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By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Too 22 2 Klady

Weekend Estimates 2014-06-22 at 10.55.45 AM

Think Like A Man Too drops a little more than 10% off its predecessor’s opening weekend, even though a $29.6m launch for a movie that’s relatively cheap is still a winner. The question is, how much of a winner? Even if Too drops 20% off of the original’s total gross, it will still bring in $77 million, which should make the film profitable while in theatrical. So no one is regretting making the movie. But, of course, the hope was to increase the box office by 20% or more, which would have put the film over the $115m worldwide mark, and according to the budget estimate on Mojo, given the film more than 2x is production and P&A costs in rentals (money coming back to the studio)… and there would be even more money in post-theatrical. Anyway… this doesn’t stop the Kevin Hart love parade. But it does keep the level of celebration in check a little… until the next one.

Jersey Boys hit unlucky 13(.3)m according to Klady’s estimate (which btw, is based on Rentrak numbers, not just on studio reports). As noted (late) yesterday, this is a reasonable Director Clint Eastwood opening. But without stars and without a great movie, I think there is a good chance that this could end up being Eastwood’s weakest grosser since Blood Work‘s $26.2 million in 2002. And international is unlikely to come to the rescue, given the Americana of the film, though Blood Work‘s $5.6 million international is the only international figure for Eastwood under $30m since 2000… so with Eastwood’s careful budgeting and a conservative marketing budget, there is a glimmer of hope.

Good weekend for holdovers. Last weekend’s 2 newcomers bother held right around 50%. Now the onus is on Dragon 2, in particular, to pick it up from there. Maleficent had the best hold amongst wide (1000+) releases, unique in the marketplace and pushing the girl power story at the box office. (Personally, I wish young girls had a better film to watch.) The Fault In Our Stars is already looking a bit burnt out, though a very successful run that should pass $100m domestic and $200m worldwide once the World Cup gets out of the way. (Speaking of which, Divergent just hit $150m domestic this weekend and will now close out its theatrical run.)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is going to have to wait a few more days to become the 2nd $200m domestic movie of the summer. Both it and X-Men: DoFP are going to be over $200m domestic and $700m worldwide, though the tsunami of Transformers 4 is coming for both. However the #1, #2, #3 of it works out, these 2 films and Captain America 2 will all end up within single digit percentage points of each other in the $700m worldwide club. But I expect Trannies 4 to crush the trio’s successes with gusto. The trajectory of the series suggests that even a fall-off could mean a billion dollars for the film. With $770m in international alone the last time out and Mark Wahlberg thrown on top of the franchise to keep it all forward-moving, the review-proof franchise seems ready to clean up in what has felt like a light-impact summer. Also in position to take advantage of the summer’s sleepy energy are Apes 2 and, yes, Guardians of the Galaxy, which stinks of boom or bust.

I definitely get the sense from people that they are looking for something truly 4-quadrant to go see… which doesn’t speak to Transformers, but does speak to the lack of a single across-the-board, recommend-it-to-everyone, summer movie. I was feeling Fault and Edge in this way, but now see that Fault must be a little too tough for the girls (if she only have vampirism instead of cancer) and Edge is still being eaten by the gimmick and Mr. Cruise. Both have decent-sized audiences, but deserve bigger ones… and they aren’t coming. There are some interesting, potential hit movies coming… but none of them feel like that solid all-audience love fests that, as everyone keeps saying, studios just don’t (want to) make anymore.

On the indie side, it’s a mixed bag. Noting too commercially exciting, but lots of modest success with some good films. The biggest grosser of the indie companies is Chef, released by Open Road, with $16.9 million and going. That said, Open Road is more commercially oriented than arty and the film is a pick-up. Second on the list is Fox Searchlight’s Belle, a wonderful film that was driven by BFI and picked up by Searchlight. The film is at $9.2 million and has never been on more than 525 screens. It’s also the top female-directed movie of this summer. It also deals with race without beating you to death with the issue. (Not-So-Subtext: Go see it!)

Music Box has done really well with Ida, $2m so far. The Weinsteins generally stay away from the summer heat, but The Immigrant has done critic-driven business and Radius has had 2 theatrical films with Fed Up and Supermensch. A24’s duo of Obvious Child and Teh Rover have gotten disproportionate press attention and modest theatrical success. And Roadside Attractions has found an older audience for an early-fall love story with Words & Pictures, which is nearing $1.5m.

It isn’t until you get past the Indie Top 10 that you see VOD leaders IFC and Magnolia, which suggests to me that the balance that these two distributors struck between theatrical and VOD is being challenged by (mostly) newcomers. This is not to say that Magnolia & IFC are not still doing well. But dissatisfaction from filmmakers (60 theatricals this summer so far have done under-$200k while 18 have done more than that) and a lot of new competitors entering the market each year, means there is still a lot of shaking out to do.

(Correction, 7:57p – I had written that Fed Up and Supermensch were hybrid theatrical and VOD. They are both currently in theatrical only.)

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48 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Too 22 2 Klady”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    The story of the weekend has to be the fact that the massive 9% lead 2014 had over 2013 through April will have completely evaporated by June 25. The top May/June release as of now will be lucky to crack the Top 5 released at this point last year. It’s not just domestic that’s been the problem…XMEN, which will be the top pre-TRANNIES worldwide grosser, wouldn’t crack the Top 3 at the same point last summer. When MALEFICENT is the surprise of the summer, gunning for $650 million worldwide, you know you’re in trouble.

    Speaking of MALEFICENT…kind of shocked that it seems like a lot of parents are picking it over DRAGON 2, despite the goodwill from the first film, and the fact MALEFICENT is scary as hell for kids under 10.

  2. Bulldog68 says:

    My daughter is 8 1/2, and she wasn’t scared in the least at Maleficient. I’d like to find a credible report on the droves of scared children at Maleficient instead off all these assumptions.

    The trailer certainly promised a bit more scares that the movie delivered for sure, and I’m thinking there is a version somewhere that is a better darker and Disney decided to go with a lighter cut, but that’s purely an assumption on my part.

    I am surprised that Dragon isn’t doing better. Take away the heightened expectations and it’s still underperforming for a movie with a market almost all to itself and with kids getting off on summer break.

    And I just can’t stop paying attention for some absurd reason to Captain America’s failure to be #1 this year thus far. Once again, just when you think they will finally claim the throne, Lego earns just enough to keep it itself at #1. It would be amusing if T4 explodes big time and earns $256m in 10 days. The last one earned $264m in that time.

  3. EtGuild2 says:

    I like that “Spider-Man” continues to be lumped as a success on the same level as “Xmen” and “CAP” on this blog, despite the latter two films’ doubling their previous worldwide grosses give or take, not to mention taking in a higher domestic percentage on their totals, and Sony publicly getting cold feet about Spidey’s future and discussing putting off the next installment for a year.

    The comparison of “Edge” and “Dragon 2” to WWZ and “Monsters University” is truly baffling. This year’s offerings are far superior in quality, and at this point “Edge” won’t get close to half of WWZ (despite Z’s months of bad buzz), and DRAGON 2, hyped as the biggest domestic grosser this summer, might fall $100 million short of “Monsters U.” Truly sad. Yet I guess it’s fitting that one of the best summers in recent memory quality wise is the weakest.

  4. movieman says:

    I guess it’s fitting that one of the best summers in recent memory quality wise is the weakest.

    I’m surprised to hear you say that, Et, since we’re usually in sync more often than not.
    But for me this summer has been something of a bust re: quality films so far.
    Of course, I liked “Edge,” “Neighbors,” “Dragon 2” and “Godzilla” less than most people which could be where out difference of opinion lies.
    Except for “Maleficent,” “X” and “22 J.S.,” I haven’t really cared for any of the heavy-breathign, 3000-print-plus release films.
    And when my most hotly anticipated movie of the season (Clint’s “Jersey Boys”) winds up being pretty much a bust, it’s hard to get psyched up for the 165-minute “Trannies 4.”

  5. EtGuild2 says:

    I actually was in your camp movieman, till a friend asked me to look back for comparison and I realized that, yeah, last year really sucked at this point. And the year before, the year before, etc. Keep in mind I’m speaking of studio releases. At this point I’d mildly enjoyed GATSBY, THIS IS THE END and the first two thirds of IRON MAN 3…and generally disliked everything else (yup I really hated Star Trek). This summer I really liked “Edge,” “22 Jump,” “XMen,” “Dragon 2” and mildly enjoyed “Neighbors,” and “Godzilla.”

    2011-Liked “Brave” and “The Avengers” at this point and the first two thirds of “Prometheus,” but everything else was awful (Snow White, Rock of Ages, Vampire Hunter, Battleship, MIB 3, The Dictator, That’s My Boy)
    2010-Another “liked 3 things” and hated the rest at this point year (Xmen First, Bridesmaids, Super 8)
    2009-Other than TOY STORY 3, a disaster zone.
    2008-Another disaster excepting IRON MAN and KUNG FU PANDA…and yeah, I laughed at ZOHAN
    2007-Knocked Up and 1408?
    2006-The underrated MI:3?
    2005-BATMAN BEGINS…but then Star Wars Episode III is the highlight. It’s that bad.

    That’s as far back as I was willing to go. Maybe I liked a few of the movies more than most this summer, but I don’t think so. There are an objectively greater number of good studio films, and fewer studio turdballs, in my opinion.

  6. movieman says:

    Interesting comparison points, Et.

    Btw, I liked a lot more of those 2011 releases than you did:
    “Prometheus” (the whole thing, lol), “Snow White,” even “Abe Lincoln: V.H.” and (gulp) “Battleship,” both of which I thought were underrated.
    From this vantage point, the only upcoming wide release summer titles I have even a modicum of enthusiasm about are the “Apes” sequel (despite “Spooky Eyes” Keri Russell who I sort of hate), “Lucy,” “Sex Tape,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and Helen Mirren’s Disney foodie/chick flick.
    I might have added “Get On Up” to the mix if I hadn’t seen the trailer 50 times already. At this point, I kind of feel like I’ve already seen the film.

  7. King David Forevr says:

    Wait, Klady’s estimates are based on other people’s estimates? So he what? Retypes them and labels them his? Which is what I have said for years now, but the King just drops in into conversation like we already should know this shit.

  8. WG says:

    “Radius has had 2 hybrid VOD/theatrical films with Fed Up and Supermensch” – Neither are currently on VOD.

  9. David Poland says:

    Don –

    As I recall, your drama about box office coverage was some sort of perverse homage to Art Murphy.

    I have never claimed to be Art Murphy. Len, to my knowledge, has never claimed to be Art Murphy.

    I have no idea if Mr. Murphy hated Len or loved Len or something in between. When Len was doing box office at Variety, he sneered in my direction now and again. And I still think I am much more often right on box office issues than he is. But I have never been one to want to censor others on any issue. And for a dozen years, Len has provided weekend numbers for MCN.

    There have never been any mystery about where Len’s numbers come from. It was EDI when we started and Retrak since 2009 (when they bought EDI, which was bought by Nielsen in 2007). But as anyone who crunches numbers knows, raw data is not analysis. Len, like all of those doing relatively first-hand reporting of box office do (maybe 2% of those putting their name on box office stories), talks to the studios every weekend. What he doesn’t do is to just regurgitate the numbers and the spin that he is given from those execs. He has, whether you like it or not, been talking to most of the distribution chiefs since before most of the others covering the beat were out of elementary school.

    I have never, ever claimed to have some exclusive on box office numbers. But outside of the old time trades, I don’t know that anyone else does anything more than just throw up the numbers the studios give them. Mojo may have evolved past that at some point… not sure.

    As you obviously must know, as a professional in this industry, the studios disagree on numbers every weekend. There are internal numbers generated at each studio – with the help of Rentrak – and they rarely match, studio to studio. And as I have written forever, this doesn’t become an issue unless some studio reports particularly questionable numbers or there is an intense competition for the top slot… which means nothing to the financials and everything to marketing for weekend 2. Historically – and in the Rentrak years, this has become less of an issue – the screaming only starts when the estimates by a studio are more than 10% off the other studios’ estimations of the numbers.

    The reason your occasional hysteria over this is worthless is that it is personal and illogical. Your friends, Nikki & Anita (and others), not only tow the studio line on numbers (depending on which studio is milking their sympathies more effectively that Friday and Saturday), but have taken most of their analysis directly from the studios’ weekend cheat sheets. Someone even posted a sloppy cut-n-past job from recent weeks in which the specific request that some studio analysis be used only on background was printed by the outlet.

    The joke for me is, Nikki used to mock me for caring about box office. She claimed no interest at all. Until the Drudge pick-up of early box office from The Da Vinci Code. After that, Drudge’s weekly pick-ups became her pageview bread and butter until Penske drove into her life and for some time after. She still knows less than nothing about box office. And Anita is a joke in this regard.

    But keep throwing those barbs at Len, who actually checks the real numbers.

    Maybe you can start talking about all the people who claim insight into tracking. Or better, start a list of all the people who mention production budget numbers without having seen the actual studio budget.

    I know you live in this delusion that I wished cancer on your wife. But it never happened.

    And in a very weird way, I am honored that you have to make shit up and push it, now year after year, to try to tear me down. I must be really, really great at what I do if you can’t take me down based on something real. And I have screwed up at times. But unlike your friends… you know, the real journalists… I actually admit my mistakes and highlight them so that my readers (whoever is left) aren’t mistaken about the facts because I made a mistake. It’s called ethics. I know you have heard of them, even if it is a vague memory for you.

    Finally, I have enormous personal respect for Art Murphy. He stopped doing this around the time I started doing it. But having read box office in Variety for 30 years before I became a journalist, he was the author of one of my bibles. And I am deeply envious of the singular position in covering this area of the business that he created and mined.

    Really, it all changed on that day that Finke got the Drudge slot for Sony. Since then, box office coverage has been about everything but the quality and insight of the analysis.

    It is also the case that the modernization of tools changed the actual work forever as well. Murphy, it was said, knew as much or more about the numbers than the studios knew. Nowadays, it is mostly computerized and the art has been overwhelmed by the science. When I would go hang out at Exhibitor Relations back in the late 90s, everything was on paper. If I had a question about 1980, someone had to get on a ladder to look in a file cabinet and maybe they could answer the question later that day. Now, Box Office Mojo has most of the last 20 years completely accessible and quite a bit before that, all a mouseclick away… and for free, at that.

    And with that nostalgic look back, a fine adios Don Murphy. If you need an explanation of how the toys get under Christmas trees or how babies are really made, drop me a line.

  10. David Poland says:

    If that is the case, my apologies. I was under the impression, from the Fed Up folks, that there was a VOD day-n-date.

    I will check and adjust the piece as needed. Thanks.

  11. Tom says:

    Just in time for summer, the Cold Blog is finally starting to HEAT UP!

  12. King David Forevr says:

    David as usual writes all his sturm und drung and never addresses the real point. He thinks this goes unnoticed. It doesn’t.

  13. jesse says:

    Man, animated sequels are kind of a crapshoot, huh? I didn’t care much for How to Train Your Dragon 2 (in fact, I thought it was pretty bad), but I just assumed it would be in the same area as Shrek 2 or Despicable Me 2 — if not necessarily in the same astronomical grosses, at least receiving a similar bump after several years of the original doing time as a family favorite.

    Instead, it’s performing like Kung Fu Panda 2 or Cars 2 (or even Monsters University. I like that one more than most of these sequels but must admit, doing the same as the original with the addition of 3D and 12 years of ticket price increases is probably not unlike the 75-80% that Panda and Cars did with their sequels).

    So basically, with these cartoon sequels, about half the time you get a circa-2001 style super-crazy bump, and about half the time you get an 80s/90s-style diminishing. I’m sure as long as it seems like there’s even a remote chance of getting a Despicable Me 2 or a Shrek 2 (in terms of money), studios will continue to do these. But it seems like for a lot of these studios, they’d have just as good a chance of equaling the financial success if they put out something new. At least that seems to be the case for Disney and Pixar. Wreck-It Ralph did very well, and they started talking about Wreck-It Ralph 2. Then Frozen came out and did massive business. I hope they learn the right lesson from that, rather than just saying, OK, let’s go forward with Frozen 2 (I know that’s been discussed but I hope Lasseter knows better than to start sequelizing Disney Proper like crazy).

    Then again, Madagascar 2 was down from the original, but DreamWorks hung in there and the third turned out to be the series high. And I know the foreign on this stuff is high, which is why we keep getting Ice Age movies even as that series seems topped out (also in its third entry). So obviously these sequels will keep happening. But while I don’t really root for the failure of any movies, I confess I’m somewhat satisfied that Dragon 2 is merely financially successful, not another inferior sequel that becomes a massive hit, a la Despicable Me 2 last year.

  14. Hallick says:

    As musty counter-programming for an older generation in the middle of blockbuster season, can anybody say that “Jersey Boys” really did BADLY this weekend? $13 million is kind of a triumph considering the thrashing the film has taken since the trailer came out. I had visions of a $6-$7 million opening weekend at best for the thing.

    Yeah, it’s “only” in fourth place, but that’s precisely the highest place it could ever have hoped to reach, and falling somewhere between X-Men and Godzilla this weekend would have made perfect sense.

  15. YancySkancy says:

    movieman: How can anyone “kinda hate” Keri Russell? She’s awesome, particularly on the career-redefining THE AMERICANS. Probably her “spookiest” role though, so proceed with caution. 🙂

  16. David Poland says:

    Make it clear what your point is, Don. I’m pretty sure you don’t have one.

  17. Curious says:

    It’s 2014. You can’t make “trannies” jokes even if you think you mean nothing by it.

  18. SamLowry says:

    I’m surprised DRAGON 2 made any money, considering how deeply the studio devalued the brand with that “Riders of Berk” TV series.

    Every other attempt to squeeze quick bucks from an animated franchise by creating a series (most recently: MADAGASCAR, KUNG-FU PANDA, and, ugh, TURBO) only inspires parents to say “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

    After being subjected to 83 endlessly-repeating FREE episodes, let’s see how many folks are willing to shell out for PENGUINS this Thanksgiving.

    BTW, as for ASM2, the youngling came back from it several weeks ago saying “There’s no reason to see any more Spider-Man movies because the only interesting character is dead!”

  19. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Wait, did someone just say that Transformers 4 is 165 minutes long? What the actual……….

  20. EtGuild2 says:

    @SamLowry, that’s a good point. Maybe Dreamworks doing all these streaming/TV shows is actually hurting the main brand. Though, then again, all they had to do to revitalize MADAGASCAR was to add colorful circus wigs. A real test will be PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR. Bizarrely, there is a “Penguins of Madagascar” TV series…which Dreamworks ostensibly claims has nothing to do with this movie. Seems preposterous, but it probably is to avoid the kind of saturation problem you describe.

    David, don’t feed the troll.

  21. SamLowry says:

    (I was rewriting my post right up until the timer expired, never reloading the page to catch any followup comments, so I very likely added my PENGUIN remarks after EtGuild wrote his, thus the deja vu.)

    And yes, I checked the PENGUINS Wiki page and I also think it’s idiotic for DW to claim that the series and the movie have nothing to do with each other, but then maybe it’s like someone at Fox telling X fans not to prep for DAYS OF FUTURE PAST by rewatching all the previous X-Men movies because they basically threw continuity out the window and made up an assload of shit.

  22. Jermsguy says:

    I wonder how Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 & 5 would have done instead of rebooting the franchise.

    Planes: Fire & Rescue has a weird trailer. Doesn’t look like it tries to be funny; it just want to be “inspirational.”

    Trans4mers is this summer’s last hope for a $300 million domestic film.

  23. movieman says:

    I don’t know, Yancy.
    Russell just seems like such a cold, cold fish (those “spooky eyes” don’t help) w/ zero warmth emanating from her.
    Of course, the fact that she’s the spitting image of one of my all-time least favorite (Cleveland area) movie publicists probably didn’t help endear Russell to me either.
    Haven’t seen a single episode of “The Americans” although my partner swears by it.

  24. David Poland says:

    Sorry to offend you, Curious. That has been the short name for the series on this blog since 2007. And it wasn’t making of fun of transsexuals then either. I’m not sure how it would be seen as such.

    It’s odd, since I completely get the argument against using “Redskins.” I guess I see “trannies” as a part of the internally focused humor of the gay community and not an external slur. For the million times I have seen “faggot” used as a term of abuse, I don’t recall “tranny” being used as an abusive term by idiots in the straight community. But I could just not be hearing it.

    Really, I have used the term less and less for the series, as I have taken it more and more seriously.

    Thanks for the input (however anonymous). Worth consideration.

  25. YancySkancy says:

    movieman: Of course I’ve liked Keri Russell since FELICITY and was a big fan of her movie WAITRESS, and she could hardly be considered a cold fish in either of those. It must be the publicist thing.

    On the other hand, sometimes a performer just rubs one the wrong way for no apparent reason. I have an inexplicable aversion to Sarah Paulson, for instance.

  26. Big G says:

    Interesting that Think Like a Man Too was #1 for the weekend but it came in second place on Saturday and slipped to third on Sunday.

  27. Foamy Squirrel says:

    DP – haven’t spoken with Don in forever, but my take is his issue is the “You should know this already” tone that creeps in especially when talking about industry trends.

    For example, everyone “knows” that budget numbers are often wildly inaccurate and should be taken with a grain of salt – but there’s rarely a caveat or parenthetical to acknowledge this fact, and profitability analysis is almost always phrased as if the reported number were true. It’s not that hard to turn “Given its $Xmillion budget it needs $Ymillion more to turn a profit” into “If the reported $Xmillion budget is accurate, it needs..” It’s the difference between giving readers a sense of the accuracy upfront, rather than “actually admit my mistakes and highlight them” after the fact (which tends to read as “I’m not wrong unless I get caught”).

    Nowhere on the HotBlog is this more prevalent than the lengthy analysis of industry trends – usually about Netflix or streaming in general – which is rarely couched with any kind of self-aware “I could be wrong”, but reads as if spoken ex cathedra. Don’t get me wrong – there’s some good insight there – but fewer people want to engage in a lengthy technical discussion with someone who’s essentially staked out their position as more “fact” than “opinion” (which is why there’s sometimes ribbing about how Netflix continues to grow despite the prophecised doom and gloom). Hence Don’s “Kingo Poland” tags.

    It’s better than Finke’s “I will scrub history so that I was always right”, but for some people a touch more admission of fallibility in the initial text rather than parenthetical postscripts (occasionally accompanied by “I’ve never claimed…” which can come off as defensive) may be appreciated.

    Also, telling someone who has perceived a comment as an insult that they’re wrong and it never happened has helped the situation in 0 cases in all of Human History. (Plus/minus 2%)

  28. Tom says:

    This is what I love to see! The Hot Blog finally exploding with action and excitement!

    Wonder what kind of legs Think Like A Man Too will sprout once word gets around that the movie stops dead in the middle for a Bell Biv Devoe karaoke video, complete with Ricky Bell cameo appearance. They also greatly increased the amount of white actors but I’m not sure if the folks are going to be dying to shell out money to see David Walton when all of his TV shows have made him poison.

  29. David Poland says:

    Interesting, Foamy.

    I disagree, but interesting. Mostly, I think you are mixing issues.

    My estimation of what the breakeven point for some movies is pretty broad… not $20 million this way or that… or $50 million, in the bigger films’ cases.

    Moreover, I often point to the reported costs and the rumored costs, etc. I don’t think I have written a sentence like, “This film cost X dollars” in about 7 years. (I’m sure someone will fact check that for me… especially if I am wrong.)

    As for Netflix, you might want to read me more carefully. I have never predicted doom for Netflix. I have repeatedly predicted that there will be multiple competitors for Netflix over time and that there will be a tipping point at which all the studios will make the leap to streaming in a concerted way, changing the dynamic dramatically for Netflix. Mock it all you like, but I have never predicted it to happen overnight. And when they had the problems a few summers ago, I wrote about the long term issue, not the hot media hysteria of the moment.

    That said, the company is wildly overvalued by the market and the trajectory is clearly not “show of the month,” as media has embraced it. The company has said as much, but no one seems to remember that. Equally, the company will not go on forever without direct and powerful competition. They made a brilliant move. They are the first mover in that arena. But if you take all those words and facts and want to reduce them to black and white (or “gloom and doom”), you are just not paying enough attention to what I am writing.

    There are facts out there, Foamy. And sometimes I dare to offer them. There isn’t a lot of reportage about the quarterlies on Netflix that aren’t based on the letter to shareholders. I look at the actual numbers, which are actual factual. When is the last time you read about the upcoming Disney/Netflix deal in any media pieces about the future of Netflix? When is the last time you read about the reduction of content on Netflix without a rationalization about how Netflix is selectively buying content by algorithm? (This is true only AFTER the facts about why they don’t have studio relationships anymore… and it’s not algorithm-based.) How many pieces have read in the last week about Chelsea Handler as a game changer while Netflix is saying they aren’t even sure how they will format, produce or release her show… which is not due for a couple of years? These are the lies of omission that interest me… not whether I don’t qualify my theories in every single paragraph.

    And by the way, the studio budgets that Don is on about… there are lies in those too. Just sayin’. But I haven’t had a fight with a studio about budget since Star Trek in 2009… or for that matter, with Don since 2007. Do we need to discuss Phantom of The Opera again too?

    About Don and his drama, you are just not aware of the reality of the situation. He has had an obsessive, personal issue with me for a few years now. It is not rational. He has lied. He has trolled. He has tried to incite others. He has threatened me and my family and my business quite specifically. As for the facts to which I have responded to Don as “never happened,” how would you suggest responding to someone who publicly announces that you wished cancer on his wife? Is there some room for argument I should allow for?

    This all followed years of him trolling me under fake names. So make your arguments about me as you like, but using Don as a pivot makes you sound a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher to me.

  30. leahnz says:

    “I guess I see “trannies” as a part of the internally focused humor of the gay community and not an external slur”

    er, just pointing out that transgender/transsexual people are not necessarily gay (and i think the ‘gay community’ is about as real world as the one where all the ‘insert-your-description-here’ white/black/red-headed people know each other), though transgender/transsexuals tend to face similar prejudices and discrimination in society and thus tend to be grouped/labelled together with gay people. internally identifying as a gender other than the external one you were born with is a separate issue from who you happen to be sexually attracted to – one is about identity and who you feel you are, as opposed to who you are attracted to and want to get sexy with; my understanding is that trans people often don’t appreciate being inaccurately labelled by sexual orientation. goodness knows i have plenty to learn on the subject and don’t wish to speak for anyone from my place of straight white woman ignorance and privilege. fwiw i know when i’ve referred to the transformers movies as ‘trannies deux’ or whathaveyou – and i have – it’s been purely as shorthand because i’m too lazy to say/write the whole word, but i appreciate that the word trannies can be seen as derogatory so i’ll cut that shit out.

    “Wait, did someone just say that Transformers 4 is 165 minutes long? What the actual………”

    hey why stop there, how about 235 minutes, go hard or go home bichael may

  31. Foamy Squirrel says:

    *shrug* It’s no skin off my nose – but you going into detail of what you discussed (e.g. your actual predictions re: Netflix) is missing the point.

    It’s not what you discuss, but how you discuss it. It’s why people do like fact checking you, or pointing out when you are sometimes (as we all are sometimes) comically wrong (as you say – “Phantom”). If you position yourself through your style of writing – irrespective of the actual content of the writing – as being the highest authority, then expect a fall (or, at least, someone to try and push you). Present facts, defend facts, but for some people they like a little self-effacing admission of fallibility. Numbers don’t lie, people do – and you’re a person.

    You’re never going to please everyone (I’m pretty sure I annoy the shit out of some other people on this blog), but you can at least try to understand why they feel the way they do. You can think I’m being passive-aggressive if you want – I just read comments (IO and Don are your biggest critics for “being wrong” – but post hoc criticism of your predictions is generally more prevalent on Hotblog than other blogs). Some others may like your style – but generally that’s a little more difficult to discern.

    Also, “It didn’t happen” is something I say to a lawyer. “It wasn’t my intention” is something I say to an actual person (insert “Lawyers aren’t people” joke here).

  32. David Poland says:

    As you point out, I’m not going to please everyone… especially on tone.

    Frankly, having done this for 17 years, I have learned that worrying about tone is a fool’s errand and that my equivocations are rarely appreciated. People bring their shit to the party and me hedging more than I do isn’t going to change that.

    Like you said it’s not about the facts. But I analyze facts. So there is no “win” for me in this.

    I am deeply interested in people. And that ‘s why I do DP/30. I grow with every conversation and facts are not really an issue. The Venn diagram of humanity and factuality does intersect, but only a bit.

    On the other hand, the “tranny” conversation is not about tone, so it has something real I can actually consider and, perhaps, do better with.

  33. Joe Straatmann says:

    Why is everybody surprised about the length of T4? Were the others ones breezy larks?

    The first one: 144
    The second one: 150
    The third one: 154

    Nothing about this series indicated the running time was going to decrease on this one. The REAL thing I’m wondering is what they put in the movie instead of the Sam schtick. I’m not a fan of the Bay movie series, but even as a person whose first movie I ever saw in theaters was Transformers: The Movie in 1986, I’m not on the “it raped my childhood” bandwagon and find those people rather distasteful and annoying. But the only time the movies REALLY hurt was the first 45 minutes after the prologue of 3. All that cool setup, and then we spend a third of the movie with Sam trying to get a job. Thank goodness I was on a “wait until Netflix” approach to the series by then.

  34. Sam says:

    Foamy, even if your criticisms of David’s reporting is entirely correct in its reasoning, ascribing such a reasoned train of thought to Don is self-evidently wrong. Don’s posts here, for the last several years, are just that of a gleefully vindictive troll and bully. He chooses the criticisms he does not because he necessarily believes them but because he perceives them, rightly or wrongly, as a point of weakness to attack through. Were David to change the nature of his writings accordingly, Don would just find another angle to attack from. Surely you get that.

  35. SamLowry says:

    Even if you had an eagle-eyed on-set accountant who monitored every penny spent making the movie, when he flies back to L.A. to hand in his paperwork and report that the movie cost $75M to make, the next day the studio will report that it cost $95M. Why the difference? “Incidentals”, like the bar tab for the lead actor’s entourage, hush money for the underage stand-ins roofied by the director, medical expenses for the producer’s trip to the local spank-me, shank-me bar, and of course the losses for last Thanksgiving’s all-singalong costume drama.

    It’s like hiring the Mafia to build a road–you know it won’t be finished on time and under-budget.

  36. King David Forevr says:

    The fake names are necessary because you block all dissent. You did in fact do the things you deny. I have made no threats only promises. And your failure as a journalist and human being continues to mount.

    Weighing in here only when I am out of town since The King has blocked all my regular IPs is hardly obsessive. Crying “poor me” when you are aware of your guilt and lies is in fact however.

  37. Hallick says:

    “Also, “It didn’t happen” is something I say to a lawyer. “It wasn’t my intention” is something I say to an actual person (insert “Lawyers aren’t people” joke here).”

    Except for the fact that if something actually didn’t happen, nobody ever says “it wasn’t my intention” to an accuser.

  38. SamLowry says:

    Interestingly enough, this story popped up yesterday:

    “But Will did not say and almost certainly doesn’t believe that sexual assault victims ‘deserve it’; nor does he intend to tell sexual assault victims ‘it didn’t happen.’ His purpose and intention is to castigate people who see sexual assaults where none happened, not to behave hatefully toward actual victims of sexual assault.”

    This pointless kerfuffle reminds me of Sinatra’s entourage feeling obligated to tell reporters that “you’re dead to me” doesn’t necessarily mean Old Blue Eyes just asked one of his mob buddies to take someone on a one-way trip to the center of the Hudson River.

  39. YancySkancy says:

    SamLowry: Interesting article. We see this kind of misinterpretation all the time, because people are always looking for something to be outraged about, particularly among the work of someone they disagree with politically. It becomes like a game of “Telephone,” where the original point is corrupted the farther it gets from the source. You can be sure that many, many people made up their minds about Will’s column after reading only the outraged reactions to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the author of the article you linked to has already been referred to somewhere as a “Will apologist” who “supports Will’s contention that women invite rape to acquire victim status.” And undoubtedly others will read the article and say, “Well, maybe he didn’t exactly say what we thought he said, but you just know he believes it because he’s conservative, and conservatives are evil.” As the article’s author suggests, there are plenty of things to take issue with in Will’s article without mischaracterizing anything he actually wrote. But nuanced arguments don’t inflame the rabble and lead to vilification or serious repercussions.

  40. David Poland says:

    Don – You are a liar. You have been a liar as long as I’ve known you. You posted under fake names for years before I ever held a single comment of yours for approval.

    Your IP addresses were put on “monitor” because of your rank abusive behavior, including repeating the same post over and over. All but a few of your comments have posted on the page in a timely manner. You have “weighed in” from all kinds of places in recent years and I have continued to approve your posts when they show up because they say a lot more about you than they do about me.

    You have quite specifically said that you have no interest in actual discourse on issues with me because you don’t respect me, leaving nothing but trolling.

    I have no guilt. Unlike you, I am pretty stringently honest, publicly and privately. I may be wrong at times, but I put my neck out and deal with the consequences. I know of no lies that I have ever intentionally put in print.

    I did invest more than a year trying to get you to tell me what the hell your sudden extreme problem with me is. And I think you now have at least put in a claim… that you think I wished your wife ill. But that is ridiculous. I have met your wife over a handshake 3 or 4 times in my life. (I’ve probably made eye contact with you fewer than 25 times in my life.) I have no idea whether it is coincidental that this all got ugly quite soon after I didn’t embrace your wife’s film as great. But that is the only event that I can really put my finger on. I remember the night I heard about your wife being sick. I was busy avoiding you at a party at LAFF 4 years ago for a film Guillermo produced, when someone told me. And I was probably not as sympathetic in that moment as I should have been… but I didn’t wish her ill in any way. I didn’t think about it again until you started being such a relentless dick.

    “Poor me” doesn’t exist. I just try to keep the facts clear when I am dealing with a liar with a vendetta. Mostly, people don’t care because they instantly can see it is some weird personal bullshit and they really have no interest unless it’s their weird personal bullshit. But when you or Nikki Finke are out there spreading lies about me, I have no idea how many people who have no context with me or already don’t like me might embrace the lies. Nikki’s worst – that I know of – was that I was sexually harassing her and she was afraid that I would rape her. Your worst seems to be that I wished cancer on your wife. There have been others. I’ve been accused of being gay and closeted, into pedophilia, black and trying to pass for white, dying of AIDS… I can’t even remember what other goodies have come my way.

    There is no question that I am less “important” than I used to be… and the attacks have subsided quite a bit. And that’s fine. I am not unhappy with the role I have chosen. In fact, I have been enormously fortunate for a very long time in journalist years, so no complaints at all about that.

    Be a man, Don. Or be a woman, for that matter. If you have a problem with me, deal with your problem with me. But you prefer to troll. And as a result, I have zero respect for you as an individual. Feel free to feel the same about me. I am not in control of you. But I know you like to think you are a stand up person. And maybe you have been for someone. But you’ve been nothing more than a nagging, shifty, manipulative little brother who is worried that his dick isn’t as big as his older brother’s to me for years. And it’s boring. Isn’t it boring for you? Are are you just fixated on being a 12-year-old?

    And with that, I am done.

    My history with Don, sports fans, is that if I don’t pay attention to him, he goes away… until I do a box office report on one of this films. So I guess I am stuck with him in that regard for the next few weeks. And then, he will go away again. Because I think I have written every word I have in regard to him now… and I am going back to giving him and his issues the silent treatment. Adios!

  41. SamLowry says:

    Yikes, I just read the Wiki pages for SHOOT ‘EM UP and WHILE SHE WAS OUT and they both sound ridiculous, and not in a good way.

  42. EtGuild2 says:

    Don, are you a 4Chan user? You must troll the most filthy sites on the internet, because HOT BLOG is practically a petri dish of vitriol, where dissent is mandatory. I think it was Leah who, a year or so ago, compared the blog to a group of angry relatives at Thanksgiving who have had way too much to drink. Jeff Wells and Sasha Stone would never tolerate the deeply aggressive and antagonistic tone of most users on here, much less guys like IOIOIO or Partisan who make it their mission to trash Poland whenever they can.

    Foamy makes a good point in that I think some of David’s posts unwisely provoke those with an alternate viewpoint, and foster combative responses. And users, myself included, gleefully take him to task (or try to) for any number of nits. But that’s part of what’s kept me coming to this site for 7 years. Other than Bill Simmons of Grantland/ESPN (I’m a rabid sports fan), and my go-to critics, I can’t think of a singular writer who’s more consistently held my interest on the web.

    PS: Your movie sucks.

  43. SamLowry says:

    I have to admit that thinking about SHOOT ‘EM UP kept me entertained during my shift because, well, let’s see what you think about this MAJOR SPOILER from the film’s Wiki page:

    “Smith [the protagonist] soon notices an article on Senator Harry Rutledge, a presidential candidate campaigning for stricter gun laws. Smith deduces Rutledge has cancer and requires a bone marrow transplant, which is why he had surrogates impregnated with his sperm, and why Hertz and Hammerson [an assassin and the gun manufacturer he works for] want Oliver [a newborn] dead; should the infants die, the Senator will not receive a donation and will be unfit to run as President.”

    Just try to wrap your head around that: The baddie doesn’t want his business disrupted by a gun-control president, so instead of hiring assassins to kill the candidate outright he pays them to shoot pregnant women and the newborns that might save the guy’s life…plus a plethora of eyewitnesses and innocent bystanders and whatnot–this is an action movie, after all.

    Okay, I get that if the baddie just shot the candidate then there would be no movie, but couldn’t the braintrust behind the camera come up with a reason why he couldn’t be killed outright? Maybe he’s the baddie’s brother. Maybe the baddie’s sainted mother is about to marry the guy. Maybe he lives in a germ-free bubble surrounded by such ridiculously tight security that assassination is out of the question. Something!

    Instead, the braintrust seem infected by some sort of reverence for authority figures–killing a politician is apparently a sin, but since life is cheap around here you can kill as many of those weevil-ridden 99%ers as you want.

    So yes, I finally came to the conclusion that this was a movie made by and for the 1%.

  44. SamLowry says:

    “it’s genuinely not clear how we are supposed to feel about one of the movie’s heroes literally walking around with a statutory rape defense in his pocket”

    As Kevin Spacey showed us in AMERICAN BEAUTY, even 18 year-olds are just too old for Hollywood sometimes.

  45. EtGuild2 says:

    To be fair, “Shit Em Up,” I mean “Shoot Em Up,” is actually one of the better films in Murphy’s filmography. It was made during the FRANK MILLER IS THE FUTURE, AND IN NO WAY IS A RACIST/MISOGYNISTIC/CONSPIRACY THEORIST FREAK era where it was suddenly trendy to make your action movie look like a popping off the page comic book ( see also: “Running Scared,” “Lucky Number Slevin” “300,” “30 Days of Night,” “Wanted”). “Shoot Em Up” starts with Clive Owen munching on a carrot and saying “What’s Up Doc,” and it sets the tone for the movie.

  46. Hcat says:

    ET, IO and partisan are the same guy.

  47. SamLowry says:

    A glance at Google Images confirms that the movie thoroughly aped SIN CITY, but a glance at its Wiki page confirms that its makers were far more interested in creating those images than devising a coherent story to link them together.

    The story is idiotic, the plot is full of holes–wait, I’m not talking about TRANSFORMERS, right?

  48. EtGuild2 says:

    @Hcat…they are? Life makes more sense now, because I always wondered how Partisan knew my name….

    @Sam, it’s a bizarre watch. I weep for Monica Bellucchi just thinking about it.

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Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
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Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
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A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
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Studio 54 5,300 1
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