Monthly Archives: May 2011

Holiday Weekend Gives Box Office Coverage A Record Breaking “Hangover”

The Hangover Part II PosterDid anyone hear that loud “whooshing” sound this past weekend? If so, don’t be alarmed. It was just the collective sigh of relief coming from dozens of studio executives upon seeing the weekend’s enormous box office receipts.

The summer movie season started off with a bang here in the United States thanks to the highest grossing Memorial Day weekend of all time. More than USD $277 million was earned by the top 50 motion pictures playing around the country. Sequels led the day with “The Hangover Part II” pocketing USD $85 million, “Kung Fu Panda 2″ chopping away an additional USD $47.6 million and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” walking off with an additional USD $39.8 million.

While I was glad to see the industry rebound from receipts and attendance that were down upwards of 17% and 18% respectively over 2010 figures, I couldn’t help but feel a little skeptical upon seeing the news. Maybe I’ve just grown ambivalent to reading about bar setting box office results that are filled with qualifiers. For instance, the following sentence is from a Box Office Mojo story from this past weekend:

Playing on approximately 6,700 screens at 3,615 locations,”The Hangover Part II” delivered the top-grossing weekend ever ($85.9 million Friday-to-Sunday) for a live-action comedy, and it ranked second to “The Matrix Reloaded” among R-rated movies.

I’m not sure when the industry became so jaded that a praiseworthy USD $85.9 million dollar opening weekend needed to be puffed up further with adjectives like “top-grossing”. Especially when such adjectives have to be qualified with yet another hyphenated descriptor, “live-action comedy”.

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Did Sony Leak The Red-Band Trailer For ‘Dragon Tattoo’?

YouTube Preview Image
Over the weekend the Internet lit up with news about a pirated version of the red-band trailer for the English language remake of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. It wasn’t long before speculation arose that Sony Pictures, the distributor releasing the film, had actually planted the trailer on YouTube as part of a viral marketing campaign.

Adapted from the first novel in Steig Larsson’s best selling trilogy, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” is being directed by David Fincher and is due to hit theatres worldwide before the end of the year. A Swedish adaptation of the novel was a worldwide hit when it was released in 2009.

The online appearance of the red-band trailer had movie bloggers frothing at the mouth for a number of reasons, including the popularity of the source material and Fincher’s stature as a modern day American auteur. But what really got their juices flowing was a growing conspiracy theory that Sony had purposefully leaked a trailer.

The Hollywood Reporter and Mashable were some of the many media outlets to point out a few inconsistencies:

  • While the trailer starts out looking as if it was captured secretly with a camcorder inside a dark movie theatre, after the first few seconds the off-center, shaky image becomes more steady and clear.
  • The quality of the audio is much better than traditional camcorder versions of pirated movies and the video can be viewed in HD.
  • The red-band trailer for “Dragon Tattoo” was only released in theatres internationally, however the online footage begins with the MPAA’s red-band advisory notice. This poses the question as to why international markets would show a an advisory from a U.S. ratings board.

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Japanese Earthquake May Not Impact The D-Cinema Supply Chain

Texas Instruments DLP

Shortly after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan on March 11th numerous rumors and speculation have swirled around the exhibition industry over its impact on the availability of digital cinema equipment. In part, this was spurred on by Texas Instruments reporting that their manufacturing plant in Miho, Japan, about 40 miles northeast of Tokyo, “suffered substantial damage” during the quake.

Because third of the output at TI’s Miho plant is dedicated to DLP production. The DLP chip is one of the most important parts in digital cinema projectors manufactured by Barco, Christie and NEC, so it was initially thought that the industry would once again face a shortage of equipment. However, since then both Barco and Christie have publicly said they have enough inventory on hand to meet demand for months, if not a year, into the future.

As the number of emails coming in to Celluloid Junkie with questions about the issue increased to more than two dozen, I felt it appropriate to give TI a call for an update. What I learned was that, most importantly, all of TI’s personnel are safe and unharmed. The company’s fabs in both Miho and Aizu-Wakamtsu (about 150 miles north of Tokyo) were damaged in the earthquake. At Miho, the building withstood the earthquake, though the manufacturing equipment inside was damaged as it got tossed around with all of the shaking.

By the end of March repairs at Miho were finished on the facility’s infrastructure systems that deliver water, gases, chemicals and air. Most significantly, the fabs cleanroom was recertified. At the time, 90 percent of the plant’s equipment had passed electrical tests.

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