James Schamus‘s Indignation opened in four theaters this weekend. It earned $89,072 for an average of $22,268 per situation. In my 7.26 review I wrote that it’s worth seeing for a 16-minute argument/debate scene between Logan Lerman (as a Newark-born freshman at an Ohio college) and Tracey Letts (as the college dean). Here’s a Village Voice piece about the writing and filming of this scene. I called Indignation a “respectable, adult-friendly, nicely refined period drama (i.e., early ’50s) about values, academia, obstinacy, surprisingly good sex, Jews (in particular a tough Jewish mom) and — this is key — brutally cruel fates.” I explained that “the ending alienated me to no end.” Did anyone happen to catch it? If so, any thoughts about the third-act windup and the fates that envelop Lerman’s Marcus Messner and Sarah Gadon‘s Olivia Hutton?
Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Michael Fassbender, Aaron Paul, Jon Voight…nobody ranks higher on Hollywood Elsewhere’s shitlist that Zak Galifianakis. Going back to the first Hangover flick and with the exception of his good work in Birdman, I’ve consistently loathed and despised ZG’s man-diaper performances for too long a period. He’s played the same bearded, bipolar low-life in film after film. Which is why I’m grimacing at the thought of watching Jared Hess‘s Masterminds (Relativity,9.30). It obviously has a lively, top-drawer ensemble cast (Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Ken Marino, Jason Sudeikis, Kate McKinnon), and, yes, is based on a true story. But comedies about rural idiots are never, ever funny. Masterminds was originally slated to open on 8.19.15, but it got sucked into the vortex of Relativity’s financial implosion.
I’m sorry but Hollywood Elsewhere is as much of a sworn enemy of Park Chan Wook as I was of post-Snake Eyes Brian De Palma. I was respectful of Oldboy but then along came Stoker and that was it. I got off the boat. Last May’s Cannes viewing of The Handmaiden (Amazon, 10.14) wasn’t exactly torturous, but I knew going in it would a difficult sit, and it was that. I must have looked at my watch ten times.
Back in ’07 The Bourne Ultimatum‘s earned a first-weekend tally of $69 million. But apply the inflation calculator and that $69 million becomes a bit more than $80 million in 2016 dollars. The just-opened Jason Bourne brought in $60 million this weekend, which represents a 25% dip. The bottom line is that on top of quality issues, Ultimatum still rules by a significant box-office margin.
Everyone agreed that Ultimatum was a bull’s-eye thrill ride, and so it was no surprise that it wound up taking in $227.5 million domestic or a multiple of just over three. The word on Jason Bourne, by contrast, is that it’s reasonably good (certainly in terms of the Athens chase sequence) and no one’s idea of a burn, but not exactly an experience that will blow your socks off. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me you think Jason Bourne is going to achieve the same multiple as The Bourne Ultimatum. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that.
If Jason Bourne manages a standard three-multiple it will obviously end up in the domestic vicinity of $180 million, give or take. Not bad but not exactly legendary. Then again Jason Bourne‘s $60 million debut is $22 million more than the $38 million earned four years ago by Tony Gilroy‘s The Bourne Legacy. And the newbie did earn $50.1 million overseas, which Variety is calling the “biggest overseas debut in the history of the action franchise.”
Khizr Khan, the father of Cpt. Humayun Khan, a slain Muslim American combatant, again trashed Donald Trump and his intemperance and seeming anti-Muslim disdain. “He is a black soul, and this is totally unfit for the leadership of this country,” Khan said. “The love and affection that we have received affirms that our grief — that our experience in this country has been correct and positive. The world is receiving us like we have never seen. They have seen the blackness of his character, of his soul.”
A Japanese documentary team visited Steven Spielberg in the early fall of 1982, around the time he was shooting his “Kick The Can” segment for Twilight Zone: The Movie, which opened in the summer of ’83. This was absolute peak-era Spielberg, and he was only 35. Raiders of the Lost Ark was recent history, having opened 15 or 16 months earlier, and E.T. and Poltergeist had rocked the industry only three or four months before this moment. People thought Spielberg had magic blood back then. Even I thought so at the time. It would never get any better for the guy.
But those sunglasses! If Michelangelo Antonioni had happened along, he would have taken Spielberg aside and told him to throw them in the wastebasket. But that’s Spielberg for you — he’s always been kind of a dork from Arizona.
I nearly did a Sherry Netherland hotel interview with Spielberg in the middle of the E.T. hoohah, but the arrangements were being handled by Peggy Siegel, who at the time was a contentious figure in my journalistic life, and for some insect-antennae reason I was fearful that my time slot was being nudged aside. (At the time I was finishing up an Us magazine cover story about Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore.) So I called the hotel suite where it was supposed to happen and lo and behold, Spielberg answered. I should have just left a please-call message and said thanks, but I explained that I was slotted to speak with him and was wondering about the schedule, etc.
Siegel hit the roof (“How dare you violate protocol by talking to talent without my permission!”) and that was the end of that. She was right — I should have played by the rules.
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