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August 12, 2018

‘Meg’ Grabs Number One at Box Office as ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Scores Wide

The box office is upbeat on a mid-August weekend that is usually a down period. Original actioner “The Meg” (Warner Bros.), a non-franchise film, opened to $44 million domestic and $91 million foreign. That’s way beyond industry expectations.

Opening more narrowly (1512 screens) and performing ahead of predictions was Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” (Focus) at just under $11 million.

And there’s other positive news: the weekend totaled about $145 million, about a quarter higher than last year, with year-to-date grosses 8.7 percent ahead of 2017. Add to that a rash of strong holdovers led by “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” (Paramount), which is headed for an over $200 million domestic total.

“The Meg”


“The Meg” is the first non-franchise film to place #1 since “A Quiet Place” in April. That is the longest stretch in movie release history for sequels and series films to grab the top spot. Of course, a shark-centered thriller isn’t exactly the hallmark of originality. “47 Meters Down” two years ago, at a much lower budget, already plowed this territory already fertile from “Jaws.”

On the other hand, with a reported cost of over $170 million plus global marketing expenses, this movie cost over $300 million. That’s a lot of money to recoup, with half the gross going back to theaters.

Two summers ago, $144-million remake “Ghostbusters” opened better at $46 million and was instantly dubbed a failure. That comedy did lose money for Sony, partly due to pushback against the all-female cast and a lack of foreign appeal.

In stark contrast, “The Meg” is Exhibit A for the new studio paradigm. It has an easy-sell plot crammed with VFX, global marquee draw Jason Statham, taking a break from the “Fast and Furious” franchise, and is officially a Chinese-American co-production. The initial foreign result adds $91 million to domestic weekend totals, covering most major countries (Japan, South Korea, France, Mexico, and Australia are still to come).

Will it reach recoupment levels? The biggest country initially is China ($51 million) which will yield more-than-usual film rental to Warner Bros., though still less than 50 percent. China’s share of the initial opening is unusually high. We need to see how this holds. At this point, unless this becomes a long-legged player, it’s hard to see it reaching the magic number $400 million worldwide.

Spike Lee and John David Washington

“BlacKkKlansman” (Focus) is one film that likely gets little international interest but remains an important cultural focus point domestically. Focus opened in August, which is popular for adult African-American films with crossover potential (“The Butler,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Straight Outta Compton”).

Despite coming out after two recent films targeting the same audience (“Blindsptting” and “Sorry to Bother You”), “BlacKkKlansman” hit its marks with a gross well above the predicted $8-10 million. Building buzz from Cannes, the critically acclaimed and well-publicized picture, while covered on news channels, managed to ride its political issues as well as entertainment value to a strong gross.

It’s hardly a blockbuster yet, but initial signs are good. Often these expanded breaks are too wide, with most of the gross coming from 10 to 20 percent of the runs, with half or more seeming questionable and prone to early removal from theaters. That’s not the case here. The vast majority of the theaters rank in the top six of films playing, even when one gets down to the lower-grossing ones. That means they will sustain their runs even if Focus has already cherry-picked the best theaters. But the gross is strong enough to warrant expanding even more.

While “The Meg” is the #1 film overall, “Klansman” took top position at such key theaters as the Arclight Hollywood and the Landmark in Los Angeles, the Lincoln Square, Alamo Drafthouse, and Union Square in New York, and several major suburban Los Angeles complexes. That’s in addition to its strong showing at key theaters in African-American neighborhoods.

Nationally, “Klansman” was up Saturday by 14 percent from its initial days’ total. That’s very encouraging for word of mouth (and also means it is getting an adult audience). That’s a solid base of initial word of mouth to encourage Focus to keep pushing this going forward.

“Slender Man”

Two other wide films opened. The $10-million Sony horror entry “Slender Man” in wide release scored over $11 million, but dropped  21 percent Saturday, and earned a horrible D- Cinemascore grade. Figure it may have already gotten half its gross.

Family film “Dog Days” (LD) opened last Wednesday. Its five-day $3.7 million total wouldn’t have been enough to get it into the Top Ten for the weekend.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures


The long-term powerful performance for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” has arrived right on schedule. At $162 million, it is $6 million ahead of “Rogue Nation” even adjusting the 2015 series entry to current ticket prices. That’s a terrific result for Tom Cruise and Paramount. This projects out to a final domestic total of $210 million, perhaps $600 million worldwide. Mission accomplished.

The second weekends of both “Christopher Robin” (Disney) and “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (Lionsgate) came in just under 50 percent. Neither had a stellar opening, but neither collapsed either. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (Universal), Sony’s “The Equalizer 2” and “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (Disney) all had smaller drops in the 35-37 percent range, very healthy holds.

The Top Ten

1. The Meg (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 45; Est. budget: $175 million

$44,500,000 in 4,118 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,806; Cumulative: $44,500,000

2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #1

$20,000,000 (-43%) in 3,888 theaters (-507); PTA: $5,144; Cumulative: $161,967,000

3. Christopher Robin (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #2

$12,430,000 (-49%) in 3,602 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,451; Cumulative: $11,325,000

4. Slender Man (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: D-; Metacritic: 28; Est. budget: $10 million

$11,325,000 in 2,358 theaters; PTA: $4,803; Cumulative: $11,325,000

5. BlacKkKlansman (Focus) NEW – Cinemascore: 83; Metacritic: A-; Est. budget: $15 million

$10,799,000 in 1,512 theaters; PTA: $7,142; Cumulative: $10,799,000

6. The Spy Who Dumped Me (Lionsgate) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$6,600,000 (-%) in 3,111 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,122; Cumulative: $24,560,000

7. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #4

$5,820,000 (-35%) in 2,812 theaters (-547); PTA: $2,070; Cumulative: $103,831,000

8. The Equalizer 2 (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$5,500,000 (-37%) in 2,373 theaters (-352); PTA: $2,318; Cumulative: $89,646,000

9. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #6

$5,100,000 (-36%) in 2,589 theaters (-573); PTA: $; Cumulative: $

10. Ant-Man and the Wasp (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #7

$4,048,000 (-%) in 1,863 theaters (-370); PTA: $2,173; Cumulative: $203,518,000

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Source: IndieWire film

August 12, 2018

‘Green Room’ Director Jeremy Saulnier Says His Netflix Thriller Has the ‘Highest Body Count’ of Any of His Films

Jeremy Saulnier won’t be directing all of “True Detective” as originally planned, but he is still helming “Hold the Dark.” Set in Alaska, the Neflix-bound thriller concerns a hunter (Alexander Skarsgård) attempting to un-kidnap a little boy who’s been taken by wolves (who presumably intend to raise him as one of their own). Anyone who’s seen “Blue Ruin” or “Green Room” knows that Saulnier doesn’t exactly shy away from graphic violence, but a new Entertainment Weekly interview with the director suggests he’s outdone himself this time.

“Not only did it have the most intense dialogue, and also the highest body count, it had a first war scene, it had an aerial sequence, and by far the most animals I’ve worked with,” Saulnier says.

“We’ve had a couple of test screenings, even in the editorial process, because there was so much material and so many ways to go. There [were] audible gasps in the theater. It’s fun because, of course, once you dig into the novel, and then script, and then the production phase, you know every inch of the movie, and the familiarity becomes sort of blinding,” he added.

“But to be in a theater with people, and then turn your head to watch them watch the movie, see it reflected in their eyes, you kind of get to experience that very first spark when I was reading the novel. You see it in their eyes and it’s pretty fun.”

Jeffrey Wright and Riley Keough co-star in “Hold the Dark,” which is available on Netflix beginning September 28.

Source: IndieWire film

August 12, 2018

Richard Linklater on Casting Alex Jones in ‘Waking Life’: ‘I Just Thought He Was Kind of Funny’

Alex Jones may have been banned from Facebook and YouTube, but the Deep State can never take away his “Waking Life” cameo. We have Richard Linklater to thank for the InfoWars host, conspiracy theorist, and Sandy Hook truther’s most notable film performance, not that Jones was as dangerously unhinged back in 2001. That’s according to the filmmaker himself, who in a Daily Beast interview said that Jones was simply “this hyper guy that we’d all kind of make fun of” back then.

A mere public-access TV host when he auditioned for a role in Linklater’s rotoscoped meditation on the nature of consciousness and reality, Jones is now a hugely controversial (and frighteningly influential) peddler of baseless conspiracies. 17 years ago, however, “he wasn’t so virulent, he just had all that energy,” Linklater added. “I just thought he was kind of funny.”

And, to be fair, Jones’ brief megaphone rant in the film is in keeping with its overall tone. “You know, I haven’t talked to him in years,” Linklater said. “I talked to him a bit during the Bush-Cheney years. He always positioned himself as anti. So when you’re anti, he’s your bedfellow.”

The writer/director also finds it odd that Jones is “taken seriously on a national level. I would have never thought I’d see the day when the president of the United States knew who he was, much less going on his show. It’s crazy, it’s insane, but it fits our times.”

Here’s Jones’ “Waking Life” scene:

Source: IndieWire film

August 12, 2018

‘Madeline’s Madeline’ and ‘Skate Kitchen’ Draw Women to Specialty Box Office

Two more Sundance 2018 grads rolled into theaters this weekend. “Madeline’s Madeline” (Oscilloscope) and “Skate Kitchen” (Magnolia), both directed by women and featuring teenage female leads, opened in New York in single theaters to positive results.

This weekend also brought review-driven audiences the wide release of Spike Lee’s anticipated Cannes prize-winner “BlacKkKlansman” (Focus), which opened well at just under $11 million (more details in our Top Ten Box Officer report).

On its fifth weekend, “Eighth Grade” (A24) expanded to two-thirds more theaters to $1.6 million, with a total so far now over $10 million. The dilemma of how to release acclaimed films and judge their crossover appeal is a challenging for specialized distributors.


Madeline’s Madeline (Oscilloscope) – Metacritic: 80; Festivals include: Sundance 2018

$20,225 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater average): $20,225

Backed by strong reviews, this exclusive opening at Manhattan’s Quad Theater performed well this weekend. The unconventional Sundance mystery/drama centers on a budding teen actress who is immersed in an off-beat theater troupe; she gradually recedes into an increasingly unreal world. The gross is impressive for this avant-garde film from Josephine Decker, whose previous films have showed minor response.

What comes next: This adds Los Angeles next weekend, with other theaters beginning the following week.

“Skate Kitchen”

Skate Kitchen (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Sundance, Seattle 2018

$17,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $17,000

The first narrative feature from Crystal Moselle, whose documentary “The Wolfpack” broke out in 2015, features a Long Island teen who bonds with other girl skateboarders in the city. This opened exclusively at the IFC Center with a decent initial result.

What comes next: This opens in Los Angeles and other cities this weekend.

A Prayer Before Dawn (A24) – Metacritic: 75; Festivals include: Cannes 2017; also on DirectTV

$14,453 in 13 theaters; PTA: $1,112

This Thai prison story about a British youth who has to box to survive is one of A24’s releases partnered with DirectTV, which debuted the film several weeks ago. The Cannes 2017 debut got some theatrical play in several cities to minor response but mostly added publicity with favorable reviews.

What comes next: Most people will see the movie via streaming.

"The Miseducation of Cameron Post"

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post”

Week Two

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (FilmRise)

$108,000 in 25 theaters (+23); PTA: $4,320; Cumulative: $182,398

The second weekend for the gay conversion therapy drama showed moderate response as it added multiple cities including Los Angeles on its second weekend.

Elsie Fisher Eighth Grade

“Eighth Grade”


Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

Eighth Grade (A24) Week 5

$1,625,000 in 1,084 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $10,092,000

Following the well-publicized free weeknight shows for children 17 and under (normally blocked by the R rating), this acclaimed film about early teen girls dropped 43 per cent. There is a marked disparity between its performance at top-grossing theaters and theaters playing the film after its rapid expansion. As “Eighth Grade” loses many of its locations next week, A24’s challenge is to sustain the better-grossing dates in order to reach the film’s full potential.

Three Identical Strangers (Neon) Week 7

$700,600 in 326 theaters (-79); Cumulative: $9,636,000

The sleeper documentary success is about a $500,000 shy of the huge “RBG” total at this point in its run. If its gross sustains, this could reach at least $12 million.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus) Week 10

$495,000 in 229 theaters (-55); Cumulative: $21,690,000

Another weekend, another half million for this still-strong documentary about Mr. Rogers. The gross only fell $5,000 despite losing a chunk of theaters. That means its per-theater take actually went up a bit, and guarantees further play that could push this as high as $25 million.

Sorry to Bother You (Annapurna) Week 6

$425,000 in 204 theaters (-200); Cumulative: $15,805,000

Boots Riley’s genre-bender lost nearly half of its theaters, but even in the face of competition from “The BlacKkKlansman,” its per screen average went up. This looks to hang around through the end of the summer, with a possible total gross of $18 million.

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal appea in <i>Blindspotting</i> by Carlos López Estrada, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.


Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Blindspotting (Lionsgate) Week 4

$220,000 in 138 theaters (-385); Cumulative: $3,778,000

The core remaining theaters for the summer’s second Oakland area story about friends struggling to stay on the right side of the law hasn’t broken out despite strong reviews and major backing from Lionsgate. It looks to top out somewhere below $5 million.

Puzzle (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3

$164,871 in 44 theaters (+28); Cumulative: $447,034

With Kelly Macdonald anchoring this film about a homebody mom who finds a new life through jigsaw puzzles, SPC’s drama so far is finding more interest than any of its English-language films this year other than “The Rider.”

McQueen (Bleecker Street) Week 3

$154,690 in 53 theaters (+19); Cumulative: $2,919

After strong initial limited results, this documentary about the iconic British fashion designer is gleaning more modest results as it expands to top cities.

Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street) Week 7

$141,551 in 123 theaters (-43); Cumulative: $5,527,000

Debra Granik’s first film since her 2010 breakout “Winter’s Bone” will fall short of that summer release. With specialized dramas grossing much less these days. this total (ahead of most recent specialized non-documentaries) is still impressive.

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Greenwich) Week 3

$53,857 in 18 theaters (+13); Cumulative: $176,236

The much talked-about documentary about the now 95-year-old man who provided sexual partners to stars in decades past is getting continued interest as it expands to more cities, but not at the same level as its initial dates.

Also noted:

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (Amazon) – $ in 60 theaters; Cumulative: $    1317

Dark Money (PBS) – $19,205 in 16 theaters; Cumulative: $135,391

The Captain (Music Box) – $13,446 in theaters; Cumulative: $37,171

American Animals (The Orchard) – $10,941 in 9 theaters; Cumulative: $2,834,000

Whitney (Roadside Attractions) – $10,470 in 25 theaters; Cumulative: $2,981,000

Far from the Tree (IFC) – $10,378 in 12 theaters; Cumulative: $100,104

Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti (Cohen) – $10,197 in 6 theaters; Cumulative: $181,970

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Source: IndieWire film

August 12, 2018

Jim Carrey Mocks Trump’s Space Force Idea: ‘To Stupidity and Beyond!’

If you thought Jim Carrey wasn’t going to make a Space Force drawing, you must not have been following his latest artistic endeavors. The actor — who’s made a habit over the last year of drawing unflattering portraits of Donald Trump in particular and his administration in general — has turned his attention to Trump’s ill-defined plan to do…something vaguely militaristic in space.

“Has your Presidency jumped the shark? Better call SPACE FORCE! To stupidity and beyond!!! http://www.vote.gov,” the part-time actor and full-time Trump-troller tweeted.

“It’s not a choice for me to do cartoons. I can’t just watch this nightmare unfold, I have to do something artistic,” Carrey said of his drawings during the Television Critics Association summer tour earlier this month. “He probably loves them on some level,” he added. “I’m sure it’s insulting and I’m sure it’s pissed him off, but at the same time, we’re dealing with a narcissist. It’s not always a straight shot. You could do something that’s really horrible to him but because he’s getting a lot of attention, horrible is all right to him.”

Carrey will next be seen in the Showtime series “Kidding,” which premieres on September 9.

Source: IndieWire film

August 11, 2018

Lighting Tips to Help You Survive Your Next Outdoor Shoot

The sun can be a wild beast. Here are a few ways you can tame it.

For some filmmakers, shooting outdoors can be a real challenge. That’s mostly due to the fact that the sun, even though it’s providing plenty of free, constant light, can be incredibly difficult to control. But instead of going outside like some pseudo-gothy socially awkward weirdo named V when she was 16 years old, you can learn a few easy and cheap techniques that allow you to use the sun to light better external scenes. In this video, Aidin Robbins offers up a few tips that require only a few very inexpensive modifiers, no additional lighting needed.


Light modifiers are an essential piece of gear when lighting a scene. Reflectors, bounce boards, silks, flags, you name it, they can all help you shape and control light on the cheap. You can get yourself a 5-in-1 reflector, which is somewhere in the ballpark of $20 to $50 depending on the size, and that’ll give you, you guessed it, 5 different kinds of modifiers in one:

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Source: NoFilmSchool

August 11, 2018

4 Tips for Learning the Intricacies (and Complexities) of Color Grading

A job this difficult can’t just be an issue of black and white.“The colorist is the person who makes your rubbish film turn into something …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed

August 10, 2018

How Filmmakers Choose Different Venues and Spaces For Their Work

The venue where you screen your work isn’t the only thing, but it is one of the most important.

One of the great virtues of the BlackStar Film Festival’s endlessly engaging program of films is that the selection committee isn’t afraid of the avant-garde. There are daring movies of breathtaking formalism situated right next to romantic comedies and science fiction. The work of black avant-garde filmmakers has not been nearly as carefully documented nor examined, but there is much terrific work being done to which national outlets have not provided nearly enough coverage.

In short, there has been (and continues to be) amazing work made without the constrictions of traditional narrative. BlackStar is the only reliable place to find it.

A group of likeminded artists and curators sat down to discuss how nontraditional cinematic forms are being utlized and how different spaces and forms can help artists today. Directors Kevin Jerome Everson, Nuotama Frances Bodomo, Terence Nance, and curators Jheanelle Brown and Meg Onli got into the nitty-gritty of their processes on the Free Form panel and below is what they had to say.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

August 10, 2018

Present Your Design Work at SXSW: Place by Design Tips to Apply

Place by Design is SXSW’s public space design competition highlighting transformative work at the intersection of art, technology, and design that rethinks how we use and interact with the places around us.

Selected finalists will present their work in a showcase during the Design Track at SXSW 2019. Each designer or team will also present their work in a fast-paced pitch competition and participate in a Q&A session with the judges, who ultimately determine the winner.

The SXSW Place by Design competition is open to all types of design work that rethinks, enhances or transforms public space, including but not limited to emerging technologies, urban interventions, public art and architecture. Applications are currently open through November 8, 2018 at 11:59pm PT. Read on for more application tips.

Place by Design Tips to Apply

  • Place by Design provides a platform for anyone to present their scalable solutions for improving our shared landscape. You don’t have to be a designer, architect, or have any formal accreditation.

  • Remember that no intervention is too small! If your project is original, inspiring, and improves the surrounding, SXSW wants to see it.

  • PXD is all about telling the story of your design, why and how it worked, and what it ultimately means. Really think about how these questions relate to your project.

  • Please note that your work will be judged in part by its impact on the design problem it set out to solve, therefore conceptual submissions and projects in planning are not eligible for inclusion at this time.

  • Have questions about applying? Don’t hesitate to email pxd@sxsw.com.

Apply Now

Join Us in March 2019

Register to attend SXSW 2019 and book your hotel to begin your SXSW adventure from March 8-17, 2019. Sign up for SXSW Event Updates to always be in the know!

2016 SXSW Eco – Place by Design Outdoor Lounge – Photo by Steve Rogers

The post Present Your Design Work at SXSW: Place by Design Tips to Apply appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Interactive

August 10, 2018

Pixelvision Dreams: Why Michael Almereyda Used a Children's Camera to Make Movies

A long-forgotten camera was the culprit for movies worth remembering.

While many filmmakers’ first brush with production arrived while making movies as children with their parents’ camcorder, few adult filmmakers have the experience of using a camera designed for children to make their feature films.

Such is the case with a select few, however, including Sadie Benning, Elisabeth Subrin, and Michael Almereyda, each of whom used the long-forgotten PXL 2000—an affordably clunky Fisher Price camera designed for children usage in the late 1980s—to make independent work on the blurry, often pixelated image-capturing device.

New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center and Brooklyn-based Light Industry have teamed up for Flat is Beautiful: The Strange Case of Pixelvision, a one-week retrospective series that unearths these black-and-white wonders and projects them onto a screen much larger than the filmmakers could have ever expected.

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Source: NoFilmSchool