It’s a blue and cloudy Saturday morning for poor Harvey Weinstein with those weekend Grindhouse projections of $20 million or thereabouts falling way short. A studio-based estimate has Grindhouse coming in fourth with $11,992,000 for the weekend. (It made about $4,894,000 yesterday.) The just-shy-of-$12-millon estimate is probably about a million short — I see it doing around $13 million when the final data is in. (Figures for the top ten plus The Hoax are in the next item.)
Once again, a tasty hip-popcorn movie that a lot of big-city critics and urban types are having a great old time with proved a little too hip for the room when it came to suburban slow-boaters. “A double feature is like an anthology film,” a marketing analyst told me this morning. “And people generally like to see one picture telling one story. It’s very tough to sell a double feature or an anthology. Plus Tarantino has always had more of a cult following than a mass following. Rodriguez makes kids pictures that did business, but neither one is a star.”
I’m especially appalled by one posting from a guy who saw it yesterday that the audience was into the gloppy-gross Rodriguez zombie movie (i.e., Planet Terror) more than the obviously superior Tarantino car-chase film by way of The Iceman Cometh (i.e., Death Proof). Plus an HE poster said he’s noticing that about half seem to prefer Rodriguez and half the Tarantino. If people prefer the old-shoe comfort of a single movie telling a single story…fine. Death Proof doesn’t really tell a story at all, when you get right down to it. But to say the Rodriguez is better than the Tarantino…my God!
We’re really and truly living in the United States of Hong Kong — a sprinkling of sophisticated urban havens surrounded on all sides by a massive Gorilla Nation. Two different planets, two different worlds…the high and the low…hip urbanity vs. the mentality of the mall.
The Weinstein Co. hasn’t had any hits since the last Scary Movie, Grindhouse allegedly cost closer to $70 million than the low 50s, and the word on the street is that the Weinstein creditors are looking to get out. And now Grindhouse is looking like Snakes on a Plane. Is the beginning of the end of Little Rico?
“Harvey has been running scared recently — he’s not the guy he was a year or two years ago,” the analyst said. “Tarantino and Rodriguez pushed hard for the anthology idea which meant a three-hour length, and he caved. The idea was too hip for the room, and Grindhouse, in the end, was basically an expensive art film.
“It’s starting to look like it might be over for the Weinstein’s now. It’s almost time for the fire sale and the funeral. You can’t keep putting out movies that don’t make money, although The Nanny Diaries might do some business. But the creditors, I’m hearing, are looking to get out, and there isn’t going to be any more money from them. The Weinsteins have fucked a lot of people and are hated. They have to go to festivals to get films. Too many people are allied against them.
“There was no good commercial reason to release Grindhouse as a double feature. If they had put the Rodriguez or the Russell car-chase movie out as a longer stand-alone (as they’re going to do in Europe), each might have done decent business or maybe better than that.
“People want to see a simple film…they want to see a trailer that tells them a story. It’s not the length, you need a handle on one film, and anthologies are always a tough sell. The Grindhouse matinee business [yesterday] was more than respectable in New York and the other big cities, but it did worse elsewhere.”