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David Poland

By David Poland

Some People Can't Read Box Office Numbers Or Why IMDb Should Be Embarrassed To Have WENN As A "News" Source

In The American Enterprise Magazine, Eric Cox wrote of Phantom of The Opera:

"With a budget of approximately $60 million, the film grossed only about $4 million during Christmas week, one of the two biggest release dates of the year, and since then has barely made an additional $2 million."

IMDb printed the following:

"Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum, expanded into 622 theaters, but its $4.82 million take suggested that it was not likely to make back the $60 million that Webber and his partners reportedly put into it. In an article in American Enterprise magazine, Eric Cox, a research fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, wrote that the movie, financed in large part by Webber himself, ‘is likely to go down in history as one of the greatest cinematic flops of all time.’"

The facts (oh dear God… FACTS!) are that the film grossed $4 million over the three day Christmas weekend, to bring the five day total to $6.3 million.  By the end of its second weekend, the total was over $16 million.  And this is all on just 622 screens.

Now, this does not guarantee a huge hit for Lloyd Webber or Warner Bros.  In fact, there is very no precedent for a release like this in December in the last decade.  The closest I could find was the November release of Love Actually, which opened on 576 screens and did $10.2 million in 7 days before expanding.  That was a little better than Phantom, but in a much more open box office climate.  The film ended up grossing just under $60 million domestic… a similar total would still be enough, assuming an equal figure worldwide, for Phantom to make money.  (The film has already grossed $13 million in just two territories in the last few weeks.)

Do I have to be called a whore for Phantom to wonder what the hell this kind of factually inaccurate, intentionally misleading reporting is about? 

This doesn’t make the film any better or worse.  But why does it need to be overtly lied about?

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64 Responses to “Some People Can't Read Box Office Numbers Or Why IMDb Should Be Embarrassed To Have WENN As A "News" Source”

  1. bicycle bob says:

    having wenn as their source only makes it funnier. who reads the imdb for their news anyway? its like a gossip rag. they make page six look like the bible

  2. SCrowfan75 says:

    Doesn’t matter if IMDB is a gossip rag. The truth is the story was published with inaccurate information and with a blatant agenda behind it. A “news” article should not contain statements like this in it:
    “Lloyd Webber then chose director Joel Schumacher, one of the most overrated names in Hollywood…”
    First of all, who in their right mind rated Joel Schumacher HIGHLY in the first place? Second, that kind of statement belongs in an op-ed piece.
    And then it goes on to lament the fact that John Travolta and Katie Holmes weren’t cast in the lead roles… Umm… Katie Holmes? Let’s just all imagine the single facial expression she used in Dawson’s Creek spread out over a 2.5 hour film. Let’s not even think about her singing (which I’ve seen on Saturday Night Live and it just about stopped the show dead).
    I’ve not seen “film media” attack a film like this in years.

  3. jeremy says:

    Outisde of WENN, the only attacks I’ve read have been the negative reviews, which are in proportion to the negative critical consensus w/r/t the musical.
    How this was ever considered a Best Picture candidate is beyond me. As I’ve said before, the musical lived and died on the strength of its peerless stagecraft *not* it’s story, which is patchwork. With that in mind, there was never any reason to believe that the film version, devoid of the grandiose theatrical showmanship through which sub-par, late-80’s musicals like PHANTOM and MISS SAIGON bullied their way to multiple Tony Awards, would ever seriously contend for Best Picture. It’s flaws are now magnified to the point where even the laziest viewers have to notice them.
    And WENN’s typically inept reporting aside, those numbers really are troubling. A per-screen of $7,000 on 600+ theaters means that PHANTOM is playing to less-than-full houses in major cities where the musical’s touring show routinely sells out. And that’s another thing to consider: having had multiple chances to see the show over the last fifteen years, do audiences feel the need to see a mostly by-the-book big screen rendition? Why not just wait for the show to do a two-week run at the Masonic Temple?

  4. Katherine says:

    David I totally agree with you about Phantom. The spin the media has tried to put on its success or failure is APPALLING. Could they wait until the movie out perhaps before making rash judgements?
    Phantom was never fairly given a chance at all, when it DESERVED it. I don’t have much faith left that the Academy will think differently, but they are my last hope.
    About the per screen average… wouldn’t it depend on how many times they’re showing a film? At my theatre they were only showing it twice a day and both show were always either sold out or full.

  5. jeremy says:

    For a movie on limited screens, and especially for a movie limited to fewer showings a day due to its running time (not that PHANTOM, at 2’23”, is *that* lengthy), the per screen is the best way to gauge its success. Using LOVE ACTUALLY’s 576 screen opening as an indicator of what’s to come for PHANTOM, the Curtis flick did $11,955 per screen on opening weekend, while Webber’s brand name, widely beloved musical could only muster $6,433 in its first frame (to be fair, PHANTOM had far more brutal competition w/ MEET THE FOCKERS siphoning off a chunk of its audience). Now that the New Year’s bump has come and gone, PHANTOM will somehow need to build momentum ahead of its January 21 expansion. It should do well on that weekend against the testosterone heavy ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, but I don’t see it picking up too significantly.
    Not that its domestic performance is that big of a deal. It’ll probably still be a worldwide smash and get well into the black before DVD, which is where it should really take off.

  6. the BB Man says:

    Yeah, when I did read that over at IMDB the first thing I thought of was you Poland, and how the media really does seem to be trying to destroy this film. When I read it I thought it was really quite funny how obviously inaccurate it was. Calling it one of the biggest flops of all time financially was particularly funny. And then also in today’s news stories, they printed this absolutely hilarious bit…
    “A spokeswoman for the studio pointed out on Monday that the film had the second-highest per-theater average last weekend behind Meet the Fockers and that its box-office take increased 20 percent over the previous weekend. “Phantom of the Opera is definitely not a flop and our box office will continue to prove it,” the spokeswoman said. (Films released in selected markets — Phantom is playing in 622 — generally see better-than-average per-theater results. Moreover, 75 percent of last weekend’s top-20 films showed increases over the previous weekend, including The Aviator and Spanglish, which rose by 33 percent.)”
    I just love how they went out of their way to basically say that the person from the studio defending the film is just full of crap.

  7. bicyle bob says:

    some people want this movie to burn in hell. why? is schumacher that hated for batman and robin? yes

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    And some people just didn’t like the movie itself, myself included.

  9. Mark says:

    I got zero interest. Considering I was dragged to the Broadway version, I can pass on this one.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    >>And that’s another thing to consider: having had multiple chances to see the show over the last fifteen years, do audiences feel the need to see a mostly by-the-book big screen rendition? Why not just wait for the show to do a two-week run at the Masonic Temple?<< Good observation, Jeremy. I wonder how the "Phantom" grosses so far compare to b.o. of "A Chorus Line." As I recall, that film, too, was an under-achiever.

  11. David Poland says:

    Compared to “A Chorus Line” the Phantom movie is genius.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    Easy, Big Dave. I wasn’t talking about quality. I was just wondering if “Chorus Line” performed (or under-performed, or whatever) at the same level as “Phantom” in early weeks of release. In both cases, you have a film based on a musical that received extensive exposure (maybe too much exposure)on Broadway and in seemingly endless touring productions. (To say nothing of the long-touring rival “Phantom” musical with an Arthur Kopit book recycled from the TV miniseries — directed by Tony Richardson, no less! — starring Charles Dance as the masked man.)
    Also, have we talked about this: A lot of people who loved the stage production of “Phantom” were dead set against seeing ANY movie version that didn’t feature Michael Crawford, the original Broadway lead. Could that have cut into the potential movie audience?
    BTW: Can anyone tell us, WITHOUT consulting IMDB, what flop musical Crawford DID appear in many years ago? (No, I don’t mean “A Funy Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” — that actually made some money, as I recall.)

  13. briley says:

    As of Jan 3rd, the world-wide take, according to boxofficemojo [] is approaching $30 million. It has still to open in Japan – a likely major market. It’s second week has been relatively strong in most countries. A glance at most fan review websites, including the New York Times reader reviews (4.9 out of 5 stars) shows strong viewer positives. It would undoubtedly be doing better if the critics had not been so uniformly harsh (e.g., a 36 at Rotten Tomatoes), but word of mouth seems positive; the Phans are seeing it agains and again []. This movie will make money for its backers.

  14. Joe Leydon says:

    Something else to consider: Don’t laugh, but is it possible that a lot of people out there don’t know “Phantom” is a musical? And that many of these same people simply assume this is another remake of the Lon Chaney horror movie?

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    A 36% is way too kind. My TV and couch have more chemistry than Emmy Rossum and Patrick Wilson.

  16. PeppersDad says:

    Joe Leydon-
    I’m guessing the Michael Crawford “flop” you were talking about was Hello Dolly. And no, I don’t think you can factor in any meaningful percentage of moviegoers who are not aware Phantom is a musical. The marketing forces for both the show and the movie are just too shrewd for that to be a concern. On the other hand, I will say that there probably were people who went to Liam Neeson’s Les Miserables a few years ago expecting to see the musical.

  17. Joe Leydon says:

    Pepper: Right about “Hello, Dolly!” And, heck, I’d bet some people went to see the 1989 movie version of “Phantom” (with Robert Englund) expecting to hear some music of the night.

  18. PeppersDad says:

    Joe –
    Your example of Englund’s Phantom is another good one. It really comes down to where the name recognition is coming from. This may be a sad statement to some, but I think it’s fair to say in 2005 that a lot more people associate Phantom and Les Miserables with their musical incarnations than with their original source material.

  19. Mark says:

    After Angels in America, its apparent Wilson can only have chemistry with males. Not hot 18 year old girls.

  20. David Poland says:

    A Chorus Line – 1985
    December 13–15
    $222,919 19 theaters $11,732 per screen
    December 20–22
    $1,503,564 617 theaters $2,436 per screen
    December 27–29
    $2,458,429 666 theaters $3,691 per screen
    $5,970,853 total as of Dec 29
    In the end, it grossed $14 million domestic

  21. J.E.R.M.S. says: picked up on the spin and ran it too. I was kinda surprised they’d run something so weak.
    Was the critical backlash this fierce against ALW’s Evita as well? Hm, a quick check to Rottentomatoes shows it got a 67% rating, much better than Phantom’s 36%.

  22. L&DB says:

    For a film not openning NATIONWIDE until the 25th.
    This film surely has been getting more donkey
    punches than deserved. I know I have to get to
    see the thing, on the one screen, in the middle
    of suburbia, and features an audience who just
    scratch their heads at musicals. Alas one must
    commute apparently.
    And SBoy; loosen up fella. EMBRACE THE MUSICAL!

  23. Kambei says:

    Here in Toronto it got equally abyssmal reviews AND the Star reprinted that box office “article”…while I really can’t stand Webber, it does seem a little harsh…

  24. bicycle bob says:

    maybe they should have made a good flick instead of worrying about spin and bad articles

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    Dave: OK, let me get out the calculator. According to Box Office Mojo, the average cost of a movie ticket in 1985 was $3.55. So, divide $3.55 into $5,970,853 — and we get, roughly, 1,681,930 tickets sold for “A Chorus Line” by Dec. 29, 1985. But if we take that same number of tickets and multiply it by $6.25 (the average price, acording to Mojo, for a 2004 ticket)we get $10,512,062. Now, how much did “Phantom” make by Dec. 29, 2004? According to Box Office Mojo: $10,100,111. Hmmmmmmmmm.

  26. jeremy says:

    As for content, both ACL and PHANTOM derive their effectiveness from the excitement of live theater. With ACL, the audience is meant to feel like they’re spying on the actors as they struggle through the torturous audition process, while PHANTOM… “Holy shit, a chandelier!!! That Andrew Lloyd Webber is a goddamn genius!”
    Though those adjusted numbers put ACL ahead of PHANTOM for the time being (nice work, Joe), I have a feeling PHANTOM will still outperform it domestically if only because the show more fully permeated the pop culture at a time when musical theater was sensationally popular, what with touring productions of LES MIZ, INTO THE WOODS, GRAND HOTEL and MISS SAIGON were crisscrossing the country. Also, it’s drenched in empty spectacle, which trumps writhing wannabe actors and a barking Michael Douglas every time.
    As far as the Oscars go… ACL snagged three nominations (and, for my money, was a bett– *more endurable* adaptation). Outside of Actress and Song, I don’t see PHANTOM even in contention for anything else.

  27. SRCputt says:

    …and production design, and costumes.
    A few techs, but nothing major outside of actress (if that)

  28. SRCputt says:

    Can we agree Dave’s basic point is right? Declaring Phantom a bomb before it has even gone wide is a mistake. Allowing your personal opinion of a film to color your analysis is a mistake. Phantom won’t even be the biggest money mistake of December: that appears to be either Spanglish (cost 100 million!?!) or Flight of the Phoenix.

  29. Sierra says:

    “maybe they should have made a good flick instead of worrying about spin and bad articles”
    They did.
    I hate the media.

  30. Gombro says:

    I have to say that when I saw the per-screen average on PHANTOM, I smelled doom for it. It’s true, as IMDb said, that films tend to have higher per-screen averages when they are on fewer screens. Only getting approx. $6,000+ per screen for a new release in limited release seems very disappointing to me. (And I’m sure Warner Bros. chose markets that they thought represented their best shot for full theaters over the holiday season.) I have a lot of friends who tend to like things like PHANTOM (the theater, movie musicals, etc.) and nobody I know is really interested. If I go, I’ll have to go alone!
    Frankly I think they just waited too long to do a film out of it and it lost all it’s sense of being a hot new show. Also, with things like THE LION KING on B’way and CHICAGO on DVD, people are beginning to remember what a good musical is supposed to sound like, and Andrew Lloyd, at best, seems to manage one good song per show these days. I remember when a good musical had four or five show stopping tunes (GUYS AND DOLLS, FUNNY GIRL…) Why are we supposed to be impressed that Webber gives us one good song in a three-hour evening? It’s too bad nobody’s doing a film of the recent musical RAGTIME. That has some great music.

  31. jeremy says:

    PHANTOM’s songs get stuck in your head the way Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” claims squatter’s rights on your consciousness when you happen by it on a Classic Rock radio station with a shitty playlist. They’ve got rudimentarily catchy hooks (“Music of the Night”‘s melody is famously cribbed from “School Days”), but are travesties of composition compared to anything in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Webber actually rebounded with some nice music for ASPECTS OF LOVE (*some*), but he’s really been useless since EVITA, which was only so-so in the first place.

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    Wasn’t there talk at one point of turning “Cats” into an animated feature? (No, I’m not joking.) In a similiar vein: If “Phantom” does indeed turn out to be flop — and let’s not be too hasty about passing judgment; remember the early take on “Polar Express” — how should it have been made? With a different star? (Antonio Banderas? Michael Crawford?) A different director? (Martin Scorsese? Ken Russell?)

  33. Mia says:

    I don’t know though… it’s not as though Phantom is on 7 screens and making that per screen average. 622 is kind of a tricky number. Plus, if as people have said it’s playing in the cities that can already see the stage show, wouldn’t it follow that when it expands to places that CAN’T see the stage show, it would do better?
    All I know is that word of mouth around here has been excellent. Every single person I’ve talked to who has seen the film has fallen absolutely in love with it. IMO I don’t think they could have done anything differently. It is a gorgeous, near flawless film.
    If Warner would only forget about the critics for a moment and ramp up publicity on Jan. 21st, they may find they have a genuine hit on their hands. One with a cult following. The Golden Globes should help it a bit too. Regardless of the reason (rounding out a category, the fact that it’s the only musical, etc.) it IS a Best Picture nominee.
    Thank you David for attempting to give Phantom the chance it so richly deserved. I’ll always remember that.

  34. TonyS. says:

    “Can we agree Dave’s basic point is right? Declaring Phantom a bomb before it has even gone wide is a mistake. Allowing your personal opinion of a film to color your analysis is a mistake. Phantom won’t even be the biggest money mistake of December: that appears to be either Spanglish (cost 100 million!?!) or Flight of the Phoenix.”
    I agree. It’s not even the biggest flop of the month.

  35. Filipe says:

    6000 for 622 screens is a disappoint of sorts. It`s not a bomb, but obviously is below what WB hoped. There`s no way to make it look like a winner, but then it`s not a loser yet. Wenn did a very bad piece of journalism and it was obvious intend to hurt the film, but that still doesn`t make the average look really good. 622 screens is a trick number and I think it`s worth to point out that that Phantom audience may not be as easy to select theatres in a way to pull a strong average as let`s say Closer audience is. And It`s funny nobody bother to mention that Aviator average is certainly below expectations too (and by today standard 1800 screens is a sort of semi wide release too).
    I got the impression WB made a very dumb move when decide to open Phanrom the way it did.

  36. bicycle bob says:

    a bomb? lets let it go wide and see how it does at the globes before we say that

  37. PeppersDad says:

    In hindsight, I think it was definitely a mistake not to go with a bigger star and/or director. Right now the movie is a publicist’s nightmare, utterly dependent on the show’s name (considerable) and reputation (mediocre), and the film’s reviews (bad) and word of mouth (still TBD). It’s a very tough sell without any celebrity or directorial clout, so the deciding factor likely will be how much muscle the studio puts behind it.
    I doubt they’ll pony up with much. It’s one thing to lure mass audiences into a live carnival-esque staging of a vacuous funhouse extravaganza that includes such novelties as a chandelier falling from the ceiling. It’s another to think that the same material will attract a big crowd to a flat-screen movie theatre.
    I’d compare it to the circus. Droves of people will gladly pay $40 a ticket for every member of their family whenever Ringling Bros. comes to town, and every performance will probably sell out. But how many people would pay to see the exact same show on a movie theatre screen?

  38. CofM says:

    it’s strange because i thought one of the best parts about the movie was the unknown actors it introduced us to. i kind of admire them for going that way. and I definitely admire the actors. they all did better jobs than so called “A listers” probably could have done.
    but yes, I agree with the main issue: someone jumped the gun. i don’t think this will flop. i think it will perform adequately well, possibly better.
    and I just checked box-office figures. it still had the 2nd highest per screen average and dropped the least out of any movie yesterday, plus moved up to number six for the day. hmmm… so for the past two weeks it has consistently been the second most attended film in america. interesting. you know what i think? slow and steady builder this one is.
    and yeah im surprised that the aviator hasn’t been attacked more. its not exactly burning up the box office, and will rely on its nominations most likely to increase its box office.

  39. Joe Leydon says:

    CofM: The second most attended film in America? I don’t think so. That title would have to go to the second highest-grossing film, wouldn’t it?
    On the other hand: I agree that “Phantom” will be a long-distance runner, not a sprinter.

  40. CofM says:

    ugh, that was poorly worded. what i meant to say was PER THEATER it is the second highest in the top 10 at least. its shows would be fuller than any other film other than meet the fockers. would that be right? lol. sorry about that.

  41. PeppersDad says:

    Think about it: When was the last time that a film adaptation of a major Broadway musical succeeded without a genuine movie star attached?
    FLOPS: HAIR, one of the most acclaimed movies of that year, ranked #1 by Ebert, directed by Milos Forman (still hot off of Cuckoo’s Nest), but no stars bigger than John Savage. A CHORUS LINE, directed by Richard Attenborough (very hot off of Gandhi), with a pre-Wall Street Michael Douglas. EVITA, with Madonna (who was trying – and failed – to prove she could open a movie).
    SUCCESSES: CHICAGO, with three stars. GREASE, with Travolta sweltering hot off of Saturday Night Fever.
    Can anybody think of any other examples/exceptions?

  42. Katherine says:

    I believe that Evita did not flop. From boxofficemojo:
    Domestic: $50,047,179 35.5%
    + Overseas: $91,000,000 64.5%
    = Worldwide: $141,047,179
    So while it made a hell of a lot more overseas, its grand total isn’t too shabby at all.

  43. Joe Leydon says:

    You know, I wonder if there’s a generational thing at play here. I mean, even after the success of “Chicago,” maybe there’s an entire generation of moviegoers out there — maybe 2 or 3 generations — with no regard for musicals whatsoever, because they’ve never actually seen any musicals. Don’t laugh: I teach film history courses at two colleges, and I frequently have students tell me they’d never seen a Western before I screened “The Searchers” or “Stagecoach” or “Rio Bravo” for them. And as for musicals, trust me, I have a hard time getting some of them to sit still for “Singin’ in the Rain.”

  44. Dre says:

    I’d blame a lot of that on Sound of Music, since that tends to be the first non-kidcentric musical people are subjected to. I know that Sound of Music is the reason why I didn’t see the greats like Singin’ in the Rain or Swing Time or The Band Wagon until I hit college. I assume others were also forced to watch the film on some unspecified holiday while mothers wept and children feigned sleeping.

  45. Mark says:

    You don’t need movie stars in musicals. You need a good movie.

  46. TonyS. says:

    In that case it shouldn’t be a problem since that’s what they have.

  47. Gombro says:

    Apologies to Mark but I’d say: You don’t need movie stars in musicals. You need good music. Songs from MY FAIR LADY, CAMALOT, KISS ME KATE, even HAIR were so well liked that they were hits on the radio. When was the last time you ever heard Lloyd Webber song on the radio. I think you have to go back to JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. The posters who said people go to musicals like PHANTOM and SUNSET BLVD the same way the go to a circus had it right, I think. And again, you wouldn’t pay 8 bucks to see a film version of a circus.

  48. KamikazeCamel says:

    The article was definitely mis-judged as was Eric Cox’s original article. The Phantom is definitely not a flop at this current stage. I see the film making about $50mil domestically (it is already at $20, so who knows it could catch on, but a lack of major oscar nominations could stop those people, who were waiting for oscar nom’s to come out, from seeing it). And when you add in foreign markets and ancilliaries (a movie like this will go gangbusters on DVD me thinks) it will should be considered a success.
    It will probably follow a very similar pattern to ALW’s Evita, actually, or Moulin Rouge! grossing $50mil in US but going great overseas.
    But, yeah, considering it’s been out for 2.5 weeks, grossed about $20mil in semi-limited release and it hasn’t even gone wide yet… and it only (yes, ONLY, funnily enough) cost $60mil compared to other movies like Spanglish (how did that cost $100mil?).
    Anyway. I’m not the film’s biggest fan (i have not seen the stage play) but it was respectable and I enjoyed it (I give it a B).

  49. Ali Kryton says:

    I think/really hope this movie is going to surprise the hell out of people when it goes wide. I see it having legs, and long ones. I’ve yet to talk to someone who’s disliked it. Critical reception may be rough so far, but audiences are loving it; word of mouth is increasingly strong. Every time I’ve been to see the film (5 times so far) my theater has been more and more packed. And I’ve noticed other theaters in the area adding more showtimes.
    I’ve never been more frustrated with the media’s slant than I am right now.

  50. bicycle bob says:

    if phantom would have made some money this wouldn’t even be a topic and the critics would have had to find another reason to bash it. but it didn’t. i really haven’t even seen any promo’s for it. the publicity and spin has been terrible for a movie that cost a lot of dough.

  51. CofS says:

    the thing is, considering the type of movie it is, it DIDN’T cost a lot of money. i’m actually very impressed on what they were able to do considering its shoe-string budget (and yes 60 mil is a shoestring budget). plus didn’t ALW himself put that cash up? the man who has another billion or two in the bank? strange.

  52. Mark says:

    When did 60$ million become a shoe string?

  53. Stella's Boy says:

    Yeah $60 million (I’ve heard $70 million) with all no-name actors is a shoe string budget? Um, no. And maybe the box office would be better if it didn’t suck so much. Seriously, could it have been any duller? Could the performances have been any worse? Could I have cared any less about the love story? No, no and no.

  54. CofM says:

    explain to me how 60 million for a movie that looks the way phantom does is not shoe string compared to 80 million for meet the fockers?
    of course the problem arises when people let their personal feelings about the film get in the way of objectivity (which i admit, i’m guilty of doing)… but I guess it still doesn’t change the fact that the movie is not a flop. for the time being.

  55. Stella's Boy says:

    It’s simple. Look at how much $ went to the cast of Meet The Fockers. Compare that to the $ spent on the cast of Phantom. Night and day difference there.

  56. Jake says:

    60 is no small time movie. This is going to go down as a bomb.

  57. Katherine says:

    Just for the record from boxofficemojo:
    For Phantom of the Opera
    Domestic: $17,673,144 33.1%
    + Overseas: $35,656,362 66.9%
    = Worldwide: $53,329,506
    It should easily take in over 20 mil before it opens nationwide next week. Therefore, factoring in world-wide gross, it will in fact make its budget back BEFORE it goes into wide-release.

  58. Stella's Boy says:

    Well, hopefully the strong worldwide box office doesn’t mean there will be a sequel.

  59. Mark says:

    Don’t forget to tally marketing costs. Here and worldwide. Every movie ends up breaking even. Waterworld has broken even. Execs don’t greenlight movies to break even.

  60. bicycle bob says:

    they couldn’t get anyone in the lead role here?

  61. Scriptstar says:

    Box office numbers are interesting…but, go read Phantom viewer comments on and on (for Amazon see Movie Show Times, then type in “The Phantom of the Opera”). The majority (90%+)of these comments are excellent…Phantastic! Many of the viewers have had on average of two-four repeat screenings. Demographic appears to be teen females with friends or boy friends, curious teen males, those who have seen the broadway show (estimated 80M – 100M worldwide)and newbies. Most of those snob critics who suggest this movie will flop have their noses in front of their PC’s and are not in touch with the pulse of the marketplace. Phantom is on a buildup track to have excellent numbers worldwide. “Surrender to the music of the night”…

  62. bicycle bob says:

    now we’re back on the imdb for truth and justice? didn’t we go over this last week?

  63. KamikazeCamel says:

    I know in Australia it’s doing quite good. My session was nearly sold out.
    It’s been in the top 5 for 2 weeks and it only dropped something like 10%.
    Over hear we don’t have that many critics damning the movie to hell.

  64. And that many of these same people simply assume this is another remake of the Lon Chaney horror movie?
    How many of your average multiplex moviegoers these days know there was a version with Lon Chaney? 1925 was a long time ago, they probably don’t even know movies were made at all back then. (For that matter, how many of them have heard of Lon Chaney?)
    As for the new Phantom, I suspect it will do adequate cinematic business once all the figures are tallied up from around the world, but the real money will be in the DVD release as others have already noted.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon