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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – After X

Still not ready to work, but here is some chat space…
According to Steve Mason, the Christmas Day winner was Marley & Me, followed by Ben Button, followed by Bedtime Stories. Valkyrie did over $7 million for the day.
I take Steve’s premature estimijaculations for the 4 day with a big grain of salt, as I did his hyperactive post of 40 hours ago that Bedtime would break records. Doesn’t mean he’s wrong… just keep the salt shaker handy.

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22 Responses to “BYOB – After X”

  1. Direwolf says:

    I just rec’d my date and time for Sundance early ticket purchases. Does anyone have any recommendations? I prefer dramas.
    Night at the Museum did very slightly more than Bedtime Stories on Christmas Day 2006 in its fourth day. Then again, Bedtime will probably do big business on the weekend with the matinees and will be quite near Night’s 1st 4 days of $42 million.
    I went to a 4:35 showing of Frost/Nixon in Evanston, IL only for it to be sold out 40 minutes ahead of time. I bought a ticke3r for The Wrestler but rather than wait an hour I popped into a crowded showing The Reader. I thought it was OK. I did not get an emotional link with the boy/adult so it fell a bit flat for me. I did like Kate Winslet’s performance which was subtle at many times when she said very little but conveyed intense emotion.
    At 4 PM on Christmas Day the entire theater was mobbed, concessions, ticket lines and all.

  2. T. Holly says:

    Get everything that’s in competition and then trade or barter them for two to three times that many. Dave’s off one letter, it’s “estimajaculations.”

  3. EthanG says:

    Ugh, this means that Owen Wilson will be around for at least a few more years…bummer. Fox may finally have a $100 million hit on its hands..
    Slumdog has crossed $15 million,,,wonder what number it needs to reach for it to be “mainstream enough” to vote best picture.
    Gross of recent Best Pic Winners through Xmas:
    No Country-38 Million
    Departed-120 Million
    Crash-53 Million

  4. seriously, many people have such bad taste in movies. Marley and Me? With Owen wilson and Jennifer Aniston? YUCK!!!
    I saw Slumdog Millionaire– a real gem. tonight, I’m seeing Benjamin Button, can’t wait. I got the screenplay right here with me 🙂

  5. movieman says:

    Glad to see that “Marley and Me” got off to the boffo start I predicted.
    I’ve already gone on record as preferring “M&M” to F-S’s (egregiously overrated) “Slumdog Millionaire,”so….keep it coming, love.

  6. a_loco says:

    True story: I didn’t know Owen Wilson was in Marley and Me until two days ago. I didn’t know it existed until a week ago (where I only saw the poster with the dog on it). And I pay attention to movies. How the fuck did it make $15 mil?

  7. leahnz says:

    how did it make 15 mil? this is my theory: various people made their way to the cinema via planes, trains or automobiles (likely with nippers in tow), walked up to the ticket window, purchased the required number of tickets with some valid form of currency, and entered the hallowed cavern to watch the movie

  8. jeffmcm says:

    I think the question was more along the lines of ‘where did this movie come from and who spent money to see it’ but that can be answered with a ‘you probably weren’t the target market’. I figured, until a couple of weeks ago, that it was a cheapo sub-Beethoven type of movie with no stars in it, especially since none of the outdoor ads mentioned Aniston or Owen Wilson (which you’d think they would have done, right?)

  9. LexG says:

    Does this mean we all now have to pretend: “Hey, Jennifer Aniston IS a draw and CAN open a movie after all!”?
    Only to have to feign shock when her next bland romcom tanks (“What happened????”).
    I’m sure her asking price will go up as of Monday A.M., but come on, would this have made ONE PENNY LESS with, say Hudson, Heigl, Hathaway, etc., in her role?
    (I think the star here is the dog and the very popular source material; Only reason I’m not asking the same about Wilson is his modest comedy drawing power is pretty well established, plus this won’t be analyzed as some sort of referendum on his career, as it will for current media-magnet Aniston.)

  10. jeffmcm says:

    I think Wilson can be said to have added to the movie’s drawing power – he must have made it feel safe for all the 20/30something guys to come into it and know that there would be a few jokes tossed their way, right?

  11. LexG says:

    Unfortunately for us old-school Wilson fans, Owen’s presence no longer suggests the possibility of “Behind Enemy Lines”/”Armageddon”-style action awesomeness.
    Only half serious, but sometimes kinda wish Owen and Luke Wilson, Stiller, and especially their cohort Vince Vaughn, hadn’t retreated so entirely from anything outside the comedy genre. Didn’t Wilson get fairly respectable reviews for playing a serial killer in “Minus Man”? And Stiller did LaBute duty, of all things.
    Seems hard to believe nearly a decade later that these guys used to do action and horror and sci-fi flicks, since they’re now kind of the Chase, Murray, Candy, and Aykroyd of the 00s.
    Off topic:
    Damn, did Turan take a crowbar to Ben Button, or what? Still haven’t seen it, but K.T. was at his absolute grumpiest, so down on Button that it almost makes his so-so review of R. Road today sound like an unqualified rave. It seems like he’s had it in for Fincher for years, and even without the violence to complain about this time, he’s still on about Fincher showing audiences things that grotesque and off-putting.
    Thanks for lookin’ out for us there, Kenny T.

  12. Anybody who didn’t know Marley & Me must either be completely oblivious to anything that isn’t within their direct field of vision or just isn’t looking hard enough.
    In regards to what Lex is saying, I think Jennifer Aniston is most definitely a draw, but only in the right project. She won’t turn people off from seeing something that looks appealing, but if she’s in something that looks kind of ordinary then she’s not necessarily enough to get people interested.
    Which, let’s be honest, is the same that can be said for almost every box office “draw”.

  13. movieman says:

    I don’t get all the hating on “M&M” (largely from people who haven’t seen it and–from the tone of their comments–wouldn’t condescend to seeing it in the first place).
    So what if it’s not “Benjamin Button,” “Rev Road,” “Gran Torino” or “Che” (all of which I loved)? For a mainstream Hollywood release, I thought it was vastly superior to the (largely subpar) 2008 norm.
    I laughed, I cried and had a very nice time.
    That’s more than I can say for “7 Pounds,” “Valkyrie,” “Bedtime Stories” or “The Spirit.”
    And–recycling some of my earlier comments on the film–what I responded to most was the marriage stuff (the large swath of the Aniston and Wilson characters’ lives as refracted through
    their life with Marley). The doggy stuff was okay, but it was the other part(s) that make the movie so unexpectedly rich and affecting (they did for me anyway). Plus, as a longtime newspaper vet, I found its affectionate portrait of the biz deeply nostalgic and oddly touching in this increasingly perilous day and age.

  14. movieman, it’s the Internet. people’s entire online existence revolves around them criticising or praising movies they a) haven’t seen and b) probably never will.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    And people bitching about said people, and so on.

  16. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Plenty of TV spots for “Marley and Me”, just not in football games. I did see a trailer for it during the US autumn and it mocked “Chariots of Fire”.
    As for Ms. Aniston? Make her a second banana like in “The Break-Up”, the movie’s a hit. Give her top billing, the movie flops.

  17. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I’ve see spots on the Lifetime network that emphasize the (human) romantic angle of “Marley and Me.” So, yeah, I would say Jennifer and Owen had something to do with the mega-gross.

  18. a_loco says:

    I wasn’t trying to hate on Marley and Me, it just took me by surprise. I don’t have cable, so I didn’t see any TV spots, but I do go to a lot of movies (in Toronto no less) and I didn’t see a single trailer for it.
    The first poster, which I saw a week ago, didn’t have any names on it, so I assumed it was one of those cheap Beverly Hills Chihuahua type movies.
    I do a lot of wafting through movie sites and never saw anything for it until this last week. I’m a fan of Owen Wilson, so I’m surprised I didn’t hear about it earlier. And I never bothered to see Devil Wears Prada, but the fact that David Frankel directed it means that there was an attempt to make a quality picture.
    I just think its odd that I never heard of it, yet it still grossed so much.

  19. LYT says:

    Behind Enemy Lines awesomeness?
    Not much awesome about part one, at least. However, the forthcoming direct-to-DVD part three starring WWE’s Mister Kennedy…THAT will be awesomeness.

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    Talk about surprise hits: According to Andrew Hehir, the top-grossing indie movie of 2008 is…. Fireproof. ($33 million so far.) No kidding. Am I the only one here who saw that one?

  21. movieman says:

    I’m guessing that “Fireproof” must have been the first choice among Born-Agains this fall as a post-Palin rally activity.
    Or there are simply more Kirk Cameron fans out there than anyone guessed.
    I much preferred the director’s “Facing the Giants.”
    “Fireproof” was just a preachy–and wildly overlong–Lifetime movie at best.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Won’t argue any of those points, Movieman. But I do find it funny when people come on here to express surprise that this movie or that movie that they’ve “never heard of” has earned a tidy sum. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid, or out of the mainstream loop. But maybe, just maybe, you weren’t in the crosshairs of that movie’s ad campaign.

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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