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Vampires + Russians + Slo-Mo= Night Watch (trailer inside)

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Vampires + Russians + Slo-Mo= Night Watch (trailer inside)

Old 07-23-04, 03:29 AM
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Night Watch

When blockbusters go Russian
By Erin E. Arvedlund (NYT)
Thursday, July 22, 2004

MOSCOW: Russia's first homemade blockbuster movie, “Night Watch,” is beating out American feature films like “Spider-Man 2” and “Troy” here, and the director and producer admit - proudly - that they relied on a time-tested Hollywood formula to draw in millions of viewers.

“It was a concept,” the director, Timur Bekmambetov, said in an interview, including bloody and dazzling special effects (all-Russian programmers and postproduction, except for sound), savvy demographics (Soviet-era actors cast with contemporary television stars) and a peculiarly Russian story line that was based on the eponymous science-fiction novel by Sergei Lukyanenko.

Moreover, even some of the hard-to-impress Russian film critics are giving it a thumbs-up.

"Quite witty, sufficiently bloody, beautiful and expensive,” quips one Russian newspaper. Others compare it to “The Matrix,” “Star Wars,” even “The Lord of the Rings,” which stole the show at the Academy Awards this year.

“Night Watch” raked in 102 million rubles, $3.50 million, in its first four days, beating the previous weekend's four-day start of "Spider-Man 2," which took in $3.48 million.

And as of Monday it had grossed slightly less than "Spider-Man 2," with $8.5 million, but booked more ticket sales, with 2.2 million viewers in Russia, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, according to the movie's producer, Konstantin Ernst.

Why is this Russian movie hotter than Hollywood's global fare? Russian audiences are hungering for movies with context and characters in which they see themselves.

“People got tired of seeing movies filmed in New York, which seemed exotic and which presented no context for their daily lives,” Ernst said.

One film's success is not necessarily a trend, but “Night Watch” is a sign that the Russian movie business is reviving after nearly 15 years of stagnation.

“Russian movies were generally art-house pictures, director-oriented, and having nothing to do with mass culture,” said Alexei Prostiakov, a film critic.

After perestroika, the movie business was in ruins, churning out B-movies with bad scripts. And after the Soviet Union collapsed, the industry nearly stopped making movies altogether, and instead greedily snapped up anything Western.

But with “Night Watch,” the filmmakers aimed for a Hollywood-style hit, hiring a top commercial director, pouring money into marketing and special effects and shooting for a summer release.

The result? “Night Watch” combines the high-tech cinematic style of “Blade” with the sinister appeal of Mikhail Bulgakov's Moscow-based novel “Master and Margarita.”

And like “The Lord of the Rings,” this Russian movie's chief marketing tool is that it produces natural-born sequels. The production company, Channel One, one of Russia's three state-controlled television and programming companies, decided to film three “Night Watch” movies back to back, and the next one, “Day Watch,” is due out in a matter of months.

There have been other well-received and profitable Russian movies, including “Boomer,” “Brigade” and “Brat.”

But “Night Watch” is different: “We have grossed more money in the first two weeks, and we have many more viewers,” Ernst said.

So far the film has grossed $8.5 million in 11 days, and that is expected to increase to at least $10 million to $12 million over the next few weeks.

That's four or five times as much as some of the more popular films of recent years.

Based on a trilogy by the science fiction author, the movie spins a supernatural tale of a thousand-year-old treaty between forces of good, or “light,” and evil, or “dark” - all against the backdrop of a modern-day metropolis.

Bekmambetov, like the book's author, hails from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, and he said that the film's battle between those forces of light and dark was very important to its appeal. " We had a strong Communist ideology for 70 years, then it crashed, and now we are creating a new infrastructure," he said. "And this story, Sergei's book, helps create that.”

Bekmambetov achieved his initial fame with a colorful series of television commercials for Imperial Bank, consumer goods companies such as Procter Gamble and Wimm-Bill-Dann, one of the few Russian companies now traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The director had made other award-winning films, but he spent most of the bleak years of the 1990s doing television advertisements, when capitalism was filing the moral vacuum.

“In that time, ads were the only ideology this country had," Bekmambetov said. "It was only the art or culture creating the good and the bad.”

Advertising was key in the success of “Night Watch,” and Channel One launched an unprecedented marketing campaign prior to the premiere, proliferating hundreds of billboards and posters all over Moscow, as well as stirring trailers on evening prime-time television.

Like its Hollywood cousins, “Night Watch” has spawned a loyal, potentially cult, following.

The “Illustrated Guide” on the film's visual effects has already appeared on the Internet (www.dozorfilm.ru). Stylistically, the movie is reminiscent of David Fincher's “Fight Club” and “Seven,” and “Terminator 2,” and is “a big step forward on the commercial side for the Russian movie business,” Postiakov said.

“I always felt a little embarrassed for Russian movies. It was like the Stone Age in terms of special effects and editing. This one? You can love it or not, but it's a very high quality film.”

The New York Times
Old 04-07-05, 08:37 PM
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Vampires + Russians + Slo-Mo= Night Watch (trailer inside)

http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox_se...tch/large.html

I think its looks kinda cool. Maybe i'm just stupid, though.
Old 04-07-05, 08:39 PM
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Oh - is this coming to the US now?
Old 04-07-05, 08:45 PM
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I must be stupid too, because it looks really interesting. Definitely stylish and moody. I'm curious about the trilogy bit, whether they are already done and we are only seeing them now or if they still have more to shoot.
Old 04-07-05, 08:50 PM
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Hope it's better than this:

Old 04-07-05, 08:51 PM
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Looks good so far. It's got my attention. Haven't heard anything about this. But I'll be looking out for it now.
Old 04-07-05, 09:15 PM
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Hmm. A very interesting and well put together trailer. I'm highly intrigued.
Old 04-07-05, 09:27 PM
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It's pretty good. The dvd has been out for a while


This is the PAL DVD

An NTSC version also exists.

Last edited by candyrocket786; 04-07-05 at 09:31 PM.
Old 04-07-05, 11:19 PM
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yeah - I liked it as well - there's been discussions about this film over in international
Old 04-08-05, 03:49 AM
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Wow, that trailer looks really interesting and well done.

But then again so did the "Brotherhood of the Wolf" trailer and that movie sucked all kinds of ass. I hope this movie is as good as its trailer.
Old 04-08-05, 05:43 AM
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I agree it looks interesting. I may give it a chance when the DVD comes out.
Old 04-08-05, 09:24 AM
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Ok, everyone in this thread says it looks interesting. I agree! The trailer was GREAT, imo.
Old 04-08-05, 09:41 AM
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Here's the International forum thread:

http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=378543


And a link to the NTSC DVD:

http://www.russiandvd.com/store/prod...d=&genresubid=

Last edited by bboisvert; 04-08-05 at 09:44 AM.
Old 04-08-05, 09:55 AM
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Wow, I didn't think this was the same Nightwatch but it is. This movie is old, I've had it on DVD for quite a while. It is indeed a great film, especialy considering how low the budget it. I'm surprised its actually coming to the states.

People really need to go region free, there is a whole world of movies out there besides what the mainstream media tells you.
Old 04-08-05, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Sessa17
People really need to go region free, there is a whole world of movies out there besides what the mainstream media tells you.
While I agree with you 100%, in this particular case anyone can get the DVD (region free or not). The DVD is available in either PAL or NTSC, with no region coding.
Old 04-08-05, 11:43 AM
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The DVD is also available here:

PokerIndustries
Old 04-08-05, 01:27 PM
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I hate to go against the grain here, but the trailer looks awful. Yet another overdirected, obnoxiously stylized "horror" film.

Besides, didn't UNDERWORLD just do this?


edit: I hope I'm wrong.

Last edited by scott shelton; 04-08-05 at 01:35 PM.
Old 04-08-05, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by scott shelton
I hate to go against the grain here, but the trailer looks awful. Yet another overdirected, obnoxiously stylized "horror" film.

Besides, didn't UNDERWORLD just do this?


edit: I hope I'm wrong.
Funny you should mention Underworld because that's what came to mind when I saw it. But I chose to ignore this similarity. I figured it was just that and nothing more.

Also, I've noticed how everyone bitches about the over use of sfx in American movies but when Foreign flicks do it suddenly it's ok. Because as many of us know,foreign movies can do no wrong. I guess the grass is always greener....
Old 04-08-05, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by scott shelton
I hate to go against the grain here, but the trailer looks awful. Yet another overdirected, obnoxiously stylized "horror" film.

Besides, didn't UNDERWORLD just do this?


edit: I hope I'm wrong.
I made it through half the trailer before I realized it wasn't an ad for Underworld 2. I like obnoxiously stylized horror though, so I think it looks kind of good.
Old 04-09-05, 12:15 PM
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All the buzz I've heard is that it's Russia's first big CG horror movie and people only say it's good because it's foreign.
Old 04-09-05, 12:47 PM
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It's not the greatest movie ever, but it's not terrible. Personally, I would consider it a rental, or possibly a matinee ticket.
Old 04-10-05, 09:57 PM
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I am looking forward to this flick - the website indicates a July 2005 release
Old 04-10-05, 11:07 PM
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Did anyone notice that the website said that this was the first chapter in a trilogy?
Old 04-10-05, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tyear8299
Did anyone notice that the website said that this was the first chapter in a trilogy?
Yes. It's based on a very popular book trilogy in Russia. They only filmed the first book intially. However, the film was so successful that they're planning on filming the other two. I don't know if they're filming them simultaniously though.

The movie itself feels based on a trilogy. The first movie ends on a note that obviously would need more movies to resolve.
Old 04-11-05, 05:37 AM
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Teaser Trailer for DAYWATCH, the Russian Sequel to NIGHTWATCH Debuts Online:
http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=19867

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