The Hot Blog Archive for December, 2009

TMZ At The Grove

One strategy of the Time-Warner funded, $8 -million-dollars-a-year-invested-in-bottom-feeding scum suck known as TMZ is to keep barely-professional people at places like The Grove, 3rd St Promenade, Sunset Plaza, Robertson, and Rodeo Drive just hanging around, waiting to shoot anyone remotely famous, often trying to provoke a reaction to be filmed so the TMZeros can make fun of them for responding… half as funny as Howard Stern stunts and twice an unaware of how stupid and demeaning the effort is.
So when I see stories about Gene Simmons being asked about “his public persona about monogamy,” first reported on TMZ, my first thought is this “innocent couple” is some idiot from TMZ and his girlfriend.
Whether this person was actually in the employ of TMZ or not, this is the atmosphere of sleeze that TMZ has brought to an otherwise pleasant place. And Simmons’ reaction – assuming he thought this idiot was a TMZer – makes 100% sense to me.
One last note – I was explaining to my wife that no homeless hang out at The Grove because it is private property and their security staff is therefore allowed to keep the homeless out. Isn’t it time that Hollywood’s publicity community gets together and asks the management of The Grove to take a similar position on these idiot half-ass paparazzi? I’m sure the excuse is that they use home video cameras, so security doesn’t know. But I recognize these fools every time I walk through the place. They aren’t subtle. Moreover, if they post a few signs and inform TMZ of their intent, they should also be able to legally seize videotape made while harassing customers.
The only real civil right involved is the right to civility.


BYOB – Up In The Air

What do you think of the film? Here’s a place to air it out…


BYOB – Sherlock Holmes

What do you think of the film? Here’s a place to air it out…
(And I am personally curious… since it didn’t really strike me strongly, but it has been mentioned in many reviews, including the NYT… is there a heavy gay subtext in this film?)


BYOB – It's Complicated!

What do you think of the film? Here’s a place to air it out…


Friday Estimates by Klady – Chris-massacre!

Not much more to say than I said last night. (And I guess that if I mentioned that Nikki got someone to cough up early numbers on Christmas Day, it’s worth pointing out that the number was wrong, as usual, Nikki wrote over the error as though it never happened, and she continue to run a non-analysis of what is to come this weekend.)
I know that some will think it is Sherlock bashing, but with an estimated $1.2 million lead, Holmes over ‘Tar, I expect Avatar to move ahead today, much as it passed the Chipmunks on Day 2 and on Sunday as well. With the additional fire of opening day, it is both too easy to overestimate how the movies stack up against one another and to undervalue the huge achievement of opening Holmes to a $25.5 million Christmas Day. Given that Christmas is a major moviegoing day, the built-up must see for a movie like Holmes could be expected to reflect a 15%-20% bump on opening day. And we did see a 5% Saturday drop on the first Saturday of Avatar.
We shall see.
It’s Complicated‘s start will make it Nancy Meyers’ best opening other than What Women Want, which then starred a tip-top movie star in Mel Gibson. Streep is having a great run, but not like Gibson in his heyday. And this opening is commensurate with Julie & Julia.
The real cume for The Squeakquel is $41.5m , which isn’t much behind the first 3 days of the first film. (I’d say “original,” but that word couldn’t be much less appropriate for these films.)
Up In The Air is the best reviewed film of the new commercial group, but the numbers are not as thrilling as the reviews. Paramount is walking an interesting line here… wanting to take advantage of the love… wanting to keep riding the awards season… but not wanting to start a flow of “why isn’t it Juno?” stories by going full out and not doing Juno numbers.
And on a purely experiential note – grain of salt – I was surprised by a 40-something woman who goes with a group of girlfriends to the movies on a regular basis, thinking that It’s Complicated was the only option for women. When I suggested Up In, I had to explain why it worked for women. I don’t know if Par is punching that audience hard enough. But this is very much Kendrick & Farmiga’s film as well. And only recently, they went to a rom-com sell in spots. But it’s a tricky piece, though I think it will work for all adults.
Nine suffered its reviews in a real way. Unanimity amongst non-quoters can still have an effect, especially for a musical with most of its appeal in the big cities. Can it actually find itself unnominated by The Academy? Probably not. But it’s a Pyrrhic victory. “Harvey’s dead” stories will start before the holidays are over.
Invictus is also done… but will still probably get a nomination. But it’s good news for someone – maybe Lee Daniels or Lone Scherfig – because Eastwood is no lock for DGA or The Academy as director.
Disney’s mishandling of The Princess & The Frog will be blamed on the previous administration. Rich Ross will have the pleasure of managing up to an angry John Lassetter. They really do have to do a better job with Disney animated titles, aka not Pixar. This one is looking to come up short of Bolt, which is a real shame.


Christmas Day BO

Someone told Nikki Finke that Avatar and Sherlock Holmes were a virtual tie today with $24 million each and that both would do near $70m for the weekend. That someone, however, is kinda pulling the weekend number out of their ass.
Here’s the deal. There is no real precedent for any of this. A Friday Christmas Day hasn’t happened since 1998. The #1 film that Christmas was Patch Adams, which opened to $8.1 million that Friday/Christmas and did 3.12x that number for the 3-day.
Last year, day-before-Christmas opener Marley & Me had a $20 million Friday and did 2.6x that number for the 3-day.
The previous biggest Christmas Day was Meet The Fockers, which had $19.5 million that day. But it was a Saturday and the fourth day in the run. Christmas Eve is always a down day, so the 3-day isn’t a fair measure. If you start the 3-day with the Saturday, running through Monday, it was $52.9m. The early/premature estimate is that the two films had a 23% better Christmas than Fockers, which would translate into a $65.1m 3-day.
But like I say… this is all completely a guess by everyone. The rules of this week are not consistent with what we’d expect in the rest of the year. And the “it’s tied” thing is pretty much an admission that the estimates are still not formulated terribly clearly. Tomorrow morning’s numbers, whatever they are, will be a little iffy as well.
All that said, two films breaking the record for Christmas Day at once is pretty amazing. Both studios should be very happy. (Nikki’s source is also forgetting – shocker – that the same number for Avatar and Sherlock is advantage Sherlock, which doesn’t have the benefit of 3D pricing.)
Still, this is a bigger deal for Avatar than Sherlock in that this is Day 8 for the film. If $24 is accurate, that’s a 71% increase on the previous Christmas high for a movie not in its opening week. (It was Day 9 for LOTR: Return of the King.
And LOTR: Return of the King is the only standard by which Avatar‘s box office can really be measured at this point. If $24m is an accurate number, then Avatar is about $6.5 million behind King’s 8-day number and about $20 million behind the number as of the end of Christmas Day. Avatar could close that gap this weekend… or not. Impossible to say until it happens or doesn’t.
King’s 10-day was $190m. Avatar will top that. But the end of the second weekend (Day 12 for King) was $222m, which Avatar will not top.
King had $290m domestic in the bank by the end of the New Year’s holiday (Jan 4), about 64% of its final domestic total. Where will Avatar by the equivalent time? And will it have the same, better, or weaker legs in the new year. We’ll see.
And as for Sherlock… one day doesn’t answer much, except that it looks like a $200 million-plus movie. It could be a little lower… could be over $250m. No way of knowing yet.
Anyway… things are still interesting… if you are interested in this stuff. I expect Klady’s numbers in the morning… they should be a bit closer to reality, given that they will include late shows from the west coast tonight (Friday).


BYOB Christmas

FYI , Christmas Eve (traditional big dip day)- Avatar, $11.3m… Alvin 2, $8.1m… The Blind Side, $1.5m


'Twas The Night Before Hollywood Christmas, 2009

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Town
Not an exec was settled,


Loved This: Facebook

Generally, I am amused by the personal banter that Facebook inspires, but much of the time, it’s like listening to a mate whining about their day at work when they get home… yeah… yeah… uh-huh… okay… yeah… right… uh-huh… what time is diinner?… uh-huh… ah!… right… uh-huh…
But this one flitted by the screen…
It was on my iPhone, so unsure of exactly what the author was saying, I opened the photos…
Madame Tussauds… funny… so funny…


Box Office Hell for Christmas 3-Day… 25-27

(updated with BO Guru, 12;12p Thursday)
You can see how wild the guessing is getting with so many big releases arriving at the same time…


Karina Longworth Fills Scott Foundas' LA Weekly Chair

I’m not sure quite what to make of this choice.
it seems kinda obvious. And it seems kinda interesting. I kinda get that they weren’t really serious about hiring someone over 40 for the job. Given that, I wonder whether this was a choice to hire another blogger more than a critic.
That’s not to say that Karina can’t cut it as a critic. But it’s not what makes her a boldfaced name. At least not yet.
What does the job mean? Well, it has been a stepping stone for a number key critics. Manohla is in the top handful of critics in the country now. Scott Foundas just got the “heir apparent” slot at NYFF.
It will be interesting to see how Karina chooses to integrate into this community. I will be rooting for her and for her best work to be in the future.


Gurus o Go-Go-Gold

This week, The Gurus have pushed Avatar to the top slot (tied with Up In The Air) after the film was at #3 last week and #9 the week before. Also rising, Inglourious Basterds.
Then, the Gurus take on some Y/N questions.


Chloe: Follow-Up

A sharp-eyed blog regular dropped me a note that noticed that Chloe, the Atom Egoyan film (a reconsideration of the Anne Fontaine film, Nathalie), starring Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried in the title role, which was acquired by the Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisition Group just after TIFF ’09, has now landed at a distributor… Sony Classics. (It’s now on their website, though release date TBD.) All things considered, good news.
And here is the DP/30 with director Atom Egoyan and screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson


DreamWorks, Divorced & Remarried

For me, the most interesting thing right now about DreamWorks and Disney is just how this marriage is going to work.
When DreamWorks did its deal with Disney, initially, Dick Cook was in charge of the movie side of the company. And it was not insignificant to the DWers that Dick was the old-school, handshake is my word, kind of guy that he is. One thing is clear about DreamWorks, from Steven To Stacey and on

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Avatar Moving Along

For people who follow box office seriously – as opposed to comparing December openings to May openings and judging based on it – Avatar’s Tuesday number of $16.1 million is ever more spectacular than the Monday number, which felt like it was pushed a bit by weekend weather issues. It’s the best Tuesday ever in a December and 27% better than any December Tuesday that isn’t Christmas Day or the day after, which are the strongest moviegoing days in the month each year.
In 5 days, it’s $18.3m out ahead of I Am Legend and just $14.6 million behind LOTR: Return of the King‘s 5-day. King opened on a Wednesday, so their 5-day was an opening followed by a weekend, which should have put it out ahead for the December record.
Tomorrow, Avatar should fall to between $7.5m and $9 million, in the long-standing tradition of Christmas Eve. And then, on Friday, don’t be surprised if the film beats Meet The Focker‘s Christmas Day record of $19.54 million.
All three new titles – Alvin & The Chipmunks, Sherlock Holmes, and It’s Complicated – should open strong, though historically, the competitive Christmas weekend leads to opening 3-days of $30 million or less.
The outlier is Marley & Me, which did have a first 3 days of $41 million, opening on Christmas Day last year, though the weekend stats are skewed because it was a Thursday opening.
There were four wide releases that opened Christmas Day Last year…
Marley & Me – $14.4m – $41.1m 3-day
Benjamin Button – $11.9m – $31.4m 3-day
Bedtime Stories – $10.6m – $30.6m 3-day
Valkyrie – $8.5m – $24.1m 3-day
Things could look similar this year, though some heavier trickle up seems likely.
And we also have Nine and Up In the Air going out on 1400+ screens each.
Roughly, I think Avatar is looking at $50m or so, both Chipmunks and Sherlock should start around $40m, Complicated around $25m, and the Up In The Air expansion around $15m. Or something like that.


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