The Hot Blog Archive for May, 2010

Trailer – Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

Edgar Wright notes
Songs featured in trailer.


Weekend Estimates by 4-Day Klady

Even being generous to Sex & The City 2, comparing the end of the first Monday last time to the end of today (by estimate… which doesn’t include a 5th day), the franchise is off 18% from the last time. Being less generous, 5 days vs 5 days, it’s off 25%.
Once again, Hollywood helps prove that women are smarter than Hollywood sometimes thinks.
So they are probably looking at $120m or so domestic… if they get that far. It could be a steeper drop this time, as the quality of the film seems less likely to draw girls-night-out crowds the second weekend this time… and it wasn’t like the multiple was sensational the first time out.
But again… as will so many pictures… the real money for this film – they hope – will be foreign. You want to know the real reason they women were on camels? The first film did 2/3rds of its theatrical business overseas. Of course, it may well be that the world enjoys looking at the hedonistic pursuit of New York ideals of money and power and not just the next wave of parachute pants. We’ll see.
Sadly, $250 million worldwide, for a TV show converted for the second time with no directorial skills whatsoever to the big screen, is still just barely a breakeven proposition… no cash cow here. The budget for the first film was wildly inflated, but with $415 million in theatrical, the Shaye/Lynne New Line and after-the-fact distributor Warner Bros cleared budget and P&A before they ran out of theatrical rentals. This time, with the budget even more hyper-inflated – because the success of this show has always been about spending money, not characters, right? (huh?) – and domestic down, they will be waiting on foreign with the passion usually held for waiting on Friday numbers here… and then, they will be reliant on post-theatrical sales, TV and DVD, to make money or just to get out without red ink.
What’s intriguing is that SJP & Co can make a third movie… for $40 million… which is about what it should cost, max, and make a boatload of money, unless this film actually kills the franchise. But even if it does damage it severely… for a $40m budget… It would be hard for them not to do enough business to make it work. So unlike most problem sequels, the ball is still in the franchise’s court… they just need to deal with reality if they want to continue. And the cost of Vaseline going up.
Prince of Persia (I’ll skip the extended name, so as not to pretend that there will be a sequel) isn’t so lucky. Conceived as another big, PG-13 Bruckheimer ride movie, Jake Gyllenhaal ain’t Johnny Depp or Harrison Ford, the videogame with a strong narrative got in the way a lot more than a ride without one could have, and the wow factor was limited by effects we have all seen, not only before, but repeatedly. Worse none of this could be disguised in a trailer. And there was no single go-to-effect that made it a must-go movie.
As a result, PoP couldn’t muster Robin Hood business, much less the opening for the first The Mummy. It even did a third less at opening than the decade old Tomb Raider, which did have Ms Jolie as a valuable special effect. Her pecs way outdid Jake’s.
Shrek Forever After did about what it was supposed to do in a second weekend. No new story here, really. Winning the weekend indicates nothing but the weakness of the two new entries and the solid base for the Shrek franchise.
And there is a real chance that Shrek The Last wins again next weekend with a mid-20s number, the biggest threats of the weekend not being the presumed bigger movies (Greek and Killers), but the strong niche plays, Marmaduke (though I haven’t felt that they have found the strong marketing hook… aside from Owen Wilson and dogs) and Splice, which is not likely to be leggy, but could rise up and shock with a $30 million opening (or better) a la Species ($17m opening in 1995), which is what the campaign looks like to me, shy a lanky, sexy blond.
Iron Man 2 should hit $300 million in the next 10 days or so. It gets the benefit of First Summer Weekend and we’ll see if either or both Toy Story 3 or Twilight 3 can deliver $300 million domestic.


Guillermo Exits The Hobbit

First and foremost… this is yet another reason to see Harry Sloan run out of town.
I never believed for a second that those managing the rotting carcass of MGM would shoot themselves in the foot by allowing The Hobbit and Bond to sit around gathering dust instead of generating hundreds of millions for a company that desperately needs it.. if only to pay back its debts. But here we are.
The Hobbit will survive. You can be sure that no one knows exactly what is going to happen, in terms of the eventual director of the film, but you can be 98.7% sure that it will still involve Team Jackson behind the scenes and they will not let it sink in quality.
Bond, however, is about one year from missing an entire movie from the cycle. The clock is ticking. And really, even if there isn’t a lost film, there will be years without revenue that could have had revenue.
I am sure that the twisted thinking inside MGM is that the package that is the studio is more valuable with these commodities as the highest order of bait than they are as working productions that start to be weighed down by reality.
But shouldn’t MGM, for the sake of its creditors, be doing everything possible to generate every dollar that they can as soon as they can? The fruit is already overripe.
Bottom line… if these two franchises move on before the next life of MGM is settled, no one needs the cowboys now rounding up the company.
As for Guillermo and Peter and Fran and Phillipa… this sucks. Really a shame. I’m sure Guillermo had a great time in NZ with everyone, but sitting around waiting to pull the trigger on sure thing is brutal. Just ask Joe Carnahan of Mission: Impossible 3.
In terms of the wider artistic picture, this exit and delay opens up some time on the WETA schedule. So expect someone to jump into Jim Cameron and Joe Letteri’s avatars at the last minute in a bit to do more than 3D. And of course, if that happens, it means that WETA will not be available for The Hobbit, when its ready to go, without at least a year’s warning. Or maybe WETA will sit on the schedule a little longer.
P.S. The story broke through, as is often PJ’s custom. Those who like to accuse others of stealing breaking news without crediting the originating source should probably be told-ja not to throw stones in glass houses.
PS ADD – 10a Monday – The story has been reflected to credit the source. Good.


The Iron Sheik (account verified) NSFW's Prince of Persia, Gary Coleman & More

the_ironsheik the dennis hopper i meet in the big apple madison square he is legend like iron sheik god bless him
about 6 hours ago
the_ironsheik I beat the fuck out of the Jay gaylin, and the prince of persia. he fag no dick no balls motherfucker
about 10 hours ago
the_ironsheik laker i like the kobe. I play in the boston garden and beat the fuck out of that mexican tito santana there. i respect the boston
about 21 hours ago
the_ironsheik @OpieRadio bubba. you show me the respect when i come to the radio show. you are not like cocksucker fag motherfucker bubba
about 21 hours ago
the_ironsheik @stustone you intelligent to show the respect for the black brother gary coleman. he good man like intelligent jew
1 day ago


Dennis Hopper Lives

Why? Why would a nice guy like you want to kill a genius? Feeling pretty good, huh? Why? Do you know that the man really likes you? He likes you. He really likes you. But he’s got something in mind for you. Aren’t you curious about that? I’m curious. I’m very curious. Are you curious? There’s something happening out here, man. You know something, man? I know something you that you don’t know. That’s right, Jack. The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad. Oh, yeah. He’s dying, I think. He hates all this. He hates it! But the man’s a…He reads poetry out loud, all right. And a voice…he likes you because you’re still alive. He’s got plans for you. No, I’m not gonna help you. You’re gonna help him, man. You’re gonna help him. I mean, what are they gonna say when he’s gone? ‘Cause he dies when it dies, when it dies, he dies! What are they gonna say about him? He was a kind man? He was a wise man? He had plans? He had wisdom? Bullshit, man! And am I gonna be the one that’s gonna set them straight? Look at me! Look at me! Wrong! [points to Willard] You!
I can think of no greater tribute to The Man than to hear his words, so here is his DP/30, recorded in his home in Venice, just before Christmas 2008, in connection to the film, Elegy.
(EDIT, 2;43p)
We’re having some server issues. Hopefully, you will not have a problem with them.
Here is the normal DP/30 page with the QT file.
Here is the mp3 of the conversation
And here is the visually inferior Google Video streaming version…

And if you have problems with the rest, here is the URL for another server with the QT video –


Friday Estimates by Sex & The Klady

Sex & The Sequel is almost exactly where it was the first time around after Friday ended. This time took a full day on Thursday and midnight screenings Wednesday to do it. On the other hand, this time, their ebd of May opening is the holiday weekend and by the end of the weekend, the sequel should be up on the first film by about $10 million.
I am put in mind of Hellboy and Hellboy 2. As much as the core loved the first Hellboy and the audience was expanded by home viewing, the much bigger sequel grew marginally. The audience is the audience is the audience. In one case, both movies are apparently horrid (I can only couch for the first) and the other, both are very good. But both speak to a specific group with specific interests that reach beyond reviews and hype.
Still, it reminds us that there is a $150 million niche for women over 30 – and I would have to say, I’m pretty sure that women under 30 just look at the now-retro crew of S&TC and laugh, laugh, laugh… but not in a good way. They may not laugh so hard in a decade or so when they succumb to desperate hanging on, but as a 45-year-old man, I don’t find older actors wanting to make themselves look younger by standing next to younger women so funny anymore either. (I do still find it a bit pathetic.)
Prince of Persia doesn’t have Thursday to lean on… which should put the movie near $20 million behind Sext-ew by the end of its first holiday weekend. There really is no precedent for this number. It’s neither big nor small. You have to go all the way back to The Flintstones in 1994 to find a 4-day Memorial Day opening that is close to the projected number… and $37m back then was a lot more than it is now.
Thing is, even Terminator Salvation, which opened to $52m last Memorial Day, stopped at $125m domestic. It doubled that internationally, Mummy 3 – a truly horrible film – tripled their domestic overseas. Disney is going to have to do something like that to not lose money on this movie. (See: Old theory about loading the quarter with Alice DVD revenue.)
Shrek Forever After is running a little over $60 million behind S3 after 10 days and it looks like it’s going to get worse, not better. Should be around $140m by the end of the holiday. Madagascar doubled its gross from the end of its second weekend to the end… but it didn’t face a Pixar film landing about a month in (or at all, for that matter).
Iron Man 2 continues to ourpace the first film by about as much as the difference between the two opening weekends, though IM2 is starting to slide, day-by-day. Paramount will have to push hard to get it to $300m in a crowded June. Meanwhile, foreign remains ahead of the first film and the domestic gross, so you can count on IM2’s worldwide being bigger than the last one… though not by as much as anyone hoped for.


What ARE You Talking About, Willis Dear Boy?

He was an icon
Stuck twixt Fetchit and FUBU
A tear and a smile
ADD, 10p, from Fake Paramount…
We just secured remake rights to On The Right Track which will star a CGI Gary Coleman voiced by Billy West. See it in Imax 3-D next summer. about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck
As for our “On The Right Track” remake, just remember the Paramount movie making mantra: It’s only tasteless if it doesn’t turn a profit. about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck
Just signed Kenny Ortega 2 direct On The Right Track. Mr Ortega says “When it comes to making movies about dead black celebs, I’m the best!” about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck


BYOB Friday… Sex In Persia: The Sands Of Middle Age


Kites Of Persia?

When I looked at the NYT review of Prince of Persia, I wondered whether I was looking at a review of Kites for a second…

DreamWorks Animation

Blog commenter Foamy Squirrel brought up some stats from the DreamWorks Animation annual report, which got me to look it up. And besides the immediate response, it occurred to me that DWA is one of the very rare companies these days that is in film, public, and small enough that their annual report has actual facts and figures in detail, not just the best and worst noted so shareholders can giggle or gasp.
Here is a chart covering their last 5 years (a pop-up)


Killers Crickets Blackout: Genius Or Idiocy?

Lionsgate’s statement to the AP: “We want to capitalize on the revolution in social media by letting audiences and critics define this film concurrently. In today’s socially connected marketplace, we all have the ability to share feedback instantly around the world. In keeping with this spirit, Lionsgate and the filmmakers want to give the opportunity to moviegoing audiences and critics alike to see `Killers’ simultaneously, and share their thoughts in the medium of their choosing. We felt that this sense of immediacy could be a real asset in the marketing of `Killers.'”
There are a dozen ways to slice this apple. It can be spun as an avoidance of what they assume will be horrible reviews. It can be seen as a serious attempt to use Twitter – however foolish – and Kutcher’s followers in particular (if they all came, a $30m – $40m opening) as the uber-marketing tool… in addition to a LOT of TV time. (I would be surprised if this film is not Lionsgates’ biggest TV ad buy ever.)
There is even the potential story that the studio doesn’t want the company’s Q4 and Year End statement call, occurring a day after the premiere and two days before opening, interrupted by a bunch of negativity about the potential of this movie due to media slams… especially while they are battling Carl Icahn and his contention that the studio is mismanaged, which this, their most expensive film ever, could easily represent. (For the record, every other quarter tends to have their conference call on the second week of the month, but Q4 for LGF has consistently been week one for a few years.)
In the middle is the reality that marketing beats everything else, Kutcher and Heigl both have loyal fans who are more likely to show up if they aren’t fighting a wave of negativity, and Robert Luketic, who is one of our best and most successful comedy directors, is a target for critics.
Raising the stakes a bit is Kutcher’s Twitter statement that he will “pirate” the first 10 minutes of the film from the premiere on June 1.
For me, this is the most problematic thing about all this so far. Of course, this is a standard marketing move these days… releasing 6 minutes or 10 minutes of the film. There is no indication that it works, but it is done at least a half-dozen times a year. And it is a kind of slap in the face of film critics.
That said, simulating piracy is an embarrassment to the industry and if I were running another studio, I would be outraged at this kind of positioning. Ashton Kutcher telling his loving, impressionable audience that piracy is not only okay, but cool. Not cool.
What do you think?


Panasonic Rolling Out High-End, Low-Tech 3D

This looks pretty much like the $3500 Panasonic AG-HMC150 we shoot DP/30 with… evolved into a two lens camera. Same set-up, times 2, for taping to SDHC cards. Same tape time available.
And at a $21,000 price point, frankly, if there was a 3D version of HDNet or some such cable outlet coming, looking for 3D product, DP/30 would be going 3D as soon as this camera landed. It’s cheaper than most of the rigs that were bought 5 years ago for high-end crews that are still being lugged around by cameramen until they can be replaced by equipment that costs a quarter as much (or less) for equal (or better) quality. The cost of the camera could, if it generated revenue with a unique opportunity, cover itself without any great payday in 6 months or less.
On the other hand… is 3D TV really going to happen?
DirecTV just changed their software to make it available on their set-top boxes… but in a household with every TV now HD and every box an HD DVR, all bought in the last couple of years, I can’t receive the World Cup matches in 3D without buying a new TV… at a higher price point… for very limited programming opportunities… without really being sure that it will enhance my viewing experience by much.
Still, there is a kid-in-a-candy-store feel to it, no?


PRESS RELEASE – Bra Turns 100

At first, this was interesting to me because I did not know the history of the bra… and an event to celebrate its 100th anniversary seemed like interesting kitsch.
But as you read the release, you see that there is a rather creepy new way for women to disfigure themselves being announced along with this celebration… using leftover skin from mastopexy, a surgical procedure usually used to tighten breasts after breast feeding, to create a surgically-created skin bra.
Funny world.
WHAT- Former Fashion Institute of Technology professor Lori Thomas and Bra extrodinaress and author of The Bra Book, Jen

1 Comment »

PRESS RELEASE – AMC To Shutter The First Megaplex, 1995-2010

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AMC Entertainment(R) Elects Not To Exercise Lease Extension for AMC the Grand 24 in Dallas
Kansas City, Mo. (May 27, 2010) – AMC Entertainment Inc. (AMC), one of the world’s largest theatrical exhibition and entertainment companies, announces today that its wholly owned subsidiary, American Multi-Cinema, Inc., will not exercise its option to extend the lease for AMC The Grand 24, currently held by EPT Down REIT II Inc., a subsidiary of Entertainment Properties Trust (EPT).
This marks the end of an era, as AMC The Grand 24 was the first megaplex – a theatre with 14 auditoriums or more and stadium seating – ever built in the United States in 1995.
“It’s disappointing that we have not come to terms on a historical, and to us, a somewhat sentimental property,” said Gerry Lopez, AMC’s chief executive officer and president. “But in our opinion, the proposal advanced by EPT is simply untenable. We continue to negotiate with EPT on several other properties and will see where those discussions take us.”
The EPT lease contains a notice deadline of May 31, 2010 to exercise its renewal option. Because AMC elected not to exercise its option to renew the lease, it will now expire on Nov. 30, 2010. AMC will vacate the premises and remove its equipment prior to this date.
“Throughout the past 15 years at AMC The Grand 24, we made history and developed many friends in the community” said Mark McDonald, AMC’s executive vice president of global development. “We will miss them.”
About AMC Entertainment Inc.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., AMC Entertainment Inc. is one of the world’s largest theatrical exhibition and entertainment companies. With a history of industry leadership and innovation dating back to 1920, the company today serves hundreds of millions of guests annually through interests in 380 theatres with 5,325 screens in five countries.
Cautionary Statement for Purposes of the “Safe Harbor” Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
Statements in this release that are not historical facts or information are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” “plan,” “believe,” “may,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “planned,” “potential,” “can,” “expectation” and similar expressions, or the negative of those expressions, may identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on management’s reasonable current assumptions and expectations. Such forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievement of AMC to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, and there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from management’s expectations.


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