The Hot Blog Archive for November, 2011

Trailer: Titanic 3Dux


DP/30: Rango, director Gore Verbinski


BYOB 111611 (Update: Now NSFW)

It’s been a long week… and it’s getting longer.

Taking my bi-annual junket trip (thanks, Paramount and Focus) to NYC to shoot a big batch of DP/30s this weekend. (The last studio-paid junket trip I was on was Searchlight’s trip to London for The Fantastic Mr. Fox.) Not only do I expect to be shooting a load of Oscar nominees, but I have one one my all-time top 10 wanna-gets on my schedule. It’s not Scorsese…but close. I’m very excited.

Meanwhile, we shot on Monday and had 4 interviews on Tuesday and another 3 on Wednesday. Busy, but good.

And with that, no more excuses… for a while…


Muppets Bite


DP/30 Double Feature: Nick Nolte

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Trailer: The Iron Lady

I’m still getting “stunt” from this… though Broadbent looks utterly real, as always.


DP/30: Shame

co-writer/director Steve McQueen, actor Michael Fassbender

actor Carey Mulligan


AD/PR: Oscilloscope’s DVD Club

This is a release/ad from Oscilloscope that I find interesting as DVD distribution model. I am not being compensated in any way for running this. But the idea is smart and the copy from this company is always fun.


New York, NY (October 28, 2011) – Oscilloscope Laboratories announced today that, effective immediately, the cost of membership to their CIRCLE OF TRUST (COT) subscription program will be lowered to $99 from the previous $150. Citing advanced manufacturing processes (including the erection of a state-of-the-art, zero-emissions package producing facility in Tennessee), Oscilloscope’s Head of HEOSOC (Highly Esteemed Oscilloscope Subscription Overseers Committee) Bruce Farnsworth claimed the decision a “no-brainer.”

Acknowledging that the economy is in a “slow down,” Farnsworth went on, “In a time when Gray’s Papaya is raising prices on their ‘Recession Special,’ we felt we had to take the lead and do what was right. With our newfound ability to cut manufacturing costs while maintaining the same level of quality control and keeping production domestic, it just made sense to pass those savings along to the consumer or their friends. The holidays are coming up. I’m just sayin’.”

Oscilloscope’s Circle of Trust subscription is an exclusive membership-based group open to anyone. Members receive:

The next ten (10) Oscilloscope Blu-ray or DVD releases at their home, one week before availability in stores.
Access to the entire Oscilloscope back catalog at discounted prices.
Exclusive invitations to special COT screening events and select Big Time Actor Movie Premieres.
Additional complimentary bonuses have included recommended books, patented O-Scope pocket protectors, stickers, “Country Classics” collectible trading cards, and other stuff we’ve found in the laboratory.
Current COT subscribers who have paid the initial fee will have their membership extended by five (5) DVDs automatically.

About O-Scope DVDs

Oscilloscope DVDs are produced and distributed in-house, and its paper packaging is reminiscent of the heyday of LP record jackets. All of the company’s plastic-free DVD packaging is printed on FSC Certified 80%post-consumer waste paper and produced in a carbon-neutral hydroelectric plant.

Past COT films have included Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Messenger, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, and Meek’s Cutoff. Upcoming COT films include Bellflower, punk rock dad documentary The Other F Word, and We Need To Talk About Kevin starring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and Ezra Miller.

To subscribe to the Circle of Trust:

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Weekend Estimates by Immortal Klady

And the weekend got a little weirder.

Puss in Boots did it again, not winning the weekend, but holding so well as to “upset” a newcomer, Klady estimating it just over Jack & Jill for the weekend.

Immortals distributor Relativity is throwing a lot of numbers out there. Third biggest R-rated opening off the year and fifth biggest R-rated opening in November. Of course, #6 and #7 are from 1992 and 1999. And there are only 14 R-rated films in movie history to open to more than $15m in November.

That said, this stat inspired me to do a little research and it turns out that November is the month with the second most $30m+ R-rated openings of any month with 9. July is the most successful with 10. October is right behind with 8. May and August have 7 each. February has 6, June has 5, and March has 4. And April, December, and January has just 1 apiece. And there is not a single $30m R-rated opening in September, where Jackass: Number Two is the top R-opened with $29m.

So… did Relativity hamstring itself by making an R-rated Immortals instead of a PG-13, a la Clash of the Titans and 2012? And could one fairly make the argument that this is deja vu for Tarsem, whose The Cell was the #40 film of 2000 in spite of enormous interest in the then-very-fresh look of his work? That was a $61m domestic gross. Right now, #40 for the year is $64m. But by year’s end, #40 for 2011 will have grossed no less than $80m domestic, which could well be Immortals‘ fate. Hmmm…

And again… “the film’s production budget is $75mm, which includes government tax rebates for covering shooting/post production in Montreal” and “Relativity has significantly reduced risk to the company by recouping money from foreign pre-sales, which resulted in sizeable savings for the company.”

And on the Idiot Watch: “Pic eked out a $30+M weekend bow, which is a rarity these days.” Gee… it’s the third $30m opening in the last 4 weekends. Was any sane person expecting 4 for 4? There have been 27 $30m+ openings this year to date, which is 2 behind the number as of this time last year and the year before. SLUMP!

In each of those last two years, there were four more $30m openings between now and the end of the year. I count at least six such openings before the end of this year (Twilight, Happy Feet 2, Alvin 3, Sherlock 2, M:I4, Dragon Tattoo) making this year’s count identical to the last two years and that doesn’t count such possibles as Tintin, The Muppets, and others.

So will this get covered when 2011 exceeds the years before? Or will there be some other statistic used to claim, “SLUMP!”?

Sandler’s opening feels a little soft, even for his off-season. But do I need to point out… it’s still a $26m opening based on Adam’s big head x2? Maybe we’ll get an autopsy for a $26m opening. The only really interesting thing here is that it may not become his 11th straight (or 13th of 14) $100m domestic in-character grosser. Or it may. But God, am I sick to death of people burying others based on one film. Is someone out there making of list of Sandler’s good movies that were worthy of the box office success they had?

The J. Edgar opening is a mixed bag. On one side, who really wants to see this movie? On the other hand, some people went to see the movie. The opening was better than Flags of Our Fathers or Invictus… hard to tell if that is a Leo phenomenon or more interest in the subject. Either way, the improvement is incremental. And it’s worth noting, one of those films was nominated only for acting Oscars, the other only for sound.

Anonymous is dead. Sony just couldn’t figure out how to get anyone interested and nothing about its limited release will encourage another run at it. A real shame.

There’s a cluster of high-profile arthouse films now between $1.1m and $1.7m… The Skin I Live In, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Like Crazy.

Melancholia had a decent opening, likely pushing it over $1 million theatrical. Whether that’s a win is in the eye of the beholder. It will work for IFC, which looks to the VOD to be a multiple of that theatrical gross. But gosh, it hurts to see great, highly visual filmmaking have such a small theatrical audience.


DP/30 SneakPeek: McQueen on SHAME & Incest

For the sake of balance


Friday Estimates by Klady

Interesting weekend. Not so good for stupid people.

Is $30m and change a good opening or a bad opening for Immortals? If you buy the price tag that Relativity is claiming, it’s a good opening. If not, not. But the basic comparison should be 2012, which opened in 2009 to about double the number to which Immortals is opening. I think it would be unfair to compare it to Bond or Twilight or Potter. But 2012…. that’s about the level of aspiration. And the comparison to 300 is even less attractive.

On to The Sandler. Comparing Sandler out of the summer to his in-summer numbers is idiotic. In the last decade – since Little Nicky – he’s had 7 starring releases in summer and 7 out of summer. To be fair, 3 of the 7 out-of-summer releases were his “art” films (Punch Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign Over Me) and 1 was in summer (Funny People). Of the other 10 “wacky” films, the 6 summer releases average $5m more per opening than the off-summer releases. And that number is skewed by two of his biggest-ever openings in 2003 (Anger Management) and 2004 (50 First Dates). Sandler hasn’t had a non-arty summer movie open to less than $34.2m in the last decade. He hasn’t had an off-summer movie open to more than $30.5m in the last 6 years. The two non-summer, non-art launches since opened to an average of “just” $29m… off over $10 million from Sandler’s summer average. And where is Jack and Jill? Likely just under that $29 million.

Interestingly, this is the only November opening for Sandler in the last decade aside from the animated Eight Crazy Nights. Before that, there were two others… perhaps Sandler’s biggest disaster, Little Nikki, and two years before that, one of his biggest hits, The Waterboy.

Sony’s wish here, no doubt, is for this film to play strong over the Thanksgiving weekend for families with kids over 10 and under 17 as an alternative to the FOUR family films and the increasingly mature Twilight.

Also interesting is the J. Edgar launch. This is one of only 3 Eastwood openings to start wide in the last decade. And one of those – 2002’s Blood Work – starred Clint. This opening is better than the other two… (Flags of Our Fathers, Invictus). I am a bit confused by Finke’s studio-placed estimate of an opening weekend 4x opening day when neither of the other two films did that. Maybe they are basing it on Changeling, which did 4x Friday in its second/expansion weekend with a major star in tow. But that was a $9.4m weekend and probably spoke to a weak Friday, which happened to fall on Halloween. Then again, Klady’s independent estimate of the Friday is 20% higher than what Nikki’s been fed, so estimating 3x Klady or 4x Nikki, you come to about the same $13m weekend guess off of Friday.

Another remarkable hold for Puss in Boots, still running behind expected DreamWorks numbers but catching up quickly. Look for it to pass the domestic gross of Megamind‘s 3rd weekend by Sunday. It won’t be a mega-hit, but it will probably be more in line with Kung Fu Panda 2 than Bee Movie in the end. The biggest problem it faces is the massive blockade of kids movies, starting next weekend.

Paranormal 3 hits $100m domestic this weekend and perhaps $180m worldwide. Real Steel passes $80m domestic and is already well past $200m worldwide (as predicted here… in spite of me being a lying moron according to one of the film’s producers).


Mini-Review: Tintin

I don’t really know how to do film criticism on The Adventures of Tintin.

It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen on a screen. It’s beautiful. It’s a bravura piece of action imagination by Steven Spielberg, suddenly freed from all the constrictions of live-action filmmaking while mining many of the benefits of live-action filmmaking. And even though I am very curious to see the film in 2D, sensing that the textures might be more engaging without the glasses, it’s as good a piece of 3D filmmaking as exists. I can absolutely see a value to the format, while on a movie like Hugo really doesn’t need it.

So… how’s the movie?

I didn’t really, really engage with the story until the third act, when things calmed down a little and the motivations and spirit of Haddock finally became clear. I’m not a Tintin reader. So the fact that in the film, Tintin is not a boy, but a small, wiry adult with youthful features, was a bit of a surprise. And Haddock, all of whose footage I had seen involved him being a drunk, evolves into a really great character. And I really enjoyed Daniel Craig’s not-very-Daniel-Craig performance as the villain… as well as his design, which gave is a bit of him, but mostly not. (For me, Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis were not recognizable in their characters.)

I don’t know how Tintin fans will feel about it. There are a bunch of inside Tintin jokes in the film that I noticed, but wasn’t moved by the way I might be moved by a joke about a character I already loved. Besides that, I was a little overwhelmed by the relentlessness at times. I have a strong feeling that I will have a better time on this ride the second time around. Spielberg’s action is so complex and relentless in this film that film lovers will be deconstructing his work for years to come.

I had a good time, but it’s not deep love. At least, not yet. Oddly, it seems to me like my 2-year-old may consume it happily (though not in 3D). I look forward to going back again.

I can imagine a whole series of films based on comics being brought to life this way. And I’m almost as excited to see what Peter Jackson does with his turn on Tintin as I am to see Spielberg’s again. It’s like the birth of a new kind of filmmaking that is not a replacement for great films that are, but that can deliver films that we have never seen before.


Trailer: Snow White & The Huntsman

Have to say… this is pretty much what I would be hoping for when told of a live-action, darker Snow White film… or two.


DP/30: The Lady, actress Michelle Yeoh


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