike would throw in some awesome bit to make up for it, and the last act rallied quite nicely, though whether you find the last scene moving or just hopelessly schmaltzy will probably depend on the viewer.
    And Libatique’s work is excellent throughout — one of my absolute favorite DPs; I have NO IDEA what Glieberman’s talking about when he says he couldn’t “find any Spike” in the movie. What movie was he watching????

  23. leahnz says:

    dvd it is, movieman!
    (maybe glieberman should check up his butt for that spike)

  24. leahnz says:

    ooh, sorry, that was a bit rough on glieberman. he kinda gets up my nose.

  25. Rob says:

    Checked out Choke and The Duchess this weekend. Thought both were OK.
    Might have time for one more before the 10/3 onslaught – should it be Lucky Ones, St. Anna or Battle in Seattle? All sound problematic.

  26. Stella's Boy says:

    Doesn’t this happen all the time with movies appealing to a Christian audience, whether it’s Fireproof or a Tyler Perry flick? It comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone and reminds people that there is a hungry audience out there for this type of film. It sure feels like it happens a lot. I’m surprised that anyone is actually surprised.
    Also, in response to Facing the Giants being “a nice little film.” I reviewed it back when I was still doing freelance reviews. It has wonderful intentions, but it’s like watching community theatre. Just not very good.

  27. movieman says:

    I stand by my original comment, Stella’s B.
    “Facing the Giants” isn’t anything special, but I found its awkwardness (in the acting, writing and direction) quasi appealing. It was a nice break from the typical, slicker-than-the-Exxon-Valdez rah-rah H’wood sports flicks.
    (P.S.=Gleiberman gets on my nerves, too, Leahnz.)

  28. Stella's Boy says:

    I can understand one feeling that way about Facing the Giants. Something so earnest and lacking pretension can be appealing and refreshing.

  29. Triple Option says:

    I saw Choke and was thoroughly underwhelmed. I do like that writer/director/actor got to get a project made. I’d like to see him do his own thing. I think the humor was off, like too broad. Not sure whose decision that was. Not sure how much the voiceover helped or hurted. It came across like Fight Club on a student film budget. But Fight Club had visual backing and external commentary that made the film. I think dude who did Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness might’ve been a better fit for this.
    Wanted to see St Anna and Fireproof, just not enough hours/cheap showings in the w/e. Can’t say I saw much advertising for Spike’s pic. But as for Christian themed films, I think they’re hard to depict because so much of Christian living is uncinematic by design. One would prolly do better creating a weekly drama or comedy instead of build for the big lightshow miracle at the climax of a film. They can also be unintentionally meladramatic.
    How was Shia in EagleEye? Boring or growing?

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