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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Len Who’s Been Doing This For More Than 20 Years Klady

SLUMP! This is your weekly reminder, so that when someone does throw out some stupidity about an alleged slump on a whim, just how stupid stats can be, This is the fifth of the last six domestic weekends to be DOWN against the year before… off an estimated 5%! Previous negatives were estimated at 24%, 7%, 11%, (+32%), and 18%. On the other hand, this is the highest grossing Start Of Summer until June 24 in history, with an estimated $1.82 billion, up 6.5% from last summer. About $495m of this summer’s domestic total so far has come from movies with 3D compared to about $550m from movies with 3D last summer to this point. The domestic year, btw, is up an estimated 10.5% from last year.

So if you were to believe the logic/lie that argued that there was slump in The Paper of Record starting in 2005 (and to which the paper has continued to commit, when convenient, infecting other media), you would have to be raging about the horrible box office summer we are having. And the cost of some of these movies is a different issue that’s reasonable to discuss in context. But slump hyping is not about that context. It is about the notion that “people aren’t going to the movies anymore,” which is just a straight lie, up and down.

And now back to this weekend…

Brave is Pixar’s 10th release since 2001 and all but two of those releases opened to between $60.1m and $70.5m (Toy Story 3 above and Ratatouille below). That’s led to domestic grosses between $191m and $293m. Worldwide, it’s between $462m and $848m. The opening grosses and the totals do not really coordinate in any clear way.

So the answer on Brave is, “who knows?.” 200/500 is a fair bet. 250/650 is a fair bet. There is just no way of knowing until the film has played longer in the US and then, around the world.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter just never got sticky, beyond the core audience. Personally, I think that there is a problem for marketing with a premise that clear and that wacky that takes itself so seriously. The publicity for the film was often fun. But the marketing felt a bit like Wanted, which was way over the top, but predicated on that self-seriousness to be campy fun. Jolie is, in a way, a signal that it will be over the top, as she is visually over the top. “Someone you’ve never seen before in your life is Lincoln… and he’s going to kill vampires in slow motion” is a tough f-ing sell to all but the ComicCon Core…or as it has evolved, The Geek 15 (formerly the Geek 8 and the Geek 12).

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a bad title for a studio under new ownership.

Moonrise Kingdom expanded to 394 screens (+217) and added about 52% to its gross. It also passed Marigold Hotel, now descending, on a weekend for the first time. The film isn’t going to catch up to what will be Marigold’s $40m+ domestic haul. However, it’s within a few days of being in the upper half of Wes Anderson grossers and with these solid numbers, has a good shot at Anderson’s $20m – $30m domestic club, which is the top for all of his movies except for The Royal Tenenbaums.

To Rome With Love has a nice, but not thrilling 5 screen opening with a $75k per-screen. It’s pretty much impossible to know whether Sony Classics will find a significant audience outside of the big cities, as they did for MiP last summer. My sense is that SPC will be doing well to get more than a third of the audience from last summer for this one.

(edit 11:23a)

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83 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Len Who’s Been Doing This For More Than 20 Years Klady”

  1. etguild2 says:

    Two weeks ago, when MAD 3 and PROMETHEUS opened was actually up 32% vs the previous year…

  2. David Poland says:

    Yeah et… I need to stop trying to read old charts with a 2 year old hanging on me. Now corrected… doesn’t change the thought though.

  3. Don Murphy says:

    Does repeating the numbers from other sources for 20 years get Len anything like a Gold Watch or a chew toy? If not what is your point?

  4. etguild2 says:

    No, you make a good point DP. And reading Mojo’s year-over-year charts confuses me if that’s what you’re referring to.

    Fyi “Seeking a Friend For the End of the World” refers to a single from Chris Cornell’s first solo album from the 90’s…not that anyone would realize this, because that song is titled “Preaching the End of the World,” (though he does ask for a friend in it) and most bizarrely, despite its perfect melancholy melody for the movie, isn’t in it, or on the soundtrack! Wtf?

    Cornell songs are in movies all the time (Machine Gun Preacher last year) and he did the “Casino Royale” theme so it’s very strange indeed.

  5. David Poland says:

    Gee, Don… brings up a series of questions (even though you have no interest in being anything but a troll, trying to provoke with stupid, facetious questions like these two)…

    1. Do you know how Len puts together his numbers? How do you know that? Please explain Len’s methodology.

    2. Who is not “repeating the numbers from other sources?” Rentrak is getting their numbers from “other sources” aka the theaters, though not all the theaters. The studios are getting numbers from Rentrak and theaters and repeating it to about a dozen members of the media (including Len). They speak of estimates as though they are factual outcomes to certain closet cases who only care about being First™! Almost every other report about box office you read is cribbed from that group. Be more specific about Len’s particular failure, please.

    3. The point of the headline, as it is every single Sunday, frivolous. Have you not caught onto that yet? Do I need to turn it into a comic book for you?

    4. What’s YOUR point? I know you hate to actually take a clear position, as you are so often wrong. But once again, I ask you to add something, aside from your anger.

    Thanks for coming out from behind your anonymity for a second, Don. You’re no more insightful or funny under your real name than under any other.

  6. SamLowry says:

    Et, no different than asking why a character in a movie about ’80s hard rock is named Sherrie, yet “Oh Sherrie” is never in the movie.

  7. David Poland says:

    There’s got to be a great 15,000 story on the development and disaster of Rock of Ages some day. “How They Ruined A Jukebox Musical”

  8. Don Murphy says:

    David- We could engage in a battle of the wits but I don’t fight unarmed men.

  9. spassky says:


  10. BoulderKid says:

    The “Abe Lincoln” number is really not that bad. It got to do alright internationally given Timur’s notoriety and I’m sure a lot more will be willing to check it out VOD or on DVD. Really, this could have been a sub 10 million opener. It was pretty clear that no non-fanboy was going to commit to shelling out ten dollars to see this. Most people don’t see films alone in the theater and even if a non-graphic novel fan wanted to see this could they really get a girlfriend/parent/friend to also take the plunge with them? In a weird way it sort of reminds me of hyper-sexual stuff like “Striptease” and the forth-coming “Magic Mike” that individuals may be very interested in but have fun trying to overcome your own sense of humilitity to try and convince another to go with you.

  11. actionman says:

    what’s the tracking on magic mike?
    about to go see seeking a friend — hoping I have the theater to myself…

  12. Krillian says:

    I figured the “20 Years” headline was a poke at Variety_JLD.

    Wow, has Magic Mike tracking at $25 million?

  13. Rob says:

    Oh, Magic Mike is going to be big. Every woman under 35, a lot of women over 35, and every single gay guy will be lining up.

  14. David Poland says:

    Don – We could engage in a battle on honesty and integrity but you’d have to look it up in the dictionary.

  15. David Poland says:

    Yes, Krill… it was… Don is busy pretending he doesn’t know what I am referring to… and the beat goes on…

  16. scooterzz says:

    joe manganiello pointed out at yesterday’s press conference that opening night of ‘magic mike’ should be where any smart single straight guy should be since the room will probably be filled with horny straight single women when they leave….
    i wonder how many single straight guys are smart enough to figure that out…..

  17. thespirithunter says:


    Oh Sherrie is in Rock of Ages. The first notes of the song are played as Diego (not an actor at all) Whatshisname is staring at her timecard. Then, his reverie is interrupted and so is the song, before Steve Perry can sing.

  18. etguild2 says:

    Can’t believe “Magic Mike” cost only 5 mil to make and wrapped in under a month…Soderbergh gets more and more breakneck as the years go by. He’s already wrapped his next movie as well…3 within a year!

  19. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “‘magic mike’ should be where any smart single straight guy should be since the room will probably be filled with horny straight single women when they leave…”

    Really? I can’t imagine any guy successfully picking up a woman (however horny) during the 50ft of foyer as the crowd exits to their cars.

  20. anghus says:

    i know a lot of women talking about Magic Mike right now. But i wonder if it’s one of those high trackers that people actually wont buy tickets for. Do you think McCougnahey’s cheesy “It’s against the law to touch, but i think i see a lot of lawbreakers” line is going to drive them in or keep them away?

    I think the marketing is leaving a lot on the table. They’re selling the steak but not the sizzle. Why not spend a little more time on the romance and try to sell it like Flashdance, which i think could easily be done based on the story elements.

    I want to see it because it’s Soderbergh. But the marketing is not doing anything to cross quadrants.

  21. Christian says:

    Every woman I know wants to see MAGIC MIKE. That’s all the quadrant Soderbergh needs.

  22. JS Partisan says:

    If Seeking A Friend actually didn’t end the way it does, that film would have gained more traction. Seriously, who wants to have sit through that gut punch? Being in love and with someone is hard enough, but they really had to add the freaking end of the WORLD to it? Oy.

  23. anghus says:

    you may be right. Channing Tatum + that one basic market could be enough to make it big. Next weekend has such an interesting dynamic.

    Magic Mike = Women
    Ted = Men, teenagers
    People Like Us = Older audience/Women who don’t want to see pelvic thrusts?
    Madea’s Witness Protection = Black people

    And you still have Brave and Madagascar 3 taking the family money.

    If i was a gambling man, Ted is my dark horse. It’s a longshot, but i could see it winning in a scenario where Magic Mike is flaccid based on turnout being lower than the buzz. Magic Mike is tracking at 25 million, and i dont see a scenario where that wins the weekend. Brave at a 50% week over week drop could still be number one.

    So what ends up as number one? Brave? Ted? Magic Mike?

    Oh, and has anyone noticed the vacant landscape between Amazing Spiderman and Dark Knight Rises? It’s only a couple of weeks, but it seems like everyone rolled over. You got Ice Age 4 in between but basically Amazing Spdierman has a few weeks to make the blockbuster money before Dark Knight Rises snatches it all up.

    And not to look too far ahead, but does August look like a big budget bloodbath to anyone else?

  24. Yancy Skancy says:

    I haven’t read AL:VH or seen the film, but the author’s tweet on the home page might hint at part of the problem. He used the word “kind’ve” instead of “kind of.”

  25. anghus says:

    i could spend so many words of Seth Grahame-Smith. He’s like the personification of the “When BLANK meets BLANK” pitch meeting. A guy who can mash up two familiar things to make something marginally marketable. Of course he succeeded. Of course people cut him checks and the media wrote a bunch of articles about him.

    I don’t know how he is as an author, but as an idea man he seems like such a one trick pony. I don’t know the status of the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies adaptation, but if they’re not too far in i’d kill that fucker so quick it would make his 401k spin.

    The guy has quickly become the literary M. Night Shyamalan. He’s got one trick. he takes a familiar story and he puts in his own twist. And studios are so tone deaf that they will grab a clever idea and think it has marketable film potential.

    But was there anyone, anywhere that heard Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter the movie and didn’t think that not embarrassing themselves was the best case scenario. Congratulations 20th Century Fox. You barely made the fairway.

    I know in this inflamed internet age it’s easy for people to declare “this is what’s wrong with Hollywood”. But i think Seth Grahame-Smith represents the kind of unoriginal idea mashing that seems rampant in this day and age of remakes, reboots, and overzealous adaptations.

  26. etguild2 says:

    “People Like Us” seems like a summer dump in the vein of “Seeking a Friend.” Disney is dropping it in 2,000 theatres or less…have you seen any advertising? I’ve seen none.

    Yeah August could be rough…though I’m surprised Bourne moved closer to “Expendables.” 5 movies make it to 50 million Id bet but none to 100: Bourne, Total Recall, Expendables, Hope Springs, Diary 3. Maybe Sparkle if it isn’t as crappy as it looks?

  27. anghus says:

    i could see Bourne getting to 100. The first Expendables cracked 100 million, barely. And you’re right, most sequels in the action category don’t build. But maybe if the landscape is bleak….

    It is odd that so many male-centric action films are out in August. The spacing this Summer makes no sense to me. Not that im an expert by any stretch. But when you think about Amazing Spiderman being launched 2 weeks before Dark Knight Rises… does anyone think that was the ideal placement? Especially now seeing how June played out. Wouldn’t early to mid June have been a much better time? Did Sony make a mistake claiming that weekend early on. Did they leave 2 weeks of prime earning potential on the table?

  28. etguild2 says:

    I’m guessing they didn’t want to move because.

    1. They didn’t want to compete with GI Joe, were locked into the July 4 weekend, and “Ted” abandoned the 2nd July weekend to replace Joe, meaning even less competition for guys and 2. Going up against a Pixar film is never a good idea, even if it’s a princess movie.

  29. anghus says:

    Right. I keep forgetting about GI Joe 2.

    That really did create a vacuum, didnt it.

  30. scooterzz says:

    “So what ends up as number one? Brave? Ted? Magic Mike?”

    i’d be willing to bet that you just called next week’s order…..

  31. berg says:

    AL: VK was brilliant … right down to the DI color correction to within a second of your life … if anything this film bears resemblance to Brotherhood of the Wolf and Billy the Kid vs. Vampires

  32. SamLowry says:

    “Every woman I know wants to see MAGIC MIKE.”

    But how many will walk into a theater showing it? Kindle & Nook sales are apparently spiking because women want to read “50 Shades of Grey” but they don’t want to be seen holding a copy of the book. So this might be something they’ll wait to watch in the privacy of their own bedrooms.


    “So what ends up as number one? Brave? Ted? Magic Mike?”

    “i’d be willing to bet that you just called next week’s order…..”

    And don’t forget that many of Ted’s ticket sales will be going to Brave, so I’d expect a very modest decline next weekend. I’ve decided to call it “the jailbait switch”; if you have a different term for sneaking into an R movie with a PG ticket I’d love to hear it.

  33. berg says:

    “the jailbait switch” = Keith 98.6

  34. scooterzz says:

    “But how many will walk into a theater showing it? Kindle & Nook sales are apparently spiking because women want to read “50 Shades of Grey” but they don’t want to be seen holding a copy of the book. So this might be something they’ll wait to watch in the privacy of their own bedrooms.”

    where are you getting that?…sounds like hype from kindle and nook to me….

  35. scooterzz says:

    i really believe that women uptight about being spotted reading a copy of ’50 shades of grey’ would be more likely to use a substitute dust jacket than spend a couple of hundred dollars on a reader….

  36. christian says:

    I know female friends putting together viewing parties. If my non-film fan pals are more interested in a Soderbergh film than me, I assume Hit.

  37. scooterzz says:

    like i said, it looks like a solid double…it’s much better than the ads and, while it’s dealing with extremely familiar material, it manages to seem kinda fresh….
    that said…it’s a stripper movie….just move on…

  38. KrazyEyes says:

    I’m curious if you’re missing Finding Nemo in your above Pixar stats? I don’t remember the opening numbers but surely the domestic gross was considerably higher than the $293m ceiling you cite.

    Am I missing something?

  39. Jason B. says:

    I think DP left out the outliers: Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3, whose openings were larger than that size and therefore, the DM BO was higher.

  40. bulldog68 says:

    Finding Nemo also opened to $70m, but it had a better overall domestic gross of $339m.

  41. hcat says:

    ‘5 movies make it to 50 million Id bet but none to 100: Bourne, Total Recall, Expendables, Hope Springs, Diary 3. Maybe Sparkle if it isn’t as crappy as it looks?’

    I see Bourne topping 100 quite easily, new face sure, but if the marketing promises to deliver the same action I think people will follow. No one was that excited about the prospect of Matt Damon: Action Hero, and they were able to cross that hurdle. Now you have Renner who is a bit more believable as an action star hoping on a beloved franchise in a subgenre where there has been NOTHING all summer. Yes there has been plenty of action, but its all Spandex and Aliens, and Bourne scratches a different itch than that, without the jokey novelty of Expendables, or the cynical violence of Savages (which I think is being underestimated).

    Hope Springs should do 80 easy and based on quality have a chance to brush up against 100. Magic Mike and People Like Us are the only other ‘Book Club goes out to see a movie’ options this summer and they will be well played out by August.

    I figure you simply forgot about The Campaign. Ferrel and Galifianakucsusnus should do fifty easy, likely ends around 135.

  42. jesse says:

    Yeah, I feel like even a massive-disappoiontment gross for Bourne 4 will put it at $110 million or so. And while at the beginning of the summer, I had that and Total Recall in mind as likely underperformer candidates, now that Battleship, Rock of Ages, That’s My Boy, and Abraham Lincoln have all been soft, maybe Bourne will feel more exciting… though it’s hard for me to picture a lot of regular-moviegoer excitement over Bourne Without Bourne.

    Total Recall looks like an uphill battle; now it has 8/3 all to itself, but looks so generic sci-fi-y… it’s the kind of thing I always go see even if it looks like crap, but I don’t know, if the bros and geeks didn’t show up for Battleship en masse, I’m not sure if they’ll tumble for a Recall do-over.

    Hope Springs should definitely crest 50. I agree with hcat: could get close to 100. Although, on the other hand, Julie & Julia seemed more surefire to me and it didn’t get there. Still: Mainstream Summer Streep generally does 80+.

    Expendables 2 is going to be hard-pressed to recreate the excitement of the original, but it might open just as well or slightly better, and hobble off to almost 100.

    The Campaign will do fine; Ferrell in a good broad comedy does surprisingly well (odd because Sandler’s better comedies of recent years — Zohan, Boy — are among his lower grossers, and certainly Ben Stiller’s highest-grossing movies aren’t usually his best).

    But yeah, July and August are ridiculously under-programmed in terms of big exciting movies. Spider-Man will do at least 250 almost no matter what, seems like. Ditto for Dark Knight and 450. But after so many movies in June, there are some BARREN weekends in July. I wonder if Rock of Ages would’ve done better closer to the Mamma Mia back-up-for-Batman spot. Or if Sandler could’ve at least gotten a good weekend out of That’s My Boy off on 7/13 (although that wasn’t really an option when Ted was there until GI Joe 2 moved).

  43. Triple Option says:

    I’ve only read like a 1/3rd of this thread but had to skip to the end cuz Oh Sherrie is currently playing on my internet radio station.

    I think the way to angle meeting someone at Magic Mike would be to go w/a wingman and meet another group of two-three women and see if you can’t head for drinks afterwards. The problem is if you don’t look like McConaughey & Tatum you’ll prolly be lucky to get an eyeroll back.

    @anghus re: poorly executed idea mash up. It reminds me of standup comics who’ve taken a cheesy class before getting on stage. They’ll always open with a generic “I know what you’re thinking, when did the high school chemistry class teacher and meter maid have a chance to have a kid?” Umm, no, we weren’t thinking that but way to kill a prefectly good opener when someone does look like a cross between Jimmy Durante and Elvis.

    I was ready to move on and start getting excited for the next Spidey installment but now I’m gonna have to suppressing my anger on how they missed an easy layup of a film. Grrrrrr!!!!

    Hey, does anyone know if the AMC in Marina Del Rey is permanently closed or are they just renovating the place? I didn’t go there too often but I had a recent success streak of 3 films in a row w/out seeing a single texter light up.

  44. hcat says:

    Total Recall will do battleground Los Angeles numbers and inspire the same ‘hurm’ response.

    But who knows, it might go on the list of great Columbia action films like Spiderman 2 and um ur hmmmm. Sure they distribute the Bond films that they have almost nothing to do with but when Columbia and Original Films have gotten together in the past the results have been Stealth, Battleground, and the XXX’s. No reason to believe this will surpass any of those forgetable works.

  45. LexG says:

    Minority opinion, but the new Total Recall looks better than the Verhoeven movie.

    I know that’s blasphemous because Verhoeven is a towering cinematic titan and the new one’s by the Underworld/Die Hard 4 guy, and because you saw TOTAL RECALL when you were 15… but let’s face it, it’s pretty bad. It’s probably bottom-tier Verhoeven, and it’s more dated than Shay’s Rebellion. It has a clunky, dorky, stagebound look, it looks like it was shot in a Northridge Fashion mall food court in between takes on a Slaughter video.

    And if you honestly think Biel and Beckinsale, 2004 as they are, aren’t an improvement on fucking Rachel Ticotin…

  46. Triple Option says:

    I recently re-watched Total Recall and “stagebound look” is an excellent way of putting it. I gotta stop bitching about overzealous cgi cuz this had college play written all over it.

  47. Tim DeGroot says:

    But Total Recall establishes that Mars is more or less the Tijuana of galactic destinations. The chintzy look is kind of deliberate, no?

  48. bulldog68 says:

    Sorry Lexg, but TR is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t think this new one looks better, and the comparison may be an apples to oranges thing as this seeking to be a way different movie with a similiar story but apparently a way different tone.

    This new TR compares with the old TR in terms of look the way Prometheus is compared with the original Alien. All glossy and shiny as opposed to down and dirty.

    And my head is still yet to become accustomed to believing Colin Farrell in the role. The trailers have not sold me on him as yet. I’ll still see it becasue I’m a sci fi junkie.

  49. Eric says:

    Agreed with Lex on Total Recall. I watched it a dozen times in my youth but not again until just about a month ago, and I was shocked by how dated it is. The script is clever (not sure if that’s the screenplay or the original story) but the rest of it looks cheap and has not aged well. It’s a great candidate for a remake.

  50. LexG says:

    One of the things the collective ‘we’ always sorta block out, because we wanna think of ourselves as forever young and our formative movies as fairly recent… is how OLD some of these movies being remade or prequeled or whatever actually are.

    Think of PROMETHEUS, or THE THING 2011, or a TOTAL RECALL remake, and we have some expectation that a “new one” will do justice to the style, look, themes, etc, of the original.

    But ALIEN is 33 years old. When ALIEN came out in 1979, you know what was a 33 year old movie? OUT OF THE PAST, or something else from *1947*. Would you expect a 1979 movie to have had the same style, sheen, colors, music, etc as a 1947 movie? That THING prequel was loyal to a fault to the Carpenter original. I loved it… but should a 2011 movie REALLY look exactly like a 1982 movie? That’d be like expecting THE THING ’82 to visually match every stylistic element of the Nyby version from the ’50s.

    All that to say, Total Recall is as old now as 1968 was then. It’s ripe for a remake, and it’s not blasphemous to think something new and shiny and widescreen with prettier girls is better than something from over two decades ago.

    I’m guilty of this all the time myself, but there really IS something to be said of that “everything was better when I was a teenager” meme… It’s interesting how we kinda stay frozen in time, taste-wise, with what we liked “growing up,” and I mean self-included– I couldn’t BELIEVE anyone would want to remake MANHUNTER and blaspheme this EDGY, EXCITING NIGHTMARE MOVIE with great colors and lighting and atmosphere–

    But, again, I was 14 when it came out, and thought it was the most exciting thing ever. To a kid today, it probably looks like a cheesy episode of RIPTIDE.

  51. bulldog68 says:

    The thing with the the new TR is that apparently they don’t go to Mars at all. So at least the different look can be explained away in the story. And from my understanding, this TR is more true to the original story than the old TR was, where they added in the Mars element.(Someone can correct me if I’m wrong on that.)

    I did rewatch it about two months ago, albeit with different eyes to when it first came out, and I still enjoyed it. It still makes me long for more people to dip their toes in b level sci fi for the big screen. If they had spent $70m on John Carter, no one would have complained.

  52. palmtree says:

    I agree with Lex. I mean, Prometheus has a different story than Alien and not a remake. Why it should have the same look is a mystery to me.

    While new doesn’t always mean better, some of those effects (as endearing as they are) have dated.

  53. john says:

    I think the troubling thing about remakes is that they don’t bring anything new to the table. GREAT remakes reinvent the originals. That isn’t to say that Burton’s PLANET OF THE APES isn’t a raging piece of shit (aside from a great Tim Roth performance). I can’t get over how many (cough, Platinum Dunes, cough) remakes are so tone deaf and incompetent in their attempts.

    TOTAL RECALL could be good- still, I wish they were using one of the old Cronenberg drafts.

  54. hcat says:

    The ‘stagebound’ look is accurate and might be intentional since it seems to also be there on Robocop and Starship Troopers but not on Basic Instinct. Perhaps he wants his futuristic stuff to to feel backlot movie-ish, if for no other reason than it helps provide a unrealistic backdrop for his cartoonish ultraviolence.

    But I am more pessimistic about Wiseman than I am about them messing with an existing fondly remembered through the haze of time property.

  55. Razzie Ray says:

    I agree that many ladies (and gay men) all expressed interest to see Magic Mike, but I doubt the film will crack $30 million.

    Since I live in LA, I’ve already heard the buzz from industry screenings: Unanimously, everyone says it’s horrible. Not even kitschy fun. Just plain horrible. Cody Horn got most of criticism.

    Soderbergh clearly will go down is having one of the strangest directing careers in Hollywood history. The highs and lows. My favorite by a mile is The Limey, but that’s me. Enjoyed The Informant and Contagion quite a bit. Respected Che. Think Brockovich, Traffic and Out of Sight are EXTREMELY over-rated. They’re well shot and cut together, but not great.

  56. Triple Option says:

    Abe The Hunter’s debut has spawned a story in the LA Times throwing dirt on vampire movies proclaiming the death of disco.,0,1867725.story

    I think the problem many people have over re-makes isn’t so much the fx or look but that Hollywood is all about fx & looks and doesn’t give a care about the heart or originality that made the previous generation’s installment stand out. Any negative sentiment against Super 8 was always along the lines of “We know Spielberg and you JJ are no Spielberg.” Even though on a technical merit, JJ would have access to filmmaking technique that’d far succeed what Spielberg had when making ET.

    If they’d stop taking previously made films and strip them for parts, I’m sure people would have a list of films that they should re-do. They’ve obviously done a lot of variations of Wizard of Oz but regardless how spectacular they could make OZ look in 3D w/a 9-digit budget, does anyone want to see an official remake of Wizard of Oz? Hell no! Why? We’ve see Hollywood’s track record. Care to see a re-make of Sound of Music? Why would you even think of touching that? It’s hard not to immediately think shyster when hearing of some studio’s attempt to revive something that was not broken in the first place. I’ll admit it’s sort of an unfair position for the studios. They try to remake someone’s childhood and their money grabbing bastards but if they pick something a little more obscure that could be re-worked and given a fresh coat of paint and then they’re lazy, creativity starved hucksters who can’t come up w/an original idea. But, still, I’d rather see something completely new.

  57. Joe Leydon says:

    You can guarantee an argument among cineastes anytime you mention remakes. But what about a remake of a foreign language film aimed at US ticketbuyers who never saw (and likely never will see) the original film? I really, really didn’t like Sorcerer — but, then again, I didn’t like it even before I saw Wages of Fear. On the other hand, I thought the Diabolique remake had some things going for it.

  58. SamLowry says:

    Most of the movies cineastes love are safe from remakes because they would be considered laughably unprofitable in today’s market. The flip side is that most of the movies being made today will never be loved by cineastes.

    Yeah, a lot of today’s FX-heavy tentpoles are making tons of money, but then so did E.T., whose 30th birthday passed unnoticed. Yet which unprofitable movie that also came out in June of ’82 is more beloved now than then?

    Blade Runner.

    I wonder which 2012 film will be remembered so fondly in 2042.

  59. bulldog68 says:

    John Carter? I keeeeed….I keeeeed.

  60. SamLowry says:

    Since George Lucas will very likely be dead by 2042 and no longer able to legally defend himself from accusations of theft, perhaps cineastes from the next generation will be able to pull back and realize Edgar Rice Burroughs was the true genius here. John Carter may therefore be better regarded by viewers able to distance themselves from any lingering Star Wars hype, whose half-life (and legions of trufans) will have dwindled significantly by then.

  61. jesse says:

    Oh, definitely, Sam. Just a decade or two of Lucas being dead, and mutliple generations of Star Wars fandom will dry up in favor of John Carter of Mars. Totally how these things usually work.

  62. Christian says:

    ET was theatrically re-released a few years ago, so it’s hardly dropped off the radar.

    And THE THING came out the same day as BR…

  63. SamLowry says:

    …and The Thing barely paid off its budget, so again a well-remembered movie that more or less failed at the box office.

    And in 30 years I expect Star Wars fandom to be about where Wizard of Oz fandom is now.

  64. Joe Leydon says:

    I would hardly call Blade Runner beloved — then or now.

  65. Christian says:

    ET was blamed for THE THING’s failure. But STAR WARS is not going to be a footnote in 30 years. Empire.

  66. SamLowry says:

    Hard to imagine how a PG movie could sink a hard-R…unless studio folks actually thought both movies had the same audience? The 25-49 category, perhaps, which might be accepting of horror but not too embarrassed to be seen attending a “kiddie” flick? But that is definitely not the demo any studio is aiming for–they want the young ‘uns, but the really young ones will go to E.T. while the horror fans would pull a Jailbait Switch and go to The Thing, which means E.T. still gets their money.

    Yes, those were more permissive days, but there was still no way in heck a kid could’ve bought an R ticket. Believe me, I tried. I was a week away from 18 and couldn’t buy a ticket to some movie I’ve forgotten, and which the interwebs are completely unable to suggest (yeah, only 4 movies came out that month, sure).

    (And if you were wondering, I was carded long into my 20s; saying no to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and direct sunlight does wonders for your skin.)

  67. hcat says:

    But its not the 82 version of Blade Runner that is beloved, its the recuts that the cultists enjoy.

  68. SamLowry says:

    I actually liked the voice-over; made it more like a noir detective story.

  69. bulldog68 says:

    I wonder how Harry Potter will be viewed in 30 years?

  70. Joe Leydon says:

    Years ago, when I interviewed John Carpenter for Starman he indicated that he, too, thought E.T. killed The Thing, simply by stating that extraterrestrials could be lovable, not menacing.

    BTW: I have never really shared the love for Blade Runner, in any of its versions. (I caught a Dallas pre-release sneak where the audience was, shall we say, less than enthusiastic.) Maybe cultists are crazy for it, but I would wager that most everyday folks still vastly prefer E.T.. Hell, I would bet most folks prefer 48 HRS., which also turns 30 this year.

  71. Christian says:

    BLADE RUNNER is certainly a niche film but its design impact is staggering. 48 HOURS not so much.

  72. cadavra says:

    Well, 48HRS pretty much codified the love/hate buddy action-comedy that came to dominate the 80s and 90s, as well as making an instant superstar of one E. Murphy. Even if younger people aren’t aware of the film itself, its influence on studio filmmaking is undeniable.

    Speaking of which, I just got back from PEACE, LOVE AND MISUNDERSTANDING. What a sweet, wonderful picture; 20 years ago, it would have been a major studio release; now it’s just another indie from a Best Picture Oscar winner that nobody remembers (Bruce Beresford).

  73. SamLowry says:

    From Tom Shone: Blade Runner’s 30th anniversary

    “As a blockbuster it was bust, but a bust of a very particular breed, for soon the film’s designs began to show up everywhere from Brazil to the stage sets for the Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels tour, and when laser discs appeared on the market in 1989, Blade Runner became Voyager’s top-selling disc, and didn’t budge. In Japan, where the film was a huge success, its art directors were treated like kings, the fans too in awe to even look them in the eye….That whole MTV generation saw the romanticism and retro neo-classicism — where it’s always raining and always dark — and saw this world as a romantic world. It certainly influenced so many filmmakers particularly in that video world: suddenly every other band had a neo-Blade Runner background.”

    Blade Runner was the movie that drove William Gibson out of the theater in less than 20 minutes, saying it looked like the inside of his head.

    As for “niche”, I guess it would be niche if your interests don’t run toward science fiction; otherwise, it’s the genre’s Godfather.

    Perhaps all the interest in Prometheus resulted from the dearth of real science fiction movies these days (and the last decent one was what–Rise of the Planet of the Apes?). Instead, we’re deluged with mindless fantasy and loud toy commercials.

    Speaking of, Rowling managed to kill off any lasting interest in Potter by bringing the series to an end. Kids aren’t carrying the books around like they used to, and yes, the books started to disappear right around the arrival of the last movie. It’s over, and everyone moved on to Vladimir Tod or The Hunger Games. Thirty years from now, I would not be surprised if Harry Potter is only slightly more popular than the Hardy Boys.

  74. Christian says:

    Of course I meant niche in terms of mass audience. BR is not as beloved as 48 HRS by buddy film fans. But does anybody watch 48 HRS obsessively the way BR fans do?

  75. SamLowry says:

    It’s because there’s so much to look at! The film went five days behind schedule on the first day of shooting (?!?) because “Ridley had shot smoke all day.”

    “I can’t think of one set we went into and shot the way we found it,” because Scott left his mark on every frame of film. The science made sense, the story made sense, the world was absolutely amazing–unfortunately, only the last also applies to Prometheus, which seemed to come from a different mind altogether.

    And I remember more of Partners than 48 Hours, maybe because I found Murphy so annoying.

  76. Steven Kaye says:

    “Exclusive premieres included a disappointing $16,900 box office for policy changing doc The Invisible War from four playdates to a rock ‘em, sock ‘em $374,000 gross for Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love in its initial five outings.” – Len Who’s Been Doing This For More Than 20 Years Klady

  77. LexG says:

    YES. Another summer of Steven Kaye Woodman worship!

  78. Yancy Skancy says:

    Beating Steven Kaye to it: Wow, Woody’s opening weekend per screen average bested that of THE AVENGERS by more than $18,000!

  79. Paul D/Stella says:

    To Rome With Love is only at 53% on RT. Sounds mediocre at best, minor Allen and not worth rushing out to see. It will be out of theaters and on cable soon.

  80. christian says:

    I think John Hurt is the most offensive gay stereotype ever in PARTNERS. I watched that thing every time it was on HBO, trying to figure out what the hell it was supposed to be. It’s like William Friedkin doing CRUISING as a cheap comedy.

  81. doug r says:


  82. SamLowry says:

    Horrendous stereotype, yes…


    The homophobe finally accepting his gay partner at the end was a powerful message for ’82, considering that 17 years later we were still seeing a girl getting murdered onscreen because she was pretending to be a boy.

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