Sam: On this spot I’ll fight no more forever.
Sam: [to oncoming horde] Come and get me, you bastards!
Lightning strikes him.
Sam: [with everyone looking on, he sits up and blows off his glasses] I’m okay.
Sam: Follow me.
– Moonrise Kingdom (2012), written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is all is lost, suggested by Turambar. Today’s suggestion by Ellen Musikant.
Trivia: Before filming, neither Kara Hayward (Suzy) nor Jared Gilman (Sam) had ever seen a typewriter in person. Hayward later said, “Fran (Frances McDormand) had a lot of fun with that. She couldn’t believe it. She showed me that the keys are in the same place as now (on computers).”
Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary from Ellen: “Each character in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom has a moment of “all is lost” but none so spectacularly than young Sam. At this moment in the story he has lost everything and is ready to give up when he takes a direct lightning strike. The “hordes” (in this case a scout troop) are awed by the strike and his immediate recovery. Sam is instantaneously transformed from “loser” to “leader.”
Takeaway: The audience/reader’s gasp at seeing a child hit by lightning is immediately tempered with the understated “I’m okay” – a totally fitting rhythm and outcome in this film. Pure delight.”
Sam moves down a dark corridor. Voices murmur. He pokes his
head around a corner. A rack of choir robes and cassocks
blocks his path. He slides two of them apart and looks
Five eleven-year-old girls in black leotards sitting on a
bench in front of a mirror framed with light bulbs. They talk
quietly and fix their make-up. They all wear wings on their
arms and beaks on their heads. Suzy sits among them in black
feathers. Sam stares at her. He steps into the light
silently. Suzy sees him in the reflection. The other girls
turn around quickly, covering themselves.
Sam removes his cap and takes another step forward. His eyes
dart briefly among the other girls. He says to Suzy:
What kind of bird are you?
Suzy hesitates. She looks to the girl next to her, who says
in a bossy voice:
I’m a sparrow, she’s a dove, and –
Sam does not look away from Suzy as he interrupts, pointing:
No, I said, “What kind of bird are you?”
The other girls all look to Suzy. Pause.
I’m a raven.
Suzy lifts her beak slightly higher on her forehead. The
other girls look annoyed but transfixed. The bossy girl
Boy’s aren’t allowed in here.
Sam does not look away from Suzy as he answers quietly:
I’ll be leaving soon.
Sam points down at Suzy’s lap. One of her hands is wrapped in
What happened to your hand?
I got hit in the mirror.
Really. How’d that happen?
I lost my temper at myself.
Sam is deeply intrigued by this. The other girls look
puzzled. Suzy presses her hair back off her face. She watches
What’s your name?
Sam. What’s yours?
Sam nods with his eyes still glued to Suzy’s. Suzy bites her
fingernails. The bossy girl rolls her eyes.
It’s not polite to stare.
Sam holds up his hand for the bossy girl to stop talking.
Mrs. Lynn steps into the doorway.
Mrs. Lynn does a double-take. She snaps at Sam:
Who are you? Where’d you come from? Go
back to your seat.
Sam hesitates. He spits the mint into a trash can, ducks out
through the clothing rack, and is gone. A skinny girl dressed
as an owl watches Suzy while the other girls hurry to their
feet. She says quietly:
He likes you.
– Moonrise Kingdom (2012), written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
[No actual clip available, but this featurette begins with part of the scene. Also an interview with Wes Anderson about the screenplay.]
This week’s Daily Dialogue theme is boy meets girl suggested by TaraPhelps. Today’s suggestion by Mark Walker.
Trivia: When Suzy is reading “Disappearance of the Sixth Grade” at the Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet campground and continues onto “Part Two” after Sam says to read on, it is just about the exact midway point of the film: the spoken words occur at 46:59, with 46:56 left in the movie. This moment also marks the transition of the film’s plot, of course, so Suzy’s “reading” also informs the audience of the shift in the movie’s tone and direction.
Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary from Mark: “I think it is a fantastic scene as it tells us how they first met and introduces the start of their love story in that innocent and irreverent way that children have of looking at everything in the simplest of fashion. From the query about the bandage, to the final comment “He likes you” we know we are seeing “flirting”, but masterfully written and delivered through the eyes of the innocent.”
Lincoln $173,621,006 Django Unchained $154,516,627 Les Miserables (2012) $143,983,705 Argo $123,608,957 Life of Pi $108,530,249 Silver Linings Playbook $89,519,510 Zero Dark Thirty $83,567,450 Beasts of the Southern Wild $12,062,576 Amour $3,019,111
7 of the 9 movies will hit $100M in B.O. And while we can quibble about Django being a Tarantino movie [what genre would you call it] and Les Mis being a musical, all 7 of those movies fall within the broad perimeters of what I would call ‘adult drama’.
And now this:
BERLIN — The aging gun-toting action hero is being taken down by a stealthy, fragrant-fresh adversary as adult-themed movies, particularly those designed to reach social media-savvy women, clamor for market attention.
The European Film Market here has plenty to offer buyers looking to shore up distribution slates with movies targeting grown-ups as the box-office appeal wanes for more macho action fare.
Adult dramas have been beating projections both in the U.S. and internationally, while old-school action movies, once the bread and butter of markets, have been in a dogfight to secure audiences.
“If you program for older audiences, they will go,” said Lisa Wilson, who sold Arbitrage overseas via her sales and finance banner The Solution Entertainment Group. “Now, with all the technology, older moviegoers are more likely to go.” Arbitrage, starring Richard Gere, overindexed in a number of markets, including Russia, Australia and Latin America.
Happy, happy, joy, joy! But then a cold dagger of reality in the form of a tweet from @bstepansky:
@GoIntoTheStory Not sure. If I even mention the word “drama” in a meeting, the executive closes his ears and sings the Twilight tune.
Okay, all right. I know that Hollywood’s conventional wisdom is that adult dramas are DOA. Then again some supposed sages persist in denying the rebound of the spec script market, two years after the fact.
So all I’m saying is, Hollywood strap it on! Adult dramas are the next big thing. Or… nearly big thing. Okay, okay, there’s a sizable, but not huge target demo out there who will turn out for a quality movie aimed at them, so if you are smart about the subject matter, script development and budget, you can take that money to the bank.
Following up on this post yesterday — “Summer Movie Attendance Likely Lowest in Two Decades” — time to look at what transpired in the indie film world from May-August. And gosh, there were several hit movies. Let’s check out this IndieWire recap that focuses on two of them:
The summer of 2012 has exclusively managed another feat: Two $40 million-plus grossers. Reportedly budgeted at $10 million and $16 million respectively, “Marigold” and “Moonrise” impressively became two of only six summer specialty films to gross more than $40 million in the past decade. The other four are “March of the Penguins,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Napoleon Dynamite” — two of which became best picture nominees. Not bad company.
“Marigold” and “Moonrise” are huge success stories that led the specialty box office over the season and made clear a few things. In essence, the former showed the considerable, often-ignored market that is the senior citizen demographic, and the latter showed how strong Wes Anderson’s fan base is.
There’s another hopeful trend embedded in this summer’s specialty box office performance that doesn’t involve dollar signs. Of the top 20 highest-grossing specialty films of the season, 12 had a woman featured either as one of the main characters (including the season’s top grosser “Marigold Hotel”) or the primary subject (in the case of documentary “The Queen of Versailles”). That’s 60% of the list. Moreover, six of the top 20 films were directed or co-directed by a woman: “Girl in Progress,” “Your Sister’s Sister,” “Ruby Sparks,” “Hysteria,” “The Queen of Versailles” and “Take This Waltz.”
Compare this to the studio top 20, where just one film was co-directed by a woman (“Brave,” though that’s not exactly an example without issue) and only four had a female lead or co-lead character (“Brave,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Prometheus” and “Hope Springs”).
I will grant you, $20M at the box office is miniscule compared to The Avengers which has grossed $1.5B worldwide. But somebody is going to see movies like The Best Marigold Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom. If the major studios continue to gamble on $200M pre-awareness titles like Battleship that lose big, maybe… just maybe we may see a rise in funding for specialty films.
Think of it this way: Comcast NBC, the behemoth media corporation arising from a $30B merger in 2011, owns Universal Pictures, NBC and heavy hitter cable nets like USA, Syfy, and Bravo. But they also own E!, Style, Golf Channel, among others, niche cable nets, and yet valuable assets. Why? Because the revenue they bring in, albeit smaller, is still revenue.
As recently as 6-10 years ago, most of the major studios had specialty divisions, then apparently due to a combination of so-so results and just getting bored with such low-budget fare, some of those divisions were shuttered including Paramount Vantage and Warner Independent Pictures.
But Fox Searchlight [20th Century Fox] and Focus Features [Universal] those outfits are still kicking, still acquiring independent movies, in some cases even developing and producing them. [Sony Pictures Classics only acquires movies].
If independent movies are attracting women and Baby Boomers, while young people may be drifting away from the box office, is it possible the major studios may find their way back to interesting, original, indie movies?
More on this week-long thread about the movie business tomorrow in this time slot.