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*** Official SPEED RACER Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, May 6, 2008.

  1. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    B movies on an A budget. Hollywood does quite a bit of that, unfortunately.
     
  2. Zack Gibbs

    Zack Gibbs Screenwriter

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    LOL, obviously not. [​IMG]
     
  3. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    A tidbit from the IMDB:

    Was The Race(r) Fixed?
    Warner Bros. on Monday was being accused of cooking the books Monday after it turned out that their box-office estimate for the opening weekend of Speed Racer was way off the mark. The studio had predicted that the film would wind up with $20.2 million in ticket sales, putting it in second place. "It's far from the first time a studio with an underperforming pic has overestimated its Sunday gross avoided an embarrassing third-place finish in Monday morning box office stories," Daily Variety commented today (Tuesday). The estimated figure, not the final one, is the one that receives the most play in the press -- if for no other reason than that Sunday is ordinarily a light news day. Few analysts had believed the studio's estimate, given the movie's weak showing on Friday and Saturday. (Weekend estimates include actual figures for Friday and Saturday and estimated sales for Sunday.)

    As things turned out, the movie debuted with just $18.6 million -- a figure that will no doubt cause heads eventually to fall at the studio, which reportedly spent $250-300 million to produce and market it. Taking over second place was the debuting romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas from 20th Century Fox, which wound up with $20.2 million, the same amount that had been forecast for Speed Racer. Meanwhile, the second weekend of Iron Man earned $51.2 million, more than the debuts of Vegas and Racer put together, keeping it in first place.


    With a movie usually taking a 40% drop at the box office in it's second week, with Indy beating down everyone else in the metroplex the week after that - Speed will be lucky to break 100 million.
     
  4. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    What Corey3rd said. The budget has been widely reported as in the $200-$300 million range, plus marketing. I think I was actually being rather conservative at estimating the whole enchilada at $250 million (production and marketing).

    There are a handful of films greenlit every year that I'd like to be able to ask the studio heads, "what were you thinking." SR would be one of them. Perhaps for the next Warner chat? [​IMG]
     
  5. Stu Rosen

    Stu Rosen Second Unit

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    Now this is from someone who hasn't seen the movie, but...

    Honestly, of course the movie's bombing. You start with a property that's remembered fondly by some, remembered by others (I'm 49, and remember watching it, the 8th Man, Gigantor, etc.), and positively unknown by much of the moviegoing public.

    It's all about maximizing the value of assets in a studio's portfolio. That's why you get movies made from 60s product - they're assets sitting on a shelf, waiting to be exploited.

    I should be the target customer, to some degree, but just because I watched something when I was 6 and (let's just say, for argument's sake) liked it, why does that translate to my wanting to see it today? In the intervening 40+ years, I'd like to think my tastes have changed and matured. God forbid I still love everything from my childhood - if I did, and if those tastes defined my expectations of culture today, I think I'd jump off a roof.

    So really, why should any kid want to watch it? My sons are 18 and 14, and are profoundly indifferent towards this film. And the prospect of being pummeled by light and noise for over 2 hours doesn't make it any more appetizing.
     
  6. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    I would say that three kinds of people are interested in this movie:

    0 Those who fondly remember the cartoon and want to see a movie of it.

    0 Those who just love CGI-laden action/green screen stuff, and are willing to overlook other weaknesses (story, writing, etc.).

    0 Those who really like the Wachowskis and their style of movie making.

    There aren't enough such people to make it a success (including me).
     
  7. WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

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    I agree, this was was too much money to throw into this film. I do also have to wonder what they were thinking. There does not seem to be really anything connected to this film which I would consider to be guaranteed bankable. Not that I believe that every film needs to have a marketing hook, but if you are going to spend that kind of money, you better have something. Speed Racer has few major stars (Susan Sarandon being the biggest and I wouldn't even consider her a huge box office draw, not anymore at least.)
    The Wachowski Bros, as far as I can tell have only had one bona fide success as directors, The Matrix. Don't get me wrong, I'm all studios taking chances with relatavely unknown directors or yet to be fully proven, but having vision Directors (which the Wachowski Bros. obviously have) And, like other have pointed out, Speed Racer isn't exactly a terribly hot property. Sure it has its fans, but really, not nearly enough. Hell, I even half expect the new Indiana Jones film may have trouble pulling in the anticipated audience simply because it's been so long since the last one that there is a whole generation of prime movie going public who weren't even alive when Last Crusade came out.

    It's often hard to say what will become a hit and what will dissapoint, but I do think all that money was not a good gamble in this case.
     
  8. Jeff

    Jeff Supporting Actor

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    I loved this show when I was a kid but I don't have any desire to see it in the theater. I've never even heard of it until I saw a clip of it on Letterman, which the special effects and acting looked terrible.

    I'm surprised to read here that so many like it, so I will definitely check it out on BD.

    Jeff
     
  9. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Any movie based on an old tv show or a comic book is always going to be a risky venture. How many people outside comic book circles even knew who "old shellhead" was until recently? [​IMG]
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Funny, how the most negative comments in this thread come from people that haven't even watched the film. I'm all for posting ones opinion, but I take greater value in reading an informed opinion.





    Crawdaddy
     
  11. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    I suppose they could have cut that part of the film without much damage; however, I think the scene really demonstrated just how oily the man was. I couldn't help but think "wow, you are so full of shit" while listening to his overweening praise of her pancakes. Furthermore, the depiction of him eating those hotcakes showed the clear break between his outward behaviour and his true internal character.

    To me, one scene that could have been cut was the surreal scene where the chimp was driving the electric cart causing animated employees on people movers to scatter. The scene was funny, but if there was anything that felt dropped in and pointless it was that scene. I mean, in that scene the kid wasn't even with him although they had just earlier snuck off of the plane. While I watched it, I was left thinking that Royalton must have had more than just candy on that cart in the plane. [​IMG]
     
  12. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    I could take this more seriously if I knew whether you have actually watched this film. I noticed you enjoyed Iron Man and that film has a whole first act that is a perfect example of "weak" writing. Worse yet, it totally assumed that the audience were unobservant morons and insulted their intelligence.....well, at least mine. It was good that the rest of the film was able to overcome the stupidity of the first act.
     
  13. Stu Rosen

    Stu Rosen Second Unit

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    Most of the negative comments I've read (including mine) don't require having seen the film, since they're e-mails on why the movie tanked. The fact that it's flopped right from the opening weekend is not because the film is necessarily bad (unless you're part of an ever-shrinking class of people, like me, who take serious critics seriously), but rather because either (a) Warner Bros. failed to properly sell the property, or because (b) there's something about the film that fails to appeal to a broad audience.

    If I saw the film and loved it (hey, I suppose it's possible), that wouldn't change an opinion about why the film wasn't a hit.
     
  14. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    No, but it isn't just you Stu.

    And the point is, people are talking about the BO like it is an indicator of quality. And it clearly isn't. I'm much more interested in hearing from folks who have seen the film. Because, looking at this thread, their opinion ranges from "decent" to "great". As for a good use of money...as an audience member, why do you care? If the film did cost $200M, every penny of it was on-screen, and it looks a lot better than Spidey 3 or Superman Returns, and they had bigger budgets. Whether WB takes a bath on it (which is likely) is only relevant to me in sequel opportunities. There will clearly be none. But that's OK. It doesn't change Speed Racer at all.

    And frankly, there is more creativity in Speed Racer than in Transformers, the Mummy films, and even the recent (and good) Iron Man combined. As a fan of film, it's invigorating to see a summer film push boundaries.

    Robert, like Edwin, I think you are estimating the film's flaws with respect to writing and story. It has excellent writing, featuring TWO fantastic scenes with Hirsch/Sarandon and Goodman/Hirsch. The story is simple, as is the source material, but they wring drama, emotion, and joy out of it equally.

    My wife doesn't fit into any of those categories, and she loved it as well (anecdotal, I know). It's not just a special effects showcase, and it's not just an updated cartoon.

    You want me to bash the marketing, sure. I accept why it opened low. I understand that. But that wasn't the Wachowski Brothers, and that wasn't this film. They delivered a good movie, for whatever it cost.
     
  15. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    Chuck, we all know that good films don't always succeed at the boxoffice, and we all know that mediocre films sometimes rake in the cash, but when you have a film that bombs big time at the BO and gets very negative reviews, then it's essentially impossible to ignore what the consensus is, regardless of your personal opinion or anecdotes. No movie is liked by everyone or disliked by everyone, regardless of how good or bad it's generally regarded.

    But studios have a finite amount of cash, and if 200 million bucks is spent on SR, that's money not spent on other project(s) most would find more interesting or worthwhile.
     
  16. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Robert,
    As I have stated, I understand the money issue. I even understand the argument that if it failed at the BO and is taking a reviewer (I hesitate to call them critics) drubbing, it is, in all likelihood, bad.

    But the reviewers are wrong. Collectively WRONG. Like I said, HTF has a decent cross-section, and not one member who PAID to see it feels as the majority of critics do. Not everyone likes it as much as I do...but the average member of HTF who HAS SEEN IT is quite positive about it. Why the dichotomy with the paid reviewers? I don't know. I do find it very intriguing.

    I don't ignore the general consensus. I do find it wildly inaccurate, and incongruous with what has been posted here.

    I do know that, until you've seen it, you can't comment about story and writing and filmmaking and general worth, except using someone else's eyes and opinions.

    And of course, I don't care about WB spending money on this versus something else. They are bilking TWO movies each out of Harry Potter 7 and The Hobbit. They'll be fine. Money spent by the Wachowski Brothers is money well-spent to me. They do a lot more with it for the medium than 95% of other directors.
     
  17. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    But you asked why others should care, not whether you thought the money was well spent. The point remains: Money spent on SR could have been spent on something else (that could have been enjoyed by a lot more people), and by "something else", I don't mean HP or the Hobbit.
     
  18. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    1) BO numbers are an objective fact. As we've already agreed upon, that means absolutely nothing qualitatively about the film. What does refer to that are thoughts by folks who have seen it. Which includes the reviewers.

    2) I disagree with your second sentence. Starting at page 3 until now, most of the HTF folks who have seen it have liked it at a minimum. Most liked it a lot. The first negative comments (post-release) came from people who had NOT seen it. And still haven't. And didn't respond when asked if they had seen it (except you). There is indifference, but not from people who have seen it. That was the point I was making.

    Aside from that, people disagree with me all the time. What I find interesting is that several movie boards are quite positive for the film when the reviewer community is not. It's not even close in terms of crossover. I've liked plenty of movies many haven't, but rarely have I liked a movie so disliked by almost ALL critics. It isn't just that I liked an unpopular movie. Something similar happened with Miami Vice a few years back, but even that had a few critics who loved it as well.

    With that, I'll leave this element of the discussion about the film and it's box office to others [​IMG]
     
  19. Tarkin The Ewok

    Tarkin The Ewok Supporting Actor

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    Chuck, it could be that only those HTF members predisposed to like Speed Racer chose to see it right away. Those on the fence will probably see it in discount theaters or on DVD.

    I did not like the one episode of the show I saw, and nothing in the previews convinced me that the movie would be superior to the show, so I chose to pass on it.
     
  20. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    I saw it opening night. I would say it was an average movie, not great, not terrible either. Are we allowed to talk about this film in detail or is there another thread?
     

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