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David Poland

By David Poland

Sunday Estimates by Klady – July 27

The Simpsons reminds us, yet again, at how silly it is for all of us/any of us to be throwing around OPT (Other People

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47 Responses to “Sunday Estimates by Klady – July 27”

  1. Direwolf says:

    According to Mojo, the top 12 were up 44% vs. last year. With Bourne and Rush Hour and Superbad to come, the comps should remain favorable as only Talladega Nights was a hit in August 2006.

  2. David Poland says:

    Yes, the summer should be the biggest ever, by a small margin. But those kind of overall numbers are pretty much irrelevant, aside from debunking those who would also use micro-numbers to argue that there is a problem in theatrical.

  3. Direwolf says:

    Looks to me like $4 billion should be in the cards which would be about 6% better than the 2004 record.
    I agree on the “debunking” of the theatrical is dead as a reason to note the overall numbers. Of course, I have the added interest of owning Regal Entertainment for my clients so domestic box office comps matter a little more to me.
    One thing not mentioned much on this blog is how well the non-US box office is doing this summer and year. Last I read it was up around 13%.

  4. John Y says:

    Wasn’t Poland the one who kept on predicting that “The Simpsons” would flop?
    I remember him first predicting that the movie’s total gross would be only $70 million… of course, hindsight is 20/20, but it wasn’t that difficult to foresee how big “The Simpsons” was going to be.

  5. David Poland says:

    Of course, John Y… hindsight is incredibly easy.
    And no, $70 million for that film would not have been a flop. And the $120m I last predicted wouldn’t either. (
    But thanks for showing up to snipe. Look forward to seeing you next time I am right about something.

  6. John Y says:

    I was looking at the “1st Estimate” you listed on that link, which does say $70 million. After a few weeks, you realized that estimate was low and boosted it to $120 million.
    And, believe me, if I said something every time you were right, you’d be seeing way too much of me. You usually are right, which is why “The Simpsons” prediction stood out so much.

  7. David Poland says:

    Well, I hope you come more often… not to tell me when I am right, but to add your perspective to the conversation.

  8. doug r says:

    Thinking back on the sold-out shows in the small houses on Friday, I’m thinking that Saturday and Sunday may be revised up a bit, putting the weekend around 74 or 75 million. So that puts them lowside about $180 million domestic. Could go as high as $250 million, but I think $210 is most likely.
    Yes, Don, Transformers will barely squeak by $300 million.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    It seems like Transformers will top out at around $310-315, no?
    I want to raise the question again: just because people will have spent a record number of dollars in theaters this year, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily had as much enjoyment over previous years. Right?

  10. RudyV says:

    Right. When you have kids and/or a significant other, you’re almost expected to attend the “event” movies whether you really want to or not, or whether they’re really any good or not.
    And it looks like LiLo’s “publicity stunt” didn’t help her movie all that much. Maybe it finally pounded the last nail into the coffin that was her acting career. Perhaps now she’ll just have to settle for being a celebrity.

  11. anghus says:

    does transformers have another 46 million left in it?

  12. martin says:

    LiLo needs to find her Stitch, then maybe Hollywood will take her seriously.

  13. martin says:

    Anghus, whether or not Transformers makes it to #1 for the year, I think they’re going to be pretty happy finishing over $300 domestic.

  14. David Poland says:

    Box office cannot measure pleasure, J-Mc… which I assume you know. Nor does it inherently mean that people were “tricked” into spending money.
    People go see what they are interested in seeing. They have been more excited about getting to the movies this summer than ever before. What they got is almost impossible to measure, especially when the numbers seem to land almost very close to where expected, no matter how huge the opening week or weekend.
    The notion that Harry Potter was affected one way or the other by the quality of the film or the new book or whatever simply doesn’t bear out. Likewise, $300 million for Transformers is $300 million for Transformers, not matter in which period the money was gathered.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    DP, Of course I know that. I’m making a point out of it to make sure that it doesn’t get lost in all the fetishization of dollar signs.
    Also: “They have been more excited about getting to the movies this summer than ever before.”
    You can use these numbers to show that more money is coming into theatrical box offices, but you can’t honestly use these numbers to measure movie-goer ‘excitement’, I don’t think, which is complicated by front-loading and marketing.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Oh yeah: and “especially when the numbers seem to land almost very close to where expected” is depressing to me. It tells me that audiences are reacting exactly as could be predicted by an accountant, which tells me that movie-quality is less and less of a factor in determining what becomes successful, and that unexpected hits are more and more rare.

  17. anghus says:

    i know they’re happy. that was more in reference to the don murphy claim that it would be the biggest film of the summer.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    “They have been more excited about getting to the movies this summer than ever before.”
    With all due respect, David, I don’t see how you can prove that statement. Indeed, I can see how easy it would be to disprove it: Divide the average price of a 2007 movie ticket into the final summer gross, and then divide the average price of, say, a 1987 or a 1997 movie ticket into… well, you can see where I’m going with this, right?

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    Put it another way: In 1984, when the price of an average movie ticket was $3.36 (according to the National Association of Theater Owners),

  20. Hoju says:

    Point taken, Joe, and not that I’ve been thrilled with this summer’s crop, but did “Ghostbusters” face competition remotely comparable to the 2007 lineup?

  21. Joe Leydon says:

    Hoju: Very good point. Here are a few other titles that hit theaters that summer:
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
    The Karate Kid
    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
    Purple Rain
    The Natural
    All of them would be, allowing for inflation and near doubling of ticket prices, the equivalent of $100-million-plus domestic grossers today.

  22. IOIOIOI says:

    First off; who cares about NOW and THEN? People have been excited to go to the movies. Have you not noticed that this year Joe? Go to a theatre for a midnight show, a following Friday matinee, and through out the weekend. People have been jacked up to go see those movies. If you dislike the quality of the films or what not, then that’s on you. This does not change the fact that some HUGE FILMS have come out this year, and people have been rather excited to see. One last thing; 1984 IS THE GREATEST POP-CULTURE YEAR EVER! Sourcing that year compared to any other… sort of causes problems right off the bat.
    Finally; The guy who loves to watch girls being tortured in flicks said; “which tells me that movie-quality is less and less of a factor in determining what becomes successful, and that unexpected hits are more and more rare.” Who cares? Unexpected hits? This is not 1989. It’s 2007. We have SUMMER PREVIEW ISSUES. We have movies being hyped almost a year and half before release on the net and at CONS. It’s hard to surprise a public that SEES THINGS COMING FROM A MILE AWAY. We still have moments every year with films that just click. They become hits for whatever reasons any film become hits. However; if you need that to happen during the Summer; tough. There are still flicks every Summer that fit into that criteria. You seem to forget BOURNE started out that way. The 40 Year-old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine, and Knocked Up fit into this category. Hell Jeffy Poo, THE SIMPSONS is technically a SURPRISED HIT because not one of these WAHOOS could have imagined it could have grossed 72 million on opening weekend! Once again I am left to ask Jeffy Poo this question: Seriously brah? Seriously?

  23. Moneypenny says:

    I actually said Simpsons would… unfortunately on Wells’ page. Asshole.

  24. David Poland says:

    You took my point wrong… they are rushing to the multiplex more than before. Part of it is the multiplex explosion so you can see a movie that’s opening virtually every hour on the hour. Part of it is the overall process of shortening the window. But the bottom line is, people do choose and people have shown up in bigger numbers in the first weekend this summer than ever before in the modern history of the cinema.
    None of it means they liked what they saw as much or more.
    But with a month to go, we have…
    *More $55m+ openings than ever in a summer (7 so far to the previous record for a whole summer, 5)
    *The first three $100 million+ opening summer
    *Five opening weeks of over $149 million when there were six before in the history of the industry, never more than one in a season before.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    “people do choose and people have shown up in bigger numbers in the first weekend this summer than ever before in the modern history of the cinema.”
    So how does this gibe with your long-stated ‘opening weekend is about marketing’ adage? Obviously, if more people are showing up for opening weekend than ever before, then it’s because marketing is more pervasive and persuasive, not because people are hungrier for movies.
    IOIOI: I don’t know if there was a coherent question in what you wrote, so I really can’t respond to you.

  26. Noah says:

    I think people getting excited to see these movies is because the marketing is more persuasive. They make these movies into EVENTS by promoting the shit out of them a year in advance, so people mark it in their calendars. In the weeks leading up to Spiderman 3, there were billboards plastered everywhere and I couldn’t change the channel without finding some kind of plug for Spidey 3. Therefore, I think it built up genuine excitement for people because they’d been told for so long about the flick. Of course, I think most people walked out disappointed, but I bet the majority of folks walked into that theater stoked as shit to see the new Spiderman flick.

  27. IOIOIOI says:

    Yes Noah, everyone disliked Spider-Man 3. Sure. Jeffy Poo; blah blah bladiblah blah.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    Perhaps, but in that case it was manufactured/bought-and-paid-for excitement. If people were _genuinely_ excited about this summer’s movies, we’d see more movies with low week-to-week drops and buzz, like the previously mentioned Once and Waitress.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    IOIOI: I’d love to have a conversation with you, but I don’t know what you want.

  30. David Poland says:

    It’s like talking into a knothole sometimes…
    Money does not equal quality.
    Opening weekend equals marketing.
    More people going on opening weekend does not mean the movie is any good… it means more people are more anxious to sample it and sample it NOW.

  31. Noah says:

    I’m sure the people who went to see the movie were genuinely excited to see it. For movies like Once and Waitress, most people get excited AFTER the walk out of the theater because a lot of people think of films like that as medicinal. I would be more excited to walk into Once than Transformers any day of the week, but I think most of us who post on this board don’t view cinema the same way as the rest of the country. With these tentpole films, people get excited because they know they are in for a visceral experience. I agree with you, I think it is manufactured excitement because of the marketing but it is still genuine excitement. Maybe those two things contradict each other, but I don’t think so. I think it all comes down to how people feel when they put down their ten bucks and I think the people who walked in Spiderman 3 felt pretty excited to slap down that cash.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    DP: your last post was basically a repeat of what I’ve been saying. I think we basically agree, so I’m not sure what point you think it is that I’m making that you’re arguing against.

  33. jeffmcm says:

    Maybe this is it:
    “it means more people are more anxious to sample it and sample it NOW.”
    I think this is a bad thing, because it means that people are buying tickets because of marketing, not because of reviews or word of mouth telling them the movie will be any good. Front-loading is bad because it rewards movies that might not necessarily deserve it.

  34. Noah says:

    I don’t know if people have gone to the movies based primarily on reviews or would of mouth in my lifetime. Maybe it’s because there are no Pauline Kaels or Vincent Canbys anymore, but I think marketing has been king for a long time and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. In fact, I think critics are going to be less and less important. And word of mouth only goes as far as the people you know, but Knocked Up seemed to do pretty well on that front.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    You’re right that hype has always been around, but I think that in the past, when distribution patterns were such that movies could play for years on end, earning slowly based on word of mouth and reviews, that the system may have been more equitable. Hype kills.

  36. Noah says:

    You’re definitely right that there is no equality anymore…or rather that there is LESS equality than there once might have been. How successful a movie is usually is a result of the most dollars spent on marketing and advertising and theaters want to make the most money, so they book the films that have the potential of making the most money on as many screens as possible. We’re in complete agreement on that score.

  37. jeffmcm says:

    That’s all I was ever trying to say, which is that ‘best year in history’ is a misleading thing to say without a grain of salt.

  38. Joe Leydon says:

    “[P]people have shown up in bigger numbers in the first weekend this summer than ever before in the modern history of the cinema.”
    David, not to be argumentative just for the sake of argument, but how do you define “the modern history of cinema”? In 1939, average weekly movie attendance in USA was 85 million (at a time, BTW, when the U.S. population was a shade under 131 million). So I’m assuming you’re talking about, say, the past 25 years? Or what?

  39. Josh Massey says:

    Just for the sake of s&gs, what is the #1 biggest overperformer, and #1 biggest underperformer this summer?
    I think most assumed Knocked Up to be a $100 million grosser, but $150? The Simpsons? Die Hard? I’m actually most surprised at 1408 passing $70 million.
    As far as underperformer goes, I think it’s Evan – but Pirates falling short of its predecessor by $120 million is notable.

  40. Joe Leydon says:

    Overperformer? Well, I can’t say I was surprised by the grosses for Knocked Up — as far back as SXSW, it was obvious how well the movie played with audiences — but I would definitely agree that 1408 is a sleeper. In fact, in terms of cost-to-gross ratio, I wonder if it’s the biggest hit of the summer.
    Underperformer? At the risk of being accused of gloating, wouldn’t that have to be Hostel 2, strictly on the basis of failure to fulfill expectations?

  41. doug r says:

    Simpsons is doing about right for a cultural phenomenon, it’s just that other TV cartoon movies didn’t really catch on.
    Did I hear Die Hard 3.0 might pass total ticket sales for Die Hard 1.0? Now that’s a performer!
    Transformers did better than it should, as (IMHO) Pirates 3.
    Where’s Black Sheep? It’s playing in 4 screens right now and it hasn’t even cleared $100,000. Those million geeks really missed this one. Didn’t even play here, I guess I should have checked it out during the Seattle Film Festival….

  42. Rob says:

    I wandered into No Reservations curious to see if CZJ could pull off a sympathetic role. I was surprised at how inoffensive and non-pandering it is for its genre (I realize that sounds like faint praise).
    It’s also, to my eyes, one of the most beautifully shot films of the year. Wouldn’t be surprised if it hangs around a week or two longer than the opening would suggest.
    As for Black Sheep, I thought it was quite lame, but the fact that they couldn’t wring at least $1 million out of the premise alone is bizarre.

  43. LexG says:

    Just an observation, since I thoroughly enjoy his posts and I’m obsessed with the ’70s and early ’80s myself, but it’s amusing that Joe Leydon can’t go three posts without waxing about the halcyon days of that bygone era.
    I personally enjoy his frame of reference, but sometimes it feels like he exerts just a little extra effort to bring the conversation back around to, say, “Partners” or “Tightrope” or “White Lightning” or “Bingo Longo” or some other otherwise mostly forgotten B-flick from what I assume was a glowing decade or so in his own life.
    On another personalized note, what’s with everyone dismissing Jeff’s more salient points solely because he likes “extreme” horror films?
    Far be it from me to defend Jeff, who I usually think is a bit of a knobjob, but you guys do know those “torture” movies aren’t, you know, REAL, right? The anti-torture flick hysteria is just the latest version of the anti-slasher paranoia of, er, Joe Leydon’s era. Now those movies are looked back on fondly enough that the same stuffy middle-brow critics are jizzing all over themselves to praise “Grindhouse’s” homage to that very genre.

  44. Joe Leydon says:

    LexG: Hey, be careful with those icons of my youth, bud. It’s Bingo Long, not Bingo Longo. The latter, I believe, was a porn movie knock-off starring Johnny Holmes.

  45. Geoff says:

    Wow, Die Hard is exhibiting some strong legs – probably heading towards $140 million and passing the attendance of the first movie, though I am not sure of the second.
    Speaking of Die Harder, watching it on DVD, now – I don’t get the bum rap that this film gets. They did a nice job of giving it bigger scale of the first movie and staying true to the character. The villain isn’t as good, but the supporting cast are just as fun – John Amos, Fred “The Future President” Thompson, Dennis Franz, etc. I don’t think Renny Harlin has done something nearly as watchable, before or since, but he does a nice job with the action sequences in this one.
    Overperformer of the summer? I would have to admit Transformers. It is going to end up doing twice what I expected and I think Dreamamount is going to give it an August re-release to push it past Spiderman 3 for the title of “BIGGEST MOVIE OF THE SUMMER.”
    As for biggest underperformer, it’s a really tough call since no film has been a huge disappointment, but Hostel 2 would probably qualify since it has grossed less than half of its predecessor. But how much did Lionsgate really spend on that movie? $5K?

  46. jeffmcm says:

    LexG: uh, thanks?
    I would say that Evan Almighty would have to be the bigger disappointment, since it’s still in the red and Hostel 2 is not.

  47. Yeah, Evan Almighty is the big negative of the summer season. I can’t fathom how they spent $200mil on that movie. Transformers wasn’t even that much.

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