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David Poland

By David Poland

What Is A Good Number For Dreamgirls?

Every once in a while, it seems like time to make an offering of what would be a number that is “good” or “great” or disappointing for a highly anticipated opening. Dreamgirls

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36 Responses to “What Is A Good Number For Dreamgirls?”

  1. Why isn’t Moulin Rouge! in the Top 5 Musical openings if it made $13mil?

  2. David Poland says:

    Because it opened exlusive for two weeks before going wide.

  3. David Poland says:

    Now that I think of it, I guess that case could be made for Dreamgirls and their exclusive run… but that’s why I try to offer all the variations…

  4. mutinyco says:

    If they’d maintained that $25 ticket price they’d be #1…

  5. EDouglas says:

    Popeye was a musical? 🙂
    I figure somewhere between these two:
    Grease – $8,941,717 – 862 – 6/16/78
    4 – Popeye – $6,310,520 – 901 – 12/12/80
    would be very good…but I think the real story comes on Tuesday.

  6. The Carpetmuncher says:

    $20 million on Christmas Day – that would be exceeding expectations.

  7. EDouglas says:

    Considering that Borat–the second highest per theatre average of all time–only made $9 million its opening day (which wasn’t a holiday), I think $20 million might be pushing it.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t say that it lived up to the year-plus of hype; but my audience did break into applause in both Jennifer Hudson’s big number, and Beyonce’s.

  9. Wrecktum says:

    Has Poland done a one-day boxoffice prediction post for any other movie this year?
    I’ll neverunderstand the facination with this film….

  10. David Poland says:

    Two this year, I believe, Wrecktum. Pirates and Da Vinci… maybe Superman and X3 too. And, actually, we run Friday numbers and I analyze them every Saturday. So…
    The “fascination” is that the number is remarkable and the film is likely to win the Oscar. So a few people are interested. Sorry if you aren’t.

  11. jeffmcm says:


  12. David Poland says:

    All grown up
    And you don’t care anymore
    And you hate all the people that you used to adore
    And you despise all the rumors and lies of the life you led before
    Did I hear you right’
    You’re feeling hounded and pushed around
    You want to just lay down and die
    If all of this life has been such a big disappointment to you
    Why don’t you stop blaming some guy
    And go give the next one a try
    But look at yourself
    You’ll see you’re still so young
    You haven’t earned the weariness
    That sounds so jaded on your tongue
    – Elvis Costello

  13. EDouglas says:

    “Has Poland done a one-day boxoffice prediction post for any other movie this year?”
    Probably, but in this case, it’s fairly appropriate considering how much business Dreamgirls is apparently doing.

  14. Wrecktum says:

    Thanks, Poland for your response.

  15. NYCAustin says:

    I’m going to use Dreamgirls as my latest “jaded movie-goer” barometer. Cynicism about this fine piece of film that finally adapts a classic Broadway show with perfection AND showcases african american talent only tells me that it’s time for some people to take a break from offering their opinions about movies.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    I wouldn’t feel cynical if I thought it was a good movie with something interesting to say.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    And if its cheerleaders would agree that’s what they were doing and not ‘just reporting the news’.

  18. Direwolf says:

    Well, somebody is reporting $8.7 million. That is just a fantastic number given under 900 screens. My Mom and sister saw it on the North Shore of Chicago and it was sold out. They said the audience broke into applause several times and that the theater had a real buzz as people were exiting.
    I suspect the legs will be super. This will provide a nice boost for the box office over the holiday, probably enabling a positive comparison vs. year ago and strong start for 2007.
    I also suspect, based on what I read on this blog, that Dreamgirls has just moved back into the clear frontrunner spot for Best Picture. Voters will have a hard time ignoring what looks to be a potential blockbuster.
    I guess it’s time to create a showdown at Mojo between Dreamgirls and Chicago. No doubt the Oscar debate will partially hinge on how Dreamgirls tracks relatively.

  19. NYCAustin says:

    1. Beautifully shot film.
    2. Strong cast.
    3. Break-out star (Jennifer Hudson!!).
    4. Blockbuster potential.
    5. Major awards potential.
    6. Audiences LOVE it – standing ovations and wild applause!!
    7. Fantastic costumes.
    8. A strong score – including some great new songs -one which will likely win the Oscar (Listen).
    9. A showcase of talented african american stars – the likes not seen since The Color Purple.
    10. True to the story and not disappointing to the loyal (and deserving) fans of the original Broadway show.
    These are only 10 of the many reasons I can argue that it’s a great movie.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    Well, here’s 5 reasons why it’s not a great movie:
    1. Strong cast that is underutilized – every performance is flat and unengaging.
    2. Plodding storyline that brushes over the characters without ever really letting us get to know any of them.
    3. Can’t remember any of the songs, which sounded like 80s showtunes and not 60s pop standards.
    Actually, three is enough reasons. Only about four or five of the above are actually good reasons for any movie to be considered ‘great’. A movie is not great because it has ‘blockbuster potential’ or we could have this conversation about Ice Age 2.

  21. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, Jeff: Considering your rabid hatred for Crash, I would think the makers of Dreamgirls might actually want you to despise their film. Come to think of it, how did you feel about the five previous Best Picture winners? We may have a trend here.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Well, I thoroughly liked Million Dollar Baby and Lord of the Rings, and thought Chicago was okay (in retrospect, I think I liked it better than Dreamgirls thaks to the dancing and darker/funnier storyline).
    But of course Joe, I’m hardly alone in disliking Crash. I consider myself a member of a proud fraternity on that one – and Dreamgirls is much superior to it.

  23. LexG says:

    I haven’t much (er, anything) about Letters From Iwo’s limited-release take. Is it doing okay? Setting any records? Anything?
    I saw it twice last week in Hollywood, both times expecting sell-outs at the Arclight, only to find the theater half-empty. Could’ve just been the holiday bustle cutting into it, though.

  24. djk813 says:

    My problems with Dreamgirls
    1) Several of the songs are *supposed* to be lame as an important plot point, and they succeed.
    2) The acting is not very convincing. I’d watch every musical number Jennifer Hudson performs over and over, but the rest of the performance is very uneven. She absolutely deserves a Grammy. An Oscar? Not so much. Beyonce doesn’t register at all. I liked Murphy, but Foxx was horrible as a Snidely Whiplash style villain.
    3) The characters aren’t well-drawn enough to care what happens to any of them. When I saw it, the audience that gave Jennifer Hudson a mid-movie standing ovation also giggled at several of the supposed dramatic moments.
    It’s not a bad movie – there are some thrilling musical numbers that outdo just about any other movie moments from this year. It’s also well staged, and well filmed, but the screenplay lacks depth and the acting isn’t strong enough to overcome those weaknesses.

  25. David Poland says:

    Frankly, just claiming “every performance is flat and unengaging” disqualifies your opinion from ever being considered seriously by me regarding this film.
    And perhaps the stupidest argument made about Dreamgirls – even when someone as smart as Tony Scott makes it – is that the songs are not “60s pop standards.” Part of what makes standards into standards is that they are ubiquitous… you’ve heard them a million times. This is the phenomenon that makes people nostalgic a decade later for songs they HATED when they were on the pop charts. Listen to this group of songs 5 or 6 times and I am pretty sure they will start to feel like “standards.” And then you can make the “but you’re only supposed to see movies once and they should have you” argument. But the “standards” argument is directly opposed to that… as though you felt the same way about any song you love the very first time you heard it.
    I have no problem with someone disliking the film. I have no problem with the argument that white men who have a built in aversion to musicals will react to it in a similar way to the way they react to The Holiday. But making the argument that the film should be an intimate deconstruction of the civil rights era or that the performances were flat exposes the arguer

  26. Joe Leydon says:

    Oh, sweet Jesus! Please, David, don’t start another conspiracy theory about critics dissing your Oscar fave. Phantom of the Opera and Munich are yesterday’s news, man. Get over it.

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    So now someone’s opinion about a movie is basically considered wrong just because you like it and they don’t? How does that work? What is he honestly believes that the performances aren’t great? How can that be wrong? I wouldn’t expect that after the Children of Men discussions.

  28. David Poland says:

    Joe… if you were here, you would know what the Munich situation was… but you weren’t… and you don’t. Phantom is, I guess, just a random shot.
    And no, Stella. It is the claim of “flat” that I object to. If someone said that they thought the performance was flawed in some specific way, it would be a conversation.
    And of course, in my opinion, it is dead wrong. That’s what opinions are. And what does Children of Men have to do with anything?

  29. David Poland says:

    P.S. And yes… I do think one can make an objective argument about someone else’s argument… as in, “I don

  30. Chicago48 says:

    Comments about Moulin Rouge: It’s a musical I will not see again ever again. I enjoyed it when it was first viewed, but upon thinking it through, I hated Kidman’s performance and her death at the end. That was an experimental musical movie.
    About DG: The audience is non-white male; okay? It’s female, gay and Black/Minority. If any of you are white males going to see DG, there’s a high probability you WILL NOT LIKE IT, so stay home.
    The people going back over and over again are women and Black.
    I plan to see it again, but only because I want to see it in a different environment. The aud. I was with was pro-JenHud and pro Black musicals.
    Give props to Condon for not doing a “the producers” type movie. That movie was filmed like the stage play, and while it was fun, it wasn’t a movie compelling people to go to see. So Condon did a MTV version of DG with flash dash lighting, etc. and quick editing. Otherwise, the movie would have been a total dud. He also brought in a soap-opera story the 2nd half. This appeals to women and blacks. What I didn’t like was not making Effie a more likeable sympathetic figure in the 2nd half. She still comes off mean-spirited and vain (it’s all about me) and even though she sings “I am changing” she actually doesnt. But I’ve seen the outtakes on Youtube and there was supposed to be more to this movie, I imagine this movie was originally 3 hours long. There will be a director’s cut.
    More I didn’t like: moving the city from Chicago to Detroit – too much “motown” story.
    Didn’t like Jimmy o’ding, like a David Ruffin rip-off story. In the play Jimmy just disappears after Lorelle tells him it’s over.
    Prediction: if it does well and continues to play into January, there will be a longer version released to theatres.

  31. David Poland says:

    There is no longer version.
    There were only a couple significant changes from the original director’s cut… I believe one song was cut before the dc was delivered… all additional cutting was done by Condon’s hand…
    Curious what you think you saw on YouTube, Chi48 and what you think would be in a 49 minute longer version?

  32. “So now someone’s opinion about a movie is basically considered wrong just because you like it and they don’t? How does that work?”
    Oh Stella, as someone who has been told I’m flat out wrong in my opinions to movies such as The Departed (according to several people here, my opinions weren’t right and my issues with the film weren’t relevant), I can say it works quite easily for the people saying it.
    Almost as if some people have Effie blood running through them. “You’re GONNA love me!”

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    “Phantom is, I guess, just a random shot.”
    Er, no, Dave. Once again, your memory is, shall we say, selective. In one of your many posts during that particular Oscar season, you complained about how critics conspired to gang up on poor, pitiful “Phantom.” I would go back and find the exact posting, but it wouldn’t be worth it: When somebody goes to the trouble of quoting something you forgot that you wrote (or deleted) months or years earlier, you usually dismiss it with something on the order of “Well, that obviously meant more to you than it did to me.” This is you defense mechanism, I suppose, against people who might throw your own words (or actions) back into your lap. Whatever. At least you’re not referring to dead soldiers as “stiffs.”

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Fortunately, I don’t have a really passionate opinion on this film, (like I do with Crash, or Flyboys, etc) so talking about the performances is probably worthwhile.
    Jennifer Hudson: in the opening scenes she’s the one we identify with because she’s down-to-earth and has more presence than Beyonce or Anika. But I never believed she was in love with Jamie Foxx, which for me pretty much crippled the “And I am Telling You” number, as powerfully delivered as it was, and her ejection from the group felt contrived because I didn’t believe she was an overbearing diva. She seemed too pleasant, not pushy or unlikeable enough for what the part seemed to be calling for
    Beyonce: I agree with the ‘barely registers’ comment made above. Her big number was well-sung, but again, she didn’t feel like a diva (oddly enough).
    Anika: Pleasant and happy to be there, but that only goes so far.
    Jamie Foxx: Perhaps the most one-note performance I’ve ever seen him give, he runs the gamut from A to B. Most importantly, at the end of the movie he felt like he was the same small-time hustler he was at the movie’s beginning, not a self-made millionaire.
    Eddie Murphy: fun to watch, nice to have him back playing a non-fat suit character, but never really got deep or dark enough. Not showing him really getting into a truly bad drug scene felt like a cop-out, and the next thing you know, he’s dead.
    And on the comment about “if you’re a white male, you probably will not like this movie”, is not the Academy largely made of old white men, or are we figuring their wives will be voting for them as they so often do?

  35. meblogpretty says:

    Just saw Dreamgirls tonight and my reaction was mixed. I thought some of the musical numbers were really well done, but others felt a bit static and stagey. Hudson sounds terrific and is very appealing, but to my eye, she comes off a bit green as an actress and lip-syncer. Knowles also sounds great, but has no real role on the page. Eddie Murphy was the standout performance for me — and a surprisingly good musical talent. Foxx seemed to be going through the motions and the actor playing Effie’s brother was downright amateurish. Overall, I felt that Condon did not have a solid and consistent concept to take the material from stage to screen (Chicago worked much better for me in this regard.). DG was at times stylized, and at times naturalistic, and the camerawork and editing ranged from dazzling to awkward. Still in all, it was an entertaining evening at the movies.

  36. Ian says:

    So: let me get this straight. The audience for DG is black, gay and female. And it’s going to win Best Picture. Even though the Academy are predominantely not black, gay and female. Sorry, but I;m not buying this particular bridge in Brooklyn. I’ll take THE DEPARTED and THE QUEEN over a so-so musical with so-son songs.

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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