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‘Steve Jobs’ Bombs at Box Office: ‘What Went Wrong’, the Industry Version

Brent Lang writes: When Amy Pascal allowed “Steve Jobs” to leave Sony for Universal, the studio chief fretted that she had let a modern day “Citizen Kane” slip through her fingers.

“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)

Brietbart.com

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 »

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Aaron Sorkin Apologizes to Apple’s Tim Cook Over Steve Jobs Biopic

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 reports: Aaron Sorkin has apologised for mounting a scathing attack on the Apple chief executive Tim Cook after the pair clashed over the forthcoming Oscar-tipped biopic Steve Jobs.

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.”

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[FLASHBACK: Aaron Sorkin Arrested in Drug Case – cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms]

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 »


[VIDEO] Universal Studios Releases First Trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Biopic

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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)

9to5Mac


Sorkin Movie Quotes Steve Jobs: ‘If a fire causes a stampede to the unmarked exits, it will have been worth it to those who survive’

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Mike Beasley reports on Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming Steve Jobs biopic:

While we haven’t gotten many details about the Aaron Sorkin-penned screenplay based on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, we have previously learned that it will focus on three separate days in the life of the Apple co-founder, with each 30-minute act taking place just before a major product announcement. We also know that Michael Fassbender will star alongside Seth RogenMichael Stuhlbarg, Kate Winslet, Perla Haney-Jardine, and Jeff Daniels.

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Today we got our hands on a copy of the screenplay (or at least a February 2014 draft of it) which reveals what many already may have already suspected based on previous reports: the three products Jobs will unveil during the biopic are the original Macintosh, the NeXT Cube, and the iMac.

[The movie hits theaters on October 9th]

The film opens with the launch of the Macintosh and a key scene in which Andy Hertzfeld and Joanna Hoffman attempt to convince Steve Jobs to cut the iconic “Hello, I am Macintosh” moment from the computer’s demo due to a voice synthesizer problem. “The first rule of a launch is nothing can crash,” Hoffman says.

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That’s followed up by a humorous moment in which Jobs tries to convince his team to turn off the exit signs above the doors to totally darken the room during the event. He even offers to pay whatever fines the fire marshal imposes. “If a fire causes a stampede to the unmarked exits, it will have been worth it to those who survive,” Jobs quips. Read the rest of this entry »


Matthew Braun: ‘Unlike the War Films of Generations Past, ‘American Sniper’ Actually Has to Explain Onscreen That al Qaeda Insurgents Were (and Still Are) Bad’

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What ‘American Sniper’ Tells You About Its Critics

A veteran reviews ‘American Sniper

 writes:  I am not at all surprised that Michael Moore and Seth Rogen don’t like American Sniper . For them, the idea of military sacrifice is absurd. We get an idea of how badly they understand the motivation of the modern American fighting man and woman when they can’t tell the difference between someone like me, with 15 years of experience in law enforcement, military intelligence, and counterterrorism, and a Nazi. No. Seriously.

That movie is “Nation’s Pride,” the faux Nazi propaganda film-within-a-film directed by Eli Roth that plays during the film’s climactic theater scene. Moore, for his part, offered these thoughts:

“The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism.”

He later said, implausibly, he just happened to tweet this while “American Sniper ” was pulling in a massive $105 million opening weekend box-office haul and wasn’t talking at all about “American Sniper .”

An Oscar statuette earned by Frank Capra's 1942 documentary "Prelude to War," the first film in the United States Army Special Services' seven-picture "Why We Fight" series, has been removed from the auction block and was returned to the care of the U.S. Army.  Pictured: Frank Capra and John Ford during World War  Two

An Oscar statuette earned by Frank Capra’s 1942 documentary “Prelude to War,” the first film in the United States Army Special Services’ seven-picture “Why We Fight” series, has been removed from the auction block and was returned to the care of the U.S. Army.  Pictured: Frank Capra and John Ford

“Where John Ford and Frank Capra once did propaganda films during World War II, Hollywood today is irredeemably corrupted by a worldview that blames America for all the ills of the world.”

Moore’s experience with martial matters is exactly zero, and his understanding of snipers is based on a tragic anecdote from World War II. Moore never allows for the possibility that Nazi snipers might have been cowards, and that American snipers might be saving lives.

Newsflash: Like the Nazis, Al Qaeda Is Bad

War movies have changed a lot since the 1940s. War movies in the 1940s didn’t have to explain that the Nazis were bad. We take Nazis as evil for granted now; with 65 years of hindsight there are far more people around now who were never alive for Hitler’s Reich, but all of us understand that Nazis are bad.

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“The American Left can’t imagine a person who actually fights to protect other Americans, who actually believes America is the greatest country on Earth, and who does it all with a Bible in his pocket. That’s a farce to them.”

Film has been, perhaps, the best teacher of this simple truth. Nazis were just Nazis in movies, even when their evil was supernatural or no longer based in reality.

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“…It’s too far off from the people they have known and deal with every day to be real, so they think it’s propaganda for the Right, for America, for war.”

Unlike the war films of generations past, ‘American Sniper’ actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad.

The Left continues to think of the American military and foreign illegal fighters as basically being two sides of the same coin. Worse, they can’t seem to tell the difference between American service members and al Qaeda. Unlike the war films of generations past, “American Sniper” actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad. In explaining, and in depicting, Kyle’s firm and unflinching lack of remorse or understanding for the plight of the torturing, ambushing, child-murdering insurgent, we see a fun word on Twitter: Jingoistic.

The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism. Read the rest of this entry »


Rorke Denver: ‘Liberals’ Criticism of My SEAL Teammate Chris Kyle Has Had the Ironic Effect of Honoring Him’

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The United States of ‘American Sniper

Rorke Denver writes: ‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.

“The very term ‘sniper’ seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage.”

The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a 51hQkHyqjDL._SL250_large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.

[Check out Rorke Denver’s book “Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior” at Amazon]

My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.

“Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.”

The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.

“My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. “

I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Yeonmi Park, North Korean Defector

Yeonmi-Park

Merry Christmas and Happy new year everyone. I wish you all the best!

So grateful to have this freedom to watch this cool movie.
I hope you all enjoy it.
화이팅 “The interview”!!!

Yeonmi Park, North Korean defector


Here’s One Way to Turn the Cyberattack on Sony Back on North Korea

drop-interview-wsj

Drop ‘The Interview’ on Pyongyang

Sony might fear retribution if it did this, but an alternative would be for the U.S. government to buy the movie rights from Sony and release it into the public domain. 

U.S. officials are saying they think North Korea is responsible for the hacking of Sony Pictures, and perhaps also the threats that led the studio to cancel release of “The Interview.” Outsiders aren’t so sure, but the U.S. presumably has evidence others don’t. If the Obama Administration believes the evidence, the question is what it will do about it.

“Chinese netizens love to mock Kim, and North Koreans like to watch movies smuggled across the border from China. Perhaps the CIA could dub the movie into Korean to make sure it gets to its target audience.”

Park Sang Hak, a North Korean defector now living in the South, has an idea. Mr. Park, whom we profiled last year, puts information about the outside world along with movies and television programs on USB drives, which he floats into the North on balloons. The Kim Jong Un regime has labeled him “enemy zero” and sent an assassin to kill him with a poison-tipped pen. For real.

Mr. Park wants to include “The Interview” on future balloon launches. But there is another way to make sure that the movie gets the giant audience that Kim fears, even in North Korea: Make it free. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Paramount Bans Showing ‘Team America’

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Three movie theaters say Paramount Pictures has ordered them not to show Team America: World Police one day after Sony Pictures surrendered to cyberterrorists and pulled The Interview. The famous Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, Capitol Theater in Cleveland, and Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta said they would screen the movie instead of The Interview but Paramount has ordered them to stop. (No reason was apparently given and Paramount hasn’t spoken.) Team America of course features Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il, as a singing marionette.

In 2004, North Korea demanded Team America be banned in the Czech Republic….(read more)

The Daily Beast


[VIDEO] Former Anonymous Hacker: ‘North Korea Doesn’t Have Capability’ For Sony Attack

“For something like this to happen, it had to happen over a long period of time. You cannot just exfiltrate one terabyte or 100 terabytes of data in a matter of weeks.”

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A former hacker for Anonymous doesn’t believe North Korea has the infrastructure to be behind the Sony hack attack.

“Do you really think a bunch of nerds from North Korea are going to fly to New York and start blowing up movie theaters? No. It’s not realistic. It’s not about ‘The Interview.’ It’s about money. It’s a professional job.”

Hector Monsegur told CBS This Morning that the communist regime doesn’t have the technical capabilities to pull off the hack.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People's Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

“In my personal opinion, it’s not. Look at the bandwidth going into North Korea. I mean, the pipelines, the pipes going in, handling data, they only have one major ISP across their entire nation. That kind of information flowing at one time would have shut down North Korean Internet completely…They don’t have the technical capabilities.”

— Hector Monsegur

He continued, “They do have state-sponsored hackers very similar to China, very similar to Russia and very similar to our good, old USA.”

North-Korea-exter

Sony Pictures Entertainment took the unprecedented step of canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.”

A former CIA official, though, believes that North Korea could pull of this type of cyberattack.

“North Korea has significant cyber capabilities. They use them quite frequently against South Korea. For a backwards state that might be a little surprising but they also have a nuclear weapon. They are capable of achieving things when they focus on them.”

— Mike Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA

The cancellation announced Wednesday was a startling blow to the Hollywood studio that has been shaken by hacker leaks and intimidations over the last several weeks by an anonymous group calling itself Guardians of Peace.

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“This attack went to the heart and core of Sony’s business — and succeeded. We haven’t seen any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history.”

— Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at research firm Gartner

A U.S. official said Wednesday that federal investigators have now connected the Sony hacking to North Korea and may make an announcement in the near future. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to openly discuss an ongoing criminal case.

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“It doesn’t tell me much. I’ve seen Russian hackers pretending to be Indian. I’ve seen Ukrainian hackers pretending to be Peruvian. There’s hackers that pretend they’re little girls. They do this for misinformation, disinformation, covering their tracks.” 

Monsegur stated that Sony’s hacking had to have happened over a long period of time. Read the rest of this entry »


Analysis: A Kinder, Gentler Turn to the Gender Wars?

Men and women need to discuss gender issues. One can’t hear what the other doesn’t say.

For USA Today, Glenn Reynolds writes: Are we coming to a truce in the gender wars? Or just opening a second front? Or, perhaps, actually starting to talk to each other?

The First International Conference on Men’s Issues touched on many topics, including the treatment of men in the media. Dads are often depicted as bumbling losers, such as the one portrayed by Seth Rogen in the movie “Knocked Up” with Katherine Heigl. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

In the media, dads are often depicted as bumbling losers, such as the one portrayed by Seth Rogen in the movie “Knocked Up” with Katherine Heigl.  (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Those are the questions I was asking myself as I attended the First International Conference on Men’s Issues in Detroit last weekend. And, to be honest, I’m still not sure. But it’s certainly true that the discussion is expanding, and I’m enough of a believer in discussion and engagement to think that’s a good thing.men-on-strike

[Check out “Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters” at Amazon.com]

The first thing that struck me about the conference — both the speakers and the attendees — was how diverse the crowd was. (Full disclosure: I was there as a tag-along spouse while my wife spoke about her gender relations book, Men on Strike.) There were plenty of women there, which I suppose should be no surprise, as there are plenty of men at conferences on new-schoolwomen’s issues. There’s even a women’s group called The Honey Badger Brigade that supports men’s rights.

[Glenn Reynolds‘ book The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]

There were also a lot of African-Americans — or, in the case of Canadian Sen. Anne Cools, African-Canadians. But it turns out, as we heard from speakers like Fred Jones, the victims of the gender war are disproportionately black, because black men are more likely to be jailed for failure to pay child support, or on charges of domestic violence. Read the rest of this entry »