MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

Flight Fright

The debut of The Final Destination (we can only hope) usurped the competition to lead weekend ticket sales with an estimated $28.4 million. The penultimate summer weekend included two additional national preems. Another old pal, Halloween II, opened in position three with $17.2 million but there was little nostalgia for Taking Woodstock with a $3.7 million tally.

Among limited freshmen releases there was torrid response to the doc profile September Issue on Elle fashionista (and The Devil Wears Prada inspiration) Anna Wintour of $162,000 from four runways. Also good were the black comic Big Fan with $22,900 at two venues and Japanese import Still Walking with $18,700 also on two screens.

Overall business was on par with the previous weekend with roughly $127 million in the till. However, it was a significant 23% improved from 2008 and the combination of an August spike and the calendar affording an additional week this year, box office will see a noticeable upturn.

Through the current weekend summer box office has generated slightly more than $4 billion. That figure exceeds last year’s seasonal record by 1.1% and the added seven days should narrow the admission’s gap summer-to-summer.
by Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates: August 28-30, 2009

Title Distributor Gross (averag % change Theaters Cume
The Final Destination WB 28.4 (9,110) 3121 28.4
Inglourious Basterds Weinstein Co. 19.2 (6,070) -49% 3165 72.9
Halloween II Weinstein Co. 17.2 (5,670) 3025 17.2
District 9 Sony 10.4 (3,260) -43% 3180 90.5
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra Par 8.0 (2,300) -34% 3467 132.4
Julie & Julia Sony 7.2 (2,880) -20% 2503 70.8
The Time Traveler’s Wife WB 6.7 (2,250) -32% 2961 48.1
Shorts WB 4.8 (1,550) -25% 3105 13.5
Taking Woodstock Focus 3.7 (2,680) 1393 3.7
G-Force BV 2.8 (1,460) -32% 1926 111.8
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince WB 2.6 (1,710) -26% 1508 294.4
(500) Days of Summer Fox Searchlight 2.0 (2,240) -11% 909 25.2
Ponyo BV 1.9 (2,210) -20% 880 11.1
The Ugly Truth Sony 1.6 (1,290) -42% 1252 85.8
Post Grad Fox Searchlight 1.5 (770) -43% 1959 5.3
The Hangover WB 1.4 (1,760) -4% 801 270.3
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard Par Vantage 1.2 (820) -56% 1426 13.8
The Proposal BV .62 (1,190) -22% 520 160.1
Up BV .59 (1,510) 86% 392 289.6
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Par .56 (900) -42% 622 399.4
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Fox .53 (1,230) -29% 432 193.2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $122.90
% Change (Last Year) 23%
% Change (Last Week) 0%
Also debuting/expanding
Adam Searchlight .35 (1,990) 42% 177 1.4
The Hurt Locker Summit .27 (880) -30% 306 11.6
In the Loop IFC .17 (2,340) -16% 74 1.8
September Issue Roadside Attract. .16 (40,620) 4 0.16
My One and Only FreeStyle 79,600 (7,960) 36% 10 0.17
Big Fan First Independ 22,900 (11,450) 2 0.02
Still Walking IFC 18,700 (9,350) 2 0.02
The Open Road Anchor Bay 14,300 (1,100) 13 0.01
Daddy Cool Big Picture 9,800 (820) 12 0.01
Mystery Team Roadside At. 8,600 (8,600) 1 0.01
We Live in Public Intl Film Circ. 8,400 (8,400) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share: To August 27, 2009

Distributor (releases) Gross Mrkt Share
Warner Bros. (25) 1462.9 20.30%
Paramount (13) 1305.5 18.10%
Fox (13) 907.2 12.50%
Buena Vista (15) 878.3 12.20%
Sony (16) 852.9 11.80%
Universal (16) 678.4 9.40%
Lions Gate (7) 237.4 3.30%
Fox Searchlight (9) 222.6 3.10%
Summit (8) 164.3 2.30%
Focus (6) 105.3 1.40%
Weinstein Co. (7) 88.2 1.20%
Paramount Vantage (3) 65.1 0.90%
MGM (3) 52.4 0.60%
Miramax (5) 41.4 0.60%
Other * (205) 165.2 2.30%
* none greater than 0.4% 7217 100.00%
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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