DVD Journal, I’ll miss you.


It seems Peter Piskind’s uneven but essential book Down and Dirty Pictures should have an addendum coming soon, for Biskind will need some space to cover the tortured history of The Weinstein Company. Born after being bought out of Miramax, which the duo formed, the brothers Weinstein (that being Harvey and Bob) then reformed into their new group, hoping to keep their thunder.

Sadly, the boys have been shooting blanks like Woody Allen in Hannah and Her Sisters. Looking at their past slate and their upcoming slate (here) you can see the attempts at getting back to Oscar Glory with titles like Miss Potter, Factory Girl and Breaking and Entering, but they amassed a combined nomination total of zero.

Dimension has always been a more profitable arm, but outside of the successes of 1408 and Scary Movie 4 (the former rather successful, the latter a smash and grab), even their genre titles were useless (Black Christmas and Pulse remakes, anyone?), more to the point they were underperformers that may or may not have made some money come DVD sales. Even "Black Christmas is opening on Christmas… OOOOOHHHH, we’re naughty" only caught one out of it reporter in its headlights.

I’m Not There seems promising artistically, but the Weinsteins fudged handling Velvet Goldmine when they had the first arty musical from Todd Haynes, and that was in their heyday, and this may not make it with the critics (we shall see). The upcoming My Blueberry Nights is still hotly anticipated by me, and the other Wong Kar-Wai apologists (who can make a case for the under-loved 2046), but Blueberry Nights were cooled considerably by the tepid Cannes response. It’ll be interesting to see if the mix of class and crass with Frank Darabont’s The Mist will be a big winner – I can’t wait to see an artistically recharged Darabont doing what made him initially successful (remember The Blob remake?). But the bottom line is, nothing on their upcoming slate smells like an out of the park winner, and that’s what they need. Desperately.

The Weinsteins are part of a larger organization, they have investors to face and mollify, and don’t have the freedom or autonomy they had while under the Disney foliage. Their time is coming up, and the things that were supposed to be home runs (like Sicko or Grindhouse) did not deliver or – in Grindhouse‘s case – lobbed a big chunk of logie in the makers’ eyes (note, checking the spelling on Logie, I ran across this rap lyric "I hock a logie in your pussy." I’m edifying the world one fucking day at a time).

The brothers (the brothers) still have their loyalists, and though Quentin Tarantino may not have the same pull he had a decade previous, remember that Jackie Brown went under the radar and is now regarded as a classic, Robert Rodriguez can make them fast and cheap, while Kevin Smith knows his limitations, and will make his films for $8-10 million and turn a solid profit with the DVD (artistically…) but even with Rob Zombie signed to a two picture deal (And that announcement coming right before the release of his Halloween, it strikes just as Mathew Vaughn being signed to Thor did: Sketchy), the company is still known to be less friendly to the artist (then again, what company isn’t?), and Harvey may only have a slightly better reputation than Robert Shaye at this point, if only by a couple hairs.

Halloween looks to be more profitable than the other remakes listed previous, but the film has also leaked onto the internet, and the early word is… to put it kindly, toxic. That shouldn’t keep the film from opening, but it turns a film that could have had a run at $60-$70 million to something that might be lucky to hit $40. And though it’s got four days to soak it in, next weekend offers Shoot ‘Em Up, 3:10 to Yuma and The Brothers Solomon, and one or all might deliver to that audience something altogether more pleasing. A 70% drop would be standard practice.

And so the Weinsteins will have to face another break even when they needed some rocket sauce. Though cinema will not be rid of Weinsteins as long as they breathe, it may have to come under another iteration.


Holiday. Celebrate. Holiday weekend. Celebrate shitty movies. Summer, such as it is, officially ends on Monday in the sense that kids are heading back to school – though the
temperature will likely not drop for another couple of weeks. But this holiday weekend people probably won’t try and pad their summer out at the theater. They rarely do for Labor day. Mostly cause the films be sucking.

Balls of Fury opened Wednesday to no real business. It came in second to Superbad on its opening day. While if Fox thought they had anything with Death Sentence, we’d know by now. Jeremy’s evisceration of Balls leaves little doubt that a third weekend of Superbad will outperform both newcomers.

And so Halloween will be the winner, but as I said, it’s a pyrrhic victory, and that Friday number (less than $10, more likely around $8) will be the highpoint.

And so we say for the four day:

1. Halloweenie – $24.9 Million
2. Superbad – 12.4 Million
3. Balls of Fury – $8.1 Million
4. The Bourne Identity – $7.7 Million
5. Death Sentence – $6.4 Million

And Monday I’ll put on some David Bowie and sing off-key about my TVC 15.