May 18

Where does Marvel go next?

The guys at the @slashfilm /filmcast (with guests @GermainLussier and @jeffcannata) have just put up an incredible special podcast based purely on the Marvel Universe, and where they see it headed to in the future. 

I worked on every Marvel film when I was at Paramount, from Iron Man to Captain America, and there was always a directive coming from Marvel that it was leading to the next film and eventually THE AVENGERS. But never did they ever mention new properties post Avenging. Nothing after May 4 was set in stone. Yes, sequels were greenlit, but basically, everything they have done since IRON MAN was leading up to this point, the point in which they release THE AVENGERS. The point at which they make $1billion in 19 days and Hulk-smash every box office record to smithereens. 

But now what?

Well the /film guys have some pretty fuckin swell ideas. And holy shit, I had no idea there were so many paths which Marvel Studios could veer down…

They cover Thanos, The Infinity Gauntlet, Guardians of the Galaxy, Adam Warlock, The Winter Soldier, Ant man/Giant Man, Dr Strange, then all the villains which could potentially be looked upon to get all up in the grillz of our soops in Thor 2, Iron Man 3, Cap 2 and even some discussion on the “other” Marvel properties like X-Men, Spiderman and Fantastic Four. 

I tell you what, it’s a good time to be invested in Marvel, I can’t wait to see what they’ve got coming next. I hope it’s something a bit different and challenging. A few more passion projects. They’re like Matt Damon at the end of ROUNDERS, they’ve picked the public’s tell, now fuck with them a bit and go all in for Avengers 2. 

May 17

JUST WATCHED: Bottle Rocket

In the lead up to MOONRISE KINGDOM I was hoping to watch all of Wes Anderson’s wonderful films in chronological order. So number #1 on the list was of course BOTTLE ROCKET. 

WA is one of my favourite filmmakers, and I’ve seen all of the Wes catalogue except this one. Always meant to watch it, but it’s not as commonly available as others. Then I noticed it sitting there silently waiting on yesterday. Hooray for on-demand!

And I really, really liked it. It was very cute (which I think is true of most of his films) and had an originality to the way in which the plot progressed that made it very endearing. It especially gave me new found respect for the Wilson brothers (Owen & Luke, less so with Andrew) who had always sat on a big over-the-top throne of mainstream comedy as far as I was concerned (I know that’s not true, but that was just my perception). They were both super funny in this, and a lot of the time subtly so. I didn’t know they had that sort of restraint in them! But not only that, I actually liked both their characters, which I defs can’t say about every role they’ve played. 

It kinda felt like it didn’t have as much of a Wes fingerprint on it as his later stuff. The writing was completely off-beat and Wes. I’m more talking visually as a director. It was there a bit (e.g. cutting to close-ups of random objects to give a visual explanation of someone or something) but it didn’t seem like he was completely confident in his Wes-like way of doing things yet, like he was still shaking off some of the influence he had been given from others. 

But to see how the Wilsons and Mr Anderson started out together like this was so very cool, and made me want to sit down with some buddies, write and direct a short, and send it to James L Brooks (cos that’s pretty much how BOTTLE ROCKET got made from a short into a feature in 1996). 

So, um, does anyone know where I can get a yellow jumpsuit?

May 16

Cannes Film Market Crazy Posters

THR just put up an awesome gallery of sales posters from the Cannes Film Market, where sales agents try to flog their random, often Z-grade, films to distributors in other territories. 

These are my two faves:

Wood you go see this?

double-tappy christmas

ANCHORMAN 2 teaser poster

I love #Anchorman2 updates and scotch. 

Hey Anchorman 2, when this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together. 

Digital VS 35mm

I’ve been catching up on some Podcasts, and I just listened to an oldish /Filmcast (obviously from the guys at /Film, great job guys) which largely centered around the issue of digital vs 35mm, or more accurately the transition from 35mm to digital, and how it’s is going to affect the industry. 

One thing for certain we can agree on, is that it’s going to affect the industry: fuckin heaps. In five years time cinema operations will be completely different.

There are a lot of traditionalists and people who just like the grainy 35mm look for nostalgic reasons and fair enough, each to their own. There will be a niche around forever, just like 16mm or super 8…

But the argument, in any way shape or form, that digital is going to cost the independent exhibition industry more in the long run I believe is completely wrong. It certainly has the potential to do so, and some maybe many cinemas will close because of it, but that is totally up to the way the theatre owners handle it.

Back in Australia when I was working in distribution, throughout the post-Avatar period, when digital cinema conversion went up about 20 notches, and I observed two ways in which the indie exhibitors handled their businesses:

  1. They transferred all their 35mm operation structures to the running of digital cinemas i.e. nothing in the day-to-day cinema operations really changed except the materials they were screening off.
  2. They completely changed the way their cinema(s) operated to best work with the new opportunities associated with digital exhibition (and I’ll just lightly add that most of these cinemas had someone young in management).

Then as the months progressed, those who were in category (1) would be constantly on the phone to us complaining about how there were so many extra costs associated with digital and that they would never make back the outlay associated with the installation (which FYI costs around $100k per auditorium, not cheap for an independent cinema).

And what was category (2) doing? They were constantly on the phone to us excitedly bragging about how fantastic their digital was, and how the operation costs were so much lower thanks to the way in which their digital cinemas are programmed. Also, that they would have paid off the outlay associated with the installation in a few years, and not only that, because of the smooth running of their business now, they were able to concentrate more on other areas of the business such as marketing and were starting to get more people through the doors.

It was a really sad thing to witness, as most of the guys who fit into category (1) had been running their cinemas the same way for 20 and 30 years and were set in their ways (and I’ll just lightly add that most of these cinemas had only old people in management…), they didn’t know how to completely turn things on their head, and didn’t think they needed to. It was just a change in film material to them. And obviously there is such tension between distribution and independent exhibition that you just don’t tell them how to run their business. You don’t go there. It’s a no go zone.

Independent Theatres have to realize themselves that it’s back to the drawing board once you install digital. Rewind and start again. Don’t listen to these industry veterans complaining cos they know fuck all. How could they? It’s a completely new technology! Embrace this new technology and you’ll end up realizing all these fantastic opportunities that weren’t there before. You may need to step back and look at the bigger picture a bit, but once it comes into focus the possibilities are pretty fuckin exciting.

And if any indie cinemas think they’re going to change anything they’re completely wrong. The studios are going to make this happen with or without them. It’s just simple maths. The guys in the /Filmcast touched on it:

  • 35mm prints cost $2000 per screen,
  • Digital hard drives cost $200 per 10 or 20 screens.

So based on that studio accountants will look at their books and say (if they haven’t already), “we need to minimize supply of 35mm prints wherever possible”. And, in turn, that will filter down into the 35mm print labs who will start to charge more for print production to make back on costs, and then the studios accountants will see THAT and just say “we need to stop the supply of 35mm prints” and BOOM! No more 35mm.

Now projections are saying this will happen in 3 years time, but I believe this is already in the works…  And it will snowball so fast, just like the digital installation did, and I believe it could happen in a lot of territories by the end of 2012. And if the USA is included in that then say goodbye, 35mm…

Look at it like this: 35mm is an old rich nursing home patient, digital cinema is the film estate, and the studios are the money-grabbing relatives… As soon as that patient goes into a coma, the money-grabbing relatives will be falling over themselves to pull the plug. 

May 15

Sorkin to write STEVE JOBS for Sony

And BOOM, I’m immediately very excited.

THR just broke that Aaron Sorkin has been hired to write the screenplay adaptation for Walter Isaacson’s biography, STEVE JOBS (I bet you can’t guess what it’s about), which was a best seller last year, and to which Sony Pictures has the rights to.

Two of my favourite films from the last 2 years were MONEYBALL and THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and that was in no small part due to the incredible scripts from old Sorkin the wordsmith. He has a certain way in which he paces story, dialogue and conversation that is so pleasantly calming yet breathtakingly captivating, I can only imagine what he will do with the story of someone so interesting.

Yeah yeah, there’s another more Kutcherish film coming out on exactly the same topic called JOBS, but who cares? I’m gonna bet Sorkin’s will be CAPOTE, and Kutcher’s a little more INFAMOUS…

And I think I’m gonna go all in on A-Sork getting an Academy Award nomination for “Best Adapted Screenplay” in January 2014.

Great Jobs, Sony (*high five*)

This is the trailer for Actor Dax Shepard’s first feature (I’m not going to include BROTHER’S JUSTICE, I’m sure he doesn’t either…) as writer/director. 

Let’s just say if I was an actor, I don’t think I’d employ Dax or his agent to choose my projects, cos he’s been in some pretty terrible films… But, in this, Dax looks OK… The stunts look a bit better than OK. The driving looks pretty good. AND his friends aka co-stars look great. And the writing kinda looks funny/clever and reminds me of stuff like low budget mid-range comedies that surprise like SEX DRIVE and ROLE MODELS. And a couple of the gags at the end actually made me laugh out loud. 

Not sure if this is being shopped at Cannes (I assume that’s why the trailer’s been released) but if it is I would certainly push for a buy in western markets if given the right price, not too much, but I reckon it would make some nice ancillary dollars if given the chance. 

JUST LISTENED: Motion Captured Podcast

Drew McWeeny (@DrewAtHitFix) writer/editor of my favourite film blog Motion Captured over at has just started up his podcasts again with friend and film-loving colleague Scott Swan. 

Amongst much interesting movie chatter is a great game of Movie God which has me stumped; American Werewolf in London vs Pulp FIction. Boom. I can’t decide… I’d rather shoot myself in the ankle bone. 

Can wait for more MCP’s. 


I did say earlier in the week that I thought THE DICTATOR might struggle to get the Box Office it’s aiming for this weekend… 

However, I’m thinking it just added a couple of $Mill purely from this tweet from the official Ron Burgundy twitter account @RonBurgundy:

"Dont get Twirter. Anchorman2 teaser w Dictator tom night. Dont know what a teaser is. World is crazy? Having a scotch."

I’m certainly a lot more keen to go see SBC’s latest over-the-top character now that I’ve heard that, straight from the scotch-drinking horse’s mouth, and I’m sure others are very much in the same boat. 

high five, Paramount. 

I’m also excited to follow this twitter account as ANCHORMAN 2 moves into production in the coming months. 

Stay Classy, Tumblr

May 14

BOX OFFICE: John Carter gets Avenged

The incredible, massive, record-breaking, psychotic box office of THE AVENGERS is so heroic that it’s even dribbled into other less impressive Disney titles. 

You may or may not have noticed (probably not, cos, who cares really) that JOHN CARTER was ranked #38 for the week of April 27 with $112k, but then when THE AVENGERS opened on May 4 it shot back up to #12 with $1.5mill! That’s a 1223% increase. And then grossed another 700k this weekend.

"Dub-tee-eff?!" I hear you say…

Well, THR pointed out that it’s because of the frickin drive-ins! Of course!

If you’ve ever been to a drive-in you know that they usually screen a double feature, and the support title which screens after the main feature is usually something from the same distributor which came out a short while before (because of course, the distributor doesn’t want to give box office to someone else’s film, the reasons which are proven by this post). And as Disney’s last film was JC, JC gets the supplementary bank from the drive-ins screening AVENGERS… And some substantial bank too, based on the reporting.

However, based on my distrib-experience, support titles generally only get a 10-40% split of the bottom line profit figure… So, if Johnny Boy and Team Avenge end up making, say, $3mill at the drive-ins, the studio will take roughly $1.6mill of that, then J-Carts will take a maximum $600k from the studio cut, probably more like $500k…. 

But still, that means Disney’s loss on JOHN CARTER will now only be about $199.5mill instead of the original $200mill. Hooray!

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