1. Nine Best Picture Nominations, One Box-Office Smash
Nine movies were nominated for Best Picture but only one, “Gravity” put a notable number of butts in seats ($256M). “Captain Phillips” and “American Hustle” barely cracked the $100 million mark, which is plenty respectable but that’s all. Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street” is still in release with an $80 million haul. Following up are “12 Years a Slave” ($39M), “Philomena” ($22M), “Dallas Buyers Club ($16M), “Her” ($10M), “Nebraska” ($8M).
Missing this year is that Big Movie that captures the imagination of moviegoers and critics and just feels like an Oscar picture.
Maybe those days are over. Actually, they have been for a long time.
2. What the Best Picture Nominees Are ABOUT
Many of this year’s top nominees are themed to the economy (“American Hustle,” “Blue Jasmine,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), health care (“Dallas Buyers Club”), terrorism (“Captain Phillips”), survival (“12 Years,” “Gravity,”) and technology (“Her” and “Gravity”).
3. Robert Redford ‘Doesn’t Like What’s Happened’ to Sundance
It is impossible to imagine a 77 year-old Robert Redford, especially since his latest film, “All Is Lost” is by all accounts a very physical and physically demanding one-man show. The perception that Redford is still Redford might have hurt his Oscar chances. It was believed he would win an Oscar nomination today, not only for a widely hailed performance, but also as a tribute to his body of work.
Redford just doesn’t seem old enough yet to need that kind of recognition. Maybe no one wants to admit he’s old enough because of what it says about how old we are.
In a lengthy Hollywood Reporter profile, Redford admits to being unhappy with his creation: The Sundance Film Festival:
Redford seems ambivalent about his festival’s success, however — hostile to the corporate and marketing forces that have overwhelmed his countercultural creation, while appreciative of everything it has achieved. “How can I not be satisfied about a success?” he asks. “But those earlier years felt best.”
Nonetheless, he laments, “They’re taking away some of the textures and qualities that were here that gave it a kind of intimacy. It’s no longer the place it was. I don’t like what’s happened.”
In other news the 2014 Film Festival starts this week.
4. 16 of the Hottest Films Screening At Sundance…
…that no one in the real world will ever see.
5. Home Video Sales Drop; Blu-Ray Is No Savior
Hollywood and the media that enables it will blame Redbox, piracy, video games… Everything except the real problem, which is that Hollywood is no longer making enough movies people want to see again and again.
So much for the high-def discs that studios once hoped would revive home entertainment. Consumers bought about 124M Blu-ray discs in the U.S. last year, + 4.2% vs 2012, research firm IHS Technology reports this morning. DiscsBut with prices falling, consumer outlays only increased 2.6% — not nearly enough to compensate for the 13.6% drop in DVD sales. If the trend continues, then it could result in “a downward turn in spending for the [Blu-ray] format in 2014,” says Senior Analyst Michael Arrington.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC