The Hot Blog Archive for July, 2010

Charlie St. Cloud director Burr Steers

mp3 of the interview
(I don’t know what was in my head when I posted this as McCloud. Sorry.)



Sorry… very distracted week.. more time for Twitter than for thinking longer than 140 characters…
Have fun… be nice to each other…


Old & New Media Clash On Twitter

Business Insider’s 3rd birthday seems to have given Henry Blodget the urge to swing his dick around and to once again cry crocodile tears for the New York Times.
What strikes me as most pathetic is that Blodget thinks journalism not only safe in the hands of the web, but that it is thriving. I do think it is more consumed than ever before… but the quality is getting shittier by the day, in spite of the many bright spots.
Blodgett is also right about many of Traditional Media’s rote responses to the web… absolutely. But there is a smugness to it… a sense that the ball has been handed off, when in fact it is fumbled daily by the confusion of opinion and news on the web. It feels as though almost every former print journo who found Online Jesus in the last few years is obsessed with taking over from Big Daddy, with all the childish grandstanding and lack of insight into their own work of any child of privilege. And ironically, Traditional Media treats their children like wunderkind while mostly ignoring web efforts that come from creators who were not spawned by TM… which perpetuates the myth of the success of these inbred onanists.
But I digress…
What drew me into this was an exchange on Twitter between David Carr (NYT) and Blodget (Business Insider). It was, to me, quite instructional.
Notice… Carr makes a statement. Bldogett demands a response to the question he wishes to have answered by NYT THREE times before Carr responds that it isn’t really his point. His point is that Blodget buried The Times and had it dead wrong 18 months ago. Blodget responds by beating on the one topic, which Carr clearly will not (and cannot) respond to, FOUR more times… and counting…
This is – and it’s hardly rare on the web or in TM – how propaganda works. Keep pounding on the issue you want people to discuss. Disregard all else. Position it so that The Authority, who you know is not in a position to answer, doesn’t answer… so you can claim you gave them every chance to spin the story. And just keep pounding away.
It’s not that I think I know an answer as to how the NYT can keep going at even 50% the cost of the paper of a decade ago. But by narrowing it down to one unanswerable issue, the blogger controls the conversation, never admitting his own limitations, only “exposing” the other side’s easy target.
As much as I believe in and live by “put up or shut up,” Carr doesn’t have that option. He can’t publicly opine on the future revenue streams of the company that pays his bills. Nor can anyone who works for Henry Blodget, btw. And in this case, it is nothing but speculation… so is it really so bad for people – journalists – to keep their own counsel until they actually KNOW something?
No… more fun to just print whatever drips out of some orifice somewhere and to pretend that is news…
(Carr’s tweets in bold)
. @hblodget, amazingly wrong on where NYT is going, takes another swing at it. fix? dump any writers w/o big traffic about 4 hours ago via web
@carr2n Question: How many people will pay for NYT online and how much (average). Fine if I’m wrong, but curious what you’re thinking about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck
@carr2n And my guess is you have huge traffic, so I wouldn’t be worried about it. about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck in reply to carr2n
Ahem, @carr2n, If you think NYT now will be gangbuster online biz, please share actual assumptions: How many subs paying how much? about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck
.@carr2n To pay for current newsroom (~$200mm/yr) w/o print, NYT needs ~$600mm of online rev vs ~$150mm today. Can get there? How? about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck
actually henry, am relying on historical analytics of your predictions, not speculating on our revs. shorting @hblodget about 2 hours ago via web
.@carr2n But please speculate! If I’m wrong, why? Because NYT will get way more online subs paying way more than I think? about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck
.@carr2n So if I’m wrong about NYT paywall nums, how am I wrong? You think 3mm subs paying $200/yr each for $600mm revs? about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck
.@carr2n $100mm NYT online sub rev would be nothing to sniff at, especially w/ $100mm of ads. But that won’t pay for ~$200mm newsroom. about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck
.@carr2n Don’t hide behind supposed objectivity! Let’s talk numbers. I think NYT online will get 1mm subs at $100/yr per. That’s $100mm about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck


BYOB 7-21-10


Jerry Bruckheimer's Mojo

I hate stupid journalism and stupid trend pieces.
The first time Idiots wrote off Jerry Bruckheimer was when Thief of Hearts came out in 1984. Don Simpson was still alive, Flashdance had been a true phenom, and Hearts was a commercial car wreck. Next films… Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun.
In 1990, Days of Thunder didn’t get to $100m domestic. Career was over again. After Bad Boys at Sony instead of Paramount, the boys moved to Disney and had a series of more modestly budgeted hits with Crimson Tide and Dangerous Minds.
1996 – Simpson dies. The Rock comes out 5 months later. Can Bruckheimer do it without Simpson? Bruckheimer knocks out 4 $100m+ domestic hits in a row, including his biggest worldwide hit at that time, Armageddon, which was just the 10th $550m worldwide movie in history.
2000 – Coyote Ugly is supposed to be the new Flashdance and instead is Bruckheimer’s first non-$100m domestic grosser since Simpson’s death. Mojo over? Disney even passes on his television production company! It must be over!!!
October 2000 – CSI debuts on CBS. A year later, The Amazing Race debuts. Disney has made one of the greatest strategic mistakes in entertainment history by not staying all the way in bed with Jerry.
Meanwhile, Remember The Titans is a surprise domestic smash. But the Pearl Harbor gets cocky and gets slammed by the media, underperforming its massively inflated budget. Black Hawk Down is release by Sony and eventually gets momentum, but doesn’t do well overseas.
But the real slump begins in 2002/03… Bad Company. The extremely expensive, endlessly re-edited Kangaroo Jack. It’s all over for Jerry!
2003 – Pirates of the (m-fing) Caribbean.
Veronica Guerin… bomb. King Arthur… bigger bomb.
National Treasure… from an idea from Disney marketer Oren Aviv.
Glory Road… bomb!
Pirates 2 & 3.
Deja Vu… soft in the US, but Denzel’s best ever international, $180m worldwide.
National Treasure 2.
And this last 2 years, Confessions of a Shopaholic does $108m worldwide… G-Force does $282m worldwide… Prince of Persia does $330m worldwide… but all three lose money. And it looks like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will too.
Pirates 4 greenlit.
Dick Cook fired… probably as much for the budgets of some successful grosses on films that lost money anyway as to turn over a new Disney leaf.
Bruckheimer’s 19th $100m domestic film arrives next summer.
Disney is trying to get him to self-finance and use Disney only as a distirbutor/marketer… which is one reason why so much pressure is being put on MT Carney’s first film on which she had a real influence. As always, opening weekend has nothing to do with the film Bruckheimer delivered – double-edged sword – but with that marketing.
If he wants funding, he’ll have it. Will he be at Disney? No way to be sure. Ms. Carney has a lot of managing up to do. Will The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp as Tonto ever happen? Unknown.
Is there any actual indication that anything unusual has happened with Bruckheimer lately? None.
I don’t think he is the key to America art… but he does know how to tap into American culture and to get an action movie rolling along. Prince of Persia was a big, freakin’ mess. Serious misstep. But no worse than Bad Company or King Arthur. And given some decent reviews – negatives more about mediocrity than badness – I put the blame for Apprentice squarely on an unfocused marketing message.
The only thing Bruckheimer really needs to change is the size of his massive, DVD-driven budgets. And there is no reason why he can’t.
He does turn 65 in a few months. And he has enough money to do virtually anything he wants. Will he want to keep doing what he’s been doing on the other side of his 60s? Probably. Bruckheimer seems to be a guy who plays about as much and as hard as he likes… and he seems to like to work.. a lot.
Disney would love the attacks on JB’s mojo to continue… so they can get 10% instead of 8% as they negotiate a deal to have him connected to the studio for years to come. Get it?
Is media just like some carnival game now, where we just throw rings at bottles knowing that it’s rigged and that it’s not really a game of skill… but hoping that we’ll ring a bottle and win the big prize because we FIRST wrote that some career was over or rising?


BYOB Monday, Monday… Can't Trust That Day


James Gammon

He always seemed like he had wandered into a modern movie from a John Ford set. The voice could be recognized from a mile away. The face like a mudflap on its millionth mile.
An actor of character. An instant smile. And he just moved the ball.
I will miss hearing more.


Weekend Estimate By Klady – Incepted

WB is pushing out an estimate on Inception that is probably a bit high. $60 million sounds like a nice round number. But even a bit lower than that, the opening is the fifth best start this summer. It’s strong, but it’s pretty much as expected.
It’s an interesting thing, how people position these openings. This is lower than any of the guesstimates by our “Box Office Hell” sites. But was that a function of reality or of the hype? Would ouitlets covering this as a big opening be slamming it as The Dreaded Disappointing if they didn’t see the movie as being of quality? Are these pronouncements ever well considered?
What we know is this… even with very good legs, a multiple of 3x, (though super-legs are always possible, albeit unlikely for any non-family film these days) Inception will not pay for its worldwide marketing costs with its domestic gross and will have to do significantly better overseas to over the cost of production.
I tend to celebrate a guy like Nolan using his leverage to get the studio to make a movie that was such a gamble. Others will give it all a pass because they love the film and will claim any direct comments on the finances of the film are just Haters being Haters. And some will, just be happy that a challenging film can do $400 million-plus worldwide, which is where I think its headed.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice seems to have recovered a little on Saturday, but the movie still is not a pre-teen hit, really. Having not seen the film, I don’t really know what Disney had to work with. But it seems to me that they almost looked for a tweener in the film… and got the results a tweener gets.
Nice hold for Despicable Me. It now looks Like Twi3 is actually going to do a little better than Twi2, as opposed to worse. We’ll see how it all plays out, but 10% either way is still the call. Grownups is also holding well, now looking like it could be Sandler’s biggest hit in the last decade, with The Longest Yard‘s $158.1m not out of reach. Foreign and Sandler is always weak… so we’ll see there.
Predators dropped a shocking 73%. You don’t see that every week. And if you listen to Hot Blog commenters, the movie is worthy of decent genre buzz. It’s not a record drop, but for movies opening on over 2000 screens, it’s #7 all-time, if it holds.


Friday Inceptions by Klady

Solid, but not exceptional opening for Inception.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice never found an answer to “what is this thing?” and paid the price. Yes, there is a generation of kids that is not familiar with Fantasia, but even their parents who might be and might love it had no real way of knowing what they were going to get in that theater. I have seen a lot of footage from TV spots and stuff, and I know that I am now guessing that it’s… you know… nothing clear enough to put into words. And if The Sorceress is important at all, I have to wonder where she has been in this campaign, because I have only seen Alfred Molina… and only in the last 10 days or so. That said, I have gotten closer to thinking it might be worth seeing in these last days, as we have seen more footage of Cage looking insane with that hair… but too little, too late.


The Inception Spoiler Thread

So now, audiences are having a chance to see the film… and argue about it.
Please assume that if you read the comments on this thread, you might run into ANY story element… and if that ruins the film for you, it’s on you.
Have at it…


The Road To Box Office Hell, Inception Style



FriYOB 7/17/10


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