Ken Loach’s latest film is a hit!

It won the Palme d’Or in Cannes, comes from a beloved British auteur and has garnered critical acclaim, but would Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake prove too tough a sell for cinema audiences? If UK distributor eOne had any qualms, they have surely evaporated now that I, Daniel Blake has opened with an impressive £404,000 from 94 cinemas, and £445,000 including previews. Stripping out the previews, site average is a very robust £4,298.

Does that mean we don’t have to give him taxpayers’ money for the next one?

32 thoughts on “Superduper!”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Better still, lets claw back any tax payers money we’ve given him in he past, and if it doesn’t cover what he’s been given lets surcharge the MPs who gave it to him.

  2. Perhaps he could use his money to make a film about a 60+ bloke in Barnsley, an early retired social worker, Billy Casper, whose hobby is stuffing birds for sale on the local market and who is being bullied by eco’ warriors.

  3. Demetrius–What are the circs there–presumably he isn’t wringing the birds necks himself? If so is there anything that could be done to support the bloke?

  4. The guardian seem to use a different definition of “beloved” to the one I’m familiar with.

    I always assumed “beloved” was antonymic to “endured”, not synonymic.

  5. If you look at the box office chart in the link, you’ll see that this film is number 9 in the top ten. 99.9% of films make their biggest weekly gross in their first week. So that article could well have been titled ‘Loach barely scrapes the top ten’. The trolls film has a per cinema take double that of I, Daniel Blake (christ almight, what a pompous name!).

    I saw a trailer for this one – when I was going to see an actual, good film – and if I’d rolled my eyes any harder I’d currently be trying to type this comment with a view of the inside of my skull.

    Theres a hysterical scene where the doley is being taught how to use a PC and is scraping the mouse across the screen. Get it? He’s a thicko pleb, who doesn’t understand the modern world! An honest, thick, simple, thick, decent thicko.

  6. £4298 average per site? At £15 per ticket, that’s 215 people. So even if each cinema had just one screening, it’s not even half full (unless it’s a tiny ‘shitarthouse’ screen.)

  7. Ken Loach lives in Bath and I had a slightly pissed conversation with a bloke I know who works in the film industry at the more commercial end – he scrabbles for funding and has to make a return on the investment overall, as eventually the money dries up if it doesn’t see a return. Not so for Ken Loach, who is endlessly subsidised by the BFI, BBC and Channel 4 to make films that by and large lose money but are *ahem* “artistically worthy” and “critically acclaimed”. The chap I was speaking to was on the verge of apoplexy when he discussed the ease with which KL, an established film maker, gets access to the limited funding available rather than it being put towards either new film-makers, or to “movies that people will actually PAY to fucking see”. He’s also been to Loach Manor, the Georgian “mansion” – as he described it – in the ritziest part of Bath (Lansdown, for Tim’s benefit)

  8. To answer Tim’s question: No; there is no chance of the tax handouts stopping. They are a pure and simple subsidy to any film-maker who spends money on making the film in the UK. Whether subsidies for any industry is a good idea or not, the fact is they have led to a massive growth in films being made in the UK. The tax from technical people and front-of-camera types has more than paid for the subsidies. So these subsidies have been extended to TV productions.

    Good idea? Bad idea? We can each decide for ourselves. However, it may help to know that this all came from the French insisting on a “cultural carve-out” and exemption for French culture from the tariff/subsidy-free world of the Washington Consensus. They didn’t expect the British to be quite so mercenary in our defining what makes a film ‘British’.

  9. Hmm, thought his place was over in Widcombe myself but yes, pots of money. Couple of decades back a bird left me for him. She was rather artistic herself. Subsequently left him to become a wifelet for the Marquis of Bath and at some point did one of those decorating TV shows. Current bird’s remark on seeing one of those was “My, doesn’t the camera put the pounds on?”…..

  10. PS can anyone dig out how much IDB cost to make? KL’s biggest commercial success so far is “The Wind The Shakes The Barley” which took €20m gross against a budget of €6.5m

  11. Couple of decades back a bird left me for him. She was rather artistic herself.

    First rule of dating, at any age: avoid artsy types. They have the staying power of a mosquito.

  12. @Tim – could be the chap I was talking to was pissed and gesticulated angrily in the wrong direction but I thought he said Lansdown rather than Widcombe

  13. Humans The British are not proud of their ancestors beloved auteurs, and rarely invite them round to dinner pay good money to watch their tedious films.

    Ltw : Ouch.

  14. Loads of public money gets trousered by film industry types like him, through various routes. A lot of arts commissioning becomes mates giving money to mates.

    The other, related gig you see a lot is public bodies paying for tourism advertising through a film. It’s been keeping Woody Allen in business for years now.

    So rarely in the field of artistic endeavour have so few been paid so much to lose money so effectively.

    Anyway, as far as I can tell I, Daniel Blake is vaguely preposterous, rose-tinted pap. But the hardcore lefties are lapping it up. They just sound more than a bit ridiculous comparing work capability assessments to the Gulag.

  15. Oh, don’t get me started.

    I don’t even mind someone making gritty movies. It’s that Loach’s movies are as subtle as Transformers in how they deal with the subject. I mean, clearly there’s problems with the assessment system, but you know, how about mentioning that a million people suddenly got better? A film that explored how politics can swing the pendulum too far one way then another would be worth making.

    A reviewer came up with a beautiful expression about this film that applies to all his work, which is that Loach “stacks the deck” against his positive characters. It’s never the case that there’s an opportunity, and maybe they mess it up. And sure, that’s a human thing, people make mistakes. Instead, it’s always shown as a horrible futile existence for the poor in every case.

    As for the thing about money per screen, that’s meaningless. It gets shown almost nowhere. The multiplexes know there isn’t much demand so don’t bother. So in somewhere like Oxford it will be on 1 screen. So, everyone that wants to see it goes to that 1 screen. And even then, that’s 400 people for the whole week for somewhere like the Phoenix in Oxford. There’s at least 2 big times, maybe 3, so that’s not even filling that place. It’s not the level where it’s going to be a crossover hit from independent cinema.

    Another thing: getting into the top 10 in late October isn’t that hard. It’s the period when studios release either small films, or big budget films that didn’t test well. You can’t compare getting into the top 10 now with August.

  16. Also, he’s supposed to be a single 59 year old joiner in Newcastle. Why’s he living in a council house or with lots of savings? Where’s all his money gone?

    (clearly Loach has no idea how much joiners make)

  17. @BiW – the art house cinema in Bath is showing it three to four times a day for the next week or so; would love to know how full the showings are

  18. Flatcap Army,

    Like all other cinema, art house places are mostly Friday and Saturday evenings. They only open the rest of the time because the costs are nearly all static rather than operational.

    BTW Is that any good? I know they’re part of Picturehouse and their cinemas are generally good, but there’s a Japanese film on next month I was going to see and that’s the nearest cinema.

  19. BiW,

    What’s the Japanese film out of curiosity?

    I do like a good old Samurai/Gangster slash em up, but they don’t show them over here much.

  20. Dan,

    It’s an anime from last year called Your Name that is the 9th biggest grossing movie in Japan ever. When I say I want to see it, it’s more my kids, who love that stuff. I quite like it.

    Not Japan, but have you seen the Raid movies? Terrific stuff.

  21. Loach’s dystopia has already been dubbed into French. Quite a bit of chortling about the French middle class accents.
    But could be useful if it was dubbed into Eritrean, etc. As propaganda. Don’t try us, our system is useless, try the French instead. (As if their system was not even more useless.)

  22. Yes those Raid films are triffic. Who’d a thought the best action movies of the past decade would be Filipino and directed by a Welshman!

  23. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I am sobbing with boredom merely contemplating the Loach film. I cannot imagine the agonies I would experience actually having to sit through the miserable fucking thing.

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