Friday, August 24, 2007

mist in the morning

What do you think of Chengdu? asked the president of Science Fiction World as we came in from the airport yesterday.

I can't see very much of it through the mist, I said, which was probably the wrong answer.

It's a big city, and it feels like a big city. It looked amazing last night as we walked through it in the rain, all neon reflected in wet pavements. I just got up and looked out of my window. The mist is back, yellow in the morning light, and the world looks like a science fiction film...

Last night I met my translator for today's talk. Saw my fellow authors (David Brin and family, Nancy Kress, Robert J. Sawyer and wife and others) we were fed (I was warned that the food here would be too spicy, but it was all great) and then went to the bookworm meeting.

Today I give a speech about The Nature of Fantasy.


Dear Neil, Rather than go through the whole thing again, I'd just like to direct you to Empire Magazine's rant about Beowulf:

Notably, that people outside the US can't watch the trailer. Not the best PR in the world!


For some reason probably having mostly to do with being in China, most blogs don't come up on my computer and that's one that doesn't, so I can't see the rant. But as far as I know the Beowulf "red band trailer" is exactly the same as the European Trailer that's already been out for weeks.

Hi Neil,

Not so much a question but I thought you might be interested/could pimp it out far better than I ever could. I've just set up a group on Flickr for Sandman related body modification after getting one myself ('sometimes, when you fall, you fly.' from Fear of Falling, on my inner arm to be precise - my first tattoo too.) and what better way to get photos of all the wonderful mods inspired by Sandman together in one place?You can find it here:

rejoicing under the name 'green mouse icecream'. It's open to all submissions. I'll only step in if it's unrelated/spam.

Cheers! Meg.

Consider it, er, pimped.

Took my wife to see Stardust on opening weekend. She liked it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done by all, especially the character actor bits which added so much depth. On to the question, which I have never seen answered elsewhere: Stardust cost $70 million, and you projected it would gross $100 million worldwide. I know Hollywood regularly performs voodoo accounting, wherein they claim with a straight face that every movie ever made has lost money (except Titanic, which barely broke even), but what's the real story? How much of that $100 million goes to the studio and how much stays with the theaters? Does it vary substantially, and if so, based on what factors? Different regions of the world, different theater chains, different studios, what's the scoop?

Good question, and I don't actually know. I'll try to find out as best I can and answer you here. I've always assumed that voodoo accounting would mean that nothing would ever make money anyway, no matter what you make. I remember learning in 1990, the first time we sold GOOD OMENS that "net points" on a film are nice things in theory but nothing you're ever likely to take to a bank.

Stardust seems to be doing fine currently -- it came out in another three territories last week, according to Box Office Mojo, and "picked up $4.8 million from five markets for a $9.1 million total. The fantasy feature added two more impressive starts in South Korea ($2.3 million from 176 screens) and the Ukraine (a top-ranked $577,317 from 75 screens), but looked awful in the United Arab Emirates ($102,840 from 19 screens). In Russia, it fell 40 percent for a $6 million total. " I wonder why the United Arab Emirates didn't like it. But hurrah for Ukranians and the South Koreans. So after 14 days, it's made $31 million, with most of the world to go.


Here's the view from my window. And my reflection. The yellow morning mist has gone though. I'll try and be quicker with the camera tomorrow.

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