'Soft' Box Office for Bob Dylan Film: Too Much of Nothing?

By Mitchell, Greg | Editor & Publisher, November 25, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

'Soft' Box Office for Bob Dylan Film: Too Much of Nothing?


Mitchell, Greg, Editor & Publisher


Despite surprisingly strong reviews, the Todd Haynes film about, or at least inspired, by Bob Dylan, "I'm Not Here," opened weakly at the box office the past five days. Those who tally box office numbers described it as a "soft" landing, in a limited release to 130 theaters.

It grossed just under $1 million since Wednesday, which translated to a disappointing total per screen of $7,762 for five days. That slid to $5,823 from Friday to Sunday, suggesting bad word-of-mouth.

"Enchanted" opened big at $53 million, the second highest Thanksgiving intro ever.

Perhaps Cate Blanchett will earn a Golden Globes nod for supporting actress to help boost the "I'm Not There" box office, if the film sticks around that long. Despite inexplicably favorable reviews, word-of-mouth could indeed be weak. A friend who also saw the movie, in Chicago, reports numerous walk outs.

A fair portion of the movie shows Blanchett, as electric Bob, sparring with the press, one British reporter in particular. Those scenes are often a mess, like much of the rest of the movie, and poorly written. There's not a moment in those sequences as hysterical and revealing as one scene in the recent PBS Martin Scorcese documentary, "No Direction Home," now available on DVD.

It catches a press photographer, at a news conference during the same 1966 tour featured in the movie, asking the young folk-turned-rock star to pose for a picture.

"Suck on your glasses," the gentleman instructs.

Dylan, fingering his Ray-bans, rebels. "You want me to suck on my glasses?" he asks incredulously.

"Just suck your glasses," the photog advises.

"Do YOU want to suck my glasses?" Dylan asks, and he hands them over. The man, yes, sucks on his glasses. "Anybody else want to suck them?" Bob wonders.

This exchange was only one of several press games/battles that played a key role in the documentary, as Dylan burns out, not just from the boos that greeted his switch from acoustic to electric but from inane questioning by the press. The doc ends with Dylan begging for a long vacation, followed by end notes revealing that he had his famous motorcycle accident a few months later--and then did not tour for seven years. That's one way to Beat the Press.

The new Haynes movie does try to portray some of that -- if you can sit through it that long. At two hours and fifteen minutes it's, to coin a phrase, too much of nothing. And that comes from someone who actually got dozens of the little "in" jokes ("See you later, Allen Ginsberg" etc.). Too young to have experienced Dylan in the time frame of this movie, Haynes is just guessing here.

The media angle is fascinating, however. Dylan always had a combative relationship with reporters, and wrote one of the most scathing and influential attacks on the press (at least it 's been interpreted that way) in modern times, "Ballad of A Thin Man.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

'Soft' Box Office for Bob Dylan Film: Too Much of Nothing?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?