N.Y. Times contributor Stephen Farber on the difficulty of getting Hollywood distributors to wake up to older moviegoers, and the resulting struggles that have occupied the makers of Boynton Beach Club Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont and Ladies in Lavender. The best quote is from Richard Zanuck, producer of the hugely suiccessful older-folks flm Driving Miss Daisy. “After the movie succeeded,”Zanuck tells Farber, “one executive told me that Driving Miss Daisy was a ‘nonrecurring phenomenon.’ Millions of people went to the theater to see it. Why is that nonrecurring?”Read More »
“In several interviews, sounding variously weary, wounded and either self-deprecating or defensive”, Oliver Stone recently told N.Y. Times reporter David Halbfinger that “his days of deliberate provocation were behind him.” As Stone simply puts it, “I stopped…I stopped.”
World Trade Center (Paramount, 8.9), which Stone has directed, is “not a political film. That’s the mantra they handed me. Why can’t I stay on message for once in a while?...Read More »
Bilge Ebiri has read Michael Bamberger‘s “The Man Who Heard Voices”, which everyone knows as the M. Night Shyamalan book in which the famed director bashes Disney (i.e., production prexy Nina Jacobson in particular) for not loving his Lady in the Water script enough. “I don’t understand why the critical world seems so eager to pounce on a guy who’s actually taking some artistic risks at a point in his career when he could coast pretty easily,” Ebiri says. “Lady isn’t opening for three weeks, and here’s Slate ‘s Kim Masters…positively gloating that the film has bad buzz (never mind the fact that it isn’t true — ‘buzz’ is simply what the writer wants to believe). And...Read More »
Has the fate of Superman Returns been decided already? Or are the judges still evaluating the boxing match of emotion and opinion that’s happening in the ring as we speak? There’s a lot of love out there, a lot of passion…but the naysayers keep nipping away. I can’t quite tell what’s happening, but it feels iffy.
A clearly eccentric middle-aged guy was in Tower Video’s Sunset Strip store yesterday ranting about what a piece of shit it was (he’d seen a Wednesday noon show) and that the ’78 Donner version was far superior. Older guys are always saying that older versions are better, so why am I even mentioning what this douchebag said? Because the guy wouldn’t shut up — he was deeply turned off. I looked out the window and thought to myself, “Superman is fighting for his life out...Read More »
Hollywood Reporter columnist Anne Thompson credits Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler for helping to steer The Devil Wears Prada away from the usual-usual, away from being “over the top or silly” (as screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna puts it), away from the turf of a typical “broad romantic comedy, where the plucky young heroine not only lands the guy in the end, but gets back at her wicked, evil boss.” And amen to that. I mean, at least Prada went in a slightly more urbane and grown-up directon.
That qualifying statement I threw in with those tracking figures that ran yesterday (i.e., that they only reflect the impact of theatrical trailers, and that the numbers might uptick once TV advertising kicks in) wasn’t enough, I’m being told. One, statistical analysis has shown that people focus on super blockbusters. By extension, numbers for movies that follow are naturally suppressed so films like You, Me and Dupree or Clerks 2 or Lady in the Water aren’t going to register that heavily with here-and-now behemoths like Pirates 2 and Superman Returns hogging all the attention. (“All these numbers may look very different once Pirates has opened,” a studio insider points out. “Once they’ve seen Pirates , then what will they go see?”) Two,...Read More »
In her story about a theoretical economic revival that could happen if Hollywood invests big-time in 3D features, London Times reporter Dalya Alberge writes that “the latest 3-D technology boasts an unsurpassed clarity, making audiences feel that they are in the picture.” That’s blather. 3D is more developed these days than it was in the ’50s, but I’ve never seen 3D footage that wasn’t marred by some glitch aspect…blurring around the edges, ghosting, headaches. Alberge doesn’t say what she specifically means by “latest 3-D technology” but if she’s referring to the the process of creating 3D images out of flat images (the process behind the 3D IMAX prints of Superman Returns), the images are obviously grabby but they aren’t fully “there” yet. Titanic...Read More »
TMZ.com reported exclusively yesterday that Angeline Jolie‘s brother James Haven was the unwitting source of those Brangelina-Shiloh baby shower pics that were stolen. Reading about this made me feel better about my own absent-mindedness because at least I can say, “I’ve never done anything as dumb as what Lurch did.”
Haven took pictures of his sister, Brad Pitt and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt at the baby shower in Namibia. But his camera broke soon after and when he returned to Los Angeles he took it to a Best Buy outlet (where be bought it) and asked them to fix it under the warranty. Best Buy sent the camera to Precision Camera and Video Repair in Enfield, Connecticut, and two Precision...Read More »
Superman Returns did about $11 million on Thursday (6.29).Read More »
Whether or not this rumor about Johnny Depp joining I Am Legend turns out to be true, I’ve never been able to muster a shard of interest in this upcoming Warner Bros. sci-fier, which will shot in September with Will Smith toplining. The basic rundown — the last non-toxic guy in L.A. following a biological war has to fight off hordes of nocturnal mutants — indicates another bleak-ass, the-world-has-gone-to-shit zombie movie with this or that variation. The fact that Legend is being directed by Constantine‘s Francis Lawrence ony makes it sound grimmer. I started to read Mark Protosevich‘s script three or four years ago (was it farther back?) and gave up. And I never cared very much for Omega Man, a 1971 adaptation of Richard Matheson‘s original novel with Charlton Heston.Read More »
So Keith Richards has definitely agreed to do a walk-on in the third Pirates movie…break out the Dom Perignon. This completes the circle in that Johnny Depp has always said Richards was his inspiration in portraying Cpt. Jack Sparrow. Richards will almost certainly play Captain Jack’s dad or eccentric uncle…a mentor of some kind.Read More »
Speaking of which, I wonder when Jarett Schaeffer‘s Chapter 27, a drama about the activities of Lennon murderer Mark David Chapman just before the 12.8.80 shooting. No distributor attached — the IMDB says it’s in post. Leto looks correctly creepy with his bulked-up weight and dyed Chapman hair.Read More »
A moment of mourning for Fabiane Bielinsky, the 47 year-old Argentine director of Nine Queens and The Aura, who died today in Sao Paolo, reportedly while working on a TV commercial. We were friendly acquaintances. We first met in Toronto in September 2000 during a Nine Queens interview, and we kept in touch from time to time, exchanging information on this and that. When I travelled to Buenos Aires in early ’05 Bielinsky recommended a good steak restaurant in Old Town, and it turned out to be superb. I called screewnriter Guillermo Ariagga (Babel, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada) about this, and he wrote back the following: “I can tell you that Fabiane was a very gentle, talented and generous man. I had very few chances to be with him, but I always said that he was a man I liked a lot: humble, modest and very friendly. And a great director and writer.” God rest his soul.Read More »
Early tracking numbers on Miami Vice and Snakes on a Plane won’t be surfacing for a while, but some of the mid-July attractions are going to make exhibitors “moan and moan loud,” I was told earlier today. Things could always bump up once the TV ads for the following films kick in (current figures are basically about the impact of theatrical trailers), but right now July isn’t looking that great aside from Pirates 2 business. Columbia’s Little Man (7.14) has a sluggish 68% general awareness, a 25% definite interest, a 20% definitely not interested and 4% first choice. Universal’s You, Me and Dupree (7.14) is looking “very soft” so far: 59 % general, 27% definite interest, 5% definitely not interested and 3% first choice.Read More »
Most descriptions of gallery art sound like pretentious bullshit, but this is funny besides: “The screenplay is never an end in itself; rather it is a vehicle for further creative exploration. By making the screenplay, the object and the end product of the artwork, screenwriter Tom Benedek (Cocoon) has corrected the internal contradiction inherent to the process.
“Tom’s artwork stars the screenplay, and that within it lives a movie, is just one aspect of the whole. By ‘shooting the script’ what he is really doing is liberating the word. Tom’s selection process only addressed “those of his scripts that were commissioned but [which] he no longer controlled, so that this incomplete document is elevated to a status it...Read More »
Slate‘s Kim Masters is also saying that the Los Angeles Times “left out the punch line” in its story about M. Night Shyamalan‘s book that tears into Disney production chief Nina Jacobson for failing to applaud and support his Lady in the Water screenplay, which he later took over to Warner Bros. “The buzz on the movie — about an apartment-building superintendent who finds a sea nymph in a swimming pool — is not good,” Masters writes. If things turn out badly for the film, “Disney will have the last laugh [and] Warners will not be laughing at all,” she adds. “Shyamalan has a passionate group of fans who will probably help the movie open respectably but its success is far from assured. ‘He’s going to make Disney look brilliant,’ predicted one high-level producer.”Read More »
It’s hard to understand what it was about about Dawn C. Chmielewski‘s Snakes on a Plane article that that Calendar editors at the L.A. Times thought was fresh in any way, shape or form. Her article is a total regurgitation of facts and observations that other journalists have been writing about the grass-roots marketing of Snakes since last March. It’s like someone said, “Guys, we need to run a Snakes marketing piece that’s aimed at the 60-and-older crowd that hasn’t been keeping up.”Read More »
What…another story about Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way hitting the gas on a Timothy Leary biopic? (Playwright Craig Lucas and Leary archivist Michael Horowitz have been hired to write a script.) As I’ve been noting all along, Leo’s been half-heartedly stirring the Leary pot for the last few years and nothing’s happened.
A trustworthy source told me a few months ago that “there’s not a lot of focus” at Appian Way. “Leo is all over the map…he wants to work with Marty on this and that…[Appian Way] doesn’t exactly have a center-of-gravity thing going on.” The film will reportedly focus on Leary’s life between his enrollment at West Point in the early 1940s and his escape from prison in 1970. I’ve mentioned this about 18...Read More »
“Superman Returns was supposed to be the sure thing. But considering the expense of making the picture, it has to do huge numbers just to come out okay. And it needs to do more than come out okay. An event film like Superman is supposed to make up for the other movies that fail. “If what you can say at the end of it all is, ‘We broke even,’ that’s awful,” says a top executive at another studio. “It’s not why you mount this type of movie. They’re so painful, they’re so stressful, they use up so much capital and they tie up the infrastructure. You need those to give back and when they don’t, it’s costly.” — taken from Kim Master‘s Slate piece on the financial pospects facing Bryan Singer’s film. Masters’ piece starts out noting that Superman Returns...Read More »
Here’s Marketwatch columnist Jon Friedman ‘s interview with L.A. Weekly columnist-blogger Nikki Finke, which ran yesterday (6.28). I don’t know Nikki but I’ve dealt with her from time to time (yeesh), and it didn’t surprise me to read that she’s lost it over a quote from Gawker co-editor Jesse Oxfeld that Friedman included in his piece. Oxfeld said that Finke is “at least a bit crazy — and you can never quite figure out if it’s good crazy or bad crazy. She’s a great reporter and a fun writer, and God knows I wouldn’t want to be on her bad side.” Obviously...Read More »
I heard from Southland Tales director Richard Kelly, his friend-producer Sean McKittrick and another producer, Persistent Entertainment’s Matthew Rhodes, earlier today about Sony having acquired Tales for theatrical and home video distribution. No one’s saying which theatrical distrib branch — Columbia, Screen Gems, Sony Classics — will put it out there, but it would be really weird if it was Screen Gems. The first piece of news I learned is that Tales will most likely come out sometime in early ’07, and also that a showing at September’s Toronto Film Festival isn’t necessarily in the cards. Kelly and his editor are “re-ordering” some scenes, cutting some others, re-writing and re-recording some voice-over with Justin Timberlake, and then finishing a bunch of visual effecfts shots that weren’t done in time for Cannes. The...Read More »
For a brief period in the early ’80s I was seriously flirting with an idea of launching a glossy culture magazine called Nothing. Of course, a series of snide, lighthearted riffs on what was then an emerging new current — a notion that glib irony and an increasing absence of sincerity or “meaning” in the arts had virused into a kind of existential fast-food that everyone was consuming — was doomed to fail. It was too uptown, too dry.
Bill Nighy as Davy Jones — the greatest movie villain to come along in years, and a landmark CG accompishment
But if Nothing had succeeded and was still publishing
today (and I were still the editor), Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Man’s Chest — a profile of director Gore Verbinksi,
probably — would be on the cover of the current issue.
Every scene, every shot, every frame...
The content obviously isn’t news, but the brevity and simplicity of this e-mail, received this morning at 8:50 am, is striking: “As of Friday, June 30th, the DreamWorks Pictures New York and Los Angeles publicity offices will be closing. Please direct any press inquiries about future DreamWorks Pictures releases to Paramount Pictures Publicity at ([phone number].”Read More »
I’ve been told that MCN’s estimate on Superman Returns numbers — between $3 million and $4 million late Tuesday night and just under $10 million on Wednesday — is wrong. I’m told SR took in a bit more on Tuesday (between $4 and $5 million), and that yesterday’s take was around $14.7 million for a so-far total of just under $20 million.
Warner Bros. will probably report a figure of just over $20 million, which obviously sounds flusher. (Since I wrote this earlier today, Variety‘s Ben Fritz went with a WB-supplied figure of $21 million.) The 7-day total (Tuesday, 6.7 through Tuesday, 7.4) is, I’m guessing, probably going to be around $100 to $110 million. Not drop-dead stratospheric but pretty good.Read More »
Slate asked a bunch of filmmakers to name the one film they’ve watched the most. Their special teddy-bear comfort film. I gotta hand it to Jake Kasdan for having the balls to admit that his teddy-bear film is Ghostbusters. I can’t decide on just one, but the list starts with Paths of Glory, closely followed by Lolita, Dr. Strangelove …you get the drift. Early Stanley Kubrick soothes like valium.Read More »
Douglas McGrath‘s Infamous, the “other” Truman Capote movie that Warner Independent is releasing on 10.13, is going to open the 63rd Venice International Film Festival on 8.31. But it’ll have to play Toronto too…right? It costars Toby Jones (Truman Capote), Sandra Bullock (Harper Lee), Daniel Craig (Perry Smith…really?), Lee Pace (Dick Hickock), Peter Bogdanovich, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Gwyneth Paltrow, Isabella Rossellini, Juliet Stevenson and Sigourney Weaver.Read More »
“The World Cup probably isn’t even on your radar, but on July 7th, two days before the final, Miramax is opening Once In A Lifetime , an incredibly entertaining documentary about the astonishing rise and fall of the New York Cosmos soccer team in the 1970s and ’80s. Founded on a whim by Time-Warner chairman Steve Ross and the Ertegun brothers, the Cosmos, for a too-brief period, boasted the talents of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto, three of the biggest stars in the world. And they were selling out games at 77,000 seat Giants Stadium. And stars like Mick Jagger visited the locker room. And the team members were welcomed as VIPs at Studio 54. And by 1985, only eight years after Pele retired, the team was defunct. And now two Brit documentarians,...Read More »
Good God…of course, of course! Rachel McAdams should have played Lois Lane in Superman Returns. Maybe Bryan Singer offered her the part and she passed or something got in the way. Given the reaction to Kate Bosworth so far, one imagines that Singer is probably wishing deep down he’d somehow gotten McAdams. Nothing on Google about this. Was she ever approached? She’s the friggin’ “it” girl. How could Singer not have wanted her?
The ’06 Toronto Film Festival, which kicks off two and a half months from now, is going to be a kind of old-home week for anyone who went to Cannes. Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu‘s widely-praised Babel will be screened there…great. Ditto Ray Lawrence‘s Jindabyne, Ken Loach‘s Palme d’Or-winning The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Andrea Arnold ‘s Red Road and Aki Kaurismaki‘s Lights in the Dusk. Hey…what about giving Richard Kelly another shot with a new cut of Southland Tales? And what about showing Sofia Coppola‘s Marie-Antoinette for another round of whatever happens? (I was going to type the words “deeply loathed” before the title, but then I remembered that some people, including French critic Michel Ciment, stood up for it.)Read More »