20 Weeks Archive for August, 2007

20 Weeks Of Summer… That's A Wrap!

This summer being the biggest ever is just as insignificant a stat as The Slump stats were in 2005. To perceive this as a recovery by theatrical, you have to have bought into the absurdity of The Slump in the first place. And to sing to high heaven about two $250 million-plus productions and two $150 million-plus productions and none passing $350 million … that’s silly too.
Given the budgets of this summer and the security of the franchises – 8 of the current 13 $100 million grossers were sequels, two were based on TV cartoons, one was Adam Sandler, Ratatouille is part of the Pixar franchise and only Knocked Up really stood a unique, unfranchised, not-star-driven 9-figure films – we should have expected bigger numbers. Again, all five of the Top Five for this summer grossed $200 million in less than 12 days … and none cracked $340 million total.
Moreover, the only sequels to do under $97 million domestic were Hostel II, 28 Weeks Later, and the not-really-a-sequel sequel, Daddy Day Camp. Of the other nine sequels – the ones released by the majors – only Evan Almighty was under $110 million domestic or $250 million worldwide. So … does anyone want to ask the “Why do they make so many damned sequels” question again?

The Rest…


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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