The Hot Blog Archive for August, 2008

BYOB – Democratic National Convention Week

I’m not going to stop working, but while on a constant schedule of movies for TIFF and planning for the fest and watching the convention, I might be a little absent. Self-amusers are welcome… if asked for a touch of restraint.


Denial Is A River In Century City

LOS ANGELES, CA August 25, 2008— Contrary to recent media reports, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) is not for sale. There is no “asking price” for the company. MGM’s existing financing arrangements are sufficient to meet its needs. Goldman, Sachs has been retained to explore enhancements to MGM’s long-term capital structure. All of the MGM shareholders, including Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Sony Corp. Of America and Comcast Corp, are pleased with the Company’s current momentum and are committed to the future growth of the studio.
And can we all just say now… “Bull.”
MGM was on sale before Ron Grover got a call from a friend, before Mary Parent was hired, before they dumped Sony, before Harry Sloan came on board, when Kirkorian owned it, before Kirkorian owned it, when Kirkorian owned it, before Kirkorian owned it, when Kirkorian owned it, and before Kirkorian owned it.
MGM has been a library with an attached pseudo-studio since they sold the lot where Sony now is, decades ago.
I still think that Team DreamWorks is more likely to end up with controlling interest by this time next year than anyone else. The “price tag” being thrown around is likely what Harry Sloan dreams of… but the unreality of the number is instantly apparent.
There is no future for a studio making 6 films a year at studio prices. DreamWorks learned this. MGM has learned that lesson a dozen times.
So, MGM wants you to think that they aren


Summit Rolls It Out

One of the big stories of this fall/holiday season will be the full roll out of Summit Entertainment as a new mini-major.
The huge amount of attention they have already garnered for Twilight is truly remarkable


Hot Button – TIFF Preview, Pt 2

The 35 other titles I am quite interested in seeing… which makes a total of 59… and a lot of stuff that I will be looking for advice on.
The titles…
American Swing


Hot Button – TIFF 08 Preview, Pt 1

I am now working my way through the TIFF list… here is the first part of what I am finding that I think might be particularly interesting…


I Did Not Have A Political Diatribe With That University!

Yesterday, a wannabe op-ed called “Obamacide” turned up in the inbox. The bio line on it was: Matt Barber is Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel and Associate Dean with Liberty University School of Law
Today, the follow-up…
PLUS – My favorite dumb ad of the week from McCain… “Ladies… that young man dumped you… why… because you aren’t as attractive as you once were… don’t bother to think about how the right tramples on women’s rights and wants to pull back Roe vs Wade… we know you are just emotional beings who can’t think when you are hurt… really, trust the man with the rich wife who finances all of his ambitions instead of the guy with a wife who actually speaks her mind… it will feel good to smack Obama in the face…”

ALSO – I just saw this page for the first time and it speaks to what The Tribune Company needs to be doing across the board…
This seems to be a Chicago Tribune site, but the idea that capital-T Tribune would have “The Washington Bureau,” “The Show Business Bureau,” “The Sports Bureau,” etc, being fed by all of the company’s papers is the web strategy that they really need to get focused on (as I have been saying for years now).


Weekend Estimates by Klady

Well… that would be me being wrong. Tropic Thunder‘s number was right in line with their Friday estimate. The House Bunny didn’t even have as good a weekend trajectory as Traveling Pants 2… evne though Pants had a Wed and Thurs to eat weekened dollars. (For the sake of accuracy, Bunny is about 25% behind Pants at the end of the first weekend.)


Can You Smell The McCain Burning?

The McCain campaign is already selling Obama’s “the next president” verbal stumble as a show that he is giving Biden the lead on the ticket.
If this and old debate footage is what they have to fire at the Obama-Biden ticket, Democrats can start to get cocky again.
In an odd way, Obama selected a Dem version of McCain… less bluster, less anger, but a veteran Washington voice who is fearless about saying what he really things… well, that used to be McCain.
We will get more of the same scam from the Republicans


Friday Estimates by Klady

(Changed Out, 11:55a… waiting on corrected chart)
Okay. Trying to care…
I’m not sure how Steve Mason is pulling a Tropic Thunder win out of his ass this weekend, but anything is possible. If you base Tropic’s wekeend number on last weekend’s trajectory, it will do $16.2 million. If you base the House Bunny trajectory on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the last comedy with female appeal targetting teens and college kids (along with Baby Mama, whose opening was almost identical), THB opens to $17.1 million. I can only assume that Mason is being told not to expect a Saturday bump because… uh… it’s not the date movie this weekend?
But again… anything can happen.
Much more likely to shrink like a hack director getting hit in the pants with ice water as Michael Bay dials up Natalie Marttinez’s cell number is Death Race, which will do a little better than last year’s Jason Statham August 24 opening, WAR.


The Mentality Of Victimhood

“Here we go again!”
There is no denying it… I hear it all the time from liberals who are allowing themselves to be sucked into the right-wing promotion – mostly based on manipulated stats and lies – that Barack Obama is heading down the drain.
As Cher spoke John Patrick Shanley’s words, “Snap out of it!!!”
It is finally setting in for me, just what is so pathetic about the party to which I have been affiliated since I first registered to vote. After Nixon, the perceived failure of Carter’s presidency, the Reagan Revolution, and a stunning eight years of Bush II, liberals in this country are acting like children who have been taken to the woodshed and whipped raw and threatened with more if they dare told anyone.
I hate to be unsympathetic to my brethren, but grow the fuck up already.


Hot Button – It Was 11 Years Ago Today…

Happy Button birthday to me.
I usually write some sort of heavy perspective column at this time of the year, but… nah.
The column was inspired by the lack of daily commentary from anyone but Army Archerd. I was online because of the late, great Andy Jones recruiting me from EW for a weekly. The support of TNT’s Scot Safon was critical. The anger from most of the staff in Atlanta, once the column caught on, was palpable.
Six months or so off for The Miami Film Festival. And then Movie City News.
Eleven years later, I am still having the same arguments with Moriarty… ten years of Wells doing my schtick (19 months of not reading him or communicating with him as a result of the prior 100)… about three years of blogs transforming the daily marketplace into something else altogether… the insanity (mostly offline) of Nikki Finke… and the desperation of an group of mainstreamers to be just like her, still not understanding that the opportunity of the web is to be so much better than smears and gossip.
Through the whole 11 years, I have not only done as I like, but I have always had very clear ideas of what I don’t want to be doing on the web, regardless of how it might spark bigger numbers or greater popularity. What I have had to fight off has changed, year by year. People and sites have come and gone. Overresponding to “threats” happens… and I think I have retreated to my real standards each time. (Welcome to the jungle, Sharon Waxman. Good luck.)
Of course, it is the people read my endless musing that make it all possible. It is the eyeballs of the industry that has allowed me my independence and made MCN a viable home not just for me, but for an entire somewhat underpaid staff of writers and other creative people. I couldn’t be more proud of or thankful for our staff, led by my partner in MCN crime, Laura Rooney.
Every year has been a little different. The Hot Blog came along about 3.5 years ago and 3000 entires and over 90,000 comments later, it has become the primary release valve. Lunch With David, now known as DP/30, soon to be known as something else as we take the 30 minute interview on the web to its next step, has been an absolute joy, even though it occupies part of my workspace that used to be spent grinding out copy. I love working with the only traditional editorial cartoonist working weekly on the film beat, RJ Matson, as we continue to seek out new ways to expand the boundaries of web editorial.
I’m healthy. I’m married. I’m busy. I’m still learning every day. And I am always looking for the next thing that will feel fresh and worth the effort.
I am happy.
And I thank you all.


Who's That Guy?

One hates to give away free advertising, but I was puzzled, having seen and enjoyed Hamlet 2 and a great deal of Steve Coogan’s work on film and TV… who the hell photoshopped channing Tatum over Mr. Coogan for this web ad? Who are they trying to trick into thinking someone other than Steve Coogan is rocking “Sexy Jesus?”
Well, I guess it’s better than just deflating his lips or inflating his bust (though the biceps are certainly not his)….


BYOB – Slow Roll

Sorry for being distracted…
Three movies today in anticipation of Toronto… the beat goes on…


Beyond Headlining…



10 To Watch…

I don’t know how I fell about the press release I got today that Variety would release its “10 Actors to Watch” list at the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony.
Who is trying to leverage who?
Anyway… here is the list I wouldn’t be surprised to see…
Dominic Cooper – Mamma Mia! and The Duchess
Essie Davis


The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

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