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David Poland

By David Poland

What Day Is It?

I am shaken and stirred by the long weekend… I have no sense of what day of the week it is or whether writing about the movie business is a sane choice. All I know is that watermelon was served every-damned-where I went this weekend and while I have some waiting in my refrigerator, it may become mush before my taste for it returns.
Superman Returns is moving up to a Wednesday launch, on the 28th. What is curious about this is whether it is a show of faith, that the weekend will be that good and therefore a Wed start will be an advantage in clearing out the die-to-sees before regular people que up on Friday night or whether this is a move to avoid uncomfortable comparisons to X3, as in “Well, we opened on Wed… you can’t compare the openings.. we did about the same by the end of the first weekend as they did.”
Added – The 14 Five-Day Openings Of More Than $100 Million
1. Revenge of the Sith | $172,802,507 | $380,270,577 | 5/19/05
2. Spider-Man 2 | $152,411,751 | $373,585,825 | 6/30/04
3. The Matrix Reloaded | $144,391,066 | $281,576,461 | 5/15/03
4. Spider-Man | $135,840,755 | $403,706,375 | 5/3/02
5. Shrek 2 | $128,983,060 | $441,226,247 | 5/19/04
6. The Passion of the Christ | $125,185,971 | $370,782,930 | 2/25/04
7. The Return of the King | $124,100,534 | $377,027,325 | 12/17/03
8. Attack of the Clones | $120,829,572 | $310,676,740 | 5/16/02
9. Harry Potter /Goblet of Fire | $119,743,524 | $290,013,036 | 11/18/05
10. Harry Potter/ Azkaban | $109,363,094 | $249,541,069 | 6/4/04
11. The Phantom Menace | $105,661,237 | $431,088,297 | 5/19/99
12. Harry Potter / Sorcerer’s Stone | $104,590,892 | $317,575,550 | 11/16/01
13. The Two Towers | $102,046,212 | $341,786,758 | 12/18/02
14. War of the Worlds | $100,561,125 | $234,280,354 | 6/29/05
Italicized are the 2 pre-July 4 openers… both opened Wednesday…

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23 Responses to “What Day Is It?”

  1. Tofu says:

    Likely a move to distance itself a little more from PotC 2. An X2 opening weekend could’ve happened, but not an X3 opening weekend. Now, expect another $15 million Wednesday like BB & KK, along with a sixty something opening weekend.
    I attended the City Asian Festival this weekend. Hope everyone had as much fun as our group did!

  2. Jimmy the Gent says:

    What is the biggest 5-day, non-holiday weekend opening? Can Superman Returns beat it?
    What does BB & KK stand for?

  3. jeffmcm says:

    Batman Begins, King Kong.

  4. palmtree says:

    28th is closer to the end of Comic Con San Diego, feeding off that event. Moving the date up creates some buzz…like when the Die Hard movies always got released a day or two earlier. If they moved up a movie you were looking forward too, wouldn’t that excite you?

  5. jeffmcm says:

    Is it just me or is there hardly anything coming out between now and Superman worth seeing? It seems like Cars and Praire Home Companion and that’s it.

  6. Tofu says:

    I’m checking out District 13 this weekend, from Mr. Poland’s review, as long as the release isn’t too limited.
    I’ll pass on The Break-Up, The Omen, and The Lake House unless reviews are good.
    Cars & Nacho Libre are good to go, with Click & Tokyo Drift being guilty sneaks.
    Garfield can burn.
    Who Killed the Electric Car? is too limited for right now, but maybe An Inconvenient Truth will swing around here.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    I forgot Nacho Libre, which could be the comedy of the summer.
    Fast and the Furious 3 will make more money than it deserves to because this summer seems curiously lacking in action movies. Are we seeing fewer films released because the tentpoles are costing so much to make?

  8. RoyBatty says:

    “…this summer seems curiously lacking in action movies…”
    Certainly seems so in June. Universal should have dropped MIAMI VICE into that spot or held it until fall. But this is Universal we are talking about so lets not look surprised.
    Fox is going to mop up, what, an extra $30-50M simply due to a complete lack of genre direct competition? (I’m pretty surprised we got through the entire day today without an annoucement from Fox that there will offically be a X-4: SINGER COME BACK)
    SUPERMAN and PIRATES are going to chew into each other with only that 10 day period seperating them and I’m afraid the Man of Steel is gonna get his garnet colored ass whooped by the good Capt. Warners is doing jack and shit to build any sort of anticipation for this film. At least with Batman there was only an animated series in repeats to compete with, not an ongoing series.

  9. Crow T Robot says:

    So I just saw X3. Am I the only one who feels like giving Mr. Ratner a little pat on the back here? He’s proving more and more that he’s a director who’s still growing. I like him much more than Verbinski anyway.
    The movie’s nothing special but I was with it the whole way through… in fact, the Rebecca Romijn truck/breakout and its deliciously mean punchline is probably the best written scene in the whole series.
    One caveat: Why the hell is Kelly Hu(man perfection) not in this one? Grrrrr baby grrrrr.

  10. Jimmy the Gent says:

    This is a little off-topic. I finally saw the photo of your former high school igrlfriend that you linked to last week in another thread. DAMN! She’s hot. What happened? Was it a communication thing? Was it one of those sitcom, “Baby wanted 12 lemons” kind of thing? You have good taste. We should hang out.
    Also, don’t you feel you might be giving Ratner a pass because it isn’t as bad as it could’ve been. This doesn’t mean the movie isn’t bad. The man is aided by low expectations. Just because he’s improving doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to his next movie. I’m more excited about the next J.J. Abrams movie.

  11. Eric says:

    Kelly Hu died at the end of X2. I just watched it last night to get ready for the new one. She got filled with adamantium, and there was an amusing metallic “thunk” when she sank to the bottom of a water tank.

  12. Crow T Robot says:

    First off, Eric: “Kelly Hu died at the end of X2.” Yeah, but that still doesn’t explain why she’s not in this one. (rimshot)
    Second, Jimmy, I thought I got away with that one dude… you’re so gonna get me in trouble here… why doesn’t this blog have an edit feature again? lol
    But just to update, she’s doing great AND is single. 😉

  13. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    God, can you imagine if people had the ability to edit here? It’s be a circus gone mad.
    On the matter of X3, I sorta don’t understand where all the animosity is coming from. Yes, it’s not as good as X2, but I thought it was on par with the original. And some of the things that people are mentioning were all present in the first movie for sure and in the second on occasions. The bad writing (toads + lightning, ANYONE!), the cartoony violence, the fact that Ratner introduces characters and then they disappear (hello, this is everywhere in the other 2), etc. And people say it’s not as “deep” or whatever. Well, it’s a freakin’ X-Men movie for crying out loud. I don’t think the first two are as deep as some people seem to think, and thought the third was just about on target. The whole undercurrents about homosexuality or whatever other minority group are there for everyone to blatantly see. With a couple of standout action scenes too I thought the movie was pretty good.
    I just have a thought that people were watching it through their obvious Ratner bias and didn’t want to like it and nothing was going to change that.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    I went in predisposed to hate it because of Ratner and bad word from a few places, and so I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t suck.
    That said, it’s still inferior to the original, and the three movies make clear the difference between a director who’s actually engaged with his characters and story, and one who’s just there to pick up a paycheck.

  15. Geoff says:

    I think you’re right, on both counts, for the Supermn release date move. Warners has got to know it’s going to get clobbered by Pirates, so why not get an extra two days of play time. Regardless, they are falling into the trap, I mentioned, last week, about opening on a Wednesday.
    We saw, last year, that a mild Wednesday opening already created the aura of failure for King Kong, even before it hit the weekend. I think the same thing is going to happen with Superman Returns. Warners is probably banking they will ride out word of mouth after a disappointing opening, like they did with Batman Begins, last year. But we are talking different animals. Like I said, last week, Batman was a movie for adults, can lend itself to better legs. And Batman had very weak competition, its second weekend.
    Superman is not the same kind of movie, they are aiming for families. The same families that will flock to Pirates on its second weekend.
    And is it me or do all of these different trailers for Superman kind of feel imcomplete, like they are all separate parts of a marketing message, as if Warners is counting on people seeing ALL of them to get the message? While I have increasingly enjoyed them, trailers are supposed to be stand-alone deals, showcasing the best highlights of the film in two to three minutes time.
    Who knows, maybe it will work, but it all seems like a panicked campaign to me. Even though I suspect X3 is going to get poisoinous word of mouth, I feel pretty confident that it will probably now DOUBLE the grosses for Superman.
    And as for June competition, people keep talking about it being a bare June, but the calendar looks pretty strong, something for everybody. Breakup is probably going to do blockbuster business with the date crowd. I don’t care what anybody says, but I feel like Cars could be huge, never underestimate Pixar or animated films geared towards boys. Looks like it could gross in the neighborhood of The Incredibles, UNLESS Over the Hedge is still going really strong.
    Not sure about Nacho Libre, but School of Rock business looks very possible. The marketing on 3 Fast 3 Furious seems very quiet, but when it comes to maximizing franchise dollars geared towards young men, there is no studio better than Universal (i.e. Mummy, American Pie, Bourne). I think it will do over $100 million, you watch.
    Garfield will do solid businss, god knows why. And though I have no desire to see it, the marketing has been dead-on, and I think Click will do on the high end of most Sandler films. Hell, Longest Yard did about $160 million, last year, no reason why this can’t do the same.
    June is going to be very, very strong. It’s July that could be comparatively weak. Outside of Pirates, I don’t see one surefire smash among that group.

  16. Tofu says:

    Superman & Pirates will be the blockbusters, true.
    Pulse is a good month away from The Omen, so the horror slot is filled again.
    Right now My Super Ex-Girlfried and Barnyard are expected to fail.
    Monster House will gain traction.
    If You, Me and Dupree gets off it’s lazy butt and starts marketing, it’ll hit.
    Clerks II is good for $30 million.
    Lady in the Water will open big.
    A Scanner Darkly will hopefully find an audience.
    Annnnddd Miami Vice is picking up interest.
    Looks like another month of something for everyone.

  17. Josh Massey says:

    Is that chart a few days old? Because there should be a new entry.

  18. Lynn says:

    “28th is closer to the end of Comic Con San Diego, feeding off that event. Moving the date up creates some buzz…”
    Palmtree, Comic Con is in July, not June.
    You gave me a momentary panic attack there, thinking I had the wrong date, as I’d rather shoot myself than try to fix screwed up Comic Con hotel reservations.

  19. palmtree says:

    Whoooooops. Freudian slip.

  20. Chucky in Jersey says:

    The last time 4th of July fell on a Tuesday was in 2000. “The Patriot” opened on a Wednesday (June 28) to avoid the waves from “The Perfect Storm”, which had the standard Friday release.
    This year “The Devil Wears Prada” opens June 30 and it looks to be a hit if Fox promotes it properly. That’s why WB moved the Man of Steel to a Wednesday opening.

  21. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “and the three movies make clear the difference between a director who’s actually engaged with his characters and story, and one who’s just there to pick up a paycheck.”
    HOW! Okay, taking the second film out of the mix, how is there a BIG GIANT GLARING DIFFERENCE between the pictures? I honestly cannot see the big difference between the first one by a director “engaged with his characters and story” and the third who is made by a man “just there to pick up a paycheck”.
    I just can’t see this big elephant in the room that everyone else seems to be able to see. And if there are problems with the script, casting, etc then wasn’t that all in place before Ratner joined ranks?

  22. jeffmcm says:

    There’s no way that The Devil Wears Prada is considered to be a major threat to Superman’s opening weekend box-office. It could make around $100m like the two Princess Diaries did, but it’s still in a different box-office world.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    Re: X-Men 3, you are correct that Ratner doesn’t deserve full blame for the parts of the movie that suck, but he didn’t really help them either. Have you seen the movie yet, KCamel? It seems silly to say ‘take the second one out’ in order to compare the difference between Singer and Ratner, but even between movies 1 and 3, there’s still a difference between the way the characters are handled and the story developed.

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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.”
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“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