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David Poland

By David Poland

Saturday Estimates by Mojo

Not a lot of change from Klady’s Friday numbers.
King Kong did finally hit $100 million on Day 11.
Brokeback Mountain tripled its screen count on Friday and, not surprisingly, stayed about even on the gross level.
According to these Saturday estimates, Christmas Eve day is up about 11% from last year, but it is much more spread out. Meet The Fockers did $7.2 million on the 24th last year. This year, Narnia/Kong did $9.7 million on top… and then there were five $1 million-plus films this year after the Top Two and only three last year after the Top One.
Through the 24th, measured by the daily Top Tens, December is up about 15% this year. And the last week of the year

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76 Responses to “Saturday Estimates by Mojo”

  1. Crow T Robot says:

    Why the hell is Munich not playing in my hometown? It’s a goddamn Spielberg film!

  2. EDouglas says:

    Patience…it expands to 1800 theatres on January 6.

  3. PandaBear says:

    Where do you live? Bumblefuck?

  4. BostonGuy says:

    The Brokeback Mountain axe-grinding is getting tiresome. One gets the feeling Poland is trying to will his predictions about Munich into existence…to create a buzz where none really exists. One imagines his next view of the Critics list, where BBM is on top…(“The scuttle here is that had BBM been about heterosexuals no one would like it. Everyone knows that it’s better to admired by a few than many at this time of the year. Look at Chicago, Beautiful Mind and Gladiator, which never finished higher than 18th.”)
    For the record, spin on the ecomonics is easy…one movie cost $12-million, another $70-million…which one will be more profitable?
    Even so, I haven’t seen Munich yet, but I love Spielberg and will get to it soon. There is room in the world for more than one great movie. And a great movie can still be a great movie if it doesn’t have Oscar certification. All this attention to a “competition” between BBM and Munich is largely irrelevant and increasingly irritating and self serving.

  5. Josh says:

    11 days for Kong to 100 mill. Who would have thought?

  6. mcfly says:

    Still wondering if overall weak BO is due to poor quality of films or audiences being sick of paying 9 bucks to deal with increasingly rude audience members and where they can get a much better movie experience renting/buying the DVD. I think the latter. I haven’t been to the theater since July and I just got back from seeing Munich and all I heard were people constantly talking loudly.

  7. Josh says:

    88 Marty!

  8. Crow T Robot says:

    My parents live in Bumblefuck. And I’m stuck here till New Years.
    I live in West Hollywood. I guess that makes it Bootyfuck.
    (Ok, I’m only NEAR WeHo, but who could pass up a joke like that, eh?)

  9. joefitz84 says:

    If Brokeback Mountain fails to hit 40 million, all the axe grinding will be right on. Because what you think is axe grinding is just telling it like it is. Not getting the BBM fans hopes up.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    For the record, the only Best Picture nominees to gross less than $40m in the last five years have been The Pianist ($32) and In the Bedroom ($36).
    I can’t imagine that Brokeback will make less than those. I would imagine it will do similar or better than The Hours ($42) – assuming it gets nominated.

  11. LesterFreed says:

    I’ve said I’d rather get my balls cut off than see Brokeback Mountain. And it still holds.

  12. grandcosmo says:

    I rather you get your balls cut off than see Brokeback Mountain as well.

  13. David Poland says:

    BostonGuy… welcome to the conversation.
    I don’t need to grind a Brokeback axe. I was not out there spinning the box office as “crossing over” the last couple of weeks when it was doing great in very limited release. Brokeback will do what Brokeback will do.
    I have not been the progenitor of Brokeback vs Munich. I have discouraged the comparison and all of the heated reporting. But I can’t pretend it isn’t happening either. And I can’t help but think that in many quarters, BBM will continually be spun positive no matter what it does and that Munich will be spun negative.
    I hope I am wrong. I hope that reporting is balanced.
    Frankly, I didn’t expect BBM to be anything but #1 on the Top Ten chart and was quite surprised when it started around #4. I’m still surprised that it’s not further ahead of A History Of Violence. Regardless, I have no problem with it being there. I an;t make out what your version of my spin on it means, so I can’t speak specifically to it. But it’s not my issue.
    But the reportage about “The Trouble With Munich” has been inanely off balance and inside baseball. All I hope for is a fair playing field. If I had my druthers, Munich and BBM would cancel each other out somewhat and Constant Gardener would win. But that’s a different conversation.
    For the record, this weekend of Munich is probably a little lower than Universal hoped for and a bit better than tracking suggested. But today (Sunday) and tomorrow will really tell the story… as I keep saying… the story will tell itself. That’s called reporting.

  14. James Leer says:

    Why would the media need to spin “Munich” surpassing the grosses of “Brokeback”? Was anyone not expecting that? “Brokeback” is still playing on, like, 2/5 of the screens that Spielberg’s $70 million movie opened on. It’s not exactly a horse race.
    And don’t be disingenuous about your “Brokeback” axe (“Brokebaxe”?), DP. When it got phenomenal reviews, you implied that a certain kind of political correctness was greasing those wheels. And yet, when many of those same critics reviewed “Munich” favorably and the notion was put forth that the reviews were kinder than they might usually be, you called it “stunningly insulting to everybody involved.”
    It’s hard to believe that if “Walk the Line” was breaking per-screen averages in limited release or “Munich” were at the top of your Ten Best compilation chart, you’d still be downplaying those achievements or neglecting to mention them altogether. I still think you’re letting your personal feelings on “Brokeback” get in the way of your prognosticating.

  15. David Poland says:

    JL – It’s #2 on the chart… not #23… not #6… #2…
    I have never suggested that any top critic was reviewing on political correctness. I would suggest however, that feature after feature after feature has a predisposition. And I would – and have – argued that many features on Munich have similarly had a predisposition.
    I’m not sure what numbers you think I’ve neglected. And I’m not sure how your theory work with me bringing up Phantom and Closer as financial markers for Munich?

  16. James Leer says:

    I’m not implying you work in absolutes. You’ve proven before that you can admit the tough truth about a movie you’re rooting for (like when you eventually came around on Kong’s weird box office). So I’m just pointing out one bit I still think you’re getting wrong.

  17. Wayman_Wong says:

    ”After all the excitement over box office, there is the very real chance that ‘Munich’ will surpass ‘Brokeback Mountain’ in total domestic gross by Jan. 2. And how will the media spin that?”
    Gee, what about your media spinning? ”Munich” opened Friday on 532 screens. ”Brokeback” is currently on 217 screens. Why WOULDN’T ”Munich” gross more than ”Brokeback” by Jan. 2? (”Brokeback” opened on Dec. 9 in only 3 cities; last week, it was only on 69 screens.) ”Brokeback” doesn’t expand to 275 screens until Jan. 6. And goes to 400 on Jan. 13. If ”Munich” expands to 1,800 screens on Jan. 6, will you be writing it’ll be outgrossing ”Brokeback” by the end of that weekend, too? Geez, how you can compare ”Brokeback” and ”Munich” when their releases are so different, is mind-boggling.
    As you might believe, ”in many quarters, BBM will continually be spun positive no matter what it does and that Munich will be spun negative.” I’d say that Jeffrey Wells is very pro-BBM and anti-Munich. But I’d add that the converse is true, too: In other quarters, like your Hot Blog and Roger Friedman’s ”411” column at Fox News, BBM will continually be spun negative no matter what it does (right) and that Munich will be spun positive. When ”Brokeback” cracked the top 10 last weekend, that would be considered quite an achievement by many box-office observers, but you called it ”a slight obsfucation.” We’re still waiting for an explanation of that one.
    As a veteran entertainment writer and editor at various newspapers, I’ve seen my share of reporting. This season, the Oscar pundits seem to have split into two camps: pro-BBM, anti-Munich and pro-Munich, anti-BBM. As we know, and as you’ve said, ”Stats are for suckers.” You can spin them into however you want to prove your point. I’d love to see a ”fair playing field,” but it’s disingenuous if the pundits don’t think their personal biases (for or against a movie) don’t color their Oscar analysis. I can only hope readers recognizing ”ax grinding” when they see it. When the Oscars are over, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of crow to eat on both sides.

  18. BostonGuy says:

    BostonGuy here.
    Mr. Poland, I guess what I would hope you would point out is that spin is just that — spin. It really has nothing much to do the movies themselves. They are either good, bad, or whatever, but setting what appears to be two worthwhile films in opposition is a meaningless exercise, and perhaps harmful to the movies themselves (“BBM begins to fail…”) Comparing them, particularly on the basis of box office receipts, isn’t worth the space it takes up. (Why not compare BBM to King Kong? Munich to Schindler? Anything to anything? )
    Both Brokeback and Munich are worth seeing and worth discussing. Putting them in the context of a competition for a putative prize — which has a variable record of recognizing quality — is something that we all need to step back from.

  19. VSW says:

    I agree with what Wong posted above me. No matter what will happen you will always look at stats in order to suit your opinions better.
    I still remember last year when you made a big fuss about MDB placing higher than The Aviator in BO Top Ten. Too bad you didn’t realize that The Aviator had been playing nationwide already for over one month while MDB expanded after one month in limited release. It kinda makes a difference, huh?
    So how can you really compare Munich and BBM’s release patterns? It’s really annoying. I always enjoy your articles, opinions and predictions. But wow I don’t remember a year where you have been *this* biased for quite some time.

  20. BostonGuy says:

    Just a little more.
    I saw Brokeback last week and thought it was a wonderful film: character-driven, great acting, good story, not safe.
    Then I read your commentaries. You’ll bet 200 to 1 it won’t gross $100 million. Winning the LA and NY critics, which I’d think is a positive thing, becomes a negative because the movie is peaking too early. Two films with different pedigrees, ambitions, release patterns, etc. get compared (to the detriment of one), even though they are largely in contrast due to accidents of timing.
    And I think to myself, this are comments based on a system where the chief value seems to be which movie will win the Oscar, and it seems like a faulty measure to me. It’s a fun game some time, but there’s some disconnect between the game and the movies themselves, and a world which has room for Munich and Brokeback Mountain to be good.

  21. steve4992 says:

    Well said Boston Guy. It feels like this Blog is becoming nothing more than a shill for Munich.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Latest cheap shot at “Brokeback Mountain” — today’s psoting on MCN: “Going To Jackson, WY To Indulge In The Latest Horrible Media Trend – Interviewing A Few People On the Way Out Of A Movie As A Lazy Imitation Of Internet Democracy – A Look At Brokeback Mountain.”
    Excuse me, but “latest trend”? “Lazy imitation of Internet democracy”? WTF? Dave, either you’re being deliberately deceptive in your “I’m not spinning” spin, or you know nothing about entertainment journalism. I’ve read (and, yes, written) stories like this for DECADES, long before Al Gore invented the Internet. To refer to them as any sort of RECENT phenom is, well, silly. Hell, I can remember even being interviewed for one myself way back in the early 70s when I was a college student– a reporter doing a story on protest movies asked me questions after a sneak of preview of “Getting Straight.”

  23. Nicol D says:

    I think the critics and media spin on both these two films are very different then how they are being perceived by the general public.
    Brokeback Mountain:
    Media Spin: Controversial movie with a gay love story of the likes that we have never seen before in all of human history. If it’s between being an eyewitness to the second coming of Christ or seeing this film, your duty is to see this film! Now!
    Public reaction: Been there done that on many tv shows and films over the past 20 years. Big fat yawn from the mainstream. Fine to have a gay love story but most people (even Christian groups) just really do not care. Most men don’t care to see love stories starring glamorous actresses; Heath and Jake spooning is not gonna help.
    Prognosis: When it goes wide it will not be a huge hit. I still say it will make around 40 million. Maybe a bit more.
    Media spin after it wins awards: A smash hit that broke all barriers to be a hit for everyone. Only true bigots and homophobes did not attend.
    Media Spin: Controversial thriller dealing with Israel/Palestinian issues. Mixed reviews and attacks from hard right hurting it.
    Public Reaction: Wow. Spielberg has a new thriller. Maybe put it on the Friday night list. Looks serious though…hmmm is Kong on still?
    Prognosis: Will most likely also struggle to pass the 50 mill mark. Not because of controversy, but because most all of Spielberg’s serious efforts are not as popular. To the average person, Spielberg is not political. Its best shot for awards is to have the Academy perceive it as being maligned by the hard right. But withought Limbaugh and Coulter on board this will be a hard sell. Even many left wing critics don’t care for it.
    Media Spin after Brokeback wins Academy Award: Spielberg just didn’t do the best he could. To complex, too dense, too contoversial. Didn’t click with the public.

  24. martin says:

    agreed, BBM and Munich both seem like much ado about nothing. But it wasn’t the best yr for classic movies, so this is what we’re left with. I guess the feeling is, if they’re not great movies, at least they’re controversial. Maybe Mangold should’ve made Cash a jew-hating homosexual, that would’ve put it at the top of the lists.

  25. Bruce says:

    Maybe “Walk the Line” isn’t dead yet and it’s wide open.

  26. martin says:

    yeah, and maybe I’m a gay cowboy.

  27. Bruce says:

    Maybe you are. What’s so wrong about it?

  28. starryeyedcapricorn says:

    I could not agree more with PandaBear. I’ve never posted to this blog before, though I read it frequently. Poland, you’re bashing of Brokeback is getting ridiculous. We get it–you really didn’t like the film. I, myself, have not seen it yet, nor have I seen Munich. But making a comparison between domestic gross for Munich and BBM is ludicrous since Munich cost about 6x as much to make and will have to earn considerably more to be profitable. In other contexts, you always ramble on and on (and on and on…) about how hits are determined relative to budget. There’s no denying Focus has done an amazing job marketing a film that is a tough sell, and though it is early, it appears likely the film will succeed outside of urban centers. So praise Munich if you want–but why does it have to be at the expense of another film? You are pandering to the worst kind of horse-race mentality–the kind you bemoan elsewhere for continuing to turn the Oscars into a campaign where the winners are bought and paid for in advertising and promotional dollars.

  29. BluStealer says:

    Munich better outperform Brokeback. Or it will go down as an utter disappointment and not stand a chance come Oscar time.

  30. Scooba Steve says:

    It’s pretty unusual for a guy like DP to spin against one movie like he is. Today’s Gurus Of Gold has Brokeback picked across the board save for our intrepid Mr. Poland — who seems to be building one of those Charles Foster Kane-style opera houses around Munich. And it’s looking more and more like that bird ain’t gonna sing.
    Either way, it’s been a dull year for best picture contenders. If it weren’t for the politics in these two films to piss everyone off, this season would have NOTHING.

  31. David Poland says:

    First, Joe – I have been bitching about this trend for months, starting when the NYT and LAT started doing stories based on what a 43-year-old mother in Boston said about the box office. Maybe you have reported such stories in the past. But they have not been as prevalent on the entertainment pages as it is now anytime recently. And as you might have noticed, I read a lot of entertainment reporting.
    Besides, that piece was more negative about Brokeback than positive. And that is not my point. It’s also something I’ve said about Munich. It’s an bad local TV way of faking journalism, but at least the local TV stations tended to do it live and without a predetermined result. Try to be a little fair, Joe.
    As for my alleged Brokeback bashing… oy already. Why is it that comparing Munich’s number to Phantom of the Opera is not bashing Munich? Why is it that the last three weeks of media spin that “BBM is a mega smash” is suddenly “but Munich is on more screens?” And isn’t it interesting that new people seem to be coming out of the woodwork to complain.
    BostonGuy – Peaking early is an issue every year. Why should Brokeback not be examined in that light? Why should Sideways comparisons be verbotten? And if you don’t want the perspective to be about Oscar, don’t read the Oscar column.
    To clarify yet again… right now Brokeback is in the theoretical front based on media embrace and not Academy embrace… since there is barely any Academy embrace of anything yet. And that’s fine. Munich is fighting uphill after two weeks of media, not Academy, attacks. And as I wrote before, there is a real possibility that a third film will emerge out of all of this swordplay.
    And Wayman, you are dead on. Too much ax grinding. And I will cop to being too reactive to some of this. But the reason the releases are going to be compared is that most of the media is grinding and isn’t real interested in the details. So we will continue to get the short strokes. The spin that BBM is expanding well into non-urban markets, with the briefest investigation, doesn’t hold up. Likewise, anyone who’d be touting this weekend for Munich as a great success -which I have not – is full of shit. And at the same time, Kong doing Titanic numbers should have had editors sending writers back to the keyboard… the time to start really looking at the Narnia/Christian issue is now (not three months ago), though the relative quietness of the campaign is an even bigger issue… Wolf Creek and Syriana deserve more box office ink than they will get… etc, etc, etc.
    It’s funny… I just looked at the original post. And there was one passing comment about BBM. And all of this came from that horrid bashing. And I spent a whole graph on how Universal came up short on Munich and comparing it to two films that didn’t make it. And still, it is about me bashing BBM. You want to know how I get pissed off? There is your answer. And it is now my job to pretend that the sensitivity on BBM isn’t bordering on over-the-top reverse fascism.
    Funny, I don’t feel a need to silence people who disagree with me. I give them a forum and I encourage debate. I really am a maniac!

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    Once again: Audience survey stories have been newspaper staples for decades. They didn’t start with the Internet. In fact, you could argue that they’re one of the many MSM (mainstream media) staples that Internet sites have adopted, not the other way around. Trust me: I remember reading stories like this about “Easy Rider,” “The Graduate” and “The Exorcist.” I remember WRITING stories like this about “Star Wars,” “The Warriors” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.” These stoires may go in and out of fashion, but they are ALWAYS with us. I refer you to another Old Media outlet — The Book of Ecclesiastes:

  33. James Leer says:

    Dave, there are all these posts on the issue because the last sentence of your blog entry is a question asking us about a Brokeback/Munich comparison. And you’re surprised when people answer?

  34. James Leer says:

    Also, classy to welcome BostonGuy to the conversation earlier and then say later, “isn’t it interesting that new people seem to be coming out of the woodwork to complain.” What’s your implication?

  35. martin says:

    is Bostonguy Jake Gyllenhaal?

  36. Wayman_Wong says:

    Any movie that set the live-action record for a per-screen average of over $100,000 in its limited-release opening weekend, would’ve gotten its fair share of ink. The fact that it’s ”Brokeback,” the first mainstream gay love story out of Hollywood since ”Making Love” (1982), is definitely news. But some pundits are intent to pooh-pooh even the best of news.
    ”Brokeback” won the L.A. & N.Y. film critics’ awards and led the Golden Globes and the Broadcast Film Critics’ nominations, and that’s quite a feat considering how contrarian and opinionated critics can be. But your colleague Roger Friedman actually wrote that giving all this attention to ”Brokeback” makes all the awards ”irrelevant.” What the f$%#? If ”Munich” or ”Memoirs of a Geisha” won all the same awards and led in the same nominations, it would be hailed as the Oscar front-runner.
    Context is important. On paper, ”Brokeback” looked doomed before it opened. It’s a Western, which is not the most popular genre at the box office. Ang Lee’s last movie was a flop. So were Heath Ledger’s last four films. In fact, Heath said recently that he believed he and Jake Gyllenhaal were cast as a last resort because other higher-profile actors had turned down the roles in ”Brokeback” (or their managers, publicists, etc., did). It’s not a holiday movie or a comedy, and it’s not a family movie, which automatically cuts out a sizable portion of the moviegoers. Overriding it all: Was America ready to see a serious gay love story? Given all that, it had all the makings of a bomb. The fact that it’s done the business it has, is astonishing.
    Sure, some of the attention is due to the rave reviews. But if all it took were rave reviews to get attention, ”Capote” would done more than $11 million in over 3 months and ”The Squid and the Whale” (in the same period) would have surpassed $5 million by now. In its very limited release, ”Brokeback” has reached $7.5 million in only 3 weeks, and for a film made for only $12 million, that’s even more remarkable. Interestingly, according to studio estimates at Box Office Mojo, the latest per-screen average for ”Brokeback,” where Ledger plays a gay cowboy, is $12,142. That’s about twice the per-screen average for ”Casanova” ($6,324), where Ledger plays one of the most famous (straight) lovers in history. What’s that say? The anti-”BBM”/pro-”Munich” pundits ask: Why isn’t ”Brokeback” doing better? But to me, the real question is: Why is it doing as well as it is?
    That said, I’m glad you encourage debate, but you’re not a maniac. Maybe just a masochist. Ha-ha-ha!

  37. David Poland says:

    Roger Friedman is not a colleague… he’s a fucking moron with an ulterior motive in every move. So don’t ask me to defend his bullshit, whether it is somehow in agreement with me or not. He is not worthy of discussion.
    On paper, 80% of the media that has come out raving about the film was established back in September and was very cleverly held back by Focus until late November to avoid just the problem they now have… overkill and premature ejaculation way before Oscar voting.
    My September number on Brokeback was $20 million max. In fact, I will owe a colleague something when it passes that number. (I forget what, but I’m sure that they will remind me.) The kind of singularity in the major awards is extremely important to box office and I am sure the film will get to $40 million now. Great. I’m not rooting against the film making money. I’m just suggesting that everything is not hearts and flowers and that people who don’t LOVE BBM are not evil.
    It’s not about Ledger as a gay cowboy or Ledger as a heterosexual lover. The movie is a national media phenomenon. No one is questioning that. There is not enough business to say it is a true cultural phenomenon, though there has been some reporting that gay cowboy adventure vacations are ramping up.
    What is still unclear is whether that phenomonon status will lead to a wider range of people actually liking or loving the movie. And people who LOVE the movie assume that if people see it, they will all fall in love. As someone who thought that might be true of Sideways, I can tell you that it is obviously not true. It’s not just the gay issue… Ang Lee is not an entertainer… this is not The Full Monty or even Lost in Translation (which considering the hype there – for a film I loved – it underperformed at the box office). But on the gay issue, no matter what the rabid supporters want to say, there is some real resistance… even in the gay community.
    I can pretty much guarentee you that if Focus had its choice right now, they would be getting less attention now and a lot more in rwo weeks when they go wide.
    As for Casanova, Disney once believed that this was an Oscar type movie in the Shakespeare in Love vein and they were wrong and this film should have opened in March, trying to win over the media on the next Heath Ledger movie after he wins the Oscar.
    And Joe, survey stories are ok in context. They are not okay when a major paper like the NYT is trying to push an agenda and uses random examples. As I said, the BBM piece I linked to was not very pro BBM. Not the point. I think there is a story which should include comments from locals in a month or so… but it is so premature now and the voices they chose were so extreme that it was not a very good story in my opinion.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    It may be set in the west, but it’s not strictly a Western, in the same sense that, say, Open Range or The Missing were Westerns. If Heath and Jake were firing six-shooters and then locking tongues the movie would be fighting much more of an uphill battle, I think.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    Lost in Translation underperformed? How much more should it have made? And speaking of people not loving Sideways, I was stunned to look it up and see that worldwide it grossed over $100m. If only more indie movies had that kind of not-love.

  40. BostonGuy says:

    I’m not Jake Gyllenhaal. (It’s an attractive alternative, but unfortunately not mine.) I don’t think I’m a fascist. (Much less attractive alternative than being Jake, and still not mine.) Over the past few days I’ve been feeling a little like Patrick Goldstein (but I’m not him either).
    I probably need to reread Mr. Poland’s article about why we give awards from a few months back. When I fly a little higher than the Munich vs. BBM thing, I begin to find the whole award process increasingly screwy, and increasingly haphazard, and increasingly disappointing. Because I love movies, I can’t help but being caught up in wanting a favorite to win, and making comments like the ones above, but it’s almost no longer sensible to feel that way, particularly when long experience has taught that it usually isn’t the right movie or performance or director(in my humble opinion), or even a good one.
    But I’m far afield now…
    Michelle and the baby send their love. Another time…

  41. David Poland says:

    Not saying that Sideways suffered. But most of its business was spurred by its status as a phenom – also a low-resistance comedy that brought out a lot of adult moviegoers – and there is no clear indication that there was a unanimous love for it… certainly not at the Academy.
    And yes, $45 million for LIT, with as much endless love as it got in the media for month after month has to be seen as a bit of an underperformance. Does it feel expected, observing media, that Finding Neverland outperformed LIT by $7 million in America?
    All relative. $45 million for The Family Stone is terrific based on its price. But I will still see that as short of what its potential was. (Again, not a unanimous favorite, no matter how much I love it.)

  42. Joe Leydon says:

    I know you don’t want to hear this, Dave, but “The Family Stone” strikes me as a textbook example of a movie that most people will wait to see on homevideo.

  43. David Poland says:

    Oscars are not a great arbiter of what movies are the very best.
    Last year, the 5 Oscar nominees came in 1, 3, 13, and 16 on the MCN Top Ten chart. #3 won. (Of course, critics

  44. David Poland says:

    Why don’t I want to hear it, Joe?
    This is the part that is really irritating. Why do you assume what I think? I’m here. I’m incredibly accessible. I am pretty straight forward. Why put shit on me because you think I’d think it?

  45. martin says:

    for some reason I remembered Lost making more than $45, but according to IMDB that # is correct. That does seem stunningly low considering the press and awards.

  46. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Who cares if Munich overtakes Brokeback Mountain. They’re completely different beasts, playing on different amounts of screens and have no many varying factors that if they grossed the exact same amount as each other each week I’d be skeptical. I fully expect Munich to gross more based purely that is Spielberg in December and people might think he’s making a serious movie so they’ll see it. Politics or not. Brokeback has the more uphill battle.
    But, still – Munich’s $10,000 PSA for the weekend isn’t that impressive. But, still… it’ll get there I reckon.

  47. James Leer says:

    Oh God, Roger Friedman is a nutcase. I remember when he published his “Brokeback Bombing?” article, where the main bit of proof was that the film dropped 50% from Sunday to Monday! Like…most films do. Hilariously, Narnia (which is presented by Friedman and other right-wing media most often as the “Brokeback” alternative) dropped even more Sunday-to-Monday! And he probably knows better than to distort that statistic, but I shudder to plumb the depths of the man’s mind enough to ponder it.

  48. jeffmcm says:

    Crankiest Year Ever!
    (re: 8:18 post)

  49. David Poland says:

    Not even close.

  50. jeffmcm says:

    Sorry to hear it.

  51. Rufus Masters says:

    Lost in Translation underperfomed?
    Are we talking about the same movie? I think you got some f-‘d up perspectives of the industry.

  52. David Poland says:

    I think you are taking something out of context.
    LIT did not underperform compared to pre-Toronto expectations. We then spent five months with endless stories about the film, Ms. Coppola, Bill Murray, Oscar nods, etc.
    Different field, different expectations.

  53. grandcosmo says:

    Did someone actually call Brokeback Mountain a Western?

  54. Joe Leydon says:

    What gives? What happened to the happy-go-lucky, ring-a-ding boychick we used to know? Did Santa leave coal in your stocking? Or did your neighborhood Mini Mart stop stocking Colt 45?

  55. bicycle bob says:

    brokeback a western? did we see the same film?

  56. Wayman_Wong says:

    The point was trying to make is: Given all the things going against, ”Brokeback” has performed better than anyone had a right to expect, including the folks at Focus Features. It’s been underestimated, and so have its audiences.
    No one is saying it’s all ”hearts and flowers” and ”that people who don’t love BBM are evil.” Of course, there is ”real resistance” to BBM, in the straight community AND the gay community. And since when did all gays have to love the same gay movie? Did anyone ever say that all straight people have to love ”Titanic” (or any straight love story)? And not loving BBM doesn’t necessarily mean someone’s a bigot or a homophobe, either.
    On the other hand, a lot of critics (who are mostly straight) and straight audiences have embraced the movie, or at least been open-minded enough to give it a chance and see it. For what it’s worth, Variety has done a box-office story where it called it a ”cultural phenomenon.”
    As for Focus, I think they’re thrilled to get as much ink as they can, and when it goes into wider release, they’ll be ready with another wave. I’ve yet to see Ledger and Gyllenhaal do Leno or Letterman, so I’m assume they’re being saved for January. I pointed out that per-screen average for ”Casanova” vs. ”Brokeback” because it’s clear that it’s not just Ledger fans (or Gyllenhaal fans) who are driving the Ang Lee film; it’s the gay love story and the raves it’s gotten. Look, no one expects EVERYONE to love ”Brokeback” any more than EVERYONE loves ”Munich” or ”Memoirs of a Geisha,” but BBM has faced a ”Mountain” of naysayers and deserves more credit than it’s been given.

  57. Wayman_Wong says:

    Oops. I’m typing too fast. The first sentence on my last post was supposed to read: ”The point I was trying to make is …”

  58. Terence D says:

    Wayman Wong,
    You obviously are in the BBM fan club but how can you say it has over performed and been underestimated?
    It hasn’t been released nationally. All it’s grosses are in the areas everyone knew it would do great in. It hasn’t even had the chance yet to over perform and defy expectations.

  59. Wayman_Wong says:

    Terence D, even it’s in its very limited release, could anyone have expected that it’d do the per-screen averages it’s doing? Focus has been accelerating its platform release to capitalize on its momentum; originally, it wasn’t going to be in 300 screens until the END of January. It now expands to 400 by Jan. 13. It’s also done well in some very conservative areas (Plano, Tex.; Scottsdale, Ariz.). I think it’s fair to say that ”Brokeback” is doing better than even Focus could’ve expected.
    As for ”underestimating,” Poland says he predicted back in September that ”Brokeback” would do ”$20 million max.” Today, he says he expects it to do $40 million now. I’d say it’s already defied expectations.

  60. steve4992 says:

    When I first heard that they were making the short story into a movie, I thought that BBM would play to a gay audience and not much more than that, which usually means miniscule box office, in the two to three million dollar range. In that sense, the movie has clearly exceeded expectations. BBM obviously has a fan base that can’t wait to see it, but whether it will continue to draw after those fans have seen it is anybody’s guess. I saw the movie at the first matinee on Christmas day in a theater located in a Houston suburb; the theater was full, and more than half the audience were women, many of them in groups. Who knows? Maybe BBM will become the ultimate chick flick.

  61. Josh says:

    Don’t get too excited about per screen averages for Brokeback. If it can’t sell out in New York and LA than it sure as hell ain’t doing it in Des Moines. It’s off to a good start. Let it breath a little. Let it flow before we write how it exceeded expectations and became a sleeper hit.

  62. palmtree says:

    Brokeback didn’t sell out in LA? Actually, it was selling out its first week, even on a Tuesday night.

  63. Wayman_Wong says:

    ”Let it breath a little.”
    I agree, Josh. But only last week, Roger Friedman was already writing off this movie as a victim of ”Brokeback burnout.” Yes, the per-screen averages have been very good, but obviously there’s no way for this film (or any film) to sustain those kind of figures. Only time will tell how it all plays out, but for now, I’m sure Focus is relieved it’s not bombing bigtime.

  64. Mark Ziegler says:

    Don’t listen to the media about burnout especially Miramax Friedman. Let the public decide when it’s released national.

  65. Angelus21 says:

    They’re going to have a huge problem selling Brokeback when it goes wide. They know that. Or at least they better.

  66. steve4992 says:

    In 1982, the movie “Making Love” had a domestic gross of about $12 million. (Adjusted for inflation, that comes to about $24 million today.) Its widest release was 380 theaters, and it grossed about $3 million on its opening weekend, for an average of about $8,300 per theater.
    I don’t think that anyone would disagree that BBM is a vastly better movie than Making Love; BBM has won major critics’ awards and will probably win at least a couple of the major Oscars. Plus, there is a considerable difference between 1982 and today in terms of tolerance of homosexuality.
    Having said all of that, no one in their right mind would expect BBM to be a big box office draw. I doubt that BBM will ever become a “gee, what are we going to see tonight movie” for most people. My gut reaction is that if you doubled the gross of “Making Love”–which would be $48 million in todays dollars–then you’d be in about the right neigborhood, which is certainly more than respectable for a film with its subject matter and which cost only $13 million to make.

  67. joefitz84 says:

    Tough to really compare it to a movie released in 1982 that half the public has never even heard about or seen.

  68. steve4992 says:

    I agree that the comparison with “Making Love” isn’t really comparing apples and apples, but I am old enough to remember when Making Love came out and the controversy that it generated. All this discussion about BBM caused me to look up the grosses for the earlier movie, which were frankly better than I remembered them being.
    Just a small factoid to consider.

  69. Geoff says:

    I said it on the other thread and I’ll say it on this.
    If The Crying Game could clear $70 million, 13 years ago, then this movie can make $50 million. Focus is marketing it very well and there is going to be some curiosity even from those who won’t openly admit that they are interested in seeing a gay love story.
    And I can’t wait to see Bill O’Reilly’s reaction when this film does well.

  70. Geoff says:

    And before you guys start accusing me of politicizing this, just know that O’Reilly has already done a segment on BBM, which he did with “our favorite critic,” Michael Medved, last week. He accused Hollywood of pushing a “gay agenda” with films like this.
    Between protecting the general public from those heathens who say “Happy Holidays!” and shielding us from the .5% of Hollywood movies that feature gay characters, I don’t know how Bill has any time to sleep. He is truly a defender of freedom for all Americans.

  71. PandaBear says:

    The only agenda Hollywood has is “More Profits”.
    If they can spin a gay cowboy movie into more money they’ll gladly do it. If movies about pedophiles made money they’d be churning them out too.

  72. James Leer says:

    And what a delightful comparison.
    That “Happy Holidays” crusade O’Reilly’s on is wack. That’s one of those things people get caught up in while in the moment but then — twenty years later — recall and say, “What was I thinking?”

  73. Wayman_Wong says:

    If only it were so easy to dismiss Roger Friedman. But he’s got a column at Fox News, and his stuff gets pick up by Fox networks. Here’s his latest take on the weekend box office: ”The interest is starting to wane. It doesn’t matter, though. ‘Brokeback’ is still assured of a Best Actor nomination for Heath Ledger and maybe Best Picture. But the frenzy is over, that’s clear.”
    Huh?!#@ ”Maybe Best Picture”? If nothing else, I’d say that ”Brokeback” and ”Munich” are two of the locks for a Best Picture nomination, followed by ”Good Night, and Good Luck” and ”Walk the Line.”
    Ben Fritz at Variety comes to a different conclusion: ”Though it’s no longer breaking records, ‘Brokeback’ is well-positioned as it continues to expand. Per-screen average was $8,803 for the four days, slightly higher than ‘Munich’s.’ … While its core aud remains upscale and well-educated young to middle-aged moviegoers, ‘Brokeback’ is showing surprising strength among older auds. Pic posted solid figures in new markets including senior enclaves West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Fla.”
    Jack Foley of Focus says the expansions will focus on mid-sized cities for the next few weeks: ”It’s a good fit in the suburbs where it is right now. We don’t need to go much further until maybe after the Golden Globes.”

  74. martin says:

    Is Jack Foley going to save us from the terrorists?

  75. Tcolors says:

    Hi Mr. Poland,
    I’m one of those people crawling out of the woodwork that you spoke of. I havn’t been to the theater since Titanic. I’m going to see Brokeback Mountain as soon as it comes to my town (Balls and all). I don’t know what I’ll think of it, but I’ll soon find out.
    Anywho, I don’t believe you have commented on the per-screen money of Munich and Brokeback Mountain. “Might don’t make Right” even David took down Goliath. I mean it was a rather silly statement you made on Munich passing Brokeback when Munich is in more theaters. Do you agree?
    Oh, I’ve also noticed that the theaters in Plano,Texas and Cleveland,Ohio (the only states I looked at) are showing BBM on 2 screens and Munich on 1. I just found that interesting.

  76. Stella's Boy says:

    Yeah Munich is in twice as many theaters as BBM.

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