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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates By Klady


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50 Responses to “Friday Estimates By Klady”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    I realize it may not hold throughout the weekend, but a 74 perecnt drop for “X3” would be… what? The steepest decline since when? Ever?

  2. EDouglas says:

    Most people are going to credit the success of this movie to Vince Vaughn, and with good reason.. he’s spent the last three years stealing movies basically playing the same “character” he did in “Swingers” and Wedding Crashers really did a lot to make that character a popular one. Since this movie is his baby, he’s probably going to be moved into the next level of comics, maybe taking Ferrell’s place if he doesn’t come through with Talladega Nights.
    I expect the X-Men dropoff to end up closer to 66% for the weekend, which is still pretty awful but nowhere near a record.

  3. David Poland says:

    X3’s Friday was 50% higher than any of its otehr opening weekend days… and specifically, the Potter movie in 2004 dropped over 70%.
    Frontloading… a new dynamic.
    Meanwhile, I am far more interested in X3 passing Da Vinci this weekend.

  4. Aladdin Sane says:

    It may even out tonight, but I think the word of mouth is killing X3…I know a few people who liked it, but many thought it wasn’t up to par with the first two.

  5. MattM says:

    BOM has a handy chart of biggest drops of all time. 74% weekend-to-weekend drop would put it at #19 all time. Also, there are only 4 20M+ openers in the top 100 second weekend drops (Hulk, Matrix Revolutions, Alien v. Predator, and The Village). While big opening = big drop it doesn’t guarantee a mega-drop.

  6. EDouglas says:

    Well, there’s nothing new about frontloading…(I assume you were being sarcastic )… but it certainly seems to be returning after a year of movies holding their ground from week-to-week.
    Yeah, X3 will definitely be passing Da Vinci but it’s not too surprising when you make $45 million more in your opening (extended) weekend. I think Da Vinci will still get to $200 million eventually… it has the rest of the summer and probably will be hanging around theatres for the stragglers for a couple more weeks.

  7. Wrecktum says:

    DaVinci Code plays old so it’ll be around for a while. Plus Sony will do everything it can to keep it on screen for as long as possible. Their next big film isn’t until the 20th, so they can focus until then on keeping prints on screen.
    $200 isn’t guaranteed, but I think they’ll do it.

  8. Hopscotch says:

    I saw X3 last night, I showed up early anticipating huge crowd. Theater was maybe 2/3 full. At 8:30..on a Friday night…in one of the biggest theaters in LA. Not good.
    I thought the movie was subpar, I did stick around at the end of credits. I’d tell others it was okay, but no rush.
    Code might crack $200M, but it’ll be a climb. I think it’ll come down just underneath that. What’s interesting is that flabergasting worldwide gross. Just insane. Esp. for a movie that really disappointed.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    Da Vinci is just like any other franchise teen-appeal movie: big opening, when all the dedicated fans see it, than a burn-off.
    Hey DP, you do know that 99% of us don’t see tracking figures, right? The Break-Up’s opening seems like what I would expect.

  10. jeffschwartzbaugh says:

    If nothing else, the hefty opening numbers for “The Break-Up” prove that critics have essentially become irrelevant. The best reviewed movie of the season so far (“MI3”) was a formidable disappointment at the box-office. Films that got clobbered by the crix (“Break,” “Da Vinci,” “X-Men”) all posted impressive, or great, opening weekend figures. Will “Cars” be the first movie of summer ’06 that actually gets get good reviews AND opens in a big way?

  11. jeffmcm says:

    Fortunately, Poseidon got bad reviews and nobody went to see it. So things aren’t all bad.

  12. palmtree says:

    Are critics really irrelevant or are they just not immediately relevant?
    If you give the audience want they think they want (a big mutant war that gives closure to a franchise, a movie version of a phenomenally popular book) then they will go. But if we’re now looking at the legs, the prospects look much more dim. Mr. Poland doesn’t think Da Vinci will hit $200 m and X3 looks like it might have to struggle to $250 m, which is unusual for a film of its opening numbers. For movies of immediate appeal, perhaps it takes a while for the bad reviews to truly sink in.

  13. martin says:

    Cars looks like Pixar’s first loser, but we will see. As far as critics and box office, there’s never been a significant connection for Hollywood films. Art-house films have been helped by huge critical applauds, but the mainstream hollywood stuff is mostly marketing and word of mouth. Always was, always will be.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    ^^^This is why the studios have designed ‘front-loading’. They’re essentially tricking the audience and thereby earning much greater box-office than they would have otherwise if people had time to find out that the movies were bad/mediocre. Front-loading is, it seems to me, ruining movies.

  15. martin says:

    Right, front-loading makes it even more about marketing and less about word-of-mouth, and as we said critics mean little to nothing for these films. Hollywood CAN buy an opening. They may not be able to buy an opening they’re happy with: For example, they can buy a $20 mill. open for Poseidon, but not a 30-40 mill. opening they hoped for. How often do you see a major release open like an art film (like a couple of mill.)? Rarely. Cutthroat Island, Stealth, The Island come to mind as movies that completely underperformed for their marketing. And lets not include low-budg Hollywood affairs like “Just My Luck”. I’m talking the 50-100 mill.-plus major releases. They almost always “open” these days. The problem with the math here is that sometimes it takes X dollars to open to 1/2 X dollars. So you open big, but the marketing $$ still has you in the red. And for awhile there, that was OK cause the big opening means decent final domestic then a good DVD run. Now the payoffs down the road is weakening, so everyone’s rushing into lame formats like Blu-Ray or HD to keep on the gravy train. But I think that ultimately this front-loading procedure is just going to turn people off, because I think audiences enjoy the word-of-mouth factor and when it becomes just about marketing and big opening weekends, it becomes kinda less social.

  16. Direwolf says:

    Why do you say that, Martin? And how would you define loser in terms of doemstic box office?

  17. Direwolf says:

    Martin, in case you were wondering I was asking about your comment that Cars will be Pixar’s first loser.
    Excluding Nemo, the last three Pixar films each did about $250 million (Toy Story 2, Monsters, Incredibles). I don’t see why Cars wouldn’t do similar numbers. It will appeal to younger boys which is helpful. It will appeal to NASCAR families, a big demographic. ANd it opens when kids are out of school.
    Ice Age Meltdown has done $191 million. It opened at $68 million. Do you think Cars will do the same or worse? I’d say not.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    Martin: I would disagree with you only because, in my lifetime, I have seen a period when reviews actually did have an easy-to-measure effect on SOME Hollywood films. Specifically, the 1960 and ’70s. But, then again, that was a time when Hollywod majors (Columbia, MGM, Warners, UA, etc.) released “difficult” movies like “Midnight Cowboy,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Last Picture Show,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Five Easy Pieces.” Hollywood doesn’t release movies like that anymore; indies and dependants do. But even so: Now, as then, good reviews can still help a “difficult” movie connect with a larger audience. I know some people on this site loathed “Crash.” But the fact is, it got mostly good reviews from the critics who count.
    Of course, as I always warn my film history students: Even during the so-called Last Golden Age of Hollywood Filmmaking, the largest-grosing films very often were movies like “The Love Bug,” “Airport,” “Love Story” and “The Towering Inferno” — movies that, depsite any Oscar nominations, most certainly were NOT critical favorites. Things really haven’t changed all that much.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Your perspective is useful, Joe, but it still seems like we’re in an era where quality doesn’t matter. Airport, Love Story et al. still existed in an era when front-loading didn’t happen, when movies ran for months instead of weeks, and when there more distributors out there releasing a greater variety of films.
    (And even though I forgive you for liking Crash…don’t remind me of it).

  20. Melquiades says:

    Early reviews of Cars have been very good. I expect it to make a lot of money.

  21. palmtree says:

    At what number is Cars a loser? $100 m, $150 m, $200m….For my money, I can’t see it going below $150 m, and while not as big as they’re used to, still decent. It has to gross more than Over the Hedge, and that’s already hitting $100. The names Pixar and Disney go a long way.
    Front loading is Hollywood’s version of a sure bet. While it produces loathesome movies, it also keeps them in business. If you ran a studio, you’d be insane to give up a sure bet for a quality movie no one will see. It may be bad for movies, but it doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, you could argue that “front-loading” is the logical extension of the “wide release” patterns that began way back with “Jaws.” On the other hand: “Quality” is in the eye of the beholder. Back when movies did indeed run for months instead of weeks, movies like “Airport” and “Love Story” made tons of money despite critical drubbing. So I think it’s safe to assume that the word of mouth must have been great for these flix. And good word of mouth ALWAYS trumps bad reviews.
    The thing about a movie like “Poseidon” is, back in the days before front-loading, when most movies were platformed, it’s entirely possible that, even if it had performed disappointingly in early engagements, “Poseidon” might have been turned around with a new marketing campaign as it rolled out to other markets. That’s what happend to “Ice Station Zebra,” among other films. And don’t forget: As late as the mid-to-late ’70s, movies like “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Adventures of a Wilderness Family” (neither of which was embraced by critics) made big bucks through slow release bewteen the Left and Right Coasts.
    Jeez, I feel like Father Time tonight, imparting ancient wisdom to the new generation.

  23. martin says:

    Dire, by “loser” I mean $150 mill or less, which will probably still be profitable, but less so than previous Pixar efforts. Cars also cost a lot of $$ to make. Of course I have no real inside info as to why I think it will be less successful than previous Pixars. But the trailers have not been particularly appealing to me (bland characters, cliched plot) and traditionally “car” movies, and racecar movies, have not done well at the box office. Chancing of the film being a Nemo or Incredibles type success seem very slim. It probably won’t bomb either. But $125-150 mill. domestic seems about the most it will do in the US.

  24. martin says:

    Joe, Poseidon actually has had OK legs. It looks like it will do about 3x its opening. Not spectacular, but say compared to a movie like X-men 3, which will probably finish up with about 2.5x its opening.

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    Martin: Good point. Indeed, it suggests that word of mouth for the movie wasn’t that bad. (A confession: I saw “Poseidon” — in an IMAX version, I admit — and rather liked it.) Trouble is, three times not much will always be less than 2.5 times a hell of a lot.

  26. Direwolf says:

    Thanks, Martin. I’ll venture a guess that Cars comes close to $100 million just next weekend. Ice Age 3 did $68 million its opening weekend. Cars will easily beat that. And those of you who think it will be in the less than $150 million range, I’d again point to Ice Age 3 which is at $191 million. But Cars is for next week’s discussion so sorry for the interuption.

  27. Joe Leydon says:

    Did I just awaken from a coma or soemthing? I mean: Is “Ice Age 3” already in release?

  28. palmtree says:

    You mean Ice Age 2.
    Ice Age was helped by two factors that Cars doesn’t share. First it was a sequel so it had a built in audience who has watched the DVDs 30 times. Second it had those really fun teasers of scrat trying to get his acorn.
    But those are not fatal factors. And Cars has almost no competition (Over the Hedge has legs but won’t interfere). $150 would be my low, not my high.

  29. Direwolf says:

    Yes, Ice Age 2. I am used to typing X3 elsewhere I guess 🙂

  30. Joe Leydon says:

    OK. Just scared me there for a moment.

  31. martin says:

    Ice Age is a popular franchise at this point, Cars is not. It has Pixar’s name and marketing which may or may not be working well. $100 opening weekend is just not at all likely to happen. Half that, yes.

  32. martin says:

    Pixar also has this oddly infantile fascination with subject matter… “Toys”, “Bugs”, “Monsters”, “Superheroes”, “Cars”. When they step out of the figurative sandbox, I’ll start paying attention to their “art”.

  33. Wrecktum says:

    Martin, Pixar latches on to an innocent childhood happy memory and mines it for their stories. That’s been their MO since day one. Their next film, Ratatouille, seems to veer away from their established formula.
    And Cars will do great. It’s a good movie that doesn’t market itself very well, but audiences will love it.

  34. Direwolf says:

    Pixar makes movies with kids in mind. What kid doesn’t like toys, bugs, monsters, superheroes, and cars. That is the studio’s whole purpose for being. Art is in the eye of the beholder and maybe kids have a different view. Not to mention lots of adults who head out without kids in tow to see their films as well.
    I’ll stand by close to $100 million opening weekend. And I’ll take the over on $75 million if we spilt the difference between our estimates.

  35. EDouglas says:

    and of course, the next Pixar movie… Rats! (I guess that’s what kids in the poor neighborhoods play with.)

  36. Martin S says:

    I know a number of us saw the X3 drop coming. I still say that it won’t be worse than 55-60%, but if it does do closer to 70, that would be the biggest drop since Hulk.

  37. Arrow77 says:

    Direwolf, what you say is true but what always made Pixar different of regular Disney or other animated films is their appeal toward an adult audience. Most people I know who don’t have any kid have seen and liked all of Pixar’s films. I’m not expecting a big drop but I do think it won’t work as well as the other films. Maybe it will translate into a big opening, but shorter legs than usual.

  38. James Leer says:

    What it really comes down to is that Pixar (and computer animation in general) can portray non-human characters far more effectively than human ones.

  39. Wrecktum says:

    CARS is the most adult of all the Pixar films. If anything, its appeal to children is more limited than their past films.
    Cars is the first Pixar film to incorporate adult humor. Example: After the first race in the movie, two of Lightning McQueen’s fans (“the twins”) drive up to him and squeal, “we love you, Lightning,” and then flash him their headlights. Big laugh, if you know what “headlights” are. Later, Lightning states to a group of cars, “He won a Piston cup!” and Mater (the tow truck) does a spit take and cracks, “he did WHAT is his cup?”
    These are just two examples at the adult humor in the film. My point is that this film will appeal to both kids and adults and that’s why it will perform strongly for weeks at the box office.

  40. David Poland says:

    Frontloading, as I coined it 8 years ago (yes, I have an ego about it, because I was blathering on about it for years before it became accepted), is a creation of home video, then DVD, combined with the purchase of the studios by massive corporations that are stock market driven.
    The goal has always been to get a high percentage of the total possible theatrical revenue in the shortest time possible so as to get to the Home Entertainment revenue as quickly as possible, as that revenue improves quarterly numbers, which improves the stock price, theoretically. DVD sell-thru changed the dynamic further.
    That said, the window continues to evolve. Every year, the average multiple of opening gets smaller as these big opening weekends get bigger. (Of course, the cost of opening continues to grow too.)
    People forget that

  41. jeffmcm says:

    …and is giving up on other ways of opening movies bad for movies? Or not?
    I just wanna hear you say it.

  42. EDouglas says:

    So David, do you think there’s a chance at a single $300 million grossing movie this year? (domestically).. I guess Pirates 2 still has a chance, but the first movie just barely made that and I’m not sure if there will be that much more audience for this sequel.

  43. EDouglas says:

    Ah, nevermind.. I see that you think Pirates might come close to $400 million…that would be pretty amazing though I’m skeptical.

  44. Melquiades says:

    Calling Pixar films infantile is way off base. The Incredibles (the ‘superheroes’ movie) is very sophisticated and aimed just as much at adults as children. The whole ‘super ability as metaphor for family role’ thing is expertly conceived and executed, and it’s one of the best marriage movies I’ve seen.
    So many touches in Pixar movies are aimed squarely at the adults in the audience. The amazing thing is how well they play to kids. Take Finding Nemo — that is a movie about parents giving freedom to their kids. Every emotionally effective moment in that film is targeted at parents. But kids still adore it.
    Anyway, I think Cars will make $70M+ next weekend. The merchandising is everywhere, and anecdotal evidence (my child and others I’ve observed) tells me kids are already hooked.

  45. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I think the rather softish opening for Over the Hedge (considering its pedigree) that Cars could open higher. Parents know that Pixar are great. Plus, seriously, what male kid does NOT enjoy going “vroom vroom” with matchbox cars? I think it’ll be an Incredibles sized hit.
    On the matter of box-office. The Break-Up is hitting exactly where I expected it to. I couldn’t believe that everyone was estimating $25mil. I was thinking just under $40mil. I figured if movies like Monster-in-Law and Failure to Launch can made $24mil and $28mil without, let’s be honest, a big opening week star in the helm, then surely The Break-Up with a post-Wedding Crashers Vaughan and Aniston who annoys people a lot less than people think.
    Plus the movie at least appears to be original (to teenagers). It’s a plot that doesn’t seem to be trudged out every summer. Should be able to do $40mil or so which makes it look solid for $100mil.
    A big drop for X3 should’ve been expected considering it’s huge Friday. I hope it levels out a bit more over the week tho.

  46. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Oh, and An Inconvenient Truth? Way to go Al Gore! Considering how the bottom of the top 10 is continuing to bottom out, i wonder how high Truth can go, considering it could outgross See No Evil, RV and even Poseidon next weekend…

  47. Direwolf says:

    Great point about frontloading and windows being driven by Wall Street. I follow media stocks for a living and write about them often for The pressure to get a big opening to drive the DVD winddow, where the film begins to have a chance to make money, is key. As an aside, I think the theatre stocks are a lot better off than many people think exactly because of this strategy. I am long Regal for a trade this summer.
    Investors aren’t stupid, except for buying media stocks in the first place (joking, sort of). They understand the link between opening weekend and DVD sales. I do think they miss the multiplier concept since the weekend box office is a game and with a new potential blckbuser opening almost every weekend in the summer and once or twice a month the rest of the year, they tend to forget last weekend’s picture.
    I think keeping the windows wider rather than narrowing them would help. Maybe create a new window for downloads even. But giving films more time to build in theatres would help a lot of industry problems I think. And while the marketing boost for the DVD from the opening weekend might be diluted, ultimately profitablity might not as the cost to market could be less.
    Anyhow, not sure what took me so long to find your site but glad I did and especially glad I found a place for intelligent discussion.

  48. Josh Massey says:

    BOM is reporting “X3” is off exactly 66.6% from last weekend.
    Canny cross-promotion from Fox, or further proof Brett Ratner is the devil?

  49. Chucky in Jersey says:

    I expect the X-Men dropoff to end up closer to 66% for the weekend
    2nd-weekend drop per the estimates: 66.6%. That must surely be an omen.

  50. I,Claudius says:

    Slightly off topic, I finally caved and went to see mi:3 at the arclight last weekend. My buddy and I were told there were only a few seats available in the back and front rows. When the movie started the theatre was still half empty. There were entire rows of seats available. I know this has been written about before but how deep are the pockets of local scientologists?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ David Simon