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David Poland

By David Poland

Circle Of Jerk du Jour

Gawker made a big deal out of catching Nikki Finke re-spinning her ignorance, but they make it seem like a unique event and not the daily reality of Hollywood’s answer to Rush Limbaugh… all self-promotion, all talking points fed to her by others, all rage and unearned arrogance over insight and knowledge, all the time.
But the idiocy around anyone calling This Is It “disappointing” is a classic and epic form of insider masturbation… all insiders… most journalists.
On Tuesday night – Thursday, the film will come close to matching the 3-day weekend opening of The Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. Before this weekend is over, it will be the second highest grossing concert film in movie history with only the $65 million run of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour ahead of it domestically.
A $30 million domestic gross for this piece of kitsch history will be a massive success. It likely means $70m+ worldwide, which puts the film about $45 million away from profitability. The big question for Sony, in terms of profitability, will be DVD sales and record sales. And that DVD is more likely than most to sell strongly… at least in the 6 or 7 million range, which would put Sony well into the black before the record sales.
Who set this up to be a perceived failure? An overzealous press – which yes, includes Rush Finkebaugh – hyping this thing into the stratosphere… overconsidering the information offered by the electronic ticker sellers… trying to draw eyeballs to their various blogs instead of thinking.
And to be fair to Darling Nikki, it is not she who needs to be smacked for listening to Sony insiders who were mouth breathing about this film last week… even if she needs to go back to Journalism 101: Don’t Be A Laydown, Use Your Brain. It is whoever at Sony told her that they were expecting the film to do better than the tracking and pre-sale based estimates. Dumb.
This is the opposite number to Paranormal Activities, where the media has tripped over its own feet to praise the grosses of the film. And indeed, a $15,00 production plus another minimum of $500,000 in finishing costs, millions spent to make prints, etc, is more impressive against a gross of over $50 million than this $60m investment in a concert film, album, and DVD. But it will still work out to be a good piece of business for Sony.
I guess that’s not enough.

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15 Responses to “Circle Of Jerk du Jour”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    Don’t Be a Laydown? Ha-ha. How funny. A cheap shot — pretty much what I would expect from you — but funny nonetheless. (Trust me: I’ve heard that for years — for people much smarter than you.) But, then again, I repeat: When are we going to see that video of you eating your shoe? The longer you wait, the more excuses you make, the more we will laugh at you. LOL.

  2. Wrecktum says:

    “It likely means $70m+ worldwide, which puts the film about $45 million away from profitability.”
    Yeah, that’s just where distributors like to be after theatrical. FORTY-FIVE MILLION in the hole.
    Face it. Sony vastly overpaid for this piece of piffle. Sure it might break even eventually, but c’mon. It’s not unfair calling it a disappointment because, frankly, it is.

  3. dietcock says:

    Joe: I know you want to see the shoe vid, but can it REALLY top Les Blank’s short about Werner Herzog doing the same?
    DP: While we’re on the subject of Finke’s online re-editing, isn’t the Stalinist purge of Lex’s posts somewhat similar? I mean, ban him if you must (much as I have a soft spot for the guy, can’t really say he didn’t have it coming as he got fair warning(s) from you), but reading commenters commenting about no-longer-extant comments is somewhat surreal.

  4. mysteryperfecta says:

    DP, you’re seemingly unfamiliar with what Rush Limbaugh does and, ironically, what he does is (in large part) similar to a role you’ve taken upon yourself, as industry/media watchdog. One can’t overlook your occasional self-righteous rage and self-congratulatory analysis. Agree or disagree, the opinions of Rush Limbaugh are ferociously and unapologetically his own, as yours are.
    Peas in a pod.

  5. Tofu says:

    Limpdick is a racist crank who find slightly less disgusting angles to criticize than Man Coulter. When you are listening to a man calling the rescue from pirates the merciless killing of muslim kids, you know you’ve entered Toon Town.
    Praise be to the NFL for canning his lardass. Twice.
    No, Nikki is by far the O’Reilly of the news media, who is no stranger to self-fellatio.

  6. sharonfranz says:

    David, I actually think Nikki got it right this time. Yes, the film was overly hyped. Still, at this rate, it might barely do Hannah Montana numbers. This is the last concert footage of one of the biggest musicians of all time – and it might not even be able to beat Hannah Montana. C’mon, even you have admit that this is disappointing.

  7. marychan says:

    Sony not only paid $60 million to make/acquire the film ; Sony also spent tens of millions in worldwide P&A. (Sony should have already spent more than $100 million on the film) It may be the reason why Sony wished for much better result.

  8. palmermj says:

    Am I missing something? When did the box office story of a movie get written after the first day?
    It’s October, not the middle of May or June. People are working. The weekend just arrived today. To expect the movie to draw like a geek film on the first day is really odd.
    The word of mouth on the movie is going to be really, really good.

  9. martin says:

    WOM seems to be pretty decent so far, and reviews have been relatively kind. I saw a few of these “Why was this HBO featurette put in theaters other than as a money grab?” review, but I was surprised to see that a lot of folks have liked it. But WOM doesn’t mean a whole lot theatrically when the movie is only out for a limited 2-week release. Though I guess that will help with the 2nd weekend, and the eventual DVDs, etc.

  10. storymark says:

    Anyone wanna bet on that 2-week run getting extended?

  11. martin says:

    Story, because box office has bit a little more tepid than predicted?

  12. storymark says:

    We’ll see how the weekend turns out. Not saying it’s an absolute, but they’ve already said it’s on option, so they’re obviously considering an extension.

  13. David Poland says:

    Gee Joe, that’s quite an ego on you. Or maybe you are kidding. I hope so.
    And no, Sharon… I don’t have to admit that this gross is remotely disappointing. The only way you could be disappointed is if you have no grasp of box office history.
    Hannah Montana and dead Michael Jackson are not a realistic comparison. That real-world Hannah Montana tour was sold out and disappointing little girls all over the country for months and the movie was a chance for the millions of fans (about 7 million) who could not see the live concert to see it in a movie theater.
    Had Michael Jackson toured and the tour been raved across the globe and tickets been sold out in stadiums in city after city for a year and the new song was a smash hit of the old MJ proportions, and THEN, there was this concert film that purported to offer all that the live show did… only then could they be compared.
    The notion that the world was dying to see the unfinished work process of a tour that never happened for an artist who hadn’t had a big hit in a decade and were going to run to the theaters to see it for $12 a head (or more) before it landed on their DVD before Christmas… well… Mr Barnum would be proud. And with the money this film will earn, he should still be proud.
    But back to my first point… what history suggests to you or anyone else that this would be a game-changing phenomenon… any more than it already is by any realistic standards?

  14. anghus says:

    it’s amazing. people didn’t want to turn out for a bunch of rehearsal footage of an icon who only became popular again after he died.
    who thought this was a good idea?
    Oh, and Paranormal Activity has started a great new trend
    Now i see ads for Boondock Saints 2 telling you to go to their website and DEMAND for it to be shown in your area. It’s a Troy Duffy film, so even the marketing has to be obnoxious. Why do we have to DEMAND! they show the movie. Can’t we call and ask politely that we’d like to see it.
    Expect more of this down the road.

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, the first version of the above posting was much funnier — I gave the whole history of the Laydown thing, complete with mention of the time Charles Bronson addressed me that way — but I hit the wrong button and lost it– and got pissed,and threw something together. Pity: LexG would have been impressed.
    But I’m still waiting to see the shoe-eating video.

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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?”

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“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.

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