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By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady – 12/09

My Oh Mayan.
Well, it

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52 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady – 12/09”

  1. Goulet says:

    A subtitled gory Mayan epic with no stars at #1? Never underestimate the mad ideas of Mel! Can’t wait to see it tomorrow.

  2. T.Holly says:

    When people (Finke first) compares APOC b.o. to BH b.o., is it inflation adjusted for the rise in ticket prices?

  3. David Poland says:

    Why does anyone read Nikki on box office? She really just writes what she is told and has no interest, aside from the Drudge link. (And now, I have to frickin’ read it because of you, THo. Argh.)
    No, it’s not adjusted for inflation. But it also isn’t adjusted for the front-loading of the box office by the studios over the last decade.

  4. marychan says:

    It is not a good box office result for THE HOLIDAY since this movie was cost more than $100 million to make(according what Variety said) .
    I believe THE HOLIDAY will become No.1 box office winner in this weekend, though.

  5. MattM says:

    How on earth did The Holiday cost 100M? Sure, you can probably say 35M for your four principals. (Diaz 15M, Winslet 10M, Law and Black 5M each.) But where would the rest of the money go?

  6. Wrecktum says:

    I love Poland bad-mouthing Apocalypto’s rather extraordinary opening. With all the film’s negatives, he calls the Friday #1 opening “so-so.” Get a grip, blue-boy. Sometimes you spin worse than Finke and Friedman.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I am going to risk the Wrath of David by asking what may be a dumb question: Just what is wrong with Nikki’s b.o. reporting? Seriously? I mean, she has posted virtually the same figures as Klady (a couple of teeny differences between reports for “Casino Royale” and “Unaccompanied Minors”). Isn’t this pretty much par for the course for her? And, yeah, she gets the Drudge link. But isn’t that because she’s usually the first one out of the gate on Saturday?
    And I don’t understand what you mean by “she really just writes what she is told.” I mean, doesn’t Klady do the same thing? You’re not saying he just makes up figures, are you?
    Once again, seriously: What is she doing wrong? Why should we not trust her box-office reports?

  8. Wrecktum says:

    Well, Finke is spinning Apocalypto’s Friday numbers as a positive (she’s right) while Poland is spinning it as a negative (he’s wrong). So, in this case, Finke trumps Poland in her BO analysis.

  9. David Poland says:

    A. Nikki doesn’t report box office. It is fed to her by one studio. And she reports crazy shit like Friday matinees, which ironically, I have been smacked by you, Joe, for doing in the past. But mostly, it is the spin, which often is false. As for why she gets the Drudge link, it is because of her extreme reporting, not the early (aka premature) reporting.
    Do you really think the voices on Hollywood that are most significant – since they are the most linked on Drudge – are Nikki and Roger Friedman?
    It is my believe that unbiased reporting that actually deals with all studios in an equal way

  10. David Poland says:

    Again, Wreck… I’m not spinning anything.
    And all Nikki (who is will have to read now) knows is who won Friday… which is truly not reporting in any way.

  11. Wrecktum says:

    “Why is $12 million for Apocalypto extraordinary, Wreck? I have no problem with Gibson or this movie succeeding. But with the media obsessing on that film for weeks and Disney laying out a full ad campaign and Gibson’s last film being huge and it being an action movie and all… how is that opening extraordinary. I didn’t say it was terrible or something.”
    By saying the opening is “so-so”, you’re making a value judgement on the opening. Had you said “within studio expectations” or “solid” I probably would have agreed. But as it stands, your obvious spin against the movie detracts from your excellent analysis of Gibson’s distribution deal and how the film’s performance will affect Icon’s future.
    “Blue boy? Which ass did you pull that out of?”
    Because the last time we saw you, you were painted blue.
    “Please, Wreck, tell us why the same opening as Deck The Halls had last weekend should be praised as anything but ‘so-so?’ Or were you just looking to get your cheap shots in?”
    You’ve cherry-picked your reasons why this film should be boffo (an “action movie” by a director who’s last film was “huge”) while conveniently ignoring the obvious major obstacles that Disney had trying to release this film. I don’t have to list them all (you and everyone else here already knows them), but suffice it to say, the negatives going in to Friday were higher than the positives, and, no matter what anyone says, negative publicity is more likely to hurt a film’s opening, not help it.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    I don’t remember ever smacking you for reporting matinee grosses. Seriously. But if you say I did, well, then I was wrong to do so.
    And as for the “wrath” crack — it was intended as a joke, Big Guy. Lighten up. Glad I didn’t use the joke I originally thought of: At the risk of Dave opening up a can of Samoan Whup-Ass….
    Incidentally, Drudge also runs permanent links to Army Archard, Peter Bart, Roger Ebert, Harry Knowles, Rex Reed and Richard Roeper, among others.
    BTW: I don’t get the Blue Boy reference. Is this a remark about your politics?

  13. The Carpetmuncher says:

    So, a subtitled movie with no stars about an obscure event with tepid reviews from a drunken, Jew-basher whose had nothing but bad publicity for a three months straight, and opening number one is only “so-so”?
    That’s wack reporting. Pick up your commentary game.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    This will be the third dog-pile on Dave this week, won’t it?

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    Honest, I don’t want to pile onto anyone. (Well, unless it’s Helen Mirren.) I just want to know: What is Nikki Finke doing wrong? Or, put it another way: Is she giving out inaccurate numbers in her b.o. reports? Because if she isn’t, then who cares where she gets them from?

  16. T.Holly says:

    “…the obvious major obstacles that Disney had trying to release this film. I don’t have to list them all (you and everyone else here already knows them),…” are exactly what Mel envisioned would have people packing the theatres — he thought he had it figured out another way to rake in millions and wants to own the niche — Read The Guardian piece linked on the home page.

  17. T.Holly says:

    To Depot, from THo, I’ve wondered myself, does “report” mean the standard definition of gathering and corroborating from multiple sources and synthesizing the info as opposed to having one source, presumably someone inside a studio or same via Drudge, telling you what the figures are? If that’s the difference, I’ll read both knowing that.

  18. T.Holly says:

    If you can get past the bullshit top of The Guardian piece to about half way down, Gibson tells you what he’s doing. I read this, and I see an artist and a producer/entrepreneur with dollar signs in his eyes.
    “‘But [Passion’s] kind of success encourages me that there is the hunger and appetite for people who really want to be taken somewhere else, so that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to provide them with a visceral and sense experience, so that by the time they walk into the temple they are hopefully going out of their minds.'”
    “‘There’s a gamble aspect to it, in that you could fall flat on your face, which is always a possibility, but at some point you’ve got to try and put your money where your mouth is and say: I can do this.'”

  19. jeffmcm says:

    What’s your point, that Apocalypto is a crass cash-in project for Mel? I think he could have found easier ways to rake in dough than a non-star movie in Mayan.

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    Jeff: Yes he could, but do we really want to see Lethal Weapon 5?

  21. jeffmcm says:

    Clearly not. My point is that TH is grinding an axe because she doesn’t like Mel and is seeking out every possible angle to discredit him. This is assuming she hasn’t seen the movie, which seems likely.

  22. Wrecktum says:

    “BTW: I don’t get the Blue Boy reference. Is this a remark about your politics?”
    ??? Joe, follow the link.

  23. David Poland says:

    Wreck… Blue Boy… funny now… thought it was red/blue stuff… sorry…
    And “studio expectations” are a non-issue, much as being #1 on Friday or any other day is.
    No one has had a clear read on this weekend at any of the studios, other than to note that none of the movies was tracking great. On Apocalypto in particular, the discussion has been pretty unanimously, “could do 8, could do 40.” But no one though it was going to do 4 million. And I have written before about how Disney turned the on this thing.
    The analogy I have used is The Governator at the last Republican convention saying, “I love Nixon.” Impossible!!! But the forthrightness of it played very, very well. Same here. Disney had no choice but to move forward, but the choice to put Mel front and center was a part, I believe, of the turn away from the drunk/jew/sugartits issues. And the negatives started melting away a few weeks ago.
    Still, bottom line, Disney is in for no less than $30 million in P&A

  24. T.Holly says:

    I’m bitter, day and date wasn’t tried. Somewhere out there is a better explanation of Diz’s deal. I read it not too long ago. I was making a point about success and greed, and the need to repeat before someone else does and contributes to a genre which could have merit and be very exciting.

  25. Wrecktum says:

    Poland, there’s no way Disney is in for 50m for P&A. That’s nuts. Less than 3000 prints, only distributing domestically, ad campaign that didn’t ramp up until a few weeks ago. It all points to far, far less.
    I appreciate the further explanation on your “so-so” theory, but I dispute it. I believe Disney would be very happy with a 12-15m opening and would be fucking ecstatic if it opens to #1.

  26. David Poland says:

    The deal for the release was done, you may recall, without a film and with no controls. I’m not say that Disney has already spent all the money or that it must be $50m. But it sure is no less than $30,
    Again, #1 is a so what and $12m – $15m in early November would have looked really good. But with the negatives dropping, this opening is survival relief, not ecstacy.

  27. “And you and your “wrath” bullshit is what pisses me off, Joe. That is what makes a reasonable discussion into a provocation. And you know it.”
    “Blue boy? Which ass did you pull that out of?”

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    David: I am not talking about analysis. (Frankly, I would rather read you than Len when it comes to that.) I am talking about numbers. All I am saying is, on a week in, week out basis, it’s been by experience that Nikki Finke has the b.o. numbers before anybody else. Hell, that’s why I link her on my blog. I don’t care if she gets them fed to her by a studio exec. I don’t care if she divines them by gazing into a crystal ball. All I want to know is: Are they by and large accurate? And let me add: I follow the numbers for the same reason many people on this blog follow the Oscar race: For fun. They mean nothing to me, because none of the money is going into my pocket. But I’m often amused to see what’s No. 1.

  29. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m with Dave. A $12 million opening, even if it does turn out to be #1, seems awfully so-so to me.

  30. The Carpetmuncher says:

    You can’t judge the Apocolypto opening in a vacuum. You have to judge it the way you would judge a film where practically all of it’s publicity was horrible. This is a film where it’s only star is the director, and the director has been in a public relations free-fall for months…
    Calling a #1 opening “so-so” might make sense if all signs were pointing to the film making twice the box office that it did, but that is hardly the case.
    The fact is, Apocoloypto by any normal standard shouldn’t be opening #1. The fact that it has a chance to is clearly a success, based on the things that have already been mentioned – no stars, foreign language film, obscure subject matter, tepid reviews, and a producer/director who is a public relations nightmare.
    I guess it’s just too much for some commentators to admit that Gibson has had a success despite their loathing of him…but so it goes….

  31. jeffmcm says:

    To be fair, the subject matter – pillage, murder, killing one’s enemies – is not really very obscure.

  32. Stella's Boy says:

    There’s no such thing as bad publicity right? I think there are still plenty of Gibson fans out there. It got plenty of good reviews, too. I’m not saying it should have opened at $25 million, but it seemed to get a lot of studio support and it’s in 2,500 theaters. So $12 million seems merely OK to me.

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    I am just throwing this out there for the sake of discussion: I don’t know if it’s significant or not. But…
    Apocalypto has been tracking well with Hispanic audiences, right? But this weekned, a Spanish-language, English-subtitled movie called Guadalupe — about the appearance of the Virgin Mary 475 years ago in Mexico — opened in 230 theaters nationwide (mostly in cities with large Hispanic and Catholic populations). The release is set to coincide with the Dec. 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day. So here we have a movie aimed squarely at Hispanics and Catholics. Could it, no joke, be siphoning off some moviegoers who might otherwise have gone to see Apocalypto this weekend? I ask this not as a Mel Gibson apologist, but as someone who thinks that we often underestimate the size of Hispanic and Christian audiences.

  34. Joseph says:

    Joe, even if counted EVERY SINGLE audience member who saw “Guadalupe” this weekend and assume they would have bought tickets to “Apocalypto” instead if wasn’t playing it would only mean that “Apocalyto” would be up $200,000 for the weekend (and that’s a gross guess-timate considering the numbers Klady ran for it for Friday).

  35. Joe Leydon says:

    Ah, but the weekend’s not over with yet, is it? Hey, I am not claiming “Guadalupe” will make $10 million. I’m just wondering how many folks will see it this weekend, and go see Mel’s movie next weekend.

  36. Melquiades says:

    I think the “PR nightmare” is not quite as meaningful as some people are suggesting. Remember, The Passion of the Christ was attacked as anti-Semitic in the months leading up to its release, and that puppy made $80M opening weekend.
    It’s sad, but for A LOT of people in this country, being anti-Jew isn’t a negative.

  37. For any #1 movie in December to only make $12-14mil seems a bit “so-so”.
    BTW, Something’s Gotta Give ended up making over $100mil. But that did have Keaton and all her awards buzz. But, still.

  38. EDouglas says:

    Wasn’t Happy Feet #1 for three weekends?

  39. Nicol D says:

    “To be fair, the subject matter – pillage, murder, killing one’s enemies – is not really very obscure.”
    Of course the same could be said of The Virgin Spring and Last House on the Left…
    Far more complex then your always facile analysis, Jeff.
    Better luck next time.

  40. Stella's Boy says:

    Do you really believe that Apocalypto is complex Nicol, or are you blinded by your Gibson worship?

  41. Joe Straat says:

    Apocalypto’s box office is about on par with the box office “sensation” Serenity, and probably cost a whole lot more in both making it and selling it. It’ll probably make its money back in the foreign market, but if you’re trying to tell me right here, right now on opening weekend, Disney should be “happy” with getting 8 million dollars LESS than Silent Hill on an I’d say VERY high profile movie, foreign language or not, I’d have to disagree. Maybe I’m crazy. Are you Jewish?

  42. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, you’re a douchebag. Tell us your more complex analysis or shut up. I would love to hear a review of the movie that would convince me that the movie is a visionary epic, but it’s not going to come from you because you don’t have it in you to share eloquence and wisdom. You are a sorry excuse for a human being.

  43. jeffmcm says:

    And I would argue that this movie is somewhat better than Last House on the Left, and somewhat worse than The Virgin Spring, but not far from either.

  44. jeffmcm says:

    Seriously, if Nicol was interested in sharing wisdom, he would have provided a detailed analysis of why he thought the movie was so brilliant. But since he’s actually only interested in appearing smug and winning arguments, he was content to throw around meaningless insults. Nice job, Nicol. You’re truly following in the path of Jesus.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    And the worst part is, Nicol has the satisfaction of seeing me pissed off. Which is what he was after in the first place. Damn!

  46. EDouglas says:

    jeff, I think you’re overreacting a bit. No, Apocalypto isn’t complex, but Mel has made a near 2 1/2 movie that doesn’t drag once… you can’t even say the same about recent action movies by Bryan Singer, Gore Verbinski, Peter Jackson, let alone other Oscar fare like Letters from Iwo Jima. Obviously, some people were looking to find a lot more depth in the movie, but hey, I’ll take this over the snooze fest that was The New World any day of the week.

  47. Stella's Boy says:

    Apocalypto definitely drags in the first hour, after the walk to the Mayan village begins. I was getting a little restless, hoping things would pick up. Which they did, but it still could have easily lost 15-20 minutes without losing anything important.

  48. T.Holly says:

    Here’s a new one, blame Saturday Night Live before you report. Yes, I’m talking about Finke.
    As if that’s not enough, this will give DP indigestion: Disney “…is on the hook for at least $25 million in marketing expenses, which it is able to recoup before Gibson’s company receives any box-office dollars. Icon will pay the studio a distribution fee based on a percentage of the film’s ticket sales in the United States and Canada.” Claudia Eller, LAT, 11/22.
    I’m afraid I’ll never get to see a kinetic story sparsly told in a dead language. Thanks a lot.
    mcm, we’re you drunk, or high, man?

  49. Wrecktum says:

    “if you’re trying to tell me right here, right now on opening weekend, Disney should be “happy” with getting 8 million dollars LESS than Silent Hill on an I’d say VERY high profile movie, foreign language or not, I’d have to disagree.”
    They are very happy with the weekend results, thanks for asking.

  50. Stella's Boy says:

    And you know that for a fact because how?

  51. luxofthedraw says:

    Agreed, I don’t see where this $50m of P&A is coming from on Apocalypto either. What’s everyone’s P&A estimate on Blood Diamond? I can’t believe how many times I saw those awful trailers and tv spots over the last few weeks.

  52. jeffmcm says:

    You’re right Edouglas.
    The frustrating thing is, I generally liked Apocalypto. Apparently I just didn’t like it _enough_ for Nicol.

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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