Well, the Juno backlash is bound to start really sucking in a couple of days now. I hope to miss the whole thing by going to The New Beverly come Oscar Night, watching The Apple and Stunt Rock. I’m sure the highlight reel I skip will be just as illuminating.
NO JUNGLE LOVE FOR THIS DULL WEEKEND (OH-WEE-OH-WEE-OH)
I swear to god I saw a trailer for Vantage Point a year ago and a half ago on The Fountain. At least it feels that way. Though I could only find a trailer street date of June 8th (putting it with Fantastic Four 2), which is still a hella long time to be selling a February release. This though raises an interesting point (in my mind), which is that there are really only about twenty films a year that a studio banks on, the rest need good release dates, and that strange whatevers that can happen to get a film an opening weekend that might get the film into the black by DVD, or perhaps even profitable through theatrical. For Oscar weekend, Vantage Point is opening on 3,200 screens against Charlie Barlett, which was yanked from an August release date until February and is only on 1,100, Be Kind Rewind on 800, and Witless Protection, starring Larry the Cable Guy, on idiot screens… err 1,300.
Since Delta Farce, Larry’s last film, opened at $3 Million, it’s fair to say if it gets to $5, everyone’s happy. Be Kind is being sold limited, so if it has a good per screen, and gets high in the bottom of the top ten, everyone’s happy, but it’s a let-go domestically. Bartlett‘s been bumped around so much that this feels like a gimme, and the studio doesn’t care. Vantage, though, should handily take the weekend if Jumper has no staying power (it won’t). What a triumph.
WHAT OSCAR MEANS TO YOU: THE CONSUMER (go Amy “Beadie” Ryan and Diablo Cody)
Dick all, really. It’s a glorified marketing tool. It says nothing about the quality of the year, the films, and you know what? Most of the academy is too busy making movies to generally watch them. Hang out in Hollywood long enough, and you realize that most people in this town don’t even spend time seeking out the obscure or interesting – they mostly just watch recent stuff because they want to work, and want to know what’s good, who’s hot, etc. Or, more to the point: Hollywood is a town of whores. Shock, horror. A good critic’s list will do you better for a sense of what’s worth what in the year, while nothing beats personal experience. But critics (and to some extent the Academy) act as taste testers to save you the misery of watching something like In the Name of the King, or pointing out the gems you might have missed, like I’m Not There, or Gone Baby Gone.
The real benefit of the awards these days is to ancillary sales and future deals. There Will Be Blood gets a couple more runs on late night cable cause it was nominated for eight academy awards and should win at least three (Actor, DP, and Production Design – though DP could swap with editing if the academy blanches at giving an award to a fictional character while also getting their poop together and rallying behind one Roger Deakins film or the other). While five-time academy award nominee Paul Thomas Anderson might be able to squeeze an extra five or ten million out of his next budget because he may deliver more nominations, which means more ancillary sales. As long as the script isn’t too Magnolia-ish.
It used to be that Oscars were beneficial to the theatrical run (there’s no other way Driving Miss Daisy would have crested $100 Million – back when it meant something – if it weren’t for Oscar glory), but only Juno and There Will Be Blood are on more than a thousand screens, while Michael Clayton is already on DVD, Atonement will be on DVD by March, and No Country for Old Men, Juno and There Will Be Blood are scheduled to street in April. But, again, the academy award means video stores and Netflix will purchase more copies, and that means more money for the filmmakers, and everyone involved. It’s the circle of life. Except in this case it’s the circle of alchemy. Turning art into gold (statues, in this case, which will lead to additional monies).
HUSH, HUSH, KEEP IT DOWN NOW, PREDICTIONS CARRY
Vantage Point, essentially the only movie opening this weekend, should carry itself to a #1 position during a statistically weak weekend. Semi-Pro should open huge next weekend, and then there should be a series of strong weekends until April thins the herd and blood a bit, and then summer kicks in. We’re only two months and two weeks away, scary as that may sound. But that’s also Hollywood’s summer, not summer summer. May is the new June, y’all. Vantage is tracking around twenty, which should be enough to hold off last week’s lot. And that’s really all that’s needed to win. None of the other openers have a shot at cracking the top five.
I won’t fall for the oldest trick in the book
So don’t sit there and think you’re off of the hook
By saying there is no use changing ’cause:
1. Vantage Point - $21.6 Million
2. Jumper - $14.8 Million
3. The Spiderwick Chronicles - $14.6 Million
4. Step Up 2 The Streets - $8.3 Million
5. Fool’s Gold - $7.6 Million
Acting steady, always ready to defend your fears. Catch you guys Sunday before I try and navigate Oscar traffic in Los Angeles just to watch awesome(ly badly awesome) movies.