The Breakup (Universal, 6.2), Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston‘s romantic discord comedy, isn’t tracking. With only twelve days to go before opening, that means the game is pretty much over. Definite interest is at 30, 1st choice is 5…it’s finished. I’m told that while audiences enjoy Vaughn in an off-the-wall mode, they don’t want to see him in semi-romantic parts. This is bad news for Aniston also because now she’s 0 for 4 — Derailed, Rumor Has It , Friends with Money and now this thing. She’s all but kaput as a big-screen, big-bucks player. She’s not particularly sexy, not perky, not a gifted comedienne…and she always seems to play parts in an introspective, low-energy way. I’m not deriving any joy from saying this, but Aniston is probably one or two steps away from competing with Helen Hunt for HBO roles.
Tracking on John Moore‘s The Omen (20th Century Fox, 6.6) is in the toilet. Definite interest is 19, definitely not interested is 18, and first choice is 2. It didn’t cost very much to make so it won’t be a bringer of financial doom if it doesn’t fly, but that 18% definitely not interested figure basically means forget it. Why? My guesses are that (a) audiences have seen the Richard Donner ’70s version on TV and don’t want to see it again, (b) they’ve seen the DVD of same, (c) Liev Schrieber doesn’t sell tickets and isn’t Gregory Peck (besides the fact that it’s hard to believe in Schreiber as a U.S. ambassador to Great Britain under any circumstances), (d) Julia Styles isn’t Lee Remick and (e) devil movies were all the rage in the ’70s, but are over now (as producers of last year’s Exorcist prequel will probably testify).
The DaVinci Code earned a hefty $28.6 million on Friday , and a rival studio (i.e., not Columbia, the domestic distributor) is projecting a $78,790,000 weekend. The question is what it will do on weekend #2 and #3, especially with X-Men 3: The Last Stand expected to go through the roof when it opens next Friday. Brett Ratner’s sequel is going to make over $100 million over the 4-day Memorial Day weekend . (A recent tracking report had general awareness at 89, definite interest at 56 and first choice at 23. By the time next weekend rolls around the first choice figure for X-Men 3 will likely be up to 40.) Mission: Impossible III did $3.3 million on Friday and will only do about $10.9 million for the weekend, which means it’ll be a push to $120 million. M:I:3 may do okay with foreign revenue and everything else factored in, but that’s not much of a domestic haul for a film of this size. Over the Hedge is expected to do about $38,200,000 for the weekend. Poseidon is off 57% this weekend, with a projected $9,500,000. It cost $160 million to make, and it may earn a bit less than $50 million before leaving the domestic arena.
The Inconvenient Truth press conference in Cannes’ Grand Palais ended at 5:30 pm, or about an hour ago. The question-receivers, naturally, were Al Gore, director Davis Guggenheim, producer Laurie David, producer Lawrence Bender and two others whose names I can’t remember.
Some highlights: (a) As things began moderator Henri Behar asked Gore how he should be addressed, and Gore replied, “Your Adequacy“; (b) Gore said he has no plans to run for President in 2008 (“I can’t foresee any circumstances that would lead me to run,” etc.), and that the whole running-for-office phase on his life is essentially over; (c) As far as dealing with global warming in a meaningful way, much less recognizing the scope of the problem, Gore allowed that some senior officials making decisions on behalf of the United States live in “a bubble of unreality” but “the people are always way ahead of the politicians on this issue”; (d) In a reference to Katrina and other domestic ecological disasters that are likely to result from global warming, Gore said that “even Bush and Cheney will eventually be forced to change their views“, adding that “nature is a very persuasive force”; (e) After a journalist made a humorous reference to the Keifer Sutherland series 24, Gore said, “I think it was this season that the President [of the U.S.] on 24 turned out to be a real villain…right?” He then stroked his chin Sherlock Holmes-style and went, “Hmmmm”; (e) I asked whether he thinks Hilary Clinton has been a sufficiently active eco-friendly legislator as a U.S. Senator and whether he could name any eco-friendly potential candidates that he personally approves of in terms of their legislative record on global warming issues, Gore said, “This is going to frustrate you but I think it’s too early to get into the 2008 Presidential race…right now I would rather focus on a local level for the fall elections.”
“You studio assholes have been lording it over us all this time and we licked your backsides, but [now we] are in the most insecure media job market in decades while you drive around your Hummers and pay lip service to environmentalism and complain when your second maid is sick and worry about paying for your next $20,000 vacation, and if kissing your asses isn’t going to help us secure our positions and we see people getting famous (if relatively poor) by selling mean-spirited gossip on the web , guess where we are going?” — David Poland ‘s dead-on read of the attitude of entrenched old media types towards here-and-now Hollywood, in a nicely observed piece about the media’s vicious slamming so far of big-budget summer flicks. (My only beef is Poland’s bizarrely persisting negativity towards An Inconvenient Truth, as indicated by the “while you drive around in your Hummers and pay lip service to environmentalism” line.
Four days into the Cannes Film Festival (the fifth night is tonight — Saturday, 5.20) and here’s the tally sheet: no major explosions, one widely agreed-upon stink bomb (Ron Howard‘s The Da Vinci Code); a couple of missed screening ops (on my part, I mean); a pair of strong and exciting efforts from the masterful Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley) and the great Pedro Almodovar (Volver), with my personal preference leaning toward the latter; a thrashingly emotional, jizz-sticky, psycho-therapeutic homoerotic love story from John Cameron Mitchell called Shortbus , a film that is nothing if not emotionally intense, but also summoned memories of Frank Ripploh’s Taxi Zum Klo (distribution in the U.S. is very much an open question) and which prompted me to reconsider the virtues living a Spin & Marty, red state-type life on a horse ranch in New Mexico; a light but quite radiant Paris anthology film (Paris Je’taime ) in which the standout effort is indisputably Alexander Payne ‘s, called “14th arrondisement”; and Summer Palace, a marginally irritating, ersatz-French nouvelle vague Chinese love story from Lou Ye…way, way overpraised.
Inside the Salle Bazin, five minutes before the start of the 11 ayem screening of John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus. The seats in the Bazin are wonderfully soft and cushiony — if the tourists seating on airplanes were this relaxing, sleeping on red-eye flights would be many times easier.
Hollywood Elsewhere managed five or six minutes of face time with An Incovenient Truth star and 2000 Presidential election victor Al Gore yesterday evening at the Paramount Vantage launch party. Maybe a minute of opening pleasantries and praise (love the film, seen it three times, definitely the most important film of the year bar none), and then a compliment about the writing and delivery of Gore’s opening narration. Gore’s recollection of standing on the bank of a slow-moving river (presumably somewhere near his home in Tennessee) turns into a serene and unforced riff on the primally soothing power of nature. “It wasn’t written…it was extemporaneous,” he said. “But it was Davis Guggenheim [the film’s director] who pulled it out of me. We were in a studio and I was talking about my feelings about nature and all, and he said, ‘But why? What are you really saying?’ And I’d say it again with a little more of a personal tone, and he’d say again, ‘But where is this coming from…you know, deep down?’ And I was saying to myself with some frustration, ‘Well…hey,’ but I tried it again and he kept at me, and the final result is what’s in the film.” I mentioned that an actress-waitress I invited to see An Inconvenient Truth a few weeks back and that she’d said nope, no thanks, don’t wanna see it. I tried to talk her into it but she was adamant, convinced that Truth would be too talky or depressing or whatever. (Which it absolutely isn’t.) “What did she finally think of the film?” Gore asked. “She wouldn’t see it…I couldn’t get her to come,” I replied. He shook his head, a tick of diappointment. “And it’s people like her that somehow have to be reached,” I said. The air inside the party was on the warmish side, and I noticed that the former Vice President was pink-faced and sweating slightly as we spoke. He later made his way to the large opening that overlooked the beach and the bay. I could see a flicker of relief come over him as he caught a deep breath and took it all in.
Oh, and by the way: Jerry Seib‘s Wall Street Journal piece about An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Vantage, 5.23 limited) reports that “when the movie was previewed at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters in Washington, an official there noted that the widespread reaction among Geographic employees who had seen the film earlier was: ‘Do you think he’ll run again for president ?’ Mr. Gore responded with a dismissive wave of his hand.” But this notion has been on the lips of Cannes journalists also. Everyone in liberal circles seems to be saying that the 2008 Democratic Party nomination is a fait accompli for Hilary Clinton, but SHE CAN’T WIN and Gore conceivably could. The bubbas despise Clinton and so do a lot of guys I know with liberal inclinations. (They see some kind of steely bitchy thing inside her.) Plus she seemed a lot more liberal when she was Bill Clinton’s First Lady than since she’s been as a U.S. Senator from New York. Maybe people see Gore as yesterday’s news or maybe not, but we need somebody in the White House who really gets what’s happening to our planetary climate and understands that there’s no more time for shilly-shallying .
The great Ian McKellen was at the cocktail gathering prior to last night’s showing of the Dreamgirls footage (and again — the more I think about it, the more kick-assy it seems…director Bill Condon has never directed a big-league musical before, only dramas…but the footage told me he has a great instinctual knack for making this sort of material fly…the photography, cutting, singing and performances were all knockout-plus).
Anyway, I asked McKellen about the rumored Magneto movie, and he said that vague rumors about this project were all he’s been hearing himself. He understands, however, that if it happens it will be about a young Magneto — an origin story — but also that CG technology has evolved to a point to where older actors such as himself can be digitally youthified (i.e., time-reversed back to their physical prime) and that this would allow him to play Magneto-the-younger himself. “Do you realize what this means?” he said in his usual sly and whimsical tone. “Vertan actors will no longer grow old, or even older…no more need for younger replacements.”
John Cameron Mitchell‘s Shortbus at the Salle Bazin at 11 a.m. this morning (32 minutes from now)…big-deal press conference for An Inconvenient Truth happening at 4:30 pm, leaving a three-hour window for some filing prior to this…missed Andrea Arnold‘s Red Road yesterday…three journos told me it’s a bit of a mixed enterprise, not quite there, etc., but two others called it riveting and very special…every fourth day here you need to downshift and stop running around or you’ll lose it entirely… for me and (I suspect) almost everyone else here, Saturday is that day.