MCN Originals Archive for November, 2015

The Weekend Report

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 took a 50% hit but still survived Thanksgiving contenders with an estimated $51.3 million weekend. (Figures reflect a three-day period.) The incoming crowd was right behind with Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur grossing $39 million and Creed, a Rocky continuation, clobbering $29.3 million. A third national release, Victor Frankenstein, fizzled with a $2.3 million tally.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The Hungry Finale is holding well going into its second 3-day weekend. The Good Dinosaur is running ahead of The Peanuts Movie, but behind the last Disney movie to open wide on Thanksgiving weekend, Tangled. And Creed is solid, not sensational, as it builds word of mouth that will probably make it the leggiest of the November movies. The Danish Girl arrives with over $50k per screen for 3 days on four.

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The DVD Wrapup, Gift Guide II: Great American Dream Machine, McHale’s Navy, Brothers Quay, Shaun the Sheep, No Escape and more

At a time when public-broadcast stations were commonly referred to as “educational TV,” a show likened to an “intellectual ‘Laugh-In’” began production on New York City’s non-commercial WNET. “The Great American Dream Machine” was a weekly satirical variety television series. Its audience may have been miniscule compared to “Laugh-In,” but it was composed of hard-core liberals, media mavens and the next generation of opinion-makers. It didn’t take long for the show to bear fruit in the form of “The Groove Tube,” “Saturday Night Life,” “SCTV” and Kentucky Fried Movie. Watch the show today on DVD and you’ll recognize the forebears of Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Trevor Noah and John Oliver.

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20W2O: 14 Weeks to Oscar

No matter how many times we go around this track, it gets weird at some point. It’s not like there is a bag of tricks and all you need to do for your film to get where you want is to repeat the same tricks… which is not to say that the same tricks don’t get endlessly repeated. But the subtle difference between a strategic choice that works and one that doesn’t is almost agonizing.

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Gurus o’ Gold: The Picture, The Men & The Turkey Day Recommendation

The Gurus get in their last licks before the holiday, recommending what you should make sure to see (in theaters or screeners) this week. Top three are Carol, Creed, and Brooklyn. Also, a look at the two male acting categories and, as always, Best Picture, which is surprisingly stable.

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The Weekend Report

There you have it… the poor Hunger Games finale only opened to $101 million. Shocking. (Not really. Very profitable. Likely to top $700m worldwide.) Another “underachiever,” Spectre, will become the #2 all-time James Bond movie, domestically and worldwide by this time next weekend. Not a high opening for The Night Before. Julia Roberts doesn’t draw in The Secret in Their Eyes English-language remake. Good expansions for Spotlight and Brooklyn and a very strong four-screen launch for Carol.

Klady analysis to come…

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The best reviewed Hunger Games entry also is now the smallest opener of the four movies. Lionsgate is spinning the story towards international, but there is no need for excuses. There’s still a lot of money to be made here. But it seems that the series shed lookie-loos after the second episode and is now all about the hardcore fans. Still, the movie is still looking at near $300 million domestic and over $700m worldwide.

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15 Weeks To Oscar: The Tightest, Most Open Acting Races Ever?

This season, i have tried to stay out of the predicting circus tent as much as possible. Individual situations are individual stories. Gurus o’ Gold is Gurus o’ Gold. But with The Revenant debuting widely on Monday, The H8ful Eight rolling out already, and Joy to land sometimes after Thanksgiving, we’re almost there. And I guess it’s time for me to jump in with both feet.

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The DVD Wrapup: Crumbs, Meru, Tenderness of Wolves, Living in Oblivion and more

As tiresome as most movies about our shared dystopian future have become, longtime fans of the increasingly predictable sub-genre shouldn’t give hope of finding something new and different until they’ve seen Crumbs, an instant classic from a place that looks as if it had already experienced the apocalypse and was left standing.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Actresses Rule

This week, The Gurus look at the two Actress races, both of which seem pretty well locked-in for the top 4 slots, but pretty wide open for the 5 spot. Also, as always, the latest Best Picture chart, which remains stubbornly consistent, although soft after the seventh slot.

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The Gronvall Report: Jay Roach On TRUMBO

Smoking hot following his Tony Award for “All the Way” and his multiple Emmy-winning run on “Breaking Bad,” Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo, the phenomenally prolific author, raconteur and bon vivant who in his postwar heyday was one of the highest paid screenwriters in the nation. As comfortably as he lived, though, he firmly believed that less fortunate working stiffs were entitled to just wages and other protections that labor unions provide, and he was active in leftist politics.

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The Weekend Report

Shaken by half, it was nonetheless Spectre that stirred the top spot in weekend moviegoing with an estimated $35.2 million. Three wide releases offered scant challenge to the veteran operative. Seasonal comedy Love the Coopers slotted third with an OK $8.3 million while the Chilean mine disaster saga The 33 grossed $5.7 million. The gridiron glory of My All American faded fast at $1.4 million. A handful of films expanded, the most effective results for prior freshman class Spotlight, Brooklyn and Trumbo.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Another ugly weekend for new films as Hollywood revs up for award season. Love The Coopers is headed to a total domestic gross under $20 million. The 33—about the trapped Chilean miners, if you hadn’t heard—was barely marketed by Warner Bros, which is having a very uncharacteristic year, also seeing Our Brand Is Crisis drop from 2200 to 500 screens in Weekend 3. And Universal’s 10-screen release of Jolie-Pitt’s By The Sea is headed to a meager $10k per screen for the weekend. Katniss comes to the box office rescue next weekend… for the last time. But don’t sweat the trend pieces this week… it’s the movies and the (limited) marketing, simple as can be.

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The DVD Wrapup: Stations of the Cross, Code Unknown, Julien Duvivier, Eric Rohmer and more

Ida revealed truths about the deeply engrained anti-Semitism of many of the faithful. Stations of the Cross is Dietrich Brüggemann’s tragic depiction of religious fundamentalism at its most destructive and, as such, can be construed as serving as an indictment of one particularly conservative Catholic order. This one is based in southern Germany, an area not immune to fanaticism.

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Gurus o Gold: Who Could Get In With A Bit More Support?

The Gurus do their weekly Best Picture chart, then answer the question in each of the Top Six categories of what films or performances could get nominated if only they got a bit more of a push. That means different things to different Gurus, but feel the zen and you will know…

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16 Weeks To Oscar: What Works

Three potential field-changers – The Revenant, Joy, and The H8ful Eight – loom out there, largely unseen. But even their stories are already written in many ways, waiting for rewrites as exposure to the light changes things to whatever degree it does.

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The Weekend Report

There was never any doubt that the redoubtable 007 would lead the fall charge … just how much SPECTRE would exact. Sunday estimates pegged it at $72.4 million. Nonetheless there was sufficient room in the marketplace for a counter-programmer and The Peanuts Movie proved apt with a buoyant $44.5 million debut. The big match up was three exclusives, each opening on five screens. Spotlight focused on a Boston Globe investigation into clerical pedophilia; Brooklyn chronicled a young Irish woman’s immigration tale in 1960s America; and Trumbo detailed Hollywood’s 1950s dark blacklist era. Respectively they grossed $297,000, $179,000 and $76,800. The results ranged from great to respectable with each getting the sort of Friday to Saturday bumps that suggest strong positive word of mouth.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Spectre ghosts $27.4 million, with Daniel Craig more than doubling Snoopy’s mere $12 million with The Peanuts Movie.

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The DVD Wrapup: Jurassic World, Back to Future, Inside Out, Toy Story, Benoit Jacquot and more

To paraphrase the Budweiser advertising jingle, “When you’ve collected $1.58 billion at the worldwide box office, you’ve said it all.”

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Gurus o’ Gold: In The Starting Gate

The Gurus are back to let you know what is what as of this minute. This is the first weekly chart of the season, covering the “Top 6” categories, Picture, Director, and the four Acting categories. Even this early in the season, things are tight enough that we have two ties.

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MCN Originals

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