a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Monday, December 01, 2008

And the Number One Movie is... Four Christmases. Sigh.

This is the problem with Hollywood.

I haven't seen Four Christmases, but it has gotten some of the most god-awful reviews of any major Hollywood movie that has come out for a long time.

And yet it made an estimated $46.7 million over its first 5 days.

Because, sadly, this is exactly the kind of movie Hollywood wants to make. High concept tales that can be described in a sentence, that seem fun, and that stars A-list actors who seem fun too.

The kind of movie where EVEN IF IT SUCKS it'll still make a lot of money.

Sadly, that's probably the best advice to give anyone who is looking to sell a screenplay: write a movie that's high concept actor bait, that will draw an audience even if it sucks.

Even if, at the end of the day, you might not actually want it on your resume.


TWILIGHT, BOLT and QUANTUM OF SOLACE finished 2-3-4 for the holiday weekend. AUSTRALIA only did about $20 million for the 5 days, while TRANSPORTER 3 did $18.5.


I ate a lot of my mother-in-law's turkey, did a little work, and pondered what I'm going to write next.

Then I wound up swapping with an ailing writer to bring 25 pages into group tonight, so I'll bring the almost-last chunk of my violent thriller in, and force two actors to read the sex scene.

Then I'm going to write something that my parents can actually go see.


At 10:14 AM, Blogger LHOOQtius ov Borg said...

That is exactly the problem with Hollywood. So, here's hoping the Indie film industry makes a comeback, not just on video and digital download services, but in theaters.

Bolt is also a family friendly film, and is much better than Four Christmases. It should have owned this weekend, but I guess the word "Christmas" in a title is an automatic boost.

Meanwhile, a truly great film like Slumdog Millionaire is playing in 49 theaters. It's a real shame.

At 10:55 AM, Anonymous LindaM said...

I think it shows how desperate audiences are for something that actually entertains. I mean, what else is out there (in wide distribution)?

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Scott. I guess we'll be forced to just paying good money for bad movies until your movies finally get made! Keep you chin up, we're pulling for you!

D.C. Gentry from Sunny Lake, WV

At 12:21 PM, Blogger James said...

The problem is deeper than you think --

This movie was described in Blake Snyder's How To Screenwrite book SAVE THE CAT! in 2002.

It had a seal of approval for mediocrity. It's a shame.

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if Hollywood would stop attaching 4+ writers on their high concept pics and go with the original writer's vision, maybe we would have better ones out there

At 5:54 PM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

WOW Moviequill, you honestly think 4 heads aren't better than one?! If that's the way you really feel, I think what you're really saying is DEVELOPEMENT is failing -- not the writers. Say you write something great, DEVELOPEMENT wants to tinker, THEY hire new writers for a FRESH TAKE. THUS the new writers have NO CHOICE but to write something new, probebly a little worse than the original. The replacement writer's motivation is to SHOW SOMETHING different. Their movivation is to justify getting paid. DEVELOPEMENT'S motivation is to justy their livilyhoods. Follow the $$, it isn't alway about putting the best story out there, and THAT's the real shame.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

P.S. Scott, writing something your family can see, AND is willing to help you with is SO MUCH more rewarding, then the alternative. Hope your next project ROCKS!!

At 7:48 PM, Blogger DDog said...


Who's to say the original writer doesn't have the best take? Over-development doesn't always equate to a better piece of material. You can only polish a turd so much, and Four Christmases was a healthy yule tide log of rank feces.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger LHOOQtius ov Borg said...

LindaMŁ In wide distribution right now is Bolt (which is actually good, believe it or not), Twilight (shrug), and Quantum of Solace (violent and, I thought, a bit dull).

I'm hoping that Fox is going to do their usual post-Oscars 1000+ print release bump, because Slumdog Millionaire should be a shoe-in for at least four nominations (Picture, Director, Actor, Screenplay). It probably won't get all of those nods, because it's not a fully English language film. But if it doesn't get at least one of those nominations, the Academy should just close down and all its members go teach Video 101 at some Community College or something..

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

I think Slumdog is going to be this year's sleeper-that-gets-a-lot-of-Oscar-nominations. And I haven't even seen it yet.

But it's the one movie that people keep loudly touting.

I think you'll see Slumdog expanding steadily over the next two months. I think it's part of the whole strategy (and a textbook example of this kind of thing) to let this word-of-mouth build, and then have the movie available in places where everyone is primed to see it.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Christian M. Howell said...

I'd have to say that it did well because there was nothing else out and Reese probably played well off Vince's "wow, I can't think of a description."

I can say that isaw the trailer for Bolt with Hancock and NO ONE responded. it only did as well as it did because of kids.

With the right parents though Four... could actually have a few good moments.

At 4:33 AM, Blogger Louis said...

Nice post thanks for share this post. Friend I like very much to watch Four Christmases movie. This movie is full of fun and very interesting.


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