“There was an over-inflated sense of how well this film could do. Its only chance now is to gain awards traction.”
— Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations
The strikingly literate biopic about the Apple co-founder was brilliant she noted, but after Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale passed on the title role, it lacked a major star, limiting its commercial prospects. In the end, Pascal, whose job was already threatened by a string of flops like “After Earth” and “White House Down,” couldn’t justify the risk.
Fast-forward nearly a year. Pascal is out of a job, “Steve Jobs” has debuted to rapturous reviews, and the film is a strong Oscar contender. It’s every bit as good as Pascal thought it would be, but the then Sony chief’s wariness also appears to have been entirely justified.
“Steve Jobs” was too brainy, too cold, and too expensive to make it a success. Moreover, Michael Fassbender, the electrifying Irish actor who replaced Bale as Jobs, lacks the drawing power to open the picture.
Too ‘brainy, too cold, too expensive’ to make it a success? Oh, please. I prefer John Nolte’s analysis:
Everything other than the father-daughter story is subplot, and this wouldn’t be terribly interesting even if it were true. But it’s not true. Sorkin made it all up. Also fabricated is the central conflict between Jobs and Wozniak. Missing is Jobs’ legendary ability to inspire greatness from those around him. Jobs was no angel, few successful people are, but this still feels like a smear job.
Basically, Sorkin used the name Steve Jobs and the historical beats of the man’s life to tell a fictional story about a bunch of rich white people, their personal problems and eccentricities and hang-ups….(read more)
After racking up the year’s best per-screen average in its opening weekend and doing strong business in limited expansion, “Steve Jobs” hit a stumbling block in its national release. It debuted to a measly $7.3 million, only a little more than the $6.7 million that “Jobs,” a critically derided film about the iPhone father with Ashton Kutcher, made in its initial weekend. Going into the weekend, some tracking suggested that the picture would do as much as $19 million.
So what went wrong?
Universal believes that the picture can recover. Studio executives note that it is popular in major urban markets like San Francisco and New York, and argue that the film’s A minus CinemaScore means word-of-mouth will be strong. If it can stay in theaters until Golden Globe and Oscar nominations are announced, they believe it can rebound.
“We are going to continue to support the film in the markets where it is showing strength and we’re going to continue to do it aggressively and proactively,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “The critics are there for it and the buzz in these markets is strong.”
It’s still hard to see how the film turns a profit. Read the rest of this entry »
Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay for Danny Boyle’s film about Cook’s predecessor as head of the technology firm, told E! News: “You know what, I think that Tim Cook and I probably both went a little too far. And I apologise to Tim Cook. I hope when he sees the movie, he enjoys it as much as I enjoy his products.”
The Social Network and West Wing screenwriter’s apology came after he was drawn into a war of words with Cook following the latter’s appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this month. During his appearance, the Apple boss described recent attempts to immortalise Jobs on the big screen – he was referring to both Steve Jobs and the current Alex Gibney documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine – as “opportunistic”, adding: “I hate that, it’s not a great part of our world.”
Sorkin hit back at a roundtable junket interview in London last week, suggesting that the film-makers took pay cuts to get Steve Jobs made, and blasting Apple’s own record. Read the rest of this entry »
Why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt to protect a government-enforced cartel ran out of gas
L. Gordon Crovitz writes: Progressive New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Socialist Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgofound common cause on a shared threat while attending a recent climate-change conference at the Vatican. “The people of our cities don’t like the notion of those who are particularly wealthy and powerful dictating the terms to a government elected by the people,” Mr. de Blasio declared. “As a multibillion-dollar company, Uber thinks it can dictate to government.”
“Uber made the fight personal by adding a ‘de Blasio’ mode to its app, estimating how long the wait would be under the proposed law. Model Kate Upton tweeted in Uber’s support.”
But before Mr. de Blasio could return from Rome, he learned that people really don’t like when politicians try to take away their favorite app for getting around the government’s taxi cartel. The mayor was forced to drop his plan to limit Uber to a 1% annual increase in cars, far below the current rate.
“Errol Louis wrote in the Daily News that ‘Mayor de Blasio is leaving N.Y.ers stranded—like a black man trying to hail a cab uptown.’”
It’s hard to see why Mr. de Blasio thought that would be good politics. Two million New Yorkers have downloaded the Uber app onto their mobile devices—a quarter of the city’s population and more than twice the number of citizens who voted for Mr. de Blasio. But it’s easy to understand why he views Uber as an ideological threat. A tipping point is in sight where big-government politicians can no longer deprive consumers of new choice made possible by technology—whether for car rides, car sharing or home rentals. Mr. de Blasio’s experience should encourage other politicians to sign up for innovation.
“You are dealing with a huge economic force which is consumer choice, and the taxi trade needs to recognize that…I’m afraid it is a tragic fact that there are now more than a million people in this city who have the Uber app.’”
— The Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson
Uber has become a wedge issue. The Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson, took the opposite approach from Mr. de Blasio. “You are dealing with a huge economic force which is consumer choice, and the taxi trade needs to recognize that,” he said recently. He told a gathering of taxi drivers in London: “I’m afraid it is a tragic fact that there are now more than a million people in this city who have the Uber app.” When cabbies objected that Uber drivers were undercutting their prices, Mr. Johnson replied: “Yes, they are. It’s called the free market.”
“Government-enforced cartels fall faster and harder to disruptive innovation than most businesses. When change comes, it is more dramatic than in industries that already have competition.”
Presidential candidates are divided as well. Hillary Clinton implicitly criticized Uber in her campaign speech on economic policy, saying the “so-called ‘gig economy’ ” is “raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like.” Read the rest of this entry »
Universal Studios has just released the first trailer for the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic. The trailer gives us our first on-screen look at star Michael Fassbender as the Apple co-founder, along with Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Mac engineer Joanna Hoffman, and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley….(read more)
VARIETY‘s Tim Gray reports: So it’s little surprise that there are twice as many reality-based films currently vying for awards attention as last year, when one of those, “Argo,” took home the best picture Oscar.
Even though such movies are tough to pull off, filmmakers agree that the jump in numbers (from 8 to 17) is due to several factors, including audience tastes, studio responsiveness, filmmakers’ determination and the social-media world we now inhabit.
“The boundary between public and private is starting to merge,” says Bill Condon, who directed “The Fifth Estate,” about Julian Assange and the creation of WikiLeaks.
Condon suggests that thanks to public platforms like YouTube and Twitter, “People are starring in the movies of their own lives and sharing those things with everybody else.”
“God, look at that. Look, I’m on television!”
Mental Floss has embedded a YouTube video of a young Steve Jobs preparing to be interviewed by San Francisco’s KGO-TV in 1978. The video has been online for years already, but it’s Friday and you’re pretending to be busy until you see your boss slip out early, at which point you’ll slip out 15 minutes later once you’re sure you won’t pass each other on the highway. Read the rest of this entry »