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Good Morning Hollywood, August 20: Making a List

Indie filmmakers get a checklist, teenage moviegoers get judged, and Malick’s still a puzzle


In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, indie filmmakers get a checklist, teenage moviegoers get judged, and Malick's still a puzzle.

An indieWIRE panel of writers emerges from a conference sponsored by the site last week with 20 suggestions for how independent filmmakers should be approaching festivals and distribution in these tough times. The new rules start with “don’t expect to be a hit” and move through “do your research about the festivals” and “share info with other filmmakers” to “don’t invest your own money” and “don’t limit your distribution search to theatrical.” Lots of common sense, only some of which is consistently followed by aspiring filmmakers. (indieWIRE)

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Michael CeraPatrick Goldstein looks back at the track record of this year’s Summer Movie Posse, the group of teenagers he annually recruits to watch trailers and serve as his own little focus group to determine what’s going to be a hit and what isn’t. Turns out they aren’t any more accurate at box-office predictions than “the average Internet box-office geek” – and since we know what Patrick thinks of Internet geeks, that’s not good. On the other hand, he says, they liked what the critics would end up liking (“Inception,” “Scott Pilgrim”) and dismissed what the critics would hate (“Knight and Day,” “The A-Team”). The moral, apparently, is that people who watch a lot of movies tend to know which ones are good and which ones aren’t. (The Big Picture)

Not so fast, says Jeff Wells, who’s talked to “a reliable source” and heard that no decision has been made about the release date for Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life.” This comes as a vague refutation of Todd McCarthy’s prediction that we won’t see the film until Cannes 2011 at the earliest, although McCarthy’s speculation could end up being as accurate as anybody else’s speculation. Wells goes on to characterize Malick as “a gentle loon” – which sounds about right, although it may seem a touch dismissive of the director’s formidable talents. (Hollywood Elsewhere)

But wait – Anne Thompson chimes in as well, and hears that “The Tree of Life” will indeed be released before the end of 2010, simply because Apparition owner Bill Pohlad can’t afford to wait until next spring before releasing the film. The problem, she says, is that Pohlad is indecisive and unwilling to press Malick, whose glacial pace is the stuff of legend. What’s tricky about delaying the film past the fall festivals, Thompson adds, is that it’s probably the kind of movie that “could use some explaining,” and needs the momentum that a fest can provide. (Thompson on Hollywood)