The Hot Blog Archive for January, 2016

Weekend Estimates by Kung 3 Klady

Weekend Estimates 2016-01-31

Ah… the butt crack of January… when Super Bowl dreams remain a week away and the market for films leans on holdovers.

It was a bit of a daring choice for DreamWorks Animation and Fox to put Kung Fu Panda 3 on this date. It seems – have gone back 15 years – that this is the highest gross on this weekend (the specific dates of which move a bit annually) ever. The previous best ever and the previous best opening? Both from Fox. Avatar, which did 34.9 million in its 6th weekend and Big Momma’s House 2, with a $27.7 million opening in 2006. American Sniper also had a $30.7 million weekend just last year (its 6th) via Warner Bros. Also doing well, relatively, with what were considered surprisingly strong openings were Open Road’s The Grey, Paramount’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and Fox’s Hide and Seek.

That said, this is still the weakest drop of Panda po yet. Domestically. And as much as this franchise has been a grower, not a shower, it’s unlikely to catch up here at home. But internationally, Panda grew from the 1st to the 2nd and may well grow again in the third round, more than making up for the domestic drop-off and assuring Panda 4.

The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens both had reported rock star drops of 24%, with the former on track for $175m domestic (unless it wins Best Picture) and the latter cracking $900 million domestic this week and probably settling in around $940 million or so… which as was noted here to much abuse months ago, has gotten it past Titanic‘s initial release worldwide and may take it to that film’s worldwide total of $2.19 billion. But Avatar remains not only on top, but on top by over 18% ($500 million… could be more). This is a testament to the power of Star Wars in America… and it’s softness internationally, given that it will just squeak by Furious 7 on the international side. It’s usually the opposite.

We had our first ever non-Cameron billion dollar international films this year… three of them… all pretty close in range, $1b – $1.2b. There are still only 20 films ever that have done over $700 million internationally. The 3 outliers were the 2 Camerons and Rings 3 in 2003. All of the other 17 were in the last 5 years. In 2011, a 7, an 8, and Potter almost rang the billion-dollar bell. In 2012, two 7s and two 8s. In 2013, a 7 and two 8s. In 2014, just one 7 and one 8 in a summer that was moaned about by the press for months. And this last year, an 8, a 9, and three billions.

Until this year, none of these big international numbers represented less than 2/3 of the overall gross. This year, two of the five were under 66% international. In both cases (Jurassic World and Star Wars 7), the domestic gross was more than $150m higher than any of the other three mega-grossers. No one is crying for either film, but one has to wonder whether the worldwide movie future is as interested in our nostalgia as we are in North America. Avengers and Minions are all franchises of this last decade and F&F, though relatively old, have been rebooted severely in recent years to make it “current.”

People may get exhausted by Marvel for other reasons, but in principle, the effort to engage the world with what feels new may be a much better strategy than re-booting a lot of 70s and 80s hits in an effort to find a hot franchise.

But I digress…

The Finest Hours/13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi are the weak siblings to significant hits like American Sniper, Lone Survivor, and even Black Hawk Down. Much like the religious-audience-chasing films after The Passion of The Christ, there is obviously a wiling audience there… but you really have to hit their mark or you get… okay… $30 million… maybe 40.

Ride Along 2 is flailing, compared to the first. Hard to argue with a $90m – $100m gross for what should be a fairly cheap movie to make. But I would expect a third element to be added to Ride Along 3 to try to give it a boost again. Teh Rock? Wahlberg? A baby?

The Boy made up for the snow days last weekend, staying within 10% of STX’s biggest release, The Gift. But one wonders whether it would have been out ahead were it not for the snow. $40m domestic on a $10m movie is still a decent business. But by this time next year, the STX dream team (truly a group of veterans, many of whom I have known and liked for more than a decade) is going to have to step it up outside of the starter kit of horror… or Tad Friend may be writing a follow-up.

Daddy’s Home is just $10m away from being Will Ferrell’s biggest worldwide movie as a lead ever. Domestically, it will not catch Elf. But The Wahlberg influence (this won’t crack his Top 6 internationally) makes a big difference and the duo have already passed their international on The Other Guys.

Jane Got A Gun, a movie whose making makes The Revenance look like a Beverly Hills bar mitzvah, landed with a thud. No spend. No audience. 1210 screens for no good reason other than contractual… and you felt that. Not good. Sad for all involved… those who left and those who stayed.

And then there are the contenders for Best Picture…

OScar BP noms 2016-01-31

Box office means little in the race since the expansion to more than 5 slots. $38m, $50m, $130m, $32m, $114m, $15m, These are the domestic grosses of the Best Picture winners of these previous 6 seasons, before they won. So the contenders for this year have 3 more weeks and a Friday and Saturday to add their totals before this year’s winner’s domestic pre-win gross gets added to this list.

As you can see, we have 3 $100m+ movies and 5 below. None of the last 6 expanded group winners have come from anywhere between $50m and $100 million. The sample size makes this negligible as a stat, but it looks great if you are Spotlight, not so good if you are The Big Short… and not upsetting if you are The Revenant or Mad Max: Fury Road. (Sadly, The Martian gave up on itself early on and would be in a great spot to try for the win now had they not. You live, you learn… I hope.)


Friday Estimates by The Joy Of January Klady

Friday Estimates 2016-01-30 at 10.43.26 AM


Weekend Estimates by Ice Station Klady

Weekend Estimates 2016-01-24 at 9.21.21 AM


Friday Estimates by Snowed-In Len

Friday Estimates 2016-01-23 at 9.51.03 AM


20 Weeks To Oscar: The Race & Race – Part 2: Four Suggestions To “Fix” The Academy

So… if The Academy needs to change, how can it be effectively changed?

There are all kinds of theories out there. I find that most of them are a bit random and hope that A + B = C, but have no empirical evidence to suggest that it actually will. It is the perverse nature of life and free will that causes reverse engineering to fail in most attempts to achieve specific intended goals.

Many at The Academy thought that expanding the Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10 would create a place for quality films with bigger box office that might boost the award show ratings. And indeed, it left space for animated nominees Up and Toy Story 3 and an exceptional action film (District 9). But mostly, it turned one of the consistent dynamics of Academy voting – the need for a certain level of box office success – into a non-issue. Instantly.

In the 10 seasons prior to the expansion, the #1 or #2 box office grosser had won ever single year. When The Hurt Locker, which grossed only $17 million, won Best Picture, it seemed like a fluke. But it has turned out to be the new normal.

There has been no Best Picture winner since then that has ranked higher than #4 in gross amongst the nominees. (This bodes well for The Big Short or Spotlight.)

There will be an exception. It could happen any year. But the trend shifted. And it shifted in a way that no one saw coming.

The Academy made another change to the Best Picture system in 2011. Instead of just having 10 Best Picture nominees, the number of nominees would be determined by a rather complicated system that kept films without a certain amount of the most passionate support from being nominated. Pretty much everyone aside from The Academy sees this system as a disaster. But it has been kept, leading to 9 Picture nominees for three seasons and 8 nominees in the last two seasons.

It’s hard to say exactly what the result of this shift was, except to say that no animated film has made the cut in the five seasons since the change and while the top grosser of the year made the cut in those first 2 years of 10 nominees, only American Sniper has made it since (and in that case, it only became the top grosser after the Oscars had been presented.)

Unintended consequences.

So if you believe that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would get the Oscar show better ratings and you want that, go back to a flat 10 immediately.

In terms of race, it is hard to make a clear line through these last 5 seasons. In the 10 seasons prior to the change, there had been 1 film nominated for Best Picture with a Black lead, Ray. Asians had led Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Letters from Iwo Jima and there were multicultural casts in Traffic, Crash and Babel.

Since 2009, we have seen films with Black leads nominated in 2009 (Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire), 2011 (The Help), 2012 (Beasts of the Southern Wild), 2013 (12 Years a Slave), and 2014 (Selma).

In the “off” year of 2010, there was only 1 acting nominee of color (if you consider Spanish to be “of color”), Javier Bardem and there were no other representatives of a film connected to any people of color in directing, writing, or acting.

Looking through the last 7 expanded seasons, another reality has been that the films that have made it to Best Picture are mostly from former nominees or very well established first-time nominees. There seems to be room for a film by a couple new directors most seasons. These have been Neill Blomkamp, Lone Scherfig, and Lee Daniels (2008), Tom Hooper and Debra Granik (2009), Michel Hazanavicius and Tate Taylor (2010), Benh Zeitlin (2011), and Jean-Marc Vallée (2013). Last season, we had Morten Tyldum, Ava DuVernay, and Damien Chazelle’s films all find Best Picture slots. Only 4 of these 12 directors got nominated, never more than 1 in a season. 2 of those 4 won the prize.

And this season, we had 3 “new” filmmakers in Adam McKay, Lenny Abrahamson, and John Crowley, all of whom are actually veteran filmmakers and all of whom didn’t have any kind of awards profile in Hollywood before their films this year. Amazingly, 2 of them got Best Director slots.

My point is, the door seemed to be a little more open this year than it has been in the past five… yet not for director/co-writer Ryan Coogler and Creed.

In any case, this is where we are… the 3rd season in the last 6 without a “Black” film or Black actor nominated.

That was background… here is the foreground. Three small but perhaps important suggestions about how to “fix” the problem at The Academy. And then one last suggestion that I think may actually be the most actionable and helpful of the lot.

1. Expanding Back To 10 Nominees – This is something I advocate for based on the basic argument of clarity. There is no upside to having 8 or 9 nominees instead of 10. No one is judging based on that. Some would prefer to go back to a flat 5. But that is a different conversation.

Would this expansion help get more people of color into the mix? Well, we had 1 year of 10 when there was more representation and 1 year where there was none, like this year.

If there were 10 Best Picture nominees this year, would 1 of the 2 additions have been Creed or Straight Outta Brooklyn or Beasts of No Nation? No one, except the accountants, know the answer to this. Sicario and Ex Machina were the other 2 PGA nominees, aside from Compton, that didn’t get Best Picture nominations. There is also Carol, which many expected to be nominated, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which some thought could be nominated (but as noted earlier, statistically unlikely), and even less likely, Inside Out and Ex Machina. And who knows what else could have popped up unexpectedly, from Steve Jobs to Son of Saul?

I think there is a good chance that 1 of the 2 studio movies would have gotten in with 10 slots. No way to be sure.

2. Changing Voting Rights Of Current Members Based On Age Or Ongoing Employment – I could not be more against this. To start, there is no proof of any kind that older members are responsible for the vote going any particular way. We can all think of our grandparents and make assumptions, but that would be yet another bias added to a conversation about bias.

Also, who gets to define “work?” If you have been trying to get a script made for a decade, have you been working or not?

What is the actual goal of taking the right to vote out of the hands of people who earned the right to be Academy members (whether you personally approve or not)? Is it because there is some moral determination to see a better Academy or is it just in the hope – with no evidence it will change anything – that the vote will come out in a way that would make many people more comfortable?

And who, really, are we trying to get rid of? Though some glibly claim that large percentages of members are unworthy hangers on, I have not seen evidence, documented or experiential, of this.

How deeply ironic would it be for those seeking to enfranchise a community that doesn’t feel it has a full place at the Academy table doing it by disenfranchising others?

I don’t have a problem with a rule taking the vote away from members who do not vote. But that should be the rule already. And obviously, if they are not voting, they are not causing the vote to go any which way.

3. Academy Regains Control Of Phase I – What we call “Phase I” is the period of campaigning before Oscar nominations close. It’s about 4 months long these days. And The Academy has taken a laissez-faire attitude towards it for years now.

There are debates about what The Academy can control or cannot control. History tells us that though people will always seek to push the limits, they will tend to stay within the rules if The Academy does its job and enforces its will… not its law (especially in an era when SCOTUS says businesses are people). But The Academy can make an angry face and send people scurrying. This is a game of perception. No media outlet wants to lose access. And no studio wants to be publicly accused of cheating just to feed another free meal to members. Suggestions by The Academy have the effect of law.

I would disallow sponsored – meaning, revenue producing – screenings… period. If Variety or LAT or The Wrap wants to do a screening series to pump up their ego, great. No making money on it. In fact, I wouldn’t even let the studios pay for the space. If the studio is paying for the space, they can hire whatever moderator they want. It should not be a commercial event.

And The Academy should screen more. A lot more. Big official Academy screenings aside, they own the Linwood Dunn on Vine. They should make a deal with Aero in Santa Monica and and maybe the Fine Arts in Beverly Hills or a screen in one or two of the Arclights and run full day schedules of contending movies for the entire months of October, November, and December. Play hookie, go during lunch, come from work, go at night or on the weekends… but have The Academy become the source – not just the peripheral beneficiary – of screening all these movies. Create community. Create consistency. Make it about the movies.

Deadline’s The Contenders… out. It is nothing but a marketing event and, again, another way of a media company using Academy members to generate profits. Moreover, it is a drain on every studio, which jump through the hoops because they don’t want to miss being a part of something, even if it gives them the smallest edge. Media must stop driving the process of the season.

That said, there should be a Contenders weekend… in January, controlled by The Academy. Whether it is the nominees or a shortlist, imagine a day with talent from all parts of a given film, coming together to talk about the work. Maybe do it around The Globes… one day before and one day after. Videotape it for membership and the world. The idea of all of this is to promote movies and the love of movies, right?

Fewer parties in Phase I. They put a cap on Phase II parties and events. Do the same in Phase I (and loosen the cap in Phase II, where the competition is more focused).

If you want the field to be more even, then even the field. Don’t allow it to be about who can spend the most, hire the most extravagant room, etc. You have to allow for creativity, but The Academy should also be working to widen the door on the event side too.

This may cost some money. The Academy makes money renting out their theaters, for instance. But if this is really important, drop a million dollars a year – of it costs anywhere near that – to take back control of the season. It is an investment in the future.

4. Create A Best Picture Short List – This is what I think is the best idea I have considered in the last week or so of lingering on this. I have discussed it with some Academy members, who have offered suggestions and poked holes in some of the details. No question, there are still going to be holes. But I think there is something here that creates inclusion, but does not demand exclusion as a price.

On the dates when The Academy now votes for all categories – last week of December, first days of January – every Academy voter is asked to vote only for Best Picture. Top 5. Straight weighted ballot count. (#1 = 5 pts, etc)

From that vote, select the top 17 movies of the year. In addition, like the Foreign Language Committee, set up a Gold Star Committee (President, CEO, 3 Governors) that can add 3 more films the night before the announcement that the committee feels were wrongly excluded. Never, ever tell anyone which ones were added by the Gold Star Committee.

Announce the shortlist with a ton of fanfare. Here is The Academy’s Top 20 for the year.

Screen all 20 movies in the course of 2 weeks, 1 each weeknight, 2 on Saturdays, 3 on Sundays. (slotting by lottery) Encourage studios to plan for this and have Academy-run Q&As for each.

Two weeks later, the second round of voting occurs. Best Picture again, perhaps weighted as it is now, perhaps not (I prefer not). And, of course, all the branch-voted categories.

Then, sometime on the last week of January, announce the nominees… same as they do now. Vote 2 or 3 weeks later.

Welcome to the 3 Phase Academy season.

In this way, you have an Academy-voted/sanctioned short list that has a safety valve for inclusion, not just regarding race, but perhaps gender, foreign language pictures, docs, animations… anything.

If in a year like this one, Straight Outta Compton and/or Creed and/or Beasts of No Nation gets in to the 17 short list, so be it. The committee might add an Inside Out or an Ex Machina or a Son of Saul. Or the vote and Gold Star Committee might leave something out that still upsets some people. This is likely.

Whatever movies are left out, there will be complaining. But this could offer a mechanism that pushes aside the distraction of what tends to be a 50 film race and also gives branch members a chance to refocus on all the work with an Academy-driven reminder of work they might want to consider if it isn’t top of mind.

Instead of allowing the December “precursors” to remain the mechanism that causes The Great Settling each year, create an Academy mechanism to do the same thing. Remember, very few people really thought Straight Outta Compton was getting a Best Picture nod until SAG voted it in for Best Ensemble (and no individual nominations). The PGA nomination then confirmed it for some more people. But The Academy’s only word on the film was, “nominee or not a nominee.” (And please note… this is not a comment on the quality or box office of the film, but a simple truth of the award season. The subtext can be further argued elsewhere.)

And I don’t see this as a step of tokenism because no one knows who got the extra boost from the Gold Star Committee, but everyone knows what films made it to the Shortlist. It’s a primary. And not just for Best Picture, but as an extension, for all the other nominations that may be part of those films.

One problem that was brought up to me was that films not on the Shortlist might feel hamstrung in terms of other categories, like acting or screenwriting. And yes, there is a reality to that. But every year, there are nominees in these categories who are not Best Picture nominees. This is another hurdle, though I don’t think it is so significant as to turn a likely nominee into an also-ran. And of course, movies like – this year – 45 Years or Trumbo, might well make the Top 20 while they didn’t make the Top 8 this year.

The point of all of this is to celebrate films. So celebrate 20 films before you celebrate 10 (or 8 or 9 or whatever, if they insist on keeping the current system for nominations). All 20 films will feel like they were legitimate parts of the conversation. Then… when the final 10 are announced… people will still be pissed… but there will be a sense of forward motion.

As for potentials complaints about the Gold Star Committee… personally, I don’t care what they select. If they want to pick all foreign films or all Black films or all women’s films or all White Guy films… all fine by me. I am looking for ways to create an opportunity for inclusion and I choose to trust the leadership of The Academy to act in the organization’s self-interest. Ultimately, the nominations will still be decided by a vote of Academy members, as it should be.

Does it change the shape of the season? Yes. Does it matter if the Oscars are never moving much earlier than the last week of February? It does not. In fact, it would give The Academy a bigger, clearer footprint on the season and slow the whole thing down a little.

No matter what changes are made, the responsibility for inclusion in Hollywood is not on The Academy… it is on the industry. Whether it is more films about people of color or more films about women or so many films of so many cultures, this conversation will no longer be needed.

Burning down this institution will not save this institution. A firmer hand at the wheel and some new structures to make the playing field less driven by commercial considerations over the artistic will help.

If you have ideas of your own, please feel free to e-mail me at If there are enough interesting ideas, I will do a follow-up column before the Governors meet on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

Thank you for your attention. I hope we can all find a way to refocus the Oscar conversation back to the celebration of film without pushing the legitimate concerns about inequity to the side, forgotten until the next explosive event.


Weekend Estimates by Benghazi Along 2 Klady

Weekend Estimates 2016-01-17 at 10.15.59 AM

The best story today for a movie is not the #1 film of the weekend, but the #2, The Revenant, which had a great 26% drop after a bear-load of Oscar nominations. This film is likely to be Leonardo DiCaprio’s #3 box office movie of his career, behind only Inception and Titanic, passing up The Wolf of Wall Street before the end of next weekend. Fox has done a great job of selling this as an action movie.

(Corrected: left out Titanic… dumb. 1:30p)

Ironically, the movie that is paying the price for The Revenant‘s success in the macho action demographic is 13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, which locked onto the Lone Survivor/ American Sniper slot, and by that standard is underperforming badly (less so in real dollars alone). Even more shocking… Michael Bay is getting some of the best reviews of his career for this one.

Ride Along 2 easily wins the weekend, but is about 17% off of the original.

Daddy’s Home is a big success for both Farrell and Wahlberg. Mark Wahlberg is a reliable box office star, but only his Transformers, Ted, and Planet of the Apes will top the domestic gross of this comedy. And Daddy’s Home is in range to pass Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which would leave only Elf on Ferrell’s list of live-action leads with higher domestic grosses.

Speaking of Talladega, the director of that film, Adam McKay, is now an Oscar nominee for The Big Short, which is holding well as it passes the $50 million marker.

Here are the grosses on the Best Picture nominees as of today…

Oscar BP nom grosses2016-01-17 at 10.36.37 AM


Friday Estimates by Klady Along 1

Friday Box Office Estimates 2016-01-16


BYOB Alan Rickman



BYOB Oscar



Weekend Estimates by Magic Saturday Klady

Wekend Estimates 2016-01-10 at 9.06.02 AM

Star Wars had a surprising 78% increase from Friday to Saturday, which suggests… who the hell knows anymore? Is it now playing to the younger kids that parents were afraid to take right off the bat? I don’t know. Is it what all the kids are doing on date night now? Is it people who were afraid of being able to walk in without pre-sale tickets catching up now? Likely all of the above and more.

The Revenant number surprised me for different reasons, until I watched some of the Fox ads for the film, which do an excellent job of making it look like a straight action movie. Leo doesn’t hurt. (The 6% Saturday increase can’t be thrilling to Fox, but they are far ahead of their own expectations.) That said, if you told most people in the business that Revenant was heading to $100m domestic, they would have laughed at you a couple weeks ago… but now, it looks like it’s heading – with an added bump from Oscar noms on Thursday – to $100m-plus domestic. And foreign has topped domestic on all of Iñárritu’s major studio releases (yes, I include the Dependents), so that bodes well. (Interesting stat of which many probably are not aware… 12 Years A Slave did more than two-thirds of its business overseas, grossing $188 million in theatrical… a massive hit on a $20m budget that is about an American historical event and which was centered on Black people not doing anything funny. And if you were wondering, the connective tissue is New Regency and award movies.)

Daddy’s Home also had a nice uptick on Saturday and pushed over $115m.

Here is a weekend look at just the Oscar hopefuls currently in theaters…

Oscar hopefuls in theater 2016-01-10 at 9.49.41 AM


Friday Estimates by Len Beary

Friday Estimates 2016-01-09 at 9.34.19 AM

This is a chart I meant to do weeks ago, but didn’t bother because there was enough Star Wars coverage to choke on. As I have predicted – got this part right – Star Wars: The Force Awakens took the box office record for every day it was in release through the holidays… a trend that stopped on the first day after the holiday.

This chart shows the date, the previous record holder for that date, the gross, and how where SW:TFA was in relation to that gross.

Dec 18 – Avatar – $26.8m – SW+$92.3
Dec 19 – Avatar – $25.5m – SW+$42.8
Dec 20 – Avatar – $24.7m – SW+$35.9
Dec 21 – LOTR: Two Towers – $22.7m – SW+$17.4
Dec 22 – LOTR: Two Towers – $20m – SW+$17.7
Dec 23 – Avatar – $16.4m – SW+$21.6
Dec 24 – Avatar – $11.2m – SW+$16.2

Dec 25 – Sherlock Holmes – $24.6m – SW+$28.4
Dec 26 – Avatar – $28.3m – SW+$28.4
Dec 27 – Avatar – $24.2m – SW+$18.9
Dec 28 – Avatar – $19.4m – SW+$12
Dec 29 – Avatar – $18.3m – SW+$11.2
Dec 30 – Avatar – $18.5m – SW+$9.6
Dec 31 – Avatar – $14.7m – SW+$8.2

Jan 1 – Avatar – $25.3 m – SW+$ 9.1
Jan 2 – Avatar – $25.8m – SW+$8.6
Jan 3 – Avatar – $17.4m – SW+$4.1

Jan 4 – Avatar – $8.1m – SW-$.1
Jan 5 – Avatar – $7.3m – SW+$.7
Jan 6 – Avatar – $6.9m – SW-$.7
Jan 7 – Avatar – $6.1m – SW-$.1
Jan 8 – Avatar – $13.3m – SW-$2.5
Jan 9 – Avatar – $21.3m – SW
Jan 10 – Avatar – $15.8 m – SW

As you can see, Force Awakens more than doubled the record every day of its opening week. Then it ran into a Christmas Day opening before Avatar started catching up and passing the film on a daily basis. Avatar wasn’t even halfway to its domestic total by Jan 8, 2010. Force should pass $800m domestic this weekend, but whether it has the legs to get to $900m is a big question mark, leaning to the “no.” There is, obviously, no shame in that. SW:TFA brought the summer box office pattern to December for the first time while also getting the benefit of December’s holiday advantage of 2 weeks of weekdays acting much more like weekend days than usual. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will try to do the same next December while Episode VIII heads to the summer on Memorial Day weekend 2017. One wonders whether, with the December seal cracked, whether Disney would not be better off the other way around (meaning spin-offs in the more forgiving summer and Star Wars fighting only itself in Decembers.)

Anyway… strong expansion for The Revenant. The question has come up about whether it is DiCaprio or the movie. The clear answer is The Movie and Fox’s sell of it. Like the campaign for The Big Short, the studio decided to market to the sweet spot and not the complexity of the film, and voila! The bear attack has been used in ads the way a studio uses the joke in a film that consistently got the biggest laugh in preview screenings. And 4-5 million people will have responded by Sunday night by buying movie tickets. (Here is the section where the New York Times or the trades explain why this is really a bad thing that should have the industry worried.)

Back to Leo vs The Movie… this will be DiCaprio’s #1 or #2 non-summer opening, competing with Shutter Island. There a 4 other examples this decade of his non-summer movies not opening this well. Obviously, he has drawing power. But the difference between this movie opening to $15 million and $40 million-plus is The Bear, not the movie star being attacked by him.

Also opening… The Forest… mediocre opening. Not much more to say.

The holdovers took a beating as compared to the supercharged holiday weekend last. Nothing new there, though The Hateful Eight seemed to get an extra shove. This was a story of a really well-intended idea that seems to have created more confusion that excitement amongst the people who only had non-70mm DCPs to watch on 2800 of the 2900 screens.

Sisters ends up as the #2 grosser of Tina Fey’s movie starring career, behind only Date Night.

Daddy’s Home ends up as Will Ferrell’s sixth $100m comedy of the last decade (not counting Megamind or Lego) with his couple softer titles in the $90m domestic range and just a couple semi-experimental films (the Spanish-language Casa de mi Padre, Everything Must Go, which was a drama in which Ferrell really just acted) missing.

The Big Short has somewhat of a glass ceiling problem, but Paramount intends to smash it with Oscar nominations and a hardcore push to win Best Picture (assuming it gets nominated, as everyone now seems to assume).

Joy should crawl to $50m domestic. Concussion will not (unless Will Smith gets what would not be a surprise Oscar nomination).


My Best Of 2015: The Second & Third 15s

99 Homes
The Big Short
Cobain: Montage of Heck
Inside Out
Kingsman: The Secret Service
The Look Of Silence
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Mr. Holmes
Straight Outta Compton

Beasts of No Nation
Crimson Peak
The End of the Tour
The Hateful Eight
Meet The Patels
Mississippi Grind
The Revenant
Seymour: An Introduction
Son of Saul
Time Out of Mind

(these 2 lists are in alphabetical order)

Top 10: My Best of 2015

Ex Machina
Steve Jobs
Clouds of Sils Maria
Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian
It Follows
45 Years


BYOP By Request: ANOMALISA [spoilers]



Weekend Estimates by Klady: Episode 18

Weekend Estimates 2016-01-03 at 9.55.41 AM

Star Wars: The Force Awakens closes out its holiday run with a singular run, just $20 million short of the domestic box office record. Ferlberg takes advantage of the holiday, coming up just short of $100 million with their second collaboration, Daddy’s Home. The Revenant and Anomalisa continue to rack up big numbers in four-theater exclusive releases.


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