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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Is October Over Klady

Foiday Estimates 2017-10-28 at 10.32.35 AM

Jigsaw will not be the lowest opening by a Saw movie, but it will be right there at the bottom where the franchise died out.

What made this Saw movie a Saw for now instead of a Saw for then? I never learned that from the ads, trailers and outdoor. As a non-fan of the series, I didn’t make the leap to realizing this was even a Saw movie until late in the game. Don’t get me wrong… I love some of the imagery of the campaign. But I didn’t get any sense of why I. or anyone needed to see it.

In the passion of youth, the energy and excitement we bring to our work seems natural and as we get older, we feel like we are putting out the same levels of energy and excitement, but really, we’re not. As mature people in our fields, we carry the weight of the past, in positive and negative ways. When the generation of 45+ year-old marketers talk about how “you can’t just throw this stuff in the market and expect it to open” anymore, they have forgotten that they didn’t just throw this stuff into the market back when… it felt like a natural, effortless event. I’m not suggesting that an aging marketer is a weaker marketer, but rather that we all need to keep a check on ourselves as we mature to make sure that we are still finding the raw enthusiasm and hunger for variety that we had as “kids.” Decade after decade, how movies have been sold has changed. And the best marketers have changed as well. But when we think we are going into our old bag of tricks… well, there has never been a generation that couldn’t smell that a mile away.

Thank You For Your Service should have been released in January or February. The most successful movie targeting the stars & stripes audience in October was Flags of Our Fathers, which had the power of Spielberg and Eastwood behind it and opened to $10m and grossed $34m domestic. This film started with Spielberg, who gave the book to Jason Hall when they were working on American Sniper, but he was not there in the end and the film – which isn’t a light romp or a star vehicle – could have opened in October if there was sme big expenditure of energy by the studio… but it feels like it was not expected to do business.

Suburbicon has the earmarks of a movie that a studio could have gotten excited about selling… if the movie had only turned out well. But it didn’t. Another Coens script that wasn’t a Coens movie. And so, the old dump-a-roo. Another problem is that Matt Damon, for most of the movie, gives a performance not so different in tone from his performance in the vastly superior Downsizing, which is from director Alexander Payne, who gave Clooney his last great leading role in The Descendants (meaning most recent, not last ever). This seems to be just timing and coincidence, as Damon has greater range than this. It’s unfortunate for Paramount to have two films with the same lead within two months and for them not to be wildly distinct from one another. It’s better for Downsizing that Suburbicon just disappears quickly… not that anyone intended that to be the case.

As for the marketing… it was murky. Trying not to give away the turn to darkness in the film meant not really exploiting in the schizophrenia of the tones in the movie. This also was true, unfortunately, of the movie.

Nice open for The Square on four.

Bring on the God of Thunder.

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17 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Is October Over Klady”

  1. Christian says:

    “Novitiate” deserves a larger sampling than it’s getting.

  2. Bender says:

    The most horrifying thing at my showing of Jigsaw yesterday afternoon was having to endure the red band trailer of ‘The House’. What the hell was that doing there?!? It showed the whole scene where Ferell cuts that guys finger off…ugh. I wonder if they thought the gore would prompt people to rent The House from the

  3. Bender says:

    Jigsaw was surprisingly great. Love that great Saw twist at the end, the traps were cool and it looked like the put some cash into this one. I was disappointed in the lack of on screen deaths but that is explained and the final death is a real showstopper. A great new start.

    They could easily do a small one every year for VOD. Id love to see one which is just people and a huge trap and not all the cutting to the parallel story.

  4. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Thor is freaking great, the best Marvel since the first Guardians. The major surprise I had coming out of it is just how much this is Tessa Thompson’s movie. If Feige is as smart as I think he is then hopefully she’ll be signed up for five or six movies. She’s a star.

  5. JS Partisan says:

    This weekend, is about Stranger Things Season 2. Thor didn’t open this weekend, because Kevin and Co. knew we would all be busy, watching nine episodes of a show, that’s better produced, directed, and acted than almost any movie put in theatres this year.


    Oh yeah: they did use to just put shit out there, and people would see it. What Hollywood failed to do in this century, is sell the importance of all films at all times, and not just the franchises. You used to be able to throw anything out there, and it might be found. Why? There wasn’t as much content. Now? We have content, and the only films, all the studios sell as important, are their franchises. They can’t even do a solid job, of selling their fucking award films.

    This is a problem, that they can’t remedy… with shit films. They need to up their game, and try to make the best shit. Not the shit that they think they can sell.

  6. Bender says:

    I am a MOVIEGOER. Absolutely no interest in Stranger Things. Couldn’t get through season 1.

    Hell, I saw The Snowman on Thursday. Seeing anything in the theatre is better than watching something on TV.

  7. JS Partisan says:

    Most people are like ME, A MEDIA CONSUMER! So, we watched Stranger Things, because people who watch shit like THE SNOWMAN. Give the studios the wrong fucking idea. Also, I can watch anything, on any screen, at any fucking time. If you have a problem with the screen, then that’s on you. I don’t care.

  8. Pete B says:

    Had a private showing of Happy Death Day on Friday as I guess everybody was at Jigsaw. Fun little film made better by a star turn from Jessica Rothe. She was a blast to watch.

  9. Night Owl says:

    Suburbicon. Huge names on and in the wrong concept, poor reviews, all adds up to no one cares. Disaster. Clooney may be taking a break from directing, whether he wants to or not.

    All I see is You is that Blake Lively movie right? Well that was not a good idea. What a godawful average! And they’re reporting a $30 million budget? WTF?! And after all those headlines about how she changed outfits seven times during press day. Seven! And told all those cute stories about her kids too! Gosh, we are just so ungrateful!…hmmm what were you just saying about marketing and their old bag of tricks?

  10. Bitplaya says:

    Dave do you have a response to this piece that mention san old article you wrote?

    Will you issue a statement or do you stand by the article you wrote back then?

  11. JS Partisan says:

    I will state one thing about the object permanence thing: the way women have been treated in this society, has been close to boiling over for years. Now, thanks to a president who won, that spent years sexually assaulting women. Folks have had efuckingnough.

    That dude can’t be impeached, because his party wants tax cuts for their rich donors too bad. However, we don’t have to stand for any motherfucker, anywhere else, who is a sexual predator, assaulter, or a creepy piece of shit dude. If you want to be a shit to women, either now or in the past, or in the future. Know, that people are coming. Joss Whedon, may have a pass now, but people coming.

    The thing that we should all know now, is that there is a worst story out there. We don’t know who, we don’t know when it happened, but there’s going to be some earth shattering shit coming down the pike, and when it does?

  12. Glamourboy says:

    Holy crap…I just looked up, found and read the blog post that Poland wrote where he goes after the Premiere Mag article about New Line. Reads like he was in someone’s back pocket….I definitely think Poland should respond cause it looks real bad….

  13. EtGuild2 says:

    JS, I didn’t read your third comment much, but thumbs up on the first two; agree wholeheartedly.

  14. David Poland says:

    Got into this Friday night on Twitter, Bitplaya.

    My issues were journalistic. If you read the piece I wrote, it was about the journalism and not the issue of whether or not there really was harassment at New Line. In fact, I specifically state that I don’t disbelieve the accusations. Thus, I don’t think my old piece was being referred to in the indiewire op-ed. which spoke to disbelief.

    I assume you are making that leap because Jeff Wells did so… but his comparison on my piece and Peter Bart’s piece – which did question whether most harassment was falsely claimed – is specious. I have no idea whether Jeff – with his own issues with women – is trying to damage me or whether he is just a lazy thinker. You’ll have to ask him.

    Obviously, it is a very sensitive issue and I should have handled it in a more sensitive way. But my issues with the piece were very much in line with what I still believe, in terms of the journalism. I don’t believe you can write an attack piece making such serious accusations without having at least one key story on record. This is the same standard held at the NYT and New Yorker for their pieces.

    I am glad Liz Manne has now gone public. She (and Premiere) would have had my public and private support then had she done so then. She has my support and 100% belief today.

    I do wish I had done more with what I eventually knew about a number of harassers over these last two decades, including Harvey Weinstein. I feel some guilt.

    And I should have been more focused on the issue of harassment than the questions I had about John Connelly’s journalistic style.

    When Rose McGowan made allusions to her rape, I was the only person I know of who attached it to Harvey Weinstein’s name. It was on Twitter… and no journalist stepped to it.

    For that matter, plenty of people at indiewire and every other outlet of significance knew a lot of these stories. It’s easy to get into all this after others have led the way. After all, Hollywood Reporter refused to publish Kim Masters’ piece on Amazon and Roy Price, which was completely legitimate news, until after the NYT break and the victim going on the record. Where was everyone calling out The Hollywood Reporter, as I did? And why doesn’t anyone seem upset when THR now tries to position itself as a leader on this story? For that matter, Penske pays and publishes Peter Bart still.

    That may seem like deflection, but it is the fact.

    Truth is, I am still a believer in some parsing about what men are guilty of what offenses. I don’t condone any of the behaviors, but there are differences between one story and the next and as journalists, there is a responsibility to make this clear.

    Having engaged with Glenn Kenny about the piece, it is clear that they were quite frustrated by not being able to get anyone on record. And that I was far too harsh in my tone about the intent of the magazine, both in the brashness of that moment in my work and by John Connelly, who could sometimes be a wild swinger in his work.

    There were more stories at New Line – and elsewhere – that never got told. Even in Liz Manne’s piece this week, she chooses not to disclose the name of her assailant. That is her prerogative. But we all have a long way to go on this issue.

  15. Glamourboy says:

    Wow, what a load of horseshit….instead of going after the heart of the message…an article that finally approached the idea that women were being exploited by New Line, you took the approach to go after the article and the writers….it is a very specific form of taking the focus off of the victims…it was the kind of writing that showed women they couldn’t come forward. This deserves more than just a casual, ‘yeah, wish I coulda handled it better’….you were part of the media that didn’t report what you knew and went after those that did. Shameful.

  16. YancySkancy says:

    The Suburbicon trailer made me think, “Oh boy — another savage take-down of the conformist, white bread, American suburbs of the ’50s; how cutting edge.” Not exactly shocking to learn the Coens’ original draft was written in 1986.

  17. Glamourboy… I believe I said that. Without as much rage.

    My approach was that I was disappointed with the lack of hard facts in the piece and that I felt the piece was written with tone to make up for the lack of reportable facts.

    There were, as Liz Manne notes, women at New Line who dismissed the article. Strong women in positions of some power.

    Time Warner, obviously, knew about the settlements that happened as well.

    The fact that it was 19 years ago doesn’t excuse it. But both the societal and my personal professional situation were quite different.

    Yes, I was part of the 99.99% of the media that didn’t report what we knew. And I have acknowledged that from Day 1 of the NYT running its piece.

    Shameful. Yes. I am not ashamed of that piece. I am not happy about it, in perspective. I wish I wasn’t writing like a big swinging dick and had taken the other perspective and the intent of its editors into account. But I knew about the piece before Wells started throwing it around… didn’t disappear it. Could have. I have to live with it.

    There is nothing casual to me about any of this. Not the history. Not the current moment. But judgment is your choice, not my own. I can only offer my personal truth.

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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