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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – It's Tuesday!

I don’t really have anything much to write at the moment… but i got sick of looking at the NYT thing at the top of the page…

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34 Responses to “BYOB – It's Tuesday!”

  1. Josh says:

    Not even the $19 million-plus haul Avatar had yesterday? Figured you’d have some commentary, based on last week’s similar work.

  2. EthanG says:

    Yeah, ridiculous gross. “Avatar” is now 8th highest grosser ever through 11 days and will probably leap-frog “New Moon” and “Spidey 3” to become 6th highest through 12 days tomorrow. The sky’s the limit.

  3. Nicol D says:

    According to Box Office Mojo Avatar is the 42nd highest box office grosser worldwide and 67th highest grosser domestic. Great numbers to be sure that will get bigger.
    But still a ways off from number 8. Let’s not pop the cork yet.

  4. Josh says:

    Pretty sure EthanG was saying that Avatar is the 8th highest grosser as of its first 11 days. Not the 8th highest grossing film ever.

  5. mrmilan says:

    I’m curious many repeat viewings Avatar is getting from people who first watched the movie in a regular-sized digital 3D theater and then decided to try out the IMAX experience. 15/70 screens are still sold out today.

    Not that the phenomena would be exclusive to this movie, but it’s a barometer of how well this film is going to hold.

    James Cameron will hold the #1 and #2 worldwide box office grossers once this film has finished its theatrical run. Damn…

  6. Nicol D says:

    Well…he did say “ever”. Just sayin…
    …I have read way too many “analyses” of Avatar’s gross of late by too many people who need to spin it as THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER…stats taken out of context…grosses given with no context.
    Avatar is a hit. It may become something more. But as of now it is a hit. A solid hit. But it is not the cultural phenom yet…sorry.
    Also…when higher tickets are taken into account, the number of people who have seen it is not as highly seen as other grossers around it. Remember it is the number of people who see something that make it a phenom…not inflated ticket prices.
    That is the proper context and perspective on this film.

  7. Josh says:

    Nicol D, he did follow “ever” with “through 11 days”. Granted, this is probably a solid sign of box-office watching being way too minute, but so it goes.
    I won’t argue with you about the amount of hyperbole going into the potential of the future box office, but that’s mostly because I’m against seeing the phrase “This is a LOCK” thrown around when it comes to box office, or awards prospects, for that matter. However, it’s harder and harder to ignore the likelihood of Avatar steamrolling past other high grossers. Still, having any perspective is important.

  8. NickF says:

    $550 mil here we come?

  9. Nicol D says:

    Perspective is all I ask.

  10. David Poland says:

    Nicol… really… aren’t you just a little full of shit on this one?
    These numbers are as amazing as any that have come down the pike, other than Titanic going on and on and on and on and on… and this thing about the 3D price doesn’t make it not so.
    “Gratest Ever” and “Cultural Phenomenon” have not been phrases I have used or will likely use… unless I think it does, at some point, become a cultural phenomenon.
    2nd highest grossing film of all time? That I have been using for a while now.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    This is where I think it makes sense to ask Nicol:
    What benchmarks are you using for ‘cultural phenomenon’ so that we all can recognize it when it happens?
    And remember, I don’t like the movie either, Nicol.

  12. Nicol D says:

    No, I am not full of shit…you are just showing your own bias. Yes, the numbers are as amazing as anything that comes down the pike, and anything that comes down the pike does not get heralded like the second coming as Avatar has.
    In your latest post, even you state you did not obsess over Dark Knight grosses as much as Avatar. If you were as objective as you claim, you would have. The over-reporting of Avatar’s grosses and the minutia to which they are being over obsessed about and parsed by the films fanatical following is bull-shit.
    Hey, you jive with the films message, I dig, but when you feel you have to report it is the number 7 Monday of all time…who cares? It was the 10th fastest film in history to 200 million…who cares? Did you report on Harry Potter the same way?
    Yes..we know it is a hit. A big one. But this is silly. And of course the 3-D price makes a difference. It means at 200 million fewer people have seen Avatar than saw…say The Dark Knight or Transformers at 200 million.
    Of course that matters. How could it not?
    And why do you give Avatar the oh so noble title of a “successful entertainment for the world”. Do you say the same of Transformers 2…or The Dark Knight…or Harry Potter…I have never heard you engage in this kind of hyperbole for these films before.
    Again, I do not say Avatar is not a success. But the Avatar hype is what is bullshit.
    You tell me, Jeff. I am not the one calling it a cultural phenomenon? That is the question you should ask to the films ardent supporters. Not me.

  13. Geoff says:

    Nicol, I saw it for the third time, yesterday (I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie in theaters three times) and on a decent weather Monday afternoon, the theater was packed and the audience applauded at the end – sorry, but I think this is becoming a cultural phenomenon.
    People are seriously buzzing about this film and really digging it, you cannot deny it.

  14. Eric says:

    Seeing Nicol stomp his feet over Avatar is sort of great. It could only be topped if Cameron’s follow-up doesn’t take another twelve years, and if it’s a big-budget 3D sequel to the TV thing where he found Jesus’ tomb.
    Oh, and Jeff is asking the wrong question. Before we can discuss whether all these people calling Avatar a cultural phenomenon are right, we need to take a step back to determine if they exist.
    Nicol, I look forward, as always, to the links you can provide to back up your assertions. Please show us all the people calling it a cultural phenomenon. Trivial things like that might dispel your long-held reputation as the most profoundly ignorant commenter on this blog.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, as usual, you’re being evasive and intellectually dishonest. What I’m asking you for are your criteria. For example, you could make a list of other movies that you would agree were ‘cultural phenomena’ and explain what it was about those movies that qualified them for the term, and then if/when Avatar gets to those points, we could all agree. Instead, what I’m getting from you is a sense that you want to keep moving the goalposts. It made $200 million? Okay, but it hasn’t made $300 million. It made that much? Okay, but it still hasn’t passed Transformers 2. It passed T2? Okay, it hasn’t passed some other movie, and anyway Gone With the Wind sold more tickets.
    Let’s set some parameters here for your definitions.

  16. Nicol D says:

    My first reference will be to the post directly above yours.
    “sorry, but I think this is becoming a cultural phenomenon.”
    The fact that you wrote what you wrote without even reading the post before yours proves you to be a real idgit.
    Happy New Year!
    Yeah, you’re right, Jeff…I will indulge you and write a 2000 word essay telling you what I believe just so you can write a one word response saying “why?”.
    Let’s say this. If nobody is calling it a cultural phenomenon…or some other such phrase…why are we discussing it more than The Dark Knight or Transformers…or Harry Potter…

  17. Eric says:

    Hey, nice try! You’re going to have to link to something that was written prior to your post, though, not after, as we’re trying to establish that you weren’t absolutely full of bullshit at the time you wrote your posts.
    Seriously though, since I’m certain there are so many people out there calling Avatar a cultural phenomenon– because otherwise what are you complaining about?– you shouldn’t have any trouble finding some links for us.

  18. jeffmcm says:

    Goddammit, Nicol, this is what frustrates me to no end about you: You just absolutely refuse to communicate.
    Here’s what you said earlier:
    “But it is not the cultural phenom yet…sorry.”
    And I’m asking you: At what point would you label it a cultural phenomenon? And you don’t have an answer. You don’t have to write 2000 words to explain what it could be, all you have to do is say something like “when it wins Best Picture” or “when I see kids wearing Avatar underoos” or whatever you think is appropriate. That’s how an actual, give-and-take, honest intellectual discourse would go.
    But that’s not what you want. You just want to belittle the movie at every opportunity, and you’re putting up this pose of “what, me naysay?” as a mask. This is what I’ve always disliked about you: your total disingenuousness. YOU are the one introducing the term ‘cultural phenomenon’ in order to then say ‘it isn’t one’. It’s a bullshit tactic which has always been one of your MO’s.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    And all this for a movie I DON’T EVEN LIKE.

  20. My sister in law is seeing it twice. In 3D. That says something (to me). I think the last movie she saw was Australia (and she’s got a three-month-old baby, too).

  21. mysteryperfecta says:

    I’ll take a stab at what makes a movie a “cultural phenomenon”– when people who haven’t seen the movie are still familiar with the details of the movie…when certain elements of a movie enter our culural lexicon. Also, when a movie creates demand for product in other areas– books, music, games, etc.
    As of now, Avatar seems to have moved up from “movie” to “event movie”. I don’t know that there’s been time enough to create a cultural phenomenon. Time will tell.

  22. JPK says:

    When National Geographic publishes an issue with an article about some saintly dentist who travels to a third world country to pull infected teeth out of the mouths of dirty, smelly, poor kids, and in a picture accompanying the article about this saintly dentist, one of those dirty, smelly, poor kids is wearing an Avatar t-shirt, I will officially declare Avatar a cultural phenomenon.

  23. “Avatar” seems to have invoked the same kind of “I will not respond to facts OR admit I was WRONG!!!” response in the 2 most annoying THB posters, Nicol and leahnz. It must be doing something right.
    In other news…
    Anything fun going on in L.A. tomorrow night? Wife and I are down for a wedding on New Years and sleeping in a hotel in L.A. to ring in the new year sounds boring as hell. Anyone?

  24. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Sorry to s#!t on the fanboys’ parade, but this is Xmas Week where every day is like a Saturday.
    @mrmilan, @kami: Where are those repeat viewings you speak so fondly of? The economy’s in the tank and people want to spend themselves broke watching a corporatist fantasy over and over again?
    @Geoff: Hope you don’t have to go through furloughs next year like I have to. There’s no “serious buzzing” — it’s a non-stop hard sell.
    @mysterytrifecta: You love corporate synergy so much, go work for News Corp.

  25. mysteryperfecta says:

    “@mysterytrifecta: You love corporate synergy so much, go work for News Corp.”
    All I’m suggesting is that Avatar will get closer to becoming a cultural phenomenon is when people develop an appetite for all things Avatar, beyond the movie itself. From that, I don’t know how you draw any conclusions about me personally.

  26. Telemachos says:

    Well, the first step towards “cultural phenomenon” are op/ed articles appearing in non-movie sections of periodicals…. and they’re starting to crop up all over the place. Whether right-wing or left-wing, loony or sensible, everyone seems to want to use AVATAR to further their political point. (Example: Jonah Goldberg (!) writing an op/ed piece about faith which appeared in the LA Times yesterday).

  27. The Big Perm says:

    Chucky, why do you insist on writing curses but using a symbol of some kind as one of the letters, as somehow that makes us not realize you’re writing “shit?” You’re so fucking stupid.
    So far I like the people who have vendettas against Avatar are the idiots of the blog. Not to say you can’t dislike Avatar, but any movie that Chucky and IO hate is doing something right.

  28. The Big Perm says:

    Sorry, I should respect Chucky’s fright of cusses and just say that he’s f!cking stupid. That way he won’t know what I said.

  29. David Poland says:

    “why are we discussing it more than The Dark Knight or Transformers…or Harry Potter…”
    Multiple reasons.
    1. All of the films you mention were already well established brands before they were in theaters. Avatar is an original, however derivative.
    2. The box office success is stunning in context… more so that any of the others, except Potter 1, which was discussed endlessly. So was Dark Knight, really.
    3. Because of the December date, in part, Avatar’s box office is not of the “massive opening… will it hold 50% or 45% to be unusually great” mold of the last 5 years or so. The story keeps getting written daily. And it keeps getting more interesting, not less.

  30. dietcock says:

    Whatever one thinks of “Avatar” (and personally I thought less of it than Poland), I agree with DP here 100%. One has to be blind and willfully ignoring empirical evidence to deny that it clearly has legs as long as its 15ft tall blue protagonists. And given the steep declines in films with highly-touted “record” openings over the past decade, that is, indeed, a remarkable achievement.

  31. jeffmcm says:

    Hey Chucky:
    1. Where do you work, so we can understand the ‘furloughs’ you’re talking about?
    2. How is Avatar a ‘corporatist fantasy’, and I mean specifically with reference to what is IN the movie. Just because a movie was very expensive to make and made by a big corporation doesn’t mean that it shares the mindset of that corporation. Or, you think it does, please provide details.
    3. Does anybody else think that I myself am a total fucking idiot for trying to have a rational conversation with Chucky?

  32. Not any more than we think you’re a total fucking idiot for trying to have a rational conversation with Nicol, leah or Lex 🙂

  33. Maroussia says:

    It will be great to watch Stomp, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.

  34. Maroussia says:

    It will be great to watch Stomp, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.

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