MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Sunday Estimates – 8/21

The only August release ever to make it to $100 million that opened after the first weekend of the month was American Pie 2

Be Sociable, Share!

35 Responses to “Sunday Estimates – 8/21”

  1. martin says:

    i think the numbers next weekend will be less “grimm” than some expect. The reviews on BG will be mixed but Damon and Gilliam will bring in a decent crowd, plus the movie looks kinda comic-booky and creepy, so I bet $12-15 might be a possibility. Don’t know what the budget is, and I guarantee it will drop off the charts quickly, but opening weekend it might find an audience.
    Does Sky High finishing up with $60 mill + mean we will be seeing more of Bruce Campbell in kids movies?

  2. Mark Ziegler says:

    If both Red Eye and 40 Year Old get to 80 million they have to be considered huge successes.

  3. jsnpritchett says:

    David, Grizzly Man opened last weekend, not this weekend.

  4. David Poland says:

    Oops… thanks… fixed…

  5. jeffmcm says:

    What’s an add bird?
    When it comes to Gilliam, there are many different kinds of disaster. You’re probably withholding your review. I know the script won’t be very good but I’m expecting to have fun based on Damon and Ledger and the mere fact that it’s a Gilliam film.

  6. Chester says:

    Speaking of a different kind of box-office gross, I finally saw “The Aristocrats” last night. I’m very surprised that (at least as far as I can remember) there has been absolutely no discussion on this blog about it.
    Sure to become a cult classic among high-school and fraternity boys, this is a movie that celebrates comedians and the comedic process, but also in a way proudly signals the end of civilization as we know it – and seems to contend that that’s a good thing. To the extent that I enjoyed it, I came out feeling it needed a strong disclaimer along the lines of: “The performers in this film are professionals. Do not under any circumstances try this at home.” It pointedly breaks every verbal taboo you can imagine and probably many that you can’t. Even if you think the movie is great, IMHO you’re not completely human if you don’t emerge somewhat horrified by what you’ve just witnessed.
    Not that I would join in, but if ever there was a film for social conservatives to be protesting, this is it. And, along the same lines, if ever there was a movie that audaciously held itself up to proclaim, “This is why the terrorists hate us,” this is it as well.

  7. martin says:

    Aristocrats had some good buzz for awhile there but the distribution screwed the pooch by counting on word of mouth to keep it going for awhile. Had they opened 2nd week in like 800-1000 theaters they could’ve made some real cash. Now its gonna hit $5 mill. and disappear from theaters because it’s already yesterday’s news.
    In other theatrical, I think it’s funny that Supercross got such a big release. Every trailer/clip I’ve seen has looked downright amateurish and awful. I know they thought the racing stuff might bring in a decent audience, but when the film is complete turkey doing 800 screen theatrical is just stupid. Give it a DVD launch with some big ads. Now the word it out that it’s a pile of crap (and a bomb) and that will hurt it’s revenue stream.

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    Something popped into my head while cleaning out some movie-related files today. I know that everybody is writing off “The Island” as a cash-burning stiff. But by the time it finsihes its global run, then gets a splashy DVD release — and remains a fairly steady DVD seller for a few years, which is altogetehr possible — won’t it EVENTUALLY turn a modest profit? Whereas something like “Lords of Dogtown,” which cost jack to make, but earned significantly less than jack at the box-office — might it wind up actually deeper in the red? I don’t know, just wondering.

  9. Sanchez says:

    Every movie eventually makes a profit. The Island will be among them. It didn’t suck that much. It’s not Heavens Gate.

  10. martin says:

    Joe, you’re missing the point. Island may eventually hit profit after a few years, but it was a product designed to bring in LOTS of money. Hopes were that Dogtown would make a nice little profit, but Dogtown making $5 mill. in profit and Island making $5 mill. in profit are not comparable when expectations were so different.

  11. Chester says:

    Well, Joe, I think Martin makes the main point very well.
    Also, to the extent that I think your questions are valid ones, they probably require a little too much speculation absent trustworthy research or demographic information. For instance, why is it that you think “The Island” is going to be a steady earner down the road? Are all the people who stayed away from the theatres going to suddenly be looking to rent or download this movie? Or, in general, movies directed by Michael Bay? Or starring Ewan MacGregor or Scarlett Johansen? And will any of that be enough to compensate for the movie’s monster budget?
    On the other hand, if someone involved with “Lords of Dogtown” emerges as a major popular talent, don’t you think a lot of people may go back and check it out?
    Maybe. Maybe not. To all of the above.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    Sanchez, have you ever seen Heaven’s Gate?
    Your statement “every movie eventually makes a profit” I find somewhat dubious.

  13. Chester says:

    Also, Joe, I think we sometimes tend to have some overly optimistic notions about a DVD title’s catalog value. Not to diminish the importance and financial worth of each studio’s library, but the essential truth is that DVDs of recent theatrical releases tend to have all of the retail sales heat. But that heat fades extremely quickly (as Disney and Dreamworks shareholders recently discovered). Meanwhile, older titles do provide steady returns, but they are far lower in comparison.
    I remember talking to a marketing executive at Warner Bros. a few years ago when the all-time-great “Citizen Kane” finally got its DVD treatment. He told me that while CK unquestionably did better than most catalog releases, its initial sales were entirely dwarfed and almost subsumed by the concurrent WB DVD release of … ready for this? … “Battlefield Earth.”
    My point is this: I’m confident that the DVD of “The Island” will explode out of the gate as well, but it probably needs to do so in an unusually big, unexpected way to recover the title’s losses before it fades into relative obscurity and its catalog value rapidly diminishes.

  14. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, “Heaven’s Gate” probably is an extreme case. But I can’t help wondering about movies that are written off as complete disasters, but wind up being steady rental and sell-through items on home video. (To say nothing of money generated from cable sales, etc.) I have no doubt that DreamWorks took a major hit with “The Island” in terms of performing below expectations. But in the end, will they actually LOSE money? Maybe fans of the two stars (and genre fans, Michael Bay fans, etc.) will indeed make it a steady seller? I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking. For example: It’s my understanding that even “Grease 2” is well into profit by now.

  15. Sanchez says:

    Every movie over enough time eventually makes its money back. Obviously there are extreme cases of huge bombs. But over time every studio release gets back into the the profit side. Check Waterworld. May take 25 years. But it happens. And for the Island I think it will make a ton on dvd.

  16. Chester says:

    Yeah, Joe, but “Grease 2” didn’t have a $150+ million budget, even adjusting for inflation. And don’t forget that a film like “Grease 2” has countless fans of the Travolta original, not to mention the early-Michelle-Pfeiffer curiosity factor. Like I said above, if any of the talent attached to “The Island” can ever bring the same to the table, the title may eventually find its way into the black.

  17. martin says:

    The movie I first thought of when I saw The Island’s opening numbers was Cutthroat Island. This was a $90+ million movie that opened to like $5 million. Like Cutthroat, The Island will not be “infamous” like the biggest bombs of all time, like Heaven’s Gate, Ishtar, etc. This is because Island didn’t have crazy behind the scenes stuff, like re-edits, directors taking their names off, actors avoiding press, etc. The Island may financially be a huge loser, but may not be seen that way in the public. It got good reviews, no BS behind the scenes. Just lost money, bigtime, in theatrical. The people associated actually got lucky, because it got swallowed up in the “people aren’t going to the movies” press and the “people don’t like action movies now” press. So it’s infamy will be fairly minor when all is said and done. And Bay will be back in the game with Transformers (a guaranteed hit with kids/teens) and Island may get close to black on DVD. The universal buy harkens to the UA/Heaven’t Gate but the Island will be a footnote in this transaction, whereas Heaven’s Gate was the story.
    Waterworld made something like $120 mill. in the US and a lot more abroad. It cost a lot, but the perception that it was a bomb was a result of all the side factors (bad relations on set, numerous reshoots/re-edits). It was a bad press bomb, not a financial one. Dreamworks would gladly take the Waterworld financials over Island’s any day.

  18. David Poland says:

    Unless something really surprising happens, DreamWorks really lose tens of millions of dollars on The Island, as will Sony on Stealth.
    The idea that every movie is profitable just isn’t so. Very few movies lost money three years ago, as DVD revenue was a surprise. But remember… in 2000, Disney capped Pearl Harbor at $140 million. When that film turned a profit on a hugely successful DVD in late 2001 and 2002, it was a surprise, not an assumed part of the revenue stream… not at those numbers.
    Neither of these films will clear the costs of domestic P&A with their domestic returns. If The Island does $125 million worldwide, that is only about $60 million in the bank… or about the worldwide P&A cost. Even if the film overperforms in DVD, it will be at least $50 million in the hole, all in. And if it doesn’t perform very well, it could be as big a loss as $100 million split between DreamWorks and WB.
    So no… it can’t be profitable.
    50 years from now, with inflated dollars and a library sold 5 times, maybe it will technically break even. But not likely.
    Movies like Heaven’s Gate and One From The Heart were cheaper – in unadjusted dollars – than The 40 Year Old Virgin is now. Could the market expand again like it has in the video/DVD era? Possible. But again, unlikely. I think the digital future has topped out the ability to expand revenue in that way. The size of the audience can expand, but the price per unit seems to have found its maximum, aside from overall inflation.

  19. joefitz84 says:

    I hope whoever backed Stealth loses a bundle. Teach them a lesson.

  20. EDouglas says:

    THe cool thing is that 40 Year Old Virgin will have made its production budget back by Weds and its promotional budget back by Sunday. Probably won’t be as profitable as Wedding Crashers, but it should hold out well with no strong comedies for the rest of Aug/Sept.
    I think Grimm will be #1 next weekend, followed by 40 Year and Red Eye, but then 40 Year Old will hold up better over Labor Day keeping the #2 spot while Grimm drops and I don’t think either The Man or Exorcism will offer much competition.

  21. PandaBear says:

    Wedding Crashers has made Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn a ton of money. Now and on their future deals. They have shot to A list level.

  22. martin says:

    It’s amazing to me that these articles slip out. I’m sure Bridget Byrne is a nice person, but she repeatedly gets numbers wrong in her box office stories.. which are stories about numbers. Wedding Crashers has made $117 mill so far? Does this writer even follow box office at all?
    (ED NOTE: MArtin had a link in here that was bending the page… I put the link on the bottom of the box office entry on top of the page…. this way, you can look and the page doesn’t get screwy.)

  23. Wrecktum says:

    The Island will make money. Maybe not on DVD sell through, but certainly on TV licensing rights. Its international BO shows that there’s interest in the film, which will allow Dreamworks to set a higher licensing cost, no doubt.
    TNT and its international equivelants will be playing this movie for years to come.

  24. David Poland says:

    Actually, Wreck… no it won’t. International box office has zero effect on domestic TV deals, which are mostly done in packages. Really. I would love to say it could break even. It can’t.

  25. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Warner Bros. has had no problem having “March of the Penguins” side-by-side with mainstream WB product. Paramount refused to put “Mad Hot Ballroom” alongside mainstream titles from Par, thus “Ballroom” suffered at the box office.
    “The Aristocrats” is hurt by being banned from at least 2 national theater chains. AMC will not play the picture due to content. Cinemark has a corporate policy against unrated films — and “The Aristocrats” is unrated.
    Ironically, the Ritz chain in Philadelphia has all but banned children from “March of the Penguins” even with the G rating.

  26. bicycle bob says:

    the island is a gigantic bomb. when the producers are blaming the 20 yr old star of the movie u know u have issues.

  27. Bruce says:

    The Brothers Grimm will be a huge bomb. You don’t even have Damon or Ledger making appearances for it. They’re hoping for a quick weekend then get out.

  28. jesse says:

    EDouglas, I know this wasn’t really the point of your post, but I think both “The Man” and “Exorcism of Emily Rose” could actually do fine. Not to say that either of them looks particularly good, but I’d peg a Sam Jackson/Eugene Levy comedy opening with at least $10 million, probably more like 15. I know the trailers aren’t very funny funny, but neither were the trailers for Bringing Down the House. (The Jackson-Levy combo is a great idea in theory, and I might see The Man just to see if it ever pays off.)
    That Exorcism movie is well-timed — there’s always some spooky-ish movie in early/mid September that makes 20 or 30, sometimes more.
    Anyway, Virgin will stay at #1 this weekend and possibly Labor Day (even a solid Transpoter 2 opening would be in the 10-12 million range).
    Apart from two likely hits in proven “early fall” genres (Just Like Heaven and Flightplan), I’m wondering about potential box office from a lot of the September-October movies. There’s lots of stuff I *want* to see, but it’ll be interesting to see if any of it translates into a big opening weekend and/or strong staying power.

  29. Wrecktum says:

    “Actually, Wreck… no it won’t. International box office has zero effect on domestic TV deals, which are mostly done in packages. Really. I would love to say it could break even. It can’t”
    What about international TV rights? It’s not just the domestic TV I’m talking about….

  30. Terence D says:

    I haven’t even seen a commercial for Grimm yet. Maybe I’m not watching enough tv. Critics tend to give Gilliam the benefit of the doubt though.

  31. BluStealer says:

    I can’t see the Virgin holding onto #1 into and past Labor Day. It doesn’t have the staying power. Actually I see it falling down this week.

  32. Josh says:

    Don’t doubt Big Steve Carrel and the Virgin power. It may have some nice legs and get to 100 plus$.

  33. Josh Massey says:

    “Beverly Hills Cop” is a freaking comedy, no question about it.

  34. jeffmcm says:

    It’s an action-comedy. It’s not a pure comedy like Wedding Crashers or 40YOV.

  35. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “Critics tend to give Gilliam the benefit of the doubt”.
    They give it to him on reputation. His last movie opened opposite “Bulworth” and “Godzilla”.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

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