The Hot Blog Archive for December, 2017

Weekend Estimates by Baby New Klady

Weekend Estimates 2017-12-31 at 10.17.12 AM

Okay… nothing much changed since yesterday.

Star Wars is doing great by every standard other than Force Awakens and Jim Cameron. I believe that the complaining is marginal. 10% or less of the audience. They are loud and the media loves any story, however misshapen. The future of the franchise will probably be clearer after the next film, which will not be the end of any trilogy, for better or worse.

Jumanji may save Tom Rothman until summer. Of course, the entire studio could be sold by then.

Pitch Perfect 3 is not what Universal hoped… but is still likely to be quite profitable.

Fox marketing isn’t covering itself in glory on the Burbank Death March out the door. Neither film is a complete disaster. Neither film could be called a hit.

Molly’s Game has done fairly well in its opening week (opened on Christmas, last Monday) on 271 screens. Hard strategy to rely on awards making the movie more commercial.

Focus is playing the same game, even more so, with Phantom Thread, which is doing solid PTA-type business on 4 screens.

And then there is The Post, another film from Fox. Nine screens against a full national release campaign. The $60k per-screen is nice, but hardly breathtaking. It’s no unfair to compare the current part of this run to American Sniper… but regardless of how anyone feels about the film, I am not feeling like The Post is an American Sniper in the making. Or a Lincoln. There is definitely a mid-sized audience out there for this movie and they will show up when it goes wide. But if you ask me, they left $10m – $20m on the table by not going out the week before Christmas. The upside is that January is week on dramas. We’ll see.

Here is an awards chart…

BP hopefuls 2017-12-31 at 12.28.48 PM


BYOB – Happy New Year



Friday Estimates by The End Is Nigh Klady

Friday Estimates 2017-12-30 at 10.51.00 AM

The massive success of The Last Jedi continues. It’s inarguable, unless you just like to argue. The film passes $500m domestic and $1 billion worldwide today, 16 days into its run. You can have story issues with the movie, but claiming audiences are bailing on it is simply false.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is working. It not a world-beater. It’s seems unlikely to pass $600 million worldwide, the low bar of success for mega-movies these days. But the 500s is a range that Sony has seen only three times in the past five years… for a Bond and two Spider-Man films. Sony was the only major that didn’t have any film that wasn’t part of an “established franchise” do over $500 million worldwide in this last half decade. No one else had fewer than two. Sony’s last $500m+ grosser that wasn’t part of a franchise was 2012, released in 2009. So however you feel about Tom Rothman, he’s broken a bad streak longer than his tenure. Credit is due.

Did Universal know that Pitch Perfect was played out, leading it to shove it into Christmas, hoping the Sing audience might show up and that the intense viewing window would bump up the box office? Possibly. Or maybe we are just asking too much of the franchise. PP3 will pass the original’s total domestic box office before the weekend is over. It has no chance of getting close to PP2‘s $184 million domestic gross. But it is reasonable to question the idea that every film needs to become a franchise beyond a single sequel success. This is not the stock market. Films are not simple commodities. Easy to forget that, but it remains the simple truth.

The Greatest Showman is heading beyond the low-50s musical graveyard of Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd. A little past Moulin Rouge. But not as big as one of the worst musical movies of all time, the Annie reboot, which was a crime against cinema AND musical theater, but still did $86m domestic. Showman is not in that category of bad. Not close. I dislike the film, but it is not an act of cruelty. Still, you can fool some of the people…

All The Money In The World opened Christmas Day and hasn’t hit $1k per screen on any day after that first day. My take is that the attention to the change in the Getty role distracted from the conversation about the movie to the degree that few people even seriously considered if they wanted to see the movie. Plummer is great, and if he gets nominated, will deserve it. But very few go see a movie to see a role change. And Sony didn’t do enough to change the conversation to the movie.

Like the movie, the campaign lacks a clock. The premise that the richest man in the world won’t pay a ransom didn’t click with wide swaths of audience. Didn’t that come up in testing? So what else is there? Well it’s not “Michelle Williams in Taken” either. Nor “Mark Wahlberg in Taken.” So what is it? It’s a kidnap victim passed around between criminals as a commodity. It’s Getty as Scrooge in the Christmas season. It’s five months of nothing happening. It’s The Ear. They did those billboards of The Ear, but they didn’t do a great job making the one thing people remember about the story the centerpiece of the marketing. The movie, which is sumptuous, has its own issues. But you have to find something to sell. And from my outside vantage, the marketing was as unfocused as the movie.

Darkest Hour and Downsizing are two very good,  or at least very interesting movies, if they aren’t your cup of tea, that are dying on the vine. A shame. There are clock movies this season that have no clock. Darkest Hour not only has a clock, but, by far, the most compelling clock. Not what they are selling… busy trying to make the Dunkirk association about now, which is death (that is, trying to ride the wake of another film that is not at all similar). And Downsizing is trying to sell the first third of the film that is physical comedy. The movie is better than that. And you are only seeing Oscar candidate Hong Chau in a few shots when she is, really, the female lead of the movie. Not an easy sell. But right now, it feels half-baked.

Not on this chart today are holding-tight holdovers The Post and Hostiles, on nine and five screens, respectively. The Spielberg is doing well on nine, but not expanding at Christmas was not a show of strength. Lincoln was Spielberg’s only other exclusive release film since Schindler’s List and it went wide after one week. Will there be Globes wins? Will it help?

And Hostiles just went for it too late in the game with too fresh a distributor. Really hard get… not getting it, it seems. Too bad. Strong movie. (And that outdoor looks like a History Channel series coming in January.)


Weekend Estimates from The Klady Jungle

Weekend Estimates 2017-12-24 at 11.57.02 AM

I’m already beyond disgusted with anyone who is whining about the Last Jedi‘s box office. It’s well on track to be the sixth $600 million domestic grosser. It is currently the second- or third-fastest grossing film in domestic history, taking a hit today because of Christmas Eve. But that will be more than made up for in the coming weekdays.

“But it’s not making as much as The Force Awakens.” Waa Waa!

The Empire Strikes Back made 32% less than Star Wars. Musta really sucked!

I don’t think that the box office for this movie – to this point – was going to be much different than it is no matter what film was delivered. The numbers prove the movie is great… or that there is “a problem.”

And journalists have done their part to add to the stupidity, taking the overemphasized metric of Rotten Tomatoes, then going another step down the rabbit hole, obsessing on the consumer rating for the film, which is driven by motivated participants and is in no way – nor claims to be – a public survey of feelings about the movie. As a result, Star Wars cultists have been given a much louder voice than their numbers earn.

Arguments against the film? I hear you. You are mostly wrong, but the standards you are working with make your opinion sensible. I cant argue that you are wrong. But these issues really concern less than 5% of the audience for this film. Maybe a lot less.

Arguments for the film? Well, the film is the best Star Wars film since Empire, so I am on that team. This doesn’t make me a shill for Disney. I think I have kicked Disney and Lucasfilm enough in the last few years to not suddenly be accused of being in their pocket with any legitimacy.

Star Wars does not, 100% does not, have a box office problem. This can change. One or two movies can change this. But this is not the problem movie you are looking for.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was supposed to be the Sony saver, but… hard to say. Looks like they may top the $60 million six-day projection that came from tracking a month ago. International is doing okay. I just don’t think we know the answer yet. It’s definitely not a lump of coal in Tom Rothman’s stocking. But does it keep things rolling in Culver City? Ask me in a week.

Pitch Perfect 3 seems to know it’s time to close this one out. There is a cable series in this. But this third in the series, unlike the second film, didn’t add anything new (at least as best I can tell from the TV spots) and I don’t know what they were doing throwing it into the Christmas window. The gross will probably be at $50m – $55m by the end of the holiday… which might be okay for Why Him?, but not so great for the capper to a beloved franchise.

The Greatest Showman better be a grower and not a show-er. This could be a Broadway show to come. And gay kitsch forever. What it won’t be is a box office hit.

Downsizing, another movie by a distributor in the midst of a messy transition, got crushed. Paramount has had a hard time releasing quality comedies in December over the years. But there is a giant problem with selling this movie in that they have limited star power and Kristin Wiig is really only in 25% of the movie. The real movie co-star is Hong Chau, and one hopes, after this bad weekend, whoever is in charge of marketing at Paramount this week will let the audience that cares about Alexander Payne’s work know what the movie really is… not just a giant Absolut bottle and giant cracker joke.

Darkest Hour has devolved into a Best Actor-only movie. Focus didn’t figure out how to get people excited. Probably being too careful politically. I am a big fan. But I don’t know  an answer to this puzzle. It’s become a margin player.

Father Figures is a Warner Bros dingleberry. After a great run of Wonder Woman, Annabel: Creation, Dunkirk and It, the studio is back in the box-office toilet for five straight films. The distributor has 23 releases currently scheduled in 2018. Looks like half a dozen potential significant hits are possible. Not an easy time in Burbank.

The Post opened on nine for Fox and managed $54,300 per screen, which is good. You don’t see may nine-screen releases. Four screens with $100,000-per is the platinum standard.

Hostiles had an unfortunate weak launch on three. The movie deserves better. But no matter how many quality consultants are on board, Entertainment Studios is a novice at everything, with four releases in its first six months as a distributor. December is a treacherous (and expensive) release window.


Friday Estimates by Santa Klady

Friday Estimates 2017-12-23 at 8.50.59 AM

Not a lot of answers in this Friday’s numbers. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is doing great, thanks.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is on the tracking numbers, which puts it at $60 million-ish for the 6-day open, the question being how it will catch on with kids and as a result, can it get to $200 million domestic? Then, the bigger question in RothmanVille… how will it do overseas?

Pitch Perfect 3 has its third different landing pad for theatrical release… first September, then summer, now Christmas week. This is one that probably should have looked for open space to run in February. Hard to get a read, comparing three. ery different openings. The film could end up at $110m domestic or $150m. It depends on whether it’s mostly played out by the end of next weekend.

The Greatest Showman is bad on many levels. Still, it feels like a cult hit that will be better remembered over time. Financially, look for a Why Him? gross on a significantly bigger spend.

Downsizing deserves better. So much air came out of the Paramount balloon – mostly with the people who were pushing this one out – that it’s unsurprising. Still, a shame.

Father Figures feels like a movie we have seen 300 times in the R-rated comedy era. Still, a crap launch that feels like a dump, hoping people will just go to see counterprogramming.

The Post pushes out on nine and does an excellent $60k-ish per screen.


Weekend Estimates by Klady: Episode 8 – The Box Office Taken For Granted [COMMENTS HAVE SPOILERS]

Weekend Estimates 2017-12-17 at 9.22.31 AM

The fourth $200 million opening ever.

The Force Awakens doubled its opening gross on the second Friday on their run. Will we be reporting a $440 million domestic cume for The Last Jedi next Saturday morning (or in the case of other outlets, presuming to try to be first, even if it’s just a guess)?

Force did $240 million more between the second Friday through the third.

Disney got their opening, even though Thursday night was not as insane as last time… now other landmarks are ahead.

All the guesswork about why it did this or that or how “real audiences” feel about the film… don’t know yet.

This is the film that fixes the bland imitation of the past that was Episode VII with smart, new ideas that can lead to a Star Wars future that is about the next set of rebels, not about the history of the franchise. To be fair, maybe the JJ mirror-fest was needed to get into the next era. But Last Jedi is a beginning, not a middle movie or closer. I am anxious to see it again. That wasn’t true for Force Awakens.

Ferdinand opened weakly. A bit of a recovery on Saturday, as younger kids showed up. But $13 million for a major-studio animated film is anguish.

A24 has tw of the Top 10 this weekend…impressive.

Here is the Oscar-hopeful breakout for this weekend

OScar hopefuls2017-12-17 at 9.50.34 AM

Wonder is the only movie currently in theaters on more than 1,100 screens looking to mount an Oscar push. The Post and All The Money In The World are coming. Phantom Thread, a dark horse to do a lot better than expected come the morning of Oscar nomination announcements, is also coming, though I don’t expect them to go wide to start.

The done-at-the-box-office group of contenders:

Dunkirk – $188,045,546
Get Out – $175,484,140
Baby Driver – $107,825,862
Blade Runner 2049 -$91,385,254
The Big Sick – $42,873,127
Wind River – $33,800,859
Victoria & Abdul – $22,157,715
Detroit – $16,790,139


Friday Estimates by Len Klaywalker

Friday Estimates 2017-12-16 at 10.31.06 AM

What is there to say? The only shocking thing about this opening is that anyone ever thought that the Force Awakens opening was going to be replicated… and how close Last Jedi is to doing that.

The Last Jedi is on track to open to over $175 million domestic… #5 or #6 domestic opening ever… stronger than Rogue One (and done), about 30% off of The Force Awakens… more than double the non-Star Wars December opening record.

There is no big box office story here. This is what Star Wars openings should look like for the foreseeable future. How the audience feels about the movie will be established in the weeks to come. Poor Last Jedi may only do $650 million domestic. Boo-hoo.

Why did Fox put Ferdinand in the way of this thing? And who knew that the idea of the Disney Empire eating the little Fox bull rebel would be so ironic this week?

Lady Bird will become A24’s #3 grosser this weekend, #2 by next Saturday and #1 before the New Year. The Disaster Artist is zooming up the company’s charts as well. The Greta Gerwig/James Franco movie should be shooting any minute (kidding). Huzzah.


Disney + Fox: Bigger Than The Media Is Suggesting

Here is the cocktail napkin math:  Netflix – $9 billion a year. DirecTV & Comcast cable alone – $90 billion a year.

So… who do you think Disney is going after with this merger? That’s a rhetorical question, because only blinders big enough for the Trojan Horse could lead to the “they are going after Netflix” angle.

Streaming is not a business. It is a delivery system. It is a delivery system that allows a new paradigm. All hail Netflix, the first to go there seriously.

But what Disney needs to make this merger a success is to get you and me and at least 75 million domestic households to sign up for three or four “Netflixes” under their massive umbrella of content. $30 to $40 a month.

And in order to get more than 10 million people to do that, they need more consumers to cut or significantly shave the cord. The fight is with AT&T/DirecTV and Comcast, trying to take money out of their pockets… you know, where the money is.

I am a little horrified by Disney eating Fox, including a movie studio that will, in a few years, cease to exist as more than a brand. That’s not good for consumers.

However, I have to applaud Disney for not ostriching, like most of the majors, and instead taking on the reality of the future, right now. Original content will continue to have value, but Dinsey sees that – aside from sports – the long tail is killing the long-term value of individual bits of content. There will be more revenue produced by more content for, virtually, ever… but the big bites of revenue will come early and not later (this includes theatrical, which will become more important moving forward).

There can’t be fifty $10 a month streaming subscription businesses with more than 10 million subs. It can’t work.

There can’t be five $10 a month streaming subscription businesses with more than 10 million subs… not so long as cable/satellite remains in 90 million domestic households.

Disney needs your $30 a month. That is where they are heading. And the only way to get there is to get the average cable or satellite bundle (and it’s ALL bundling… Netflix is a bundle… wake up, semantic BSers!) to $60 a month.

Both Comcast and AT&T need to angle toward that eventuality being as profitable as their current configurations. And they can. They could start by removing ESPN and the $6 a month they are paying per customer from your bill (although it will be a while before that happens).

That is where we are heading now, thanks to Disney. AT&T/DirecTV will be the home of HBO, all Time-Warner content, the massive Warner Bros library of TV and film and more. Don’t be surprised if they, eventually, buy the Fox broadcast network. Comcast will be the home of NBC-TV, Universal film and TV product and more. Disney will be ABC, ESPN, etc.

There is room for ONE more major player. One. Netflix can keep rolling along with $10 a month. Or the company will be acquired by Amazon or Apple and become the fourth major across-the-board $30 a month entertainment monolith, starting with a 50 million domestic subscriber advantage.

Who will buy all of Viacom, including the CBS TV network? Who will buy the Fox broadcast network? These businesses will be extremely valuable for another 10 – 15 years before becoming nothing but brands (the definition of which will include the idea of weekly episodics).

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is not a revolution. It’s not disruption. It’s a re-consolidation, finally nodding to the change that streaming delivery of content demands.


BYOSpoilers: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”



Review-ish: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Spoiler-Free)


Have we ever had a relaunch followed immediately by a reboot?

Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is not, as many hoped, a “middle” Star Wars movie, with the emotional impact of The Empire Strikes Back. And that is why many reviews will come off as disappointed. But they are dead wrong.

The Last Jedi is the Star Wars revival that The Force Awakens utterly failed to deliver.

I wasn’t so enthralled by TLJ in the early going. The opening action sequence was good, but slow and a little too complicated. There were too many cutesy jokes. But toward the end of the sequence, the first glimmer of what Rian Johnson was really after… a new visual idea, a powerful, personal, emotional moment for a character we barely know… yeah.

And again… a bit too much meandering, re-establishing the characters, cute CG animals, three jokes when 1 would have been enough.

But somewhere around the middle, The Last Jedi asserts itself as the template for the Star Wars future. A couple great new characters who you care about seeing again. A couple new characters who you would be just as happy to see get sabered. Romantic relationships seeded. Actual character ideas for Poe Dameron. Snoke as a fully actualized character.

But most importantly, Johnson resets the central characters and sets the direction forward. What is the relationship between Rey and Finn? Can we stop trying to figure out where Rey came from? How does Kylo Ren relate to Rey? Will the Luke & Leia story be important?

And Johnson also establishes which characters who came from Force Awakens are important and which are expendable. In this regard, he is a little rude at times… which I love. I mean, kill f-ing Negan already! Enough! Rian Johnson would have had Carl pluck out both Negan’s eyes then let Maggie snip off his testicles before Michonne cut off his arms as they all wait for him to turn so Rick could stick the knife in his zombie brain in front of everyone.

I found the second half of the film exhilarating, not only because there are many terrific surprises and a couple scenes that I consider the best Star Wars sequences since the original trilogy, but because we are now ready to move into a Star Wars future that is more like the idea of Rogue One than the idea of the original Star Wars. But still, a first chapter.

It’s a weird thing, though. I kept thinking that this was the film that should have – with an obvious bow to introducing the new central characters – been the first of the resurrected series. But while there was value to The Force Awakens, doing the job of imitating what Star Wars was, this film feels like what Star Wars is going to be.

I don’t want to be too generous. I would cut 15 minutes out. There are editing choices that leave the film feeling choppy when it should feel smooth. And like I said before… too cutesy at times… too much plush sold.

But this was like a very effective pilot, making me look forward to future episodes. I like Finn better now. I like Rey better now. I like Kylo Ren better now. Rian Johnson was not a bull in a china shop. He was respectful. But he went right up to JJ Abrams white board and started erasing the lesson and putting up his own… a much more interesting, complex, modern lesson that still feels like Star Wars. A huge win. There were tears of excitement in my eyes a few times in that third act. Johnson’s script – however many people were involved – gets emotional life out of characters both major and minor.

There is no “I am your father.” I suspect that many expect that. But it’s not a middle story. It’s really the beginning.

And sadly, it struck me that JJ is coming back to soften the edge that Rian Johnson so gracefully sewed into this franchise machine. I hope he can imitate Rian as well as he imitates George and Steven. I hope the screenplay is worthy of a Star Wars episode without a Death Star.

You know who would have done great with the next episode? David Ayers. More End of Watch than Suicide Squad. In the old days, you’d want a Walter Hill or Billy Friedkin.

Anyway… I really, by the end, liked The Last Jedi. This is not the Star Wars that anyone was looking for. But it is the first glimpse we have had at real growth in the Star Wars universe. Be wary of opinions that are offered in the idea of not getting what the speaker expected, rather than seriously considering what is actually on offer.


BYOB: Globes



Weekend Estimates by No Top 10 Over $8k Per Screen Klady

Weekend Estimates 2017-12-10 at 9.31.07 AM copy

Only one new wide release this week… from Broad Green with Just Getting Started, which didn’t. But there are expansion success stories in The Disaster Artist, The Shape of Water, Darkest Hour, and Call Me By Your Name, as well as the successful four-screen launch of I, Tonya.


Friday Estimates By Where Are The Movies? Klady

Friday Estimates 2017-12-09 at 9.18.26 AM

There are five wide releases in a two-day stretch the week after Last Jedi. Three are comedies. Two are action movies. And Fox is counter-programming Jedi with an animated bull, which seems suicidal. (The move, not the bull.)

But hell if they are going to take anything out this weekend!!!

The film business keeps finding new niches for distribution and success where there once was little success, with the basic premise that If Audiences Want It, It Doesn’t Matter When You Release It. Yet, they will leave a full month of the calendar without product (such as August and September of this year). And now, they will abandon two weeks after Thanksgiving because… uh… well… Paramount failed to get big audiences for two comedies on the second weekend after Thanksgiving in the last three years, so it must be a dead zone.

Here is the message that the studios need to get:  if ticket buyers don’t show up, it’s your fault.

There is such a thing as a wrong date. Bad Mom’s Christmas or Daddy’s Home 2 would have probably played better in the month of Christmas than weeks before Thanksgiving. Both overcame the terrible dating enough not to be disasters, but both left, probably, 30% – 50% of their potential domestic grosses on the table.

But if a studio really believed in a movie, Star Wars next weekend shouldn’t scare them off this weekend. There will be damage against a mega-opener. But even the last time, when two studios decided to go up against Force Awakens, the drops for the holdovers was not brutal. And the one major release the weekend before was Heart of the Sea, which arrived as damaged goods.

Did Passengers benefit from being in a December 21 cluster or would it have been better off the weekend before Rogue One? How about Why Him?

I looked at It this last September and I looked at the history and that film’s eventual  opening was a super long-shot. But it happened. 2.5x the opening of any other September film ever and almost 2x the domestic gross.

A teachable moment.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was another. Suicide Squad. Deadpool. American Sniper. Molds broken.

And there is this… a movie that has a soft opening coming is going to have a softer opening in a crowd.

We no longer live in a purchasing universe driven by habit. More than ever, every opening stands alone. Summer is a real thing. Thanksgiving and Christmas-New Years week is a real thing. But four of the Top 10 domestic grossers last year and probably the same this year will come out of other periods.

Will Father Figures survive its release date? Would the sequel to Bad Moms have done better this weekend and played stronger over the Christmas weeks than it did over Thanksgiving? Would Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle have done better before Star Wars than after?

Studios spend a lot of time and people power trying to answer these questions six months, a year, even two years out. Perhaps that is why the answers often end up being more safe than risky. I still believe WB didn’t expect It to do the business it did or they would have put it in August (and would have made more). It proved you could have a $100m September opening. But it also reminded us that, sometimes, these things happen by happenstance as much as planning.

The Disaster Artist is killing it. $8k+ per-screen on 840 for a movie about a failed movie-turned-cult film starring an actor who is not a big opener.

Lady Bird passed $20 million and will get an awards boost on its way to becoming A24’s biggest movie.

Three Billboards is solid, if not spectacular.

Wonder will be just short of $100 million after this weekend.

And Just Getting Started, which braved this weekend, is a $3 million turd in the punch bowl (which has to be about the amount they paid Morgan Freeman).


Academy’s Doc Short List… & DP/30

Congratulations to all 15 short-listers. Here are DP/30 interviews with seven. There are two more (One of Us and Strong Island) that will be up soon. The other six short-listers are Ex Libris – The New York Public Library (here’s a Fred Wiseman interview from another doc), Faces Places, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, LA 92, Last Men in Aleppo and Unrest.

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Weekend Estimates by Blasé Klady

Weekend Estimates 2017-12-03 at 10.32.28 AM

Very exciting weekend.


The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Lady Bird, Darkest Hour.

Three or four of these will be Best Picture nominees. earning their way there. The most remarkable run of the year is Call Me By Your Name, which set the per-screen record for the year last week and killed it again in its second weekend. It’s the most impressive per-screen as Searchlight pushed out The Shape of Water onto only two screens… still a great opening for Guillermo & Co, just not quite as amazing as Call Me.

On the next level down on the per-screen but up on the screen count are Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, each around the $4.5 million mark for the weekend on 1.430 screens and 1.194 screens respectively.

(Added Note 6p – I obviously forgot to include Dunkirk in this piece… which was just stupid of me. Apologies.)

Add The Post and Phantom Thread and you are looking at your Best Picture group, with one or two wild cards (Get Out, The Big Sick, The Florida Project, Victoria & Abdul) filling the playlist with a few super-longshots (Wonder, Blade Runner 2046, Wonder Woman, Mudbound, Downsizing, The Last Jedi) holding hope.

Meanwhile, at the commercial cinema, Coco is doing well. Behind Moana by about $10 million after its second weekend. Coco has made a huge splash in Mexico, but we’re a while from knowing how the rest of the world will embrace the film. A success. Degree to be determined.

Justice League is fading fast. Still, it is closing in on $600 million worldwide. It can still lose money. Or it could make a few bucks, depending on how much the reshoots actually cost. In context, it is a carwreck. Figure it will close out with about $650m – $675m worldwide in the bank, well off of Batman v Superman. WB gained a viable Wonder Woman franchise this year, and now, a potential Flash franchise, but no one is clamoring for Aquaman, Batman is being replaced, Superman is inert and Cyborg may be of value in Teen Titans Go Live. There is nothing easy about building a “universe.” But remember, WB is not just having a hard time now. It’s been struggling with this for decades.

Wonder is the happy story of the season. Who saw this as a $100 million movie? You? Unless you are a producer on the film who spent a decade trying to get it made… LIAR! It is shocking to realize how Julia Roberts’ box office power crashed right after her Oscar-winning role in Erin Brockovich. This will be her first $100 million movie in a lead role since then, a long 17 years ago.

Thor: Ragnarok is still kicking. Disney is in full Star Wars mode now, but if I were them, I would have thrown some new TV spots at Thor this last weekend for the most fun comic book movie around. November is the weaker choice for comic book and animated movies, even though there have been massive hits from there in recent years. Still, Thor: R is now in the Marvel Extended Universe Domestic Top 10 and still may move up a slot or two. It’s already #7 worldwide and may well get past Guardians 2. My point? Thor: R would have probably generated another $100 million if it had opened in the summer and made the Marvel Top 5.

And how much did Coco leave on the table by opening in November?

Daddy’s Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express chug towards $100 million domestic. Murder is over $200 million worldwide, making it a solid money-maker for Fox.

Finally… documentaries.

Twelve million-dollar docs so far this year. Five were niche religion releases from Fathom.

In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem – $2.5m
Is Genesis History? – $1.8m
Mully – $1.5m
Genesis: Paradise Lost – $1.4m
Chonda Pierce: Enough – $1.3m

Disney’s nature docs are not released like other docs, and as a result, Born in China leads all docs with $13.9m.

Of the rest, only I Am Not Your Negro was a 2016 awards qualifier.

I Am Not Your Negro – $7.1m
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – $3.5m
Kedi – $2.8m
Jane – $1.3m
Steve McQueen: American Icon – $1.2m
Step – $1.1m


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