By Indiewire | Indiewire August 16, 1999 at 2:0AM
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> "Blair Witch" Achieves Landmark Status with $15 million Weekend
In a conversation with indieWIRE a month ago, Artisan Entertainment
president Amir Malin predicted that "The Blair Witch Project" would
ultimately earn between $30 - $40 million at the box-office -- had Malin
added $100 million he might not have been too far off. Malin's $40 million
forecast seemed possible at the time, given the film's strong opening
weekend, but clearly no one could have imagined that the movie would reach
the levels it has. If Artisan had anticipated such a phenomenon back in
January would they have negotiated a deal that is rumored to give Haxan
Films 50% of the net grosses beyond the $30 million mark?
Whatever the terms of the deal, Haxan's little indie is earning an
unexpected amount of money for all parties involved. This weekend, "The
Blair Witch Project" nabbed another $15 million at the box-office, coming
in third on the national top-ten. While some are now grumbling that the
media, indieWIRE included, are paying too much attention to the movie, its
impact cannot be ignored.
Ten years ago this month, Steven Soderbergh's "Sex, Lies, & Videotape" came
along after a triumphant Sundance '89 and the modern indiefilm movement was
born. The movie made nearly $25 million at the box-office and that was
considered earth-shattering. Five years later, Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp
Fiction" caused a stir at Cannes, opened domestically in the Fall, and
eventually it made more than $105 million. Miramax's status as the
dominant specialty distributor was secured.
Now, five years after "Pulp Fiction" and ten years after "Sex, Lies,"
Artisan's release of the "The Blair Witch Project" has shaken things up
again, the film has now earned $108 million. After 33 days in release, the
movie is now among the top-twenty grossing films of the year, leaving
executives and filmmakers trying to figure out how it happened. With the
fall festival season nearly upon us, expect the subject to dominate panel
discussions and seminars as participants weigh in with their own thoughts on
>> TCM Celebrating a Century of Documentaries
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will showcase a century of documentary films in
November with "A Century of Reality," a month-long series of showings on
the cable channel. More than thirty docs will be screened on consecutive
Tuesdays throughout the month.
The showings begin on November 2nd with three documentaries by Robert Drew
documenting the political life of John F. Kennedy -- "Primary," "Crisis:
Behind a Presidential Commitment," and "Faces of November." The following
week offers classic works by Robert Flaherty -- "Nanook of the North" and
"Louisiana Story" -- will be shown.
On November 16th, TCM will screen a selection of World War II docs by John
Huston, John Ford, Joris Ivens, and others, while the following week the
channel will offer "Triumph of the Will" and "Olympia, Part I and Part II"
by Leni Reifenstahl. Finally, on the final night of the series, TCM will
screen a selection of American dream-themed docs -- among them, Barbara
Kopple's "Harlan County, USA," and Steve James' "Hoop Dreams."
>> From Belgians to "Being John Malkovich," 37th NYFF Lineup Announced
The Film Society of Lincoln Center has confirmed the lineup for the 37th
New York Film Festival. After opening with Cannes critics' favorite, Pedro
Almodovar's "All About My Mother" on September 24th, the Festival will
continue through October 10th with a collection of highly anticipated
international films. indieWIRE's Anthony Kaufman reported the complete
lineup on Friday afternoon:
>> Voice of Taco Bell Chihuahua Offers L.A. Preview
Carlos Alazraqui, the voice of the famed Taco Bell-craving Chihuahua, is
offering a single Los Angeles preview of his upcoming NYC show, "I Want to
Be Liked and Make Money." The event will be held tomorrow night (Tuesday)
at the Odyssey in L.A. According to a rep, the show explores "the highs
and lows of Hollywood fame and the psychological inner workings of [a] wild
and crazy family." Co-written by Ann Slichter, the show will open in New
York next month.
[For more information, call Eve Brandstein Management at (310) 234-2266.]