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David Poland

By David Poland

Klady’s 4-Day Estimates

Okay… let’s start with the stupid overreaction at the LA Times to the possible non-reoccurrence of an event that happened once in the history of the movie business, now being posited as a change in the overall movie business. (Can you hear my eyes rolling?)

In 2009, two January releases grossed over $100 million domestic. It has never happened before. It didn’t happen last year. In fact, in the entire history of movies, these were the ONLY two films ever to launch in January – there are a bunch of Oscar holdovers from the year before that went wide in January and went on to $100m grosses – that EVER grossed $100m… period. And The Green Hornet may join them as the 3rd such film EVER.

So the trend piece must be that box office is up this January, right? No. OF course not.

Perhaps we need to have a broader perspective. 2009 was one of four times in movie history when two films, released in either/or January or February grossed as much as $100m domestic. It looks like 2011 will be the fifth such occurrence with both The Green Hornet and Just Go With It heading to that mark, both from Sony btw. So things must be okay, right? No. Of course not. Oh… and Gnomeo & Juliet could well crack $100m too, which would be the first time in history we had three Jan/Feb releases hit that mark. Still, not good enough not to launch a negative trend piece.

The illogical of suggesting that comparing one film from by an actor and the next one and claiming it is even close to scientific is obvious. It’s like saying something is wrong with the box office because Sam Worthington did $760 million in Avatar and then just $164 million in Clash of the Titans. People must be sick of effects movies… right… WRONG.

Box office inspires some of the most moronic trend stories of all. Why did the box office look like it did this December? The movies, stupid. No blockbuster leaves a lot more room for mid-range films to do even better. Why didn’t The Dilemma do as well as Paul Blart: Mall Cop? The movies, stupid. To start with, Paul Blart was well positioned as a broad family comedy. The Dilemma was an adult comedy set around issues of cheating on your spouse. Obviously, with Ron Howard and Vince Vaughn, they were hoping for a lot more money. But people could tell you from the “gay” controversy on, the film never got real traction.

WB opens a Liam Neeson action movie in February that doesn’t quite match the opening of what was, by far, the best Liam Neeson opening or gross with him as the leading man and we’re supposed to be discussing what’s wrong with the box office? It’s the movie marketing, stupid. “I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Great sell.

Meanwhile, Justin Bieber’s concert film is already the #3 concert film of all time and may pass Miley Cyrus, given the surprising hold Par managed this weekend.

Trend stories suck.


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15 Responses to “Klady’s 4-Day Estimates”

  1. NickF says:

    Perfect ending, David.

  2. yancyskancy says:

    “The illogical of suggesting that comparing one from by an actor and the next one and claiming it is even close to scientific is obvious.” Hard to argue with that. 🙂

  3. Krillian says:

    It’s still about the Oscars. Seriously, who saw $100 million for The King’s Speech and Black Swan back in August?

  4. Tom says:

    Wasn’t just the marketing on Unknown, which WB did their best to make into Taken 2… Taken had been out for months and months in Europe and on bit torrent forever when it opened here. Which means…what? No one really knows, but it wasn’t only that Taken was marketed well, the opening numbers on Taken were unexpected by everyone.

  5. LexG says:

    What happened to RACHEL BILSON’S movie “Waiting for Forever”? Or whatever it was called (seriously, all these romcoms with the generic titles…)

    Anyway, huge fan of the BILS, and I will tell you there are posters up for that thing in every single bus stop in Burbank… did it actually come out anywhere but like Chino and Palmdale??? Posters EVERYWHERE in L.A. proper, I’m not sure it opened in a single theater in the city. What kind of bullshit is that?

  6. patsygwhite says:

    Very Interesting! I just now printed Coupons of my Favorite Brands for free from “Printapons” you can find them online.

  7. Geoff says:

    Hey, Dave – yes, trend pieces DO suck. But there is a really strong trend out there, actually…..

    Over the past few months, there have been several modestly budgeted dramas/thrillers MAINLY marketed to adults that have done well and seem quite profitable, all above $90 million:

    The Town, The Social Network, Black Swan, True Grit, The Kings Speech, The Fighter
    (not counting Red, sorry – it’s a kiddie movie with older actors)

    When is the last time that has happened? Damn impressive. The problem is that with the success and profitability of all of those films, it’s not going to help year-to-year box office comparisons, at all. A few of them would need to crack $200 million to have that kind of effect, but does not make them any less successful.

    Beyond that, what the hell happened with 127 Hours??? LOVED that movie, saw it twice – any audience I saw it with was very moved. The arm thing was THAT big a repellent? Come on, the movie was ten-times more engaging than The Kings Speech. I’m sure Fox Searchlight did their best and then shifted more resources when it looked like Black Swan would break out……

  8. Geoff says:

    ….Along those lines, audiences had NO issue watching Jim Caviziel get butchered for two hours, seeing his back ripped out….but they were that put off by watching


    James Franco cut through his arm with a pen knife for maybe 10 minutes of screen time????

    I don’t get the squeamishness, have any of you folks watched CSI, lately. Not me, but I remember the gore quotient was super R-rated on that show, at times.

    Since when are so audiences so damn squeamish?

  9. JKill says:

    127 HOURS is spectacular, and I’m sure most people who see it end up moved, shaken and inspired. I think both the combination of knowing the violent finale and just the fact that it’s mostly one character is scaring people off, but they are really missing out on such a spectacular performance by Franco, innovative direction from Boyle and such a moving, life affirming experience. Great film.

  10. IOv3 says:

    I am dead serious with this… 127 Hours needs a sequel. Seriously. Aron Ralston’s life got even more interesting after he got back from losing his arm and would probably make for an even better movie since no one would know the ending. Here’s hoping that it happens because it would just be cool if it did.

  11. LexG says:

    Anyone see those TV ads for the GUY FIERI game show MINUTE TO WIN IT where Aron Ralston is on doing stunts or something, and they promote it with mock footage of him in the 127 Hours set? Surreal.

  12. Krillian says:

    I think the squeamishness comes from how well Boyle directs and Franco acts the sequence. We had people get up and leave during that scene and come back in when it was done. When he his that nerve, it really conveyed the “this really really hurts” reality of his situation. If you let Darren Bousman direct the same sequence, not near as effective.

  13. cadavra says:

    The fact that it’s a true story may also be putting people off.

    I’ll be curious to see how SOUL SURFER, with a very similar presence, plays, though it’s being marketed more as an uplifting, Christian-values movie.

  14. LexG says:

    SOUL SURFER = AnnaSophia Robb in bikini as teenage surfer.


  15. cadavra says:

    Quite a few young babes in bikinis; I guess devout Christians like their YEP YEP as well.

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