Home Movies Peter Jackson Box Office This Season: Ranges from $82K to a Billion...

Peter Jackson can take pride in having the widest range of box office this season. His “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” has made just a whisker under $1 billion worldwide since December 14th. He’s busy preparing the sequels right now. On the other hand, another Jackson project, a documentary about the West Memphis Three, has made just $82,000 since its release on December 25th. Amy Berg directed “West of Memphis,” which was not nominated for an Oscar but has been included in a few other awards nominations.

I wrote about “West of Memphis” critically last year because I said it encroached on Joe Berlinger’s 15 year project spanning three films — “Paradise Lost.” The first “PL” in 1996 won a Primetime Emmy Award. The third and final installment was nominated for an Oscar last year. As Berlinger was finishing up part 3, Berg arrived in Little Rock armed with Jackson’s considerable war chest and the ability to buy up rights to the stories of subsidiary characters. Jackson had helped fund the defense team for the West Memphis Three along with several other celebrities.


So it didn’t really work out. “Paradise Lost” remains the final word on the West Memphis Three story.But a feature film directed by Atom Egoyan is coming, based on a book called “Devil’s Knot” with Reese Witherspoon. Berlinger and co-director Bruce Sinofsky play themselves in the movie. Berlinger is coming off a great success with a documentary about Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” The “Paradise Lost” trilogy is now on DVD.

Berg is now involved in a biopic of Jeff Buckley and starting “Every Secret Thing” with Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks.  “West of Memphis” will go to video and TV.



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2 replies to this post
  1. You’re comparing a feature film to a documentary and come to the conclusion that the documentary “didn’t work out” because it made less money? Seriously?

    To know if a documentary “worked out”, you would have to look at other documentaries and see how much money they made. Also, you’d have to look at how much money went into making a documentary and put it in relation to the money made from theathers, DVDs, TV etc … if there is a small profit it did “work out” because most documentary filmmakers are not into it for the money.

  2. While you were being critical of “West of Memphis.” Three guys were sitting in prison!. They had a bunch of evidence that they were trying to get out to the public, why be critical of that? If not for the supreme court ordering a new hearing it might of been the only way for the public to see this evidence. Everything they did, including securing certain parents for the documentary was for one reason, and one reason only. Which was that they thought this was the best way to go about getting them out of prison.

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