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By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Gobble Gobble Klady

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37 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Gobble Gobble Klady”

  1. EthanG says:

    Four family films, probably three financial bombs.

    *ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (which likely cost 100 million) might make it to $50 million since it’s a Xmas film, but has tanked internationally everywhere outside of Britain. This definitely will be curtains for Aardman if their next film tanks until they figure out how to keep costs down.

    *HAPPY FEET TWO is an unmitigated disaster domestically, probably trailing the first film by 60 million after two weekends. $80 million total now seems on the high end of expectations. International might help it…too early to tell.

    *Great per theatre average for HUGO, but if the film went as over-budget as stated (near 140 million), it’s going to need to keep up the word of mouth and international grosses.

    At least MUPPETS and PUSS are successes. Hopefully Hollywood doesn’t try this family canibalization again.

  2. movieman says:

    My guess is that “Hugo” is probably doing the lion’s share of its biz in upscale locations and in the biggest cities (NY, LA, Chicago, SF, etc.). In other words, it’s performing like a typical platform movie with jumbo per-screen averages in locations like Sony Lincoln Square and the Arclight. (The Wednesday matinee I attended out here in the heartland had 9–count ’em–people in the audience, none of whom were under the age of 50.)
    The marketing hype on “Marilyn” doesn’t seem to be catching b.o. fire.
    It’s a pleasant enough trifle even if Williams’ performance doesn’t quite deliver on the advance huzzahs. She’s competent, I suppose, but utterly lacking in the requisite Monroe sensuality. It’s more Halloween dress-up than perf. (I preferred Samantha Morton’s “Marilyn” in “Mr. Lonely.”)
    Another performance that felt absurdly overrated to me was Fassbender’s turn in “Shame.” I think some critics are so impressed by the courage he displays by going starkers that they’re confusing it with great (Method) acting. Like the film itself, it’s cold, opaque and quasi stunt-like. Never once did he draw me in to his character.
    Also, Fassbender seems to be one of those actors (see Jude Law) who needs facial hair (“Basterds,” “Fish Tank,” etc.) to be genuinely interesting on camera. Without a mustache, goatee, stubble, whatever, he’s actually kind of Kyle MacLachlan-esque bland.
    After this and (the equally overrated/unpleasant) “Hunger,” I think it’s time to call McQueen out for being the Emperor’s New Clothes of directors that he is.

  3. JKill says:

    THE MUPPETS is utterly fantastic. It’s touching, funny, and charming. It’s the kind of layered family entertainment/art that Pixar is rightly praised for being able to make. I think it’s one of the year’s best, most winning films. For the whole 90 or so minutes, I was smiling and/or teary eyed.

  4. David Poland says:

    Couldn’t disagree more about the Marilyn performance, Movieman. Sorry your dick didn’t get hard, but I think that’s the standard for a porn, not a drama.

    And shouldn’t forget to call you out for being dead wrong on McQueen as well.

  5. Monco says:

    Hugo is pretty great. The whole time while watching I was thinking I had never seen a true 3D film before. Scorsese makes everyone else look like amateurs. I think an Oscar best director nomination is deserved. Not to win, he already has his Oscar but they should at least acknowledge the quality of the work.

    And movieman I haven’t seen Shame yet but I though Hunger was the real deal. Can’t fault you for not liking because it is really unpleasant. Obviously I can’t make ultimate judgements about a filmaker after one film but it has me eager to see Shame.

  6. Big G says:

    Who’d have thought the Muppets would have a higher score on the Tomatometer than The Decendants?

  7. movieman says:

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, Dave.
    While it was apparent that Williams did lots of research on Monroe (and probably took copious notes like the good Method thespian she is), she couldn’t “act” sexy because I don’t think there’s a sensual bone in her entire body. (And Williams’ previous screen work attests to that. For proof, check out her truly inept femme fatale turn in “Deception.”)
    I didn’t think she was “terrible” (although I could make a case for Fassbender being bloody awful in “Shame”), just miscast and not terribly interesting/convincing.
    As for McQueen, I still don’t see what all the fuss is about. Both “Hunger” and “Shame” seem more like overly fussy gallery exhibits than movies.
    P.S.= Why shoot in New York instead of London if you’re casting an Irishman and an Englishwoman as the two leads?
    ****SPOILER ALERT****
    The only two scenes in this otherwise utterly grim and humorless film that elicited a chuckle from me (and I’m pretty sure they were unintentional) were:
    (a) Fassbender torturously explaining his Irish heritage to a hook-up; and (b) the gay bar sequence where seemingly every variety of mansex is taking place right out in the open, but “NO SMOKING” signs are prominently featured everywhere.
    Apparently it’s OK to have any kind of unprotected anonymous sex you choose, but don’t dare light up a cigarette.
    (I guess you have to be a smoker to recognize the sheer “Alice Through the Looking Glass”-like absurdity of the latter.)

  8. LexG says:

    Michelle Williams was super sexy in Deception… and Shutter Island. Then again, she’s probably well within my general, well-known “type” more than she might be for other guys, so who knows.

  9. RobM says:

    I agree that there were too many famuly films released in a 5 day period(although I’m not sure the masses view Hugo as a family film) Having said that, Happy Feet 2 was the only family film last weekend and it failed to meet expectations before the other family films arrived. With Hugo being so well received and Arthur being an Xmas film, they may have better legs than most. As usual, next weekend has no major releases which will also help.

  10. movielocke says:

    oh my god, Hugo. What a directorial tour-de-force. Scorsese better be fucking nominated, an absolute masterpiece and one of his best films, I’d put it in the top two scorsese, which won’t be a popular opinion by the dark-is-ipso-facto-artier fetishists, but man I loved this film and will watch it over and over again. Right up my alley, feels like a personal present that was made just for me. 🙂 I haven’t been this impacted by a new-release film since Almost Famous.

  11. movielocke says:

    btw, I want to see all the sixers be nominated for a seventh this year: Spielberg, Scorsese, Allen. I’m especially passionate about Allen’s work this year, his best directorial job since Manhattan, imo. They can be joined by Malick and Hazanavicius, that’d be a murderers row of directors. Payne’s direction of a typical torn family oscar-bait melodrama is indeed excellent, but considering the field has the above five plus Alfredson, Daldry, Fincher, McQueen and Reitman he deserves to be snubbed, since his work is definitely not better than any of the above ten. Payne getting nominated would be like Tate Taylor getting nominated, a very safe, boring choice compared to the stunning work that is out there this year.

    Considering the massive directing talent up this year, why on earth would directors vote for a boring, hawaiian paced, borderline misogynist melodrama?

  12. Smith says:

    So if Hugo does $8-10k per screen over the weekend and $13-15k+ for the five day, is there any chance Paramount will take the gamble on pushing it into more theaters and seeing if word of mouth + wider availability might give it a bit of a bounce next weekend, when there aren’t any other new wide releases? Not sure what kind of market penetration 1200 theaters gets you now-a-days. Like, is there anyplace in the country that doesn’t have Hugo within easy driving distance, such that an expansion next week would actually help it? Or is Paramount going to just stick at the current levels and hope for good holds?

  13. JS Partisan says:

    Smith, there’s practically nothing coming out for two weeks, so there should be screens available for an expansion. Screens that they can just give to MI4 on Xmas. Here’s hoping the go a bit more wide with it.

  14. Jason says:

    I agree with JKill, Muppets is fantastic. The audience was full and really into the movie. A good mix of generations too. Think it could be really successful this season.

    Definetly surprised by Happy Feet Too. Between that and KFP2, not sure why they both underperformed.

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    Movielocke: How is Descendants borderline misogynist?

  16. berg says:

    Descendants is many things but misogy ain’t one of them …. I like the character of Sid actually, the part where he tells Matt King how smart he is, he can cook, he plays chess, he always has weed … and then Matt replies Kid you’re about 1000 miles from Smartsville …. was going through the script last night … seen the movie twice but each time I swear it sounded like Sid said “whoa, whoa, easy there half pint” but at the bottom of page 59 is his line and it reads “whoa, whoa, easy there half pipe” … what in the heck is “half pipe?”

  17. JS Partisan says:

    You don’t know what a half pipe is? Really? Skateboard more berg, but the misogyny thing is out there and once it’s out there, that’s a tough impression to shake.

  18. berg says:

    I have been hipped to the phrase halfpipe, and I am humbled … and here I was thinking how cool I was because I’ve seen Dragonslayer, Lords of Dogtown and Dogtown and Z-Boys

  19. sdp says:

    “Not sure what kind of market penetration 1200 theaters gets you now-a-days. Like, is there anyplace in the country that doesn’t have Hugo within easy driving distance, such that an expansion next week would actually help it?”

    I figured I would be able to drag at least part of my family to Hugo over the Thanksgiving weekend, but it’s not playing at any theater within an hour radius of my parent’s house. It’s a smallish town with a 7 screen theater, and the ~1000 theater releases don’t tend to make it here.

  20. David Poland says:

    Doesn’t riding the pipe come from surfing before skateboarding?

  21. There are quite a few smaller markets that are HUGO-less, especially those with only one or two digital screens. But with no wide releases on the 2nd, they may be able to take it in.

    Looking at the increasing daily grosses, I think Paramount may have hit the right strategy… The PTA will be good and, when ARTHUR CHRISTMAS and especially HAPPY FEET 2 come off 3D screens in two weeks, it will have an opening. And with only one major 3-D release in the month of December (TINTIN), it will be able to occupy them if it continues to build. Who knows if the movie will be able to post 0-15% drops week-over-week, but I’m a lot more optimistic today than I was on Wednesday.

  22. Triple Option says:

    It’s nice to hear that of all the product out there that most of it seems to be actually good. I still believe that the build a better mousetrap is the best economic model to follow but studios and prod companies often fail to make it a top priority. Like what David was saying in his “thankful” thread, you can’t reduce films to checklists and elements and insert numbers into boxes. Well, you can, but it ends up failing not only on an individual basis but crippling the entire industry.

    Somebody asked me if I thought The Descendants was actually a guy movie and I thought a bit and said “yeah, I think it is.” Maybe that’s why I didn’t think the trailer did it justice. It just looked like a sappy drama but really this one was for Dads. Even if you’re not a father, it was easy to see things through Clooney’s character’s pov if you’re a male. I don’t know if being more heavily male filtered makes it mysoginist but I guess I could see someone saying it’s a bit reductionist (if there’s such a word) per the females or woman’s pov.

    However, Take Shelter, which I stated elsewhere I thought had good acting but not a great film, ala movieman argument against some of the seasons’ top hyped films, I thought suffered because it failed to really capture the surrounding characters’ dilemmas. You could say “well, that’s not the point of this particular film.” Which I get, but it was a film about a man’s reaction to changes to himself and his environment as he sees it. Shouldn’t his environment sorta “speak” more?

    I had first heard the term pipe referring to surfing. Half pipe I heard first for skateboarding. Later for snowboarding. I’m sure I musta heard half pipe as it relates to surfing but it never really registered. I guest because first, any casual observance of surfing on ABC Wide World of Sports or CBS Saturday afternoons in the summer as a kid was so completely mindless. I wasn’t into the sport at all but if bored, it could provide something interesting to see, or at least hope to see some cool moves. Looking back, maybe that’s why I didn’t get into it cuz there weren’t stunts like I’d imagine for today’s generation. For boarding though, half pipe is prominently mentioned and featured as its own event and the techniques needed to master said event.

  23. JS Partisan says:

    David very true but Berg brought up Dogtown and Z-boys! HE SHOULD KNOW THAT ALREADY XD!

  24. sanj says:

    take shelter needed a better ending and that means the last few minutes .

    if a movie’s ending sucks / doesn’t make sense …why should the actors get nominated for oscar ?

    movie critics need to set even higher standards .

  25. Philip Lovecraft says:

    I saw “Hugo” in 3D at the Hollywood Arclight, yesterday. Its 3D look & wild camerawork is breathtaking. Well worth the extra price at the box office. As for the movie, “Hugo”, and “Rampart” which I saw today, are two real films that knocked me completely off guard so I’m not completely sure how I feel about both.

  26. actionman says:

    the ending of take shelter was brilliant.

  27. LexG says:

    “Rampart” is solid and Harrelson is awesome, but “the most corrupt cop you’ve ever seen!”? Only if you’ve never seen Vic Mackey, Alonzo Harris, or either incarnation of The Bad Lieutenant.

    I wanna see Ned Beatty from Rampart and Nolte from Warrior go on a shopping spree at The Mean Old Fucks’ Warehouse.

  28. film fanatic says:

    To be fair, I haven’t seen MARILYN yet, but I, for one, am so f-ing sick of all these celebrity impersonations hogging up the Oscar acting noms year in and year out. It’s gotten out of control. It really ought to be its own separate category, the way they have noms for Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay. I mean, sure it’s “acting,” but it always feels like a stunt and a totally different (and, I’d argue, less challenging) feat than creating a flesh and blood character out of nothing. This is a relatively recent trend Oscar-wise, but has become dominant and annoying. I like to think that if Rich Little had been born 30 years later, he’d have more statuettes than Edith Head.

  29. Krillian says:

    The per-screen for Arthur Christmas looks deadly. Man, if Hugo’d just opened on 1800 screens, it’s be #3.

  30. LexG says:

    HUGO is really, really good, near-loved it… then thanks to that GODDAMN 3D, it all disappears in a puff the SPLIT SECOND the credits come up. And the 3D is terrific, well used, looks good… but the distorted plane REALLY DOES affect one’s concentration and perception of time and space… For this movie, even that’s appropriate, because it renders it all dreamy and hermetic and a total immersive experience…

    But once you walk back out into the real world, the 3D movie disappears like a dream you want to remember… I can see some of the sights, the bits, SBC running around and the beautiful montages of Kingsley’s past, Schulbarg’s unsung performance, Moretzy’s Little Hat; But as for the particulars of the experience, I can never remember or even process 3D movies like I do a “real movie.” Same thing with IMMORTALS couple weeks back– an overwhelming sensory experience, but the story, the dialogue, the emotions all are muted or distorted because of that goddamn 3D.

    And HUGO is maybe the best use of it ever, looks the best it’s ever looked… and I think ultimately it’s a little to the movie’s detriment, because it pops like a bubble when you take those glasses off.

  31. film fanatic says:

    Lex: I totally agree. Ebert wrote a while back about scientific studies that showed that our eyes process digital projection differently than film and everybody scoffed. But it’s real — it has something to do with the interlacing; digital 3D takes advantage of this effect, rapidly alternating the left and right eye in the alternating fields in an almost strobe-like manner which ostensibly seems “seamless” — alternating cycles merging into a “virtual 24p” whole. This, moreso than the awkwardness of wearing the glasses and associated peripheral issues, is what causes the 3D headaches. And it stands to reason that if part of your brain is being constantly over-stimulated this way and having to expend extra energy processing this bombardment to construct the illusion of depth, it’s taking away from your brain’s ability to absorb and focus on what you’re actually watching. It’s a tangible thing and I notice it every time I see a 3D movie, too.

  32. JS Partisan says:

    Nothing bothers me more than actually having to watch a movie that’s on film. I’ve had digital projection theatres for 9 years, so whenever I see film, it really bugs the hell out of me. Which means this all comes down to what you are accustom to, and at this point digital is so much better.

  33. Don R. Lewis says:

    Not trying to pick a fight, Lex but RAMPART stinks. It hurts to say that because I loved THE MESSENGER but RAMPART is boring and lame. It’s trite Cassavettes meets BAD LIEUTENANT. I’m alllll for ambiguity and odd story structure but you can’t have things without an intriguing lead character. And while Woody is solid, he’s bad for bads sake and there’s no rhyme or reason. I give Moverman the sophomore slump pass due to how awesome THE MESSENGER is but RAMPART is a non-starter.

  34. storymark says:

    “Nothing bothers me more than actually having to watch a movie that’s on film. ”

    Hope you weren’t planning to catch Ghost Protocol with the TDKR prologue – as it will only be shown on film – no digital projection allowed. At least, that’s according to the film’s VFX supervisor, Paul Franklin.

  35. movielocke says:

    a couple days late (a couple days under the weather) but Descendants is the sort of film that gets shown in a ‘gender in cinema’ class as an example of the privileged male view combined with the invisible, approved suppression of the female perspective through a variety of elegant, audience flattering ways. Note, this doesn’t mean the film is bad, Laura Mulvey unpacks a lot of very unpleasant things about Vertigo in her Visual Pleasure in Narrative Cinema essay, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who reads that essay thinks the film is bad. Descendents can be every bit as misogynist as Vertigo without being a bad film.

    The film totally silences the wife’s POV, her side of the story is a single line about Clooney being a workaholic. The female perspective of her relationship is effectively sidelined and ignored by the movie in a very subtle way that privelege’s the male sensation of betrayal that underpins Clooney’s character. The film also assumes that cheating is automatically more transgressive and worse than being an absentee parent.

    The film goes to pains to undermine Woodley’s character by introducing her as drunk, this is the only time we see her being transgressive, but it is meant to echo the problems of her mother–she’s tainted, the film is saying–the dialog later confirms this assessment.

    Clooney later states that he only pulled Woodley out of school so she could become a surrogate mother for her younger sister, sexist much?

    Only the male conversation matters in the big ‘showdown’ the women are pushed off screen and to the side.

    Clooney gets to scream and grieve at his unresponsive wife (cue MASSIVE male fantasy, getting to criticize a woman without her ever being able to respond, she literally has to lie there and take all of his invective) and allows his father in law to grieve physically, verbally, emotionally, but when it comes to his elder daughter he cuts her grieving process off. He does the same thing for the the wife, cuts her off. Message is pretty clear, men are privileged, women are secondary.

    In terms of the real estate biz, female cousins are mentioned dismissively in the opening monologue, and from that point on Clooney will only deal with the male cousins, none of the female family members get so much as a line of dialog, this is a boys decision.

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

    So maybe that explains why my wife and mother hated it.

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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.

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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.

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