MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Klady's Sunday Estimates – 12/10

So Apocalypto will apparently be #1 this weekend.
I have to say, I am shocked by how many readers of this blog care about being #1, as opposed to the amount of money that #1 represents.
In any case, Apocalypto did overcome a potentially very, very ugly situation. But still, this opening has to be called

Be Sociable, Share!

40 Responses to “Klady's Sunday Estimates – 12/10”

  1. waterbucket says:


  2. Cadavra says:

    Tell me again why DiCaprio gets $20 mill a picture…

  3. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think Leo will be doing any more parts with accents any time soon, I think that was one of the factors in the trailers that turned people off. Part of me also hopes that “from the director of The Last Samurai’ also gave people a negative association.

  4. leocharney says:

    Sure, the accent was a turnoff, but really it’s that LdiC isn’t a Star who carries an audience from movie to movie. He’s the character actor he was always going to be pre-Titanic. It’s just that he still has these Titanic BO expectations put on him.

  5. Eric says:

    I can’t say it enough: That “bling bang” line in the trailer was profoundly stupid.

  6. Filipe says:

    Is DiCaprio worth 20m? Not, but then almost no actor with the big asking prices are worth them, because the truth is there’s not half dozen names that hae a track reccord that justifies that. DiCaprio has being in a lot of 100m+ films since Titanic (incluind a few like the two previous Scorseses that weren’t easy sells) and Blood diamond is his first flop since The Beach.

  7. Tofu says:

    Mel Gibson’s Nativity Story would have been $120 minimum grosser, easy.

  8. Nicol D says:

    I think what is interesting about the Apocalypto number is what frame of context one puts on it. I’ve now read arguments for it being a ‘great’ opening and for it being ‘so-so’. Both are correct…but it all depends on where one starts.
    The arguments that say it is a middling opening start from the vantage point that frame Apocalypto as a blockbtser wannabe; and have the context of Gibson as iconic/superstar with a string of hits as a frame of reference. These arguments tend to downplay the subject matter, foreign language and controversy. From this POV, Apocalypto did open with ok, but not great numbers.
    Those that want to say that it had a ‘great’ opening, start from the frame of reference that it has a very controversial director, subtitles and hard R rating. These arguments downplay Gibson the icon/celebrity, the number of screens it opened on and the fact that it had both Disney and ABC promoting it.
    The truth is somewhere in between. I suspect Gibson is happy with the opening. I also think this has the potential to have legs as WOM seems to be good. But there have been absolutely no precedents for the last two movies that Gibson has made; nor precedents (that I can think of) for the circumstances under which he released them, therefore standard predictions may not apply. Both sides can claim to be correct.
    Personally, the word I would use is that it was a good or solid opening. ‘Great’ may be too strong, but ‘so-so’, seems to downplay the accomplishment too much.
    As for Blood Diamond…DiCaprio has always been over-estimated as a Box Office draw in and of himself. He has never been a draw for men or an action star. His biggest hits have alays had others to draw on, be it Scorsese (who is a name to many male movie goers), Nicholson, Spielberg, Hanks or Cameron.
    Alone, he is always overestimated. I think many men (like myself) see DiCaprio films despite his presence, not because of it. The flop of Blood Diamond did not surprise me. Without a strong male co-star or director he will never be a draw for many men in action films and women will have no interest. Perhaps he buys into his own publicity a tad too much.

  9. Stella's Boy says:

    Someone else has mentioned this, but don’t overlook all of the publicity this received prior to its opening. There’s no such thing as bad publicity right? It certainly didn’t hurt Gibson’s last effort behind the camera.

  10. EDouglas says:

    This week looks a lot like the week The Prestige opened against Flags of our Fathers… and likewise, the #1 movie opened with less than $15 million. The difference that this is December, not October, and next week will be really telling whether or not this will be a dud holiday season.

  11. T.Holly says:

    Distributor’s take of b.o. is what?
    “…$50 million or so is where Apocalypto starts making profit…” For whom?

  12. ployp says:

    I’d love to see Gibson’s take on the Nativity Story. I think people will flock to see it post-Passion of the Christ. But it’s not his material is it? I mean, what kind of violence would there be? The killing of the first-born sons? I don’t know the Bible that well.
    I hear that Apocalyto cost 70 million USD. So when does it start making a profit? And where did all that money go? Is it a special effect-heavy film? Big sets? What exactly?

  13. T.Holly says:

    ployp, there’s plenty in here to deduce where the money went:,0,197783.story
    I’d love someone to challenge me on this. The movie starts making money in the U.S. and Canada after Diz uses what it makes from b.o. to recoup it’s marketing expenses and then Icon’s participation in the what’s left over (the profit) is subject to overhead and distribution fees based on b.o. (the purpose of which is to provide incentive for Diz to do well at the b.o.) — the fees being due to Diz for it’s services. It’s circular, but that’s why it works. To use a DP analogy, Diz is the casino, though I’m not sure he’d agree.
    Claudia Eller wrote in the LA Times on 11/22, that 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.”

  14. jeffmcm says:

    Who is distributing the film internationally? I expect it will probably do pretty well overseas.

  15. dre says:

    Blood Diamond’s box office is very surprising to me. Zwick’s features usually tap into something with audiences and Leo doesn’t hurt.
    Bravo for Apocalypto, though.

  16. T.Holly says:

    Icon is.

  17. Yeah, Icon is an actual distributor in places like Australia but I didn’t know about through Europe and such. I assume it is.

  18. frankbooth says:

    If Mel did the Nativity, he’d include every way to slice and dice children known to man, and then he’d make up several new ones of his own.
    When the birth finally occurred, it would be a cesarean, which Joseph would perform with his teeth.

  19. Frank, don’t be ridiculous.
    He’d use his bare hands and then he’d smear the blood on his face and howl to the moon before then biting the umbilical cord with his teeth and eating the placenta for dinner (ala Tom Cruise 2005 years later!)

  20. hatchling says:

    Apocalypto will succeed because of great WOM? Hogwash. It will fail because of the WOM spreading over it’s pornographic gore.
    I think the slash and maim crowd came out this weekend, but most mainstream movie goers aren’t going to pay to see it.

  21. Nicol D says:

    “pornographic gore”?
    My god, it’s like you have never seen a movie before. Can I have a side helping of hyperbole with that rhetoric?
    If Mel Gibson shot a cupcake with pink icing on top for two hours you would say it was the most violent thing you had ever seen.
    It’s amazing how reactions to this are not based on empiricism or reality but on the perception of who you need Gibson to be.

  22. Eric says:

    I do think the violence here in Apocalypto is a bit overhyped. It’s violent, yes, but not unusually so for an action movie.
    The violence in Passion of the Christ was more unsettling, I thought. It was prolonged and torturous. If you want to call any of Mel’s movies pornographic, I think that’s the one.

  23. T.Holly says:

    Remember those 2 blog entries on other blogs, shortly before the all-press screenings, from exhibitors who had just seen the movie. I’m speculating, Disney was able to negotiate pretty favorable terms off of those screenings. And they upped the screen number, and opened the advertising purse wider. So let’s say 50mil culm is the b.o. and Diz gets an astronomical 75% (37.5mil) and they spent 40mil on advertising (Eller wrote 25mil in conjunction with Gibson’s appearance on Primetime Thanksgiving night), DP’s been saying at least 30mil. Just speculating.

  24. T.Holly says:

    And let’s further say they pull way back on advertising and it comes in at 25mil, and culm b.o. is 50mil, then there could be profit to participate in for Icon (subject to let’s say 10% overhead and 15% distribution fees).

  25. jeffmcm says:

    “It’s amazing how reactions to this are not based on empiricism or reality but on the perception of who you need Gibson to be.”
    That cuts both ways, you know.
    I’m still honestly interested to hear how you think this movie rises above the level of the well-made action movie into cinematic genius, or at least point to a link that might reiterate your POV.

  26. Eric says:

    Looking back on Apocalypto, I think there’s more going on underneath the surface than I gave it credit for on my way out of the theater.
    However, I’m not sure it adds up to much– I think I may have the same problem with it that I did with Departed, which is that it touches on its themes without actually examining them in any meaningful way.
    Although I keep changing my mind on its merits, I do think it’s a movie that warrants some discussion.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    I found what seems to me to be the best review of the movie so far:

  28. Richard Nash says:

    Pornographic gore?
    Too bad they didnt hear you say that a few weeks before it opened. I’m sure they could have used that in the marketing since people love violence and gore. Or have you forgotten three Saw movies have been hits and any and every horror movie released opens well?

  29. jeffmcm says:

    Except Turistas. And The Return. And Pulse, Slither, Abominable, and The Covenant.

  30. T.Holly says:

    Matt Zoller Seitz seems to have a love/hate relationship with this movie. Thanks for pointing it out, mc, maybe I’ll have more appreciation when I see it after the Holidays.

  31. Joe Leydon says:

    So now it looks like Apocalypto made $15 million, not $14 million. But for me, the really sweet news is: Happy Feet continues to hold, and actually was No. 2 for the weekend. I am sure that will come as a lance to Michael Medved’s heart. Apparently, there is a God.

  32. T.Holly says:

    (I’m addressing you.) Kwel, but will Disney break even?

  33. T.Holly says:

    Freudian slip — I meant to write, “I’m NOT addressing you.”

  34. jeffmcm says:


  35. T.Holly says:

    My AA friends say it, it’s in the on-line urban dictionary.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    Your AA friends? Too much information (although a helpful piece of the puzzle).

  37. T.Holly says:

    That’s all I thought it meant until someone showed me the AA list of black directors, writers and talent. Are we kwel, now?

  38. jeffmcm says:

    I was assuming AA stood for “Alcoholics Anonymous”.

  39. keypusher says:

    Speaking as someone who has been lurking here for a few days, I just wanted to say this is a very good site with intelligent, knowledgeable commentators — all of you, even the ones I disagree with. Maybe you could be nicer to each other?

  40. Eric says:

    Now everybody dogpile on the new guy.

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