Category Archives: Film

Famed Marilyn Monroe Portrait Sets New Record

In a record-breaking sale, the famous 1964 Andy Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe has sold for $195 million. The sale took place at Christie’s auction house in New York.

While estimates before the event had the artwork priced at $200 million, this auction has set new records for 20th century American art. It is the most expensive piece of American artwork ever sold at an auction. It is also the second priciest auctioned piece of art, after Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $450 million in 2017.

The sale of the iconic silk-screen portrait was encouraging for many art dealers. Andrew Fabricant, COO of Gagosian Gallery and a top art dealer, explained: “This shows that quality and scarcity are always going to push the market forward. It will give a bump psychologically to everyone’s thinking.”

The artwork, entitled Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, was painted by Warhol two years after Monroe’s death in 1964. It is one in a series of five versions of the portrait, each featuring a different color scheme. After a woman entered Warhol’s studio and fired gunshots at a stack of the paintings, the portraits inherited their titles.

Since the 1980s, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn had been owned by a Swiss art dealer. Proceeds of this memorable sale will go to charity in support of education and health programming for children.

Third Pixar Film in a Row to be Released Directly to Streaming Service

Due to the uncertainties in movie-theater attendance because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Pixar has decided to skip theaters when it releases its latest full-length animate film, “Turning Red” straight to Disney+. This is the third straight film to be released that way after “Soul,” released in October 2020; and “Luca,” released in December 2020. “Onward” was the last such movie from Pixar released to theaters in March 2020, right at the cusp of the pandemic arriving in the United States forcing theaters to close. Soon after “Onward” could be seen on Disney+.

Pixar’s latest release is expected to begin streaming on Disney+ at the beginning of March 2022, according to Kareem Daniel, the head of distribution for Disney. He explained that the pandemic and the slower recovery for family films at the box office persuaded Disney for a streaming release.

“Turning Red” is about a “confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying as her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence” explained a Pixar representative. The film was directed by Domee Shi, who also made a Pixar short film called “Bao”, is the first of Pixar’s films directed solely by a woman, and voices are done by Sandra Oh and Rosalie Chiang.

Hollywood’s Biggest Grossing Blockbusters

Publicity photo of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind.

Movies are big business, there is no doubt. But just how big might come as a surprise to some. Just like any business, in order to calculate profit, we must factor in expenses and subtract that from revenue. Some of Hollywood’s biggest sellers in terms of profits might surprise the movie-going public.

Here is a list of the six biggest grossing movies of all time, adjusted for inflation:

1.    Gone with the Wind– The 1939 four-hour epic about the Civil War based on the best-selling book by Margaret Mitchell, set in the south. It won eight Academy Awards. Adjusted for inflation the move grossed $1.78 billion.

2.    Star Wars- In 1977 Star Wars touched something ephemeral in the movie-going public, helping it to rake in a cool $1.58 billion in gross sales.

3.    The Sound of Music- The beloved 1965 musical is based on a true story of the Von Trapp Family Singers and their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria. This heart-warming musical grossed $1.23 billion.

4.    E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial- One of Steven Spielsberg’s early smash-hits, the story of a sensitive boy and his companion alien won the hearts and minds of a generation in 1982. It showed at the box office with a lovely $1.22 billion in receipts.

5.    Titanic- A film of titanic proportions, this film of epic proportions won 11 Academy Awards. Based on the true story of the catastrophic sinking of the luxury ocean liner Titanic in 1912, James Cameron made the film so that he could go to the site of the sinking and see it with his own eyes in a modern, mini-submarine. This film’s gross take of $1.22 billion is truly titanic.

6.    The Ten Commandments Based on the biblical story of the exodus of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt to the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, who’d a thunk it, that Moses and his rag-tag collection of Jewish ex-slaves could pull in a lovely $1.13 billion? Released in 1956, Cecil B. DeMille’s classic film won the Award for Best Special Effects at the 29th Academy Awards.

Movie Finances: Making a Profit with The Hobbit

Certainly, movie making can be big business, and when the movie you’re making is a film interpretation of The Hobbit, then it can be really big business. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies just opened in London and around the world. The first of the three part series opened with $84 million on a Friday to Sunday framework and earned $300 domestic and 1 billion worldwide.

The second installment, The Desolation of Smaug, opened with $73 million and earned $258 domestic and $958 worldwide. Time will tell how the third installment does, but it’s off to a brilliant start.

Kevin Ulrich
Kevin Ulrich with Gary and Nadine Barber and Martin Freeman; picture owned by Kevin Ulrich

Zach Kouwe Urges Support for Film Honoring Iraqi War Veterans

Zach Kouwe, director of Dukas Public Relations’ asset management group, publically endorsed, on his blog, a documentary film which honors fallen soldiers in Iraq. Kouwe explains that his friend, Andrew McKay, is about to finish his film, which depicts an emotional journey throughout the USA, to give honor to service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the war in Iraq.

The journey is called “Run for the Fallen” and was initiated through the efforts of Hamilton College graduate Jon Bellona after his best friend and college roommate, 1st Lt. Michael J. Cleary, died.

Today McKay still needs about $15,000 in order to finish editing, recording a soundtrack, and to pay for other technical expenses of the film. If you would like to help this worthy cause, Zach Kouwe asks that you go to Kickstarter and donate. The hope is that McKay will be able to release the completed film by Memorial Day in 2012.