Friendo: “I’m surprised that you bought into this narrative about The Menu‘s box-office performance. The Menu isn’t a horror film. It’s a sophisticated satire of foodie culture with elements of horror sprinkled in — totally a movie for adults. That means that its box-office gross this weekend, which will be close to $10 million, is a triumph. In a single weekend, in one fell swoop, it has beat all the other adult dramas of the fall.

“How is this a case of ‘hasn’t sold all that many tickets’? It’s going to be one of the only relatively small-scale hits of the fall. And I personally think it’s a terrific movie that, for once, has sold all those tickets for the right reasons.

HE to friendo:: “I was going by an assessment by Deadline‘s Anthony D’Alessandro. He wrote that “with an estimated $30M production cost and $8.87M opening, possibly $9M, The Menu is not a bomb, bomb, bomb — but nothing spectacular.”

Friendo to HE: “Inaccurate. It did cost more than your average adult drama, but it’s not like its total gross is $9 million. This is the opening weekend. Right now it looks on track to gross somewhere in the neighborhood of at least $25-30 million domestic. And it has a major international appeal. This means that I think it will emerge, in the end, as a success for Searchlight. It’s certainly no bomb.

“But my point about the numbers isn’t simply related to whether it ultimately makes money for its studio or not. Maybe it will (I think it will), maybe it won’t. My point is: Here’s a movie for adults that people want to see.”

HE to friendo: “I thought it was actually pretty great for that reason.”

Friendo to HE: “I wasn’t sure how much you liked/didn’t like it. I think it’s tons more fun than anything Michael Haneke ever made. And with respectful disagreement: I think it’s a very funny movie. The horror stuff, you’re right, is just horror (though with a wild edge that you could certainly argue has a black-comic frisson), but the satire is delicious. It’s the rare movie that gave me honest laughs. At the end, when Ralph Fiennes called the smore “a fucking monstrosity,” I just about busted a gut.”

HE to friendo: “It’s essentially about malice and hate and unfettered loathing. Dryly or darkly satiric, okay, but not ‘funny.'”