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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Kladyzzzzzz

Another weekend, another game of lowered expectations. Paramount used weekend publicist Nikki Finke (And other selected media) to lower expectations of the opening weekend of World War Z (Or World War V, as I’d call it, for Vanilla) to $55 million so that when it hit $60 million, it would still appear to be a hit instead of a miss. But make no mistake, what is probably the most expensive movie of a movie loaded with expensive movies, doesn’t have champagne bottles popping over a $60m domestic launch. What it suggests is that the marketing on the film won’t be covered by domestic box office and the entire financial future of the film will be keyed to whether the rest of the world buys what Americans didn’t much care to buy. On the positive side, Pitt is as strong an actor internationally as there is right now, so there is hope.

Paramount is having “one of those summers.” Two movies that will probably gross around $400 worldwide, but are so expensive that they will barely make enough profit – if any, especially in the case of zzzzzz – to make the studio worth keeping open. Technically, you’d have to say that most of the departments are doing their jobs well… but the risk of being in the $200m+ movie business is that the profitability bar starts so freakin’ high.

We know that Par will make a tidy sum on Paranormal 5, their next movie, in October. November/December looks strong with Scorsese, Payne, Reitman, Ferrell/McKay/Apatow, and the relaunch of Clancy’s Jack Ryan character. But with Marvel and DreamWorks Animation both gone, summer isn’t a terribly happy season on Melrose.

Monsters University is not a great Pixar film, but it does look like it will be the #2 opening for the company in its remarkable history. It’s been about a month since Epic arrived as the only kids animation in the market. But that wasn’t such a hit. That Pixar brand is mighty. And then… a TON of high-profile animated product with Despicable Me 2 in 2 weeks and Turbo 2 weeks after that.

Remember last weekend when people will surprised that Man of Steel reported late Thursday show grosses separately from the Friday opening? Today there is another clear reason why this was smart… and that WM may have seen what was coming. If you included Thursday the Friday-to-Friday drop would have been a stunning 78%. As it is, they are still at a 69%+ drop. Very well played by Warners all around. That said, they’re waiting on international to save the day.

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90 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Kladyzzzzzz”

  1. Nick says:

    what was the point of the bling ring? why do people say francis ford coppola’s daughter is a good director?

  2. anghus says:

    Well, the hopes of a 500 million dollar Man of Steel appear to be dead.

  3. Daniel says:

    All Warners cares about is on this is 300 domestic. This was a tough wknd. Next wknd nothing is going to be that big/and films stablize in third frame. They will get there and be happy.

  4. anghus says:

    Well, the 500 number was my insane bet for the #1 movie of the summer. So Warner Brothers might be happy, but sadly, i am not.

  5. Bulldog68 says:

    Total bone crusher weekend no doubt. Monsters, both kiddie and adult, steal away the audience. I agree next week will be a stabilizing effect. If MoS falls what seems to be about 63% this weekend, it’s still not too far off Dark Knight Rises 61% 2nd weekend drop. So it’s not all bad.

  6. movieman says:

    Does anyone else foresee “The Heat” utterly demolishing “WHD” next weekend?
    And “The Lone Ranger” being an even bigger dud than “Wild, Wild West” was in ’99?
    Or “Despicable Me 2” seriously underperforming on the level of 2011’s “Kung Fu Panda 2” because of a serious glut of summertime animated movies? (“MU,” of course, will have already done $200-million–or close–so it’ll be the only summer ‘toon to reach that magic #.)
    Other underperformers I see circling the runway:
    “Pacific Rim” (which looks to skew strictly fanboy w/ minimal crossover potential for mainstream auds) and “Grown Ups 2” (which likely won’t come anywhere near the $170-million-plus “GU1” did three summers ago).

  7. anghus says:

    July does look really bleak. Feels like this was a frontloaded summer and it won’t have legs.

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    The last time I predicted big grosses for a western, it was Cowboys & Aliens — a movie David has every right to mention every time I mention Phantom of the Opera — so I am keeping my mouth shut about The Lone Ranger. But my hopes are high.

  9. Geoff says:

    Movieman, I actually think July will be pretty strong – Pacific Rim and Lone Ranger will both likely underperform a bit, but I can still them doing over $150 million each and will make their real cash overseas….

    White House Down is a real wild card because there’s almost no buzz on it, but I saw a screening a couple of weeks ago and the movie plays really well…it WILL be a genuine test for Tatum. I can still see The Heat destroying it and possibly even doing Ted-like business.

    You know I don’t personally feel the excited at all for Despicable Me 2, but wow is Universal pushing HARD the Minions and folks seem to really dig them – I can see it doing a bit over $200 million.

    And I DO think that The Wolverine can be strong too, maybe over $170 million.

    So for July, you’re not going to see any mega-blockbusters, but I in the space of about five weeks, I can see SIX films doing over $150 million though MAYBE only half of them will make real profit.

  10. David Poland says:

    Believe me, Joe… couldn’t care any less about either historic reference

  11. movieman says:

    Geoff- I spoke w/ somebody who saw “PR” yesterday, and they absolutely hated it. Said it was two (incredibly boring) hours of relentless, assaultive NOISE. And that Hunnam can’t carry a film to save his life.
    Admittedly, my (female) critic friend doesn’t have a fanboy/girl bone in her body, lol. But her dismissive take sounds like a very good reason why it isn’t likely to have a lot of appeal outside its narrow demographic swath.
    I also think Summit will regret not holding “Red 2” until fall, and that “The Conjuring” will be the closest thing to a “sleeper” we’re likely to see post-July 4th.

  12. anghus says:

    Im psyched for White House Down because i really miss the cheesy action films that were a staple of Summer blockbuster season before everyone had to be wearing a mask a cape or be sci fi themed.

    The best Summer movies of all time, for me, are still glorious action like Die Hard, Face/Off, Con-Air, and The Rock.

    And therefore, i will hold out hope for White House Down.

  13. Joe Leydon says:

    Of course you don’t. That’s why you felt the need to immediately comment on a jokey, self-deprecating allusion to them.

  14. Jason B says:

    Every time previews play for Despicable Me 2, it kills in the theater. First did well and animation sequels clean up overseas. More kids are excited at that than MU. $80M opening towards $700+ WW. It’s gonna destroy Ranger.

  15. Sideshow Bill says:

    WORLD WAR V will be the title of the porn satire, David.

  16. chris says:

    I get that the costs are a huge issue, but the six or seven million Americans who did “care to buy” are not chickenfeed, especially with many of without power in the middle of the country.
    (And, Joe, does it count as “self-deprecating” when you also take the opportunity to revive a decade-old minor issue that no one cares about anymore?)

  17. Dr Wally Rises says:

    I think Wolverine can get to $200 million. It has that third weekend in July sweet spot that that Christopher Nolan has made his own in recent years, and Jackman seems to have become a bigger star outside of the franchise since his last solo outing as the character. James Mangold is an underrated pro and the vibe seems to be that the movie has come together much more successfully than the 2009 effort. That one still grossed around $200 million four years ago despite leaking onto the net and fanboy scorn. I can’t see this one doing less than that this time around if it’s even halfway entertaining.

  18. YancySkancy says:

    I’m no expert, and never bring anything but anecdotal evidence and gut feeling to b.o. prognostication, but DESPICABLE ME 2 looks poised to be huge. I hope it doesn’t “destroy” LONE RANGER, because that one looks like great fun to me, with each successive trailer piquing my interest more than the last. WHITE HOUSE DOWN also looks like something that could find a big audience (never underestimate the Tatum).

  19. Amblinman says:

    I must be completely off my rocker cause I think PR is gonna be gigantic.

  20. Geoff says:

    White House Down was a lot of fun, but yeah….I would have liked it better as a balls-out R-rated action fest. But honesty watching it, it felt like such a throw-back – even considering the subject matter, it plays like it’s on a much smaller scale than so many other action blockbuster and I dug that.

    I do have a feeling that Despicable Me 2 could be huge, but animated sequels have just been so damn hit-or-miss the past few years and since Toy Story 3 which was now three years ago, there has not one animated film since then that has broken $250 million domestic.

    And yeah, it looks like Man of Steel is not going to be able to leg it out to $400 million like I originally thought but $350 million is still do-able. Dave, I know you have the knives out for Warners at this point over this movie, but what would even be the point of that numbers manipulation regarding the Thursday night number? I mean doesn’t it STILL benefit publicity even more to be able to hype up a bigger opening weekend?? Second week Friday drops don’t even get mainstream attention come Monday morning and we all know that this film is likely have a big Saturday uptick and probably STILL end up close to $50 million at the end of the weekend which is pretty impressive considering the competition.

    And I get the snark towards Paramount too for how much they spent on WWZ, but aren’t we over-thinking it a bit again on managing expectations for the opening? I mean, only one Brad Pitt film has ever opened to over $50 million and that was EIGHT years ago…..nobody would have been surprised if this eked out a $30 million opening and it’s not as if we’ve seen a track record of zombie-themed blockbusters out there either. Profit is going to be tough, but the opening is higher than any one could have expected.

    And has any one looked at the slate for next summer? Every one’s so hyped up about the 2015 mega-schedule (and if I were a betting man, I would say that Star Wars 7 is gonna get delayed a year, we’re talking JJ Abrams here) that Summer 2014 looks pretty low wattage by comparison – there’s only one film slated that’s a sequel to a $300 million domestic hit and that’s Transformers….though you could give Amazing Spiderman 2 an asterisk for how the Sam Raimi-directed ones all did.

    You have the X Men which could go either way, a new Planet of the Apes which could have a ceiling, a new How to Train Your Dragon (loved the first one, but it will have been five years), and Guardians of the Galaxy which just sounds BIZARRE on paper…..none of these films are really surefire domestic smashes. It would have been an ideal time for Universal to re-launch Jurassic Park if they hadn’t scrapped it.

  21. Joe Leydon says:

    Chris: First off, people still bring up Phantom on this site from time to time — often as a joke, but sometimes as part of a package of things they use to dis David when he does something that displeases them (like, oh, I dunno, dare to criticize a comic book movie) — so you’re wrong. This is not an opinion, this is a fact: You are wrong.

    Second: Yes, self-deprecating. I actually don’t make box-office predictions on this site very often, but there are times when I have. Occasionally, I’m right. (Cue the 21 reference.) Other times, I am wrong. In the case of Cowboys & Aliens, I was not only wrong, I was very, very wrong. (I still like the movie, mind you, but we’re talking about box-office here.) So when I not only reference my error, but indicate that David can use that prediction as a “Yeah? Well, what about this, asshole?” riposte to me if I ever do have the temerity to mention Phantom of the Opera — yeah, I do think that’s pretty goddamn self-deprecating.

    Now why don’t you take that huge piece of lumber out of your rectum and relax.

    And while I’m pissing off overly sensitive people: Hey,JSP: Looks like Hancock held up better in its second week than Man of Steel did.

  22. movieman says:

    I’d love to see all of those films (“Ranger,” “WHD,” “Desp. 2,” “PR,” hell even “GU2” despite loathing the first one) do gangbuster biz for the sake of the industry. And any one of them could hit big, I suppose.
    But only “Desp.” seems poised for any real breakout action. The ridiculously crowded CGI 3-D ‘toon field makes me think it could be a “Panda 2”-style underperformer, though.
    “MU” will still be hot, and just 12 days old when it opens.
    And “Turbo”– opening a mere 2 weeks later–is breathing down its neck.
    Kids are fickle. They always want to see the “new” model.

  23. David Poland says:

    1. Kinda love White House Down being so retro. It’s Die Hard In The White House with a little girl added for spunk and character. It’s not a GREAT movie… but it’s fun and does a nice job of hitting all the notes, some in really original ways.

    2. I think Despicable will be strong.

    3. I think Turbo is going to be surprisingly strong, especially with younger kids.

    4. I do hope that Pacific Rim is (classic) Godzilla fun. If it is, I think it will be leggy and become a thing.

    5. Geoff… bullshit of the Pitt spin. They greenlit it at near $200m… opening at $30m was never going to be ok and this opening is not more than anyone imagined. There is a reason they made it PG-13.

    6. The irritation I have with Phantom is that people have bizarre and false notions of what I wrote or thought about the film.I don’t mind being hung up for what I actually did… in fact, the notion that they have to go back 8 years or whatever to find fault is a great compliment. But I hate the misstatements. As for Cowboys, no, I have never hung it over your head or anyone else’s since its release, so apples & oranges.

  24. Ray Pride says:

    Some kids like what they already know, too, Movieman. At a Chicago preview of SHREK THE THIRD, a bright if croupy and talkative little girl said about 45 minutes in, during a brief moment of relative quiet: “Mommy, can we go home and watch SHREK?”

  25. movieman says:

    I actually think the PG-13 rating is what prevents “WWZ” from achieving the type of classic visceral tension I was hoping for.
    It’s extremely well-made (mostly), and surprisingly intelligent for a summer tentpole kind of movie. Plus, the cast is populated w/ lots of terrific actors in even throwaway, walk-on style roles.
    But it’s more of a “B PLUS” than an “A” for me.

  26. Joe Leydon says:

    I haven’t yet seen World War Z, so I know nothing about the particulars. But whenever I hear someone say something on the order of, “This is a PG-13 movie, it would have been better as an R-rated movie” — what do you mean? That the movie needed more F-bombs? More explicit violence? More nudity? (OK, LexG, sit down.) More people smoking cigarettes while — hah! — laughing at the Surgeon General’s warning?

  27. movieman says:

    In this case, Joe, I had the sense that “WWZ” was almost too tasteful/discreet for its own good.
    The threat posed by the rampaging zombie hordes wasn’t personalized, or made visceral enough, for me.
    And a tasteful (or discreet) zombie apocalypse movie just seems wrong somehow.
    Or maybe I’ve just seen too many episodes of “The Walking Dead.”
    At its best, though, it has a groovy ’70s Pakula vibe which was much appreciated, by me anyway.
    (That is, if Pakula had directed a z/a movie in 1974, lol.)
    My biggest disappointment was the sidelining of the wonderful Mireille Enos for most of the film.
    How ironic/depressing that this uber “Woman-of-Action” on AMC’s “The Killing” (I’m really enjoying Season 3, btw) gets her first big studio picture and she spends most of it playing “Wifey on the Homefront Who Waits for Hubby to Return.”

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    Movieman: I understand what you’re saying. And I admit that I have no problem with Hard-R or even NC-17 levels of mayhem in movies where such extremes are more or less what those movies are all about. (Like, say, Hatchet II, or Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.) But this constant refrain of “R-rated is better” strikes me a extremely tedious. It’s like, “Hey, I need everything spelled out for me, in extensive detail.” Or, worse, “More entrails, dammit!”

  29. Sideshow Bill says:

    JAWS wasn’t R-rated. Still scares me. Maybe it’s a tonal problem with WWZ? Even without the gore, if it had a darker tone horror fans (myself included) would be happier. I mean, I am fine with what it is and I read the book. Plus, I can take my daughters and feel good that they want to see it.

    It feels like a globe-trotting adventure more than a zombie apocalypse movie. That’s fine, but not what a lot people want.

  30. J says:

    Might just be that, in the modern zombie film, you’re talking about a genre that has its origins in envelope-pushing violence: On-screen cannibalism in 1968; an unrated sequel from 1978, both sickening and slapstick-hilarious, that was a touchstone for gorehounds for decades. When you have high-rated, mundane primetime zombie dramas and zombie rom-coms, it’s natural to cry out for some sort of edge.

  31. chris says:

    Classy, Joe. Guess I hit a nerve? My point is it’s pretty hard to be self-deprecating when you’re assuming that someone cares about something you said eons ago and he clearly does not. (And way to pat yourself on the back for “21,” which, at least, was a prediction nobody remembers from only five years ago.)
    Speaking of R ratings (in this case, hard Rs), “The Heat” is hugely appealing. I think the above predictions are right — it’s going to be huge.

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    Memo to self: Don’t feed trolls. It only encourages them. Instead, ignore them. It drives them crazy.

  33. Yancy says:

    A “not great” Pixar, perhaps, but still the best all-around summer movie we’ve seen this year. I understand the natural human desire to see anyone’s winning streak end (it comforts untalented people), but I can’t see how any critic in his right mind could write that MONSTERS UNI is not good, not worth seeing, and will not make your kids happy. The negative reviews are more about strengthening the “Disney is fucking with Pixar” narrative. And without a narrative, what so critics have to pander to? (No chance DESPICABLE beats this one…)

    I remember Dave’s PHANTOM bit, I think – he just predicted it was going to win BP; I don’t recall him saying he would have personally chosen that film to win. But let’s not forget we’re talking about an art form you guys are prognosticating about around here, and it’s inevitable that sometimes someone usually spot-on makes a “mistake” once in a while.

  34. berg says:

    why is Way, Way Back rated pg-13 and Kings of Summer rated R … a year from now when WWB is on disc or online will people think that The Way Back is a prequel to The Way, Way Back ….

  35. movieman says:

    Bill: You might have a point about tone.
    “WWZ” definitely feels more like “Contagion” (cool, detached) than, say, “The Walking Dead” (visceral, gruesome).
    The difference is that I didn’t go into the Soderbergh expecting to see a zombie apocalypse horror flick, and I kinda/sorta did with “WWZ,” even w/ its PG-13 rating.

  36. Bulldog68 says:

    No fair on the Hancock reference Joe. MoS came up against Pixar and another similarly big budget movie. Hancock came up against Hellboy 2 and Journey to the Center of the Earth. The combined opening weekend grosses for the opening movies are $140m this year and $55m back in 2008 when Hancock opened.

    Also Hancock opened on a Wednesday so that would cut into it’s first weekend grosses and thereby diminish the extent of the 2nd weekend drop.

  37. Glamourboy says:

    Since DP doesn’t care about it, I thought it might be fun to revisit what he actually said…

    “It’s very scary to go out on the tightrope alone… and I don’t really like to make declarative statements in the heat of a still developing Oscar season… but here I go…
    The only movie that can keep The Phantom of The Opera from winning Best Picture is The Aviator.
    Let me say it again. This is not about locking in a nomination. This is not a guess because the film is one my favorites, so it’s got to happen. This is a film whose buzz has come, so far, 100%, from a handful of people who saw it in long lead screenings and have been pissing on it ever since. But they are wrong.
    The Aviator is the only movie still little seen that has the size and the potential weight to kick Phantom out of a Best Picture win. It could do it two ways… it could beat The Phantom outright or it could create a split in the voting for the two big Old Hollywood pictures and allow a smaller film to sneak in through the back door. So it’s not 100%. But anyone who thinks The Phantom Of The Opera isn’t being nominated is, well, to be kind, just wrong.
    I was expecting that the film would be pilloried by critics… and some will shriek. I would now estimate a Rotten Tomatoes response in the high 70s, a little lower for “The Cream of The Crop” perhaps. But the negatives will be for what the movie is, not for how the movie was made.
    But I can say this… it delivers on its aspirations. And even if you are not a Lloyd Webber fan, if you let yourself get into it, you will be drawn in.
    To put it in Oscar terms, if Chicago was the new millennium answer to Cabaret, The Phantom of The Opera is the new millennium answer to Oliver. 11 nominations, 5 wins, including Best Picture.”

  38. Poland's Blessed Fromage says:

    David Poland wrote ” But make no mistake, what is probably the most expensive of a movie loaded with expensive movies, doesn’t have champagne bottles popping over a $60m domestic launch.”

    He’s not even attempting English anymore, and all 33 readers don’t even care.

  39. David Poland says:

    And Glamourboy. What did I say 2 weeks later… since you find this so important?

  40. Glamourboy says:

    Are you referring to the review on AICN, from your screening of Phantom? Someone posted a negative review and you went ballistic–accusing AICN or having their own political motives for running that review, and ASSURING them that the rest of the audience LOVED the movie? And suggesting that the reviewer who didn’t like Phantom of the Opera had probably not seen the movie?

    (It now has a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes btw)

    Is that what you are referring to?

  41. brack says:

    I bet WB are kicking themselves for not opening MoS on June 7th. Did Iron Man 3 have exclusivity on the IMAX screens or something? With only The Purge and The Internship to compete with, MoS would have had a strong 2nd weekend, if no other changes of the summer releases. It’s still going to end well domestically, but why open just one week before Monsters U and WWZ?

  42. chris says:

    Great point, brack. “Man of Steel” had the date before “World War Z” moved in and I suppose Warner’s wanted to give the Memorial Day movies a wide berth but it did turn out there was room in the first half of June for something.

  43. David Poland says:

    Actually, I am referring to the first review of Million Dollar Baby in which I called it as the Best Picture winner when just a handful of others has seen the film and most others were still pushing Aviator, especially after The Globes.

    In reality, that was one of my most successful years in covering the ebb and flow of things… M$B, Sideways, Sophie Okonedo… I was wrong about stuff that season too. Happens. But some people only want to obsess on those 2 weeks and that one title. It is their right to be petty and myopic.

    P.S. Speaking of petty & myopic, good to see you, Don.

  44. Poland's Blessed Fromage says:

    Hey David you unconscionable douche-

    What is petty and myopic about asking you, when you bother to write at all, to make SENSE? I cannot understand that sentence. Fix it now, and answer my question.

    You have a lot more people who laugh at you than just ” Don”

    Anybody who wrote what you wrote about Phantom should never ever offer an opinion about film again.

  45. David Poland says:

    Don –

    It’s like the old scorpion/frog thing. I don’t know why you are petty or myopic. It’s just what you are.

    Thanks, as always, for keeping score on my worthlessness for the vast majority who don’t know who I am or care what I think. You’re doing God’s work.

    P.S. Why are you up after 2:30a obsessing on me? You need your sleep.

  46. Joe says:

    Does Sanj still comment?

  47. YancySkancy says:

    Seems pretty clear to me that David intended to write “what is probably the most expensive movie of a YEAR (or maybe SUMMER?) loaded with expensive movies…” He typed “movie” instead of “year.” It’s called a typo. And amusingly enough, Poland’s Blessed Fromage apparently made a typo in his complaint, leaving off the first “movie.”

  48. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    How’s that $40m Bling Ring prediction going?

    After calling it a bomb when first announced, the latest trailer of the Lone Ranger has sold me and I think it could end up being a major hit.

    Can sleepers even exist in this age of targeted marketing.
    Films like Insidious & Now You See Me are called sleepers because they have strong WOM and legs. However I think the world of the true sleeper has passed us by.

    can a release with a multi million dollar marketing campaign be called a sleeper? Thoughts?


  49. Joe Leydon says:

    JBD: Well, since just about every major studio release gets such a major marketing push — isn’t a movie like Now You See Me a sleeper simply because it performs way, way above expectations

  50. LexG says:

    “How’s that $40m Bling Ring prediction going?”

    HAHAHAHA! Yeah, I loved the movie and would talk it up any chance I get, love Sofia, but who was it on here who said it was going to be some major event because it was the ONE MOVIE that had all this heat/buzz among women and gay dudes?

  51. Fitzgerald says:

    Really enjoyed Bing Ring. No surprise that most of America doesn’t care at all. As for July, I am really starting to warm to Lone Ranger. I think it just might work. Pacific Rim strikes me as having blown its wad way too early. Billboards everywhere, not a human being in sight. I see how the fanboys are crazy excited, I don’t see how that turns into massive boxoffice unless the movie is transcendent, which I don’t think is the case. I wonder about The Heat. Seen the trailer now in front of two different movies, in two very different movie theaters, zero response from the crowd in either. Absolute flatline. I’ll say it again, for a movie no one is talking about, the RIPD trailer kills. Second time seeing MOS (I know, I’m sort of sorting my feelings about it out at my own expense) and that trailer played like crazy. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if it over performs, especially since I don’t know who is dying to see Red 2. Wolverine seems surprisingly dull to me.

  52. Triple Option says:

    Do NOT waste a penny seeing World War Z in 3D. It offers absolutely nothing. Not shamefully little, we’re talking Calvin zero!

    I didn’t think it was complete trash, mind you. I was reminded of a couple of other films while watching it. Contagion I thought was a smarter, much better plotted massive outbreak film. 28 Weeks Later had better sustained tension and, not sure the best way to put this, but more acceptable zombies type characters, at least in terms of being “believable.” I thought WW Z did have some fascinating and terrifying zombie movement but geeze, you can’t have little old ladies performing like linebacker day at the NFL Combine.

    It may not be the biggest reason, but one drawback to the film that probably hinged on it being PG-13 and not R was the lack of vicarious satisfaction in seeing zombies blown away. I’m not a gamer so I don’t feel like I have a skewed perspective but gosh darn it I want some blood or guts or misting or explosion or smoke bomb or any visual sense of satisfaction when an undead is made completely dead. Watching zombies bite it should offer some of the same cathartic release as popping bubble wrap and for that I give WW Z an F! You can’t just have bodies fall out of screen. Seriously, who doesn’t know that?!?!

    I don’t know what got changed and where but some story elements did seem to have a peculiar weighting to them. Oh, a third movie I was reminded of while watching this…Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. Mainly in thinking, ‘oh no, things are setting up to where these kids are going to be just as annoying as the ones from War of the Worlds. I didn’t think that was possible.” At least that didn’t turn out to be the case.

  53. leahnz says:

    ‘the lone ranger’ trailers have me intrigued, but i kind of cringe when lone says, “let’s do this”, good grief, really? (red 2 makes the grave error of no Karl, are they out of their minds)

    i really want to see ‘the conjuring’

  54. berg says:

    not surprisingly BLING RING, when you read the magazine article you realize the film contains many verbatim exchanges that occurred between the perps and the police

  55. LexG says:

    Did Urban survive the first? Haven’t seen it since theaters, but didn’t he die?

  56. leahnz says:

    no karl ended up shooting his corrupt boss (pidgeon) and switching loyalties to save frank moses at the end, so i was hoping he’d play some part in the inevitable sequel, but noooooo

  57. YancySkancy says:

    The RED 2 trailer appealed to me and the gf, so we rented the first RED on Vudu yesterday. We really enjoyed it (especially the first half or so–some of the character stuff gets a bit lost as the action ramps up). We assumed the sequel would have both Urban and Brian Cox, but I guess they had to make room for “Academy Award winners” Zeta-Jones and Hopkins. It still looks fun. The first was a bit of a sleeper hit, wasn’t it? A couple hundred million world-wide; it probably did well in ancillaries; and I would imagine most people who saw it had a good time. Hope #2 is good and does well.

  58. sanj says:

    sometimes i do comment – the biggest thing that changed for me is that these huge blockbuster movies – i’m not in
    rush to go out and see them. the full theatre experience is
    not for me. everybody here watches these blockbusters the first day… also i like spending more time on youtube watching video reviews than reading print reviews.

    why are comedies 2 hours long…that stuff used to be reserved for dramas and big blockbusters. the heat is like 2 hours.

    also everybody watch more dp30’s . it’s free.

  59. anghus says:

    Oh man. This deadline headline got a chuckle out of me:

    ‘World War Z’ Zombies $112M Worldwide: $66M Domestic Is Biggest Opening For Original Live Action Film Since ‘Avatar’

    Wow. I’ve seen less creative spin at the Bolshoi.

    What constitutes ‘original’? It was a book.

  60. Joe Leydon says:

    Original as opposed to a sequel, maybe?

  61. palmtree says:

    The Hunger Games did $152 million in its opening weekend, and it was an “original” as stupidly defined by them.

  62. anghus says:

    palmtree, good point.

  63. Sideshow Bill says:

    That trailer for RIPD has all the oomph of the Joe Piscopo / Treat Williams clunker DEAD HEAT. For me, anyway. That being said, Jeff Bridges has more screen presence than Piscocpo and Williams combined so a good JB performance could make it worth something.

  64. Sideshow Bill says:

    “i really want to see ‘the conjuring’”

    Same here, leahnz. Great trailer, and the early reviews have been quite good.

  65. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Speaking of the Conjuring who thought James Wan was a good pick for the F&F franchise? His set piece stuff in the final 20 of Insidious was where the film fell completely apart, budget aside, I don’t think he’s got the goods to pull off the theatrics needed for the F&F fan-base. There is nothing in his filmography that screams potential action director and yes I’m well aware of 2nd unit but you can’t always find a David Ellis to fill in every gap for you.

  66. Nick Rogers says:

    JBD: While my memories of it hardly inspire confidence for the job, “Death Sentence,” maybe?

  67. leahnz says:

    re: the conjuring, i’ve been seriously jonesing for some good, scary old school horror flicks for what seems like forever and i dug ‘sinister’ recently – a step in the right direction – so here’s hoping we’re on a roll with ‘the conjuring’ (which looks more ‘traditional supernatural’, maybe wan has finally sorted his shit out-i didn’t find ‘insidious’ scary) and a new era of genuinely tense, creepy, unsettling arm-chair-gripping messed-up scary horror flicks that stay with you, give you the jeebies when you’re walking down the hallway in the middle of the night afterwards, that hardly ever happens for me anymore.

    (wan is to direct the furious 7 or whatever it’s called? how bizarre – was there a falling out with Lin or something?)

  68. cadavra says:

    Leah: Wasn’t Karl busy doing STAR TREK IN DARKNESS?

  69. leahnz says:

    possibly cadavra, i think ‘into darkness’ was shot in the first half of 2012 but it’s effects-heavy so longer in post, i thought RED 2 was more recent but that might be wrong, not sure, could be they overlapped.

  70. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Nick good point. Big Death Sentence fan here even if it hilariously tilted the cap to Taxi Driver in it’s final 15.

    I’m kind of amazed that studios don’t produce more slowburn old school horrors. Most of the ones they do are pickups. Didn’t they see what The Others did and what The Haunting didn’t do? Jason Blum’s model is capitalizing on it but surely the studio could make solid $25m spookshows without the constant clanging and gore FX of LG releases.

  71. SamLowry says:

    BTW, the 28 DAYS/28 WEEKS flicks aren’t zombie movies because the baddies aren’t dead. “Rage virus” anyone?

    Which is why I thought it was interesting when I read the Wired article arguing “World War Z would be better if it weren’t a zombie movie.” Watercutter makes essentially the same argument, that the “zombies” in WWZ just don’t act like zombies and perhaps the movie should have gone with the fake disease used in the book whenever anyone in power is trying to avoid using the dreaded “Z” word: “African rabies”.

    A student in an AP class who caught me reading the book asked how they tried to pull it off and when I mentioned “African rabies” he said that actually sounded pretty horrifying; rabies is scary enough as it is, and every disease out of Africa is pretty terrifying. Put those two great tastes together and you have something that explains the fast movement of the infected, their agility, their flocking behavior–all hard to pull off if you’re actually dead, decaying, or suffering from rigor mortis.

    Also, did MONSTERS U explain why two college guys ended up working on a factory floor? Are the movies a touching saga about the New Economy?

  72. SamLowry says:

    The WWZ that might have been:

    “We don’t know just how much of it Paramount ended up filming before they realized audiences probably weren’t going to like an ending where Karin was trading her body in order to keep her kids safe while Gerry was hiking across frozen tundra. It’s actually a little surprising that all involved thought that this would have been a crowd-pleasing ending in the first place, though it would have set up the plot for a sequel.”

    So the original script ended the movie with a cliffhanger, stolen from The Walking Dead, in hopes of turning this mess into a franchise. Yick.

  73. Triple Option says:

    re: 28 Weeks Later classification. I wrote “zombie type” for specifically that reason.

  74. SamLowry says:

    Yep, I saw that. I was trying to snap some folks back into line here and elsewhere who were getting too comfortable throwing them into one big gumbo pot and saying it’s all good, when they’re clearly different species with incompatible naughty bits.

  75. movieman says:

    There have only been a handful of movies in my life (“Hopscotch” w/ Matthau and Jackson; “Rent-a-Cop” w/ Burt and Liza) that completely evaporated from my mind the second I left the theater.
    2010’s “Red” was one of them.
    It’s weird how I don’t remember ANYTHING about that film, and I just saw it (less than) three years ago.
    For that reason, I don’t have the slightest bit of enthusiasm for the impending sequel.
    But I still think Summit would be wise to delay its release until fall.
    The week of July 19th is jam-packed, and August is ridiculous w/ product.

  76. Bulldog68 says:

    Re Karl Urban. He’s listed in cast of characters for Riddick as well, but is no where in the trailer. Thought that was odd.

  77. hcat says:

    JBD- I was one of the people who could see the thinking of hiring Wan (Lin didn’t have a falling out but after four in a row you could see why he would want to move on.)
    And yes Death Sentance, the only Wan film I have seen, was the reason I thought it was a good idea. Wan’s stuff and F&F seem to have the same Cormen Drive-in roots. Was there anything in Lin’s previous work that made him seem a natural for the Franchise?

    I also agree that there should never be a pg-13 zombie movie. How can you portray the Zombie Apocolypse without the freedom to say Fuck, since that would be the only word people would be screaming at the top of their lungs as they flee for shelter. Hell I thought it was odd that Pitt didn’t let out a Fuck when the motorcycle took out his side mirror, let alone while holding the door shut against cannibal zombies while his wife and children catch a chopper.

  78. Triple Option says:

    Movieman, the only thing I remember about Red was that it suckt! I saw part of it twice. I think there was a fire scare somewhere in the mall so they evacuated us about 15 mins in. I shoulda just taken it as a sign and used my pass for something else. Went back the next night and was surprised how unengaging it was. No desire to see the next installment.

  79. Triple Option says:

    How can you have charging zombies and a nearby helicopter and NOT show one decapitation?! That’s not pg, that’s G-rated nonsense!

  80. leahnz says:

    i haven’t seen ‘death sentence’ so there you go, no wonder. but re lin vs wan weirdness, lin didn’t have much of a specific feature film resume before ‘tokyo drift’ whereas wan’s is very horror genre heavy, so it seems an odd choice to me in that regard but it’s not like i care either way

  81. palmtree says:

    What Lin has said is that he achieved what he wanted to do with the FF series…namely FF6 nicely ties up the story arc started in FF4 and “ended” in FF3. There’s that, and also his list of projects in development have been getting longer and longer, and my guess is he wants to be able to get to those films too. He’s an indie guy, and he probably views his projects like Soderbergh.

  82. anghus says:

    I saw a bunch if behind the scenes footage from the original WWZ ending. If they include all the unused footage and scenes, it’ll be a DVD purchase for sure.

  83. leahnz says:

    bulldog i forgot to say re: Karl and the next Riddick, that is weird that vaako isn’t in the trailer at all – i think he’s the one who dumps riddick on the planet and then goes to destroy furya (frurya? fuya…or whatever riddick’s home planet is called, can’t remember, something like that) so he may only appear at the beginning and end, but don’t hold me to that.

    (thanks palmtree and hcat for the Lin info, i can see why he’d consider his dash done for the fast & furious)

  84. hcat says:

    Leah, is horror and action all that different? Donner cut his teeth on the Omen, Raimi turned into a major tentpole director after decades of horror shoestrings, Carpenter was able to meld the genres well in his Kurt Russel movies, and even Craven slid into comics once with the wonderful and criminally forgotten Swamp Thing.

  85. cadavra says:

    It’s often puzzling who does and does not make the trailer. Benedict Cumberpatch is red-hot right now, but he’s barely visible in the AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY trailer. I understand there are always contractual obligations of some sort, but that just seems dumb for an already difficult sell.

  86. leahnz says:

    re: Karl, maybe his name/presence just isn’t considered that useful or necessary in marketing this sequel to the public 🙁 (but i’ve always had the impression from whatever anecdotal evidence i’ve seen of pitch black/riddick fandom that Vaako was quite a popular villain and people seem to like them some Karl…so maybe his role is more of a cameo and the powers-that-be don’t want fans to cry foul if the movie is sold with trailers featuring vaako and then he’s in it for like 5 minutes)

    hcat, that’s an interesting proposition (you could probably add in our very own pint-sized pete jackson in that case as a director who started out in low budge splat horror who then segwayed into big deal action/fantasy territory); it certainly seems to occur often enough, though as far as the actual disciplines/conventions of directing effective horror and action go, i’m trying to think of the ties that bind them both practically and conceptually beyond the obvious staples of good directors of horror and action clearly benefit from having good imaginations and an ability to build tension, cultivate effective performances from their actors in extreme or unrealistic circumstances and settings, to root often inherently unrealistic material in realism enough to suspend belief for the audience and provide a visceral experience (of course having a great second unit to execute set pieces well is hugely beneficial, but to conceptually design effective action takes something well beyond that, as does designing effective horror of course…) i don’t know, what do you think makes it a natural segway for some?

  87. movieman says:

    I saw a “Red 2” lobby standee yesterday w/ an August 2nd release date.
    Did Summit move “R2” from July 19th, or could this have been an old standee w/ the previous r-date? (Although I don’t remember any r-date other than July 19th.)
    Box Office Mojo still has it listed for next month.

  88. leahnz says:

    haha checking in this thread i just realised the auto-spellcheck thing on my tablet changed ‘segue’ to ‘segway’ (i must have typo-ed it) in my last post, i didn’t notice earlier, fucking mental — must remember to proofread and spellcheck my spellcheck

  89. Bulldog68 says:

    Saw World War Z last night and it probably was the most bland, safe, stripped of every visceral intent flick I’ve seen this summer. After Earth had more suspense than this.

    I did not expect Walking Dead because I know this is PG13, but man, they failed at almost every level to build any kind of suspense. And suspense is what they needed if you can’t show gore. I Am Legend had almost no gore, was rated PG13, and like it or leave it, I thought they were very effective and showing the fear that Will Smith’s character had for these creatures.

    It’s amazing how you can have zombies on a plane and they fail to capture the sense of terror that that concept can hold.

    There were no nail-biting moments whatsoever in WWZ. Even the end scene lacked any kind of tension and was completely telegraphed.

    I’ve seen movies with more bite on ABC Spark with my daughters. What a waste of a good concept.

  90. Bulldog68 says:

    Synopsis of Riddick from IMDB: “Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick finds himself up against an alien race of predators. Activating an emergency beacon alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of mercenary, the other captained by a man from Riddick’s past.”

    I’m thinking that Urban is the last character in the synopsis.

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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