Rush Hour 3 (which I saw this evening…don’t ask) is tracking at 91, 49 and 18. It’ll do $40 to $50 million this weekend (not so bad) but New Line spent a fortune to make it, they’re pissed at Ratner for going over-budget, they paid loads of money to Rats, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker because nobody wanted to do it, and they all have huge back end deals.
Daddy Day Camp (Cuba Gooding revoltathon) is tracking at 82,16 and 2. Skinwalkers, the werewofl movie, is 26, 28 and 2. Stardust…61, 27 and 5. In short, no real competition for Rush Hour 3 among the newbies.
The Invasion (8.17) is tracking 52, 22 and…toilet time. The Last Legion is 21, 18 and nothing. Superbad is still struggling with 45, 28 and 3….definite interest has gone up only 1 point. Mr. Bean’s Holiday is running at 46, 17 and 1 Rod Lurie‘s Resurrecting the Champ is at 27, 18 and nothing. September Dawn is 16, 14 and 0. The War….35, 35 and 2.
Julie Delpy‘s 2 Days in Paris (Samuel Goldwyn, 8.10) is an above-average relationship meltdown film — part comedy, part “heart” movie, part Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff? (Okay, not that dark…but nearly.) It ends on a moderately hopeful note (i.e., one of resignation and acceptance), but nothing that smacks of pat or soothing. And for that alone it has my allegiance.
2 Days in Paris director-writer-costar Julie Delpy in modestly-proportioned second-floor room in the Four Seasons hotel — Monday, 8.6.07, 1:25 pm
It’s about un-cute rancor between an American-born boyfriend (Adam Goldberg) and his French-born girlfriend (Delpy) as he gets to really know her during a brief stopover in Paris as he realizes she’s a lot more complicated than he figured, and that she’s got way too many ex-boyfriends, and that he’s lacking in that laid-back European cool that comes in handy when you’re grappling with ex-boyfriend jealousy. And that he really hates Paris, or more precisely Parisians.
I hated Paris the first time I visited way back when. I got so frustrated and angry with my inability to understand or recognize the necesssary nouns and verbs that I eventually freaked out and decided to pretend to be a deaf mute, or at least a guy with terminal laryngitis. I would go into restaurants and bakeries and point to my mouth and indicate my inability to say anything in any language. I would then point to this and that rather than ask for it pigeon French, which always led to trouble.
I’m explaining why I both liked and didn’t like Golberg’s performance. I related and didn’t relate. It wasn’t altogether comfortable or uncomfortable — it was in-between. Which is what I half-liked about it. I respect Delpy, finally, for not trying to make me like or love this film 100%.
Delpy directed, wrote, costars in and did the music for 2 Days in Paris. I spoke to her about it for about 20 minutes this afternoon. It was another one of my nothing- special interviews — at times stimulating, blah at times, an in-and-outer. But I fell in love with a photo I took of her, and so I’m happy with the whole thing. As I hope she is.
I’d be lying through my teeth if I said everyone in the dysfunctional family known as New Line Cinema is sad or heartbroken over the departure of marketing president Russell Schwartz. A guy up to his neck in the mucky-muck called the news “great…a good thing for New Line.” A former New Line executive said everyone in the pipeline had known for months that Schwartz was a dead man, but when told of the actual axe-falling this afternoon he responded with an effusive “wow…it finally happened!”
Variety‘s Dave McNary wrote that Schwartz’s departure “did not come as a huge surprise…he’d been rumored to be on the way out since last year.”
Until Hairspray opened and made (as of last weekend )$78.9 million, New Line’s slate “had chalked up undistinguished box office results on such pics as Snakes on a Plane, The Nativity Story, The New World, Fracture, The Last Mimzy, Hoot, The Number 23, Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny and Texas Chainsaw Mas– sacre: The Beginning,” McNary wrote. “During 2006, its top performing pic was Final Destination 3 with $55 million.”
Schwartz “is a very nice guy but he never had a clue about mass distribution,” said a marketing veteran. “He’s used to doing small art films…mass distribution is off his radar.”
The former New Line exec said “the marketing over there has been broken for a while, and the talk about Schwartz being on the way out has been happening for a good five or six months. They tried to hire a couple of people to replace [Schwartz] but they couldn’t make it work. There was talk at one time that he would partner up with someone and they’d both report to [New Line’s distribution/marketing president and COO] Rolf Mittweg, but no one wanted to come into that situation.
Rolf Mittweg, Russell Schwartz
“The company was split” over the Schwartz situation, the former exec said. “[Production president] Toby Emmerich and his camp wanted to get rid of him, and Rolf and his gang wanted to protect him.
“They had raised expectations so high for Hairspray — they really thought it was a $200 million movie — and its failure to get there may be a part of what happened today. The failure of The Last Mimzy didn’t help. There were people who thought Schwartz should go after the failure of Snakes on a Plane. There were some who said he should be out the door after Nativity went south. The fact that they finally stepped up and did this means they’ve probably got somebody in the wings to take his place.”
Schwartz won’t actually leave the building until the end of August, according to Variety, but where does this leave New Line’s Shoot ‘Em Up , which opens on 9.7? Probably unaffected. Whatever happens box-office-wise, it’ll come into the market- place boosted or depleted by certain Schwartz decisions about this and that. Schwartz, after all, will be out the door only seven days before it opens, according to Variety.
What is with big muscular black guys and their affection for angry snarly dogs that bite, gouge and kill each other in illegal dogfight rings, and sometimes kill the occasional human? Last week Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was busted for owning several snarling attack dogs for the purpose of putting them in fight-to-the-death dog battles, and last Friday Ving Rhames stepped into it when two of his dogs (possibly a pair of Fila Brasileiro mastiffs) killed a 40 year-old housekeeper.
Ving Rhames (center) flanked by Fila Brasileiro mastiffs
Rhames wasn’t around when it happened, but who owns dogs with that kind of temperament and potential? It has something to do with a belligerent macho attitude, and I think it’s despicable. Those dogs should be strung up or put before a firing squad. And I were a producer, I’d try to find an excuse not to hire Rhames the next time I need to cast a guy like him. What a brute. According to an MSNBC report, Rhames “bragged” to Time magazine in 2001 that he owned “eight Fila Brasileiro mastiffs — the national dog of Brazil, also used by U.S. Marines in jungle warfare.”
We all know that the dog we own is the person we are deep down. We all laughed when George C. Scott‘s Patton bought “Willie,” the ugly white bull terrier with the pink eyes, because we saw the resemblance. My favorite dogs are love dogs — golden retrievers, in particular, because they’re into hugging and making out and licking your hands and snuggling. I’m also partial to collies and golden labs.
Film scores and their composers (and their relationships with directors) could make for a fascinating multi-part series. It’s therefore dispiriting to read that Dan Lieberstein‘s Lights! Action! Music!, a doc that airs tonight on New York’s WLIW , is, in the opinion of N.Y. Times critic Stephen Holden, “a fluffy, disorganized, woefully incomplete compendium of interviews and film clips about movie music…a sampler for a larger and deeper exploration….even on its own terms, a frivolous diversion.”
“One of the pleasures of Jeffrey Blitz‘s film is that it immerses us in the fraught, competitive pressures of the high-school debate world — like Spellbound, it gets the details right. Blitz’s brainy kids, who run the gamut from the pathetically awkward to the brazenly self-assured, are a far cry from the usual horny adolescents Hollywood comedies serve up to flatter their target audience. They’re no less hormonal, but a lot more human.” — from David Ansen‘s review of Rocket Science (Picturehouse, 8.10).
“If you think those who have long challenged the mainstream scientific findings about global warming recognize that the game is over, think again. Yes, 19 million people watched the ‘Live Earth’ concerts last month, titans of corporate America are calling for laws mandating greenhouse cuts, ‘green’ magazines fill newsstands, and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar. But outside Hollywood, Manhattan and other habitats of the chattering classes, the denial machine is running at full throttle — and continuing to shape both government policy and public opinion.” — from an 8.13 Newsweek piece by Sharon Begley about the global-warming denial crowd, and the ample funding behind them.
Tom Wolfe‘s “The Pirate Pose,” a Conde Nast Portfolio piece about the coarse (and in some cases appalling) social profiles of hedge-fund multi-millionaires, the 21st Century masters of the universe, is an amusing, well-composed read. It was clear two years ago that the hedge-funders were the eager-beavers one needed to talk to about independent movie financing, website-purchasing and any other mode of financial entertainment-industry investment, but I wonder what the very latest tea-leaf reading may be in this realm.
“The collision of new money and old money or, to be more accurate in our American context, slightly older money, has been a recurring drama,” Wolfe notes early on. “At the turn of the 20th century, Edith Wharton established herself as perhaps America’s greatest female novelist by focusing on precisely that. But the current new breed stands apart from all the rest for two reasons.
“First, they have more money, infinitely more, than any of the various waves of new money that preceded them, with the possible exception of robber barons on the order of John D. Rockefeller, who, incidentally, was regarded as a rude Pocantico hillbilly Baptist by society in New York a hundred years ago. Second, hedge fund managers are possessed by a previously unheard-of status fixation.”
And I love this graph about a certain coloration of hedge-fund multi-millionaire trophy wives, whom Wolfe describes in aggregate terms as “Twinkies”:
“The twinkies who have their eggs fertilized by their husbands’ sperm in a laboratory, creating embryos for implantation in the wombs of surrogate mothers who are paid to manufacture children for delivery in nine months, since why on earth should any wife whose husband is worth a billion or even $500 million have to endure the distended belly, bilious mornings, back cramps, not to mention a cramped social life, to end up with her perfect personal-trainer-sculpted boy-with-breasts body she has spent thousands of sweaty hours attaining, ruined… tempting her husband to survey all the little man-eaters out there, including those former wives who used to meet regularly at the Boxing Cat Grill until it burned down, whereas the current wives leave their husbands catatonic before the plasma TV and meet three or four times a week at one local bar or another and drive home in their Hummers and bobtail Mercedes S.U.V.’s, bombed out of their minds, while waiting for the baby to come from the factory…”
I’m now searching around for two or three easy-reading columnists who’ve been keeping tabs on hedge-fund investment activity in the entertainment industry and reporting about it in layman’s terms, and if anyone has any tips…