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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekend Box Office #145

I need to get to the movies sometime this weekend, I'm falling behind.

ALIENS IN THE ATTIC (3106 theaters). I haven't seem much advertising for this, though that's probably because I'm not watching the TV shows that their demographic watches. Should do something, though it's hard to imagine it'll really click. Prediction: $15.6 million for the weekend.

FUNNY PEOPLE (3008 theaters). I'm a Judd Apatow fan, but this is getting some mixed reviews, while at 2 hours 25 minutes it's also rather long. Still, it's on my short list, and it should have a solid weekend. $33.5 million.

THE COLLECTOR (1325 theaters). I saw a commercial for this last night, and I'm still not sure what it's about. $4.1 million.

Also, THE HURT LOCKER and (500) DAYS OF SUMMER are both continuing to expand. Both are also on my short list.


Last weekend, G-FORCE made $31.7 million, better than I thought, though I think it'll drop fast.

THE UGLY TRUTH made a fairly-shocking $27.6 million. Apparently Katherine Heigl is a movie star, and there is still life in romantic comedies.

ORPHAN made $12.8 million, and will likely sink like a stone.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just Got Some Nicholl Fellowship Love...

Just learned my script made the quarterfinal round. Top 321 of 6398.

Except for a nip here and a tuck there, it's the same script that semi'd three years ago (which was the only other time I entered the Nicholl). But given the stories of scripts getting very different results in very different years, I wasn't taking anything for granted.

Best wishes to those of you who made the cut as well, and to those who didn't, I'm sure you should have :-)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weekend Box Office #144

An underwhelming weekend, at least for wide-release movies:

G-FORCE (3697 theaters). This looks like it is skewing very young, and I'm not sure how much adult appeal there is to it at all. Call it $24.5 million for the weekend, though it could do a lot more or less.

THE UGLY TRUTH (2882 theaters). Reviews don't seem to be very solid, while the film doesn't seem to have much of a hook, and the leads aren't really draws in a vacuum. Call it $9.5 million.

ORPHAN (2750 theaters). I heard what the twist is, and it made me roll my eyes (no spoilers for those who might actually drag their butts out to see it). It'll probably do well enough. $15.5 million.


Last weekend, HARRY POTTER 6 did $77.8 million, for $158 million in its first 5 days. Not bad, but not huge huge huge.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekend Box Office #143

And then there was Potter.

I've seen the first 4 movies, missed #5, though I borrowed it from my sister-in-law (like a year ago, but who's counting).

I'm still trying to figure out if I should watch all 5 again, before going to see 6, or just the last couple, or save it all for some future marathon when the series is done and I have the time and inclination.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (4325 theaters). This made $58 million on Wednesday (counting midnight sneaks from the night before) and it should continue to roll this weekend. Figure a good $125 million or so for the three days.


Last weekend, BRUNO made $30.6 million after all. Be interesting to see how it holds up.

I LOVE BETH COOPER did only $4.9 million.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Visual Commerciality

This could even dovetail with the Michael Bay conversation, I'm not sure.

I just read an interesting quote about the new Harry Potter movie. Apparently director David Yates and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel's first cut of the film used a funky, bold unusual color scheme that Daniel Radcliffe calls "surreal".

But Warner Brothers didn't like it, and Yates and Delbonnel recolored the film to make it much more straightforward.

Yates states "We'd done a few wacky things originally, and in fairness to the studio, they are very sophisticated in their artistic sensibilities, but they do have to be very aware of what works in the marketplace".

Apparently Joe Sixpack doesn't like his Harry Potter movies surreal.

Good thing, bad thing? At what point should commercial concerns override the director's vision?

And who wishes they could see the original cut?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Boring Main Characters

So I just read a vampire script in which the vampire was really a very dull, passive character, who we really weren't made to care about at all; he wasn't sympathetic, he wasn't really evil. He just was, and he didn't do all that much along the way.

I guess maybe the writers were going for a banality-of-evil kind of thing, but it just didn't work.

It got me thinking, though -- are there any good examples of movies like this that work even though the main character is sort of a bland hole in the center of the script? Or does this so violate how to tell an involving story that it's the kiss of death?

Discuss --

Monday, July 13, 2009

Michael Bay Is A Golden God, And I Can't Wait To See What He Directs Next

Not really.

Just wanted to throw up a new post, before the comments section below collapses under its own weight.

But maybe it's time to respin it, into a new talking point: there's no denying that Transformers 2 has made a buttload of money. How much of it is due to its direction, or is it all marketing?

Is there an under-respected section of the populace that actually likes this movie a lot, justifying its creation and making Michael Bay a respectable director? Or is it the kind of mediocre-enough dumb fun that too many people are willing to settle for?

Does it take a special skill set to have made a $400 million (inevitably) Transformers sequel, or could even someone as dubious as McG have done the same thing?

And as writers, are there lessons to be learned here, or should it just make us shake our heads in dumbfoundedness?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Weekend Box Office #142

This weekend in the cinemaplex:

BRUNO (2755 theaters). I've read predictions that this is going to make a ton of money (like $30-$40 million-plus opening weekend), and somehow I don't think it's going to do that well. The problem with the way they are selling this -- as another Borat -- is that I think people sort of got tired of Borat, while this doesn't seem like anywhere near as interesting a character. The reviews are solid, and it benefits from nothing else really opening this weekend, but I'm going to say that it may have trouble breaking $20 million for the weekend. Call it $18.2 million.

I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER (1858 theaters). I haven't really sensed the big hook that is going to yank in teen audiences. $6.4 million.


Last weekend, ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS made $41.7 million. PUBLIC ENEMIES did $25.2 million. Both should hold pretty well this weekend; I wouldn't be surprised if ICE AGE, which narrowly finished second to TRANSFORMERS last weekend, won the weekend.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In Quest of Intelligent Conversation

Being that the last comment section has de-evolved into sniping, I figured I'd start another post, and try to spark some intelligent conversation.


I find myself at the point of my writing where I want to sell something. But if I feel my current project isn't amazing and commercial, should I abandon it in favor of something else? Is it about writing something that you want to write, or looking for something that might have more commercial potential?


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Weekend Box Office #141

Oops. This Friday prediction post is late, for the first week in a long while.

Blame it on the holiday weekend. My wife was off from work yesterday, and that made it seem like a Saturday.

Blame it on a weird week too. I've been wrestling with a medical issue for about a month, since a "mass" was discovered in my liver. Mass is a really scary word; so is "biopsy", which I had last Tuesday. They stuck a long needle into my chest, and scraped out some cells.

The news is great -- it's non-cancerous. A load off my back, after 4 uncertain weeks in which I threw myself into my work to distract myself, and didn't write a word of my own stuff.

Now it's time to return to the business of screenwriting.

This weekend (and even though it's Saturday morning, I haven't peeked yet, though I am aware of how things opened on Wednesday).

ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (4099 theaters). Opening on a Wednesday will lower the weekend grosses a bit, as will the fact that this skews a lot younger than something like UP. Figure about $48.1 million for the three-day weekend.

PUBLIC ENEMIES (3334 theaters). They haven't done a very good job selling this to me, while reviews have only been okay. Figure about $26.7 million for the weekend.


TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN made $109 million over the three days last weekend.

MY SISTER'S KEEPER did $12.4 million.