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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Irene Klady

Stats. They lie and they truth.

The last couple of years, the top two new films in this slot have generated just over $40m between them. This year, about half of that.

Irene? The distributors? The movies?

Probably all of the above.

In 2009, the 2 big openers were sequels. Last year, Screen Gems did Screen Gems and Lionsgate did an exorcism. This year, a distribution deal being released by Sony… meaning less of a marketing investment… and a FilmDistrict pick-up being sold as a Guillermo del Toro movie that Guillermo didn’t direct.

Of course, one can argue that Dark is superior to any of the previous successes (even if our-polling wasn’t great) and that Resident Evil with Mila J was somehow equivalent to Zoe S in Colombiana. But from a marketing standpoint, both are tougher.

Anyway… these numbers don’t smell dramatically different than I might have expected without the hurricane. A few percent here and there. The tiny releases and the genre stuff that relies heavily on NY are probably the most damaged. But would Columbiana have been at $20m if Irene stayed home? Probably not.

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106 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Irene Klady”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    Any chance that Cowboys & Aliens will make it to $100 million? I admit it: I have gotten to the point where I’m actually feeling sorry for the film. But I do hold out hope: Last night — and I swear, I am not making this up — I ran into two different, unrelated fortysomething people at a party who told me they really want to see C&A in a theater, on a big screen. I told them: Don’t wait too long…

  2. JKill says:

    I saw OUR IDIOT BROTHER and it’s lovely, funny, charming and very heart warming. Rudd is wonderful in a role that’s pretty different but also perfect for him, and he makes a character that’s pure optimism believable and real. The ensamble, namely the sisters, Scott and Coogan, are all in fine form, and the script gives them all worthwhile material. It’s a sweet movie that brings smiles, laughs and heart.

    On a different note, others where discussing the other day whether OIB should’ve been platformed or not but upon a quick search I noticed that even with a depressed showing due to the natural events of the weekend, it basically matched the entire domestic runs of CYRUS and CEDAR RAPIDS in three days.

  3. Maxim says:

    Joe, C&A may have two more million or more weekends (as weeks go drops tend to be less steep, to a point and C&A actually had decentish legs so far). Whether the film makes it to $100 million is mostly down to how long it’s kept in the theaters. I’d say it’s possible.

  4. Jason says:

    Shocked about The Help and Smurfs. I think those 2 have performed spectacularly.

  5. EthanG says:

    One interesting note…

    Apes is about to become Fox’s first 150 million grossing film domestically since 2009.

    And probably its last for at least 9 months.

  6. bulldog68 says:

    I am more shocked by The Help than Smurfs as there was a history of success from previous cartoons to moviescreen adaptations like Scooby Doo and Chipmunks to look to. Even properties like Yogi Bear got to $100M so Smurfs always had a chance to succeed. And with the concentration on comic book and r rated comedy fare this summer season, I think the family market was actually a bit underserved, and while no one animated toon was a major hit, they all performed decently, all the way back to Rango and Rio before the summer season actually started, so the money was evenly spread out.

    The Help on the other hand, was a total surprise to me. It’s become a powerhouse at the box office. No one forecasted this, and even with Irene taking away some screens, this week’s drop is still under 30%. Without Irene, it might have been under 25%. I think The Help makes it to $150M although it is currently running ahead of Bridesmaids which was at $87m after 3 weekends, so going past $168M is totally possible, just that Bridesmaids had the summer weekdays to help the total gross, so we’ll see.

    Bridesmaids had some small drops after week 3, mostly under 30%, so if The Help can keep this momentum, you could be looking at $180M. If it can pull a Blind Side without the Christmas season is another story, but that’s the next tier.

  7. bulldog68 says:

    @Joe: Things don’t look good for C&A passing $100M. Looking at two other movies that just stopped short this year, Bad Teacher and Green Hornet, ironically both starring Cameron Diaz, Bad Teacher after 31 days was at $94M with a $696K Sunday. Green Hornet was further behind with $92M @ 31 days, but with a bigger $1M Sunday. Currently C&A stands at $93M with today’s $663K, so based on that trajectory, and the fact that summer is coming to an end, it looks like it might stop just short as well, somewhere in the $97M to $99M. If the studio decides to keep it out a bit longer and push it over seven figures to please the egos of their star players is another matter.

    We had a discussion some time back about which was the bigger box office failure, Green Lantern or this, and if C&A doesn’t make it to $100M, then I believe it gets the dubious crown, helped along by failure to make this benchmark. I’m in your corner Joe, I’m one of the few who actually liked C&A, and hoped it had done better.

  8. LexG says:

    I have NOT seen the movie yet, so as always I’m talking about of my ass, but… DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK?

    Any chance it got lost in the shuffle because the three disparate horror audiences were confused. IMO when it comes to horror fans, there’s:

    1) The teen girls, who like Insidious or Paranormal Activity (or in years past the Americanized J-Horror stuff like The Grudge) and like screaming and giggling to scare themselves over more “suspense” based PG-13 horror.

    2) The mouth-breather “dudes” for whom it has to be R!, and not just R! but HARD R! with good kill shots! and GORE! and torture and bludgeonings served via a cool villain like Jigsaw or Jason; Post 1980 or so, these are the guys who associate “scary” exclusively with violence level, and consider anything PG-13 too weak to count as “horror.”

    3) The “monster movie” guys, who like old-school throwback stuff and creepy-crawly stuff and off-beat monsters and have reverence for old Universal horror or Hammer and like that more whimsical/atmospheric ‘wah wah wah!’ Burton/Del Toro freakshow horror…

    It just seems, sight unseen and based wholly on the marketing, that DBAOTD straddles the line between all three, with the R rating for the guy geeks, the Del Toro dorky monsters angle for the old-school guys, and the haunted house loud noises suspense angle for the teen girls… I almost wonder if it would’ve done better had they just gone all the way “teen girl” with it, Insidious/Paranormal style. ‘Cause the geeky monster movie guys aren’t enough to make it a hit, and any “dude” I’ve seen talking about it seems to think it doesn’t look “hardcore” enough in terms of “kills.”

  9. bulldog68 says:

    Maybe opening two weeks after Final Destination 5 and one week after Fright Night didn’t help either Lexg. September seems pretty light on horror films and for the Halloweeen month of October we have The Thing opening on the 14th, and Paranormal Activity on the 21st. Maybe they should have opened in September.

  10. berg says:

    saw Senna at 10 this morning and then afterwards I theater hopped into Suing the Devil for about 15 minutes …. oh my god, this is a high school drama level production with Malcolm McDowell as Satan … literally jaw dropping bad, and then I walked outside and it’s like 105-degrees

  11. Rob says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of The Help (I liked it), but it’s good for movies in general that a Viola Davis/Emma Stone vehicle is doing so well.

    Glad to see Crazy Stupid Love hanging on in the top ten for five weeks. That’s my favorite studio movie of the summer after Bridesmaids.

  12. JKill says:

    Lex, first of all you should see DBAOTD, as it rules but you’re right in that it fits forms 1 and 3. However, despite the R it definitely doesn’t qualify for criteria 2. That crowd will be let down, as the focus is on terror and suspense, not gore. I would be shocked if the first group, which is probably the largest, wouldn’t have a great time with the movie but many of them aren’t going to be able to buy a ticket because of the unjustly restricted rating it was given.

  13. Sideshow Bill says:

    The R rating for DBAOTD is insanity. It plays almost like the best and classiest Goosebumps episode ever. Might not be the most flattering way to describe it, but it works as a way of pointing out how idiotic the R rating is.

    I wonder if the poor Cinemascore ratings come from those who expected a hard R horror film.

  14. jesse says:

    Yeah, I wasn’t quite as in love with DBAOTD as some of the geek crowd seems to be, but something I thought was interesting about it, and would potentially hurt it with the seemingly hard-to-actually-satisfy horror audience (what horror movies ever have seemed like audiences actually LIKED them specifically and not just went to them and then booed or walked out before they were even over? First entries in Final Destination and Saw and Paranormal Activity… and I can’t really think of much else, at least in my anecdotal experience. Horror audiences don’t seem to actually LIKE anything): the fact that, as Sideshow Bill sort of implies, it’s actually kind of a movie that could work well for… kids? “Best and classiest Goosebumps” is about right, actually. It’s very well-made, and the characters are relatively believable and well-drawn for this type of movie, and that includes stuff that’s largely from a child’s point of view.

    It’s also a little poky, and while it has some neat spooky/creepy scenes and elements… it’s really not that scary, either. If not for some gory moments (which I guess got it that R), really, I feel like a ten-year-old who likes ghost stories (though this isn’t one) could probably enjoy it.

    But on the other hand, the parent characters and deliberate pace kind of make it an odd fit for a total kid audience the way that Monster House is a fun Kid’s First Horror Picture. And the kid aspect it probably does make it seem a little silly/minor for adult horror fans, even if it’s better-crafted than about 70% of what they see in a given year.

    So I can see it getting lost in the shuffle. It’s sort of like a Tim Burton movie (especially something like Sleepy Hollow) without the star power, ostentatiously gorgeous set design (although some of that was quite good), or stronger sense of odd humor.

  15. Martin S says:

    Lex – same rule from Fright Night applies to DBAOTD.

    No one has any interest in straight up horror at this time of year.

    What’s so odd to me is that The Thing fits more in line with Predators, which opened in early July. It’s one of those hybrid properties that can play at different times of the year. Fright Night and DBAOTD never were.

    October 7 and October 28th have zilch for horror releases.

    That makes the FN and DBAOTD releases fucking idiotic. How the hell do you not release Fright Night at midnight on the 27th? Did someone honestly think it couldn’t have made 14Mil over Halloween weekend alone?

    What kills me is seeing De Luca involved in this. He’s been a favorite of mine since the halcyon New Line days and I’m praying his attachment is only due to the cup of coffee he had at SKG. Because if he thought releasing a vampire film in August was going to replicate Blade business, his genre deftness just got bitchslapped for no reason.

  16. Maxim says:

    “We had a discussion some time back about which was the bigger box office failure, Green Lantern or this, and if C&A doesn’t make it to $100M, then I believe it gets the dubious crown, helped along by failure to make this benchmark.”

    The difference in gross will be dfarfed by the difference in budget. In any case, C&A is certainly NOT the biggest money loser of the summer.

  17. movieman says:

    Apes is about to become Fox’s first 150 million grossing film domestically since 2009.
    And probably its last for at least 9 months.
    Ethan- Did you forgot “Chipwrecked” arriving December 16th?
    That should do $150-million easily (and, sadly, probably a tad better).

    That’s a good point about “OIB” matching domestic cumes for “Cyrus” and “Cedar Rapids” (two excellent comparisons btw) in its opening weekend. Maybe that’s the reason it seemed so “platform”-y versus saturation release to me. Of course, a case could be made–and has many times on the Hot Blog alone–that Searchlight occasionally platforms a movie to death, possibly because they’ve undervalued a film’s earning potential (and wider-than-arthouse appeal).

  18. Krillian says:

    Conan cost $90 million.

    Overseas will help Green Lantern and C&A come close to breaking even.

    Back in April my prediction for The Help was $110 million domestic. Course, I also pegged Kung Fu Panda 2 for $300 million.

  19. Sideshow Bill says:

    Jesse wrote: ” Horror audiences don’t seem to actually LIKE anything.”

    Yup. I say it as a life-long, Fangoria generation horror geek: horror fans overall seem to not like anything, and they by and large support garbage. They complain about a lack of original or quality horror films yet shell out for every Saw, et al, that comes down the pipe. Lame. Frustrates me. I was just pleased DBAOTD was released and I was able to see it, along with my 12 y/o daughter (who dug it but she’s a classy chick). I know it isn’t original but it’s a quality work, albeit slight. Plus, a lot of horror fans, as somebody else mentioned above, seem to think PG-13 automatically equals crap. That sort of limited thinking is part and parcel of a lot of geeks. Rating/running time get more attention than needed.

    The studios always seem to have some October boogeyman they schedule around. It was Saw for a long time, and now it looks like they are afraid of Paranormal Activity 3. It’s dumb to begin with, clogging August with horror when October is when you can reel in even casual fans in the mood. But Paranormal Activity isn’t going to hit 5-7 sequels like Saw did so it seems even moreso that Fright Night or DBAOTD could have done Insidious numbers at least. I’m still bitter that Trick ‘R Treat was never given a shot in some late October weekend.

  20. JKill says:

    Kind of surprised PRIANHA 3-DD wasn’t scheduled for this October instead of September. Dimension is, however, slotting the next HALLOWEEN around, um, Halloween next year unlike the last one when they decided to release it in August…

  21. LexG says:

    Actually, Dimension has released almost all their Halloweens in August– H20 in 1998, Halloween: Resurrection, and both Rob Zombie remakes were all August releases.

    I’m inclined to say even the FIRST Dimension-based Halloween, the 6th one with Paul Rudd from 1995, was also an August–

    EDIT: Oops, it was a September release in 1995

  22. Martin S says:

    Does Halloween (the film) actually merit this kind of survival?

    I watched about 15minutes of Zombie’s and it felt like a really bad comic adaptation.

    The cats working on the 3D version are possibly the last director/writer plodding duo still getting theatrical. It kills me to think these guys are also on the Hellraiser reboot.

    Rudd was in six? Good god, I didn’t think he had been around that long.

    Ya know, I don’t think I saw six. I know I watched five, because I smacked myself afterwards in shame.

  23. LexG says:

    I’ve seen every Halloween entry more times than I can count… I’m pretty sure Paul Rudd has an “introducing” credit on Halloween 6 (I think he’s also billed under some three-namer with his middle name), but it technically came out after “Clueless” despite being filmed before.

    He plays the grown-up version of Tommy, the kid Jamie Lee is babysitting in the original.

  24. Joe Leydon says:

    That’s right, LexG.

  25. LexG says:

    The Rudd in H6 issue reminds me that a good idea for movie-mag article would be some “before they were shtickmeisters” deal about that whole current comedy crop, and how they would all do serious dramas and horror movies before they all hit it big with frat/bro comedies; These days it’s increasingly hard to remember that Vince Vaughn was a straight leading man in The Cell or Return to Paradise, or Owen Wilson would play a serial killer in Minus Man, or Ben Stiller would wheel out a Permanent Midnight, or Jack Black would show up in Tony Scott movies and Jesus’ Son, or Seth Rogen was some prick bully in Donnie Darko, or Zach Galafiniakis was some square dude in a military outfit in Below…

    Sometimes their comedies are such that I wish they’d all stuck to drama.

  26. Rob says:

    I prefer the sexy, morally compromised Vaughn of Clay Pigeons and Return to Paradise to the fat motormouth we’re stuck with now.

  27. LexG says:

    Yeah, it’s awfully hard to argue with the BILLIONS those guys all make doing crappy comedies, but any young actor, especially all the guys who came up in that class of 96 era, probably all wanted to be Mickey Rourke or Robert De Niro, sweating and fuming through complex dramas for auteur directors…

    Somehow 70% of them ended up as Leslie Nielsen before their time, with mostly Damon, Phoenix, Wahlberg and DiCaprio handling the serious stuff, with the occasional cameo by McConaughey when he feels like making the effort.

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    Perhaps after reading his reviews for Gus Van Sant’s Psycho, Vince Vaughn called his agent and said: “Comedies. Just comedies, from now on.”

  29. The Big Perm says:

    Vaughn and Wilson’s problem is that in dramas, they’re pretty slight. Of course it didn’t help Vaughn to mostly pick lame dramas.

    As for horror movies, I think a lot of times audiences come out laughing at them because 95% of the time that have an extremely shitty ending. I have trouble remembering the last horror movies I’ve seen that didn’t end with a bullshit jump scare out of nowhere. It’s one reason I like it when A-list directors make horror, because they usually treat the genre as something they want to make well and not a merry-go-round for retards.

  30. Hallick says:

    People go on and on about how much harder it is to do comedy than drama, but a truly, genuinely, ACTUAL scary movie for an adult in a movie theater (not a kid, and not an adult at home alone at 1 in the morning freaking out over every mouse fart in the next room over) is apparently the hardest thing in the world of cinema to pull off, period. Anybody who can do it deserves an instant MacArthur genius grant.

  31. JS Partisan says:

    Perm, right on about the directors.

    Hal, they could pull it off, but this is HORROR. Unless it’s a certain director. No one tries hard enough in horror. It’s just a lazy genre way too much of the time and while I may have posted in here dicky shit about it. If it’s done right. If the people involved are actually trying, then it’s usually worth it. Unfortunately, it’s about lazy gore and bullshit jumpscares, and storytelling that makes the Vampire Diaries seem like a Peabody award winner.

  32. JKill says:

    Lex, that’s interesting. I had assumed the HII release was an isolated incident since I remember a lot of reporting about how Dimension had to release it then because of cash flow issues, and that was the first time I’d ever really thought about it. I’m assuming the thought process is that if they open right before Halloween they’ll have a huge opening and then a steep drop-off, whereas in August they’ll have some play beforehand. Still seems goofy, though.

    I think the MBV and DRIVE ANGRY guys we’ll make a cool HALLOWEEN movie, although it’s probably important to note that I’m someone who found the two Zombie flicks to actually be fascinating and worthwhile. The second, especially, is like this insane, ultra-dark, exploitation art film.

  33. Rob says:

    Speaking of the new Halloween series, it’s amazing how many movies the Weinsteins are dropping over the course of three or four weeks: Spy Kids, Our Idiot Brother, Apollo 18, I Don’t Know How She Does It. One of their famous fire sales, I guess.

    They’ve done a nice job handling Sarah’s Key, though.

  34. Martin s says:

    Yeah, I noticed that also, Rob. Makes one wonder what’s the tick-tock in TWC…

  35. hcat says:

    Well the major studios don’t normally release their big guns until later in the year so a smaller company like TWC actually has an oppurtunity to compete at the box office. Even with the weak competition this week Our Idiot Brother still got creamed, this would have likely been worse in July or October.

  36. Joe Leydon says:

    Spekaing of fire sales: Remember back when the Weinsteins and Disney were preparing to part company? For months before the official divorce, there was a virtual deluge of homevid releases of Miramax and Dimension films and vidpics that had been on the shelf for years. That’s when we finally saw titles like My Name is Modesty (filmed in 18 days just so Miramax could retain rights to the Modesty Blaise character), Takedown (the last screenwriting credit of the late David Newman) and various Hellraiser and Crow sequels. The Modesty DVD actually is worth owning, if only because it contains a 42-minute joint interview with Quentin Tarantino (billed as the vidpic’s “presenter”) and director Scott Spiegel that serves as an amusing and instructive mini-seminar on the nuts and bolts of low-budget vidpic production.

  37. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    And Dimension just spewed out another quickie, direct-to-DVD Hellraiser sequel in order to keep rights to the property and (eventually) remake the original.

  38. Storymark says:

    The trailer for that is…. depressing. Shot for 300 grand in 2 weeks.

  39. JKill says:

    HELLRAISER is kind of like CHILDREN OF THE CORN or PUPPET MASTER when it comes to horror franchises because they have went direct to video more often than not. I like the original movie but I actually wouldn’t mind a COTC remake now that I think about it (and yes I have seen the one syfi did a couple of years back….)

  40. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    And there’s also a new Children of the Corn sequel, released this month, from direct-to-DVD sequel extraordinaire Joel Soisson.

  41. Joe Leydon says:

    Seriously: Take a look at that doc on the My Name is Modesty DVD — it’s available through Netflix — to hear some really interesting stuff about what goes into low-budget direct-to-DVD production.

  42. cadavra says:

    “Shot for 300 grand in 2 weeks.”

    So was THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN. It’s not how little you spend, but what you do with what you have.

  43. LexG says:

    Isn’t that the theme song to Cannonball Run?

  44. LexG says:

    Belated: Thought DON’T BE AFRAID… was amusing but sort of REALLY bad, decidedly NOT scary, at least not once the “villain” was revealed.

    Holmes was good, Pearce was phoning it in amusingly, but the production design and atmosphere reminded me of Jan De Bont’s crappy “The Haunting” that everyone hates so much… Without spoiling, I really can’t say enough about HOW LAME the second half is, especially a dinner party scene.

    Can Guillermo get a new shtick? Does this guy possess an ounce of interest in anything adult? Is he just going to keep doing this same dorky throwback monster shit for the rest of his career?

  45. The Big Perm says:

    What’s your definition of adult though? Mike Bay?

  46. JKill says:

    Sorry to hear you didn’t like DBAOTD, Lex.


    Was your problem with the dinner party scene that, despite the foreshadowing, it didn’t really build up to anything? I thought the happenings in the library were awesome and scary but it was strange that instead of the Dante-ian mayhem I expected, this new group in the house basically just caused Pearce to be red-faced and uncomfortable. It’s odd that the creatures would be presented with a buffet of free eating, and they decide to sit back and wait.


    But I totally think the movie was effective tonally, and I actually found it scary and tense. I thought Holmes was great in it, and the last big scene of the movie was pretty gripping and perfectly executed.

    I’m not sure why del Toro would have to abandon his interests and aesthetic but his one non-monster related project I’d be really curious to see is his brewing adaptation of SLAUGHTER HOUSE FIVE.

  47. jesse says:

    To my recollection, the old movie of Slaughterhouse-Five is actually pretty damn strong, considering how that movie seems nigh-unfilmable, so I’m surprised that anyone would see fit to take another crack at it (well, I guess there would be money in it, maybe even moreso now than when Vonnegut was still alive and writing). But it’s not like the ’74 Great Gatsby where they really botched a great book. The S5 movie is pretty respectable.

  48. JKill says:

    I’m a George Roy Hill fan and a huge Vonnegut fan, but oddly I’ve never seen the SH5 movie…I’ll have to remember to change that soon.

  49. LexG says:

    I’m being too harsh on DON’T BE, maybe, because like I said, I mostly enjoyed watching it… Just once the jig was up, it got too into that “light”/silly/whimsical Burton-esque “madcap” feel, and in general I find the static and silent (as seen in some of the first half) more sinister than the frenetic. The dinner party scene, I don’t know… it’s just the whole buildup and the whole mythology of the creatures is them singling out kids and being so mysterious and well hidden, then suddenly they’re dicking around all over the place jumping out of bushes in broad daylight and tugging at people under the dinner table, yet not only does not much come of it, but no one seems to notice.

    I also, because I’m notoriously slow about following detailed plots, did NOT understand the ending; First off, I never understand where writers get their PHYSICS DEGREES, and I get SO BORED by stuff like this I zone out, but how did Holmes manage to get herself roped up to get sucked down the shaft? Where did the ropes even COME FROM? What was physically GOING ON THERE? People complain about Bay/Greengrass/Scott spatial dynamics all the time, but I never have trouble following that; I have a much harder time following SUBTERRANEAN UNDERLIT SKULKING as seen here… Suddenly there’s just… ropes… and Holmes is all tied up… Does she know she’s going down the chute? Does it make any sense?

    Also the librarian’s EXPERT SPIEL on the villains was so boring and convoluted, and so much frenzy had happened since, as it was fading out, I did not REMOTELY understand why Holmes’ voice would be down there with them, or why the kid and Pearce bring a drawing… I didn’t even understand what I WAS LOOKING AT during the last 8-10m of that movie. How does anyone follow stuff like this?

  50. berg says:

    you had a problem with the spacial dynamics of DBAOTD and yet you loved Columbiana, where in the last 8 to 10 minutes of the movie she drives an armored car from chicago to cia headquarters and then to new orleans, takes out the entire mob (and the fbi and cia who know where she’s headed never think to go there) and then she abandons her pet killer mastifs and hops on a bus … I found that very believable and in fact hope to see a sequel with the two dogs where they are roaming around NOLA chewing up pedestrians and rude motel maids just like the tire in Rubber

  51. LexG says:

    Colombiana had brighter colors.

  52. Not David Bordwell says:

    “just like the tire in RUBBER”

    What a fucked-up little film. I rented it because I thought it would be just straight up “We made a serial killer movie like NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN but with a sentient tire instead of Javier Bardem in bad hair,” which I would have enjoyed WAY MORE than NCFOM. I was hoping for the next TREMORS or SLITHER.

    I was profoundly annoyed, then seriously disappointed, and finally bored to death by the über-clever meta-bullshit. I don’t rent serial-killer tire movies expecting Luis fucking Buñuel.

  53. storymark says:

    “It’s not how little you spend, but what you do with what you have.”

    Quite true. I should not have been dismissive to the concept. But when it’s a franchise quickie, it’s not a good sign.

  54. LexG says:

    Let’s face it, Hellraiser was always some tawdry, foul, low-rent shit; I’m a horror fan and would gladly while away a drunken night watching even the crappy Alan Smithee one or the Craig Scheffer Hellraiser without complaint, but as a horror franchise, Hellraiser never had the highs of the Carpenter Halloween (or III, or H20, or the Zombie remakes), never had the singularity of purpose of the Jason series, never had the filmmaking chops of some of the cleverer Elm St. movies. I know the con fanboys love Pinhead as an image, but the movies are always pretty skeevy.

  55. berg says:

    I’d take Warlock over Pinface

  56. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Second that NBD. Rubber is painfully awful. And while I like the original Hellraiser, and II & III have their low-rent charms, I’m not crazy about the series or Pinhead. So-so.

    The last movie that really, truly freaked me out was The Reef. Watched it last week. Having fairly serious hydrophobia and a paralyzing fear of sharks certainly played a role, but it terrified me. The shark attacks are handled extremely well, and its last 30 minutes are pretty damn tense.

  57. JKill says:

    Or Leprechaun.

    But the kink and peversion of HELLRAISER is a big part of the appeal, I think. The main thing I remember about the original movie, which IS well made, was how uncomfortable a lot of it is. While the other franchises follow the have sex and then you die ethos of the 80s, there’s none of that division in Hellraiser. It’s some strange S and M universe with an enigmatic, nearly backstoryless icon. The other thing worth noting about the original is how very little screen time Pinhead actually has. I bet he’s not in the movie more than ten or twelve minutes, tops.

    However, Lex you’re spot on that the idea of being outraged by a reboot or remake is pretty silly considering that “foul, low-rent” direct to video entries (not that those are bad in and of themselves) are the rule, not the exception when it comes to Hellraiser. Rebooting HELLRAISER isn’t like TCM or HALLOWEEN where you’re playing with sacred ground but more like CHILDREN OF THE CORN or PUPPET MASTER where the movies were hardly treated like Oscar Bait, and more known for the great iconography and concept. There’s a lot of potential, and I hope Lussier and Farmer nail it. I will add, though, that HELLRAISER: INFERNO, which is kind of the series’ HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH in how tenuous its conection is to the others is, is a movie I have a soft spot for, an obscenely dark hearted and f’ed up movie that has more in common with SEVEN than anything else. It’s nasty, angry, depressing and unpleasant in an entertaining way.

    EDITED: And, since we’re kind of on the subject, whatever happened to Anthony Hickcox, director of H3? Big fan of his WAXWORKS, one of the lesser hearlded horror comedies of the 80s.

  58. LexG says:


    Shocker 2, please, Wes.

  59. Triple Option says:

    From what I remember, I had expected more out of Pinhead from the 1st Hellraiser. A lot of people were talking about him but he didn’t seem to be featured that much during the actual film. He and some other nasty villians had more like cameos.

    I do remember getting goo goo eyes on Claire Higgins at the time.

  60. The Big Perm says:

    That’s what I liked about Hellraiser. It seemed like it was going to be yet another slasher, but then it turned out to have an actual interesting story to it. I like that Pinhead just showed up to clean house. The later movies are the lesser ones for making them Pinhead-slasher movies.

    I liked Rubber! I think it would have gotten a bit dull if it were JUST a killer tire movie. Where you know all the exact beats but it’s just a tire. It wasn’t the best, but it was pretty good. One problem for filmmakers is people bitch about there being nothing original, but if you do something original, people would rather have the same old shit just evvvveeeeer so slightly different.

  61. Bitplayer says:

    Original Hellraiser is good because the woman fucked a dude with no skin. She got lucky she didn’t get Hellraiser HIV.

  62. Not David Bordwell says:

    Yeah, Perm, “sentient tire with telekinetic powers” is EXACTLY the kind of insignificant variation I always look for in serial killer movies. It’s not like that would subvert the entire genre or anything, or make you think differently about “all the exact beats.” I really don’t want to be challenged when I ingest my formula.

  63. Krillian says:

    There’s nothing to be afraid of in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

    I did not like it. I thought there’d be some suspense somewhere. Never felt it. Spoilers to follow…

    First of all, the scene in the library, she takes several pictures that capture the creatures. There are polaroids everywhere laying on the ground when the adults rush in, not to mention she smashed the arm off of one of the creatures, and yet the adults don’t look around, and suddenly we’re in the next scene?! Wait a minute. She took a dozen picture of the things, and there’s an ARM on the GROUND of one of the beasties? And they just ignore it?

    The librarian scene was terrible. The dialogue was expos-city, but on top of that, if Katie Holmes’s character is a big fan of Blackwood, shouldn’t she already know basic biographical details about him, like that he had a son or that he disappeared and was never seen again?

    Then the ending. If I am Guy Pearce, and I see Katie Holmes get sucked down a tunnel, I call the cops and send a rescue team DOWN THE FREAKING TUNNEL! I don’t just give up. “Oh well. They got her. Let’s foreclose this place.”

    I like to feel goosebumps in movies. I liked Paranormal Activity. I liked Insidious. I was expecting a PG-13 horror flick. Never got into this one.

  64. Pete B. says:

    Somebody brought up Puppet Master…
    I don’t remember which one she was in, but what ever happened to Charlie Spradling? She was in a few of those Full Moon movies. She was tasty. Or at least she was then.

  65. The Big Perm says:

    But NBD, you seemed to be wanting essentially just a Friday the 13th movie except with a killer tire. Like, the fact that the killer is a tire makes a difference. So like, you could have the scenes with the teens making out in the car and the girl takes her top off, but instead of being killed by a guy with a machete, it’s a tire. Isn’t that what you’re complaining that the movie wasn’t? Like JUST having a tire be the killer is enough to make the movie totally original? I know you’re trying to be sarcastic but you’re pretty bad at it, I’m just trying to get things straight here.

  66. Not David Bordwell says:

    You know Perm, I wasn’t going to respond at all, and then I got into a pissy mood, and now you’re dissing my pissiness. So I guess I brought this all on myself, but…

    If you want to get things straight, try reading my original post more carefully. I said “serial killer movie,” not “slasher flick.” Different genres, different conventions. Moreover, I said “like NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN,” not “like FRIDAY THE 13TH.” Entirely different aesthetics, entirely different forms. And I brought up the Coen Bros. movie because the teasers and trailers for RUBBER featured desert, cops, and motels. A movie that subverted a movie that was trying to subvert cliches about The West, Lawmen, and The Nature of Violence in this Crazy, Messed Up World of Ours — by substituting a SENTIENT TIRE for the ruthless, diabolical, but ultimately mindless slave to his own compulsion to kill — would have been pretty amusing. You know, along the lines of a TREMORS or a SLITHER, the two movies I named in my original post THAT ARE NOT LIKE FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH AT ALL, in part because they SUBVERT GENRE CONVENTIONS and are HIGHLY ORIGINAL, unlike FRIDAY THE 13TH, which basically ripped off a superior Mario Bava movie but with the added appeal of Tom Savini’s bitchin’ gore effects.

    In other words, I was looking forward to a movie that cleverly DEFLATED the self-serious, self-satisfied POMPOSITY of the BEST PICTURE OF 2008 by turning Anton Chigurh into a FUCKING TIRE. What I got instead was half-baked meta-humor that most people outgrow after they’ve graduated from college. “Ooh, what if we have a character breaking the fourth wall? And then commenting on the genre conventions as an ACTOR rather than as the CHARACTER he plays? But then, he has to remain in the movie as the CHARACTER anyway?”

    Aw, forget it. There was a fun movie in the premise, but the movie I saw wasn’t fun. It was annoying.

  67. berg says:

    “Ooh, what if we have a character breaking the fourth wall? And then commenting on the genre conventions as an ACTOR rather than as the CHARACTER he [they] play[s]? But then, [s]he has to remain in the movie as the CHARACTER anyway?”

    ah, Passions of Anna (d. Ingmar Bergman) with Liv Ullman

  68. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    BP, I love me some original horror, or at least a fresh approach to something tried and true. I was psyched about Rubber because the horror sites were raving about it (should have been my first clue). Sounded fun and a little different. But I found it insufferably boring, and not because it wasn’t a slasher with a tire substituting for Jason. Not what I was expecting from it and not what I wanted. The idiots commenting on what the tire does got old in about 3 minutes. And I was ready to gouge my eyes out after the 8ooth shot of the tire slowly rolling down a desolate road. It would have been better as a short film.

  69. The Big Perm says:

    Here;s the problem with simply substituting a tire for Anton Chigurth…it’s a TIRE. It has no personality. Less than Jason in any Friday the 13th even. Say you want to make a serial killer movie…not a slasher…okay, how does that work? Like the awesome standoff scenes with Chigurth, where Bardem was carrying the movie like a motherfucker…how do you replicate that with a tire? It’s easy to say, how do you actually do it?

    You can stick with the characters, like Tremors, but then Rubber is just like any other monster movie except the monster is stupid. Or you could do like Slither but again…monster with personality, big threat, zombies AND worms…versus a tire. Honestly I don’t see any real way to do a movie about a killer tire without fucking with the whole thing, the very idea is stupid (as surely they knew when they made it). The very nature of making a killer tire movie means you’re just making something weird, not a mainstream movie.

    I do agree it may have been better as a short film. It’s not that I LOVED the movie. But, you know, as killer tire movies go, it wasn’t bad.

  70. The Big Perm says:

    Oh yeah, Paul…you’re right. Almost any time a website really hypes something up, I expect to see something mediocre. The worst offender was CHUD, when I used to read that.

  71. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    It’s definitely a cut above your average killer tire movie. And CHUD is awful. I also gave up on them long ago. Talk about excessive hype.

  72. The Big Perm says:

    Remember how that guy Nick always had a bunch of amazing projects that never amounted to jack shit and no one even cared on the site and it made him mad? Ha ha, the site was good for nerd drama at least.

    I would like to see a Silence of the Lambs sequel but with a killer tire instead of Lecter. It would be really good (the suits don’t care) and way cheaper (now you’re talking, BP). I know how to make this work Hollywood, call me.

  73. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I do remember that. I also recall he actually did co-produce a killer bear movie that received abysmal reviews.

  74. JKill says:

    Actually, Nick Nunziata (of CHUD fame) is an associate producer on DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  75. torpid bunny says:

    Isn’t Cormac McCarthy a kind of west-texas stephen king anyway? Although obviously a superior stylist in various ways, Cormac’s highbrow cred serves mainly to translate King’s unreconstructed trauma horror into a lot of intermittently lyrical gnostic lugubriousness.

  76. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Well then he’s definitely progressed from low-budget killer bear movies.

  77. Storymark says:

    “I really don’t want to be challenged when I ingest my formula.”

    Swapping a tire out, and leaving the rest the same is “challenging?” Hmm, okay.

    The film they made was far from perfect (I didn’t care for it, myself), but I thought what they did was far more interesting that a simple substitution.

  78. The Big Perm says:

    Associate producer…most meaningless credit in movies. I think he was there to eat the leftover cupcakes. Still, better than a killer bear movie I guess. The tops would have been that fucking shark movie they were going to make with Jan De Bont, where suddenly all of CHUD thought he was a brilliant director after making fun of him for the past five years or whatever. I don’t usually like the term sell out because it’s a bullshit term normally used by wannabes who are working in an office and not actually involved in film…but that’s sell out.

  79. yancyskancy says:

    Perm: That could work. Hannibal Lec-tire in SILENCE OF THE RIMS.

    How about rubber tires instead of zombies? NIGHT OF THE LIVING TREAD.

  80. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Meg right Big Perm? The one about the giant prehistoric shark? I remember all that. I can’t imagine how must weeping must have taken place when everyone finally realized it wasn’t going to happen.

  81. The Big Perm says:

    I don’t remember the name of the movie. That sounds right though. Ha ha ha, that was hilarious shit.

    Ha ha, Silence of the Rims. Yancy, on my DVD of NOTLD there is a version called Night of the Living BREAD. People who wanted Rubber to be more like a regular movie with just a killer tire would have really like that one, it was bread attacking a house.

  82. JKill says:

    Not to keep defending him but I’m actually pretty sure that Troy Nixey was a CHUD commenter whose short films caught the attention of NN, who in turn brought him to del Toro, so he was relatively crucial to the movie being made, although I have no idea to what extent, if any, he was involved during production or post.

  83. LexG says:

    What the fuck, SERIOUSLY?

    How come Poland or Wells aren’t BRINGING ME TO THE ATTENTION of JJ Abrams? Or Joel Schumacher? Or Elle Fanning?

    I’m giving this revelation the Gas Face.

  84. Storymark says:

    That is either really inspiring, or really depressing (maybe even both), if true.

  85. David Poland says:

    Lex – I know execs who have watched your YouTube stuff and are very into your character. But you stopped producing.

    Suicide and Sex Chat are not turns ons for people considering investing in you. But you know that.

  86. The Big Perm says:

    Nick doesn’t seem to do anything that isn’t whiny. So he basically got a sympathy producing credit. He wasn’t involved in making this movie, he was just like “hey buddy Del Toro, here’s a good movie I know some guy made” and that was it? That’s a true Hollywood amazing story.

  87. LexG says:

    I stopped producing because I get taunts, stalkers, and even threats of physical harm and “real world” repercussions. It’s creepy as hell, and it’s why I pulled the plug on even remotely trying to be serious about writing and certainly of ever appearing on camera again. If I made money at doing any of… this (whatever “this” is), it’d be one thing, but long as I’m stuck doing a jerkoff job in real life, it’s not worth it.

  88. Joe Leydon says:

    LexG: You will always get threats — and, yes, occasional stalkers — if you have any degree of celebrity. This is not a joke. But according to people I’ve consulted — including a few seriously stalked celebs — in the vast majority of cases, the only threats you really have to worry about are those that are specific. Not, “I want to shoot you,” but, “I want to shoot you when you come out of the grocery store where you always shop, at 1234 XYZ Street.”

  89. storymark says:

    Wait…. your greatest desire is to be famous…. but only if no one knows who you are?

    Best of luck, my man.

  90. LexG says:

    I seriously doubt I ever could, or would, get “famous” from posting on movie blogs. I’m not a “public figure” or a “celebrity,” so having some posse of Criterion Nazi emo bullet-belt Libertarian recording studio art-world hangers-on (and Scooterzz’s other identities) issuing public and private threats isn’t fucking funny, or anything I need to be enduring over some shit that ISN’T making me money.

    It’s a little shtick I’d do to while away a lunch break, and it sort of took on a life of its own, but I never figured it was in any way part of any career path toward “fame,” beyond the one in a zillion shot someone might say, “Hey, you’re kinda funny, wanna write something for me?” And even then, I turn ALL that shit down, because of my stupid day job– I can’t write about the biz for money as long as I work in postproduction.

    Plus I don’t wanna be a movie critic or a BLOGGER, though I act up and get all obnoxious about it, mostly because it PAINS ME the mediocrities who do this for a living, and all goddamn day I read on Twitter what fucking screenings they’re going to, or how Todd Gilchrist is doing a sit-down with Amanda Seyfried; I never aspired to be the Byron Allen, but in my pissier moods, it sure as shit sounds preferable to laying down timecode over a movie that doesn’t even come out for four months in some shitty florescent office.

  91. David Poland says:

    Well. Lex… you either need to shit or get off the “fuck Todd Gilchrist” pot. Cause the bottom line is, he is there because he works hard, is smart, and does the job.

    If fucking starlets was that important to you, you’d start doing something illegal to make a lot of cash, lose the weight, and fuck your way through this town. It’s not brain surgery. It’s coke and/or bullshit.

  92. LexG says:

    No need to be a dick. Especially since I’ve lost 28 lbs since June 1st.

    Also I don’t know the guy or his chick, but aren’t Todd/Jen kind of “there” because they’re a bit of a package duo who function as a support system? Shit, if my girlfriend was agent or a gigging actress, I’m sure I’d land auditions or comedy spots… Just saying, it’s kind of easier to navigate the sewing circle when your girlfriend RUNS MOVIELINE MAGAZINE. In my day to day life, other than some fellow sadsacks who occasionally put me in their short films, I don’t really have friends with connections.

    It’s not really easy to go at any of this shit with absolutely zero friends in the game.

  93. David Poland says:

    Not meaning to be a dick… it’s what you complain about all the time.

    No… there have been times when Todd has been hot and Jen unemployed and vice versa. But both are self-made in this game as far as I know.

    And you do have friends in the game… you keep turning them down when they ask you to work.

  94. LexG says:

    HEY I have a SERIOUS QUESTION, for Poland or Junketman Scoot or LEYDON or any other swinging dick critic who pokes in over here:

    Why WOULDN’T, WHY WOULDN’T, you guys just WRITE RAVES for money? Fuck, I’d GLADLY rubber stamp any movie in the world for some extra $– fuck knows, I like everything anyway… If I were a critic, the reviews would START at three stars and only ever go up. I should be HIRED SOMEWHERE just on this basis, that I would almost NEVER give a truly bad review…

    Have any of you guys ever been offered cash, coke, or pussy to write a positive review? Why NOT? Why would there be ANY ETHICS involved? it’s a stupid MOVIE, you wouldn’t be outing Valerie Plane or something.

    Shit, I would write up ECSTATIC REVIEWS of LITERALLY ANYTHING ANYTHING if it meant MONEY or VACATIONS(eh, actually, fuck a vacation) or especially HOOKERS.

    Why doesn’t every critic just actively go out TRYING to get bribed?

    It’s kinda like how I’d wanna be a cop JUST to get the free BJs from hookers and to have speeding hot female motorists show me their clam to get out of a ticket.

    Why would ANYONE have any PRINCIPLES when it comes to something as MEANINGLESS as covering Hollywood?

  95. storymark says:

    Funny, whenever someone asks Lex why he doesn’t take advantage of the opportunities he’s had, he turns the crazy up to 11 to compensate…

  96. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, at a film festival several years ago, I met a filmmaker at a reception who… well, let’s just say she indicated that she wanted to have a private chat with me after I saw her debut feature, which was screening that evening. Unfortunately, the film was truly abysmal, so I never did take her up on her offer.

  97. hcat says:

    That Penny Marshal is always up to something.

  98. The Big Perm says:

    I hung out with J.J. Abrams once.

  99. Joe Leydon says:

    I guess I should add that, as far as I can tell, this filmmaker has never produced anything in any medium ever again. And we’re talking about, ahem, several years of anonymity.

    Which brings up an only semi-related question: Is there anything sadder than paging through old film festival catalogues and realizing that some people who made films you actually did like — films that showed promise, but never got distribution — evidently never made second movies?

  100. hcat says:

    I think of that every year when I read all the reporting on Sundance. Think of how many films are accepted, and then you would estimate perhaps 15% get distribution, with only a handful even grossing over a million at the box office. I can’t imagine the ulcers I would have from the emotional roller coaster of actually getting to make a movie, no matter how small, then wait to hear from a festival, being elated getting in, and then grinding my teeth the whole time waiting to hear the reviews or a possible pick-up.

  101. The Big Perm says:

    One time I got a movie into a huge festival but I thought “oh fuck,” because I was poor and barely had money to fly out there. You could tell the guy who called to tell the good news wasn’t used to getting a reaction like mine.

  102. LYT says:

    Lex, most of us would get fired for doing that. David can do what he wants, but as you must know by now he’s obsessed with professional ethics.

    I do know of a former LAT critic who was pressured to tone down a review to appease advertisers, then fired when he said no.

  103. LexG says:

    Basically in life I just want to be bribed.

    Preferably with sex. It is my new goal in life.

  104. The Big Perm says:

    Good luck with that.

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