MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

Natzi Schmooks

The alphabetically/historically challenged Inglourious Basterds quashed the Hun with an estimated $38.4 million to lead weekend movie going. The session’s other wide and limited releases were grappling with considerably more downbeat returns. The family targeted Shorts was sixth in the lineup with $6.5 million and the youthful romance Post Grad just tagged position 10 on a $2.7 million gross. And even with its 3D inducement X Games: The Movie trailed with $780,000.

Best of the limited and exclusives was the rom-com My One and Only with just shy of $50,000 at four venues and there were OK results for a spectrum of pictures from the non-fiction Art & Copy to Oscar-nominated political thriller The Baader-Meinhof Complex. The Latino audience however failed to respond to Casi Divas with its $25,700 opening at 22 haciendas.

Overall business clocked in at roughly $128 million for an 11% abatement from last weekend but a sizeable boost from end of summer 2008.

Considerable attention was focused on Basterds in light of on-going financial woes at the Weinstein Co. as well as a mixed bag of critical blowback from its Cannes premiere. Rumors of a significant re-edit swirled but the film’s theatrical version turned out to be no more than tweaking. It was expected to do about $30 million opening weekend and obviously topped expectations domestically and added an estimated $28 million in its first international exposures.

Based on its opening strength and mid-week business some felt last week’s chart topper District 9might weigh in with just a 33% decline and provide Basterds with a weekend photo finish. But the film fell by a more predictable 51% along with other sophomore titles including The Time Traveler’s Wifeand The Goods.

Late August has historically been a favorite dumping ground for the majors and it would be hard to argue that Shorts, Post Grad and X Games’s positioning didn’t have a slathering of “let’s get a little bit of summer playtime and defray our losses.” The latter sentiment is about as upbeat as the exercise gets.

Weekend sales expanded 23% from last year when debuts of The House Bunny (a surprisingly commercially resilient movie) and Death Race opened respectively to $14.5 million and $12.6 million but Tropic Thunder’s 2nd weekend generated $16.3 million.

As Labor Day looms the commercial salve may rightly be that summer appears to have held onto its audience. In these trying economic times it’s a bit presumptuous to be holding out for buoyant expansion.

by Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates: August 21-23, 2009

Title Distributor Gross (averag % change Theaters Cume
Inglourious Basterds Weinstein Co. 38.4 (12,120) 3165 38.4
District 9 Sony 18.1 (5,940) -51% 3050 72.7
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra Par 12.0 (3,030) -46% 3953 120
The Time Traveler’s Wife WB 9.9 (3,300) -47% 2988 37.3
Julie & Julia Sony 8.7 (3,710) -28% 2354 59
Shorts WB 6.5 (2,110) 3105 6.5
G-Force BV 4.2 (1,650) -39% 2561 107.3
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince WB 3.6 (1,860) -30% 1936 290.4
The Ugly Truth Sony 2.7 (1,350) -40% 1971 82.7
Post Grad Fox Searchlight 2.7 (1,390) 1958 2.7
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard Par Vantage 2.6 (1,390) -54% 1849 11.1
Ponyo BV 2.4 (2,620) -32% 927 8.1
(500) Days of Summer Fox Searchlight 2.3 (2,370) -21% 988 22.1
The Hangover WB 1.5 (1,750) -26% 848 268.3
A Perfect Getaway Uni/Alliance 1.1 (820) -62% 1322 14.2
Funny People Uni .91 (980) -70% 932 50.5
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Par .89 (1,200) -45% 740 398.4
Bandslam Summit .83 (390) -63% 2121 4.4
The Proposal BV .80 (1,250) -39% 642 159.2
X Games 3D BV .78 (560) 1399 0.78
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Fox .76 (1,460) -40% 559 192.4
Orphan WB .75 (1,140) -52% 655 39.9
Aliens in the Attic Fox .68 (820) -53% 830 22.2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $123.10
% Change (Last Year) 23%
% Change (Last Week) -11%
Also debuting/expanding
The Hurt Locker Summit .37 (980) -42% 379 11.1
Adam Searchlight .24 (2,550) 20% 95 0.88
In the Loop IFC .22 (2,470) -1% 88 1.6
Paper Heart Overture .13 (1,850) -27% 68 0.76
Cold Souls IDP .12 (2,340) 13% 53 0.33
My One and Only FreeStyle 49,800 (12,450) 4 0.05
Casi Divas Maya 25,700 (1,170) 22 0.03
Art & Copy 7th Art 18,100 (6,030) 3 0.02
Baader-Meinhof Complex Vitagraph 16,300 (8,150) 2 0.02
The Headless Woman Strand 14,300 (14,300) 1 0.01
Five Minutes of Heaven IFC 4,920 (4,920) 1 0.01
World’s Greatest Dad Magnolia 4,200 (4,200) 1 0.01
The Marc Pease Experience Par Vantage 2,810 (280) 10 0.01

Domestic Market Share: To August 13, 2009

Distributor (releases) Gross Mrkt Share
Warner Bros. (23) 1389.1 20.40%
Paramount (13) 1252.4 18.40%
Fox (13) 899.4 13.20%
Buena Vista (13) 846.7 12.40%
Sony (15) 728.4 10.70%
Universal (16) 665.5 9.70%
Lions Gate (7) 237.4 3.50%
Fox Searchlight (8) 209.7 3.10%
Summit (7) 157.2 2.30%
Focus (6) 105.1 1.50%
Paramount Vantage (2) 52.4 0.80%
MGM (3) 42.3 0.60%
Miramax (5) 41.3 0.60%
Weinstein Co. (6) 34.5 0.50%
Other * (194) 154.6 2.30%
* none greater than 0.4% 6816 100.00%
Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.


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