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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates


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130 Responses to “Friday Estimates”

  1. movieman says:

    I knew “Mama” was going to win the weekend. No surprise.
    Universal has a track record w/ January horror movies dating back to “Tremors.” (Remember how shocked everyone was when “The Unborn” opened so strongly in January 2009?)
    Ouch. That’s gotta hurt for Arnie, though. Not even his lowest grossing ’80s movies opened so poorly. Good thing for him that he’s already got some future projects in the pipeline. That’s the kind of “didn’t even open” opening that could kill anyone’s comeback aspirations.
    And I could smell an underperformer in “Broken City” just by Fox’s half-hearted marketing campaign. Looks like it will be a rare commercial misfire in the normally omnipotent Wahlberg’s ouevre.

  2. Dan Day says:

    Damn. Moat people liked THE LAST STAND.

    David, do you think this will kill CONAN? I hope not.

  3. bulldog68 says:

    So when last has an actress starred, and I mean name-above-the-title starred, in the top 2 movies at the boxoffice? I guess Jessica Chastain has arrived.

    And some buddies and I were talking about Black Hawk Dawn the other day, and noted that the top billed actor is Josh Hartnett. Who would have thought that athe movie that also featured the likes of Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom, Ewan McGregor, and even Ty Burrell of Modern Family, that Josh Hartnett would be the one that would disappear.

    Also, did not expect Arnie to bomb so big. After actually getting decent reviews, and a trailer that looks like solid action, the people just didn’t show up. What’s in store for Stallone in a few weeks? This is actually his first straight action movie outside Rambo and without a gimmick. And The Last Stand actually looked better.

  4. bulldog68 says:

    I just realized that Mama’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was also in Black Hawk Down. I actually liked Josh Hartnett.

  5. etguild2 says:

    The only above the title name in “Mama” is really Guillermo Del Toro, as Chastain is barely featured and barely recognizable in the marketing. But I guess if you want to go there (Charlize Theron came close with PROMETHEUS and SNOW WHITE at #2 and #3 this summer and Rachel McAdams also was close with RED EYE and WEDDING CRASHERS) I’m not sure it’s ever happened.

    LINCOLN looks like it will be the first movie since HUNGER GAMES to spend 10 weeks in the top 10.

  6. Mr. Peel says:

    Maybe it’s happened again since but way back in ’94 Andie MacDowell had BAD GIRLS and FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL at #1 and #2.

  7. bulldog68 says:

    I didn’t notice if any of the promotional material was changed, but did the Mama’s producers go the route of “starring Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain?” Not that she wasn’t already.

  8. Rashad says:

    Chastain has “arrived” nowhere. No one is seeing those movies for her. Let’s see her try and open a rom-com.

  9. lazarus says:

    What Rashad said.

    And note that Zero Dark Thirty’s original trailer (that really great one that probably put a lot of butts in the seats) didn’t feature a single spoken line from Chastain, despite her being the lead character.

    I say this as someone who loves her and loved the film.

  10. bulldog68 says:

    I’d prefer not to see her in a rom-com thank you.

  11. Lex says:

    It’s not really her fault, but NOBODY’s really a “star” or a “draw” anymore in this day and age, not in that ‘Wow, the new CHASTAIN movie is out, we gotta GO!’ way. It’s not 1990 anymore when there’d be lines around the block even more a total ham-and-egger Mel Gibson throwaway like “Air America” or “Bird on a Wire.”

    Jessica Chastain, or Bradley Cooper, or Ryan Reynolds, or Jennifer Lawrence, or Channing Tatum, whoever has “broken out” these last few years, it’s still ALWAYS a movie-by-movie basis, their “name” guarantees nothing. Chastain was in 7 movies in 2011 and nobody knows her yet. Just speaks to how hard it is to become a star these days.

    It’s a HORROR MOVIE that’s PG-13 with a supernatural premise and a creepy kid… that means every teen girl and Latino in America is gonna be front-and-center, irregardless of the lead. ESPECIALLY since Chastain’s unrecognizable in the wig anyway. All these GO-GIRL female critics and prognosticators can let go of the GIRL POWER meme. Chastain’s in every sixth movie released anyway, some of them had to hit. She’s no more a draw than Richard Jenkins.

  12. bulldog68 says:

    Well this is GDT’s biggest opening as a producer (animated movies excepted). Less than two short years ago he also produced Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and it made $24m total, so his name didn’t do a whole lot of good then, and Mama does that figure in one weekend.

    I think the very effective trailer is the main contributor, but you can’t dismiss the untold millions in free publicity Jessica is receiving right now for her Oscar nom, and I’m sure it plays into it in some way.

  13. Lex says:

    No, nobody cares about Chastain or her CARROT HELMET of hair.

  14. dinovelvet says:

    OK seriously how can Last Stand make that little money? I suspected something might be up when I went to a matinee yesterdsy and as a 37 year old, was the youngest person in there. Is it the timing with the “gun control debate”? Do kids just have no idea who Arnold is?

    Anyway, thought the movie was alright, if curiously old school a la Jack Reacher. I was dreading a Johnny Knoxville goofball fest in all the action scenes, but for some reason he’s being way oversold in the ads – he’s in it briefly at the beginning and then doesn’t show up again till the third act.

  15. Lex says:


  16. Rashad says:

    I do think it’s genre based. It’s not like Hanks or Cruise back in the day, but Tatum in a romantic/female demo movie seems like a sure bet. He’s had 3 hits already with them.

    I’ll be seeing The Last Stand next week.

    And that chick in the beginning of Flight is jaw dropping hot.

  17. alynch says:

    I’d like to credit Chastain somewhat for these two hits, except I’m not sure she’s even been identified by name in a single advertisement for either film, except perhaps a ZDT TV spot that’s trumpeting it’s oscar nominations.

  18. movieman says:

    I know that it’s tanking, but I rather liked “Broken City.”
    The script isn’t first-rate (there’s way too much muddle, and CZJ doesn’t have nearly enough to do), but it looks great (it’s a REAL New York movie), moves reasonably well and I liked pretty much everyone in the cast.
    The film, however, belongs to the wonderful (WONDERFUL!) Jeffrey Wright who steals every damn scene he’s in.
    If “BC” had opened at the end of the year–and had made more of an impact than it’s obviously making–Wright would’ve been a lock for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. And might have won. He’s that good.
    It runs 109 minutes and I wasn’t bored for a second.
    That has to count for something in the world of January movies, right?
    The ironic thing about the film’s failure to connect b.o.-wise is that Wahlberg has starred in plenty of hits (“Shooter,” “Contraband,” even the overrated “Ted,” etc.) that weren’t nearly as good.

  19. jepressman says:

    The problem with being a star in so many indie films is that those films while recognized by film festival fans and film critics are not seen by large audiences, here or abroad.Lex is on target about Chastain. I also enjoyed Broken City and thought Crowe was great as the mayor Walberg was okay and Jones was glamorous,which we don’t see all that often these days,as female actors show up as tough martial arts chicks,oy. The critics are wrong about Broken City and these people are often wrong these days.

  20. dinovelvet says:

    It is kind of cool that 7 out of the top 10 are R-rated. Probably been a while since that happened, right?

  21. movieman says:

    …and three more R-rated movies opening wide next weekend.

  22. cadavra says:

    Hey, as long as we’re beating this subject to death, shouldn’t the world’s biggest movie star be Ian McKellen? Four Tolkien movies, three X-Men and DaVinci Code–those eight alone are probably at least six billion ww.

  23. bulldog68 says:

    Saw an ad for Hansel & Gretel last night that said Rated R. How much seesawing has this film’s rating done already?

    And I still believe that Mama was helped by the spotlight on Jessica right now. Even people who are not huge fans of ZD30 say she’s the best thing. And now she’s done what few actors have done, back to back nominations. That must count for something.

  24. bulldog68 says:

    “Hey, as long as we’re beating this subject to death, shouldn’t the world’s biggest movie star be Ian McKellen? Four Tolkien movies, three X-Men and DaVinci Code–those eight alone are probably at least six billion ww.”

    Mojo still has Tom Hanks as top of the heap domestic with $4b. Sam is 3rd at $3.5b domestic, and they don’t count his cameos in some of the marvel movies and the first two Star Wars prequels, and Jurassic Park. Jurassic fucking Park! He was a main supporting character in Jurassic Park. He had way more to do than Michael Caine in Inception, and yet Inception counted to MC’s total.

    Go figure.

  25. anghus says:

    re: Chastain

    The problem is that the media has to have stars or else the conversations get dull. So they keep trying to ‘crown’ people in hopes that the outdated star system that fueled the entertainment industry up until the 1990’s (i.e. pre-internet days) will continue if they keep pressing the issue.

    Without stars, magazines don’t sell. Entertainment shows don’t have anyone to dote on. The business needs stars. The problem is, there aren’t a lot left.

    This past year Jennifer Aniston was in town shooting a movie called We’re the Millers with Jason Sudekis. I’ve never seen so many papparazzi climbing over themselves for photos. And when was the last time Aniston carried a movie? It’s still the massive starpower from Friends and her Brad Pitt relationship. Aniston is still coasting on super fame from a decade ago. And yet, she stills a shitload of magazines.

    Still, Hollywood will try and trot out the next big thing and everyone will jump on board and try to hope they get some traction. Sadly, they probably won’t.

    The new stars are the Kardashians and their reality ilk. Celebrity used to be a by product. Now it’s its own self perpetuating machine. Where the celebrities have shows on networks that then report about celebrity news featuring the same people on the show you just watched.

    The movie star days are done in America. Much like the movies, they are far more profitable overseas.

  26. chris says:

    Jeffrey Wright is a great actor and he’s fine in that so-so role in “Broken City,” but he would not have Oscar-nominated for that sometimes-laughable film no matter when it was released, movieman.

  27. dinovelvet says:

    Yeah it’s weird times for ‘movie stars’. New Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Willis movies all opening in the off season months of Jan/Feb – 20 years ago that would have been a summer blockbuster lineup. When did the R-rated action movie get marginalized like this? I know the People’s choice awards is a non-entity of an awards show, but when The Hunger Games wins best ACTION movie, something has gone very wrong. What was the last genuine big hit R-rated action movie? (not counting The Expendables which essentially promoted itself as a nostalgic/novelty act).

  28. etguild2 says:

    Django? “Wanted”, I guess for “pure” action.

  29. sanj says:

    star system – some actors have it lucky and do 2-3 films a year … a lot of actors do 8-10 films a year …
    one of them hist 100 million or more and your a star ?
    all of them fail and you suck as an actor ?

    Chastain – big star – waiting for DP’s review of Mama – also waiting for DP’s review of House at the end of the Street with Jen Lawerence .

    someitmes movie critics skip the bad movies to keep the movie stars alive longer .

  30. movieman says:

    I guess I just liked “Broken City” more than you Chris.
    Overall, I thought it was a pleasant surprise.
    And Wright gives the type of scene-stealing supporting performance
    that generally makes audiences–and occasionally Oscar voters–sit up and take notice. I know that I visibly perked up every time he came on screen.
    Great performances in not-great movies have won Oscars before.
    Not that that’s going to happen this time…for myriad reasons, of course.

  31. Rob says:

    Yeah, movie stars are people who sell magazines and generate page views and also happen to act in movies.

    That being said, Chastain starring in the top two movies means people will keep writing about her in the hopes that people will buy magazines/click on links because they’ve seen her in movies they liked.

    She’ll keep working in movies because directors want to hire her and she’s forged the right relationships. Until, of course, she gets old. That’s how it works, right?

  32. brack says:

    The Last Stand looked terrible from the trailer I saw. And outside of the Jackass movies, no one cares about Johnny Knoxville.

  33. brack says:

    As far as movie stars go, I’d say Denzel Washington is a bigger star now than ever. His movies open. Will Smith, Robert Downey Jr., and Johnny Depp come to mind as well. Not everything they do does great, but most of their movies perform and perhaps overperform with them. You think anyone would have cared about Pirates 4 as much without Depp?

  34. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Yeah, the ability to “sell” movies these days is pretty nebulous. I mean, I think Channing Tatum is okay but looking at his $50m+ movies you have:

    A movie where no-one knew him yet (Step Up)
    A movie starring two leads with billion dollar movies behind them (Public Enemies)
    An 80s toy Franchise (GI Joe)
    Two Valentines Day date movies (The Vow, Dear John)
    A remake of an 80s franchise retooled as a teen sex comedy with a well known comedy actor (21 Jump Street)

    The only one that you can kinda say “Okay, maybe he sold that one” was Magic Mike, and that still had Matthew McConaughey (how many magazine covers has HE been on?).

    That’s ignoring The Eagle and Haywire, which both bombed on 2000+ screens. I’m still kinda bewildered that they’re spending millions on retooling GI Joe with the rumour that they’re beefing up his role.

  35. Joe Leydon says:

    When discussing the evanescence of movie stardom, I used to point to Jan Michael Vincent as an example — until the day came when I realized none of my students had any earthly idea who I was talking about.

  36. christian says:

    Glad to see nobody wanted Ahnold back except some desperate nerds. Girly Man.

  37. Geoff says:

    REAL movies stars are genre-proof and what Channing Tatum pulled off last year was pretty damn impressive. I don’t care what any one says….NONE of those films were a sure thing.

    Replace him with Zac Effron in The Vow and see what happens – easily cut the gross in half.

    Magic Mike was not an easy sell in any possible way…..if he wasn’t the star, it probably would have made about as much as The Girlfriend Experience and would have been dismissed as another Soderbergh curiosity.

    And ‘Jump Street was never a sure thing….how many TV-to-movie adaptations have under-performed over the past few years? Remember when Miami Vice and The A Team seemed like sure things??

    There are a few genuine opening draws remaining but not many:

    Will Smith, Denzel, DiCaprio (remember he opened J Edgar), Robert Downey Jr (think back to just five years ago HOW absurd that seemed….he was omnipresent in SO many niche films for a while until Iron Man broke out), Channing Tatum, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and MAYBE George Clooney….hey, he does open R-rated dramas to $10 million plus, not that easy to pull off when you think about it.

    One other part of it that no one has really talked about is the explosion of animation – we’ve had so many animated blockbusters over the past 10 years that even the starpower of those films (remember that John C. Reilly was the big headliner for Wreck-it-Ralph) has become increasingly irrelevant.

  38. brack says:

    I would also say there are director stars too, but not too many. Spielberg, Scorsese (that may be cheating, since Leo is in almost all of his movies as of late), Tarantino, and perhaps Ben Affleck now. Almost anything they release is successful, and having a reputation for making good stuff doesn’t hurt either.

  39. Prettok says:

    Didn’t Kate Beckinsale have the top two movies almost exactly a year ago?

  40. sanj says:

    the one day being a movie star counts is the oscars … cause you got millions of people up on the social media saying stuff about you – good and bad. meanwhile you got thousand of other actors who didn’t get nominated. what are they up too… acting ? hanging out at subway eating footlongs ?

    i’m wondering which movie stars that DP interviewed so far for sundance ..

    which movies in the next 30 days are the most riskest for you ? where you might have to pay real money and sit through something truly bad .

  41. Rob says:

    “Didn’t Kate Beckinsale have the top two movies almost exactly a year ago?”

    Yep, good point. Underworld: Awakening and Contraband.

  42. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Geoff – The Vow grossed a mere 10% higher than the previous non-Channing/non-Sandler Valentine’s Day date movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” (I’m not counting “Just Go With It” because… Sandler). Jump Street grossed only 10% higher than A Team w/w and 10% higher than Superbad (Jonah’s previous biggest starring hit) domestically.

    Higher is higher, which is always good, but when they’re actually in the same ballpark as other comparable movies it doesn’t make the case for Channing Tatum being a bona fide star a slam dunk. I’d certainly put him above most of the other current 20-something actors, but in the same league as Washington, Smith, Depp and DiCaprio? Not a chance… not yet anyway.

  43. etguild2 says:

    Wouldn’t Wahlberg have been in this discussion before this weekend? And Pitt still is, after “Killing Me Softly?” Both actors need a certain tone in order to pull off an opening….

  44. bulldog68 says:

    Beckinsale had #1 & #3 last year. Red Tails was #2 that weekend. What she did do is have consecutive weekends at #1 with two debuting movies.

  45. movieman says:

    I wouldn’t describe Beckinsale as a “star.”
    She’s one of those lucky actors who just happened to be in the right place (or the right movies) at the right time.
    The “Underworld” franchise and Wahlberg’s action movie bonafides were the stars of last January’s chart-toppers.

  46. bulldog68 says:

    Beckinsale’s presence certainly did not help Total Recall much. You have to give her credit for the Underworld franchise because you have to believe your actor in the lead role, and the one with Rhona Mitra ended up being the lowest grossing in the series.

    Most everything else she’s been in could have been sold with another actress there. Contraband was a Wahlberg movie. Pearl Harbor was a spectacle, and Click was a Sandler comedy.

    I always felt that I’d love to see her paired with Rachel McAdams in some sort of movie where they are pitted against each other.

  47. Gus says:

    It is an interesting discussion but I’m more inclined to agree with Lex here. Not a single name on this list of supposed movie stars was made in the 00s except for Tatum. That’s the thing that’s most striking to me. Everyone we consider a star has carried over from before the internet/digital/everything-all-the-time era. Celebrity has taken on a fundamentally different quality thanks to the means of access and the disposability of the work new celebrities do now.

    The new female stars are certainly interesting but none carry the guaranteed draw of a Julia Roberts or even Angelina Jolie.

  48. movieman says:

    No Sunday estimates?
    They don’t have them up on B.O. Mojo either.
    Oh well.

  49. bulldog68 says:

    Which is kind of weird because they are up on other sites. Plus at Mojo, they have updated the total gross of most of the movies as of this weekend.

  50. Joe Leydon says:

    If being in monster hit movies qualified you are a star, wouldn’t Jeff Goldblum be a superstar?

  51. christian says:

    Jeff Goldblum was in my dream last night. Weird. Outta my head, Leydon!

  52. anghus says:

    i wouldnt think the blog would be a place to frequent b.o. for much longer. i think dave basically said he’s one bad mood away from shuttering this thing.

  53. That Guy says:

    4 day weekends usually get their box office post on the monday I think.

  54. Gus says:

    Yeah I think the long weekend has people holding off.

  55. etguild2 says:

    THIS IS 40 hitting 65 million is something of a coup given its start.

    PI surging over 100 million domestically is great too. Crazy that PI is Fox’s top live-action worldwide film since AVATAR.

  56. leahnz says:

    the movie star thing is puzzling; just anecdotally i asked my boy – who obviously doesn’t speak for young teen boys everywhere but he’s in that demographic – who are the actors/movie stars that just by their name get him to seriously consider spending his cash to go to the movies (but it does depend on the type of movie), he said: will smith, matt damon, leo dicaprio, seth rogan, karl urban and simon pegg (haha) for the men; for women he was more picky about what he’d see them in but he digs Milla jovovich (because of Alice in Res Evil) and Jennifer Lawrence – weirdly because of Winter’s Bone rather than Hunger Games, tho he and his friends did like that – and Cameron diaz. Not that many i guess.

  57. etguild2 says:

    He has really good taste leahnz. Most teen boys would swap Pegg for Statham, wouldn’t know who Urban is and could care less for Winter’s Bone. Sounds like your son frequents

    Cameron Diaz? Uhh I graduated HS in 2005, and we were all about Cameron. And Im pretty sure guys graduating a few years earlier were into her. Interesting.

  58. Gus says:

    I saw Life of Pi yesterday in 3D and was absolutely blown away by how much I liked it. Didn’t have the highest of expectations but the film is truly remarkable and the best use of 3D this year without a doubt. Only other films I think compare to it are Avatar and perhaps Transformers 3D, but the story in this one is far more rewarding than either of those two, and I felt that Lee’s stylistic flourishes were a lot more interesting cinematically than anything going on in those two films, too.

    I know it is easy to complain a lot on the internet but I do feel that films are better than ever now. To see a story of this scale and spectacle given its cast (non-famous Indians speaking accented English) and its explicitly religious content, I don’t know how you can fault the studios for not taking chances. This is a truly rich and valuable piece of work in my estimation. One that’s financially successful and culturally enriching and stylistically innovative.

    And props for the digital work as well. The tiger is extremely convincing and the depth of imagination on show in the underwater sequences is incredible. What amazing direction during the ocean liner accident, too. Aggressive and visionary and human even in a fully-digital world. Never puts the effects on a pedestal yet makes an amazing impression nonetheless.

  59. leahnz says:

    re: etguild, lol i don’t know what is but i don’t think so, he just has broad taste when it comes to movies (hopefully i can take a little credit for that); the Cameron thing is kind of weird, he watches a lot of older movies so i don’t think he was a clear sense of time or age as it relates to popularity – i think the Cameron Diaz thing happened because over a span of time he happened to watch ‘there’s something about mary’, ‘the mask’, ‘being john malkovich’, ‘the box’, ‘knight and day’ and ‘bad teacher’ and thus developed a Diaz fixation, I think that’s how it works for him at the moment.

  60. LYT says:

    I would bet The Last Stand’s numbers look better at the end of the weekend. Arnold’s getting into Clint Eastwood territory, where older people who remember him back when are going to be his main demographic, and they aren’t the ones who must see everything Friday night.

  61. dinovelvet says:

    boxofficemojo has posted the Sat/Sun numbers, and it doesn’t look like Last Stand improved. Seriously, what happened here, how does ANY movie released in 2900 theatres only make 6 mil? You can make 8 or 9 just from random people showing up at the theater who want to see anything with action in it. This is clearly something people went out of their way NOT to see. Do people really give that much of a shit that Arnold cheated on his wife? Cruise had a similar public ‘disgrace’ but he can still pull in $80 million at the box office.
    I dunno, I really think releasing a movie that has an ad where Arnold points a huge magnum-looking gun at the camera in the same week when ‘gun control’ is the hot political issue probably had to hurt it. Be interesting to see how Statham and Sly fare by comparison in the next two weeks; if they both open under $10 mil then it’ll mean the genre in general is the problem.

  62. christian says:

    Arnold ruined his brand as governor and its as if Kaleefornia never had this cynical oaf in charge for seven years. Its sad to read all the aicn style “Arnold’s back kicking ass!” As if his previous not so good films before he jumped ship were so awesome like ERASER. Johnny Knoxville could have been Sinbad for all audiences care. And the “Im OLD” jokes are….old. I’m sure he’ll be better suited for a supporting role instead of lead.

  63. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Man, looking over Ahnold’s filmography I was shocked to see that End of Days did $212m w/w. I don’t remember that film at ALL – I had always thought the cliff came after Batman and Robin, but I guess his international presence took a while to drop off.

  64. bulldog68 says:

    I expected more from The Last Stand, at least double this number. Especially when both the critical and audience reviews were at least decent. While Johnny Knoxville is no box office draw, I gotta figure that maybe they should have gone the Denzel route and paired Arnold up with an up and comer action star or some TV guy like LL Cool J or one of the guys from Hawaii Five O, anybody who looks like they belong in an action movie. At his age, he needs someone else to do some of the heavy lifting.

    You gotta love how Clint Eastwood handled his advancing career, dialing back on the action, taking more character roles. Let’s see if Stallone fears any better in about two weeks.

  65. christian says:

    Eastwood altered his image a lot earlier, especially by directing Play Misty for Me…

  66. etguild2 says:

    DJANGO had kind of a stunning overseas debut. I’d thought that it had no chance of topping BASTERDS worldwide due to the antebellum perspective, but it debuted to $48 million overseas this weekend.

  67. StellaPD says:

    Regarding The Last Stand, a lot of older viewers who grew up on the Governator’s action flicks probably feel that it looks like more of the same and younger action fans probably think “Oh it’s that old guy who’s in The Expendables.” And doesn’t it (along with Bullet to the Head and A Good Day to Die Hard) reek a little of desperation? Plus there are a lot of other R-rated action flicks out now: Zero Dark Thirty, Broken City, Gangster Squad. Release date may not have been wise. The weak box office really isn’t that surprising.

  68. hcat says:

    But even Clint would stumble in front of the camera, True Crime and Blood Work both underperformed. When stars get to this age they have to do something above and beyond to get people into theaters. If people are going to spend money on some B-movie of course they are going to go with Wahlberg or horror over some over the hill action star.

    And as someone pointed out above, his career was in massive trouble when he switched to politics. It was almost a PR move so he could claim to retire instead of being drummed out, but the cloning movie and collateral damage were both huge money losers and no one really wanted a piece of him for anything other than a terminator sequel.

  69. Bulldog68 says:

    Arnold had a very brief cameo in The Rundown, not a box office smash by any means, but well loved. The Rock seems to be teaming up with everybody these days. Maybe a vehicle that starts them both that isn’t all tongue in cheek like Expendables would do the trick.

    The Rock has always been seen as the only viable successor anyway. He’s have been so much better in the Total Recall remake. And of course a script that was worth more than the program it was written with would have helped.

  70. Bennett says:

    If I was Arnold, I would be on the phone to James Cameron, immediately. His top tier movies were Cameron productions. Even if it was a supporting role in Avatar 2. He needs to show that he is relevant.

    It kinda goes to show, that not starring in a role in a decade can really hurt your career.

    I wonder if Warners will start cutting back Marketing and/or theater count for Bullet in the Head. That looked worse than The Last Stand. Stallone’s film looks like a direct to DVD flick ala Eye See You…

    The lack of family films is a little suprising too..I think there are parents of the under 10 set that would not take their kids to Hobbit. An Alvin would have done big this Christmas…If any of the summer animated films were done, I would have been tempted to movie them to Christmas.

  71. christian says:

    Walter Hill directing Sly is a more exciting prospect…

  72. hcat says:

    …in 1988

    Arnold needs to find the right existing property to jump into. The Franchise is the star now not the actor.

  73. Lex says:

    “The lack of family films is a little suprising too”

    Does it really matter?

    Plenty of families and LITTLE KIDDIES running amok when I saw Chainsaw 3D, Gangster Squad, and Haunted House. Chainsaw was practically a Latino Family Event.

    All this hand-wringing about violence and what’s appropriate for kids is just lip service. Most parents DO NOT CARE AT ALL what their kids see, of any age. Sitting there watching an ostensibly adult movie, GANGSTER SQUAD, which has literally NOTHING a little kid would enjoy, and at the front of the theater is a single mom and two little 6- and 8-year old kids babbling away and chomping ‘corn, not even flinching as bodies get ripped in head and a woman gets near-raped. The mom supervising them didn’t give a shit. Most parents don’t. So I don’t even know that they need to make CARTOON MOVIES, the adults’ll take the kids to whatever they wanna see anyway.

  74. YancySkancy says:

    Yeah, as christian suggests, the participation of Walter Hill automatically makes BULLET TO THE HEAD of interest. Whether he delivers is another matter, but the potential is there.

  75. Bennett says:

    True…I saw a whole Latino family(with four under ten) at my screening of girl with the dragon tatoo..

    I forgot that Walter Hill did Bullet…But the trailer and tv spots look horrible. Sadly, I’m more excited about Top Gun IMAX 3D and Die Hard 5.

  76. etguild2 says:

    They are going all out with the DIE HARD 5 marketing. Yesterday I must have watched the trailer 20 times during the game, and it was followed by the YIPPIE KAI YAY Postgame Show with hyperbole about what John McLane would have done in that game instead of Tom Brady. It got to the point where I was afraid to open my door for the deliveryman, because I was worried it was Jeremy Irons or Alan Rickman.

  77. leahnz says:

    cameron’s busy over on his farm.

    here’s an idea, why don’t the old farts just give it a rest on trying to remain ‘action heroes’, it’s embarassing already. the only one who is still kind of pulling it off without looking like a complete ass is Bruce as John McClane, perhaps because McClane was always just pretty much your average guy somehow fluking it through extraordinary circumstances on his wits and by the seat of his pants, not a beefed-up warrior, so even as he ages out he still fits the role to a certain extent, otherwise the muscle-bound earlybird specialers are just kind of grotesque and cringe worthy at this point.

  78. etguild2 says:

    Obviously you didn’t see DIE HARD 4 leahnz, in which all of the traits you describe are discarded, and Willis’s character is pretty much John McBourne.

  79. chris says:

    Stallone, directed by Hill, is a more exciting prospect than Schwarzenegger, directed by the brilliant filmmaker who did “I Saw the Devil” and “Tale of Two Sisters” and “The Good, the Bad and the Weird?” No way.

  80. cadavra says:

    BULLET should be good provided Sly didn’t take it over and recut it. Hill seldom goes awry on his own.

    Saw PARKER and it’s terrific. But no mention of Taylor Hackford or Donald Westlake in the trailer. Bad idea; those names give it credibility to non-action folks.

  81. YancySkancy says:

    Glad to hear PARKER is good. I’m a Statham fan, and I know the source novel is highly regarded (been trying to hunt it down in local libraries here with no luck), so I was definitely interested, even though the trailer didn’t really grab me. Had no idea Hackford directed it; I’ve always considered him underrated, so there’s another item in the plus column.

  82. Rashad says:

    Bullet looks like shit.

  83. leahnz says:

    speaking of Hackford, it’s always weird when i see a movie on cable/tv after not really remembering it or thinking much of it the first time around, but i was surprised how much i enjoyed hackford’s ‘proof of life’ (written by tony gilroy if i remember the credits right) when I saw it again the other night – crowe and ryan and david morse and caruso, a nice little understated abduction drama action romance.

    etguild2, that’s a fair criticism of DH4 (which i did see), it’s ott and McClane performs some ridiculous feats of action derring-do (and i suspect len wiseman couldn’t direct himself out of a paper bag with any subtlety or aplomb if his life depended on it), but even then McClane is ostensibly just a regular cop who’s getting older and somehow manages to muddle through and gets beat up and injured and struggles to squeak by, rather than a beefy muscle-bound warrior bad-ass ‘hero’ his aging brethren still think they can pull off for some bizarre reason.

  84. StellaPD says:

    Parker is really that good? The TV spots are hiding the quality well. And Bullet looks awful, Walter Hill or not. It looks like the typical Seagal movie that plays on Reelz 24/7.

  85. Sam says:

    “One other part of it that no one has really talked about is the explosion of animation – we’ve had so many animated blockbusters over the past 10 years that even the starpower of those films (remember that John C. Reilly was the big headliner for Wreck-it-Ralph) has become increasingly irrelevant.”

    I’m not sure it was EVER relevant. The biggest hits of Disney’s second golden age — The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King — didn’t have and/or weren’t sold on stars. The exception is Aladdin, which made a big deal about Robin Williams voicing the Genie, but as Disney animation was posting huge numbers anyhow, it’s tough to say how much that mattered.

    It was only when grosses for animated films started going down that studios started marketing celebrity voices hard. It was a desperation move to try to keep an audience that was losing interest. And when they did, as often as not they’d get “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas,” which had a huge A-list cast and crashed and burned at the box office. It was the great storytelling of Pixar and the novelty of CG animation that boosted the numbers back up.

    The fact that celebrity voices aren’t being marketed so much anymore isn’t a sign that they no longer sell — it’s a sign that the studios are catching onto the fact that they never have.

  86. etguild2 says:

    MEGAMIND was the ultimate proof that animated voices don’t matter. But I think in very, very specific circumstances they can help….the Johnny Depp IS RANGO campaign was a success I think.

    2013 looks like a fairly quiet year for animation…only 9 major studio releases scheduled including a formerly Direct-to-video spinoff of CARS, called PLANES, and stuff that feels secondary on its face like Mr. PEABODY. Seems like DESPICABLE 2 and MONSTERS U are the only solid $200 million grossers, though CROODS has significant pent-up demand and a good marketing campaign going for it.

  87. movieman says:

    I’m glad to hear “Parker” is good, Cad.
    No pre-release screenings for it, “Movie 43” or “H&G” in northeastern Ohio, so I assumed it must be another turkey.
    The weird thing about Statham–who I like and would love to see in better material–is that his overall body of work is nearly as crappy as your average ’80s Cannon action star (Bronson, Norris, et al).
    Except for his two early Guy Ritchie movies and “The Bank Job,” has he ever made a really good film? Ritchie didn’t even cast him as the lead in HIS career best (“RocknRolla”), which must have really pissed Statham off.
    Instead he got the lead in Ritchie’s absolute worst to date (“Revolver”) instead. Sad.

  88. etguild2 says:

    Hey now, the CRANK movies are, along with BLACK DYNAMITE, the best exploitation action films of the last decade.

  89. Bulldog68 says:

    I don’t know how well Epic will do, but it looks beautifully done. Rio was not much script wise, but the colors really popped off the screen.

  90. jesse says:

    Movieman, I doubt Statham or many others share your feeling that RocknRolla is Ritchie’s very best, nor do I think Stath is lamenting that he “only” got to be in Lock Stock and Snatch, the two Ritchie movies that anyone I know actually likes!

    (Not to knock your RnR preference; I was sort of indifferent to it, and of course it would’ve been a better part for Statham than the atrocious Revolver.)

    I don’t think it’s weird at all that Statham’s body of work isn’t much better than your average eighties action star, considering that’s almost exactly what he seems to be aiming for. It is too bad that he couldn’t work out a Fast Six deal, although really, the average Fast/Furious movie has been worse than the average Statham movie; Fast Five really props that series up. But if Fast Six (why no trailer for that movie yet, btw?) is in that range, it will be a shame that Statham didn’t join the all-star crew. Maybe he can jump in for the seventh one??

    That said, maybe it’s just because I like Statham a lot, but I’d say his output isn’t all that bad by B-movie standards. I really enjoy all three Transporter movies; those two Ritchie movies are fun, particularly Snatch; the Crank movies are insane but kind of amazing; The Bank Job and The Italian Job are both pretty solid heist movies. I like Cellular (RIP David Ellis!) where he’s the bad guy, too.

    I do wish he’d concentrate his B-movie career on fewer but more awesome, Transporter-style movies, rather than the more generic, diluted stuff like WAR or SAFE (though I kind of enjoyed KILLER ELITE, with Owen and De Niro). And of course doing a few more ensemble movies like his JOB pictures wouldn’t hurt.

    But on the other hand, do people really expect Statham to topline high-pedigree action movies? (Or, what, NON-action movies?!) To the extent that those exist anymore, they don’t start guys pushing 50…

  91. Geoff says:

    The Bank Job is one of the true underrated gems of the past ten years….love that movie, it is VERY re-watchable.

  92. berg says:

    Statham is also good in 13

  93. movieman says:

    I’d forgotten about “The Italian Job,” Jesse. Probably because I think of it as a “Wahlberg Movie” rather than a “Statham Movie.”
    Truth be told, it’s more of an ensemble piece than anyone’s “star” vehicle, kind of like the “Expendables” movies. But it is a genuinely good popcorn flick.
    And, for me, “Rocknrolla” remains the undisputed high point of Ritchie’s directing career. Statham would have been fantastic in the Gerard Butler role.
    Maybe it’s because I happen to think he’s a much better actor than, say, Chuck Norris that I want his movies to be better.

    P.S.= You actually liked “The Killer Elite”?
    Yikes! I’ll take the relatively mediocre “Safe” over that crap-fest any day, lol.

  94. christian says:

    Ill take THE DRIVER, THE WARRIORS and even SOUTHERN COMFORT over THE GOOD THE BA WEIRD etc which felt like an irritating mashup of every HK action film excess. THE LAST STAND is Arnies HARD TARGET.

  95. movieman says:

    Don’t forget “The Long Riders” and “Hard Time,” Christian.
    Those are primo Hill movies, too.

  96. movieman says:

    “Hard Times,” sorry.

  97. jesse says:

    Movieman, yeah, I recognize that a movie with Clive Owen, Statham, and Robert De Niro should probably be, at very least, more of a Bank Job/Italian Job-style well-wrought pulp picture than basically just a middling Statham vehicle that happens to have better actors in supporting roles… but I did enjoy Killer Elite despite its limitations. All three stars can do and have done better, but I found it an agreeable time-waster. I think about De Niro taking a wad of cash and saying “I gotta cover my expenses” all the time (though probably not for the right reasons).

  98. christian says:

    And those films too, not to mention his scripts for ALIEN etc

  99. leahnz says:

    I’ve always wondered re: Walter Hill, how do you go from making such a crackling buddy cop movie like ’48hrs’ to such a flatliner like ‘another 48 hrs’, what the heck happened there (I guess the writing is pretty shitty for ‘another 48 hrs’ but talk about an inability to capture the old magic)

  100. Lex says:

    ANOTHER 48 HRS is just as good if not better.

    CHERRY GANZ = DIVOFF plus THE ICEMAN plus ANOTHER is meaner, harsher, way more HOSTILE and VIOLENT and has that AWESOME BLACK GUY from Moneyball and Red Heat who I never know what his name is.

    Plus Eddie has a fade. ANOTHER is classic Hill.

  101. leahnz says:

    or a vomit bowl.

    just talking to myself but I was thinking of a comparison to say ‘lethal weapon’ and ‘LW 2’, but I didn’t realise LW2 was released in ’89 only 2yrs after the original, that’s got to be one of the fastest sequels in history

  102. anghus says:

    i think 2 years is the average for most sequels these days.

  103. sanj says:

    watched – DP/30 @ Slamdance ’13: Diamond on Vinyl, wr/dir J.R. Hughto, actor Sonja Kinski

    okay so DP finds a small movie with 2 people nobody knows. great …

    problem for me – director dude was boring .

    Sonja gets a LOOK AT HER!!! cause she was a real model now trying acting but she’s boring. she looks like Natalie Portman but acts kinda like K-Stew

    – DP didn’t try to ask what the movie was even about

    – watched the trailer and it looks bad.

    – see i don’t always like every dp/30 out there.

    – would like DP review of this as i don’t think many
    people will watch it or even know about it –

    Diamond on Vinyl trailer –

  104. anghus says:

    This post was brought to you by SANJ:

    Killing conversations since 2009.

  105. Rashad says:

    Killer Elite is the most underrated movie of the past how many years. People talk about like, like it’s some low rent B movie, when it’s really like a lighter version of the spy stuff in Munich with a Statham twist. Everyone was great, and fun, and the action was top notch. Purcell’s mustache was grade A, and Yvonne is extremely sexy. Give that movie it’s proper due.

  106. etguild2 says:

    Killer Elite? Yeesh. RocknRolla…yes, that movie was underrated. As far as Statham, MEAN MACHINE and the remake of DEATH RACE are his most underrated, though as far as the latter, maybe that’s just because I don’t take him seriously in most roles in which he resembles an actual person.

  107. anghus says:

    Mark me down in support of RocknRolla. I loved it. Spectacular trash.

  108. dinovelvet says:

    Yeah its kind of weird that Statham has an actual name co-star in this one, as well as a semi-name director, and the always valuable Nick Nolte in support, yet they’re just marketing Parker as the typical Statham beating people up fest, now with bonus shots of J-Lo’s ass. They could be aiming higher with this one…

  109. movieman says:

    Just watched “Universal Soldier” which is the most virtuoso display of John Hyams’ action chops–and eye for pictorial beauty in the most unexpected places–yet.
    If only he could get his hands on a coherent script. (He cowrote this, proving that his talents don’t extend to screenwriting.)

    Why isn’t Hyams being given an action movie franchise to reinvigorate?
    For example, how come a pretty hip dude like Bruce Willis (who earned his hipster cred by working w/ Wes Anderson, Tarantino, Rian Johnson and Alan Rudolph for starters) didn’t consider Hyams for the new “Die Hard”?
    Instead, the job went to hack extraordinaire John Moore who hasn’t made a good (or even moderately watchable) movie yet.

  110. movieman says:

    That’s “U.S.” Day of Reckoning”….

  111. etguild2 says:

    I thought about checking out Univeral Soldier 8, or whatever we’re up to.

    Started watching TIMOTHY GREEN, but had to stop after 5 minutes when I felt like I was going to be sick…and that was before the kid came onscreen. Congrats Joel Edgerton, you discovered the most emasculating role of 2012 and forever tainted ANIMAL KINGDOM for me.

    Now starting “Chicken With Plums” the directorial follow up to “Persepolis.” Feeling much better already.

  112. leahnz says:

    movieman, since you seem like a bit of a Bruce fan, i have a friend who was a grip on ‘tears of the sun’ shot on Oahu (hawaii) and he got to know willis fairly well while he was there for the production (apparently BW would regularly have big feeds and parties for all the cast and crew) and he said bruce is just a ridiculously kind, sweet, down-to-earth guy – not that that excuses the John Moore thing, if it was BW’s call haha

  113. leahnz says:

    jts one thing that’s annoying when lex’s comments are disarticulated from a thread, the subsequent comment that remains often seems very bizarre, like my ‘vomit bowl’ quip upthread, which sounds like I was referring to ‘another 48 hrs’ now – which I wasn’t ftr.

  114. Rashad says:

    Has Nadine Velazquez been given her proper due, as having the best body of 2012?

  115. YancySkancy says:

    If the new DIE HARD is directed by John Moore, it’s guaranteed at least one rave review — from Armond White.

  116. christian says:

    ANOTHER 48 HOURS is everything wrong with sequels. Murphy was fresh and exciting and hungry in the original and a 90s revisit to 80s characters was like visiting Murphy in his mansion……Even the posters were unenthused…

    JACK REACHER had a nice 70s Hill-esque vibe tho.

  117. cadavra says:

    I’m still waiting for that ROCKNROLLA sequel Ritchie promised us. Them guys ain’t gettin’ any younger.

    Remember that PARKER is based on a Donald Westlake-as-Richard Stark novel and follows it fairly closely. That they’re marketing it as just another Statham slugfest will probably get them a decent opening weekend, but the knuckledraggers may find it too talky for their tastes while the upscale folks might not check it out thinking it’s just another Statham slugfest.

  118. Lex says:

    John Moore is the GOD OF ALL ACTION. He is the best pure action shooter this side of Bay, has this AWESOME rusty, skip-motion HUGE look to his action setpieces. Every John Moore movie has been good-to-excellent, but he has a real cold, tense, creepy way with action, kind of what Renny Harlin does too– that feel of the ELEMENTS and the rust and the coldness. He’s an underrated guy.

  119. movieman says:

    Good to know, Leah.

  120. christian says:

    After watching the trailer for Wahlbergs sweaty Miami muscle men film, I swear I thought it said, from director Michael Gay – not that theres anything wrong with that…

  121. Gus says:

    And in box office news, Django out-debuts Basterds by 30% across similar territories and The Impossible does more than $100M (!!!) overseas and Life of Pi is now guaranteed to pass $500M worldwide. Stunner.

  122. LYT says:

    Schwarzenegger should play Miley Cyrus’ dad. With Billy Ray Cyrus as the villain.

  123. Tim DeGroot says:

    He should, Luke. And he should rock a mustache like the one he had in The Long Goodbye.

  124. anghus says:

    im glad Life of Pi did well. I thought it was ambitious and different and even though it may not have been perfect i’m always happy to see when innovation is rewarded.

  125. berg says:

    thanks for the memories

  126. movieman says:

    I keep expecting to find “Site Not Available” every time I visit MCN anymore.
    Is this the beginning of the end, gang?
    Is it so difficult to put a new “BYOB” up every now and then?

  127. leahnz says:

    somewhere lex is sitting in the snow in a giant hedge maze frozen to death with a wackadoodle psychotic look on his face.

    my boy absolutely loved ‘Life of Pi’, I still haven’t managed to see it but he wants to go again so that works out well.

  128. David Poland says:

    Why, movieman. Has it been down since that one day in the last bunch of months last week?

  129. bulldog68 says:

    Timely question Dave, as I did have difficulty a few hours ago. My intended post was regarding the news that apparently JJ Abrams will be at the helm of the new Star Wars.

    There has always been an undercurrent of geek warfare between Trekkies and Star Wars fans. It actually feels like some kind of ripple in the universe happened today with the announcement that the same guy will be directing both.

  130. Evans says:

    I am very curious about Mama. It seems like I have been hearing a lot of good things about this movie. I can’t wait to watch it real soon.

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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.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon