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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates: Modestly Rich Asians,

Friday Estimates 081818

Hollywood have given all the love it can give to Crazy Rich Asians, but the movie still has work to do to find a big mainstream audience. There is nothing wrong with a $23 million 3-day or even a $20m 3-day, especially after $8.8 million was siphoned off on Wed/Thurs. But… let’s be adults about this. The film is going to have to find a strong post-release word-of-mouth gear to get close to $100 million domestic. And that is the magic boundary. There is absolutely nothing about the film that makes it less accessible to whites, blacks, middle easterners, eskimos, greeks, etc. It is a 18+ family comedy that every ethnic group will find familiar. But I am afraid that in all the celebration of finally making an “all-Asian” movie at a studio, the studio forgot that they had to tell the rest of the audience why it was relevant to them. And I am not suggesting that the ticket sales were “all-Asian,” either. I am just saying that this movie opened as you might anticipate opening a mid-August studio comedy with some cultural standing. This is the number you would have gotten from a Julie & Julia or an Eat Pray Love. But the buzz around this movie was bigger than those. So you wonder why the 5-day isn’t more like $40 million. I know that some will be upset that anyone rain on the parade. And this opening is by no means bad. But greatness is measured, with a very commercial movie, but its box office as well as the quality and the cultural significance.

I haven’t seen Mile 22. This number is good considering the fairly soft sell and the terrible reviews across the board. On the other hand, if you look at Mark Wahlberg’s recent box office history, his status is dimming a bit when he is not attached to an existing franchise or sequel. He and his people should be taking a hard look at why this is and what they can do. Working with Peter Berg is never a bad idea, especially when the actor connects so well. But they need to find something that just plain wins. He needs his Taken. Or he needs another Scorsese infusion, which the Ridley Scott film was not. He has a great 3rd act waiting to happen. But time for a rebrand.

Good weekend at the art houses. The Wife, We the Animals, Juliet, Naked, Blaze will all do at least $10k on 2 – 4 screens each.

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66 Responses to “Friday Estimates: Modestly Rich Asians,”

  1. movieman says:

    What’s up w next weekend? Only two wide releases: “Happytime Murders” and the surely DOA “A.X.L.”?
    And–if Focus is taking “The Little Stranger” wide (which they should if they’re hoping to grab some “Woman in Black” bucks before “The Nun” hits and completely dominates the horror audience)–four wide releases Labor Day weekend.

  2. JS Partisan says:

    1) CRA could have a bigger than usual Saturday. It could have a bigger than usual Sunday, because it could be an after church picture. It may be special yet.

    2) Peter Berg doesn’t really mean all that much in 2018. I always find him entertaining, I’m sure Mile 22 is a good actioner on some level, but working with him doesn’t get Marky Mark anywhere. Marky Mark, should have already been a part of some cinematic universe, but he’s slumming in these pointless Berg movies (Or shit comedies, or shit transformers movie) year after year after year.

    3) Berg doesn’t bring what most audiences want. He had his time, and it’s passed. It could come back along, but he picks the most tedious scripts. It’s just… TV is calling.

    4) The studios just give up at the end of Summer. It’s hilarious, but this is how they choose to spend their time. What’s funny is: we now know ANY DATE IN THE WINTER can be successful. They have yet, as a collective, tried to open something at the end of August, and see if it takes off.

    5) Disney are still not grasping, that they need to rehire Gunn. It’s hilarious, that they are willing to pay a man 15m, throw away fan goodwill, and think everything will be fine. It’s really funny, because Star Wars. They want to fuck with the golden goose… again.

  3. Geoff says:

    I honestly have not found a Peter Berg film engaging since Battleship…I’m not kidding, that movie is more fun than folks give it credit for.

    He’s basically the caucasian Antoine Fuqua….a workmanlike director-for-hire who can’t grasp that he’s better off doing SIMPLER genre films, keeps trying to puff them up into something more than they need to be. Still haven’t seen Equalizer 2, just haven’t had the time….and I’m feeling a bit embarassed that I might need to turn in my Denzealout credentials soon.

    I DID see Denzel Jr. in Black Klansman last week..great movie and I’m happy it’s doing solid business considering that Mr. Marketing Spike himself once AGAIN seemed to do everything possible to drive folks away from wanting to see it – he’s a great director but has always been a shitty ambassador for his product. But props for pulling the delicate tonal balance he did with this film!

    Disney dug this hole for themselves -they’re not hiring Gunn back and what would even be the point now?? His “brand” is severely damaged and yes, they very culpable for that by taking the bait from ass-clowns like Cernovich. But the damage is DONE….hire Gunn back and they need to hire Roseanne back too….though I respect what he’s doing, I really do wonder if Dave Bautista is honestly helping his career by aggressively burning HIS bridge as much he has been doing.

    But they don’t need Gunn – they got plenty of weapons left in the Marvel arsenal and ALL of them are going to be more cost effective than GOTG3 which would likely cost them $300 million+…..basically a problematic Star Wars entry with questionable overseas appeal, they’re already looking at doing that once per year outside of Marvel. Why kill themselves to crank out a third Guardians in 2020 which is going to have a huge cloud hanging over it when they can launch a Black Widow film or a female side-Avengers team-up with Tessa Thompson??

    And yeah that CRA number is just strangely low…..all I kept hearing about in my area are sell-outs everywhere but I live a very diverse area with a large Asian population – Warner Bros did the right thing selling the uniqueness of this because at its core, it’s basically another out-of-touch rom com.

    But I gotta wonder if in true, rural Trump country if CRA is just opening to mostly empty halls – not saying that’s right but you have a huge chunk of folks in this country now with gigantic chips on their shoulders resenting they they’re not as “special” as they used to be…..and having a film marketed as “crazy rich” but not their ethnicity is just going to piss them off. Forgetting the fact that most sane Americans actually ENJOY going to the movies to see things that are a bit foreign to them…..

  4. JS Partisan says:

    Geoff: ROSANNE WAS HIRED, THEN POSTED RACIST SHIT! Gunn, mea culpaed this shit six years ago, and the only reason he was fired? Alan Horn is 75, he wasn’t around when this was dealt with in 2012, and he responded to it as if it mattered. It wasn’t being picked up by the trades, because they knew what was happening. The out out of touch old man though? He was handed something, shrugged his shoulders, and did what he did without calling Feige. “Well… we fired Roseanne,” and guess what? She had it coming. Gunn did not.

    The thing you miss, is just important Guardians 3 is, to the next 5 or 6 years of films. The entire first part of the 2020s of Marvel Studios content. Phase 4 or whatever they will call it. Jumps off from Guardians 3. That’s why Horn, being an intransigent isn’t helping matters. Having Penske Media pushing stories, that “It’s over,” aren’t helping either. Horn and Disney do not get to win. If they do win? Star Wars. They get another pissed off fanbase, and no one wants the Marvel Studios fans even angrier. Sure. You can give us a rousing Captain Marvel, Avengers 4, and Far from Home films, but guess what? You let the bad guys win in real life, and that’s far more fucking damaging.

    Horn and Iger, seemingly do not get, that not rehiring Gunn just gets us all pissed, and not cooperative. You don’t let nazis win, you don’t take meetings that are glorified bs-sessions, and you don’t think you know better than the guy running YOUR BEST DIVISION. It’s literally, awe inspiring that Disney will own Fox, but can’t fucking get their own thumbs out of their asses. They let Lassitter happen, they let Kennedy happen, and they basically shat all over Feige’s perfectly cultivated plans by LETTING nazis WIN. Their ineptitude is staggering, in it’s brilliance.

  5. Geoff says:

    JS, I’m not saying they were right to fire Gunn nor that Horn didn’t do it impulsively because he did but…..he did the same shit with Roseanne, whether you like her or not. Roseanne has doing provocative shit for almost 30 years – back in ’90, she had half the country pissed at her for “disrespecting” the National Anthem at that Padres game and it only nine years ago that she did that magazine shoot made up like Hitler putting cookies with Jewish stars into an oven….this Valerie Jarrett tweet was really nothing new from her.

    And there is a HUGE middle ground between letting that shit slide and immediately firing some one – I mean that shit happened FAST, her tweet was out that morning and it wasn’t even 4 pm CST and I’m seeing headlines everywhere about “Roseanne fired!” – they jumped the gun on that shit, ZERO incremental steps taken….so Horn almost felt obligated to follow that up a month later with an even MORE dimwitted impulse move to beat the news cycle again. And yes it was beyond dickish for him to not consult with Feige -if I’m Feige, I’m rightfully pissed to have the rug thrown out from under me after I’ve worked my ass off over the past eight years to run THE tightest fucking P/R operation in all of Hollywood.

    And yes of course, fuck Cernovich and all of the Alt-Right fuckwads out there who wanted reciprocity for Roseanne with this shit – yes they’re Nazis and I hate to see Nazis win but guess what? In the larger overall war against the TrumpCult/Alt-Right…whatever you want to call them, you need to PICK YOUR BATTLES bottom line. 🙂

    Did Liberals/Progressives whomever throw Al Franken under the bus too quickly without a proper investigation and was that a battle too easily given up? In my opinion yes….because he’s a U.S. SENATOR on my side – compared to that, Roseanne and Gunn are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. We all love movies here but perspective is needed.

    Disney/Marvel will not lose ONE single dollar from firing James Gunn, not one – both of his films went overbudget, the last one barely made profit, most die-hard MCU fans I know place GOTG2 in the lower half of the franchise, and a larger percentage of them…SPOILER ALERT….couldn’t stand what they did with Quill and Drax in Infinity War and they killed off Gamora JUST as she was becoming a more compelling character. Let’s be honest: the groundwork for a compelling 3rd ‘Guardians movie coming out in less than two years is shaky at best. So fuck it, put it on the backburner – reboot in a few years, let the dust settle, hell Gunn will be better off stepping away from the Disney machine for a few years.

    And Feige has always had a “plan” but come on….he’s changed it dramatically before, he can change it again. He has X-Men and Fantastic Four characters coming back in the fold…hell the directors aren’t even that important for most of these MCU movies, Feige’s the show-runner and everybody knows that.

    In the long-term, Marvel will be fine, Feige will be fine, even Gunn will be fine….and you bet your bottom dollar that the Nazis WILL LOSE! 😉

  6. JS Partisan says:

    Geoff, I know Roseanne, and she had it coming. Gunn did not. There’s no discussing this. Gunn didn’t delete these things, because they were in the past. He apologized, he appeared before Glaad, and he got to make two Guardians movies.

    I was thinking about Al today, but you know what? He shouldn’t have been handsy. He shouldn’t have done any of the shit he did. Should he have resigned? Yeah. A woman replaced him, so it worked out. You conflating Barr and Gunn is a problem. You stating that Gunn being fired isn’t a big deal? Yeah. Berlin still has a great art scene. Doesn’t it?

    Every moment of the Guardians in Infinity War, was written by James Gunn. If they didn’t like it, then they missed it. Gamora isn’t dead either. She’s in the soul stone. It’s a thing. Nevertheless, I am going to buy the Avengers used, that’s money they aren’t getting from me. Thus… to be faiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrr… negating that point.

    You and your friends not liking Guardians, are you and your friends not liking Guardians. This does not change what Guardians 3 is supposed to be, and kicking Gunn off it messes that all up. You not understanding the point of all of this, is you not understanding the point of all of this. Feige wanted to leave this to Gunn, and now? Who knows where it goes, but like I stated the other day. There’s only one person who can direct Guardians 3, that won’t piss people off. Who? Who? Who? Kevin Feige. No one else will do.

  7. leahnz says:

    geoff just wondering if it occurred to you that career advancement isn’t what bautista prioritises most in his life (apart from that he’ll likely be fine at the end of the day; his scene at the beginning of BL49 was pretty much the best bit, he’s got a certain presence/quality)

    memo to Crazy Ivans: no pressure! (pretty modest budge of 30mil, how much does it have to make to clear the red, WW seems like it’ll be no sweat)

  8. Triple Option says:

    I saw Mile 22. I really like the way it started out. I didn’t realize Rhonda Rousey was in it and used more than some of her previous work. She’s improved but do I see her embodying some character for a 3-4 picture franchise? Umm, no. Marky Mark was fine but I only bought him as 1/3rd of the multidimensional character/legend the backstory purported him to be. Nice to see Malky back on the big screen. He’s OK but there wasn’t much there for him.

    That may be the issue all around. I kinda lit up when I saw my boy from The Raid in it cuz I knew we’d see some heavy, amazing hand to hand combat. First thing I noticed was that a lot of the quick cut, slashing camera movement you see in films that are employed to hide lesser fight scenes and bring them up. You don’t have to do that with Iko. In fact, it’s a crime against humanity not to sit the camera on a tripod and just watch him fight. Which, at some point they did open things up for longer shots and show some of his trickeration, which made for one of the film’s best moments. But he didn’t fight enough.

    I realize it’s Marky Mark’s film. Dude’s tough so I want to see him fight but he’s barely in the top 3 fighters of the known cast members on this film. His scenes have to be authentic and better than the others or it’d bring the whole film down for not being realistic or look staged. If you just give him some generic fight moments fine but then he should shoot better, drive better, anticipate better than the others to make up for his limitations. (Not really the best word). That really doesn’t happen.

    Don’t know how they’re selling the film but when you start out high tech, no nonsense covert ops, jump into int’l poly thriller, there better be a little heft to the story or it’s easy to disengage. Some of the reveals and twists that were designed to make everything topsy turvy barely registered a blip for me. I don’t know if they just wanted to keep things simple but it lacked overall intrigue.

    I don’t know if they developed the wrong story, the suspense was on the page but didn’t make the screen, the writers were only meh or that was all that film was ever going to be. I do know that my expectations for Petey B directed film will be held in check based on his filmography.

  9. JS Partisan says:

    Let me also add, because Geoff may have missed it during the Equalizer 2 release. EQ2 cements, that the Equalizer movies, are just Denzel’s John Wick movies. They need to make one more, and it will be an interesting trilogy about death, aging, and being an aging person who can cause death.

  10. Christian says:

    Great reviews don’t seem to be helping “Minding the Gap,” which is very much worth your time. It’s available on Hulu – that might be part of the issue, but how many people subscribe to Hulu? Honest question! – so check it out on that platform if you’re not in one of the big cities screening it. It’s surprisingly cinematic. I’m no skateboarding geek, but from the opening scenes I was asking, “How’d they film that?”

  11. Christian says:

    Hey, any field reports on “Alpha”? I didn’t realize it was a Hughes Brothers film – scratch that, a Hughes film – until reading an opening-day review. Now I’m intrigued, wondering if it’s the kind of poorly-reviewed August actioner that I might like. This goes back to Walter Hill’s “Wild Bill,” also an August “dump,” if memory serves, that I thoroughly enjoyed, though I recognize why it’s not widely beloved.

  12. movieman says:

    “Wild Bill” was a weekend-after-Thanksgiving dump, Christian, but I get your point. Sometimes those “throwaways” are better than the mega-hyped super-productions.
    Haven’t seen “Alpha” yet, but the surprisingly positive reviews have definitely piqued my interest.

  13. palmtree says:

    CRA got a nice spike on Saturday, and Mojo now has it at $25m for the 3-day, a little higher than the $23m predicted here.

    I don’t think it’s raining on the parade to say it’s not an opening phenomenon. But at the same time, the fact that a movie like this opened at all with decent mainstream numbers is still a win. As with many other films that don’t fit the blockbuster mold, legs will ultimately define this movie.

  14. Bulldog68 says:

    I don’t agree that Peter Berg needs to go back to television as some sort of demotion. Where I think Berg needs to diversify is in his script choices. That period where he went from The Rundown, to Friday Night Lights, to The Kingdom, to Hancock was a fantastic diverse run, and he needs to play in those sandboxes again.

  15. Sonny Hooper says:

    I’d just like to point out that the term “Eskimo” is racially insensitive at best and downright racist at worst, neither of which was DP’s intention I’m sure, but still.

  16. movieman says:

    I’ve liked most of Berg’s films (the exceptions were “Mile 22” and, oddly, “Hancock”). Hell, I even enjoyed “Battleship.”
    His best? I’d say “Friday Night Lights,” “Patriot’s Day” and “Lone Survivor,” two of which starred Wahlberg.
    Hope he bounces back, maybe trying something a little out of his wheelhouse. And possibly minus Wahlberg?

    Impossible to regard the “CRA” opening as anything but a win for WB and Asian-representation in mainstream studio fare. I’m expecting it to play handsomely through Labor Day (at least).

  17. Bender says:

    EQ2 and Mile 22 just emphasize how much I miss Tony Scott.

    Had an excellent double feature yesterday…Alpha and The Meg. 3D for four hours, I LOVE 3D!!

  18. Geoff says:

    “EQ2 and Mile 22 just emphasize how much I miss Tony Scott.”

    You said it man, I miss him too – next month is the 25th Anniversary of True Romance, WOW I had just started college when then came out! 🙂

  19. Christian says:

    Thanks for the “Wild Bill” catch, movieman. I was so confident in my memory that I didn’t bother to look up the release date! I wonder how often I do that.

    I’m sure I’ve seen August dumps I’ve enjoyed, mainly in the mid to late 1990s. I just better not guess at what they were.

  20. Christian says:

    I’ve just spent some time looking over 1990s August releases here:

    It’s a real jolt to see certain titles. I wasn’t thinking of arthouse or limited-release films from August, but am surprised by how many such August releases I’ve enjoyed. As for mainstream August releases I’ve enjoyed in the ’90s, well, I’ll let you guys guess.

  21. movieman says:

    Christian- I remember “Wild Bill” vividly.
    It was the first movie I saw (hell, it was the first time I was out of the house) after a Thanksgiving bout of pneumonia.
    (The pneumonia, not the movie which I really liked.)

    P.S.= I miss Tony Scott, too. “True Romance” was an early September “dump” as I recall. Years before post-Labor Day weekend became the province of “It”-style blockbusters.
    And both were distributed by WB.

  22. Pete B. says:

    I’ve never seen an episode of Fresh Off The Boat, so I went into Crazy Rich Asians with no frame of reference. Constance Wu is adorable, and CRA should make her a star.

    Okay… bigger star (than she currently is).

  23. Stella's Boy says:

    Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is just bonkers. One of the goriest movies I’ve seen in ages. There’s one particular scene I still can’t believe I saw and will never be able to unsee. I’d say it’s offensive but that doesn’t seem like the right word. I like S. Craig Zahler. Looking forward to Dragged Across Concrete.

    August releases. Good times. So many good ones in the ’90s and I am happy to list them. Event Horizon, Cop Land Mimic, Hoodlum, G.I. Jane, Conspiracy (and that’s just 1997). The Usual Suspects. Tin Cup. Lord of Illusions. Blade. Halloween: H20. Return to Paradise. 1999 is also outstanding. Bowfinger, Thomas Crown Affair, Mystery Men, Sixth Sense, Iron Giant, Dick. Plenty more I didn’t mention. I’m sure not all those titles are dumps per se, but they are August nonetheless. Many I didn’t realize were August releases.

  24. palmtree says:

    Deadline is now saying CRA’s 3-day is $26.5m. That’s another leap over predictions and estimates. With all the positive reviews and now audience love, this movie could end up surprising us with its final total as well.

  25. Hcat says:

    Girls Trip and others have done 4x opening based on WOM and enthusiastic reviews, CRA certainly has a shot at the century mark.

    Late July and the first two weeks of August always seem to be the more adult skewing time of the Summer. Both Open Range and Unforgiven were August releases, so if you want your non sure thing comeback western to hit the dog days are the time.

  26. Triple Option says:

    Shout out to Clear and Present Danger for an August release.

  27. GdB says:

    JS, agree with every thing you’re saying about Gunn and shooting themselves in the leg twice.

  28. Hcat says:

    Boyle exits Bond, can’t say I’m saddened just hope this doesn’t push this back. Boyle has chops, loved Sunshine and really liked 28 days later though both had third act problems. He seems too frantic for a Bond director.

    Since they insist of staying within the realm, I would just like to point out that David Mackenzie is Scottish and likely available…..

  29. Joseph Straatmann says:

    Danny Boyle never seemed to me the right fit. I was having trouble imagining trying to approve an Underworld score and other such things with the severe brand management this franchise gets. The man takes more gambles than I think they would’ve been comfortable with. I would have loved to have heard that score, by the way, but what I love and what makes nearly a billion dollars are two WAY different things 99% of the time.

    Granted, I have disliked as many Danny Boyle movies as I’ve liked, but there are very few directors who make their chance-taking as obvious, and I just couldn’t see a capital E Establishment franchise go with it.

  30. Sideshow Bill says:

    Stella, I’m trying to guess at which PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH scene you’re referring to. There are several that would be jaw-droppingly offensive if I were capable of being offended by such a movie.

    And UPGRADE was pretty great.

  31. Sideshow Bill says:

    I am completely not feeling THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS. Feels like it might be painful to sit through. I enjoy Melissa McCarthy, although a little of her goes a long way (just like with Kevin Hart). I could be wrong. But I really have no desire to see it. None of the marketing has gotten me interested at all.

  32. JS Partisan says:

    1) There’s a Crazy Rich Asian sequel, before they even get to play in Asia. That’s a good thing for representation.

    2) The Happytime Murders is like Meet the Feebles. If you could set through Feebles, then Happytime is right up your alley. I have no idea when I will see the Happytime Murders, but I am looking forward to it. The lunacy of maple syrup being the puppet drug of choice, is just fucking goofy.

    3)CHRISTOPHER FUCKING NOLAN NEEDS TO MAKE HIS FUCKING BOND MOVIE ALREADY! Seriously. He doesn’t have the heat he once had, because kids who were ten when TDK came out, are 20 now, and they kept following Marvel Studio movies. There a lot of 20 somethings, who have no clue who Christopher Nolan is, and why he has any sort of cultural significance. He needs something to bring the heat back to this career, and Bond would do it.

    If he doesn’t take the job, then he just needs to go to TV. BD, it’s not a demotion. It’s a place where people with talent can do things, that actually have a chance to get seen by people. Nolan, is just not hot anymore, and a Bond movie could help him be 2008 Nolan again.

    Let me also point out this: Nolan made the biggest mistake of his life, by not bring the DC heroes to the big screen. He could have been DC Kevin Feige, but he turned it down for middling movies.

  33. Hcat says:

    Nolan would be perfect but it would certainly be a giant step down for him.

    I don’t see how you can paint his career as troubled. His last two films, which while full of spectacle, were still heavily dramas still grossed nearly 200 million domestic and over 500 WW while receiving critical acclaim. If 20 year olds don’t know who he is they don’t know who anyone is or are not paying attention.

    And I am cautious about Happytime, Feebles was absolute trash, and the joke of horny puppets could get old real quick.

  34. palmtree says:

    Nolan did what he did to earn his artistic freedom from franchises. And so far it’s paid off with projects he gets to develop away from the pressures of cinematic universes. I don’t see him going back to work in a franchise, unless of course, one of his movies flops. Until then, he’s basically gonna continue doing his thing.

  35. Sideshow Bill says:

    But I don’t see anything else to be done with the concept after MEET THE FEEBLES. They did everything. I hope I’m wrong and it’s a good movie. I like being surprised

  36. JS Partisan says:

    Nolan isn’t even the most successful Nolan. That’s his brother, and his sister in law. Sure. He used to be top Nolan, but Johnathan actually produces content that people get involved in, and moves the needles. Dunkirk came out last year, and no one cares. Hell. Inception doesn’t even matter anymore. Interstellar was his moment, and it was just a movie I love and adore. I’m sorta alone on that island. He’s just not that important anymore, and you just have to do math. A ten year old in 2008 is 20 now, or soon will be, and what matters to them? It’s not Nolan. He matters to us, but to everyone else? There’s no heat.

    He needs Bond more than Bond needs him. That’s just the truth. He could have been as big or as important as Feige, and what did he do? He did his own thing, and now? He’s just there, and that’s the point that some of you are missing. We know him as CHRISTOPHER NOLAN AMAZING DIRECTOR. The people younger than us? Who? He needs to do that Bond movie, but he’s going his own way.

  37. Pete B. says:

    I think the Academy cared as Dunkirk was nominated for Best Picture.

  38. Hcat says:

    Absolutely right, the approximately 19 million people who saw Dunkirk in a theater cannot hold a candle to the 1.5 million who tune into Westworld each week.

    And I’m not sure he is interested in courting the youth crowd, or why you would think that is somehow so important, but I hardly think the way to relevance with the 18-25 demographic is through a BOND movie. That’s one step above making a western.

  39. palmtree says:

    I don’t think “importance” is the metric that Christopher Nolan cares about. Obviously if a major studio releases a film that goes on to gross nearly $200m and critics love it, then it’s probably important enough. I’m not sure what type of love he’s not receiving that he really needs at this point.

    I think the more interesting metric is artistic freedom. The man gets to do whatever the F he wants at the highest levels of studio filmmaking. The day that gets taken away is the day he goes back into the trenches of franchise steward. Until then, I will expect more Interstellars and Inceptions.

  40. GSpot 3000 says:

    I’m generally a lurker on this blog but JS’ Nolan comments have given me reason to step out the shadows.

    1. I mentor a a bunch of high schoolers interested in working in Hollywood and the only four working directors that currently mean anything to them are Wright, Tarantino, Anderson and Nolan. Nolan uniformally their number one. He has credibility with the young ‘uns.

    2. I work in the industry and ‘Nolanesque’ is something that comes up even more than ‘Amblinesque’ in meetings and that’s saying something.

    3. The guy repeatedly directs artful originals that score big at the box office, in different genres no less. All based on his name. No one else can say that.

    In short — JS I think you’re being unduly harsh and misguided on this one. Nolan’s shadow casts as strong and wide as ever.

  41. JS Partisan says:

    Wright: couldn’t write a female character to save his life.
    QT: creep.
    Wes Anderson: “It’s a White World, After All!”
    Nolan: “Who?”
    Those kids need to expand their knowledge base.

    I am not being unduly harsh on Nolan. It’s just math. His biggest movie, is the last moment of time DC would matter as much as Marvel. Any kid 10 or younger in 2008, doesn’t know or care about his films. Sure. There are outliers, and I would hope there should be. Overall though? Where is Nolan’s footprint in current society? If you are 35 or older, then you still care. Anyone older than that, probably doesn’t care, and look at his grosses. They have steadily decreased from picture to picture. He’s at 500m right now. Is that his base now, or is that going to drop? A Nolan Bond? Probably shoots him back to the billion dollar territory.

    Again, I am glad you like his artful films. I like his artful films. Unlike you four, I am not acting like he’s still relevant. He’s just sort of there, and a high profile gig like Bond. Could push the needle a little bit for him, because 20 somethings on up see Bond movies. They are event movies for a reason.

    It’s not like Nolan is disappointing, as a talent. He’s superb, and owning all his work on UHD is something important to me. He is important to me, but if you look out there in just culture itself. The place he should have, is gone, as if he were a fad, and I find that depressing.

    Oh yeah, Pete! Guess what? Fuck the Academy. They should have picked It or Wonder Woman over Dunkirk for their big movie, but those inept asses couldn’t even figure out how to get that right. We haven’t discussed in this chat enough, about the asinine logic the Academy are pushing for their POPULAR PICTURE OSCAR. It’s so inane, that the people pushing it must lose gray matter, as they put that pablum out into the atmosphere.

  42. Hcat says:

    Nolan’s not relevant because the young’uns don’t know who he is but when provided with someone’s anecdotal experiences (which you have not provided at all to support your argument) that they do, you think they need to expand their horizons? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    As for what he has influenced? How about Bond? Craig’s Bond is much closer to Nolan’s Batman films than Brosnan’s Bond. Both in how the character is presented, the feel of the action, on down to set design.

  43. MarkVH says:

    Dunkirk is a better movie than Wonder Woman and I don’t particularly love Nolan (or dislike Wonder Woman, for that matter). It isn’t in the same conversation as either one.

  44. MarkVH says:

    Also Bond doesn’t need an auteur, it needs a craftsman, which is why Martin Campbell is perfect for it.

  45. palmtree says:

    After all this discussion, wasn’t Inception already Nolan’s Bond movie? He’s probably thinking been there, done that.

  46. JS Partisan says:

    HC, no, he didn’t influence Craig’s Bond. Why did they hire Craig in the first place? 24’s popularity in the UK, led to them believing they needed a Bond who looked like Kiefer. And guess what? I don’t doubt Gpot’s anecdotal evidence, but that doesn’t mean those kids shouldn’t branch out. Nor does it exclude my anecdotal evidence, or just searching twitter. Using social media, no matter how much of a pain in the ass it is, is an each way to see where Nolan stands in the world. The same goes with his grosses.

    Mark, guess what? A popular Oscar is going to be a thing, because of what they did to Wonder Woman this year, and what they may do to Black Panther next. Doesn’t matter what you think, or I think. Last year was so catastrophic, and those BP nominees were part of the reason.

    And no, Inception isn’t a Bond movie. Martin Campbell made a great start, but a bloated ass movie. Bond, the last Craig Bond, needs to go out in style. We can end this here with, “I guess that I want a flashy Bond, and you don’t,” :D!

  47. palmtree says:

    JS, strangely enough, in this article where Nolan declares that Inception was indeed strongly influenced by Bond, he also says he would love to direct a Bond film. But that was back in 2010.

  48. Triple Option says:

    I’ve been thinking about the Popular Oscar and how, depending on the film, will be viewed in the same light as some participation trophy. But then I thought, nope, they could still screw this up.

    Grammys added best rap and best metal and they still managed to exclude Public Enemy from one and go for Jethro Tull in the other. I even wonder if the best shot this new award has at sticking and gaining some credibility would be doing something so counter-intuitive like dissing Black Panther, or Miss Imp:Fallout or even A Quiet Place and throw it to A Star is Born. Which, I’m not suggesting won’t be good or do well at the boxoffice. In fact, I suspect they’ll pick a film that’s decent and doesn’t have anything glaringly wrong with it but it won’t be THE film. Considering the same mindset that led to them having to devise this plan to stop having them overlook the obvious zeitgeist films will still be at work when it comes time to select the new gimme award. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if they would have one job to do and still jack it up.

    So maybe 5 years from now when Jamie Lee Curtis climbs into the director’s chair for Halloween: A New Hope, it’ll be a surprising win, and yet deeply satisfying to watch her get her hardware. Then, bingo, the award isn’t the scourge of public backlash but the wildcard spot of the evening with more props being given to the winner than would have otherwise come for winning the new Disney Ratings Boost Award.

  49. movieman says:

    For anyone hoping that “Happytime Murders” will be a late summer sleeper, it’s not.
    The only funny bits are in the (R-rated) trailer; the rest is
    flatter-than-a-pancake-DOA. It felt wildly overextended to me, even at 90 minutes.
    Maybe it could’ve made a great 7-minute “SNL” skit back in the days of Gilda and Belushi. But as a 2018 feature? Nope.
    I’m betting WOM is deadly. My preview audience sat stone-faced throughout w/ nary a chuckle to be heard from start to finish.

  50. Sideshow Bill says:

    JS, you can attack Nolan. You can attack Tarantino. You can even attack my beloved Edgar Wright because hus female characters are a bit thin (although I don’t mind)

    But PT Anderson? That’s where I draw the line. He’s done nothing but make great films on brave and interesting subjects. Boogie Nights had multi-cultural characters. I don’t think he has any prejudice, I just think the stories he’s chosen to tell are about whitey. If he went out of his way to direct a black story with an all black cast he’d get attacked for doing so. Could he mix it up a bit? Sure. But as long as he makes excellent films I don’t care.

    In closing, step off, JS. Step. Off. 😉

  51. JS Partisan says:

    Wes Anderson, Bill. Wes Anderson. Not Paul Thomas “The Same One Not Hitting The Piano,” Anderson :D!

    Palmtree, Inception is definitely BOND SET PIECE heavy, so that works. Again, Nolan making Craig’s last Bond film would be an event. I am not sure why that idea is a bad thing.

    Also, Crazy Rich Asians is going to have a FUCKING SINGLE DIGIT FUCKING DROP OFF. There you go, Dave. That’s special.

    And people responding to Happytime Murders negatively, are just proving Brian Henson’s point. People want puppets to stay in the kids genre, when it’s one of our oldest art forms. If puppetry has to stay for kids in this society, then what’s the point of it beyond that?

  52. palmtree says:

    Haha…one of the most interesting BO performances in recent memory and that’s point in time DP stops posting!

    Nolan doing Bond isn’t a bad thing. Hell, I’d watch him direct every single movie out there if it were possible. But the question is just when you’ve experienced relative freedom and success, do you just go back to the regular studio grind? I wish he would, but it seems unlikely.

  53. movieman says:

    Hey, I liked “Meet the Feebles” and “Team America:” I don’t have a problem with potty-mouthed, dirty-minded puppets.
    My dislike of “Happytime” stems from the fact that it’s a mostly witless one-joke movie that wears out its welcome within the first 15 minutes.
    McCarthy gives it the old college try and Maya Rudolph steals every scene she’s in, but the damn thing just sits there and dies.
    Not surprised that it’s flopping.
    And “A.X.L.”?
    Who in their right mind thought THAT was a good idea?
    Considering their output to date (“Midnight Sun,” “Show Dogs,” “Hotel Artemis” and this), is it any wonder Global Road is already going belly up?
    Good for “CRA.” It’s nice to know that WOM can still propel a medium-budgeted movie into the stratosphere.
    And the fact that it features an all-Asian cast is icing on the cake.
    Glad to see “Klansman” hanging in there, too. I’m wondering if Focus left some money on the table by not taking it wider from day one.

  54. Bulldog68 says:

    Well as long as we’re nominating Bond directors, I’d watch Nolan in a heartbeat, so I’m with JS on this one, just for what he can bring to table with his vision, but he doesn’t need it. That’s where JS and I part ways.

    Seeing that people have described Black Panther as the Bond of the MCU, how about Ryan Coogler. Fruitvale Station proved he had something to say, Creed proved he could take a formula and a film icon and make it fresh, and BP proved he could work within an established universe while simultaneously knocking it out of the park.

    For all the recent talk about a black Bond, think of a black Director for a second. That would be a statement. Not that a statement absolutely needs to be made, but he would be an excellent choice.

    And if they ever wanted to expand the universe and have 007 train 008, I nominate Coogler’s muse, Michael B Jordan,

    YEAH, that hold for Crazy Rich Asians is insane.

  55. palmtree says:

    I’d love a Coogler Bond, but I’m wondering if now Black Panther has opened up some personal projects that he’s gonna wanna explore Nolan-style.

    Personally, I’d like to see Justin Lin do a Bond. He’s proven himself with action and also with reinventing franchises.

  56. leahnz says:

    could this blog be any more of a sausage worship

  57. JS Partisan says:

    Rut roh. Leah, just gave us crap for some reason. 1) I can want a Nolan Bond, as a Nolan and Bond fan. 2) Yes, there are a slew of female directors, who could make a Bond film. No shit, Sherlock. You fucking throwing that shit at me? Well, you can GTFROH with that shit. This is about one franchise, one director, and rather said director should do it or not. Of course, the fucking Broccolis should fucking hire a female director someday soon, but you know… female producers love hiring white men.

  58. leahnz says:

    yowza, just as well i didn’t diss the hilarious nolan worship
    (the last thing bond needs at this point is a mr. dour tory-helmed bond — actually bond should be an old fuck out to pasture in a retirement home, bubba hotep bond, like the relic he is — tho i have time for an IE bond because mr elba is the real deal)

  59. Pete B says:

    How about we combine both topics of Crazy Rich Asians and James Bond? I’ll float the idea of an Asian Bond and nominate Henry Golding. He’s British and Malaysian. Leah can pick a female director, even though I personally agree with the “hilarious Nolan worship”.

    And Movieman is right, Happytime isn’t so happy. I wanted to like it too, but boy is it stagnant.

  60. leahnz says:

    crazy rich bond (the arguably best hard core/action director on the planet might be a wise choice if she could be persuaded)

    one of the issues with bond now – and i think EtG pointed this out previously – is that with ethan hunt in the MIs and the bournes (which granted may have done their cinematic dash) in the mix, and add the glut of male superheroes, bond as an action entity is no longer that distinctive. this is where the focus should be, making bond fresh again

  61. leahnz says:

    hold the phone i thought daniel craig threw in the towel, he’s still doing the next one, who cares then kill him off. 008

  62. palmtree says:

    Henry Golding as Bond…I love it.

    leah, wait, who is the best hardcore action director? Sorry I’m slow on this reference…genuinely curious.

  63. Sideshow Bill says:

    Er, ok JS. My bad. But I love Wes too. But I’ll bow out. Honest mistake, friend.

  64. Michael Bergeron says:

    a top action director is the Welsh born Gareth Edwards … check out The Raid 2 and you’ll be a believer … Tony Scott was a great action director (rip)

  65. Triple Option says:

    It’s Gareth Evans who directed The Raid 2. Which is also exhibit A for why he’s not in the Bond directing conversation.

  66. Michael Bergeron says:

    correction noted

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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