Tag Archives: hollywood

Review: How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

lose friends  alienate peopleDon’t worry! How to Win Friends and Influence People is not essential reading in order to enjoy this movie.

The movie is based on a memoir by British writer Toby Young. So you could say, this is a TRUE story. Or rather, it would’ve been, if the the script writer didn’t change the memoirs almost completely… which is an irony itself.

The plot is straight-forward
: Sidney Young, a small time journalist, goes to New York City. His task is to cover the world of celebrities. In order to keep his job, he has to do a favorable article about Sophie Maes (sexy Megan Fox even without makeup).

Sidney is attracted to Sophie and all the glitz. However, when Sophie is high and he has a shot, he … well, misses.

The movie has a few funny moments but it goes too many times from romantic comedy to satire and back again. The only redeeming feature is that we get to see Megan Fox wet and almost nude.

The Weekend numbers explosion

According to a post at the Long Tail, it would seem that Hollywood is doing its best to hide the fact that blockbusters are few and far in between.

I first posted about Hollywood’s plans to produce fewer movies last year. Now it seems they’ll also be massaging the numbers as well.

According to post (a reader who requested anonymity said):

I happened to be riding to work with an exec from one of the major studios this morning, and he mentioned that the studios are increasingly making deals with theaters to inflate opening numbers. In particular, they will give the theaters very high revenue share for the first X days of the movie (he mentioned 100% for the first 3 days), incentivizing the theater to maximize the number of screens the movie’s shown on, inflating opening numbers.

The particular example of Superman and Pirates were actually the ones he brought up – that Superman’s decline was partially due to the theathers’ incentive period running out.

I have no idea how true or prevalent this is, but something you might want to look into. This would be done for movies which the studio considers potential “hits”, increasing discrepancy between them and normal movies.

Funny, I don’t think I heard Bryan Singer mention it in his Superman interview.

I’m still hopeful that the explosion of user-generated content will severely erode the blockbuster’s share of the pie. Remains to be seen if Google Video will finally launch their marketplace for indie producers.

Hollywood’s Xmas vows: fewer movies

With DVD sales flattening, Variety re-examines the big studios. Most of the executives interviewed requested to remain anonymous, a clear sign it’s time to face some unpleasant realities.

Wedding Crashers - one of the few movies in the 30-70M range that made a profitDVD sales have been the engine for studio growth in the last 5 years but in the last 12 months the DVD market is flattening. There’s some new distribution channels on the horizon: like Sony’s Blu-Ray DVD (or Toshiba’s alternative HD-DVD) and even the new video iPod (limited to tv series or ipod torrents). These new markets are not mature enough however to compensate the overall decrease in revenues.

Although the major studios are facing different problems, the majority of studio executives agreed on several points:

  • Limit movies in the $35 million to $70 million range
  • Financial partners are no longer an option — they’re required
  • Trim marketing budgets
  • Make fewer movies

In terms of the mid-budget movies, Variety quotes a COO at a major studio:

If you look at the $40 million to $70 million budget film, they are so difficult. They rarely have top box office stars, and they’re such risky territory because you have to spend $25 million on P&A, so it’s a huge investment. It’s really hard to get that back.

It’s still debatable if this spells GOOD news for indie producers. If the market continues to contract in the next year, studios might need to find ways to market smaller and cheaper movies. They could plagiarize the NASA motto: faster, better, cheaper.

A few examples that Hollywood could take to heart: Russian-made The Return (Возвращение) was produced for under $500,000 and made over ten times that. Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation also resulted in 1:10 ratio: a budget of just $4M resulted in revenues in excess of $40M internationally. Of course, a profit of a few million can’t plug in the holes made by a disaster like Zathura