Screenwriting : New movies by academy award winning directors tank at the box office. by Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

New movies by academy award winning directors tank at the box office.

Ben Affleck's early 20th gangster epic and Martin Scorsese's 17th Century period piece/adventure bit the box office dust over the week. Some say, It all begins with the script. Are weightier movies and period pieces suffering a general lack of interest? Some of you writers have recently said there are no bad movies. Why did these two and movies like Free State of Jones, Birth of a Nation, The Finest Hours (which I loved) and The Rules Don't Apply fail to catch fire at the box office? Doesn't anyone want to see a movie about two Jesuits goint in search of their mentor in 17th Century Japan? Or would you rather go see Rogue One again? https://www.yahoo.com/movies/hidden-figures-prevails-as-monster-trucks-b...

'Hidden Figures' Prevails as 'Monster Trucks,' Ben Affleck's 'Live by Night' Bomb at Box Office
'Hidden Figures' Prevails as 'Monster Trucks,' Ben Affleck's 'Live by Night' Bomb at Box Office
Family film Monster Trucks tanked when it debuted over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, while Ben Affleck's Live By Night and Martin Scorsese's Silence suffered moribund national expansions. Fox an…
Kyle Climans

It would be a sad thing if period pieces or weighty dramas die. The greatest film I've ever seen fit into both those categories.

James Grant Goldin

Well, "Hidden Figures" is a hit and it's a period piece...

Kyle Climans

Good point. Though the success/failure ratio doesn't appear to be very promising.

Claudia Marinelli

It would be such a loss for period movies to die. I think a movie is good or bad, it doesn't really depends on the genre.

Dan MaxXx

people have to make movies, good or bad. That's the business. Pay bills. Keep busy. It's just a job and once in a while, you work on a great movie/TV Show where everything clicks.

Cast, Crew, Executives wish to work on "Moonlight" after the fact but most people would choose "Rogue One" or "Captain America" because the pay checks are bigger. Same logic falls to choosing scripts and Marketing. The Studios hire smart people, they know a dog when they read it but still make em.

Dan MaxXx

"Birth of a Nation" was shut down internally because the 2 Writers & the Director were rapists (allegedly).

C. D-Broughton

What?

I don't know if that's a joke or if you're privy to information I've never heard about...

Bill Costantini

Priests or monsters...movies with lots of visitors or few visitors....a visitor is all I ask....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXGzO2aDDRU

("Cigars!" I love the way he says that!)

James Calder

I think we've reached peak gangster, haven't we? Not sure I'd pay to see Ben Affleck play a mobster either. The only recent gangster film I've "enjoyed" was Black Mass.

Stuart Wright

Technology has people watching shorter and shorter formats. Stands to reason that few want to see a 3 hour movie. Even fewer people have the time to go to the cinema to see one. Whereas binge watching TV shows for five hours is becoming more and more normal - you can do it anywhere and it rarely requires the attention span of a good film. It saddens me to say all this, but thems the breaks with such a rapid rate of change in how we consume media... And that's before VR overtakes 3D output... The bigger question for cinemas is what's going to happen to our ability to tell stories if all people want from cinema entertainment is experience/spectacle and only experience/spectacle... Happy New Year

Max Malik

It depends on the cultural taste and originality. Movies like Live by Night evoke the same emotions of troubled and revenge driven ganster movies, many of which most moviegoers have seen. Hidden Figures is a historical piece of black women geniuses fighting oppression to get one major goal done. There isn't many stories revolving around that as opposed to LBN, so there is more interest to see it.

As for the historical pieces, there is a similar message going around as well. Free State of Jones, Birth of a Nation (the remake) and even 12 Years a Slave all have the same message, slavery is horrible. As such, people will think from the trailers "Wait, have I seen that movie??". I have found whenever that question is asked, they often don't come to the theater.

What I am trying to say is that when you have a movie, that states a similar message to other movies in the genre, the interest seeing it goes down.

C Harris Lynn

Whoever says "there are no bad movies" has never seen a David Winters film.

Anthony Cawood

Dan - you might want to consider amending your rapist post as Parker (Director) was acquitted at the original trial of all charges... (assuming US libel laws are similar to UK?)

In terms of the original post and new movies from academy award winning/nominated directors... I think Directors, Writers and Stars will always have their ups and downs, some projects will fly and some not... because audiences are fickle... but for every Silence, we can take solace in a La La Land.

C Harris Lynn

He's in absolutely zero danger of falling prey to a Libel suit. :D

Beth Fox Heisinger

Anthony, the story/information ran in several articles about the charges against Nate Parker, the case, the trial, and the fact that the victim committed suicide in 2012. Parker's past did affect the film's reception. Jean Celestin (co-writer, former roommate) was convicted. Parker was acquitted, although his acquittal is questionable. A quick search on Google about "The Nate Parker Rape Case" brings up all the facts and opinions about the matter. It was a horrible case.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Here's one article about the case, should anyone be interested: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/16/inside-the-nate-parker-....

Beth Fox Heisinger

About the thread topic... Sure, personal taste and subjective public opinions about any film would be somewhat reflective of its box office success. But wouldn't a film showing in either a high number or a low number of theaters also be a factor? Obviously Star Wars Rogue One is going to get far more screen exposure worldwide for a much longer period of time, than say a small independent film. Personally, I don't look at these numbers as an indicator of current "taste," whether audiences like period pieces or not. I'd say they do—look at TV and what's streaming. I just think there are far too many factors to make such broad assumptions. Perhaps the reason some of these films did not perform as well is because they did not receive good reviews, or perhaps they had poor marketing campaigns.

Dan Guardino

Most movies lose money whether it is a good script or not.

Anthony Cawood

Beth - I've read the Beast and Guardian articles and I know the salient details, it's a very ugly case with a very tragic ending...

However, in a US court, Parker was acquitted of the crime(s) (questionable or not).

I'm not a lawyer but I believe the fact that Parker was found innocent would therefore make Dan's comment libellous.

My suggestion to Dan was to simply temper his statement because this is an open and public forum, and I wouldn't want a fellow S32 member to get into any hot water.

It's also I believe in the site's own terms of use not to issue libellous statements...

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Beth: Very good point you made and I was trying to think of films I've seen with crappy marketing but here's some examples of films with bad marketing from different articles.

1. Adventureland

2. In Bruges (which is a great movie)

3. Drive

Beth Fox Heisinger

Sure, Anthony. Absolutely. Much appreciated. Dan M could certainly amend his post to be more accurate. However one writer was indeed convicted, and both were indeed formally accused. This is a highly publicized case in the U.S. with many layers, especially with the rape epidemic on college campuses, and the lack of response and protections by those institutions in which cases like this one have occurred. I do not think Dan M is in danger of a suit, but I am happy to run his comment by management to double check it against S32's policies.

Dan MaxXx

Anthony

Thanks for looking out but if Parker & co-Rapist are suing me, then their careers are indeed shit. Rock bottom. I'm not even in the Industry.

Hardy

"Finest Hour" was one of the best movies of 2016. I didn't recognize Ben Foster at all. The dude is a chameleon.

Kyle Climans

Really? I thought In Bruges had great marketing. The trailer was hilarious, it got me excited for the movie, and then when I actually got to see it, it surpassed my expectations.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Dan: Ben Foster is brilliant.

Bill Costantini

Deadpool easily had the best film marketing campaign for 2016, in my opinion. I remember seeing a picture of Ryan Reynolds at a marketing meeting at Fox - the table must have been 30 feet long, and there must have been 40 people there. It's no wonder that Deadpool - an extremely entertaining film - went on to become the highest-grossing R-Rated film of allllllllllll time.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Anthony C, Dan M, just to momentarily return to the issue... I did ask management to review, and although Dan M is certainly entitled to his opinion through free speech, we added "allegedly" at the end of his statement. Hopefully that settles things. Thanks for raising the concern, Anthony. Again, much appreciated. :) Now let's please return to the thread topic—sorry, Phillip!

Owen Mowatt

Not sure I understand how he can still be allegedly accused of a crime he has been tried and acquitted of.

Are S32 making their own judgments on trial decisions now?

C Harris Lynn

Not sure why Europeans are concerning themselves with the legalities of a celebrity suit out of America - especially when they can neither correctly spell "libelous," nor employ the term "allegedly." He was not ALLEGEDLY accused, and - because he is a celebrity - the case is newsworthy, so there is no chance of libelous claim without irrefutable proof of harm, specifically since Dan is stating an opinion about a reported case and not making new accusations. The standard for libel, slander, and defamation are different for politicians and celebrities due to their "newsworthiness." Lastly, Parker has publicly apologized "for his role in what happened" (while maintaining his innocence), the matter received attention from the site (which is NOT "public" in a legal sense because you have to create an account to join, and it is a privately-held venture), and a mod asked you to drop it.

It is Dan's opinion that the men are guilty despite whatever court proceedings said, and he is entitled to hold and espouse that opinion, even in a public forum. I don't recall OJ Simpson suing anyone for saying he did it despite having been found "innocent," and Casey Anthony isn't cashing-in on her infamy despite the fact that the media is responsible for her celebrity.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Owen, of course not. Just trying to respectfully keep the peace. Raised concerns by members are greatly appreciated—no matter where they are from. Thanks for further explaining the legalities, C Harris Lynn. I can certainly address this again with management, perhaps there is a better term to apply here. But we will not drastically altar nor delete Dan M's comment. Now, again, let's please return to the thread topic.

Owen Mowatt

Thanks, Beth - No problem

We "Europeans" like freedom of speech too

C Harris Lynn

I did not say "Eurocentric;" I said "European." I did not say "Radical," "Politically-Motivated," or "Relativistic." I feel your concerns were addressed in a civil manner and I move to have your hostile address dropped in a writ.

Erik Grossman

I thought HIDDEN FIGURES looked boring. It came across has a film banking on white guilt to get people top buy tickets. SELMA was great because it tackled an interesting subject, and interesting angle, and it looked like a good movie... HIDDEN FIGURES looks like it was a "you should see this because if you don't, you're racist". Not for me.

Jody Ellis

Erik I thought it looked boring too. Maybe when it comes out on demand I'll watch it.

Beth Fox Heisinger

I've heard nothing but great things about HIDDEN FIGURES. Great reviews. Good marketing campaign. Listed as "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes — 92% critic, 94% audience. It had a budget of 25 million, I believe? And is around 87 million at the box office. I'm looking forward to seeing a film about extraordinary heroines. :)

Jan Walters

Saw Affleck's 'Live by Night'. I'm not in the movie industry, but here are a couple of my thoughts from the middle of the country. We always go to the theater once or twice a week. In deciding what movie to see, we had to look up what the movie was about. For me titles are key. For example, the Amazon series 'Girls Gone Wild'. It was a great series, but I almost didn't watch it because it sounded like a porn show. Surprise! It wasn't. I loved the setting of the Affleck movie and time period. I would have liked to know more about the protagonist's background and the relationship with his father, who was a police officer. How in the heck did a kid of this strong, cop, end up on the road of crime? We thought the movie was okay until the ending. Didn't care for the ending.

William Martell

LIVE BY NIGHT is based on the middle book in a trilogy - so there's the answer to Affleck's character's backstory!

The thing about Oscars is - they have nothing to do with what makes money. If you were to compare the Oscar nominees to even the middle of the year's box office - they would probably still be flops. Oscars are similar to screenwriting contests - they reward different things. In the first year of the Academy Awards there were 2 Best Picture categories - Mainstream (WINGS) and Artistic (SUNRISE). The idea was - there were 2 kinds of movies and each should be honored. They stopped that... and then only mainstream studio films were eligible for Best Picture nominations. So for a long period of time, Oscar Winners were also hit films. Then the "indie revolution" hit - and films made outside the system were eligible... and even though those films have their own awards (Spirits) they now win Oscars, too. To the point that mainstream studio films were no longer even being nominated! That's why they upped the Best Picture category from 5 nominees to 10...

But what they should have done is gone back to the original Academy Awards and had two different categories - Mainstream and Artistic.

Jody Ellis

Live by Night didn't look interesting to me either, prob another rental for me.

I did go see "Split" last week. That was a fun ride! I also really want to see Lion.

John Vizzusi

on "live by night" it was the curse of not shooting Tampa, Florida the practical location of Ybor City that hurt the film. The fake location in Georgia looks awful. The story is not the problem, its the misconceptions in the screenplay. Modern day Gangster Pictures fail because of lack of historical interest but in this case the Film was jinxed from the start. @JEV1A

Bill Costantini

If you want to see two great films....Jim Jarmusch's Paterson and Pedro Almodovar's Julieta are two superb films, and both are in theaters now.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Bill C: Jim Jarmusch is one of the original indie filmmakers. I haven't seen any of his new work and will make a point of doing so. I loved some of the oldies like Down By Law and Stranger than Paradise.

Claudia Marinelli

I loved Paterson, I think the screenplay is brilliant, for it holds the curiosity and the attention, but finally very little happens, and itì's sweet: Good movie!

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Claudia: I never heard of Paterson before you mentioned it in this thread but I liked the early work of Jim Jarmusch. The trailer for this film looks really interesting and I'm going to rent this one. I like well-done stories about people leading seemingly mundane lives. For anybody interested, here's the link to the trailer.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/paterson/

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