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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office Hell Returns…

For some reason, there have been a lot of requests for the return of “Road To Box Office Hell?” this week at MCN… so… why not?
(For me, I finally decided that I didn’t like the game of it all and didn’t want to add to the insanity about numbers anymore than we already do. But let’s see how it goes..)
I haven’t figure out how to post a chart on here, so you have to go to the MCN homepage to see where we are. As some of you may know, we have the Weekend Warrior as a regular around here. So feel free to bug him. And me. And as soon as Mojo and EW offer their opinions, they will be added.

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42 Responses to “Box Office Hell Returns…”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    Y’all are way overstating Lady in the Water. $25m max.

  2. David Poland says:

    since 6th sense, 30-60-50 openings… he’s never been a tracking hero… could really crash… but maybe not… people aren’t hanging out waiting for critics to tell them to go and a lot of people seem to say, “It might not be good, but I’m interested in checking it out.”

  3. jeffmcm says:

    30 sounds about right, people were stung by The Village and this one is hurt by a lack of stars and an inconsistent marketing campaign, but Night still has a sellable name.

  4. PastePotPete says:

    A less than 50% drop for Pirates in week 3? I don’t think it’ll happen.
    I think the Lady in the Water numbers are way too high as well… this is purely anecdotal, of course, but I know just one who wants to see it, and they loved the Village. Everyone else thinks it looks ridiculous and is staying away. If the movie’s a fairy tale, sell it to kids. Nobody’s buying that it’s horror.
    I think MCN’s number for Monster House is pretty on the nose, though I think it could potentially do even more. Depends if kids are sick of Pirates yet.

  5. martin says:

    Lady should do at least 20, but the much higher estimates are unlikely I think. Partly because of reviews, etc. but also because there’s so much out there splitting up the market this weekend. Clerks 2 might also surprise… I think people are underestimating that one.

  6. Rob says:

    I think the Lady estimates are too high, and Monster House will surprise in the low thirties.
    Weird how Super Ex-Girlfriend just became a total non-starter.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    Let’s see: It’s about 9:30 AM Houston time. The first wire story about parents objecting to the intensity of “Monster House” should appear on the Drudge Report… what? Maybe eight hours from now? Seven?

  8. the keoki says:

    You are the MAN DP. Thanks man!

  9. Wrecktum says:

    I’ve known several people who had to take their kids out of Monster House screenings because they were scared and I’ve heard that it happened quite a lot at the preview screening last weekend (which was only 60% attended in the first place). Again, I think people are overestimating this title too.

  10. Wrecktum says:

    The new BOM predictions are more in line with what I’m thinking:
    1 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest 31.1
    2 Lady in the Water (3,235 theaters) 27.3
    3 Monster House (3,553 theaters) 24.4
    4 My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2,702 theaters) 13.5
    5 You, Me and Dupree 10.7

  11. Hopscotch says:

    Don’t underestimate kids movies…they always do higher than they track because Parents are dragged to see it with their kids and buy tikcets for themselves. I’d say it’s a real battle between Monster House and Pirates.

  12. Wrecktum says:

    I say you’re wrong.

  13. montrealkid says:

    I think My Super Ex getting to $14 mill will be the best they can hope for. There is no way this movie is going to pass $35 domestically. I saw a preview screening on Wednesday and everything DP said about it was right, except that I think I might’ve disliked it even more. Slapdash, with a oddly absent sense of comic timing and delivery — word of mouth on this is going to be pretty bad. The only thing I will say is that Anna Faris is one ray of sunshine in the whole thing and she really needs to start signing on to better projects.
    I think Lady In The Water has a great chance at snagging the number one spot – say what you will about it, but the ad campaign has been ferocious. People will be curious. Maybe because it’s not targeted towards me I’ve missed it, but the campaign behind Monster House seems toned down – a third place seems likely.

  14. Hopscotch says:

    The campaign for LitW is ferocious. The stars are popping up on the talk show circuit…”but what is the movie? what the hell is it about? what the hell is that dog-looking thing? is her name really Story? I think I’ll go see Pirates again.”

  15. montrealkid says:

    Yes, but that “what the hell is it about” is what sells M. Night’s movies in the first place. All of his films have done their best to keep the secrets under wraps and people flock to them to be the first to know what it’s all about. I think people are going to be surprised by the numbers LITW puts up.

  16. TMJ says:

    Kevin Smith hasn’t opened a movie to more than $12 mill. Why would he do it now? His humor doesn’t play away from the coasts. Hell, it barely plays away from Red Bank (and L.A., of course).

  17. TMJ says:

    Oh, and thanks for the chart, David. I’m thrilled to see it back.

  18. Hopscotch says:

    I see what you’re saying montrealkid, but all of his movies have had a specific genre to start off: Mystery or Horror. This one is….neither? both? I could be totally off, it could pull in $40M this weekend. But I’m not feeling it. And I get the notion people are still burned by “The Village”, I still haven’t seen it yet.
    and this is just me talking his public appearances on talk shows are helping swing me over: he comes off as a real self-important dick (aka Every Director Ever).

  19. jeffmcm says:

    ^^^Ah, but Night is in a special class of self-importance and egotism. I’ve noticed that in his interviews I’ve seen, he’s more likely to talk about himself and how he’s feeling, not so much about the movie.

  20. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Thread posted on Fark today:
    Roger Ebert gives July 21st, 2006 just one star, citing a predictable script and bad acting (see right sidebar on page)
    Link goes to the Ebert page on the Chicago Sun-Times site.

  21. ManWithNoName says:

    ^^^^ This reeks of Ebert just trying to regain some cred for his recent output of 3-star reviews for mediocre flicks.
    July 21, 2006, is by no means one of the best days of the year, but it certainly is better than July 19th, or July 20th. Christ, it’s a Friday — that alone makes it worthy of two stars.

  22. Wrewre (Brazil) says:

    Well, put on the chart the numbers from Box Office Prophets and Box Office Report too…
    and i bet Lady at 36, monster at 26, super exgirl at 17 and clerks… 16 (!!)

  23. Stella's Boy says:

    The ad campaign for LITW may indeed be ferocious, but I don’t think that matters because people think it looks stupid.

  24. sky_capitan says:

    I’m tired of Kevin Smith. He gets too much publicity for someone whose movies hit the wall at 30 million max.

  25. Cadavra says:

    So what do you think of, say, Truffaut or Kurosawa, who never got anywhere near 30 mill, even when adjusted for inflation?

  26. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    That’s completely different. They weren’t being made and being sold as the second coming of Christ. They also have international as well and have their directors’ names to keep them in film lovers’ knowledge forever. I don’t think Smith plays anywhere outside of the states (but I don’t know that for a fact) and if I’m still discussing him when I’m 50 (i’m 20) then I will be wholeheartedly shocked.
    I still think Lady in the Water will do alright business on opening weekend because it looks different and there hasn’t been a movie lately that [appears as if it] has scares for teenagers and adults. But, who knows.

  27. Drew says:

    That’s not Ebert’s review.
    Ebert is still floored up. That review is by Jim Emerson, and it says so in the byline.

  28. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Yeah, and I’m glad he’s not the proper reviewer! My god, that review felt like a thousand years.

  29. Stella's Boy says:

    Nikke Finke has Monster House at $7 million and LITW $6.5 million on Friday.

  30. the keoki says:

    Look for Monster House to have a bigger Sunday than Friday and end up at $30mil

  31. Wrecktum says:

    No way. As I said before $25m at the maximum. These Friday number prove it.
    I never understood why anyone (Poland included) thought this movie was going to be anything more than a midrange animated.

  32. the keoki says:

    Wreck, have you seen it? I saw it last week at a sneak and the reaction was amazing. I think that word of mouth on this one is going to make this a bit bigger than a midrange animated. Of course I could be wrong…it’s happened before. Seems like pirates could four weeks in a row, nothing earthshattering comes out next weekend. Vice won’t open huge and Ant Bully looks friggin’ horrible.

  33. Wrecktum says:

    I haven’t seen it. I probably won’t. You’re anecdotal information is interesting, but the numbers prove otherwise. The sneak preview was moderately attended. Opening day was middle of the road.
    Sure, it might end up getting a good multiplier with word of mouth (aside from those kids seen leaving in the middle of the show because it was too scary) and the 3D will draw people in for several weeks. But the opening will still be only 25m-ish.

  34. the keoki says:

    In the words of Monty Burns, “If we come back and everyone is murdered, I owe you a coke.”

  35. David Poland says:

    The all-time low for a Computer Animated movie that opened over $20 million is $128 million for Robots.
    Even with a high 20s opening, which was my estimate on Thursday night, $160m – $180m is not improbable. Maybe it will be lower, but your sense of that Wreck is your gut and not historical. (Shark Tale – $160 million)

  36. martin says:

    DP – name me a CG animated film that opened under $27 mill and grossed over $100 mill. Robots opened significantly better than Monster House. Also, is it fair to assume Ant Bully will steal some Monster business?
    As far as next weekend, P2 might stay at #1 but I doubt it. I think you’re all underestimating the Vice opening, which I think is a lock at $30.

  37. jeffmcm says:

    Robots was also released in the Spring, when kids are still in school, as opposed to now, when parents are desperately looking for movies to stick them into.

  38. martin says:

    exactly, the robots comparison makes monster house look even worse. Better compared to polar express, which also opened kinda slow (around 35) but ended up making 160 in it’s initial release. If those sorts of numbers work for monster house, it’s looking about 120-130. But my bet would be about 90.

  39. David Poland says:

    Polar Express. Opened at $23.2 million.
    It wasn’t a comparison. Just a stat.
    There are only two CG animated movies to open over $20m an dunder $30m. Polar and Toy Story. Neither is a perfet fit.
    But basically, you have Monster House pegged as a dislike movie and I have it pegged as a liked movie.
    The numbers are odd for all the summer animation because of the number of films competing in the one long-legged category. But I believe that Monster House will have strong word of mouth and playability. But hey… could be wrong.

  40. martin says:

    wow, Polar Express really opened low for some reason I remember a better number than that.
    Toy Story is too long ago in box office years to be a fair comparison, it was also on a holiday weekend and made about $30.
    Maybe Monster House will hold on, but it just doesn’t feel like it will have the legs that Express had, which really was the ideal seasonal movie. I suspect Monster might have done better in the fall.

  41. the keoki says:

    I remember that Polar Express opening number bombing like a ton of bricks and folks saying that it was going to lose a kajillion dollars…..instead it will make $10 mil a year until people stop having Christmas. No one knows nothing!

  42. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    It was also debuting against the second (or third?) week of The Incredibles, wasn’t it? But yeah, it’s Christman-ness kept it going. If Monster House had been released closer to Halloween it would’ve been an idea kids scare movie in the weeks up to Halloween, but instead they released it in July, which seems odd.

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