#film

Mark Harris on the summer box office this year:

Should studios be worried? I think they should be, a little. It’s probably not a complete coincidence that the year’s biggest surprise hit, The Lego Movie, is a self-aware fable predicting an eventual revolt by a captive audience that’s tired of being told that everything is awesome when everything isn’t.

Brent Lang:

A subsidiary of a distribution and exhibition company, CJ 4DPlex provides the technology for 112 4D theaters in more than 20 countries throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. Tickets stateside cost $22 on average, but for that premium price, moviegoers get to kick back in motion-based seating in a theater that spays water, emits odors and jerks visitors around, all synchronized to the on-screen action.

And I thought the texting thing was bad.

Noel Murray:

We should acknowledge how great George Clooney is in this movie. Jennifer Lopez is wonderful too—so much so that it’s a shame she didn’t stay the course as a movie star, rather than focusing so much of her energy on pop music—but Clooney has had such a strong post-Out Of Sight career that it’s easy to forget how this film righted his reputation. He’d made a ton of money with the first couple of films he starred in after leaving the TV series ER, but few critics took him seriously as an actor. Around the time Out Of Sight came out, I remember Clooney giving interviews in which he talked about how he was rich enough from Batman & Robin not to have to make any more movies he didn’t believe in. He also said that Soderbergh had cured him of some of his actorly tics, convincing him to stare straight ahead rather than always dipping his chin and bobbing his head. Nathan, you ask about memorable moments, and most of mine involve Clooney’s unexpected maturity and deadpan wit. My favorite example of the latter: When one of Ripley’s goons comes to escort Jack out of his office and says, “There are two ways we can do this,” to which Jack replies, “Yeah, what are they?” As for the former, I think again of that scene at the hotel bar with Karen, when Jack sighs that he’d rather they just be themselves, and bring everything they’ve lived and experienced into the bedroom. “Gary and Celeste, what do they know about anything?” he asks. What changed about Clooney as an actor is that he stopped being a Gary and started being a Jack Foley.

100% agree. This remains my favorite George Clooney role (narrowly ahead of Michael Clayton). And I also view it as the pivotal moment that “righted” his Hollywood ship. He easily could have veered off course as so many others have before him. But it was Out of Sight that put him on the trajectory to become arguably the biggest movie star in the world.

I also believe this is still Steven Soderbergh’s best movie. 

Amy Qin on the latest cinema trend emerging in China:

The new “bullet screen,” or danmu, model of movie-watching that has recently been introduced in select theaters in China can perhaps be most pithily summed up with the title of the 2010 Chinese action comedy “Let the Bullets Fly.”

In this case, the bullets don’t refer to actual bullets, but to text messages that audience members send via their mobile phones while watching the film. The messages are then projected onto the screen, so that at any given time the scene may be overlaid with multiple “bullets,” or comments, scrolling across the screen.

Pop-Up Video. But in a theater. With content populated by the crowd. Of teens. What could go wrong?

Ben Fritz:

The actual revenue value for Hollywood studios of a box office dollar—the only financial data point typically reported publicly—varies widely. In China, where practically no one buys DVDs—at least not legitimately—and digital and TV distribution businesses are minimal, studios receive only about 27 cents on the box office dollar, according to internal studio analyses viewed by The Wall Street Journal. In the U.S., with its comparatively robust post-theatrical businesses, $1 of box office translates into about $1.75 of total revenue over a decade.

The recent rhetoric out of Hollywood seems to center around how well films are doing overseas. Forget what you see in the domestic box office, they say. Which is misdirection, at best. Bullshit, at worst.