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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Mojo (Klady Is Traveling)

friday est mojo 123116

Pretty normal Christmas/New Year’s window.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is doing great… but it’s 37% off Episode VII so far. But who’s going to cry over $1.3 billion worldwide if that stat holds through its run? No one. And anyone who is wondering whether the film will pass Cap:Civil War as top 2016 release can relax. It will. $1.2b is pretty much guaranteed.

Sing is also doing great… but it’s not catching up to Zootopia or The Secret Life of Pets or Finding Dory. Don’t expect Illumination to dip into the Christmas window again soon.

Passengers is not a complete disaster, which reminds us of one reason why many films like the Christmas window… word of mouth is less influential and more people go to movies on the weekdays. But the film is still dependent on international to do more than paying for its domestic ad buy (if these numbers add up to that).

Moana is in the sweet spot for Walt Disney Animation November releases. It will be the second best of that Nov-Launch group, well behind Frozen, but a solid #3 in the history of WDA.

Fences is doing okay. The film will look for a boost from the MLK holiday as well as Oscar nominations. It’s a relatively inexpensive picture, so the breakeven (projecting post-theatrical) is likely in the 50s. A ways to go.

Why Him? stiffed. It wasn’t that expensive, but it never found that thing that turned on potential ticket buyers. The Christmas window comedy that we used to expect annually has all but died off… until someone finds a film that connects again. It will happen.

La La Land is killing it. The reasonable comps for the film are The Imitation Game and Silver Linings Playbook. Imitation was in 747 venues with a $3,871 per-screen the Friday before New Year’s Day, and Silver Linings was in 745 with a $1,724 per-screen. Totals on that date were $9.6m and $24.5m. La La is at $28 million with a per-screen of $4,160. Those films grossed $91m and $132m. At this point, I would expect La La to surpass them both. Those bold $150m domestic estimates predicted by some may well come to fruition. Big, big win. As the old saw goes… no one wanted to make them.

Collateral Beauty may gross enough to cover the marketing costs of opening wide in December. The film is, by the way, from the new head of the studio. So when journos are writing up those “Is Tom Rothman in trouble?” rumors, they might want to consider that this was Toby Emmerich’s project.

Manchester by the Sea is now Roadside Attractions’ #1 release of all-time. It helps to have a partner as deep-pocketed as Amazon. But the whole team at Roadside deserves an embrace for working the film so effectively. And there could be another wave of significant business off of the Oscar nominations.

Arrival no longer looks like $100 million is in range… though Oscar could change that.

Hidden Figures is lurking as a serious box office contender… yet the question of a Best Picture nomination for Oscar is hanging out there. I would have gone wide this week, showing some box office muscle before Oscar voting starts. Popularity is part of what makes this movie a legitimate threat as a nominee and there just isn’t any serious proof of the success to come right now. It may not matter. In a year of not-happy films, this happy film may become a popular choice in the two or three slot for Oscar voters who are relieved by the feel-good experience. We’ll know in a month, when the film has $75 million or more in its coffers (and growing) before the nominations are announced.

Jackie, Lion, and Silence live on the edge of the box office and, it would seem, on the edge of the Oscar season… each capable of getting in or being left out.

And when discussing Oscar, don’t forget Sully, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Moonlight, Loving and 20th Century Women.

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37 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Mojo (Klady Is Traveling)”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    JURASSIC WORLD and TFA have skewed everything when it comes to high-level comps. When they announced SW spin-offs, did $550 million domestic seem possible (which, btw, is above Episodes II and III adjusted for inflation)? No. But now it garners no more than a nod of approval.

    Similar with the mega-grossing animated movies this year. SING could very well end up being more profitable than BEASTS or DR. STRANGE (Universal hasn’t updated international in a week), but like the most profitable BO success of 2016, THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, Illumination will quietly count stacks while others try to get down to their level of Trumpian intuition on what sells for cheap.

    Can’t believe MANCHESTER will be running well ahead of SPOTLIGHT after this weekend. It doesn’t have an easily explainable hook, and I’m convinced of lot of folks still don’t know Ben Affleck has a brother, and think Michelle Williams is the chick from Destiny’s Child. But yeah, I’m seeing more MANCHESTER ads than ads for UNDERWORLD, which opens next week, so that certainly helps.

  2. MarkVH says:

    I really wish I liked Manchester By The Sea more.

  3. Geoff says:

    Wow I didn’t think that Manchester by the Sea had done that much already – saw it earlier this week, fantastic and devastating film but EXTREMELY uncommercial. I’m sure reviews and awards haven’t hurt but is a marketing campaign by Amazon at the height of the holiday shopping season a possible assist? I’m asking seriously as some one who used Amazon just a couple of times over the past several months….has there been significant cross-promotion for the film on the site?

    And yeah who knows how high La La Land could climb? $150 million does seem a bit absurd but hey Chicago legged past that 14 years ago with arguably just a BIT more star power so who knows?

    Not sure if Rogue One is going to make it to $550 million domestic if the bottom falls out post-New Years as strongly as it did last year for The Force Awakens – that film did about 80% of its total domestic business by the end of New Year’s weekend last year but…..morbidly, the Carrie Fisher news could possibly be boosting it.

    “JURASSIC WORLD and TFA have skewed everything when it comes to high-level comps. When they announced SW spin-offs, did $550 million domestic seem possible (which, btw, is above Episodes II and III adjusted for inflation)?”

    Considering that Disney laid out $4 billion just for the rights, they probably spent more than $300 million just on THIS spin-off, and even Attack of the Clones which is utter shit made about $450 million adj for inflation, then yes……$500 million domestic is now around the absurd floor for this franchise.

  4. EtGuild2 says:

    If you can find me someone with a shred of credibility who was predicting over half a billion domestic for SW spin off films back when they were announced, I’ll buy you a real life lightsaber. 🙂

  5. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Geoff, where are you getting your stat about TFA bottoming out after New Years from? The movie was neck and neck with Jurasic World’s total gross of $600 million and change by New Years Day. It then did another $350 million or thereabouts in 2016 alone. Hardly a case of the bottom falling out. A similar trajectory will give Rogue One a chance of $600 million domestic total, although admittedly I doubt it will get that high. The Christmas bounty does make a nonsense of determining a movie’s fate on the basis of it’s opening day though. Everyone was writing off Fences after last week’s chart, and now it’s looking much healthier. Even Passengers, with nine figures domestically not out of the question, is not the bust that people first assumed it to be.

  6. Movieman says:

    In hindsight, Warner Brothers should have never given “Live by Night” an awards launch.
    It will now enter wide release on January 13th looking like damaged goods. (And “Patriots Day” will likely demolish its target dude demo.)
    I bet the reviews would have been a tad kinder–and box office stronger–if it had opened at another time of the year (March perhaps?).
    It’s probably Affleck’s weakest film to date as director (and he should have definitely cast another actor in the lead role), but it’s hardly crap.
    I’ll be very surprised if Focus really goes wide next weekend w/ “A Monster Calls” after its lackluster performance in limited release. That’s another movie that would have benefited from a different, less harshly competitive season. Maybe they should have just stuck to the original October date.

  7. Geoff says:

    Dr. Wally, all I did was look at Box Office Mojo, see below – I do think this was pretty skewed by the HUGE weekday numbers that TFA had leading up to that before schools went back into session.

    At the end of New Year’s weekend last year, TFA had grossed $742 million domestic – its final domestic gross ended up being $937 million. Don’t get me wrong… these are ABSURD numbers no matter how much you describe it but the film ended up with about 80% of its total gross at that point.

  8. Geoff says:

    “If you can find me someone with a shred of credibility who was predicting over half a billion domestic for SW spin off films back when they were announced, I’ll buy you a real life lightsaber. :)”

    I doubt I could find any prognosticators predicting a film’s gross THAT far in advance but I’m just saying that given the history of the franchise, you can’t deny there were inflated expectations. Attack of the Clones did $300 million plus domestic in 2002 but was even considered a “disappointment” back then compared to other installments so 14 years later adjusted for inflation, $500 million domestic is pretty much in the same ballpark.

  9. EtGuild2 says:

    Most of the expectations following the announcement fell into the realm of “over-saturation” and “why in the world would they make a movie about stealing the Death Star plans.” Can’t recall anyone thinking this move would match the grosses of the prequel sequels, much less exceed them and TDK.

  10. Stella's Boy says:

    I feel as ignorant about Hollywood as ever when I read that no one was expecting $500 million for a Star Wars spinoff. When something like Iron Man makes nearly $320 million almost 10 years ago, and when I think about the cultural significance of SW and how much media attention it gets and how it’s part of Disney now, predicting $500 million for a new SW movie seems totally sane and reasonable to me. But I could be and probably am wrong. I haven’t even seen a SW movie since The Phantom Menace.

    A Monster Calls had great buzz out of TIFF and at that time didn’t it have an October release date? That seems to make more sense than this release. I am looking forward to seeing it.

    Anyone else find Manchester by the Sea a tad overrated? The acting is as good as advertised and there are a few incredibly powerful scenes, but overall it didn’t move me as much as I expected it to. I much prefer Moonlight, Arrival, and Hell or High Water.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    I suppose there is merit to the idea that you could toss out anything on the screen (which is what ROGUE ONE was greeted as by many) and become, at the time of announcement, the #4 film in history. Looking back, the only prognosticating I can find is “$400 million or so,” but the fanboys were there somewhere I expect, as there were those who thought TDKR could be a $700 million hit and the HOBBIT an easy $500. Kudos to ROGUE ONE for becoming part of a very, very select club to hit the high-end of fanboy frenzy expectations.

  12. Stella's Boy says:

    I didn’t realize it was greeted that way. I just don’t pay enough attention to the new SW movies. I’m aware of them and see headlines from time to time, but otherwise I basically ignore them. I just assume insanely massive box office is expected because it’s SW, but I don’t go out of my way to see what prognostications are or anything like that.

  13. Geoff says:

    EtGuild2 – I would gather you work within the industry and also know that this number needs to be put into context, especially when it’s part of a franchise that’s almost 40 years old now….just as you would with James Bond, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and even when you’re referring to the “success” of sequels that are coming several decades after their predecessors like Tron Legacy, Mad Max Fury Road or Blade Runner 2049.

    Rogue One right now is among the Top 100 or so highest ticket sellers of all time – just ahead of the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Ghost, the first two Hunger Games, Ghost and just behind Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Age of Ultron, Attack of the Clones, and Temple of Doom. Honestly pretty good company as those are all historically relevant films. IF Rogue One gets well over $500 million domestic, that takes it into the Top 60 of all time right around The Dark Knight Rises, The Two Towers, Back to the Future, and…Revenge of the Sith.

    So some perspective is needed – I mean Dave is among the original crowd of folks who have been reporting weekly since the late ’80’s so to just keep COMPLETELY ignoring inflation adjusted figures when diagnosing the health of a franchise seems foolish at this point.

    Even big time more recent films like the first Avengers, The Dark Knight, Shrek 2, and Avatar have been out there for over half a decade so their values need to be assessed on a comparative scale at this point – they all sold at least 70 million tickets which is VERY rarefied territory (only about 36 films total) that this past year’s releases aren’t even going to come close to.

    Five of the seven Star Wars films released so far have broken that impressive milestone (The Force Awakens sold over 100 million tickets which is DAMN impressive in this particular marketplace) – Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and Rogue One will likely fall short of it.

  14. EtGuild2 says:

    Every few years inflation gets brought up as its own topic, and I’m not going to take the bait at this point, haha. I’m simply maintaining that no one in their right mind was going with over $500 million domestic at first. Entering December you were seeing predictions around $450.

    It goes back to the phenomenon Rothman pointed to this year. We now live in an age where a no-name spin-off where we know what happens can crush the combined power of the MCU and HARRY POTTER, and no one really bats an eye because of TFA and JW results.

  15. Geoff says:

    “We now live in an age where a no-name spin-off where we know what happens can crush the combined power of the MCU and HARRY POTTER, and no one really bats an eye because of TFA and JW results.”

    Ok but it’s NOT a “no-name spin-off” – it’s “A Star Wars Story” and it’s not as if Disney was hiding that! Every ad, poster, etc has the same Star Wars font, images that call back to previous films (X-Wings, AT AT’s, Darth Vader), and music that ALWAYS references either the Star Wars theme or the Imperial March. I’m not faulting them for that either but it’s just beyond silly to give this movie any “little movie that could” credence. 😉

    This is even weirder than the back-and-forth we were having earlier this year over ‘Civil War……I’m not saying that this film is a flop or disappointment, just that it’s basically in the ballpark of what you would expect from a Star Wars movie – I highly doubt Disney stockholders would disagree.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    I was thinking the same thing Geoff. It doesn’t seem like a no-name spin-off at all. It’s a new SW movie. When I talk to people about The Force Awakens or Rogue One, they refer to them as Star Wars. They say they are going to see Star Wars or they talk about how great the new Star Wars was. They don’t say The Force Awakens or Rogue One.

  17. EtGuild2 says:

    What’s even funnier is you’re arguing against a position I didn’t take. 😉 I’m by no means saying this is a “little movie that could,” but there’s a reason long-rumored “Hobbes,” “Twilight,” and “X-Men” spin-offs never got off the ground, and they’re only taking the tentative steps on “Transformers” after all these years. Studios haven’t operated under the assumption you can throw whatever up on screen, and become a sensation, as long as it’s connected to an established franchise. Even for Potter, the material came straight from the horse’s mouth.

    The point, again, is $550 million is within the “realm of possibility” following TFA and JW. Upon announcement though, no one expected a fairly unpopular narrative idea in a “risky” series of spin-offs to do these numbers. I appreciate collective amnesia as much as the next guy, but the internet saves stuff, as became clear looking at old Hot Blog posts in the Civil War debate. You can see people’s goal posts shift in real time just by scrolling.

    You go back to fanboy sites like Collider and Screen Rant, and as many people were expecting this to bomb as to hit unadjusted ROTS numbers pre-JW/TFA. Even going into December, Deadline and The Numbers were in the 400s. Now fast forward, and suddenly everyone always knew, since they came out of their mom’s womb, that this was going to be in Top 5 all-time range :).

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    I for one didn’t predict anything and am not saying otherwise. I’m terrible at prognosticating, especially with event movies. I had no idea so many people were predicting it would bomb. That seems idiotic for one of the most anticipated movies ever made. But I didn’t follow those discussions at all. As a big movie fan but also one who is pretty far removed from all things SW, I guess a pretty wide range of box office predictions wouldn’t have surprised me.

  19. Geoff says:

    Etguild, I’m not sure what we’re disagreeing on but I can’t think of one trade publication (Forbes, Variety, Hollywood Reporter) nor web site (Box Office Mojo, Box Office Prophets) that was NOT predicting Rogue One to be the largest box office hit of 2016….some predicted that ‘Civil War would be right up there too but the consensus was still that NOBODY was beating another Star Wars movie.

    As for numbers, yeah there weren’t a lot of numbers I saw out there besides the “Box Office” web site which was projecting $400 million domestic a couple of months ago but it wasn’t in the context of the film “disappointing” just a conservative number based on the brand.

    I will say this: Disney/Lucasfilm did NOT have the 100% pitch perfect year-long campaign and media/fanboy circle jerk that they did for The Force Awakens – the stories of re-shoots during the summer received a ton more attention than I would have thought, Disney is usually better at concealing that kind of stuff – and to still gross at THIS level domestically following months of mixed press coverage is still pretty damn impressive.

    “What’s even funnier is you’re arguing against a position I didn’t take. I’m by no means saying this is a “little movie that could,” but there’s a reason long-rumored “Hobbes,” “Twilight,” and “X-Men” spin-offs never got off the ground, and they’re only taking the tentative steps on “Transformers” after all these years. Studios haven’t operated under the assumption you can throw whatever up on screen, and become a sensation, as long as it’s connected to an established franchise. Even for Potter, the material came straight from the horse’s mouth.”

    In most years prior I would have agreed with that notion – over the past 30 years, we have seen TONS of aborted spin-offs from big franchises that could never get off the ground from Jinx from Die Another Day, Catwoman from Batman Returns to even Leo Goetz from Lethal Weapon.

    But the game pretty much CHANGED big-time with The Avengers in 2012 and I can remember back then getting into this with Dave (among others on this blog) for diminishing how big of a game-changer that film really was. Spin-offs (and shared universes) became much more feasible and we even saw successful spin-offs this year: Deadpool ended up out-grossing every other X-Men title where he started as a side character and Suicide Squad grossed on the level of a Batman film even though it mostly featured side characters from the Batman universe.

    Actually going back a few years, successful spin-offs have become increasingly common: Puss-in-Boots did over $550 million worldwide five years ago, Annabelle made $250 million worldwide in 2014, and Minions grossed over $1.1 billion in 2015. Amazingly, Rogue One could still end up being only the SECOND largest grossing spin-off film worldwide to Minions but it’s going to be close. 😉

  20. EtGuild2 says:

    Geoff, I went back to check, and sure enough, none of those sites were at this level.

    Mojo offered no prediction. Prophets was at $468 million, for #2 of the year:

    Forbes offered a variety of predictions, with ROGUE ONE’s actual level in its “pie in the sky” category, and it’s worldwide predication capped at just $1.05 billion. Deadline’s last total prediction I saw had it in the 400s. Not a single THR or Variety article I could find offered any prediction above FINDING DORY.

    Misremembering is a thing on the internet. People think there’s a worldwide conspiracy to hide the fact Sinbad starred in a genie movie this week…but that doesn’t mean it happened.

    The idea that “Avengers” is a spin-off is totally crazy. If you want to take cheapie horror as evidence that Hollywood has been invested in tentpole franchise spin-offs pre-BEASTS and ROUGUE, and that DEADPOOL’s road to the screen was a sign of Fox’s commitment to this type of filmmaking, I don’t know what to tell you lol. But sure, if Disney invented a time machine to go back and film the Han Solo spin-off in 1985 to utilize Star Wars’ most popular character, MINIONS-style, then yes, these numbers wouldn’t be exceeding expectations. You’ve got me there 🙂

  21. Mostly Lurking says:

    “Etguild, I’m not sure what we’re disagreeing on but I can’t think of one trade publication (Forbes, Variety, Hollywood Reporter) nor web site (Box Office Mojo, Box Office Prophets) that was NOT predicting Rogue One to be the largest box office hit of 2016….some predicted that ‘Civil War would be right up there too but the consensus was still that NOBODY was beating another Star Wars movie.”

    I think this kind of proves Etguild’s point because all of those predictions were after we had the results of TFA and JW. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Etguild’s point that when first announced, Disney would have been over the moon with the numbers Rogue One is now getting, but that perceptions of success are now skewed because of the massive success of those two films?

  22. Stella's Boy says:

    I found a handful of predictions between $450 million and $650 million (domestic). So plenty of big guesses were out there before its release. Collider predicted a $650 million domestic gross. comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian said it would top Dory’s $486 million. Flicksided guessed $1.5 billion worldwide which insinuates about $500 million domestic. Den of Geek predicted $600 million domestic. Box Office Frontier had the same prediction. The Numbers predicted $450 million. But maybe Mostly Lurking is right. I can’t remember. I never paid any attention to this until this discussion started.

  23. EtGuild2 says:

    Yeah, that’s the point Mostly Lurking. When SW spin-offs were announced, and the plot for this one was revealed, no one aside from hardcore geeks were expecting these results, and I have a hard time believing Disney was too. The larger point is that our perception of tentpole films doing over half a billion is now indefinitely skewed by JW and TFA (on the latter, it was an open question in terms of catching AVATAR domestically going into December of last year). The same phenomenon has also materialized for animation in the last year and a half after “Zootopia,” “Pets,” “Minions,” (internationally), and “Dory.” Suddenly, expectations apparently abound for a Top all-time performer when every and any SW or Illumination/Disney Animation movie comes out.

    And yes, as said above there were Fanboy sites predicting these numbers by the time the movie came out, as they frquently get caught in a tidal wave of hype and throw out wild numbers ($1.7 billion for Ultron worldwide! $1.3 for CIVIL WAR!) that makes 90% of event movies look like disappointments. But it’s above, or at the very high end of mainstream prognostications.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    Oh OK that makes sense. I see what you’re saying. Were a lot of people making box office predictions that far in advance, or just general statements about how well the new SW movies would do? I can’t even remember when the movies were first announced.

  25. EtGuild2 says:

    Some certainly were. Cinemablend, for example, went with $890 million worldwide for ROGUE in December 2016.

  26. Stella's Boy says:

    No I mean predictions back when the new SW movies were first announced, which was in what 2013? Cause you’re saying back then no one imagined they would make half-a-billion domestic?

  27. Geoff says:

    Etguild if you REALLY want to go ALL the way back to late 2012/early 2013 when Disney first announced they purchased Lucasfilm and was starting a new series of movies, then I honestly wouldn’t be able to recollect what predictions were made, for the saga films OR spin-offs. If that was BEFORE Iron Man 3 made $1.2 billion worldwide piggy-backing on the “Avengers effect” then yes, I would gather their FIVE YEAR projections for the first true spin-off would probably be below that….shows how silly this discussion has gotten. 😉

    But within this CURRENT climate when a mid-budget Despicable Me/Minions spin-off has made $1.1 billion worldwide the prior year and a mid-budget 2nd tier X-Men character spin-off has made over $750 million worldwide, then I’m guessing that Rogue One has pretty much lived up to reasonable expectations.

  28. EtGuild2 says:

    “I’m guessing that Rogue One has pretty much lived up to reasonable expectations.”

    For a hardcore, Boba Fett mask wearing, Chewie lunch pail carrying lunatic fanboy, yes, “pretty much lived up to expectations” seems accurate 🙂

    As said above, I’m still not sure what relevance MINIONS or DEADPOOL have to anything given the former is equivalent to making a spin-off starring Harrison Ford circa 1985, and the latter came out post-TFA, which is my entire point, but I’ll leave you alone now 🙂

  29. Geoff says:

    Minions and Deadpool are both technically “spin-offs” in the same vein of Rogue One – therefore to describe Rogue One’s box office as “unprecedented” or even really unexpected for a spin-off….THAT was my point, it’s not.

    And regarding your mention of a Ford/Solo spin-off in ’85, sure I’ll bite….but it’s not as if The Ewok Adventure or Young Indiana Jones were giant blockbusters. 😉

  30. EtGuild2 says:

    Fun fact: ARRIVAL is a movie with aliens from outer space. Like Star Wars!

    Why are you quoting words like “unprecedented” that I never said?…. lol. I pointed out that big studios haven’t been committed to major franchise spin-offs where you can just “throw up whatever” on screen up till Beasts/Rogue. If Minions (or Puss/Penguins…boy those are unknown quantities you’re throwing on screen, no one really paid attention to the Minions or Puss!) and Deadpool are the best examples of pre-holiday 2016 studio commitment to franchise spin-offs, you’re making my whole point… mid-budget cartoons are the best historical spin-off examples leading up to two hugely expensive movies that were viewed upon announcement as enormous gambles.

    In terms of Deadpool, you’re using the most tortured studio production in recent history as an example of Fox’s commitment to spin-offs…? Ryan Reynolds may want to fight you lol.

  31. Geoff says:

    “mid-budget cartoons are the best historical spin-off examples leading up to two hugely expensive movies that were viewed upon announcement as enormous gambles.”

    I have seen Rogue One and observed the “risky” ad campaign that Disney/Lucasfilm put out there this year continuously referencing the most successful franchise in film history….and they’re feeding these references to the easiest lay fan-base this side of The Walking Dead! Yeah they probably spent $300 million plus on just the production but was it REALLY that much of a gamble?? 🙂 Regardless of whether you agree with them or not, you’ll probably enjoy this lovely satirical video from Red Letter Media which makes MY point:

    It’s all good Etguild, I’m just not seeing the miracle or “surprise” here…Disney/Lucasfilm wasn’t exactly turning water into wine. But you should enjoy the video regardless…..

  32. Stella's Boy says:

    I say this with total sincerity as I am not a SW fan. Why were the new SW movies initially seen as enormous gambles? My fellow movie-loving friends frequently make fun of me for not liking SW and not knowing much about any of the movies, original trilogy included. I’m always told how much I’m missing out on and how even their 8-year-old cousins and nieces and nephews have seen TFA and Rogue One. I’ve always perceived SW as massively popular and not just with fanboys. So why were new ones seen as so risky? Ethan your knowledge of the industry surpasses mine, as does your knowledge of SW movies. But I’m genuinely surprised that new SW movies were seen as a big gamble.

  33. EtGuild2 says:

    “Why were the new SW movies initially seen as enormous gambles?”

    Stella, as with everything in this post, I’m referring to spin-off films, (including BOBA FETT and YOUNG HAN SOLO as there was some initial confusion on what would come first) back when they were announced. The idea of a team of grizzled space thieves breaking into the Death Star to tell a story a lot of people thought they knew wasn’t greeted with universal acclimation. By the time the reshoots took place, things we fine given we had witnessed TFA box office.

    Beating a dead horse to death here, but a world where there was a SW movie every year was still the prequel world. Biannual spin offs from here to kingdom come were not greeted with grin bursting excitement, including on this blog.

  34. Stella's Boy says:

    I know that Ethan. Don’t most people consider the spin-offs new SW movies? That’s how I perceive them. That’s how my friends talk about them. The people in my circle have been insanely excited about them since the minute they were announced. I figured that feeling was pretty universal. I’m surprised it wasn’t. And I’m sorry if I’m beating a dead horse. I find it interesting to talk about.

  35. palmtree says:

    As a prequel, isn’t it technically not a spin-off? When I think spin-off, I think of a side-character getting his/her own storyline unconnected to the main story. R1 is still in the same storyline of A New Hope just with new characters. It’s more like a spin-ON.

  36. cadavra says:

    Coming late to this tangent, but when ET used “no-name,” is it possible he was referring not to the franchise but the cast? ‘Cause let’s face it, the biggest name in the show for most people would probably be Forest Whitaker, and his is not a substantial role.

  37. palmtree says:

    Darth Vader was the biggest name. He was the money-shot in the trailers. And from all indications, it worked.

The Hot Blog

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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