The Hot Blog Archive for July, 2017

Postering Charlie Sheen’s 9/11 Drama With Whoopi Goldberg

For those who have hungered all summer for “adult” entertainment, your wait is over on September 8, for Charlie Sheen’s labor of love, 9/11. (Press release, CHARLIE SHEEN’S “9/11” ACQUIRED BY ATLAS DISTRIBUTION, here.)


Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (spoiler-free)


adjective re·lent·less \-ləs\
:showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace:

If you want a one-word review of Valerian… that’s it.

That is both a virtue and a flaw.

I was entertained every minute of this movie. Honest. There was no room to get bored or not be surprised by what happened, what was happening and what was about to happen.

But at the end, I was emptier than I would have expected. I think this is because of the breathlessness of the storytelling, Luc Besson is, undoubtably, a master filmmaker. His voice is strong. Of all the CG-heavy action films in the last couple of years, Besson’s voice, James Gunn’s voice, Scott Derrickson’s voice, and the guys who did the deeply flawed Pirates movie (Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg) come through clearest. If I were Disney, I would be chasing Besson all day long.

You feel Besson’s excitement in every loaded-to-the-gills frame. Sensational opening sequence that manages to explain the idea of The City of 1000 Planets with clarity (and beauty) in three minutes. If I were STX, I’d be pushing that onto the web for audiences to get a head start. After they watch it, they will want to see it on a big screen.

But trying to figure why I wasn’t ready to say this was one of the greatest of the new millennium, I went through the list. Cast? You can’t watch the film without wondering whether it would have been better with young Leo DiCaprio and a young Milla Jovovich. But alas, they are not young anymore. I like the kink of Dane DeHaan. And for the first time, honestly, I liked Cara Delevingne. She delivered. Pitt & Jolie? Colin Farrell & Charlize Theron? All too old now. Bur as the movie progressed, the two of them grew on me. I don’t know. There is something just a little too-little-there and that can’t explain it. DeHaan was less dangerous than I wanted and she was less painful to watch prance around for a man in lust. Maybe that’s it. Just one more turn of the notch.

I thought about The Fifth Element, which I love. There was something about a mainstream, balding hero like Bruce Willis, against all the Besson visual insanity, that made movie magic. He grounded the movie so flights of fancy were free to seduce the audience.

The emotional core of this movie is a species of beautiful, very tall, glowing, peaceful beings who are drawn into the ugliness of the rest of the universe, led by Elizabeth Debicki, who needs some more work as a human being. They offer a similar kind of unexpected, overwhelming humanity and beauty, like the opera alien in The Fifth Element.

Some cameos are better than others. Not a fan of Herbie Hancock acting. He’s no Tiny Lister. Loved Ethan Hawke. Such a joy to see him to comedy. John Goodman’s vocal performance is terrific. Rihanna is not an actor. But she is a performer and did well, even when tasked with big emotional beats.

It is shocking when it seems that Besson has the balls for Chip Zien to voice a duck-billed group of characters… but he didn’t. Sigh.

Valerian was an endless Christmas of packages to open and open and open and open. Something keeps it from being Raiders of the Lost Ark. Wish I knew exactly what that was. (I am going to see it again this week.) The only thing I found eye-rolling was the inevitable exposure of a big baddie. Saw that a mile away. But pretty much everything else was fresh and cool and didn’t feel like obviously derivative of the much-worn alien universe trail.

Trying to offer you a glimpse the storyline would be foolish. It’s not a story movie. Valerian and Laureline need to save the universe… and flirt. You will meet more aliens than you can possible remember. And you will find all of Besson’s optimism about species, however lost they may be, finding their way back to love.

I feel awkward being so Pete about it, but this is the best big movie of the summer. It is original. It is a masterclass in visual filmmaking. And it is like nothing else you have seen.

There are people who will hate it. Too Besson-y for them. I don’t think they are idiots for feeling that way. Individual taste is individual taste. Some will pick at the leads. Some, like me, will just sense that missing element that is just beyond clarity.

But I would send anyone who likes showy Besson (which Guardians owes to) and just wants to have a good time. You don’t even have to turn off your brain. There are some true big ideas here. But mostly, it’s a two-hour-plus non-stop all-downhill rollercoaster ride.

I haven’t seen another summer film a second time this year. I look forward to seeing Baby Driver again in a theater. And Valerian.


Weekend Estimates by Automated Suit Klady

Weekend Estimatest 2017-07-09 at 10.24.40 AM

Spider-Man Homecoming‘s opening turned out to be… predictable, but in a not-so-great way. The opening 3-day comes in just above the original, then-record-setting, Spider-Man opening. Technically, it opened better than either Amazing Spider-Man movie, but I would argue that the first ASM opened stronger.

Of the three $100m+ openers this summer, Guardians 2 did 2.6x opening day, Wonder Woman did 2.7x opening day, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2.3x Friday.

What is tricky in discussing this is that a $100 million opening is always good. Obviously. But in discussing a class of film — which is more limited than media seems to believe — a realistic perspective requires you check overall reality and that analyze in the context of that class.

For instance, Man of Steel had a better opening weekend (if you count its Thursday night) than this Spider-Man did, and was run out of town, as Amazing Spider-Man was. This opening is well behind Suicide Squad or Deadpool.

What is a reasonable expectation for a third reboot of Spider-Man with Iron Man by his side, especially in advertising? And how much will come in from the rest of the world? (It started with a reported – by Sony – $140m international this weekend.)

I thought the movie was entertaining, as most people seem to. But is it sticky? And what happens moving forward? The two Avengers: Infinity War movies are due in 2018 and 2019, with a 2nd New Spidey due later in the summer of 2019 as of this writing. Will it move? The mega-success of The Avengers led to the next Iron Man movie doubling its worldwide gross. How will it affect the box office of the next Spidey?

There is no question of this version of Spider-Man failing. It’s a win. But the idea of Marvel coming and waving fairy dust over the franchise and muscling it up significantly is not looking as clear as was hoped.

Could this be the Batman Begins that leads to The Dark Knight, to use another franchise rebooting history? That is the hope. Spider-Man, in theory, should be a billion dollar character. Consistently over $850 million will be good enough. But that has not been an easy bar for Marvel without the collective of Avengers (inc. the Civil War Avengers movie that used a Cap title) or Iron Man. Guardians 2 is the new high bar, with $857m worldwide and more to come.

Sony has experience with a situation like this… Bond. When they got distribution rights for Casino Royale, the franchise leapt 39%. It fell back with Quantum of Solace. Then, BOOM, Skyfall generated $500 million more than any other Bond film. Then down a little, though still 2nd best ever Bond gross by almost $300m. Broccoli and Wilson really control the franchise, which Sony pays for and distributes. MGM remains a partner, like Marvel on Spidey.

Spidey: Homecoming isn’t going to improve 39% over ASM2. No one is going to be sent home because they can’t stop crying though. And the real hope remains that BOOM. Look for it in 2019 or 2021. And then we can judge the success of this arraigned marriage.

Wonder Woman should pass Guardians 2 for top summer film next weekend with the strongest legs so far.

The Big Sick had a great weekend expansion, indicating that it could break out beyond the teens. $11k per on 326 is a nice number. Turning my head in terms of Oscar potential.


Friday Estimates by Klady’s Reboot Fever Dream

friday estimates 070817 651w

Okay… At the end of the opening weekend of The Amazing Spider-Man, it had grossed $137 million. Spider-Man: Homecoming is figuring to gross about the same, little more, little less.

Yes, ASM had six days rather than three, opening on July 3. But when the audience knows it has all those days, it tends to wait for the “right” day.

My research indicates that there are only two examples of a non-Friday opening that resulted in a 3-day weekend of $100m or better… and none since 2009. (Those would be Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, aka #2.)

This comes from a time in theatrical when studios and exhibitors were looking to create a release valve for overcrowded $100m opening weekends, when there were longs lines and many sell-outs. The system of accordion-ing the actual screen count (a multiplex putting an anticipated huge opener on a lot of screens then reducing the screens as it loses steam) took hold after that and reached the pinnacle – for now – with the 2015 Force Awakens $258 million 3-day, which would have been functionally impossible in the early/mid 2000s.

Problem was, you had movies like Spider-Man 2, the sequel to the first $100m opening of all time, which opened to a $152 million 5-day… but not a $100m 3-day. Sony could explain to journalists how great the 5-day was, but on the books, not a $100m opening. (And as I think of it, in other research, making complete $100m opening lists, I am also guilty of that misstep.)

In the current synergy between “journalism” and movie studios, opening a movie at 7pm on a Thursday is now considered, without asterisk or any mention, as part of the 3-day opening. The con is on.

This is a side note, as Spidey 2 opened on a Wednesday because of July 4 weekend, but… I was a little shocked by how few Wednesday wide-release openings there are now. Two or three or four a year. And almost all of those are functions of July 4, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and those odd holiday weeks. I found only 11 studio titles that in the last decades that opened on a Wednesday without the holiday issue… and only five since 2010. A Transformers and a Hobbit, each opening a week before the holiday, and Anchorman 2, We’re The Millers, and This is The End, three comedies from three different studios.

Anyway… I think Homecoming will have longer legs than Amazing 1. But for transformational numbers, $600 million overseas is the minimum. That would still only be a $150m improvement over Amazing Spider-Man, but enough to make it look like something. Anything less and there should be some real soul-searching at Sony. There’s nothing wrong with an $800m grossing movie. But there was hysteria in the ranks about a $760m and $710m for the ASM movies. So context is everything.

Nice modest drops for Baby Driver and Wonder Woman.

Nice little launch for A Ghost Story, which will do about $25k per screen on four.


20 Years And Counting…

Today is the 20th anniversary of my father’s passing.

Sid Poland was a good man. He was from a different world, born in Baltimore in 1917, before television, commercial aviation, consumer refrigerators, direct dial, serious nationalized efforts towards racial or gender equality. Don’t even get started on cell phones, the internet or blogs… those all happened since his death.

It’s almost impossible for me to imagine the world in which he grew up. Ancient Egypt seems closer than 1920s Baltimore. But the stories of he and his City College buddies buying a Model A, which had to be hand cranked to start, and their adventures around town sound a lot like college or high school buddies traipsing around today… or in the 50s in Diner… or like so many young people in so many places and so many times.

I recently found a kids book about a man who sells hats. Bought it to read it to my 7-year-old as it had been read to me. But the line had blurred for me, from nearly 5 decades ago, about whether my father had actually sold hats in his early years or not.

I remember more clearly a story about him selling early refrigerators in Baltimore that required that the customer put a quarter in every day to keep it going… pay as you go… and going to pick them up while the customers screamed about the food that was ruined when they missed a day’s payment.

By the time I came into my father’s world, things were changing fast. Jack Kennedy had been shot 11 months before I was born. The civil rights movement was powerful. Women could vote and I don’t remember much before the Equal Rights Amendment was being fought about across the country. And there was The Pill.

Israel, which was so very important to my father, was in a state of constant brinkmanship with the countries surrounding them and after The Six Day War happened, he was one of those who desperately wanted to kiss the ground in East Jerusalem. And he did.

I was not a child of the 60s, when the Baby Boomers really came of age. I was just a baby. And I was not really Gen X. I was – and am – a tweener. Like so many around my age, I saw the great movies of the 1970s in revival houses and TV (especially early HBO). I remember the day that Nixon resigned, but Watergate wasn’t my fight. Ford and Carter didn’t change the world. And Reagan took us backwards into our imagination of what we thought we were after WWII while in actuality, Reagan set us back decades in terms of understanding gender, race, and how a nation cares for its least fortunate. The schizophrenia of the Reagan years really defined my tween generation. Clinton was better… but he also lied a lot… and while waving a finger in a nation’s face.

My dad missed that. And I feel good about that.

Jimmy Stewart died 3 days before my dad. Somehow that was comforting.

The freedom and the responsibility that comes with the loss of a parent is unexpected.

I’m not sure that if he was alive that there would be a Hot Button or a Hot Blog or a Movie City News.

I’m not sure if his wealth hadn’t weighed him down after a brief period in which it set him free (before he lost most of it) that I wouldn’t be more focused on financial success.

I’m not sure what my life might have been had he and my mother not adopted me at birth.

I am, like my father, a softie. This always feels odd coming out of my mouth (or fingers) as there seem to be so many people who want to tell me what a mean person I am. And I certainly have been mean at times. But I tend to believe that by “mean” what is really being expressed is that I hit a tender spot with my words and left a mark.

There was a time when I was more reckless with this skill. In those early years of The Hot Button, I just hit “publish” and kept working. I was amused by my ability to cause an emotional response (good or bad) from people more powerful than I. As time passed, I came to understand – finally – that we are (mostly) all vulnerable in similar ways.

No one would be more influential on me in this regard than Nikki Finke. She made me look like a pussycat. She never showed an ounce of compassion for anyone other than herself, except when pretending to have compassion for long enough to manipulate someone. Our relationship (now over for many years), started over a story she got wrong. Like our current president, she never would admit her mistake. She doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on the error. And she raged at me for pointing to the facts.

I’ve been fortunate to have a good grasp on power from an early age. But Nikki, always a bigger personality than me, showed me a reflection of part of myself that I did not like.

Nikki, without knowing it, convinced me to be much, much more careful with the weaponry I have. I got out of the business of reporting on misery… jobs lost… companies failing, etc. The failures of others are not a form of amusement. I found that kicking a filmmaker when they failed was not fun or funny.

Of course, this didn’t preclude some people and/or studios from having insanely thin skin. If you are playing in the big stadium, you have to be able to take the shots you have coming.

The same is true of journalists. Much of the anger held towards me comes from headlines in the early days of Movie City News. I could be brutally direct. And 17 years later, it still comes up.

But the age of Finke-ian entertainment journalism and the support of it by non-journalists like Jay Penske has led to an era of all-suck-up or all-rage coverage.

And again, I am a tweener.

I believe in people. I believe in forgiveness. I believe in the inherent kindness of which we are all capable.

I also believe in facts. I learned early on that a person who cheats will invariably cheat again… that a lie told to the advantage of “my team” will eventually lead to a lie told to the disadvantage of “my team”… that facts almost never tell the whole story, but that the avoidance of facts tells you a ton… and that things never change quite as quickly or as completely as people want to believe.

My father was a man who believed in his own magic. This became quite destructive when he was in situations where he didn’t really understand the trick that was needed to make things come together.

I don’t always understand how to use the tools I have. There are people who I have hurt over these 20 years and try as I might, I can never un-hurt them. I wish love was as sticky as hate.

We are in a time when some people, who I really like and respect, feel compelled to take a posture that is so extreme and unyielding that there is no room for anything but the same posture. And nothing enrages these people so much as facts. It is, really, my greatest disappointment in this moment in our history of discourse.

I believe that you can be righteous and completely honest and transparent about facts. And if you can’t stand the transparency, you are probably not as righteous as you think. I am sympathetic to the fear of people who have been marginalized for decades and longer. But if you want to build, you can’t build on the same kind of sand that was used against you to keep you from rising for so long.

Still, I learn new things all the time… and I don’t mean facts. I mean ideas… philosophies… the range of human emotion.

This is why I do DP/30 and why it matters so much to me. Most of the time, I get out of the chair and see the world a little differently.

I never asked my father the questions I really should have asked him. I was too young. I didn’t understand enough. I was too afraid of the answers.

And maybe I am better off wishing I had than actually having the opportunity. There are things in his life that he experienced that I am sure, even in my 50s, I could not begin to comprehend in a real way.

I know that he could never express in words the love he would have had for my son, Cameron, had he ever had a chance to meet him. But I know how much joy Cam would have brought him, just as, without all the words, I know how much love he had for me and my siblings and their children.

Twenty years into this part of my journey… twenty years after I lost my father… it is all still being digested… every day.

I miss the old man.

I am the old man.


Review: The House

the house pic 5

The House doesn’t suck.

The House is funny. I laughed a lot.

The House is short. It has one of those closing credit sequences that go in slow motion to hope to get the movie to 90 minutes. They clearly came up short of the target.

The House would have been a good mean-as-hell comedy if there were a third act that worked. That is where the movie stalls: the third act turn. Jeremy Renner is good in his role… but he was there for a day, maybe two, and the movie suffers from his character not being a big part of the third act.

First Act: Goofy parents anticipating being empty-nesters are excited that their daughter got into the college of her choice… but then find they can’t afford it.

Second Act: They open the casino with a ne’er-do-well neighbor and insanity ensues. By far the strongest part.

Third Act: The strongest villain character in the piece, the Renner character, is not there for long. So they rely on local goofballs and a kinda lame, not convincing, nonsensical turn.

I don’t want to say “this is what they should have done,” because there are a million answers, but as the movie played out, I was really looking forward to the super-clever way that the bad guy mob guy (Renner) would become part of the crazy family.

As I thought about it later, the Midnight Run structure occurred to me. Dennis Farina as the mob guy and Yaphet Kotto as the cop. The genius of that screenplay is that it knows that it is repeating the same gag over and over, but mixes it enough each time that the audience is both actively anticipating and surprised repeatedly… and not by overly broad or silly twists. It all makes sense, in the context of a movie. Just as the audience is thinking, “just get him on an airplane.” the script explains why that won’t work. “Just gag him and tie him up and drive back”… the script makes that impossible to happen in a way that feels truthful.

The House would have been a lot more interesting if Renner’s guy took Ferrell’s “The Butcher” into his crew and that acceptance of him as a tough guy brought him to the realization that he wanted the simplicity of his old life. A cliché, but better. Of course, the movie could have been something else even better and execution means a lot… but what we get instead is just endless shifting of moods, which Ferrell and Poehler make work beyond reason, but still comes up short.

If, in the end, the mob and the family both won over the other villainous forces, this would have been a better movie. And it would fit the aesthetic, which was so smartly laid out by Tony Scott in his review here.

Still… I laughed a lot. Violence between two people who are equally wrong about something can be very funny. Myopia can be very funny. This wild casino operating in unrealistic silence on a residential street of a small town is very funny. This cast is very funny… and I loved watching the President of the United States from ‘VEEP’ getting her suburban bitch on.

And the young woman who plays Ferrell & Poehler’s daughter, Ryan Simpkins, is surprisingly solid. She stuck out to me, even with those two mugging on either side of her. I didn’t recognize her from Arcadia, a tiny indie in which she kept up with the great John Hawkes. Anyway… not sure why she stuck out for me, but she did. WE can hope this is the early day of a long career.

Anyway… when you catch this one on HBO some day, you will be surprised how much you laugh. It could actually become one of those cult-y pieces. I’m not anxious to pay $17 for it again, but I would watch it again without having my arm twisted. Just wish they had figured out the third act.


Weekend Estimates by Despicapointing Klady

Friday Estimates 2017-07-02 at 9.17.11 AM copy

In the very rare Tuesday 4th of July window, Despicable Me 3 had a softer 3-day than would be expected and will come up short of the $100m 5-day. Don’t cry too hard for the Minions, who will still generate more than $700m worldwide. Baby Driver, on the flip side, overperformed its Friday with over $20m. The House rolled double 8s… but $8.8m, not $88m. The Beguiled is also estimating more than 3x Friday’s gross for the 3-day. The Little Hours leads in per-screen on 2, but the expansion to 71 screens for The Big Sick is still close.

So… Despicable Me 3‘s 3-day is worse than my low estimate in the low 80s. What does it mean?

Well, I’m still not done waiting for more evidence. The Tuesday holiday is so odd that we really don’t know how it affected the weekend. Of course, Minions still had a $116 million opening 3-day without any unique circumstances. When people are desperate to go, they go whenever you release the movie. But we are in an odd space when a $75 million 3-day is seen in any way as disappointing. This opening is a lot closer to Despicable Me 2 than to Despicable 1 and the huge launch of Minions, in perspective, suggests that the clarity of the spin-off (broad physical comedy, not a story movie, safe for little ones) may just be a stronger play.

Even if international dipped to $500 million, domestic is still going to be over $200 million (very conservatively). I’m not ready to start mourning films that gross over $700 million worldwide. (Still shake my head every time someone blithely refers to the $700m+ grossing Amazing Spider-Man 2 as a “disaster.”)

And there is every chance that Despicable Me 3 will be over $800m worldwide, which would make it the #1 animated movie of 2017 by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Also worth mentioning… Universal’s claim of under-$100m costs on the Illumination movies is true… but not 100% true. Unlike Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks Animation, that number does not reflect studio overhead that is built into everyone else’s cost estimates. What the details of Illumination’s deal with Universal are is unknown… but likely includes overhead costs at the studio that are not reflecting in the “cost of the film.” Don’t be surprised if DWA’s “costs per film” drops by a lot – half or more – as their films start being released by Universal, as a function of accounting, not the complete picture.

2017 “only” has two billion-dollar worldwide grossers so far. Star Wars VII will surely join that pair. A fourth seems unlikely at this time.

The problem is, media perception is now like the stock market… the window of information tends to be very short. We may, indeed, be over on the other side of Peak IP. We may be seeing so many franchises making 4th and 5th and 6th movies (or more) that are exhausting their once-enthusiastic audiences. This only makes sense.

How does one describe the box office of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which will land between $850 million and $900 million worldwide? It’s a big success. A hit, obviously. But it didn’t accelerate into the next strata. So is Disney and Marvel disappointed? You betcha. But are they unhappy? No way. Same with smaller-grossing Dr. Strange and Ant-Man. They would have loved a few hundred million more on those well-liked movies… but you can’t weep over with grosses over $500 million and over $650 million respectively.

Anyway… in happier news, Baby Driver is estimated to overperform its Friday gross, as it tries to build a smaller, but exciting haul for a relatively low-budget film. $20 million is an important bar for a genre opening. (And Sony could be overestimating.) Regardless of the detail work, this is a big enough audience sampling that what is presumed to be positive word of mouth can really rev things up.

Not much to be said about WB’s dump of The House. Bad for everyone. And that RT score is, in part, a reflection of how the studio positioned the film. It basically screamed, “We hate this movie and you will too.”

Focus took The Beguiled to 674 screens… to good, but not overwhelming effect. The best comp may be Focus’ very own Nocturnal Animals from last year. They took that film wider faster and got pretty much the same number, though Nocturnal was already $3 million into its run when it expanded to 1262 screens. So the answer is… we’ll see. No doubt, there will be another expansion next week or the week after. And the audience will speak. But $10 million is a fair expectation and more than $15 million seems unlikely, given the current numbers.

The Big Sick held strong in its expansion to 71 screens. But like Beguiled, hard to know what is coming with any precision. But expect the teens.

The other per-screen hero this weekend was The Little Hours, the horny, stoned nun comedy from Aubrey Plaza, her husband, and the parade of talented friends who made the trip to the European countryside to improvise this comedy.


Friday Estimates by The Very Late (But Still Alive & Kicking) Klady

friday estimates

All 3 Despicable Me films have been launched in a different way. The first opened the weekend after the July 4 holiday. The second, on a Wednesday, the day before a Thursday July 4. And now, a Friday opening on what is July 4 weekend, but July 4 isn’t until Tuesday. (Minions opened, like the first Despicable, on the Friday after July 4 and is the biggest opener of the franchise by far.)

So… Despicable Me 3‘s Friday is behind the Minions opening day of $46 million and impossible to compare fairly to the rest… but could well lead to a $100m 3-day…. or come up short on its own… or perhaps families will wait to take advantage of the holiday… which not everyone is getting.

Despicable Me 2 had a $145 million 5-day, but the calendar was unique. In fact, no July 4 opening that has been over $60 million has ever had July 4 fall on a Tuesday. The last time July 4 fell on a Tuesday was 2006, when the top film was Superman Returns. Warner opened the film a week earlier, on June 27 and siphoned off $32 million before opening weekend. The 3-day had a slightly stronger Sunday than normal and the Monday was the fourth best day of the 5 days and Tuesday the 4th, the weakest of the 5. The 3-day did $52 million and they ended the 7-day launch with $108 million.

So… Despicable is a family movie, but has never played that way, with Saturdays not showing a big bump on any of the three prior films. In fact, no bump. Actually… a small drop in all three cases. That would suggest a low 80s 3-day and a 5-day in the 100-teens.

This should not be part of any trend pieces about franchise fatigue… but it may be anyway. Too many writers want a trend story instead of reality.

The Baby Driver opening is also good news. It’s not explosive. It’s not a sign of any trend. But it is a strong enough sample to get word-of-mouth going into the second weekend. It’s definitely not a flop. It’s by far Edgar Wright’s biggest opening. But hyper-enthusiasm in the media could also lead to overly generous box office analysis.

The House was dumped by Warner Bros and audiences treated it like #2. The only movie in Will Ferrell’s career as a leading man that got a wide release and might be as low a number as this was Night At The Roxbury in 1998.

And did you know that Amy Poehler doesn’t even have her own Box Office Mojo page? That’s f-ed up. Ansel Elgort has one. Amy Poehler should have one. Anyway… this opening sucks for her, too.

The Beguiled expanded to 674 screens and… nice but not thrilling numbers. Around $4200 per screen. Suggests the film may find its way into the teens at the box office. Focus is going a little slower with this than with Nocturnal Animals… hard to tell if that will work or not.

Biggest winner in exclusive release is The Little Hours, Aubrey Plaza’s filthy nun comedy. Feels more European than improvised, if that makes any sense. Funny.


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