News from May 30, 2001

Brother, Can You Spare $25M?

In all the fucking poo-pooing for Pearl Harbor not grossing seven hundred billion dollars this past weekend, very few people have noticed that this past weekend became the biggest weekend ever for movies. With the top two films combining for nearly $130M in ticket sales, this past weekend beat be the previous record holder, last Memorial Day weekend, by about $5M in ticket sales.

And how ironic is it that most people actually consider Pearl Harbor to be a bomb. What kind of world do we live in where a three hour long film can gross $75M in a four day period and people can somehow be disappointed? In all of recorded film history, there are only a few hundreds titles which have even grossed $75M in their entire run, yet this is disappointing?

A few years ago, Terry Gilliam directed 12 Monkeys, an intelligent sci-fi film with arguably two of the hottest male stars at the time, Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis. In four months, the film took in $57M and earned Brad Pitt a much-deserved Oscar nomination. Do you think Terry Gilliam would be disappointed if his film “only” opened to $75Mr Well, okay, Gilliam might, because if he ever made a film accessible to the masses, something is very wrong.

But that brings me to a point here. From Monty Python’s Meaning of Life to Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, Gilliam films have a combined gross of $139M. In 18 years. Or roughly what Armageddon grossed in its first 23 days.

Let’s get something straight here: Hype is nothing more than a bunch of lackeys trying to get more press for their product. If you honestly thought Pearl Harbor was going to gross $100M this past weekend, you are a fucking lemming. No film has ever grossed $100M in four days. Not Titanic. Not The Phantom Menace. Nothing. In fact, in its Fri-Mon four day Memorial Day weekend run, The Phantom Menace brought in $75.4M. An hour shorter and playing in a few hundred less theatres, but still about the same as Pearl Harbor. Mission: Impossible 2 last year brought in $70.8M in its Fri-Mon four day Memorial Day weekend run, an hour shorter AND playing in a few hundred more theatres.

So let’s get this shit on the right path. Pearl Harbor had a great opening weekend. You will never make a movie that earns 1/100th that much. Hell, you’ll never even make a movie, so what the hell are you complaining aboutr Shut your fucking piehole, do your duty for King Rat and go see Pearl Harbor already!

Another Development Slot Filled With A Stupid Idea That Will Never Be Made

On Friday, former Warner Brother big shot Mark Canton splurged over a million dollars on Dating Nick McBride by Amy Brooke Baker and Peter Osterlund. This is Baker and Osterlund’s fourth screenplay to sell in Hollywood in the past two years. Never heard of themr That’s okay. None of their scripts have been made into movies yet, even though they have been bought by the likes of Denise DiNovi and Barry Levinson & Paula Weinstein. So what’s worth more than a million dollars in Hollywood todayr An reclusive woman must impersonate her TV star twin sister. Get thee Julia Roberts on the phone!

When Is A Teen Movie NOT A TEEN MOVIEr

You got me. Columbia is quietly moving ahead with Not A Teen Movie. The million dollar script formerly known as Ten Things I Hate About Clueless Roadtrips When I Can’t Hardly Wait to Be Kissed couldn’t nab the big stars of Scary Movie 2, the sequel to the film whose script was a combination of Last Summer I Screamed Because Halloween Fell On Friday The 13th and Scream If You Know What I Did Last Halloween, or the lesser stars of American Pie 2, the sequel to the film formerly known as The Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You Will Love. On this one, Lacey Chabert, Jaime Pressly and Mia Kirshner are the big names in the spoof of teen comedies.

Please, hold your enthusiasm.

How Does This Happen In Such A Civilized Countryr

Gary K. Wolf, author of the novel which introduced the world to Roger Rabbit, has sued Disney to get a look at the accounting for all things related to the 1988 Robert Zemeckis-directed blockbuster, merchandising and spinoffs. But get this… he’s not asking for a monetary dollar amount. He just wants to see the books so he can see how and where the money was spent. Will someone please call this guy and tell him how we litigate in America already!

Is James Brown On Vacation Or Somethingr

Or maybe Jackie Chan has realized his time as the world’s top movie star is limited. In just the past few weeks alone:

  • Chan has agreed to star in Dreamworks’ The Tuxedo (Chan as a limo driver whose dons his murdered boss’s gadget filled tuxedo and seeks out the killers), which is already scheduled to open March 22, 2002

  • MGM/UA is negotiating to pick up Nosebleed (Chan as a World Trade Center window washer who discovers a plot to blow up the towers) from New Line

  • Plans have been announced for Chan to work on the two biggest Hong Kong productions ever made: a $78M adaptation of The Art of War, based on the 2,000 year old writings of Sun Tzu, and Highbinders, a $35M actioner about an immigration officer killed in the line of duty who is resurrected with supernatural powers. Highbinders is scheduled to begin July 16 in Hong Kong and Ireland, and will feature long time friend and co-star Sammo Hung as the director of the action sequences.

And just for shits and giggles, Chan will be a presenter at the MTV Movie Awards next Thursday.