MCN Originals Archive for April, 2017

The Weekend Report

The third weekend of The Fate of the Furious again led weekend viewing with an estimated $19.4 million and a global gross that crossed into the rarified realm of $1 billion box office. The session had but one wide national release but it was international day-and-date newcomers that stole the thunder. The storm came from the Hispanic comedy How to Be a Latin Lover that ranked second with $11.8 million and highly-anticipated Indian historic epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, which smashed global records, including a U.S. debut of $10.3 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Here’s something you don’t see every week… a Telugu-Tamil-Hindi-Malayalam language film release coming in #2 on the charts. These narrow releases do solid business and are on the chart almost every weekend. But rarely are the major U.S. distributors pushing so softly that you see a title in the Top 3. The #3 for Friday was another crossover, as Lionsgate pushes out a film to their developing Spanish-language market starring popular Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez. The third newcomer is STX’s The Circle, which has Beauty & The Hanks, but marketing that spoke no one’s language.

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Summer 2017: Here We Go (Wide)!

As for esthetics… who knows?

What I do know is that there are at least 14 movies that I am really, really looking forward to seeing. If most of those are worth the time, it’s a pretty great summer.

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The DVD Wrapup: Girl With All the Gifts, Girl From Brothel, Underworld V, Detour, Catfight, We Are X, Borowczyk, Three Brothers and more

The more I learn about the business of distributing DVDs, Blu-ray and VOD, the less sense key business decisions make. Take, for example, Colm McCarthy and writer Mike Carey’s very representative horror flick The Girl With All the Gifts. Apart from being extremely well made and unusually thought-provoking, it features a performance by Glenn Close that almost has to be seen to be believed. Looking a bit like her cross-dressing butler Albert Nobbs – for which she won an Obie and received an Oscar nominated – but with an authoritative bearing not unlike her Nova Prime, in Guardians of the Galaxy, Close plays Dr. Caroline Caldwell, a no-nonsense biologist determined to find a vaccine for a zombie plague. The novelty of such casting, alone, would appear to be sufficient cause for an arthouse release. After debuting at last year’s Locarno, Stuttgart Fantasy Film and Toronto festivals – where it received excellent reviews — The Girl With All the Gifts was accorded little more than an Internet premiere, in January. Then, apparently, no one could figure out what to do with the darn thing,

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A Farewell To Jonathan Demme

He will be remembered mostly for his many achievements as a film director, but I am sure he would feel no slight to be remembered as simply a great human being.

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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (spoiler-free)

Guardians 2 is the epitome of a sequel to an unexpected smash hit.

With the sequel, James Gunn gets the room to run. An extra million here or there? Great. An even more complicated storyline than the original? Hell, audiences loved that convoluted ride… not going to argue much. Etcetera. Elements that audiences loved in the original? Pile ’em on!

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The Gronvall Report: Jason Connery and Company on Tommy’s Honour

The hero’s gait is definitely jaunty, with a bit of swagger. Tommy Jr. tilts full speed ahead for most of the movie, slanting toward the future; he may not know what that future is, but it’s not going to be what insufferable toffs like Boothby dismiss as “nothing.” In today’s golf, you’re looking at highly paid, elite athletes—although considering what the broadcasters make, more power to the players if they can get it, right?—but the sport in Tommy’s Honour is about the common people.

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The Weekend Report

Not truly turb0charged, but way out in front, The Fate of the Furious cruised to an estimated $38.6 million to lead in its second weekend. A clutch of new releases proved disappointing overall, though Disney’s annual wildlife doc Born in China (opening on Earth Day) was comparatively okay with a $5 million debut.

The rest of the national debuts were below par with distaff revenge thriller Unforgettable bowing with $4.7 million, and the Armenian genocide romantic drama The Promise struggling to $4.1 million. Also grim was the Blair Witch-like Phoenix Forgotten at $1.8 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

A big, but not unexpected Friday-to-Friday drop for The Fate of The Furious, as the domestic engine of this franchise fades while the rest of the world keeps revving. Newcomers barely register, as barely-marketed Unforgettable, Disney doc Born in China and political passion project The Promise will each open to under $5 million for the weekend. Only one exclusive release will even hit $10k per-screen.

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STRIKE! (oh oh oh oh oh oh) What Is It Good For?

The mostly-unlikely-to-occur Writers Guild Strike that is being threatened is a blurry mess. If you read media reports about what is happening and why it is happening, you get a parade of takes so varied that a showrunner would scream at a writer to find the damned idea they are writing about for 22 minutes,…

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The DVD Wrapup: Founder, Punching Henry, Paris 05:59, Apocalypse Child, Donnie Darko, Woman of the Year, Tampopo, Handmaid’s Tale and more

As McDonald’s struggles once again to figure out how it wants to be perceived in markets in the U.S. and around the world, The Founder reminds of us of what made the concept so revolutionary in the first place. There’s a scene in John Lee Hancock’s appealing biographical drama in which Ray Kroc visits an early franchisee, where the operator has chosen to change the menu’s emphasis on hamburgers, fries and shakes and garishly promote its chicken entrees. The look on Kroc’s face made me think that he might take a cue from the New Testament and banish the blasphemers from his golden-arched temple, turning over tables and upending trash cans. Heaven only knows what he’d do if he returned to Earth, today, and visited my local McDonald’s, My guess is that he’d prefer spinning in his grave than sampling an Angus Mushroom & Swiss on a “premium bakery style bun.”

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The Weekend Report

It was top gear as the debut of The Fate of the Furious left the pack eating dust with an estimated $100.1 million. It was the only egg opening wide in this year’s Easter roll. A couple of limited releases strived to get into the marketplace (and failed) including the animated Spark: A Space Tail, which grossed $108,000 and golfing origin tale Tommy’s Honour with $220,000.

Exclusive freshman saw an up-tempo start for biodoc Chasing Trane with $15,200 on a solo riff. Also strong were the political “what if” Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer that grossed $100,000 at five sites and a potent $114,000 bow for period adventure The Lost City of Z from four expeditions.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The Fate of the Furious opened well in North America by every standard but the last F&F movie, Furious 7. But the rest of the world, particularly China, is making up for that in a big way, where Fate is having a $200 million weekend, which, even with Universal only getting a quarter of that, amounts to a huge worldwide opening. The rest of the Top 10 is holding well in spite of the big new opener. A $100 million opening just doesn’t stretch the marketplace to anything close to its max anymore. The Lost City of Z, Maudie and Chasing Trane all opened well in limited.

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Review: The Fate of the Furious (spoiler-free)

Stuff happens… and then there is a sequence in New York that doesn’t just strain credulity, but muddles it, shreds it, chews it up, swallows out, and craps it out. Really, this is the filmic opposite of the chase in The French Connection.

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The DVD Wrapup: Lion, Toni Erdmann, Worlds Apart, Daughters of the Dust, Ludwig, Cathy’s Curse and more

Films made about children appropriated by authorities and handed over to politically connected or wealthy families as orphans aren’t all that unusual. Lion’s happy ending is what sets it apart from other stories.

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The Weekend Report

The Boss Baby again edged out Beauty and the Beast for weekend bragging rights with two family movies grossing respective estimates of $26.4 million and $24.7 million. Smurfs: The Lost Village opened with a softish $13.7 million while the octo-heist yarn Going in Style had a surprisingly resilient $12.3 million launch. Best of the exclusive debs were the monster-relationship drama-comedy Colossal, which grossed $121,000 at four playlots and stiff-upper-lipped Brit Their Finest with $78,400.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

It will be a close race for the Meaningless Box Office Title, as Boss Baby and Beauty & The Beast start the weekend neck & neck. Saturday will tell the tale, but Sunday estimates of the weekend for the two films will be as political as they are mathematical. Newcomers Going in Style and poorly-timed Smurfs: The Lost Village will also battle for position, though only for a soft third. Ghost in the Shell falls into the abyss (domestically). Three new limited releases with high profiles land, with the strongest looking like the Anne Hathaway “monster movie,” Colossal.

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False Trends: The End Of Movie Stars

It is factually unreasonable to expect any movie star to open any movie that isn’t led with IP goodness to over $75 million. Really, anything over $50 million is extraordinary. $20 million is still a solid standard for movie stardom. And there are as many of those as ever.

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False Trends Sidebar: How The Myth Of The Death Of The Movie Star Came About

When Hollywood started saying, “no,” the agents – who create 70% of the press in this town – freaked out. The sky was falling. They couldn’t deliver the way they were delivering. And that is when the “movie stars are over” mythology started taking hold.

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The DVD Wrapup: Rogue One, Office Party, Three, Story of Sin, Actor Martinez and more

The first things longtime fans will notice is the absence of a crawl, as well as an overture by a composer not named John Williams, although his aural fingerprints can be heard throughout the score. Buffs probably were already aware of the absence of Jedi in the cast of characters and the difference in narrative tone from the other episodes. Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and co-writers Chris Weitz (Cinderella) and Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity) have emphasized that “Rogue One” was conceived as a war story with a sometimes ambiguous moral code.

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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