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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Harry Klady

So Klady is $600,000 lower than most estimates. It’s a bit more interesting that WB told Nikki to estimate $4 million over what everyone else has this morning. No doubt that number will disappear. But it speaks to the odd nature of numbers like these. Massive MIdnights, mega-Friday… but still, 8% less than the studio thought at 9p last night. This, Harry Potter’s best launch, may lead to his best gross… or maybe it’s just all the more frontloaded. No way to know until we get down the road a bit. Regardless, another giant Potter, even without 3D. Good for WB.

The Potter Effect is pretty clear on the chart. When 48% is your strong hold for the wide releases on your Top Ten, you can’t really put that on the movies. Actually, I would say that the Unstoppable hold is quite strong in the face of Potter, but it will be clearer as the weekend progresses. The film faces new films between now and Tron Legacy, but every one of them skews either young, or more so, female, unless The Tourist turns out to be tougher than it looks from here. So they could play strong into mid-December.

Megamind hist $100m today. It’s DWA’s 9th such film with Paramount, where they have never missed the $100m domestic mark together. The animation side of DW had 4 $100m domestic hits before Paramount… and 5 under $100m. You has to give Paramount a lot of credit for the growth of DWA, though Katzenberg has also, clearly, found a template that works, even if they are still not doing PIxar numbers. Given all the excellent marketers around town who have not proven that they can be as consistently successful in animation as the DWA/Paramount combo, one wonders whether leaving is in DWA’s best interest, whatever the feelings between the two management teams.

The Next Three Days smelled of flop in the marketing, or lack thereof. And so it came to pass.

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73 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Harry Klady”

  1. Celluloid Kid says:

    Ouch for Next Three Days.

    So David, you’ve said around here (most recently re: Hereafter and Damon) that an actor opens a movie if they can at least get the movie to $10m. What does that say about Crowe? Or are we supposed to blame the marketing completely…

  2. Keil Shults says:

    Do you think they’re rolling out 127 Hours too slowly? Seems to me like the hype and buzz around is waning before it even hits most cities, but then again, I don’t really watch commercials.

  3. movieman says:

    “Three Days” was, for me anyway, a surprisingly decent action thriller.
    Crowe neatly anchors the film in classical movie star fashion, and Haggis gets more scenic mileage than I would have ever thought possible out of Pittsburgh (and that’s speaking as a NE Ohio native who’s spent a goodly amount of time in the city).
    Why this film is flopping quite frankly puzzles me. The trailer has been well-nigh inescapable over the past few months, and it certainly looks “commercial.”
    Keil- I don’t think the “127” rollout is too slow. A similar release pattern certainly didn’t hurt “Slumdog” or “Juno” (speaking of previous year-end Searchlight releases) any. And I’m not entirely sure that “127” is gonna burn up the box-office in the hinterlands: I’m not really convinced there’s a whole lot of mainstream appeal here. I’ll be ***ed if it outgrosses “Into the Wild” which I still think is a (vastly) superior movie.

  4. h4lo says:

    I would have seen The Next 3 Days if it played at the theater I usually go to. But it isn’t even playing. Harry Potter hogged too many theaters

  5. je pressman says:

    h4lo is correct,TNTD is playing at fewer theaters.Harry Potter is showing at 4,000 plus theaters.I plan on seeing TNTD but I don’t want to run into lines and etc; with the Potter showings. Someone please explain to me why oh why did Lionsgate decide to open TNTD opposite Potter?

  6. IOv3 says:

    Why would they open the Next Three Days opposite a HARRY POTTER FILM? It’s just stupid Lionsgate thinking that cost them millions of dollars if they opened the movie either in August, September, October, or even January. It’s just annoyingly stupid logic that makes me wonder how Lionsgate is still in business.

  7. indiemarketer says:

    The Next Three Days…the next two words…Erika Schimik…’nuff said.

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, anyone else who saw “Takers” — did you, too, expect that discarded bag of money to figure into the final scene(s)?

  9. Eric says:

    Joe, how was Takers? I like T.I. and a lot of the actors, but wasn’t sure if it’d be worth the time.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    I caught up with it at a $1.50 a ticket second-run house — where, frankly, I think God fully intended me to see it — and was pleasantly surprised. Only real disappointment: The ending.

    BTW: At what point did Matt Dillon become the Warren Oates of his generation? The reliable character actor who works in a multitude of genres, does everything from arty indies to hard-charing B-movies, often impresses and never phones it in, isn’t afraid to be a goof but can knock dramatic stuff out of the park — but never really gets the props he deserves? I mean, what does the poor guy have to do — die so he can become a cult figure?

  11. IOv3 says:


  12. Shillfor Alanhorn says:

    IOv3: DILLON not Damon.

    JL: Agreed. Dillon is just about the most underrated actor of his generation. I think he’s not taken seriously because he seems to say yes to everything, but even in something like “Herbie Fully Loaded,” he’s brilliant. And his work in “Factotum” as Bukowski was Oscar-worthy.

  13. IOv3 says:

    You know that works for Damon as well right? That’s why I went to Damon for some reason. Sorry for misinterpreting your post Joe but it fits for my purpose now, so, yeah.

  14. christian says:

    Warren Oates? I like Dillon, but Say it ain’t so Joe.

  15. Nicol D says:

    The Next Three Days is marred by a plot that is unbelieveable in the extreme and reaks of three Harrison Ford movies thown together.

    First 20 minutes is Presumed Innocent with Crowe in the Bonnie Bedelia role. Act 2 is Frantic as Crowe tries to find a way to get back his wife. Act 3 is The Fugitive as he eludes local police even goes incognito in a local parade.

    And it works. It is flawed…but if you go with it, you see Crowe holds it together with a fantastic performance that also has a dash of Bronson from Death Wish (loved the meth house scene) and Haggis clearly knows his action beats.

    Kudos also to Haggis for a great song choices. At one point when Act Three kicked in I thought I was watching a weird hybrid of Miami Vice or To Live and Die in LA. The Moby stuff worked it hard.

    Not a great film. But not a bad one and certainly more adult than the little boy with the magic wand. It is the kind of film that will die in theatres but will find an audience on DVD. It will be remembered as the film where people will never know the title but will say “The one where Crowe breaks his wife out of prison.” The response will be “Yeah, good flick!” Never a boring moment.

    If they ever do that Death Wish remake…get Crowe, not Stallone.

  16. leahnz says:

    bonnie bedelia is spreading like bacteria, cross- infecting threads, soon she’ll be airborne and god help us all…

  17. leahnz says:

    and the ‘little boy with the magic wand’ now has thick black facial stubble and sucks face with girls

  18. IOv3 says:

    Damn right. He’s a player! More like a one woman ginger lovin man. So he’s not a player really. Okay, this post just feel apart like a the bumper of a late 90s Caddy.

  19. LexG says:

    I don’t know what IO is talking about, but I’ll second Nicol’s review of NEXT THREE DAYS.

    Yeah, it has a fair share of flaws, but Crowe as always presides over the proceedings like a genuine, no-fucking-around movie star who you believe in every scene even if he’s doing some seriously outlandish shit. I’m also developing a theory that Paul Haggis works JUST FINE when he’s collaborating with some no-fools-suffering hardhead (like Crowe, Clint, or Tommy Lee Jones) who can get him to keep his indulgences in check.

    That said, unfortunately he has limited screen time to get us to like Elizabeth Banks’s character enough to go along with Crowe’s UTTERLY INSANE plan. Banks is a great actress and does what she can with a role that mostly consists of being alternately too sunny to be in lockdown, or just plain weird. More than once I got the feeling that Crowe oughta just switch to Team Olivia Wilde and call it a day.


    Also kinda burnt the way he’d want do uproot his kid from his home and best friend.

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    Years ago — when I interviewed Warren Oates while he was shooting, of all things, “Drum” in my home town of New Orleans — Oates told me he wanted to do every kind of film there was: art films, action films, porn films (seriously — and I bet he would have, if someone had made an offer), comedies, dramas, anything. I kidded him about this during a few other interviews over the years, including one I did with him for “Stripes,” less than a year before his death. But I also respected him for his willingness to try just about anything. (I still remember the year — 1975 — when he did “Race with the Devil” AND “92 in the Shade.”) And, yes, I see a lot of the same spirit reflected in Matt Dillon. Who, BTW, did “Herbie Fully Loaded” the same year he did “Factotum.”

  21. David Poland says:

    Celluloid. I think it’s completely fair to note that Crowe’s trajectory is downward right now. I don’t give his star power full credit for a $30m Robin Hood opening or full blame for this mess. I think the number is Harry Potter damaged, as some have noted, as the drops were this Friday.

    I wouldn’t argue against someone concluding that Crowe is dropping in opening power from mid-teens to single digits. Age and bad choices.

    Note: I haven’t seen The Next Three Days and opening weekend has nothing to do with the actual movie anyway.

  22. LexG says:

    Leydon, that’s an AWESOME tidbit about the mighty Warren Oates. Seriously, that guy was beyond awesome.

    Also: DRUM!!! Always wanted to see that.

    Re: Crowe, I figured he was maybe dropping a little for the reasons DP outlines, but those numbers for Next Three are sadly getting into CLIVE OWEN TERRITORY. Hope this is just a blip, because he’s one of my favorite “movie stars” and the movie deserves better.

  23. IOv3 says:

    Lex, you need to read your Harry Potter.

  24. LexG says:

    I don’t really have anything against HP, I just didn’t get in on the ground floor, so NO WAY I’m watching six THREE HOUR MOVIES to research for the new ones. Even though every time a new one comes out, I do think it has elements that look cool and appealing to me.

    One of which you should probably all be able to guess.

  25. IOv3 says:

    They are worth checking out because indeed they are tremendous.

  26. Che sucks says:

    Next Three Days is the type of movie you expect to be released in February or March. Poor marketing, worse release date.

    Crowe should realize that he served best by non-contemporary roles instead of semi-generic thrillers (like this or State of Play), which just don’t have much of an audience anymore. Time to coax Fox into funding another Master & Commander flick.

  27. LexG says:

    Sadly, my favorite genre ever IS the semi-generic February/April/October thriller with the A-list leading man out for revenge or solving some military mystery or something like that.

    I should’ve appreciated the Mace Neufeld Movie a little more when it was a hot ticket.

  28. christian says:

    Great story Joe — in fact, as my present to THB, I’ll let you know you can watch DRUM (not on DVD) right now on Netflix Watch Instantly and a bizarre GROOVE TUBE rip off called AMERICAN RASBERRY with Oates in a brief bit as a sniper for the Charles Whitman games….Just watched DILLINGER last night and boy does he kill. And since his last film was BLUE THUNDER, he managed to pull off a sci-fi film before his untimely death…

  29. LexG says:

    Whoa, sincere thanks for that DRUM tip. Am I mistaken, or is that a Steve Carver joint? Or maybe Mandingo was.

    It should also be duly noted that Mann’s THE KEEP is apparently on Netflix now, for anyone who’s always wanted to see it (or revisit.)

    Oates’s delivery in BLUE THUNDER of “You think I don’t know about that silly little twit out in Encino?” crosses my mind every time I think of that part of the Valley.

  30. christian says:

    And holy shit THE KEEP looks like it’s even widescreen….

  31. je pressman says:

    I believe Mr. Poland has been predicting Russell Crowe’s ,”downward trajectory” for some time now. Therewas an assessment/ranking of significant actors and actresses in the business posted by Poland in 2007, before American Gangster and 3:10 to Yuma were released. As I recall Mr. Poland said something about Crowe’s career reaching it’s end soon.Crowe hasn’t done sequels,or comic book movies and those films dominate the movie market in this time period.Other actors have become,Batman, Spiderman, Ironman or a pirate captain with great boxoffice success.The huge international movie audience likes these fantasy movies,so that if an actor doesn’t make these films does this mean he or she becomes marginalized by the film business as being uncooperative?

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    I did a phoner with Roy Scheider right before the release of “Blue Thunder.” He told me that he, director John Badham and other folks associated with the film wanted to have an “In Memory of Warren Oates” in the closing credits. They were told by the distributor that such a credit might “depress” the audience, and turned down the request. Scheider replied that if the tribute to Oates did not appear in gthe credits, he wouldn’t be doing any publicity for the film. So what happened? Well, I told you this was a phoiner right before the release of “Blue Thunder,” right?

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: LexG, have you ever seen “The Hired Hand,” with Oates, Peter Fonda and Verna Bloom? I’m sure you would love it, if only for the scene in which Oates is seated on a porch, Bloom is sitting nearby in a rocking chair — and he longingly strokes her bare foot.

  34. Eric says:

    Thanks for the words on Takers, Joe. It’s gone from even the second-run theaters near me so I’ll catch up with it in a few months at home.

    Russell Crowe deserves better but I’m okay with his movie flopping if it also hurts the career of Paul Haggis.

    Che Sucks is right: there seriously needs to be another Master and Commander movie. The first one was almost perfect.

  35. movieman says:

    Yes, Lex: Steve Carver did indeed direct “Drum” (with the ineffable Rainbeaux/Cheryl Smith).
    “Mandingo”–which I purchased from the same Paramount no-frills dvd label that I bought Sayles’ “Baby, It’s You”–was directed by the beyond-awesome Richard Fleischer. Any director who can follow up “Dr. Dolittle” with “The Boston Strangler” is okay in my book.
    P.S. to Joe= I actually saw “The Hired Hand” on a double-bill with “The Last Movie” in March 1972. It was at a Youngstown, OH neighborhood theater that (almost) exclusively played Universal titles. I’m guessing it was some kind of contractual burn-off since both movies had flopped big time in major markets months earlier.

  36. Joe Leydon says:

    I actually bought a first-run admission ticket to see “The Last Movie” at a suburban New Orleans theater back in the day. It was one of the very few movies I’ve ever seriously considered walking out on.

  37. christian says:

    THE HIRED HAND is just plain ol ‘awesome.

  38. Joe Leydon says:

    Christian: It most certainly is. But have you ever seen the TV version that was floating around broadcast and cable television for the better part of two decades? No kidding: To make it last for two hours (including commercials), they restored several outtakes — including an entire freakin’ subplot with Larry Hagman as the local sheriff. No kidding. Imagine my surprise when, after seeing it about six times in theaters, I watched it for the first time on “Monday Night at The Movies.”

  39. LexG says:

    Universal TV cuts from the 70s and early 80s were one of the greatest– and weirdest– things EVER.

  40. movieman says:

    I detested “The Last Movie” when I first saw it, too, Joe (of course, I was 13 years old at the time). But a second viewing on VHS many years later spurred by a fawning J. Hoberman Voice piece made me (somewhat) reconsider my earlier negative opinion. It’s really a fascinating auteurist flop–a movie that could have only been made in the ’70s. And sometimes that’s good enough for me.
    Speaking of notorious ’70s flops of an altogether different stripe, am I the only one psyched about Leo DiCaprio reuniting with his “Romeo & Juliet” director for a re-do of “The Great Gatsby” (costarring Tobey Maguire as Nick and Carey Mulligan as Daisy)? DiCaprio certainly has some interesting projects in the pipeline: his currently-lensing J. Edgar Hoover biopic with Clint Eastwood; “Gatsby;” and the just-announced J.F.K. assassination movie. Leo’s finally gonna win that long-overdue Oscar one way or another. Of course, if I’d had my druthers he’d already have (at least) 2 on his mantelpiece–for “Gilbert Grape” and “Catch Me if You Can.” He should have probably won for “The Aviator,” too, and definitely deserved at least a Best Actor nod for “Revolutionary Road.”

  41. movieman says:

    ..on the subject of re-edited-for-television Universal films, I finally caught up with an unexpurgated cut of Joseph Losey’s quasi-notorious “Secret Ceremony” on TCM late last month. Wow; it’s actually some kind of wigged-out Losey masterpiece. And like “Myra Breckinridge” two years later, “SC” was clearly (way) ahead of its time.

  42. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, the Universal re-edits began as early as the 1960s — even as a youngster, I could spot that something was “different” about the Herbert Lom “Phantom on the Opera” when it aired on TV (with newly filmed scenes involving two inquisitive police detectives). There were similar “enhancements” to “Kiss of the Vampire” (known on TV as “Kiss of Evil”) and “Evil of Frankenstein.”

  43. Joe Leydon says:

    I think I may be the only person I know who actually has anything good to say about the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow 1974 version of “The Great Gatsby.” (Trivia: Mia Farrow was on the cover of the very first People magazine for a story keyed to the film.)

  44. leahnz says:

    is it possible to have to much of a good thing in leo? i’ve been sensing a bit of a leo backlash of late, not from me as a long-time leo lover i say full steam ahead, but it seems there’s a bit of grumbling going on about leo not mixing it up enough/being too similar in his roles of late (not really on the topic but i was watching ‘the departed’ the other day and for some reason the boston accents of some of the cast started to sound like variations on elmer fudd to me)

  45. Joe Leydon says:

    I don’t know, Leah: I still get comments on the YouTube clip of a “Titanic” interview I did with Leo that I posted two years ago. I’ve had 129,977 views so far. More to the point, I still get comments on the thing. He still draws them in.

  46. sanj says:

    Leo – he wears suits in like the last 9 films ..most were dramas and every year he seems to be up for a movie award.
    Leo needs to do some comedies but maybe he’d fail ..

  47. Joe Leydon says:

    Make that 130,032 views. That’s almost scary.

  48. Shillfor Alanhorn says:

    For anyone who wants to have their very own in-home Warren Oates-fest, DILLINGER, THE HIRED HAND, 92 IN THE SHADE, DRUM and CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37 and RANCHO DELUXE are all available on Netflix Instant and, of those, 92, DRUM, CHINA and RANCHO are unavailable on DVD. Now, if only Netflix would see fit to license the rights to COCKFIGHTER, we’d be in business….

  49. chris says:

    Big problem with “Next Three Days”: Instead of SPOILER ALERT, consorting with street criminals, killing a couple of people (who we’re not supposed to care about because they’re drug dealers), maybe robbing a bank and hatching this ridiculous plan that constantly changes on a dime, what if Russell Crowe devoted some energy to trying to figure out who actually did commit the murder? As a literature professor, it seems like his skillset is a bit more suited to detection than breaking someone out of a prisoner from which no one has ever escaped.

  50. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I have a copy of “Rancho Deluxe” on DVD. It was released on the MGM label. But just as books go out of print — maybe it’s no longer available? That sort of thing happens with surprising frequency. Try to buy a copy of “Shampoo” right now, and you’ll see what I mean.

  51. LexG says:

    Hey, 50 posts of people talking about box office, current movies, old movies, awesome movies, Warren Oates, The Keep, Leo’s awesomeness, and Blue Thunder, with nary a stupid argument or lame put-on beef in sight.

    Almost feels like 2008.

  52. leahnz says:

    joe: more than 130,000 views, that’s mental (but far be it from me to underestimate leo’s appeal in the tragic-shipboard-romance-gone-horribly-wrong movie). it just seems like lately people are getting a bit weary of leo, but that’s just my anecdotal & on-line experience, i might be totally off base. he does seem to wear suits a lot in his recent flicks.

    personally i’d like to see leo do something really different again, where at the very least he doesn’t look virtually the same from movie to movie; at least he had dark hair and a part-time stache in ‘the aviator’. one of the reasons i thought his ‘blood diamond’ perf was interesting is because his physicality was a departure, he was unabashedly beefy and blonde and afrikaans (even tho his accent was dodgy as hell, but putting that aside he got into the spirit of things), not to mention a bit of a dodgy character to boot. i’d just like to see him stretch and take more risks with character roles rather than the more ‘leading-man’-type material he’s doing — but it’s not like i’m impugning his career, he almost always makes decent movies with interesting film-makers and i’ll go see him in what ever role he chooses.

    perhaps one of his upcoming projects (j edgar?) will give him the opportunity to get down with some sickness; i’d love to see him try something like a really biting black comedy or a farce, something off the wall like bruce’s turn in ‘death becomes her’. i don’t care if he doesn’t pull it off, i just want to see him outside his current box. but that’s just me. maybe i’m being too hard on him because i adore him so. one thing is certain, he will never make that movie with river i so longed for, i don’t think i’ll ever get over that.

  53. movieman says:

    Funny you should mention River, Leah.
    I just showed “Dogfight” to my class this week during “Sundance Week.” (“Dogfight” may not have premiered at Sundance, but Nancy Savoca’s career was kickstarted there with “True Love” in 1989.) Every time I introduce the movie and explain why River was important–and why his death was such a huge blow to the film industry–I get a little choked up. But I always try to put a positive spin on things by referencing Leo (that whole “what God giveth he takes away” balderdash) who went on to have the “adult” career River might have had if he’d lived. The fact that Leo arrived on the scene with “This Boy’s Life” and “Gilbert Grape” the year River died is just too irresistible, and moving, a coincidence.
    Speaking of Savoca, whatever happened to her? “True Love,” “Dogfight” and “Household Saints” are three of my favorite femme-directed films ever.

  54. Joe Leydon says:

    I hate to say this, but: River Phoenix died 17 years ago. (Right now, he would be 40.) I seriously doubt that many of my students have ever seen any of his movies — except, maybe, “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.” And before you ask: Yes, I remember “Stand By Me” and “Explorers.” But I’ve seen no indication that his appeal has passed on to the next generation(s), ala James Dean or even John Belushi.

  55. movieman says:

    You’re right about today’s kids not knowing who River Phoenix is, Joe.
    If my students are any indication, precious few of them know who James Dean or John Belushi are either. (Heath Ledger is another matter, thanks almost entirely to “TDK.”)
    But if I can get any of them to put “My Own Private Idaho,” “Running on Empty,” “The Mosquito Coast” or “Stand by Me” onto their Netflix queue after seeing “Dogfight,” I’ve done my part in trying to correct that imbalance.

  56. christian says:

    No offense intended to River’s legacy, but I never found him particularly amazing, tho he clearly indicated intelligence, and the Falstaff sections of MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO just don’t work. I guess I never liked STAND BY ME at all (a phony phony movie) and held it against him. I did like him in EXPLORERS however…

  57. movieman says:

    Perhaps it’s a generational thing, Christian.
    I never quite understood the fuss made over Heath Ledger myself. Besides a few admittedly impressive performances (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Monster’s Ball,” “TDK” posthumously), Ledger never seemed quite worthy of the iconic status bestowed upon him after his death.
    At least to me.
    You said that you had problems with “Idaho” and “Stand:” have you given “Running on Empty,” “Dogfight” and/or “Mosquito Coast” a chance?
    I loathe knee-jerk fetishization of fallen celebrities (actors, musicians, whomever) just because they had the misfortune of dying young, but l stand by (no pun intended) my assessment of River Phoenix.

  58. christian says:

    I was part of River’s gen and saw all of those films in the theater. Maybe I never felt he was in a “classic” film — and I really appreciate IDAHO (love Vn Zant) and THE MOSQUITO COAST but didn’t find him a standout, thought it more interesting for Ford’s intense perf.


    And the DVD for THE HIRED HAND has reinstated those scenes – and boy, Hagman was always very underrated.

  59. movieman says:

    Different strokes and all that, Christian.

  60. Joe Leydon says:

    Christian: Guess I need to see if MovieMaker — which published my John Cassavetes interview — would be interested in Warren Oates. And, for that matter, Slim Pickens.

  61. christian says:

    Of course they would.

  62. Maxim says:

    ” DWA, though Katzenberg has also, clearly, found a template that works, even if they are still not doing PIxar numbers.”

    Greeting, dumbass. Ever heard of Shrek?

  63. leahnz says:

    well movieman is aware of my deep and abiding admiration of the tragic genius that was river phoenix, whose best perfs were no doubt still ahead of him, so i’ll just cover my ears and close my eyes and sing ‘la la la’ over christian’s comments (no offence C, eye of the beholder and all that); but yes, leo did rather pick up and carry the torch from that fateful night.

    speaking of getting choked up, the other day i was watching ‘sneakers’ of all innocuous things in a melancholy mood, and i got a bit teary-eyed watching river (hey another karl!) and the boy came and sat down beside me, bewildered, and said something to the effect of, “you’re crying in THIS movie?!?” until i explained to him about river for the millionth time and he confessed he didn’t even realise that WAS river in ‘sneakers’ because he knows river mainly from ‘stand by me’, which is a firm fave in our house as one of the boy’s ‘put it on in the background while you do other stuff’ movies like ‘time bandits’ and ‘twelve monkeys’.

    kids today don’t know who anybody is, little shits. it’s still way bizarro to me that my kid’s favourite actor is RDJ, who has come full circle for another generation. whoda thunk it.

    (movieman, what DID happen to savoca? she was also one of my faves. i’m gonna look that up when i get the chance)

  64. Joe Leydon says:

    Leah: There is nothing sadder than a promise forever unfulfilled.

    Leah + Movieman: While you’re at it, what the hell ever happened to Susan Seidelman?

  65. Foamy Squirrel says:

    @Maxim – I threw the domestic numbers of Dreamworks vs Pixar into a spreadsheet from 2004 (when Shrek2 produced DW’s biggest domestic hit), and here’s the result:

    The central box shows the range of the middle 50% of each studio’s movies, while the whiskers show the biggest and smallest movie. As you can see, the middle 50% of Pixar’s output sits consistently above the middle 50% of DW’s output.

    Notes: If you were to include the entire lifespan of the Shrek franchise, that would throw Shrek1 back in at $268mil but also Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron at $73mil. Meanwhile, Pixar could add Cars and Monsters Inc at $244mil and $256mil respectively. I’ve also removed the two Aardman films for DW which were released post-Shrek2.

  66. IOv3 says:

    Phoenix has a brother who has never even come close to being as good as actor as he was. While Ledger was the best actor of this current generations. The amount of potential those two had that will never be fulfilled is simply disheartening beyond words.

  67. David Poland says:

    Maxim… love the rage… maybe it will pass when you finish puberty (physical or emotional).

    There are numerous factual ways to respond to you.

    1) Foamy did an objective analysis.

    2) Shrek is a clear outlier and somewhat irrelevant, in much the same way Toy Story 3 vs How To Train Your Dragon would be a silly way of comparing the two companies. Your argument is like saying Summit is equally successful as WB as a studio because Twilight was bigger than Inception. Silly on its face.

    3) You could argue that DreamWorks’ 2-a-year output most years changes the math.

    4) Domestically, Up was almost $100m ahead of top DWA title Monsters vs Aliens last year. in 2008, Wall-E only $8m ahead of Kung Fu Panda, but ahead. In 2007, The Rat killed The Bee, but yeah, there was Shrek 3. IN 2006, Cars by $90m over the #1 DWA film.

    5) Aside from the Shrek phenom – now 4 movies and 9 years old and over for the moment – DWA has bested Pixar worldwide only once, with Kung Fu Panda beating out Wall-E. And Pixar’s films have been hundreds of millions ahead.

    As I have written before, DWA has been getting closer. There is no shame in the success they have had. Quite the opposite. DWA has achieved what Sony and others have not. And Fox had had its massive outlier and other successes too. But DWA films aren’t consistently doing “Pixar numbers.” But they are getting closer as they continue to perfect their formula, aside from Shrek.

  68. hcat says:

    On the what might have been front, while nowhere as tragic as losing Phoenix and Ledger, everytime I see Steve Carrel recently I can’t help but think “Micheal J. Fox would have fit nicely into this.”

    And looking at Kevin James on the cover of the Grown Ups dvd and thinking, hey that’s Farley’s spot.

  69. Joe Leydon says:

    Hcat: I think you are expressing — tactfully — what many of us have thought over the past few years: Michael J. Fox was dealt a terrible hand, but we, too, got cheated. How many movie roles, how many sitcom parts, has he not gotten to play because…

  70. hcat says:

    Joe: I remember reading somewhere that Woody Allen had orginally wrote the treatment of Whatever Works decades ago with Zero Mostel in mind. Rewatching it with that knowledge knocked the film down a notch since I kept thinking about how Mostel would have sold the role more. Or Belushi who had the same energy could have really taken a bite out of that movie.

  71. leahnz says:

    “Leah: There is nothing sadder than a promise forever unfulfilled.”


    (savoca appears to have moved into tv/documentary work with quite a long gap between projects in the naughts, i hope she gets into features again; no idea about seidelman, i didn’t know to investigate her!)

    i have a bit of a michael j. fox story it’s probably ok to share: when i was first starting out one of my first jobs was on a production starring michael j, a pretty big-time flick, there were a lot of americans here with a lot of money, and subsequently there was a LOT of hedonism and partying going on during production, something of a wild time (one of the running jokes was that michael was the lone canadian, eh, amongst all the loud yanks and the oblivious kiwis) — anyway michael j was known for being quiet and shy, extremely nice and professional but he kept to himself most of the time (he almost seemed a little sad whenever i saw him but that might be something that’s seeped into my recollection with hindsight rather than based on reality); one day i remember watching him as he stood around waiting on set, and this little girl maybe 9 or 10 yrs old approached him – don’t know what she was doing there if she was an extra or what – and she just stood there staring at him, as if she’d lost her nerve and froze, super shy, and michael j just starting talking to her (i couldn’t hear them it was only a visual), he got down on one knee and spent several minutes getting her to open up and have a conversation with him, completely focused on the girl and listening to what she had to say; i don’t know what she asked him or what they talked about but she looked so pleased when it was over and i remember thinking, this is a really sweet man, he could have easily just brushed her off but he took the time and a genuine interest in her, when he was just off on his own being himself. i’ve held him in high regard ever since being privy to that little moment of kindness, just a lovely person really.

  72. Joe Leydon says:

    Hcat: That’s kinda-sorta how I felt for years after Warren Oates died: Oh, gee, Oates could have played THIS part, Oates could have played THAT part… Evidently, he was supposed to play the role that wound up going to Barry Corbin in “War Games.” Corbin did a great job, mind you, but still…

    Leahnz: Years ago, I had a stalker problem. Seriously. I know, it sounds hilarious, but I was getting extremely detailed, handwritten threatening notes from a reader who obviously had been to several events I’d attended, and who seemed very upset by some of my reviews for The Houston Post. (He was especially upset because he thought I was too “liberal.”) Around this time, I happened to interview Michael J. Fox — and I casually mentioned these letters to him, because he had gone through a similar, highly publicized situation. The talk about his movie abruptly stopped, because he wanted to give me all sorts of insider info (which, of course, he had paid a lot of money to obtain for himself) about how to tell the difference between harmless cranks and serious threats. He wound up giving me the name and number of a security specialist he’d dealt with, and told me I could use his name to get more detailed info from the guy. Now, Michael J. Fox and I were not bowling buddies — I had interviewed him maybe once before this occasion — so the fact that he’d go out of his way to be this helpful to me made me think a lot about the guy.

  73. leahnz says:

    that sounds scary joe, i hope you got that sitch sorted out satisfactorily! but michael j. to the rescue, what a guy. this makes me feel wistful and melancholy. life is indeed a bitter-sweet journey, each day of good health and with family and friends to be savoured.

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