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David Poland

By David Poland

Sunday Estimates – 12/18/05


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48 Responses to “Sunday Estimates – 12/18/05”

  1. Blackcloud says:

    Love how Kong’s estimate is at 50 on the button. Mesa skeptical.

  2. qwiggles says:

    Me too.
    But it’s a pretty solid result, considering the W-T results, even if it does dip a bit when the dust settles.

  3. Wrecktum says:

    Kong has conveniently just beaten the Narnia 3-day. How nice.

  4. AgentArc says:

    Ya, I don’t mean to be hostile, but Universal could be cooking the books here to avoid a sub-$50 million weekend. A bigger Sunday than OD or Friday? Only a 25% drop? A 40% Saturday increase? Oooooook. Well see how THAT holds.
    Universal was aiming for a FotR $75 million 5-day (even if they did market it for a $105 million 5-day), and it looks like they came up $9 million short.
    Kong now has $146.2 million worldwide…
    RotS: $303.9 million in 5-days from 114 markets.
    RotK: $250 million in 5-days from 28 markets.
    HP4: $205 million in 5-days from only 16 markets.
    MREV: $202.8 million in 5-days from 109 markets.
    TT: $201.8 million in 5-days from 27 markets.
    KK: $146.2 million in 5-days from 56 (??) markets.
    Still unsure of the 56 markets number. I think that was for countries (as it only has China & Egypt left), so the markets could actually be at the 100+ mark.
    Narnia dropped 52%. I likely see its Sunday being larger than estimates, and Kong being lower on Sunday on actuals.
    HP4 dropped 42%, topped HP3, topped $250 million (now at $252m, $10m away from HP2), and overcame Syriana for the weekend, all after getting gutted by 543 theaters. Whew.
    Worldwide, HP4 is at $666,751,000 (oh Harry), before the overseas numbers come in for the weekend. A $700 million+ mark weekend is possible. Kong has opened everywhere, and Narnia will be everywhere by this coming weekend. The good news for Potter? Narnia doesn’t hit Japan until March.
    Tracking HP4 with HP2 has been a smart move. Potter could land at $290-$295 million from that formula.
    The only thing getting in the way? Theater count.
    Around this time of year HP1 had 3,311, HP2 had 2,750 (Sheesh WB), and HP4 has 3,185. Now, HP4 is still ahead of HP2 where it needs to be, but this coming weekend has nine BILLION movies being released, so hopefully it stays above the 2,800 level for the holidays.
    Sticking around at slot #4 for this weekend should help HP4, unlike HP2 which was then at #9, and HP1 which was at #6 before Christmas.
    Holiday boost, here we come!

  5. EDouglas says:

    Kong is also behind Batman Begins and War of the Worlds, both which probably had as much hype but didn’t cost nearly as much to make or promote. I think the remake factor could have hurt also… people are getting sick of them and hopefuly, next year there won’t be as many.

  6. Wrecktum says:

    “Fox is now fighting its strongest movie with The Family Stone and the upcoming Cheaper By The Dozen 2. I

  7. James Leer says:

    Ha, I was coming here to post about that suspiciously round $50 million opening and I see that several people beat me to it. Ironically, I learned that healthy skepticism of B.O. figures from DP, though he himself seems to accept this number from Universal.

  8. EDouglas says:

    I find it hard to believe that Fox still wants to release Grandma’s Boy and Tristan and Isolde in the first two weeks of January without having any marketing for either film. If they want to throw money away, maybe they should give to a worthier charity.

  9. Martin S says:

    Solid Kong summary, Dave. Dead-on about the fear of three hours.
    From Reuters – “…other handicaps included its release during a busy shopping period when most children are still in school”.
    Bah – school. That can’t be true
    Now that the “Finals” theory has been proven true, this week will show if it was liked or not, the saving grace for LOTR when it came to non-Tolkienites/fantasy fans.

  10. joefitz84 says:

    50 does seem like a reach.

  11. Angelus21 says:

    200$ million total US is in range though. If it plays big during this no school week.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    EDouglas: Actually, they’re already promoting “Grandma’s Boy” in Houston — in a manner I’ve never seen tried for another movie. There are small posters in those little advertising boxes above urinals in men’s rooms of some local theaters. (You know, the boxes where you usally see ads for auto parts, cell phone services, etc.) No, I am not making this up.

  13. Blackcloud says:

    “Now that the “Finals” theory has been proven true . . .” It has?

  14. AgentArc says:

    Uh… No?
    Anyways, from MCN…
    “Overseas Kong bowed to an estimated $80 million in 55 territories in its first five days.
    Some of the simian

  15. Filipe says:

    When was the last time a movie get into the top ten in less than 100 screens?

  16. James Leer says:

    “Brokeback” is the first film to do that since 1995.

  17. David Poland says:

    Not to be too much of a drag, but while the Top Ten thing may be true, Geisha was at #12 on fewer screens with $1.2 million, Chicago wasn’t Top Ten but was over $2 million in limited and IMAX limiteds similarly are just under $2 million on 60-80 screens often.
    Not saying Brokeback isn’t doing great. But the Top Ten thing is a slight obfuscation.

  18. MattM says:

    Considering Geisha’s lukewarm reviews, that hold is darn impressive. Another interesting story is that Polar Express in Imax has done another 5M already this year, which is saying something about its ability as a holiday perennial.

  19. James Leer says:

    Dave, what exactly is the Top Ten record “obfuscating”? To me, it seems like a cold-hard fact that there hasn’t been a film that played in under 100 theaters to reach the Top 10 in a decade. Now, “Brokeback” has. So what is the issue?
    So “Geisha” came in #12…how does that affect things? If we’re comparing things, shouldn’t its per-screen have been higher than Brokeback’s, since it was on less screens? However, it was only about two-thirds of Brokeback’s PSA.
    Yes, “Chicago” opened in limited release too, but on more screens than “Brokeback” and it still didn’t make as much money, nor make the Top 10 that week. And IMAX is a whole other ballgame, due to price structure.
    “Brokeback” is continuing to set box office records in limited release. Last week, it was the highest PSA ever for a live action film, though you didn’t report that. This week, it was the highest PSA ever for a film playing in over 50 locations (IMAX excluded, natch). And yes, we always knew it would do well in limited, but that doesn’t take away from its achievements. I’m just surprised that a box office geek like you declines to report on them, or makes them seem like they’re not the accomplishments they are — especially when you’re still trying to spin Kong’s soft opening weekend.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    So what is Universal doing with Munich? I feel like I vaguely heard a TV commercial saying “opening in select cities” this Friday. Is that true? I would really like to see it in my non-NY/LA home city over Christmas.

  21. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Universal are in an odd position. They have Munich which they are apparently not doing Oscar promotion for, and now they have a disappointing Kong that doesnt seem like it can reach BP with the sort of middling response it’s gotten from viewers who aren’t critics and who don’t have a personal stake in the film doing well (ie, Jackson fanboys and the like).
    I bet New Line is happy Jackson went to another studio for Kong now. They can roll around in all the cash they made from Wedding Crashers (which from all indicators could end up the highest grosser of the two! weird).
    Still, it could do impressively well in the next few weeks, and I wouldn’t be suprised. It’s just that RIGHT NOW after OPENING WEEKEND (which accounts for so much more now than when Titanic opened) it is a disappointment (sort of like the movie as a whole – even though I still liked it)
    And it seems obvious it’s “$50 million” will be downgraded even if by .1 or something. I still reckon though that releasing a three hour movie that isn’t the concluding chapter of one of the biggest trilogies of all time, was a bad mistake. A lot of people just don’t have 4 hours to spend on a movie that they aren’t emotionally invested in beforehand like they were with Return of the King or would’ve been with Star Wars if it were released this weekend.
    They have shopping, they have Christmas parties, they have work (retail workers get more work this time of the year than others), they have school exams, they have all sorts of stuff. And finding four consecutive hours to spare is hard. Yes, they managed with ROTK because the it was the last in the trilogy and they NEEDED to see the ending chapter. Kong… well…
    And on the matter of Brokeback, even if it doesn’t reach the dizzying heights that some expect, it’s budget was only $13mil and will definitely pass that and it will have the aura of a hit! A feeling some other movies (er, Kong) will sorely miss.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    It doesn’t make sense to say that people avoided Kong because it was 3 hours+ long. They made time for Titanic without it being a sequel, and they made time for Fellowship of the Ring. I think the release date was more of a factor, that and the notion that people apparently just weren’t as hooked by the movie itself.
    Of course, if the movie was 30-45 minutes shorter it would probably have grossed $100m more (and perhaps cost less).

  23. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    But Titanic didn’t open HUGE. It started with $28mil and continued to make money through until I can’t remember. I think the 3 hour running time was the main problem for Kong because it’s the week before Christmas and people haven’t got an emotional investment in Kong like they did with the LOTR movies (especially ROTK). Titanic made, like, 2% of it’s total before Christmas But Titanic didn’t open HUGE. It started with $28mil and continued to make money through until I can’t remember. I think the 3 hour running time was the main problem for Kong because it’s the week before Christmas and people haven’t got an emotional investment in Kong like they did with the LOTR movies (especially ROTK). Titanic made, like, 2% of it’s total before Christmas <-complete guess of a stat. So it's silly bringing that up as a defence for this individual argument. FOTR was an adaptation of one of the world's most famous books. Ditto Chronicals of Narnia. People felt like the needed to see them. Kong is a remake of a B monster movie from the '30s. As much as everyone predicted it'd do freakin huge numbers, it doesn't exactly sound like the type of movie that gets $100mil opening weekend.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    Strike that comment re: Titanic, since it’s opening weekend doesn’t compare with this one.
    But Fellowship!

  25. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, we posted at the same time. Well, I would venture to say that people are as familiar with Tolkien’s book as with Kong ’33. Maybe so maybe not.

  26. Martin S says:

    “Fun fact, Godzilla vs King Kong never had an alternate ending. It came out before Godzilla was REALLY big, so Toho studios had Kong win”.
    Kong won because 1) It was contractual for the character use and 2) Toho was still positioning Godzilla as an antagonist at the time. To say he wasn’t really big yet isn’t correct. Gojira was mor financially succesful than Seven Samurai.
    (Final Wars) “was supposed to be a big sendoff for Godzilla, who wouldn’t return to the silver screen for awhile, and even had a high profile director attached, but still didn’t attract the crowds in the end”.
    Toho is already working on some type of IMAX feature. The anniversary/sendoff is an old ploy. They shut down production for a few years than return. This time, though, Sony will be deeply involved. Probably in ’08-’09.
    “It doesn’t make sense to say that people avoided Kong because it was 3 hours+ long”.
    Every bitch I’ve heard is about its length. As KCamel laid it out, that kind of free time doesn’t apply to all demos. The target audience is free this week, so the dailies should be good. If they’re not, then we’ll know – for sure – that it’s the quality, not the presentation.
    And everyone should think twice before citing Titanic. It was a freak. No one targets teen girls with an epic romance and expects massive returns. This is the same failed marketing logic Uni used when it came to Kong, and no one told Snider “boys like Apes, girls like Leo”.
    And for all the excess talk, I’ve been pointing to PJ’s casting from day one as a guy getting away with studio murder. I’m not sure who here knows this, but save Ego-Viggo, the rest of the LOTR cast approached PJ about KK. Now a Kong with Bloom and McKellan instead of Brody and Black would have carried over that LOTR audience, especially the girls.
    Brody and Black…it’s like PJ wanted to ugly-down the cast so Kong’s human traits would make him seem plausibly attractive.

  27. Eric says:

    I agree that Brody didn’t add much to the movie, but he really had nothing to work with. The romance in the first hour was anemic, and then Brody became superfluous the moment that Watts started sympathizing with Kong.
    All of the movie’s problems are rooted in the script.

  28. Krazy Eyes says:

    I usually like Brody and think he’s a fantastic “actor” but as a romantic leading man he’s a disaster. Jack Black was a bit better but it’s depressing thinking about all the other actors who would have been better in the parts.
    I liked the film overall but it was hugely underwhelming at the same time.

  29. James Leer says:

    I thought Brody was good casting when it was announced, but in the first hour of the film, he’s beyond listless. His line readings just die on the vine. He gets stronger in the next two hours but has nothing to do, character-wise.

  30. waterbucket says:


  31. brack says:

    The 3-hour length flew by for me. Such a great film. So big and just terrific to look at. Fuck mom’s who can’t sit for 3 hours to watch a romantic (and not between the humans, the way it was supposed to be), action-packed film. Brody is not supposed to be the leading man. Kong is.

  32. AgentArc says:

    Martin S, I still can’t confirm if it was contractual that Kong would win, but you’re perfectly correct that Godzilla was still the baddie then. As a matter of fact, they went out of their way to make Kong look friendly.
    The Seven Samurai had been passed by mnay movies by that time.
    Very true on Titanic being a total ‘freak’. Is the Bloom & McKellan point true? You have to wonder if Kingdom of Heaven would have turned out differently if not for Bloom.

  33. Rufus Masters says:

    People are not scared away by 3 hr movies anymore. They just want good movies. They can take a 3 + hour movie. It didn’t hurt the Ring movies did it?

  34. Bruce says:

    You can’t compare any movie to Titanic. It’s a freak of nature. A totally random thing. It just hit the right note at the time. James Cameron can’t even follow it up. That’s how big it is.

  35. Martin S says:

    “I still can’t confirm if it was contractual that Kong would win”
    A quick synopsis of the Kong rights – O’Brien proposes “Kong v Frankentein”, ends up talking to John Beck who comes on board and discards O’Brien. Beck goes to Toho about Kong, and wanted a guarentee for Kong as winner and hero so they could continue with a few sequels. Hence, Toho ended up being involved with the Kong franchise for the 60’s – King Kong Escapes and Godzilla v The Sea Monster, (which was also supposed to be a Kong film). I don’t remember the exact details, but Beck stepped out on a limb as to what he could do with the RKO rights, which is how Rankin-Bass got involved with KKE, (secured the rights from RKO, was put in contact with Toho, etc…)
    “The Seven Samurai had been passed by mnay movies by that time”.
    I meant when they were both released in ’54. Sorry, should have clarified.
    “Is the Bloom & McKellan point true”?
    I know for sure Wood and Astin talked to PJ about Kong, and McKellan mentioned that they had talked about working together on his next film. I didn’t assume it was Kong until the last round of PJ’s press, when he said he started work on KK during ROTK. Bloom was cited in ROTK press about being involved with PJ’s next, which he denied shortly after. In the end, if PJ wanted them, it would have happened.

  36. bicycle bob says:

    brody does have an oscar to his credit and bloom didn’t exactly set the world on fire in kingdom of heaven or elizabethtown.

  37. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “People are not scared away by 3 hr movies anymore. They just want good movies. They can take a 3 + hour movie. It didn’t hurt the Ring movies did it?”
    As I’ve already discussed, I think the reason LOTR didn’t suffer from being three hours was because it was THE LORD OF THE FREAKIN’ RINGS. Outside of the Bible, the most popular book of all time (or, something like that) done on a scale that nobody had seen before (in a type of film nobody had seen before). Each progressing film had the quality of “i NEED to see that” because it was an advancement of the story and the characters.
    Kong was a remake of a b grade monster movie from the 30s. Not as many people have a hardcore attachment to the original Kong movie like people did to the LOTR books. And, when that’s the case, people won’t want to take 4 hours out of their busy schedule (at this time of the year with shopping, preperations, parties, work, finals, etc) to see one that they don’t have a personal attachment to. Titanic didn’t make all that much before the new year started. The Aviator wasn’t exactly HUGE last year. And I can’t think of many more 3 hour December releases.
    But, still, as people get time the film could catch on and get more money (I am not officially stating that I think Kong will fail from hereon out). I won’t really be surprised by what happens. But we won’t know until that happens
    “Oh, we posted at the same time. Well, I would venture to say that people are as familiar with Tolkien’s book as with Kong ’33. Maybe so maybe not.”
    Jeff, while it’s definitely an argument that King Kong is as familiar as LOTR, it’s another one to debate whether the film has been seen by as many who have read LOTR. I’d say more have read LOTR, but that’s a guess. And while I’m sure MANY (read; quite a large portion) would consider LOTR their favourite books, I can’t really think that many (other than PJ himself) would cound King Kong as their favourite film. Or even feel tremendously passionate about it, for that matter. Specially not in this day and age.

  38. Krazy Eyes says:

    You have to give some credit to PJ for at least presenting a an atypical Hollywood romance where the woman is a good 5 years older than the man (Watts is 37, Brody, 32). The difference between Watts and Bloom would have been 12 years. How old is Kong?
    I hope I look halfway as good as Naomi Watts when I hit 37.

  39. BluStealer says:

    Naomi Watts is gorgeous. She’d make me ponder becoming a lesbian.
    And Bloom over Brody. No doubt.

  40. Blackcloud says:

    Can you imagine the stories if Bloom had been in it? Couple his bombs this year with Kong’s soft opening, and it would make the current fuss look like nothing.

  41. Mark Ziegler says:

    Bloom had a rough year. In two movies directed by Ridley Scott and Cameron Crowe and they both tank. What are the odds?

  42. PandaBear says:

    Naomi Watts is almost 40?
    She looks good.

  43. Sanchez says:

    Salma Hayek is almost 40 too and she looks even better.

  44. Martin S says:

    Wth Bloom, it would have been a lot easier for Uni to sell the romance angle. With Mckellan and Bloom, and you would have a residual LOTR feeling for some people who are indifferent to Kong in general. The numbers would have been much stronger.
    Brody is an actor, not a star. And when Black has an audience, it’s comedy.

  45. bicycle bob says:

    also brody is apparently homosexual. not that effects his acting or anything which is great but supposedly he doesn’t go all out to sell the romance angles in his movies. and this movie needed a star to help sell it.

  46. Bruce says:

    A lot of gay guys are leading men. It usually doesn’t hurt them on screen. Plus I hear he just asked out Katie Holmes so he must be straight.

  47. James Leer says:

    Brody’s not gay.

  48. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    The path into homo leading men is a rediculous one, but I must ask? Where has Adrien Brody needed to have the ability to be a romantic guy before Kong? The Village? The Pianist? The Jacket?

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