GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

NY Times Article - Middle-Size Movie and Fall Releases

POSTED BY: DIETCOKE
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 05:04
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Friday, January 21, 2005 4:25 AM

DIETCOKE


Today there is an article in the NY Times art section about middle-size movies and fall releases. It explains that midsize movies are becoming more profitable for studios than their big blockbusters that spend all the profits on advertising. It's a long article but it mentions two other fall released films that gain critical recognition along with excellent box office returns....


"Lost in Translation," with its combination of originality and accessibility, its deft mixture of old-fashioned emotion and postmodern cool and its canny cross-generational appeal, may be the paradigmatic middle-size movie. Released in fall 2003, before the crush of holiday award-seekers, it was propelled through the awards season by critical enthusiasm and word of mouth, a pattern that is being repeated this year by "Sideways," from Fox Searchlight, which won a Golden Globe for best motion picture (comedy or musical) on Sunday and which is likely to add a handful Oscar nominations to its long list of accolades.

Fall could be a very good spot for BDH!





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Saturday, January 22, 2005 1:19 PM

MISGUIDED BY VOICES


Quote:

Originally posted by dietcoke:
Today there is an article in the NY Times art section about middle-size movies and fall releases. It explains that midsize movies are becoming more profitable for studios than their big blockbusters that spend all the profits on advertising. It's a long article but it mentions two other fall released films that gain critical recognition along with excellent box office returns....



Whilst Firefly doesn't quite fall into the same slot as Lost in Translation and Sideways, I agree whole-heartedly.

Limiting this to SF/Fantasy movies though:

We've hit another brick wall in special effects - since jumping that hurdle in T2 and then Jurassic Park, they've been refined, but we are now at the point where a TV budget (cf B5, Farscape, what I understand of Galactica, even Smallville) can do "realistic" effects. The reason we still get ropey effects in big budget movies (and shouldn't in Serenity, especially given the push back) is the curse of the "tent pole" release.

They tell us a year to two years in advance the date they are releasing the movie on, and then the write and re-write the script as they film. The effects aren't ready for the debut, so they farm them out expensively to other studios.

With proper planning and forethought, many of these films could be done better, or as well, for "only" $30 million. Add another $20 mill or so for marketing, and over the life of the film (which these days is measure more and more on DVD sales) its not too hard to make a profit if it finds even a small audience.

Look at the more recent Trek movies - they were spiralling up in budget (mainly due to salary issues I think) and finding it tougher and tougher to make a profit (though I think even the last movie probably did okay when the DVD sales come into it). If Serenity makes $18 million on its opening weekend, that wouldn't be too bad (as long as it kept its legs for week 2), whereas with Nemesis the same figure was a major failure.

This year, the obvious examples will be War of the Worlds and Fantastic 4 (which I'm sticking my neck out and predicting last minute re-shoots and effects additions to) - WotW probably needs to make $4-500 million worldwide before it starts making a reasonable profit for the studio - particularly if Spielberg and Cruise are taking significant gross points (another reason why the mid-sized movie without major stars is a plus).

Sorry for the length of the response - it kind of got away from me!

"I threw up on your bed"

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Saturday, January 22, 2005 2:35 PM

REGINAROADIE


See, when I heard that SERENTIY was being delayed from a late spring to a fall release, I was pissed for having to wait longer, but I was also glad of it's position.

This is going to be a big year for sci-fi fans. First, it's HITCHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, then STAR WARS: EPISODE 3-REVENGE OF THE SITH and then WAR OF THE WORLDS, not to mention two eagerly anticipated comic book films (BATMAN BEGINS and FANTASTIC FOUR) as well as the usual big summer movies. Very few April releases stay on that long once the summer season starts up. But with Sept rolling around, SERENITY will be the grand finale. The encore to a great year for fantasy/sci-fi fans. Who knows. Maybe it'll be a movie at the Toronto International Film Festival, which'll give it a huge boost in publicity.

As for budgets and such, I was always mystified by the idea that a bigger budget will equal bigger profits. Isn't the point of spending money on a movie is to make it as cheap and efficient as possible so that it's easier to make a profit? Why blow a quarter of your $100 million budget on one person's salary? Hollywood can learn a thing or two from indie filmmakers and producers when it comes to budgeting. Corman may have been a hack, but at least he knew the economics of filmmaking.

I find it funny that a piece of shit like VAN HELSING cost $147 million to make and tanks, losing any chance of making a profit from it, but an awesome, generation defining movie like Garden STATE only cost $2.5 million to make and made ten time that amount back.

"NO HAI ES BANDAI. THERE IS....NO.....BAND. AND YET....WE HEAR A BAND."

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Sunday, January 23, 2005 11:37 AM

MISGUIDED BY VOICES


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
Why blow a quarter of your $100 million budget on one person's salary? Hollywood can learn a thing or two from indie filmmakers and producers when it comes to budgeting. Corman may have been a hack, but at least he knew the economics of filmmaking.



I agree - $20 million buys a lot of effects or indeed, in any other type of film, either more shots/locations - or just $20 mill off the "profit line".

Save maybe Cruise, I'm not certain that any of the present $20 mill club are genuinely bringing the business to the cinemas.

"I threw up on your bed"

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Monday, January 24, 2005 5:36 AM

KNIBBLET


I can see where paying Tom Cruise $20 million would have worked for Peter Jackson - he could have saved a bundle on special effects and makeup.

I've always thought of Tom Cruise as an unattractive Hobbit. Why is he ever hired for anything?

"Just keep walkin, preacher man."

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Monday, January 24, 2005 5:55 AM

MAUGWAI


Quote:

Originally posted by Knibblet:
I can see where paying Tom Cruise $20 million would have worked for Peter Jackson - he could have saved a bundle on special effects and makeup.

I've always thought of Tom Cruise as an unattractive Hobbit. Why is he ever hired for anything?

"Just keep walkin, preacher man."



Because not only is he incredibly talented - watch Magnolia if you don't believe that - but he also has an extremely positive attitude toward his job. Jamie Fox said he showed up to the set of Collateral all excited and leaned forward in the cab at one point and said, "Isn't this awesome! We're making a movie!" and the guy's been doing this all his life.

Plus, there's that amazing smile. He's tiny, sure, but knows how to light up a room. I was only planning on watching the other, more authentic War of the Worlds that will be out a couple of months before the Cruise version, but since Cruise is in this one I'll go see it as well.



"Dear diary, today I was pompous and my sister was crazy."

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Monday, January 24, 2005 7:44 AM

RAPTOR


Quote:

Originally posted by maugwai:
Plus, there's that amazing smile. He's tiny, sure, but knows how to light up a room. I was only planning on watching the other, more authentic War of the Worlds that will be out a couple of months before the Cruise version, but since Cruise is in this one I'll go see it as well.



wait wait wait, i never heard of either, can you explain? please?

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Monday, January 24, 2005 7:44 AM

RAPTOR


Quote:

Originally posted by maugwai:
Plus, there's that amazing smile. He's tiny, sure, but knows how to light up a room. I was only planning on watching the other, more authentic War of the Worlds that will be out a couple of months before the Cruise version, but since Cruise is in this one I'll go see it as well.



wait wait wait, i never heard of either, can you explain? please?

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005 11:06 AM

MAUGWAI


Quote:

Originally posted by Raptor:
Quote:

Originally posted by maugwai:
I was only planning on watching the other, more authentic War of the Worlds that will be out a couple of months before the Cruise version, but since Cruise is in this one I'll go see it as well.



wait wait wait, i never heard of either, can you explain? please?



Relative Newcomer Timothy Hines will direct a version of War of the Worlds that is authentic to the novel. It's got a mostly unheard of cast, but it is not modernized like the Cruise version, which will be directed by Steven Spielberg and comes out about 3 months after the other one.



"Dear diary, today I was pompous and my sister was crazy."

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005 12:04 AM

YT

the movie is not the Series. Only the facts have been changed, to irritate the innocent; the names of the actors and characters remain the same


Quote:

Originally posted by Knibblet:
I've always thought of Tom Cruise as an unattractive Hobbit. Why is he ever hired for anything?


Few stars are; more often they are written for. A character is conceived with a particular star in mind and, if they agree to do the part, the script is written for them. Actors, people like Ben Kingsley, Bob Hoskins or Christopher Walken, are hired. Bruce Willis can have it both ways (& has, according to the news media in my supermarket checkout line).

Keep the Shiny Side Up

Wutzon: Nuthin' @the mo'. It's 2am

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005 1:19 AM

NICOLACLARKE


Re: The Other War of the Worlds

Oh yes! There was an interview with the guy responsible in last month's SFX magazine, plus some stills from the film that make it look very cool... beautiful 'period' visuals. I hope it gets a reasonably wide release, and isn't just written-off by the witless as an attempt to cash-in on the Cruise/Spielberg version.

/ pure intentions, juxtaposed /

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005 5:04 AM

KNIBBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by NicolaClarke:
...I hope it gets a reasonably wide release, and isn't just written-off by the witless as an attempt to cash-in on the Cruise/Spielberg version.


Would these be the same witless who wouldn't understand the history of the story and its many incarnations?
They've probably never read a book.
Their exposure to radio is limited to Britney Spears and they've never heard of Orson Wells.
The Gene Barry 1950's movie was okay for it's time but the helpless leading lady figure grinds me to the bone.
TV didn't treat the story much better (except for the lovely Adrian Paul being in the second season).
They're no loss. Sure, their money is lost - but they're witless and do you really want them in your fanbase?
My favorite version is Jeff Wayne's musical (narrated by Richard Burton). It's fabulous and I can't recommend it highly enough. Type "jeff wayne war worlds" in amazon and it will bring you to a page of sources.

"Just keep walkin, preacher man."

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