Since Gigli was released on August 1, the Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck romantic comedy has taken in about $4.5 million in 2,200 theaters across the country, according to Box Office Mojo. This for a film that cost $54 million to make and an additional estimated $20 million to market. Not good. Figuring an average movie ticket price of about $6 (according to the Motion Picture Association), I reckon that around 750,000 people have seen the flick. (Surely no one has seen it more than once.) The comparison makes Sandy Collora look like a runaway success. Collora, a director of commercial and music videos, has made a movie that has probably been seen by at least as many people as have seen Gigliyet cost only $30,000 to make and perhaps a couple of hundred bucks to market. And it hasn't been in a single theater.
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Score another one for the democratizing power of the Internet. Using his own dough, the 35-year-old Collora made an eight-minute film called Batman: Dead End that is now popping up all over the Web to rave reviews from fans. In this action-packed short, the Dark Knight battles the Joker, the Predator, and one those slimy aliens from Alien. I recently talked to Collora about the film and its Internet distribution.
Next News: Why spend $30,000 of your own cash on a home movie?
Collora: I've been directing commercials and music videos, but for years I've been trying to get into feature films and have not had much luck. In Hollywood, you need to have some kind of heat and be the next hot thing. Well, I'm a big Batman fan and I decided to do my version of Batman to showcase what I could do for the studios.
Next News: So you made the movie and put it on the Web?
Collora: I don't know how it got on the Internet. At the San Diego Comic Convention [in mid-July], I gave some DVDs to the media.
Next News: Any idea how many people have downloaded it?
Collora: I can tell you this: Someone who has been hosting the movie for a week says it has been downloaded 600,000 times. It's pretty much everywhere. I am just blown away. Now I get recognized at the grocery story, and people line up to talk to me at the comic book store when I go to get my new comics every Wednesday. And I'm getting hundreds of E-mails a day.
Next News: So are you getting any studio response?
Collora: Oh yeah. I'm in talks about working on four feature films and my next month is stacked solid with meetings.
Next News: This is just like the Kevin Bacon film The Big Picture, where he's an unknown director whose underground music video suddenly makes him an in-demand director.
Collora: I know. I hear that all the time. And just like in the movie, people who've never heard of me are saying, "Sandy Collora? I love his work!"
To continue with today's comic book theme, a new poll conducted by Wizard: Comics Magazine asked which real-world personality secretly possesses superpowers. (No, Puck doesn't count. That's "real world," not Real World.) The results: Twenty-two percent of respondents voted for Bill Gates (superbrain?), followed by 18 percent for Barry Bonds (supersurliness?) and 13 percent for Angelina Jolie (superweirdness?). Of course, if Gates really had superpowers, he would surely use them to squash the European Commission, which said yesterday that Microsoft is still committing the monopoly abuses that it was first accused of in 1998.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have solved the mystery of how some insects can walk on water. And they've tested their theory by building tiny roboinsects to do the same thing.
Surface tension keeps the insects from sinking, but the mystery was how they push themselves along. Using high-speed video and a tank of water dyed blue, the MIT team tracked water striders as they skittered across the surface. Patterns in the dye showed that the tips of an insect's legs generate U-shaped vortexes under the water. These whirling water currents propel the strider forward as each vortex moves backwards. The aluminum robostrider that the team built to demonstrate the insect's technique incorporates spring-powered middle legs for movement and four support legs. In one winding, it was able to travel about 8 inches in five strides. You can see the robostrider in action here: http://web.mit.edu/chosetec/www/robo/strider/robostrider3_top.avi.