Sicko PosterThe numbers are in and Michael Moore’s Sicko has made an estimated $4.5 million in it’s first weekend on just 441 screens. This is well above expectations. The Weinstein Co has plans to expand the release in the coming weeks, beginning with the addition of 200 more screens on Tuesday. And with 93% of moviegoers saying they would strongly recommend the film (according the studio’s exit polls), this film could have legs. The film was leaked online weeks before it’s theatrical release. This could be the first case where movie piracy helped greatly in the promotion of a Hollywood release. Check out the studio’s release after the jump. Read More »

Movie Review: Sicko is a MUST SEE

 Sicko

I’ve always thought that Michael Moore doesn’t get the credit he deserves. People complain that his films aren’t documentaries because they only show one side of the story. These same people watch a film like Super Size Me or, well, see that’s the problem. There aren’t that many documentaries that are overtly accessible to the public.
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 Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard made an estimated $9.1 million on Wednesday, according to 20th Century Fox. Obviously, this number comes no where near the Wednesday Opening Day Record set by Spider-Man 2 ($40.4 million). Fox considers this a good number. Most people were projecting $8-$10 million. So it’s good but not great. You can now expect the film to take in around $35 to $40 million for the 5-day opening (Wednesday to Sunday).

But tomorrow, three new movies will challenge John McClane: Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille, Michael Moore’s Sicko and Focus Features’ Evening. Ratatouille is tracking low for a Pixar film, and will probably take in anywhere from $40 – $50 million. Let’s hope for a bigger number, the film deserves it. Sicko is a limited release which I’m being told will be shown in almost 450 screens. At around $25,000 per screen, Moore’s film should be able to take in $10+ million. And if the film can pull that kind of number, expect The Weinstein Co to expand the release through out the month of July.

iPhone

The summer movie season is in full effect. I saw Live Free or Die Hard last night and loved it despite the many logic holes and ridiculous stunts (read my review here). Tonight I see License to Wed, which I don’t have much hope for (why does Mandy Moore keep picking the crappiest movies? I really want her to succeed). I would assume the studio also doesn’t have much hope for the film considering it’s being released against Transformers, possibly the biggest movie of the Summer. And before next week Sicko and Ratatouille hit theaters on Friday. I would venture to say that in this 7 day span you will be able to see at least 3 of the best movies of the year thus far (and I haven’t seen Transformers yet, so that could be four). So if there is anytime this summer to make the trip to the multiplex, I recommend you do it this or next week.

The hype for Transformers is now reaching epic heights. I’m seeing the movie on Thursday, but I’ve talked to quite a few people who saw it at the Los Angeles Junket and so far I haven’t heard one complaint. It looks like Michael Bay may have come through this time. I’m so excited for this film that the other day I decided to buy a new transformers movie toy. May-be it was just an attempt to relive my childhood, who knows. The huge Optimus Prime toy is more of a puzzle than a toy, and provided way more fun than it should have. Optimus Prime is now guarding my DVD collection until further notice.

It’s also pretty sweet to see that one of my favorite directors Kevin Smith quoted from my Die Hard review on his website. I’ve had a couple e-mail exchanges with Smith in the past over a story inaccuracy, where the director admitted that he’s been a long time reader of /Film. Anyways, Smith referred to me as “My man Pete at /Film” on his blog post, which is really cool.

And I’m going to try as much as I can not to buy an Apple iPhone on Friday afternoon. The verizon pocket pc I currently use really REALLY sucks. I recommend that no one ever buy a Windows Mobile phone. Windows was never meant to be an operating system for a phone. I’m a little put off by the whole Cingular/AT&T service provider change, but more importantly, the whole slower EDGE internet thing is what concerns me the most. The phone does have Wi-Fi enabled, but you can’t find an open wi-fi network everywhere, and while in transit it’s currently impossible. San Francisco is supposed to eventually (hopefully) get free wi-fi internet courtesy of Earthlink and Google, but that could be a year off. Now that would be cool.

Peter Sciretta
/Film Editor in Chief

Sicko Sells Out, Weinstein Expands Release

SiCKO PosterMore Sicko News (yes, it’s the week of release, so expect this to be the final ramp up): As we previously reported, Michael Moore’s film premiered this weekend on one screen at an New York City Upper West Side AMC/Lowes theater. The good news is that the film sold out ALL of its shows, and made $70,000. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, remember that’s just for one screen. To give you perspective, 1408 made around $7,500 per screen this weekend.

Apparently tons of moviegoers were turned away, and ticket scalpers were hawking tickets outside the theater. Michael Moore even showed up unannounced on Friday night. Sicko also sold out all of its sneak previews on Saturday night, which took place on 43 screens.

The Weinstein Co and Lionsgate were originally planning on releasing the documentary in 200-250 theaters, and that number was pre-internet leak. Many people assumed the company would downplay the release, but it seems like Weinstein was very impressed with this weekends results. The film will now be released on 300 to 400 screens, almost half the amount of Moore’s 2004 doc Fahrenheit 9/11.

Weinstein told Variety that he didn’t expect the film to sellout in places like Randolph, Mass., and Buffalo, N.Y., and that exit polls on the film were unusually high (ie people loved the flick). I saw the film a few weeks back and think it’s the best film of the year (so far).

Sicko on Building, /Film RenderingIn the wake of the internet leak, The Weinstein Co are doing all they can to promote Sicko. It makes me wonder if they hired new people since the Grindhouse disaster. The latest idea involves the movie trailer for Michael Moore’s latest to be projected on buildings across the country on Monday June 25th, beginning at sundown through 1:00am.

The trailer will be projected with full sound and subtitles on the outside of buildings near the headquarters of leading HMOs, insurance companies and hospitals in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Oakland. Sounds almost like one of those clever commercials by the anti-tobacco group Truth. Check out a full list of locations after the jump.
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SiCKO Sneak Preview Locations Announced

SiCKO

Earlier today, we told you that The Weinstein Co was planning “sneak previews” of Michael Moore’s SiCKO this weekend in 27 markets where Moore’s films have played well in the past. We now have more information. Weinstein is holding almost 50 screenings total in the 27 markets on Saturday, June 23rd. Check out the list after the jump.

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SickoSo the film has hit the interweb, and The Weinstein Co are freaking out that no one will pay tickets to a movie that everyone can download for free (not an unreasonable thought). So the guys at The Weinstein Co and Lionsgate have announced plans to release the film ahead of schedule in a single screen at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square theater in New York City this Friday (June 22). The company will also offer “sneak previews” this weekend in 27 markets where Moore’s films have played well in the past. A list of cities includes: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia. A quick search of the movie ticketing websites do not yet display any show-times. We will keep you updated when more information is added.

Lionsgate will continue with it’s planned release of about 250 theaters on Friday, June 29th, where the company had expected the film (pre-leak) to make around $22 million (not for the weekend, but the total run). That is the figure that Moore’s Bowling For Columbine earned in it’s 2002 run.

Again, we’ve seen the film and believe it to be the best film of 2007 thus far. It’s too bad America isn’t as politically charged as they were during the election year, because this is a far FAR better film than Moore’s F9/11. And it’s sad that a lot less people will end up seeing it.

SiCKO PosterWe were one of the first people to report last week that Michael Moore’s Sicko had been leaked to the internet. We debated for over an hour to post the information as it could do more bad than good. But the more we looked into the situation, the more weight the story had. This was the second film distributed by Lionsgate this month to get “leaked” online. And Michael Moore has made previous comments saying he was okay with people pirating his movies. Those two facts made the story too good not to post, so we went for it. Within 24 hours we received an e-mail from an organization hired by The Weinstein Co asking us to remove the story. The e-mail read:

This content must be removed asap per request of the copyright owner The Weinstein Company.  Let me know when it has been removed. Appreciate you speedy response on this matter.

Of course, our posting featured no copyright infringements. We did not link to any copyrighted material, nor did we even mention where the film could be found. Yet The Weinstein Co immediately told us that we were breaking the law. After informing the company of the aforementioned information, they apologized. Some people would probably think that the company was trying to strong arm us and possibly smaller blogs and news sources into removing their stories. Most people would probably be scared and remove the content.

One thing is for sure, The Weinstein Co is scared, and they should be. They are going up against Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille and Live Free or Die Hard, and everyone who wants to see the film has already downloaded it. Don’t get me wrong, I saw the film last week in Sacramento with Michael in attendance. I personally think it’s the BEST movie of the year so far. It’s an incredible film that deserves to be seen, and deserves to make money. It’s the kind of movie which invokes a conversation afterwards, and is a prime example of the type of film that should be seen on the big screen with your friends.

But Weinstein is doing everything they can to prevent the Titanic like disaster that this leak has turned into. Last I heard, the Company hired a firm to upload fake copies of the movie to all the torrent sites. This is a tactic that has been used by the music companies. The idea is to make downloading a specific album, song, or movie so difficult that someone will give up. And now Weinstein tells the New York Post that they are collecting downloaders information:

“I hired Kroll Securities, and we started flooding the zone,” Weinstein crowed to us. “We created lots of phony sites, and people had to input their private information to gain access to ‘SiCKO.’ We are turning over all the information to the police and prosecutors and are stopping Internet piracy.”

First of all, anyone who is stupid to enter their information in to watch a pirated movie deserves to get caught. And I would think that most people would be too smart to fall for this trick. Does The Weinstein Co really believe this is how they will prevent piracy? If so, I think they need to think harder, much harder

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June Tracking Numbers are Shocking

Evan Almighty

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has published the late June industry tracking numbers. To make things easier, we have filed the numbers in this neat little table below:

FilmGeneral Awareness Definite Interest First Choice Definately Not Interested
1408

56%

30%

9%

12%

A Mighty Heart

44%

22%

6%

 
Evan Almighty

89%

40%

15%

 
Live Free or Die Hard

92%

36%

5%

 
Ratatouille

78%

36%

7%

 
Sicko

38%

22%

3%

22%

License to Wed

69%

22%

2%

 
Transformers

87%

41%

12%

 

Here are the things that we immediately notice: More people are interested in Pixar’s Ratatouille than we originally thought. It appears that more people have that film listed as their first choice than Live Free or Die Hard, A Mighty Heart, Sicko or License to Wed.

Live Free or Die Hard has the most awareness by far (with 92%), but is not the film people want to see (36% interested, 5% top choice).

What shocks us the most is that Evan Almighty is tracking slightly higher than even Transformers. How can this be? Is it that we are stuck in our online geek web bubble not able to see the outside world’s interest in the Bruce Almighty sequel? Possibly.

People seem to be pretty disinterested in political movies. A Mighty Heart and Michael Moore’s Sicko have a low 22% interested rate. As expected, the conservatives are very uninterested in seeing Moore’s new film, giving the movie a huge 22% definitely not interested number. It doesn’t help that the people who were interested in seeing the movie have probably already illegally downloaded it off the internet.

Of course, all these numbers will change as the marketing picks up on the early July flicks. I would expect Transformers numbers to increase.