News & Updates
March 29, 2020
With theaters in an unprecedented nationwide shutdown, we look back at the game-changing titles in play on this weekend in box-office history.
Under normal circumstances, this weekend would likely have been the best of 2020 to date. With “Mulan” (Disney) set to open and “A Quiet Place Part II” (Paramount) in its second week, grosses totaling $200 million were likely.
And in 1998, this was the weekend after the Oscars — a date then known as something of a box-office dead zone. Streaming didn’t exist, and theater windows were longer than 90 days, which meant new films stayed away because they didn’t want to compete with the post-Oscar bump. Today, Oscar movies are no threat since most winners are on some form of VOD, or in wider release.
Last year, this weekend’s box office was dominated by “Avengers: Endgame,” with coverage led by claims that it was the biggest film ever worldwide as well as #2 in domestic history. However, that calculation ignores ticket prices.
Adjusted, “Endgame” is #16 on the all-time list of domestic ticket sales. “Titanic” is #5, one of only 11 films (in current dollar values) to surpass $1 billion (just under $1.3 billion). That compares to $893 million for “Endgame” and slightly more for James Cameron’s later smash, “Avatar.”
20th Century Fox/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock
This week tells much of the story of how “Titanic” achieved its massive total.
• This was its 15th week at #1. It turned out to be the the last one at that rank (“Lost in Space” replaced it), but it remained in the top 10 for another 11 weeks. That brought the film to $600 million in 1998 dollars, around $1.2 billion today. A 2012 3D reissue and other later showings added about another (adjusted) $70 million.
• No other film has spent that much time at #1 from its initial release. “Star Wars” made more than “Titanic,” but it had a more limited opening and dropped below the top spot in early June 1977 before going wider and then staying at the top for six months. “E.T.” also had more total weeks, but in the summer of 1983 it dropped a couple of times in the face of an opening film.
• For “Titanic,” this weekend’s total — $30 million adjusted — was its lowest to date, although it had 500 more theaters than its opening weekend. Repeat viewings built the “Titanic” phenomenon, but it was slowed by its Christmas opening when few theaters could give the 194-minute film two screens. This was very different from “Endgame,” which opened against no other film, at about 1,500 more theaters, and many of those with four or more screens.
• “Titanic” box office dropped 11 percent after its 11-Oscar win. However, it had already benefited as the presumptive winner with a big post-nomination boost. All told, it added another $200 million million adjusted after the win. This year, “Parasite” added $20 million and it was considered a major bump.
The other gross that jumped out on this weekend in 1998 was the #2 position for the 20th-anniversary re-release of “Grease.” The John Travolta musical had long been on home video, and played on TV and cable, yet Paramount was able to lure audiences back for another $25 million (about $55 million adjusted). At $755 million adjusted total, it remains the biggest-grossing musical since “The Sound of Music.”
This was the third lowest weekend of 1998, with an adjusted total of $150 million. Today, that’s considered solid for non-summer periods — but at this time, we’d already begun seeing big post-opening drops for solid titles like “Primary Colors,” “The Man in the Iron Mask,” “Wild Things,” and “U.S. Marshall.”
”The Newton Boys” was the sole new wide release to make the top 10. Richard Linklater’s period bank-robbery story reunited him with Ethan Hawke and Matthew McConaughey. It fell quickly, amassing around $20 million adjusted.
This weekend in history, there’s no bigger box office story than “Titanic.” However, it’s also worth noting two other Oscar-winning films got a push. “As Good As It Gets,” which won the Best Actor for Jack Nicholson and Best Actress for Helen Hunt, jumped 13 percent to pass $250 million. And “Good Will Hunting,” with supporting actor and screenplay wins, fell just 8 percent, with a total only slightly lower.
Today it’s difficult, if not impossible, to imagine audiences responding so fervently to star-driven, Oscar-winning dramedies.
March 27-29, 1998
1. Titanic (Paramount) Week 15; Last weekend: #1
$15,214,000/ $30,428,000 (-11%) in 3,253 (+64); PTA: $4,705/ $9,410; Cumulative: $515,263,000/ $1,030,526,000
2. Grease (Paramount) NEW (reissue)
$12,705,000/$25,410,000 in 2,064 theaters; PTA: $6,155/ $12,310; Cumulative: $12,705.000/$25,410,000
3. Primary Colors (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend: #2
$7,005,000/ $14,010,000 (-42%) in 1,968 theaters (+3); PTA: $3,559/ $7,118; Cumulative: $22,344,000/ $44,688,000
4. The Man in the Iron Mask (MGM) Week 3; Last weekend: #3
$6,335,000/ $12,670,000 (-43%) in 3,101 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,042/ $4,084; Cumulative: $43,653,000/ $87,306,000
5. Wild Things (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend: #4
$5,668,000 / $11,336 (-41%) in 2,133 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,603/ $5,206; Cumulative: $18,213,000/ $36,426,000
6. As Good as It Gets (Sony) Week 14; Last weekend: #8
$4,302,000 / $8,604,000 (+32%) in 1,564 theaters (-40); PTA: $2,750/ $5,550; Cumulative: $131,786,000/ $263,573,000
7. (tied) Good Will Hunting (Miramax) Week 17; Last weekend: #7
$4,117,000/(+2%) in 1,642 theaters (-163); PTA: $2,507/ $5,014; Cumulative: $121,566,000/ $243,133,000
7. (tied) U.S. Marshals (Warner Bros.) Week 4; Last weekend: #5
$4,117,000/ $8,234,000 (-43%); PTA: $1,689/ $3,378; Cumulative: $49,514,000/ $99,026,000
9. The Newton Boys (20th Century Fox) NEW
$4,110,000/ $8,220,000 in 1,965 theaters; PTA: $2,040/ $4,080; Cumulative: $4,110,000/ $8,220,000
10. Mr. Nice Guy (New Line) Week 2; Last weekend: #6
$2,586,000 / $5,163,000 (-51%); PTA: $1,767/ $3,534; Cumulative: $9,304,000/ $18,608,000
Source: IndieWire film
March 29, 2020
Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, whose often disturbing and challenging avant-garde music has turned up in films from “The Shining” to “The Exorcist” and “Children of Men,” and as recently as the TV series “Twin Peaks: The Return,” died at his home in Krakow on Sunday, March 29. He was 86 years old.
Penderecki’s greatest influence on any modern composer can perhaps be found in the work of Johnny Greenwood, the lead guitarist and keyboardist of Radiohead and musician behind the soundtracks for films including Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” “Phantom Thread” and “The Master,” as well as Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “You Were Never Really Here.”
“What sad news to wake to. Penderecki was the greatest — a fiercely creative composer, and a gentle, warm-hearted man. My condolences to his family, and to Poland on this huge loss to the musical world,” Greenwood tweeted on Sunday morning.
Penderecki began composing in the 1960s, going on to produce eight symphonies, four operas, a requiem, and many concertos and choral works, many of which are regarded as notoriously difficult to play. His compositions were often politically motivated, including probably his most famous work, “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” which appeared in the films “The People Under the Stairs” and “Children of Men.”
The chilling composition (below) was also used by David Lynch in the landmark Episode 8 of Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return,” set against images of an atomic bomb that appears to birth evil itself into the world. In “Children of Men,” “Threnody” sets off the film’s masterful long-take sequence as Clive Owen rushes to safety through a harrowing warren of chaos. In this piece, 52 string instruments collaborate to create a nerve-shredding soundscape.
Penderecki’s work also appeared in “The Shining,” with terrifying pieces employed by director Stanley Kubrick in lieu of an original soundtrack (though composer Wendy Carlos did turn in a score, it went mostly unused in favor of preexisting music). Penderecki’s works also appear in David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” and “Wild at Heart,” Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist,” and Peter Weir’s “Fearless.” His work even appears in the 1996 disaster movie “Twister” and the Netflix series “Black Mirror.” He also contributed original scores to films as well, including most recently in the 2015 Polish horror film “Demon.”
Head over to The New York Times for a full obituary on Penderecki’s life and work.
What sad news to wake to. Penderecki was the greatest – a fiercely creative composer, and a gentle, warm-hearted man. My condolences to his family, and to Poland on this huge loss to the musical world. https://t.co/fRyy53aaEJ
— Jonny Greenwood (@JnnyG) March 29, 2020
Source: IndieWire film
March 29, 2020
Following the recent announcement of a new novel from “The Martian” author Andy Weir, the book, titled “Project Hail Mary,” has already been scooped up by MGM for a cool seven figures. Deadline reports that Ryan Gosling will not only star but also produce the film which, like “The Martian,” pivots on a solitary astronaut who’s assigned a critical mission to save the world. Gosling will produce with Ken Kao, producer of “Mid90s” and executive producer on the Best Picture nominee “The Favourite.”
Author Andy Weir’s debut novel was “The Martian,” which famously turned into an Academy Award-nominated film written by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott, and Matt Damon in the eponymous lead role. “The Martian” was originally self-published in 2011 before being rereleased in 2014. It won Andy Weir the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the Hugo Awards.
The film version, which grossed more than $630 million around the world following a Toronto International Film Festival premiere, was released in 2015, and became a Best Picture nominee the following year. Novelist Weir followed up “The Martian” with “Artemis,” published in 2017, centered on a part-time smuggler in the first city on the Moon. Weir was reportedly developing “Artemis” into a film with directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (writers and producers who haven’t properly directed a movie since 2014’s “22 Jump Street, after they were booted off “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and replaced by Ron Howard). Weir’s novel “Project Hail Mary” will be published in the spring of 2021 by Random House.
Ryan Gosling is, of course, no stranger to suiting up for outer space, as he previously starred as Neil Armstrong in Damien Chazelle’s 2018 drama “First Man,” in which Gosling also spent a great deal of time alone amid the cosmos. Gosling lost out on a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for the technically impressive film. Matt Damon, however, did receive a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for “The Martian.” The marriage of minds brought together by MGM for “Project Hail Mary” sets this up to be a high-profile project, and the first major film deal announcement amid the total shutdown of Hollywood currently taking place.
Source: IndieWire film
March 28, 2020
As much as one can in these couch-bound times, actor and filmmaker Ethan Hawke took a breather from self-distancing in upstate New York to join IndieWire’s Eric Kohn for a live discussion on Instagram last week. His candid thoughts ran the gamut, from his heaping praise for Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” to the making of “First Reformed” with director Paul Schrader and the possibility of another entry in the “Before Sunrise” series. However, the conversation took an unexpected turn as Hawke offered up a balm for weary souls with a live reading of William Shakespeare.
“When I dropped out of college, I would challenge myself to learn Shakespeare, some soliloquy or poem, because I wasn’t going to school and I felt like a loser,” Hawke said. “I found [a passage] today that I felt was relevant to our situation.”
Hawke put on his glasses and pulled up a copy of “As You Like It,” Shakespeare’s classic pastoral comedy of manners. Speaking from the point-of-view of a duke in exile, Hawke read, “Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in its head. And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”
Hawke also added that — “fun” fact — Shakespeare wrote “King Lear” while under quarantine. In the early 1600s, the Globe Theatre shut down during the plague, so Shakespeare took advantage of his time in isolation to pen the epic play. “If he could do it, so could you,” Hawke said.
While hunkering down at home, when he’s not reading, Hawke said he’s been sharing silent movies with his kids while looking for inspiration for his own work. “Why did I used to make fun of this kind of presentational acting?” he said. “One of the things about Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin is they managed to be both completely realistic and believable, but they’re doing slapstick pratfalls. It’s obviously rehearsed. […] I am selfishly showing my kids these movies because I’m studying them.”
In closing, Hawke offered his thoughts on confronting fears, especially at a time of national crisis, tipping first to a quote from Seymour Bernstein, the pianist he profiled in his documentary “Seymour: An Introduction.” “Make friends with your fear. Fear is your teacher.”
“When you say, ‘yes I am afraid, I’m scared of the future,’ then courage can arise. If you’re constantly pretending you’re not afraid, then you’re off-balance,” Hawke said. “This is a scary time, and we will rise and we will handle it. The question that’s more exciting is how. Pretty much nobody throughout history has ever learned anything without suffering. It doesn’t happen. All we want is to have a good time, pursue pleasure, collect more things, have nothing bad ever happen to us. But if it didn’t, we wouldn’t learn anything, and we’re given the chance right now to have a real evolution in thought.”
Additional reporting by Eric Kohn.
Source: IndieWire film
March 28, 2020
Moviegoers sheltering in place have, to no surprise, turned to Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film “Contagion” for insight? Answers? Entertainment? Who knows what drives viewing habits in these crazy times. The film details, with eerie precision, the complete breakdown of civilization amid a rapidly spreading virus. Not exactly soothing viewing material right now, but it’s nevertheless high on VOD rental charts.
But that was a movie, and this real life. In a new series of PSAs about taking care in the time of the coronavirus, cast members from the film have teamed up to record messages for all of us quarantined at home — including the film’s stars Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, and Jennifer Ehle. Watch the videos below.
Damon is here to tell you about social-distancing and the life-saving benefits of sitting on your couch. Fishburne urges staying at home and pushing out the noise to listen to the experts. Ehle, meanwhile, discusses the possibilities of a COVID-19 vaccine and why a solution won’t be immediate, and Winslet offers the most practical advice in showing you how to wash your hands like your life depends on it.
The initiative comes in partnership with director Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, along with scientists from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
In a recent Slate interview, screenwriter Burns, who worked with the CDC in 2009 and 2010 to research “Contagion,” condemned President Trump’s response to the coronavirus. “I listened to a press conference that the president gave where he described himself as a businessman who didn’t like it when people were just sitting around,” Burns said. “Well, I wonder how he feels about the fire department. I live near a firehouse, and those people spend some time sitting around when there’s no fire‚ but you can’t build a fire department once your house is on fire. Unfortunately, this administration has decided that is what it wants to do, and it puts people way behind. When you look at the amount of testing this country has done compared to other countries, that’s the part that is scary to me.”
Recently, Ian Lipkin, the university professor and epidemiologist who served as the medical consultant on “Contagion,” tested positive for the coronavirus. “If it can hit me, it can hit anybody,” Lipkin said.
Check out the “Contagion” PSA videos below.
Source: IndieWire film
March 27, 2020
Final Cut Pro X and Logic are offering 90-day free trials to give users more time to experiment before taking the plunge.
As the world adapts to distributed workflows, much of the support has been aimed towards helping students and educators. Apple has announced 90-day free trials on both Final Cut Pro and Logic software.
Final Cut Pro X has always had a 30-day free trial, but Logic, its audio software, previously didn’t have trials available. If you wanted to give it a shot, you had to buy it. In terms of licenses, Final Cut and Logic both behave similarly to DaVinci Resolve Studio in that they haven’t required upgrade fees in a long time. If you bought FCP X for $299 in 2011, you would still be using it today at that same purchase. That works out to about $2.75/month.
March 27, 2020
Parasite is an incredibly deep social satire with expertly interwoven symbolism. So, how did director Bong Joon-ho do it?
As we deal with the rich having access to Covid-19 tests and tweeting out the music and lyrics of John Lennon from their palatial mansions while some of us plot to kill our roommates, I thought it was a great time to revisit Parasite.
While the news and the insane world seem to have slowed Parasite’s press tour, there’s no time like the present to dig into this masterpiece and talk about the symbolism at the core of its storytelling.
Check out the video from Lessons from the Screenplay and let’s talk after the jump.
How are Symbols Used in Film?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty inside the movie, let’s put down our peaches and talk about symbols. Symbols give you a way to sway the audience. They are tangible objects within the story that represent something larger than what they are.
They are objects bearing the weight of metaphor.
Sometimes we call these things “charged objects.”
March 27, 2020
Find out all the other ways tech companies are supporting filmmakers through this process.
COVID-19 has hit the world, and industry, hard. This week we talk about who the Netflix funds might apply to, who else might do something similar, what tech companies are doing to help during this time, plus a great question from the community, and of course… NFS60!
March 27, 2020
Nothing to do? How about entering to win some free gear?
It’s a tough time for filmmakers and creatives right now. Fujifilm and Moment both recognize that and have partnered up to giveaway $10,000 worth of gear to one lucky person.
Entering is simple. Go to this website. Enter your name and email and post a “daily inspiration” to Instagram using the #FujixMoment. That’s it. But be sure your Instagram profile is public.
Better yet, the winner will be announced on March 30, 2020, so there’s no waiting for 3 months to see if you’ve won.
Here’s what you could win:
- Fujifilm X-T4 Mirrorless Camera – Body Only
- Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR
- Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR
- Fujinon XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR
- Gear from the Moment Shop
Signing up will most likely automatically add you to Fujifilm and Moment newsletters, so be sure to note your preferred email address for that stuff. That said, No Film School has no affiliation with the contest, we’re only sharing the news.
March 27, 2020
Are traditional director’s viewfinders still a viable option?
My inbox was hit with news about a new full-frame director’s viewfinder from Optica Mangus aptly named the Optica Magnus Full Frame Finder. It’s a traditional optical viewfinder compatible with sensors up to 46.31mm, which includes Super 35, full-frame, ARRI LF, RED Vista Vision, Sony VENICE, etc. “Oh great.”