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By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Seal Klady


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30 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Seal Klady”

  1. EthanG says:

    For all the talk of a box office renaissance, the number of wide releases is up a higher percentage than the gross increase after this weekend. Also, we are way behind 2010 and 2011 the first two months. So the average wide release is grossing the lowest total per movie in about 15 years and this is cause for celebration?

    There have been 25 wide releases in the first two months of this year. There were 19 last year. It’s absurd to credit the increase in box office to anything else except the tidal wave of releases.

  2. Che sucks says:

    Another flop for Aniston. Shocking.

  3. SamLowry says:

    I had a few more comments about that film that still reside in the moderator buffer but heck–if Hollywood can reboot a franchise that’s less than 5 years old, why not give us yet another movie about yuppies fleeing the big city to go find themselves. But make it extra dippy and stereotypical this time!

  4. pops3284 says:

    so aniston is pretty much only good in ensembles or with a major male star, no offense to paul rudd who is always great, but hes not a guy like sandler or what butler was at the time of the bounty hunter.

  5. Krillian says:

    I wonder if it would have been better to flip the billing order to Aniston / Rudd. More people in general have heard of Aniston over Rudd.

  6. movieman says:

    I’m guessing that if Adam Sandler had played the Paul Rudd role in “Wanderlust” it might have opened to at least $20-million.
    And you wouldn’t have had to change a thing (concept/script, supporting cast, director).
    I thought by now that Rudd would have had some top-billing cred with mainstream audiences.

  7. bulldog68 says:

    The things about Rudd is that most people really like him, but in general a comedy that centers around a male star means that male star has a particular style of comedy that will attract people to the project. And its normally a comedian. Carey, Murphy, Sandler, Stiller, and others.

    Paul Rudd has no sellable funny characteristic that moviegoers say, “yeah, gotta see that.” They like him, but he’s not a draw. Not on his own. And certainly not paired with Anniston. No surprise that this opened to less than The Switch where she was paired with another well liked guy who is also not box office on his own, Jason Bateman.

  8. EthanG says:

    PS has Summit just given up until the merger? Because “Chloe” could have opened better than “Gone” by far if it had been released wide.

  9. leahnz says:

    i have a theory that rudd is a ‘teflon tom’ (or teflon paul in this case): it doesn’t matter how many shit movies or bombs he’s in between good ones, he’s so universally beloved and awesome he’ll always get parts

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    Leahnz: Kinda-sorta like Dennis Quaid and Jeff Bridges back in the ’80s and ’90s.

  11. bulldog68 says:

    I don’t think Rudd has the similar leading man qualities that these guys have Joe. He still has that man/boy syndrome that so many modern thirtysomethng guys have. My candidate to walk in Quaid/Bridges shoes is Matt Damon, and maybe Jeremy Renner too. There may be others but I can’t think of them right now.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    I get where you’re going, Bulldog, and I might agree — excpet I don’t recall either Quaid or Bridges having a starring vehicle breakout success like any of the Bourne movies.

  13. bulldog68 says:

    True. But then in the early age of their careers, the thinking man’s action hero was not exactly the staple of your cinematic diet. It was all Stallones and Arnolds and Eastwoods with snappy one-liners. With nary a show of emotion. They hardly ever showed any vulnerability.

    Joe, (and anyone else who cares to chime in) as a film historian, when and what film (or series of films) would you say was the significant piece of celluloid that inspired the tonal shift in action movies?

  14. movieman says:

    Here’s my take, Bulldog:

    Eastwood in “Dirty Harry;” Stallone in “First Blood;” Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator;” Willis in “Die Hard.”
    Those actors/films (and their numerous sequels) helped create the vogue in emotionless, seemingly invulnerable superman-quipsters you were referring to.
    Yet all of the above films (excepting perhaps “First Blood” which was always fairly mediocre in my eyes) are legitimately great pieces of popular entertainment that felt remarkably fresh when they were first released.
    And all of them were fairly influential as well. (Is that the “tonal shift in action movies” you were talking about?)

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    Funnily enough, I screened Dirty Harry just this morning for students. It’s sometimes hard to remember what a groundbreaking film this was. (Remember the original ad campaign: Something like, “Harry and the psycho killer. Harry is the one with a badge.”) But also: It’s slightly shocking to note what a low body count the movie actually has. Of course, you could say the same thing about Psycho

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    Here’s an essay on Dirty Harry — no, not one by me — that I assign to students:

  17. SamLowry says:

    I linked to a review of “Gone” in a post that was sadly deleted (probably because I mentioned someone, now banned, and wondered if they might attack a reviewer who dared to criticize Ms. Seyfried), but the funny part was that the critic speculated that “Gone” was actually a sci-fi flick because it appeared that Ms. Seyfried was transported to an alternate Earth populated by beings that look human, but don’t act human in the least.

    For one, everyone’s not just willing but eager to lend her their car, even after watching her destroy the last car she borrowed.

  18. David Poland says:

    No posts have been deleted, Sam. Some are being moderated because Lex has been sneaking back in under new IP addresses, but everything has been “approved” since then.

  19. jesse says:

    I kinda dug how unhinged Seyfried’s character in Gone seemed and dug the movie in general, especially the first half or so where it’s basically an amateur detective movie. More laughable/inane thrillers get screened for critics all the time so I’m not sure why Summit withheld this one in particular.

  20. Krillian says:

    I would argue Die Hard shifted the action movie. John McClane just wanted to get back to his wife. He feared death. He bled. I remember commentary about the scene of him whimpering while he takes broken glass out of his feet. Finally a vulnerable action hero.

  21. Rashad says:

    Indiana Jones was vulnerable. Got his ass kicked a lot in Raiders

  22. Mike says:

    So where do we draw the next shift in action heroes, to the man-boys we have now? The obvious one is Keanu in The Matrix, though I might argue it happened a little earlier with Will Smith, who has always seemed a lot goofier than the generation of action heroes we had before.

  23. Martin S says:

    Re: Action shift.

    It’s Commando and Rambo.

    First Blood and Terminator have some layers at work. Just like Rocky and Conan, the emotional core stemmed from Stallone’s character while for Arnold it formed around his.

    With Commando, it’s Arnold doing a variation of the Terminator but stripped of Biehn/Hamilton. Stallone did the same thing to Cameron’s original First Blood II script while ghost-directing the sequel.

    I never put Eastwood in this camp because he was always working on some totally different project. It’s not until The Dead Pool and The Rookie that you get the sense he was tapping out. But even then, he followed up with Unforgiven.

    It all really stems down to Kassar/Vajna and Golan-Globus. The modern-day version of them is Marvel. Same business plan, same template. I don’t know if Marvel could have had a Carolco-like fate, though. Arad would have never produce Cutthroat Island and was nowhere near a gamble like Showgirls.

    Amazing to think what impact not greenlighting the Arnold/Verhoeven Crusades picture has had. Carolco would have survived long enough for Cameron to make Spider-Man before Titanic. Marvel, in bankruptcy at this time, more than likely would have merged with a conglomeration of Carolco/MGM and created a real new studio with Bond and Spidey alternating years.

    …a world without Titanic..what a dream…

  24. cadavra says:

    And no TITANIC would mean no AVATAR…what a great dream…

  25. bulldog68 says:

    I doubt that many on this board are Big Bang Theory watchers, but Martin S, your hypothesis reminds me of game they played on that show called Counter-Factuals

    In a world without Titanic, would we not have Avatar as well? And think about how Avatar affected this whole 3D push. Would there be a whole slew of rereleases in 3D without Avatar?

    Here’s some essay topics for your students Joe, How has Titanic affected the movie industry including the way films are made and overall show business in general? Does the success of Titanic still have impact today? And where would comic book movies be today with James Cameron at the helm of Spiderman?

  26. bulldog68 says:

    As my daughters would say Cadavra, “jinx.”

  27. Joe Leydon says:

    Bulldog: Actually, I think Titanic had minimal lasting affect on the film industry. Well, OK, except for establishing Kate Winslet as a star and Leonardo Di Caprio as a superstar, and giving James Cameron the muscle to make Avatar. It’s not like it triggered a new generation of disaster movies. I know, I know: I am being literal-minded here. But seriously: How many movies have you seen during the past decade made you think: “Oh, that’s obviously influenced by Titanic.” Not trying to be contentious, you understand. It’s just that I think there are quite a few popular films — some of them very, very popular — that really had little lasting impact on pop culture.

  28. bulldog68 says:

    My question wasn’t so much about pop culture Joe, it was toward how it changed (or did not change) the way studios approach big budget movies. I guess it was a question for the many insiders here who are privy to some of the greenlighted decision. Did Titanic give studios the balls to do more big budget experiments in the hopes of similiar pay outs. Almost everyone forecasted that Titanic would not be in the black. Much like say John Carter of Mars right now. I also remember King Kong getting similar press. Also, did James Cameron help the cause of Directors who are allowed to have their own unique vision, like Nolan and others, who are getting access to huge some of money and not having the studio breathe down their backs?

  29. Geoff says:

    Titanic has undoubtedly had an influence on the way movies are made, their content, and the way they are marketed:

    – Co-financing deals/splits with overseass/domestics between multiple studios became increasingly common. There is no bigger example than Lord of the Rings, no other way that series would have possible without massive co-financing.

    – Since Titanic, has there been major tentpole release that did NOT include casting and/or story elements that would not appeal to teenage girls?? Pearl Harbor and its focus on romance is an obvious example, same with King Kong. And the following summer this became obvious with how Armageddon was marketed – constant focus on the young romance between Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck while pre-Titanic, the focus would have been on Bruce Willis saving the world. Think about Spiderman and what made that so instantly huge: the most memorable image of the campaign and the movie ended up being the upside kiss with Kirsten Dunst.

    – You basically have the two best actors of their generation in Winslet and DiCaprio (wow, think about how Cameron lucked out with that one) and this blew up their careers to the point where 14 years later, almost every film either of them do is now guaranteed either box office or awards recognition.

    – Bottom line is before Titanic, the young female audience was never catered to in a any major way. Yes, Twilight ended up being a huge literary phenomenon beforehand, but the success of Titanic laid the groundwork for the mega-success of those movies.

    – And yes, without Titanic, there is no Avatar – without Avatar, there is no 3D craze.

  30. Joe Leydon says:

    Geoff: But hasn’t there always been an effort to capture the female audience with love story elements? You mentioned Pearl Harbor, as retro a movie as they come. How is the romantic plot in that substantially different from similar subplots in similar movies actually produced and released during WWII? As for Armageddon — again, go back to the disaster movies of the ’70s, and note how important love story subplots were to those movies. I’ll grant you that the lovers in those movies (like, say, Dean Martin and Jaqueline Bisset in Airport) tended to be a bit older. But then again, you could make the case that all movie leads tended to be a bit older then than now.

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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.

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.”
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“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.

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