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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar


Over at All These Wonderful Things, AJ Schnack posted a piece over a week ago about the Justin Bieber flick, Never Say Never, breaking into the top 10 all time moneymaker docs list at number 8. Apart from my own neglect in thinking of the Bieber film as a doc — which I guess it is, in a manner of speaking — the most interesting tidbit from the piece is this:

Anthony D’Alessandro has some interesting details on Bieber’s full-court publicity press over at Thompson on Hollywood, noting that his appearances on the likes of Extreme Home Makeover, Saturday Night Live and Jon Stewart “drove the P&A spend for NEVER SAY NEVER down to an estimated $20 million. That’s cheap. Typically it costs double that to open a film at $30 million.”

So there are two interesting things about this. 1) Bieber is a known entity with a substantial fan base, and he STILL had to get out there and bust his hump to publicize this film. So what do you think YOU need to be doing, indie filmmaker? And 2) if it typically costs $40 million P&A to open a film at $30 million, that is INSANE.

I’m not bitching about the relative merits of a Justin Bieber doc here. I know people — grown-up people who write about film for a living, not preteen girls — who actually liked the film. I am bitching about the very idea that spending $40 million on P&A is a normal and good thing.

I’m reminded (again) of the Roger Corman doc at Sundance and Corman saying that it’s just abhorrent for Hollywood to spend $30 million making a movie — he wasn’t even talking about the P&A, folks. Just the actual production costs. And yet we’re tossing around $30 million, $40 million figures for freaking P&A and nobody bats an eye at this and says, “Holy crap, that’s ridiculous!” $40 million is enough money to make 80 $500K indie films, folks.

Just saying.

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One Response to “Bieberiffic”

  1. Ju-osh says:

    I took my two gay nephews (aged 13 & 14) two towns over to see it, thinking I’d come away from it having plenty of ammunition to make fun of their guilty pleasure with. While I DO have some stuff to harass them about (Bieber’s almost Tourette’s like hair-whipping tick; the way Bieber’s handlers use Chicken McNuggets the way Shaggy used Scooby Snacks, to get their charge to do what they want, when they want; Bieber’s bizarre need to be carried around for the first quarter of the flick…), I’ve gotta admit, I WAS NEVER BORED. The kid’s a fidgety, charismatic, unselfconscious ball of teen-pop energy. Hell, he could easily have been in the Monkees had he been conceived in Davey Jones’ mother’s womb 50 years prior. Sure, his songs are instantly forgettable, but to the filmmaker’s credit, they rarely (ever?) played a song all the way through. Will I go back to see the re-released film with the 40 minutes of extra footage? Fuck-to-the-hell-shit-no. But I didn’t regret going that first time, which is waaay more than I can say for 25% of the movies I see.

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