The Hot Blog Archive for February, 2010

Could Lionsgate Buy A Better Ad For Kick -Ass?

I love when the NYT acts like a virgin considering convent life… then promotes teen pregnancy, irresponsible failure to use birth control by adults, and overall selling your ass a la Sarah Palin.
This piece on the red-band trailer of Kick-Ass is going to actually sell tickets in a way that raves by Manohla or Tony could only pray to. Just wait ’til they see her dad, Mr. Cage, shoot his daughter in the chest for practice.
Seriously… it’s like Miley Cyrus wearing a micro-mini and bending over to pick up a bible. You can’t buy this kind of hysteria.


Is The Bounty Hunter A Near-Direct Steal Of Midnght Run?

I was surprised to finally see an ad tonight…
Obviously, they added a penis and vagina as story points, but otherwise… hmmm…
Does anyone know if this is just how they are selling it? Or are George Gallo’s agents and lawyers going to be making calls tomorrow?


BYOB Tues 22310

On the run, near and far, shooting… it’s a big week for composers… and by the end of the week, we will have DP/30s with all five nominees… and an interpretive dance by Mr Shankman. Also coming this week, we will fill out the doc nominees list, talk Indie Spirits, and follow The Hurt Locker money.
Aside from rehashing the Miramax fire sale and Alice In Wonderland window debacle again – I honor Disney’s interest in pursuing a next-gen future, but they could end up drowning the baby for the entire industry by trying to hard to show how uncool bathwater is – there really isn’t much going on. So… it’s on you now…


DP/30 – The Yellow Handkerchief actor William Hurt

I love doing pretty much all of the DP/30s… but Hurt is a whole different ballgame. And to chat with him an Oliver Stone in the same week… mind blowing.
mp3 of the interview


BYOB for a new week, 222



Best Film: The Hurt Locker
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education
Best Actor: Colin Firth, A Single Man
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Foreign Language Film: A Prophet
Best Animated Film: Up
Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Rising Star Award: Kristen Stewart
Best Production Design: Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg and Kim Sinclair, Avatar
Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Best British Film: Fish Tank
Best Supporting Actress: Mo


Weekend Box Office by Klady… Is It What Is Seems On The Surface?

The scary ting for Shutter Island is that only three movies have opened to $40m or more and grossed exactly 2x opening or less in modern box office history… and all three were First Quarter genre releases in the last two years… Friday The 13th (2009 Version), Watchmen, and Cloverfield. The question to be answered is, “Is this one of those movies, where fans and thrill seekers piled in on opening weekend and represented virtually the entire audience for the film, or is it something else?”
I am a fan of the movie, so I like to think it’s something else. But word of mouth will tell that tale, not my hopes.
And by the by… there is a good chance that Valentine’s Day may join that group of 2x and under films. After a 60% drop this weekend, another $25m in the bank is not assured. It will probably get there, but just by the hair of its chinny chin chin.
Avatar is the smallest dropper of all films on over 1000 screens… again. $700m domestic should happen this week and $2.5b worldwide will happen before the end of next weekend.
Summit opened The Ghost Writer on the same number of screens they opened The Hurt Locker on last June and actually opened a little stronger… about $25,000. And amusingly enough, Hurt Locker is out on 120 screens and outgrossed the Ghost opening by about $100k.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Oscar parade that is still on screens all seem to be getting some Oscar bump, but dropped in the 25% to 35% range pretty much across the board, except with the modest expansion of The Last Station, which went up in gross.
As it turned out, the 10 Best Picture nominees are split evenly between five $100m+ grossers and five under-$100m grossers. The Hurt Locker is not the lowest grosser of the ten and perhaps the reason for the limited re-release was to keep ahead of the film right behind it, An Education, which is earning well enough in its context, but has a $1.5m gap to close. Bringing up the rear is A Serious Man, the only nominee under $10m domestic, with $9.3m.
I am always pleased to see the Oscars Shorts package doing some business. It may not be a lot, but if they can get to half a million with shorts on just 54 screens – and they likely will – it says good things about people being willing to come out for an aesthetic experience in the movie theater.


WGA Goes Hurt Locker, Up In the Air and Cove

Anyone surprised?



DP/30 Sneak Peek – Kathryn Bigelow


Friday Estimates from Klady Island

If it gets to $30 million for the weekend, Shutter Island would be the sixth $30m+ opening in the first quarter of a year, a new record. Five has been done three times before. When people talk about inflation as an issue with the box office, this stat may be one that really is affected by that kind of incremental change. On the other hand, this year may be an early indicator of a box office sea change, with a lot more movies opening strongly, but having shorter and shorter legs… something we’ve seen more as a summer phenomenon in past.
What’s been missing from Q1 this year to date is the big family movie. It’s usually animation. And this year, we had Percy Jackson try to be that film. It may fight its way to $100m domestic, but is no threat to get to $200m. “That” movie may be Alice in Wonderland, which is pretty sure to be a seventh $30m+ opener. And there is still How To Train Your Dragon coming at the tail end (get it?!?!) of the quarter. Threatening to make is ten Q1 films opening to $30m domestic are Green Zone and The Bounty Hunter. (I think Hot Tub Time Machine, if it flies, will be more of a build-up movie, gaining momentum from word of mouth.)
In the end, it is always about the movies and their marketing. Q1 is no longer the weak sister of the year. January, February, March have become prime time (March returning to prime time) , leaving very little time in the year as naturally “soft.” April… a bit of September… early October… but even those can be programmed carefully and if you put a movie people wanted to see in those periods, there is no reason why they could not be as productive as any months outside of the “hot” six months of the year.
ADD, 11:40a – Paramount marketing did the job for Shutter Island. Make no mistake. But let’s not buy into the lie that the move to 2010 was “strategic” in any way that spoke to improving the gross of this movie. It was a fiscal decision by the studio to shut down spending in the fall… period. Shutter was not the only movie affected, though it was the high profile move of the moment when it happened. Major spending was all but frozen until Dec 1, allowing revenues from the big Home Ent titles and, as it turned out, Paranormal Activities, to reload the cash bladder.
This is all just a footnote in industry history, but the idea that Paramount made a brilliant choice to shift the movie from October – where they could easily have had the same opening – to February and that this made the movie stronger at the box office is a big load of… bunk. The move was under duress. And the good people who work at Paramount made it work in spite of the choice, not because of it.
(EDIT – 12:10a – numerical typo in first graph.)


DP/30 Is Ready For Nikki's Close-Up

DH ADVISORY: Deadline Has No Publicist
By Nikki Finke | Friday February 19, 2010 @ 3:18pm
I think someone out there is punking the news media by offering me as an interview. Neither I nor has ever employed a publicist.
From: Public Relations []
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 12:05 PM
Subject: Hoping To Connect: Pre Oscars Interview – DEADLINE.COM
I wanted to introduce myself, I am now representing the MMC Corporation – which includes by Bonnie Fuller, and the one and only
With Oscars right around the corner, I wanted to know if you would be interested in having one of the leading voices in the entertainment industry, Nikki Finke and or Mike Fleming, become involved in pre-Oscars coverage for any upcoming stories.
I think Nikki Finke would be perfect for your radio show, particularly, pre-Oscars coverage. Nikki is the leading voice in the entertainment industry for breaking news, for her insider perspective and for her ability to tell the story behind the story before anyone else. Just for context, Deadline is increasingly being approached as the leading source of information and analysis, particularly on news from Hollywood. One recent example, Deadline was quoted on three separate occasions on GMA for its coverage of the Leno/Conan story.
Mike Fleming would also be a great fit for TV broadcast interviews about the Oscars. Mike recently left Variety as the leading entertainment journalist, and joined the Deadline team. Mike is a great journalist, very well connected and respected in the entertainment industry.
Nikki and Mike are both experts on the Oscars. What makes them stand out is their “connectedness” in the industry. Their range and depth of knowledge is incredible. If you have room for experts who bring these points of difference, I think they would really connect well with your audience.
Please get back to me with your thoughts, and or any questions. I encourage we follow up with a phone call.
(DP Note: I have confirmed that, in fact, Margo does work for Jay Penske, though she is normally a fashion publicist.)


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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