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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Klady – March 22

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63 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady – March 22”

  1. anghus says:

    i think you got the number wrong on Knowing’s screen count.
    And to a point you made in an earlier post about Watchmen: “Unmitigated Disaster” is strong language. You’re not wrong about the film not expanding beyond it’s base. It’s not about the information you’re posting, it’s your warping of the information to match a pre-ordained agenda. And with all the posts you made before the film even came out, everyone knew what your take would be on the box office. You were whispering your ‘unmitigated disaster’ theory before the final numbers were in place. You pushed an ‘unmitigated disaster’ agenda from the get go and you wrote with glee about the film’s failure on a creative and financial level.
    It’s not what you report Dave, it’s how you report it. For a guy who goes on and on about bias and spinning stories, you don’t realize (or choose not to admit) that a lot of people found your Watchmen reporting ‘dickish’ and skewed.
    And the fact that you won’t even address it just shows me how right everyone is. Then you go about how bad Finke is on a weekly basis when you engage in the same of kind of fact manipulation to try to wrap it around a pre-existing point.
    And it’s not even that you do it that is so shocking. everyone does it. there isn’t a person i know who writes for film that isn’t able to hide the fact that every so often they put on kid gloves when handling a respective film because of friends of the studio or particular production. They use softer adjectives to describe it or keep their coverage to a minimum in order to maintain personal relationships. Or they absolutely skewer projects because of a personal distaste for the studio or a particular production.
    Finke has always been a lost cause. She’s a recluse with social anxiety disorder who doesn’t even like the entertainment industry in a creative fashion and she probably pays for sex. She’s TMZ, she’s Perez Hilton, She’s Jeff Wells asking a Director for naked screen caps or leaving a festival because they don’t have wi-fi she’s every snarky bastard online who says abusive things about people they don’t even know like having to pay for sex. She is a muck raker who not only likes reporting on tabloid style stories, but creating them. You can smell her desperation for relevance and popularity, and it should be distasteful to anyone who reads it.
    How many words have you spent verbally abusing AICN and now Finke. You can’t change them, but you can change yourself. Or maybe you can’t. Who knows. Maybe i give you too much credit. But from the reaction of regular readers, it should be obvious that your stance towards Watchmen has always been far from objective and you have devoted a lot of time to prophecizing and celebrating the fact that it performed to much less than expectation. The facts are on your side, but the way you spun them, your constant push that this is ‘an unmitigated disaster’ has the stink of desperation.
    And this is coming from a guy who didn’t even like the film that much. This isn’t some rabid fan freaking out. This is a guy who reads a lot of film sites, including yours, and could feel your responses coming a mile away. That kind of predictability and purposeful belligerence doesn’t sit well with me.
    That’s about as constructive as i can get.

  2. That last line made me laugh.

  3. Aris P says:

    Watchmen was one of THE pop-art films of this decade. I can’t get it out of my mind, 7 days later. In that sense, it reminds me of Fight Club.

  4. Dave Vernon says:

    That’s strange, Aris, because after seeing Watchmen, I can’t remember hardly a single scene from it. Some review I read said it was like being pounded in the head every couple of seconds…that was similar to my experience. The experience was like root canal…I was diverted enough to stay for the entire thing but the entire event is now kind of a vague memory.

  5. David Poland says:

    So, what does one do, Anghus… not do the story because someone will find it “dickish?”
    Isn’t the idea to be accurate, not to deliver what the mood of some people dictates?
    I’m not being facile here… I’m dead serious. I took the position, based 100% on the facts and not on some position I felt like taking, that WB was wrong on the lawsuit and would settle for money with Fox. I was called names for it… and was right.
    I questioned whether Watchmen had as wide a base, as a novel, or as wide a potential reach as was in evidence when the very narrow marketing campaign suggested. The same has been true with movies like Sin City and Grindhouse. And I was called names for it… and was right.
    (Of course, this doesn’t mean that I knew how big the Dark Knight number would be or just how well received Iron Man would be. But these are different issues, no?)
    I brought up issues about Watchmen – about how tightly held the film was, about the issue of the nudity, and about the issue of Hard-R violence – and was called names for it… and every one of those things turned out to be a major issue in the coverage of the film.
    Was every other media outlet that ended up covering the same exact stuff I did objective while I was subjective? Is it that I commented on them earlier than the rest? Was it that I ended up not loving the movie as some did… but was not nearly as harsh about it as many others?
    I mean, it’s all very good for some of you to keep claiming “it’s not what you wrote, but how you wrote it” like some angry ex-girlfriend, but it IS what I write and it is how I write it. But when that turns out to be The Story and not some spin on the story, why am I wrong, Anghus, et al?
    Is it really all about me and ALL the space I gave Watchmen… which was a whole lot less than the fanboy sites or EW or USA Today or most of the rest of the media?
    Or is it about you and others deciding for me what my bias is and allowing no room for me to do anything other than either not report the facts or to spin myself into lying in order for you not to accuse my coverage from being “preordained?”
    Of course I know that many of you think that my coverage has been “dickish.” But that is YOUR bias at play, not mine. Sorry.
    “from the reaction of regular readers, it should be obvious that your stance towards Watchmen has always been far from objective”
    Uh, no. And only a small percentage of my regular commenters – a group that is a tiny percentage of my regular readers – have taken this position. They are loud. But it’s a small number of people.
    The truth of what happened is that there was a lot of screaming before the movie was released – and as happens in virtually every circumstance like this – and when many saw the movie and saw that what I was writing was not a bunch of wild accusations, but some stuff they agreed with, they stood down.
    And when I have turned out to be slapping a movie that becomes popular with readers, the opposite happens… the attacks are emboldened.
    Don’t think I am not conscious of the flow in here for a second.
    The difference between me and Nikki is that I actually do seek the full story every time I hear anything. And I won’t publish nasty crap just to gain power and/or create fear. Nothing I wrote about Watchmen was anything that WB wasn’t already completely aware of being a problem.
    As far as AICN… been a non-issue for years now… years! They are part of the system as much as any outlet in the game.
    Finally, this seems like the 4th or 5th time I have addressed this in some depth ON THIS SPECIFIC MOVIE. What do you want from me in terms of addressing it, Anghus… I mean, besides me agreeing with you?

  6. IOIOIOI says:

    What do he want? I do not know maybe he wants you to stop being a dick?

  7. a_loco says:

    Dave, I fail to see how you can base your opinion on facts when you can’t even say what the budget of Watchmen is.

  8. IOIOIOI says:

    Do he want? Good stuff.

  9. Hallick says:

    Just as a small observation, but beating on Poland for a lack of objectivity in regards to “Watchmen” is more than a little hypocritical from some of the posters here who have become just as entrenched in their own opinions from the other side as they believe he has become in his own; but yet I don’t see anyone owning up to THAT fact either.
    This isn’t a blanket statement for everyone challenging David’s bias, but anybody who thinks he’s 100% wrong here and they’re 100% right is really talking out of their ass.

  10. The Big Perm says:

    Come on Dave…when you dislike something, you do tend to throw snark at it when you can. Which is fine, it’s your perogative, and I’m not necessarily talking about Watchmen…and if you hate something, you hate it. It’s why I throw snark at Lex when I can. But I admit that I throw snark at Lex.

  11. anghus says:

    this is the first time i’ve seen you respond in depth. If you had in an earlier post, i didn’t see it, but the posts come pretty fast, so who knows.
    First off, i’m not a ‘fan of the movie’. for the love of god please stop using that as a stumping point. i didnt like it. this has nothing to do with my feelings on the film. And you keep saying my ‘bias’. That’s not my bias, that’s my opinion, and the opinion of others who have been reading you coverage. Trust me when i say Dave, this is not based on the response on just the blog. This goes into other conversations on other sites with other people. And it doesn’t even matter. Though you trying to use ‘reader bias’ as a defense is kind of amusing. What a Coulter-esque way to try and invalidate the opinion of others.
    “Your opinion doesn’t matter because youre a BIASED READER.”
    just seeing it in bold type is kind of ridiculous.
    And if you think you were running less coverage that a lot of other sites, i would respectfully disagree.
    factually, you were pretty close. However…
    1. “Unmitigated Disaster” is still over the top rhetoric, no matter how you spin it. You want “unmitigated disaster”, i’ll give you a few.
    Battlefield Earth
    Pluto Nash
    If you want to find a film very similar in budget vs. gross you could bring up something like “The Island”
    125 million budget. 35 million in the U.S., another 125 million or so overseas. 165-ish theatrically. I don’t know how popular it was on dvd, but i can’t see Watchmen being less successful.
    Would you call The Island an “unmitigated disaster.”
    2. You made a comment about jobs being lost at Warner Brother because of it’s failure. That’s Finke my brother. That’s what Finke does.
    1. FACT – Watchmen fell well below expectations.
    2. FACT – Warner Brothers will be cutting jobs
    And you mention those two things together in an article as if one has anything to do with the other. If Watchmen made 500 million worldwide, those jobs would still be cut. To even infer that one has anything to do with the other is specious reasoning and is you being Finke-ish.
    Honestly, i don’t want anything other than the response you felt like giving. To date, i’d never seen you address a single point i was trying to make.
    The only other thing i want is something you don’t get online: people admitting they may have been a little too much one way or the other on a particular story. No one is ever wrong on the internet. You badmouth sites for years over ethics and then review a bootleg of a movie and act as if there’s nothing wrong with that.
    We’re human. mistakes are made. But to be a belligerent ass towards a geek-centric property and revelling in it’s failure, putting facts together to infer something that isn’t true…
    People in glass houes, you know. Shit, all you’d really have to say is “man, this movie is getting so much play on the film websites, but i really don’t think it’s going to do well beyond it’s base…”
    That’s all you need to say. You called it. Your Watchmen covered read like this.
    I don’t think Watchmen is going to be the massive hit WB needs it to be.
    The sky ain’t falling, no matter how loud you tell us it is. That’s fear mongering my man, no matter what you want to call it.
    And with that, i’m good.

  12. IOIOIOI says:

    Hal: I have been calling Poland out on this (figuratively) for almost a year. This started long before Watchmen. The most recent iteration started way back with Iron Man. So it has nothing to do with my love of Watchmen. It has everything to do with his shenanigans for the last year.

  13. Eric says:

    I’m a longtime reader here and David’s coverage of Watchmen reminds me of his coverage of Superman Returns. It was pretty clear months in advance what his opinion of the production was, the decisions that were made, etc. One could have written his Watchmen review months ago and been about 90% accurate.
    Overall he made some good points about the movie(s), plus a whole bunch of inexplicable, excessive snark. (For Superman, it was lots of gay jokes. For Watchmen, it was his “big blue cock” limerick.)
    Sometimes DP just doesn’t like a movie. I don’t really know enough to read between the lines, if there’s anything there to read– maybe it’s studio politics or it’s personal or none of the above, I have no idea. What really seems to get people riled up, though, is when he claims there’s not an ounce of opinion in his reporting, period. And he’s certainly entitled to his opinion but it’s just sort of ridiculous to claim that he’s not injecting one into the discussion at all.
    I don’t doubt that he’s sincere. It also remind me of his non-review reviews, like there’s certainly some line for him between casual blog comments and a real review, but sometimes he’s the only one that sees it.
    Anyway, I didn’t really like Watchmen much, and can’t think of anything in particular that he was wrong about on the movie. But yeah, there’s been a ton of snark.

  14. LexG says:

    Does anyone else feel “Watchmen” might’ve benefited from more extensive, believable use of NYC locales — or, for that matter, any city shot at great length and really using the geography and topography available?
    I can respect Aris P or IO or Drew’s love for the movie and don’t begrudge them that, but as to some of the lofty comparisons that have been thrown around — BLADE RUNNER, FIGHT CLUB, some Kubrick stuff, TDK — almost all of those presented a very specific “world.” Despite their otherworldly trappings, those directors had a unified vision where every beat and scene and locale meshed perfectly.
    My ongoing complaint about Snyder’s film is it feels patched together, and that the NYC of the graphic novel is barely found in the movie. That very specific sense of urbany paranoia in a VERY SPECIFIC CITY are missing, because for penny-pinching reasons we’re in some Fantastic Four-esque city that might as well be called “CHEAP SECOND UNIT SCI-FI CHANNEL MOVIE CITY, CANADA,” always carefully blocked and framed for maximum anonymity.
    As with 300, some bits are framed and smothered to within an inch of their life to conceal their warehouse-green screen origins, and we never get a sense of a living, breathing CITY. Contrast that with how Nolan used real, living breathing Chicago locations for TDK; Yeah, “Gotham” doesn’t exist and it’s clearly Chicago, but he makes no bones about it, and us such, the action and the settings help create a specific crime universe.
    “Watchmen” just feels kind of hermetic and cut-rate, with a few second-unit overhead shots that aren’t fooling anyone. No one seems to occupy the same space because everyone’s off in some different chintzy warehouse or budget-pinching generic location.

  15. messiahcomplexio says:

    The thing that doesn’t make sense to me, is that I’ve read in here (a believe by Poland, sorry if I’m putting words in his mouth) that 1 billion worldwide for the Dark knight wasn’t going to move Time Warners stock price even a dollar.
    So if that’s true, why would watchmen losing 40-60 million be cause for immediate firings?
    It makes more sense to me that Time Warner is cutting across the board to save money and WB is just one of the divisions in that mega corp being asked to tighten its belt.
    Watchmen’s success or failure was incidental.
    Use the cover of economically bad times or a poor performing movie to do things like send the accountants over to india, not cause there breaking the budgets or are doing a bad job, but because they can pay 70 cents an hour over there for labor and American number crunchers can’t compete with that, no matter how much Watchmen makes or loses.
    I Don’t know. I worked for a Big company here in town that played it that way, so maybe I’m projecting…

  16. martin says:

    I don’t think Dave has ever claimed to be completely unbiased on his blog. But the fact is that on Watchmen he was right from day 1, and on others such as Iron Man, he was less right. He’s admitted to being wrong on these occasions. He has in fact admitted that personal bias can sometimes come into play. From reading these arguments, it sure seems to me like many would prefer Dave to make positive comments on the film that reek of falsehood, as opposed to negative comments on the film that are backed up by actual fact. Why is that? Is it because some here would rather have their feelings about the film validated, regardless of the truth, than to have an actual entertainment “business” discussion that relies on facts and figures? That’s why these arguments are often so tedious, because you have one side essentially reporting news as they see it, and the other side responding with personal attacks that go far beyond the discussion at hand. If you disagree with something written on this blog, why not simply respond to that with facts and figures that back up your different opinion? Why take a micro business discussion and make it a Meta Hot Blog discussion? You do that sleight of hand because your argument on this topic is very weak, but you can make it stronger by tying together little bits from every other mcn Blog you’ve disagreed with.

  17. mysteryperfecta says:

    Even if Watchmen loses money, from a purely $ perspective, WB is still doing pretty good lately. He’s Just Not That Into You must have exceeded expectations, Gran Torino greatly exceeded expectations, Friday the 13th will be a solid moneymaker. Inkheart will struggle to break even, but Yes Man has managed an impressive total, Four Christmases made money. Heck, even Body of Lies might have made money.

  18. anghus says:

    Body of Lies didn’t make money. It would have had to do much more on DVD than other titles in its genre.

  19. The Big Perm says:

    martin, I sure don’t care if Dave wants to execute a full-flown vendetta against a film. But what’s that saying, don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    Here’s a short play that I recently wrote:
    Random Person: “Watchmen.”
    Thank you.

  21. anghus says:

    big perm
    sums its up perfectly.

  22. doug r says:

    1: Over 2 hours and 30 minutes.
    2: Hard-R violence and nudity, including male.
    3: Based on an adult graphic novel.
    4: Released in early March.
    Just because it didn’t meet inflated expectations doesn’t make Watchmen a failure.
    TCM had a 4 hour epic on today-Cleopatra. I stopped watching after about 15 minutes, it was just too tedious. What was the ROI on that picture?

  23. David Poland says:

    Messiah… I haven’t actually said “immediate firings.” I don’t think there will be immediate firings in response to Watchmen.
    The answer to your question, in general, is that the economy has shifted and all the studios are under very close analysis constantly right now.
    You are right. Making money on Dark Knight didn’t move the stock, losing money won’t move the stock, and for that matter, selling off Slumdog won’t move the stock, and shuttering New Line has not moved the stock… and that was easily the most problematic strategic choice, given that NL, under Shaye and Lynne, have coughed up He’s Just Not That Into You, Sex & The City, Four Christmases, Journey To The Center of The Earth, and other hits since they were shut down. Was that business still there, it might have been considered a valuable unique standalone asset, far more valuable for sale than something like Rogue.
    The reason that specific big films matter at WB and Par in particular is that both studios are still in the process of thinning out and the need to do it faster, in greater numbers or to higher level execs is something that can come up at any moment. This is not normally true.
    Watchmen will not lose that big number for WB. The studio’s loss will be less than $25 million, perhaps less than $15 million, though the higher ups will decide how they want to perceive the money that was coughed up to Fox by legal error or arrogance. But in an unusual turn, WB only has one big summer movie that they own – Potter – and really, nothing else huge for the rest of the year until, hopefully, Sherlock Holmes.
    If you look at the firings and cutbacks at Variety, for instance, they were pretty direct cause and effect with Phase 2 Oscar sales. Now, were they already cutting? Yes. But was it a lot deeper and quicker when their big ticket item didn’t perform up to expectations? Yes.
    Same with studios. The pressure in the 16 months between Harry Potters will be increased exponentially by the box office failure of Watchmen. And that is, really, unfair to Watchmen. But it is the nature of the beast. When you take a hit to the groin, everyone is looking to the turnaround success. And Warners doesn’t really have the antidote to this misstep on the schedule anytime soon.
    There is, obviously, Terminator Salvation, but WB has domestic distribution only. So they may well be on the good side of that film if it’s soft, making a good distribution fee, a la Hulk. But if it turns out to be a $450 million-plus worldwide movie, it’s another theoretically missed opportunity for the studio.
    April 1 (or some day like it), the conversation about who is being fired next comes up again. And instead of easing the pressure a bit with a hit, Watchmen increases the pressure with losses. The cause and effect is not micro, it’s macro.
    And Anghus is dead right… Body of Lies does not help. But it was significantly cheaper than Watchmen, though it will likely lose money in spite of a $115 million worldwide gross because of points players. How much it loses for WB alone may be closer than you’d expect.
    And yes, Yes Man did do ok… but only because of foreign doing $30 million more than domestic, which marks his second best foreign performance by percentage vs domestic in his career, after only the surprise smash of The Mask (which did $130 million more overall).

  24. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: that’s such bullshit. I cannot fathom what’s going on with you right now. Seriously man, it’s looney tunes. “Looney Tunes?” TH TH TH THAT’S ALL FOLKS!

  25. yancyskancy says:

    doug r: re Cleopatra, according to imdb, its estimated cost was $44 million (they say this is equivalent to 297 million in 2007 dollars). As of January 1970, the domestic gross was 48 and the worldwide was 62. So it put a lot of butts in seats, but clearly the costs got out of hand. Supposedly, the subsequent TV deal put the pic into profit within a few years, but Fox has kept quiet about any further revenue lest net profit participants step up for their piece.
    I think it’s a great movie, quite underrated. Would love to see it on the big screen (missed it at the Egyptian a couple years back). Mankiewicz originally intended it to be two 3-hour films, but Fox made him cut to the current 4-hour opus. The cut footage seems to missing.

  26. Kim Voynar says:

    You’re correct, there was a typo on the chart on the Knowing screencount. It’s been corrected on the main chart.

  27. gradystiles says:

    David, you said:
    “If you look at the firings and cutbacks at Variety, for instance, they were pretty direct cause and effect with Phase 2 Oscar sales. Now, were they already cutting? Yes. But was it a lot deeper and quicker when their big ticket item didn’t perform up to expectations? Yes.”
    Um, no. There’s no direct cause and effect there. You can keep thinking that if you want to, but it’s not the case.

  28. scooterzz says:

    if it weren’t for ‘cleopatra’ there would be no century city….good thing?/bad thing?

  29. christian says:

    Then there’d be no CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES or the final scene of THE THIEF WHO CAME TO DINNER.

  30. But Doug, they should’ve thought about the R rating and the 2.5hr running time and the March release date when they committed so much money to it.
    It’s length and rating aren’t any excuse for it losing money. Nobody at the studio will be saying “at least we made a 2.5hr R-rated movie that was faithful to the comic!” when they go into the red on this title. Fans might (as evidenced quite clearly already) but they don’t mean anything to the number crunchers.

  31. scooterzz says:

    christian — actually, my question(s) had more to do with real estate and los angeles development..

  32. <- there really isn't such a thing called privacy anymore, is there?

  33. christian says:

    I know scooterz. That was a joke son. You ever heard of a joke? Laugh, boy, laugh! Some folks got no sense of humor…

  34. LexG says:

    Duplicity was good.
    I liked it.

  35. Lota says:

    A combination of things lost Watchmen valuable cash:
    Watchmen was not as faithful to the comic as it was faithful to the director
    There was an incorrect assumption that others besides the original issues readers/modern comic geeks would know who the hell they were. Watchmen are not “Tintin” or “Asterix”…a comic book person known to the outside world–I mean have Watchmen been featured on the Simpsons?
    Jupiter was not a bimbo in the Watchmen serial
    Too voilent, too violent, too violent
    too long–so word of mouth could not be good. Long and violent will get worse word of mouth than 90 min and “a bit too much” violence.
    Maybe someone can do something with the DVD to tidy it up, and remove the protracted unpleasant scenes which would widen its appeal, but alas there is no way to make Jupiter “smarter”.

  36. Lota says:

    Duplicity was okay–pretty good but not a great movie.
    I guess I don’t like filmmakers trying to force me to believe that CLive Owen has charisma or sex appeal. I get Javier Bardem’s animal appeal…but not Clive Owen’s. He is as exciting as a pound of butter.
    Still it was an entertaining enough movie, albeit with a slightly disappointing way to end it.

  37. Bob Violence says:

    I mean have Watchmen been featured on the Simpsons?


  38. Aris P says:

    Lex – the use, or lack of, the “city” as a living breathing entity was one of the first things that crossed my mind as I left the theater.
    Yes, NYC was teeming with life, scum, death, filth in the book, and no it wasn’t the same in the film. But, as I’ve mentioned to people, there is no way Snyder could have duplicated that in a film — even if he had interpreted it in a more realistic TDK way, how realistic production-wise would it have been? I think to save some dough, Snyder shot it in a hermetic way, like you pointed out correctly, and thus changed a PART of the tone of the book. BUT, in and of itself, I feel that decision worked on an aesthetic level and became a hyper-stylized animal, albeit one that has to be accepted by the viewer for it to work.
    That’s why I mentioned Fight Club — Watchmen is nowhere near as subversive and brutal, but, like Fincher’s opus, it is very much it’s OWN film, sets it’s own rules, and is consistent in that regard.
    The city wasn’t teeming with scum and whores; only the parts he shot/created. I accepted that, and having done so, was able to love look of the film, and in not being hung up on that particular change, thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the film for what it was — a solid adaptation (with minor quibbles), but a film experience unlike one I have felt in a long time.

  39. Lota says:

    So I’m wrong there : )
    but maybe no one noticed!

  40. Lota says:

    re. City “there is no way Snyder could have duplicated that in a film”
    Well, it’s been done in other movies, going all the way back to Metropolis and Modern Times. I wish that as much time had been put into that as the grim violence. The sets were good, but those details of ‘living city’ were important in the serial.
    It was also important in ALIEN (the Alien planet & lair that the unsuspecting humans stumbled upon in searching for the distress call) and BLADE RUNNER as the force that ‘made’ some of the characters.

  41. IOIOIOI says:

    Jarvier Bardem can have as much charisma as a brick. When he feels like it. Clive is just too Brit for some Americans, but luckily I am not one of those Americans.
    Lota, which Jupiter? Again: everything that’s in that movie for the most part is in the book. It’s not like the Jupiters did not get their freak on.
    If you are complaining about time, then it’s a totally sunjective argument. Much like the Dark Knight, this movie flew by for me. So if you do not like the length. Well, really, that’s what the nice lady in the commercial implies. So she might be on to something.
    Finally with the violence: it’s Synder’s thing. He shows it. He shows the goriness of it all. He’s unflinching about it, and that’s a good thing. Way too often violence can come across as cartoony. Which is alright given the film, but all of this fictional shit would be devestating to a person in real life. Leaving me happy that there’s at least one director who holds the camera on a man burning to death from hot grease.
    It may be a bit much for most people, but that would seem to be the desired effect. Looking at it and realizing; “Damn! I sure hope no one ever gets pissed at me enough to burn me with grease.”

  42. lazarus says:

    I understand where you guys are coming from with the setbound look of Watchmen. And I think Aris is right that this was done so they had more money for the REAL expensive stuff, like Dr. Manhattan and Mars.
    To me, it’s not so much the look of the sets themselves, but the fact that we don’t get to know any of the ordinary citizens who populate them. All we get are the muted yells of some hooker jawing at Rorschach, people in a burning building, and a couple shots of the psychiatrist and the newsstand owner and his “customer” at the end. That’s it.
    I’m assuming once the Black Freighter scenes are edited back in, we’ll also have more of the newsstand in there to help frame it, which should flesh out the city a bit better.

  43. The Big Perm says:

    I also like that Snyder didn’t go with cartoony violence, and instead showed the devesating effects of violence such as getting your arms sawed off or being blown up by a blue laser beam.

  44. Lota says:

    yes, Lazarus, but I think they could have done with less of the *real* expensive stuff and gone the Escape from New York route and had many denizens participate…few lines or no lines, but the shell of the city of horror in EFNY was more real (esp with the use of many older actors & actresses with immediate street cred, but likely not costing much).

  45. LexG says:

    Funny, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was EXACTLY the reference point I was going to use. The majority of that was shot in ST. LOUIS, of all places, but Carpenter used particularly burnt-out sections (from a huge fire that they’d just suffered), and even on a relatively small budget, had some great production design and sense of locale.
    I’ve always said it’s OK to shoot outside of LA and NYC in some cheaper city, but you might as well USE the city instead of trying to HIDE IT for three hours.
    The first Matrix creates such an indelible future urban world that we barely notice or care that we’re in Australia and not Chicago. Whereas Watchmen, X-Men and Fantastic Four all have this generic, dislocated feel, because the characters never seem to occupy the same space as the bogus overhead shots that pop up once a reel.

  46. Lota says:

    I was naturalized UK IO so I doubt that Brit or American has anything to do with Clive Owen’s charisma or lack of it.

  47. The Big Perm says:

    Half the time you can’t tell where a movie was shot as long as they made the time to figure things out. I’ve produced a few 500,000 movies and we’ve made the same area look like an art deco futuristic city, a run down noir city, and a bright fun city.

  48. Eric says:

    * * * WATCHMEN SPOILERS * * *
    One reason that Ozymandias’ plot as seen in the movie struck me as underwhelming was that there weren’t any characters killed that I knew or cared about. I’m supposed to be horrified by the “sacrifice,” but it was too sterile to have the intended effect.
    It was the one place in the movie where the violence should have been emphasized, and the one place where Snyder held back.

  49. lazarus says:

    To be fair to X-Men, Lex, those films weren’t gritty, “urban” comic book films like Watchmen, Batman, etc, and much of each installment took place “on the road” in various locations.

  50. Lota says:

    “made the time to figure things out”
    yes that is the key.
    A good movie is a good movie, low budget or not low budget, especially on and sets/design.
    Was Tron big budget for its time?
    from BO MOJO
    $17,000,000 (estimated)
    $33,000,000 (USA)
    I saw Tron as a kid with my older cousin whose place I post from sometimes (she reads but doesn’t post since most of y’all are too scary), and last year we decided to see it again after >20 yrs not seeing it on screening size room to see if it held up. She was an actress in 80s, 90s.
    Aside from some cheese 80s music/synth sound effects…what a geek gift that movie dialog is. And while I have no doubt the sets would be envisioned differently today, they still fit the computer outlook. Even the bit parts, like the compound interest program arguing with the gladiatorial sentry, or Ram explaining that he’s an actuarial program and he feels good about helping people plan their future or Flynn’s physics lesson, just great. Bruce Boxleitner’s geek glasses made me LOL.
    I fear the remake, but maybe I’m being judgmental again.
    I hope you took the time to ‘figure things out’ Perm 🙂

  51. jeffmcm says:

    “it’s Synder’s thing. He shows it. He shows the goriness of it all. He’s unflinching about it, and that’s a good thing. Way too often violence can come across as cartoony.”
    Wrong, wrong, wrong. The violence in Watchmen is absolutely cartoony and intended to be fun and exploitative. This is not the movie to watch to see a realistic, gritty take on violence. This is the movie where someone’s leg gets shattered by a bullet in slow-motion, which wasn’t in the source material.
    My guess is, Snyder made a list of things that audiences seemed to like in 300, saw that lovingly depicted graphic ultra-violence was one of them, and applied that to his new movie.

  52. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, to call the violence in Watchmen non-cartoony is just funny. And again, this is from someone who loved it!

  53. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff and Perm: I disagree. Sorry, but this is not cartoony. If you think it’s cartoony. Go watch freakin Man on Fire (the one without Scott Glenn), then get back to me.

  54. jeffmcm says:

    On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being South Park and 10 being the Rodney King video, Watchmen is a 3 and Man on Fire is a 4.

  55. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, I don’t remember Man on Fire having a giant blue guy shooting energy beams at people and making them explode.
    But IO knows REAL violence, because he’s from the streets! How many people have you seen explode out there in the hood, IO? Three, four?

  56. Martin S says:

    Lex – good point. I also felt they lived in Generic City.
    Martin – exactly right. You do the name proud.
    IO – “Way too often violence can come across as cartoony.
    Alright. Now I have to question if you’ve actually seen this, IO.
    The opening sequence pulls you right out of reality and into Matrix fightville.
    Rorshach can shatter walls with his punches and move as silently as a ninja. Yet, the whole point of the character is that he has no super powers.
    Silk Spectre fights like a ballerina, landing in poised strikes so Nite Owl can swoop over her. Try that shit in the real world and she’s got a knife in her spine.
    The prisoners come after Nite Owl and Spectre in turns. It was like Snyder had never seen Oldboy.
    Nite Owl punches a guy in the elbow and makes it explode like a grenade.
    Compared to TDK, Watchmen is Story of Riki.

  57. The Big Perm says:

    I do think one nitpick on Watchen is the whole “how can they punch through walls even though they don’t have super powers” deal. Batman or or the characters in Sin City or Jackie Chan don’t have super powers but they do that stuff. It’s heightened movie action, not realistic action.

  58. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, but one of the points of Watchmen (the book) is that aside from Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl’s technology, they don’t have superpowers. The book already stretches this to allow pudgy-middle-aged Nite Owl to battle a gang of street thugs and come out on top, but Snyder goes above and beyond this.

  59. Triple Option says:

    I thought it was The Island that sunk Castlerock? Was that not the case?
    OK, so I saw Knowing late last night. I could’ve just as easily seen Duplicity but if given a choice between Rose and Julia, I’m going w/the girl from down under over the girl from down south 9 outa 10. Anyway, with all the talk surrounding the movie’s themes and intention of deeper subject matter, I found it profoundly pointless. I found myself wanting to leave several times although I didn’t think it was hideous or thought it was bad, I was just getting overwhelmed by the faux creepiness that kinda got inserted paint by numbers style. Some things were just off according to tone and presentation. Like having Pinhead show up in Nancy Drew mystery or going through a haunted house florescent lights on. Just can’t describe it.
    Quick side question, has anyone seen a relatively new release movie in a third world country? Do they have a diminished enough sense of entitlement that’ll at least prevent them from putting their feet up on the chair in front of them when people are sitting that forward row nearby? I shouldn’t have to be distracted by someone’s shows dancing around my peripheral vision. It’s f’king rude. I have no idea why people would find that sort of behavior acceptable. That and driving around town hanging a sig butt out the window like the whole world wants to smell you ass. I get so sick of the world is my ashtray. it’s now spawn, the whole world is also my ottoman. Hate to think what’s next.

  60. LexG says:

    Triple Option:
    Since you asked, I think I can from personal, anecdotal experience say that in my daily trevails through the Valley and Burbank, I am absolutely, positively, 100% of the time driving behind someone who is either:
    a) smoking a cigarette with the butt in their left hand and arm resting on the window, the plume of Winston smoke wafting into my car the whole way.
    b) very obviously lost and instead of just keeping pace with traffic and later doubling back if they miss their destination, they insist on driving 5MPH with absolutely no awareness that a line of cars is tailgating behind them as they waffle all over the lane. Bonus points if they have out of state plates.
    As for the feet dangling over the multiplex row in front of them, very distracting and that’s not even taking into account that in some/many theaters, the feet on the seat in front tends to SHAKE THE ENTIRE ROW, even if it’s 30 seats long. So not only are you watching restless leg case do a Greg Hines soft-shoe in your peripheral for two hours, you also get to experience Knowing in sensurround.

  61. yancyskancy says:

    I literally cannot drive two blocks in Burbank, or anywhere else in SoCal, without witnessing a bonehead and/or assholish traffic move. It would be funny if it weren’t infuriating.
    One of my faves is the dim bulb who has the right of way to turn right at a green light, but hangs back and waits for you to turn left in front of him. Like they’re being considerate or something. Meanwhile, you’re sitting there going, “Is this guy waiting for me or just not paying attention? If I go, is he gonna suddenly snap out of it and slam into me? Dude, you have the right of way! Just go!”

  62. LexG says:

    Happens three times a day. That is, when the OPPOSITE isn’t happening: I have the right of way to make a left turn on my green arrow, and the opposite right turn dude who has a red light still pulls out, often into the far lane which is designated for me.
    And don’t even get me started on the clusterfuck that is any four-way stop, especially in the Wild West of any Eastern-Euro-centric part of town. Those dudes just DO NOT PLAY. “Stop sign? Fuck that shit!”

  63. christian says:

    Los Angeles drivers are some of the worst in the nation. The joke is they think they’re the best…

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4