The Hot Blog Archive for January, 2009

DP/30 – The Reader

Director Stephen Daldry and his young male lead, David Kross sit down to talk about The Reader.
The video after the jump…

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DP/30 – Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon director Ron Howard discusses the film.
Interview video after the jump….

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Open It Up And Out Come The…

Getting stuff in the mail is fun… especially when it makes unexpected noise…

I don’t remember a champagne sponsor for The Oscars before, but Moet Chandon did send a bottle of bubbly to announce their sponsorship. Hopefully, there will not be a champagne pyramid like there is every year for The Globes…

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Friday Estimates by Klady

iPhoning this in, but as I consider Fox’s second $20m+ opening this month, it strikes me that the way that the attack on Rothman will continue is through the Rotten Tomato score and not the box office… not unlike the perameters of the false “box office slump” story were changed from overall gross to by-the-weekend gross to ticket sales (an estimated irrelevance that has now become a feature of any negative bo story) in order to keep the negativity going.
The real negative story on Taken is that Fox let B13 get away.


This Year's Patrick Attack

I thought Patrick Goldstein had grown out of his personal rage at me and everyone else who knows more about the awards season than he does… but no.
Today’s late season attack on me and others was a surprise. I am going to reprint my response to his blog entry here… because this way someone might read it.
Like Nikki Finke, Roger Friedman, and Jeffrey Wells, Patrick


BYOB Friday

It’s the weekend of movies that studios don’t want critics to see and a Super Bowl that may be great, but is sure to be down in the ratings… go figure…


20 Weeks To Oscar: 3 Weeks To Go

D. It Is Written
The great irony of this year


DP/30 – Sundance Audience Winner: An Education

Two chats…
With Sundance 2009 breakout star Carey Mulligan, who stars in An Education and co-stars in The Greatest (with her director coming in to talk a bit about 2/3 through the chat).
And director Lone Scherfig of An Education and Italian for Beginners and Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself.
Video after the jump….

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Why is Variety – in the form of two leading bloggers on the .com page – selling the absurd notion that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is chasing Slummy’s tail closely?
It is my considered opinion that both Frost/Nixon and Milk have much stronger constituencies than Button at this point.
Is it really as simple as “the movie with the most nominations must be #2?”
While Bart is selling Benjamin Button coming up from behind, Thompson is selling Milk splitting Slummy and the alleged #2, Button.
Are we really this desperate to create a race (and perhaps, sell more ads) when we all have a very good sense of where things really are?
And what kind of crap is this? “This year the directors to a remarkable degree, have



You ever have one of those weeks where everything is happening… and nothing seems to be happening?


Super Money

Someone asked about profitability in another entry, so I responded in – surprise! – excessive depth. Then someone sent me this link to an IGN video about Sam Jackson not doing Iron Man 2 over, he says, money.
To quote the quoting of the video:
“I would love to do it. I’m not sure that they would love for me to do it. It seems as though they’re having money problems,” Jackson said with a grin. He continued by saying, “they’re caught up in the economic crisis also. Iron Man 1 didn’t make much money, so they can’t afford to pay the rest of us anymore.”
And so… here is my look at some of last year’s dollars and nonsense…
If The Dark Knight was “just” double the movie that Batman Begins was, it would have been modestly profitable and WB would have had a bad year by most standards.
As I have written before, take away TDK and WB’s “super” year looks almost exactly like Fox’s “disastrous” year.
Iron Man was another case where the value to Paramount was not nearly what it is perceived to be. $60 million of pure profit is great. But if that



From The Hot Blog, December 22… nothing really new has happened since… only a small part of me wishes to have toldja, but when faced with “news” about what’s coming next, I don’t see the point in rewriting what I have already written in August, then December, then below…
Sorry to be a bore, but the SAG situation was written in the winds since before the summer… if only it were not so.

Radar Sucked Into Promo Scam & Others Follow…

Radar Online (all that’s left) ran a story about a $175,000 offering of 2 Oscar tickets and a fancy weekend and travel to go with it.
The “news” is that The Academy is suing to stop it.
The absurdity is that the $175,000 package is an overt lie, most likely intended to get coverage for the ticket scalping company (which I don’t wish to name) by Radar and others.
The Academy does not want tickets scalped.
There has not been an Oscar telecast in the last decade that you could not buy illegally sold tickets to for about $4000 to $7000 a pair.
The real story here is that there are not enough seats in the Kodak (or anywhere except for a stadium the size of Staples Center or bigger) to accommodate all the Academy members who actually want tickets for themselves and their +1s. So every year, there is a lottery and a hierarchy going on at the same time to determine who gets the seats they have, after the studios and media and stars they want and “friends of the AMPAS” get theirs. And every year, some of the “lucky ones” who gets seats sell them to brokers for a few grand apiece.
The other ugly thought is that this silly lawsuit is also in The Academy’s interest because it creates the public perception of an unrealistic interest in access to this event. Yes, it is one of the biggest, toughest tickets of any year. But $175k… $100k… $50k… $25k… come on! If you were willing to shell out $15k for a pair of tickets, there is not a studio in town – aside from the one or two with a lot of people who desperately want to be there with the inevitable winners each year – that won’t find a way to slip you a pair under the table and cover the cost of handling 2 or 3 of their stars for the evening.


Why Old Media Blogs Still Don't Quite Work

Doing the rounds this morning…
What are people in the industry talking about? Conversation one today is Variety, WB, etc, and whether you and yours are still gainfully employed.
Patrick Goldstein’s only post this week was about watching a TV interview with two critics in New York.
Peter Bart’s post this week was about watching the SAG awards.
His last post last week was in praise of Jim Carrey and his Sundance movie that has not sold and is not in a hurry to sell… perhaps Peter is waiting for Will Smith to outgross Carrey’s next “daring” comedy with a weighty drama that makes more profit so he can slam Smith (who never calls) again.
Truth is, I also think it’s great that Carrey is stretching and working for nothing to do it. He really needs to do that, as a commodity and as an artist. But it does piss me off when the same behavior in one star draws attacks and in another, gushy, over-the-top praise.
But I digress…
The Wrap used a hyperbolic headline – Bloodbath – but delivered a rather mild piece about the events of the day at Variety, even though the page employs Nicole Laporte, who was recently dumped by the paper after four years for financial reasons. Much more interesting to have her perspective than Waxman writing up a trade-style report rounding up everyone else’s reporting.
The Daily Beast is still all about rich people and has no apparent interest in anyone getting laid off… just people who are rich enough to be ripped off by Bernie Madoff.
The Bagger does acknowledge Anne Thompson’s exit on his blog with a big, sloppy kiss. This is why Carr remains the one Old Media writer who seems to be breathing fully in the New Media blur.
Thing is, you know that Patrick and Peter and Sharon and Tina all have very strong points-of-view on all of this. And we are getting none of it. And this is where I see the big disconnect. Yes, the hard news matters. But there are a thousand places where that news is landing.
The web must be responsible about getting the story right… every time. But the connection people have to these stories is personal. It is the personal that people seek. And when you are, in reality or not, supposed to be swimming in the deep soup, the survivors will be the ones who find a way to keep their integrity while still letting readers know what they are discussing with friends around the virtual water cooler.
To be fair, I underestimate just how hard it is for people who are steeped in one format to adjust to another. I had this experience this last couple of weeks with the very excellent Gregg Goldstein, who was with us for Sundance, and who had a very hard time trusting the way the web works. He is used to the Old Media style of The Hollywood Reporter and worked his ass off trying to make things happen in many of the same ways he did when he was there. I am very happy with the work he did… but that transition, which often feels self-indulgent – and often is – is still challenging to him… a smart guy… who wants to please his employer. And he was only steeped in it for a few years. I can only imagine how hard it is for people who have been doing it for decades.


Take me away from all this death…


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