Monday, 10 November 2008

You Asked For It?

Today I'm going to answer some questions and comments put forth by my loyal and fragrant readers.
Anonymous Thierry Attard said...

I'm waiting with the highest impatience your analysis about Quantum of Solace's B.O.

Wait no more, though I'm afraid I'll have to be a tad vague for now.

The stellar performance of Quantum of Solace at the international Box Office is pretty impressive, but what would make it either merely good, or really great, are the details of the deal between MGM/UA and its international distributor, which I believe is 20th Century Fox (correction: The Bond films are handled internationally by MGM/UA co-owner Sony.)

Conventionally an international distributor gets about 60% of that box office take to cover their costs for marketing, publicity, prints, shipping, and other expenses, as well as make a tidy profit for themselves, and MGM/UA's cut, while good, is not really Earth-shattering. However, there is another option, where 20th Century Fox Sony is a "hired distributor" where the company is paid a fee for their expertise and resources, and those aforementioned costs are paid for by MGM/UA. If that's the deal, MGM/UA will be getting 100% of that box office, which is pretty damn great as long as they didn't spend too much on marketing.
Blogger Alex said...

Let's see if they try not paying Heath Ledger's estate, under the pretense that his cut doesn't count because he's dead.

I bet they'll lose millions on the video release, too. Great excuse for not releasing Warner catalog titles:

"Sorry folks. We'll never put Brewster McCloud on DVD or Blu-Ray because The Dark Night lost so much money."

Am I jaded or what?

Yes you are jaded. But I doubt they'd try to keep from using Ledger's death as an excuse to not pay his estate a share of the profits, when burying those profits under the industry's mystic and arcane accounting rules will do it admirably, but with less bad publicity.

Stiffing someone through accounting is boring and doesn't get much media attention, but stiffing someone's estate because they are dead, especially someone who died tragically young and left behind a young family, is a public relations nightmare.

And when it comes to releasing movies on video, it's judged by how much money the movie could make on video, and movies that just gather dust in the vault, aren't even trying to make money. It might take them a long time to release a movie on DVD, so if you want them to speed up the process, try using the internet to show the company how much interest there is in getting the movie on DVD.

Now this may change when digital downloading becomes quick and easy, which would let the studios put their entire libraries online for download, at very little overhead cost.
AnonymousFuloydo said...

A question: When the opening credits say a movie is "A Joe Blow" film is that just a fancy way of saying Joe Blow was the director?

Yes, but like most things in Hollywood, there's more to it than that.
What you're talking about is called the "Film By" credit, and you don't see those as much anymore. It came with the popularity of the auteur theory which believed that the director was the ultimate author of the film. There was a time when almost any director could squirm out a "Film By" credit, but that came to a halt a couple of years ago.
You see, the Writers Guild didn't really care for directors being credited as the sole author of a movie when they didn't write the screenplay. New rules to qualify for a "Film By Credit" were hashed out, requiring a waiver from the WGA that agrees that the director in question also contributed greatly to the screenplay.
Tschafer said...

You might be a little hard on Mr. Bond here, D. Bond does have moral values other than patriotism, which we can infer from the things that we see him do, and the things that we never see him do:

-He never sleeps with an unwilling woman, or commits rape;
-He never sleeps with a married woman;
-He niver sleeps with an underage girl;
-He never intentionally kills an innocent person;
-He never lies about his feelings, that is, he never tells a woman he loves her just to get her into bed;
-He is coniderate to those who work for him, or who are his subordinates, and he is loyal to his superiors, and he often risks his life for both;
-He never boasts about his exploits, or uses them to bag chicks; if anything, he downplays them;
-He only kills those with whom he is at war, or those who who try to kill him.

In fact, James Bond pretty much sticks to conventional Judeo-Christian morality, the only exception being his sexual exploits with consenting, unmarried, adult women; but of course, even real knights were known for having that sort of weakness. Bond as depicted in film and story is a flawed man, a sinner, just like the rest of us; but he's is certainly not amoral.
I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree on this subject. Ian Fleming apparently had no problem with other men's wives, so it's highly likely that his creation wouldn't have one either. And he seduces the wives, mistresses, and girlfriends of his villains many times. The fact that he isn't a rapist or a pederast merely says that he's not a complete psychopath, not that he's essentially moral. His treatment of women, as a seducer than abuser, comes from his own image of himself as the knight on a mission for Queen and Country, and one does not sully the Queen's honour with such nasty behaviour.

As for not knowingly killing the innocent, well, he wouldn't have any reason to kill innocent people, unless they somehow jeopardized his mission, then I wouldn't think he'd even blink before "neutralizing" the threat. Those guards at the embassy at the beginning of Casino Royale weren't inherently evil, or even at war with him, they were just reacting to the arrival of a crazy man shooting the crap out of the place. And just look at the way he drives through busy city streets doesn't say much for his consideration of others.

His considerate behaviour, though in the movies, he often annoyed the hell out of Q, his loyalty, his modesty, and his treatment of superiors and subordinates comes from his background as an officer of the Royal Navy, which is a facet of his patriotism. Officers follow certain rules of decorum, because they do not represent just themselves, but the honour of their Queen and Country as well.

I'm not saying Bond is evil, he is the hero after all, but he's a deeply flawed one, and he knows it. If you've read all the books, Bond is a lonely man, who will never enjoy things like family, real friendships outside of work, or even a long term relationship outside of flirting with Moneypenny. He's a weapon, he knows it, and will die alone and mourned only by Moneypenny, and a handful of restauranteurs, and he has accepted his fate because that oh-so British stiff-upper-lip attitude pretty much commands him to do so. The villains are like him, except they don't accept their fate, and try to go beyond it. Try reading my first Cinemaniacal post for more details.

I hope I was able to answer your questions.


  1. Thank you for answering my question Mr. D.

    The reason it came up was I was watching T3 the other night and it had one of those credits. IMDB showed the person as the director and nothing more. (No writing credits)

    Since T3 came out in 2003 I'm assuming that's before the "couple of years ago" you mention as when the practice was reigned in.

  2. Yeah, I think it was after that when the WGA started making a stink, my memory's fuzzy on the exact date, but I think it was sometime in 2005.

  3. Yeah, on Bond, we'll have to agree to disagree. But I don't think that it's really fair to tar Bond with his creator's flaws. Fleming may have seduced married women, but Bond didn't, at least not that I can find in the books. As for the rest, I guess it rests on interpretations of words like "innocent"; I mean, the security guards in "Casino" were metaphysically innocent, but so were some German soldiers in WWII - they were still trying to kill Bond, and were hence fair game. But I'm not really sure that it's fair to say that all of Bond's virtues stem from his patriotism - after all, a lot of our virtues stem from a central virtue - that doesn't negate them. or explain them away. But anyway, thanks for an enjoyable bolg, and good luck with the book...