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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady – Oct 5

There’s something about Ben Stiller openings… he is big box office in concept comedies or teamed up with someone. But he is also completely capable of having an Envy or a Duplex. The Heartbreak Kid is neither of those. It’s a lot more like the opening of Zoolander. Thing is, $45 million total domestic for a Ben Stiller movie is no longer considered a success. He is paid with the expectation of doing double that.
I would also say that on this one, the studio never found a hook, has terrible outdoor, and scared away both kids and adults, leaving only teens and college kids as an audience… which can be okay… but Stiller’s success has been in finding a wider audience. Night At The Museum was Stiller’s Flubber, which is to say a machine that was aimed at kids who wanted to see the gimmick more than the perfectly likable star.
It’s not real clear who “they” thought was waiting to see The Seeker… or even who knew it was coming. But it isn’t working out.
Sadly, Peter Berg’s The Kingdom took almost exactly the same Friday-to-Friday hit as Peter Berg’s The Rundown… maybe people stayed home to watch Friday Night Lights. I find the whole thing very frustrating. Berg has become a significant filmmaker. He is getting beat on this time around for his style, which has been stolen so often since Friday Night Lights that he is now accused of imitating the style. But at some point, the story he chooses and the style he shoots in and the audience interest will merge for a massive hit (see: Judd Apatow/Larry David)… and until then, the box office results, while not bad, will not feel quite good.
Nice number for Michael Clayton. I kinda love this movie… but still, a $45,000 – $50,000 per screen at the end of the weekend is great, but assures little as the film rolls out.

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47 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady – Oct 5”

  1. The Carpetmuncher says:

    First to say…

  2. Cadavra says:

    Can it really be possible that America has finally had enough of “comedies” with Ben Stiller getting kicked in the balls and otherwise humiliated? Oh, please, God, let it be so!

  3. Wrecktum says:

    A poor campaign and release date did in Heartbreak Kid. How many other big comedies have been released this time of year?
    The success (or lack thereof) of The Kingdom may demonstrate that American audiences simply don’t want to see movies that deal with the troubles in the Middle East. The war in Iraq is a real loser politically and also, it seems, at the boxoffice.
    The elephant in the room? The Game Plan. People seem almost embarrassed by the success of this movie. Poland doesn’t even mention it in his Friday assessment. But is shows that Disney knows exactly what family audiences want to see right now; Bridge to Terebithia, Wild Hogs and now The Game Plan vastly overperformed industry expectations, while other studios’ family fare continues to struggle.

  4. NickF says:

    Whether the number is 4.8 or 5.1 mil, that’s a horrendous Friday gross for The Heartbreak Kid. I wasn’t even aware that there was an original for this remake to even exist. I guess everyone involved thought it would be an easy comedy/cultural vehicle for Ben and his family to remake. They guessed wrong if the project weekend tally ends up less than 16 million.
    I’m also intrigued by the weekend estimates that people had come up with for this movie. I remember them been as high as $40 million. Though that may have been around the time when it had 7 reviews and a 86% rating on Rottentomatoes. Analyst estimates dropped around the same time that the RT score went down the drain.
    Sometimes you have to wonder what Studios are thinking when they position certain movies on their release schedule. Way too many movies are been mismanaged from the day they are put into production, marketed, and eventually released. It’s as if they like losing money or releasing failed projects.
    Btw shouldn’t Nikki mention the moderate success and profitability of the female driven Resident Evil fanchise? With these movies it’s been Milla’s show and she’s succeeded. I would think that Kate Beckinsale and the Underworld movies could be put in the same category.

  5. NickF says:

    And about The Game Plan. In a sense it’s a harmless kid and family friendly movie. It’s clearly intended for that demographic and no one else. I see nothing about it that attempts to prove otherwise, so it’s continued success if no surprise. Would this movie have worked at New Line? looking at their history, no. Lionsgate? nope. Why is that? probably due to Disney’s magician like advertising. On the outside looking in it’s about a QB having an illegitimate kid. i.e. Tom Brady’s life redux. 😉
    You’d have to ask Disney how this concept and their family brand turned this movie into a family crowd pleaser.
    Wrecktum is right on about The Kingdom. It’s not a good time for an Iraq movie, especially one that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a timely social drama, a comedy, or an action movie?

  6. David Poland says:

    I don’t think The Game Plan is the elephant in any room. It is a standard programmer now… scary guy/cute kids… The Rock/Ice Cube/Vin Diesel… not horrified by it… it’s standard…
    And as I pointed out last weekend, it opened very slightly behind what Open Season did in the slot last year… and second Friday, it’s slightly ahead of Open Season last year. Disney is releasing it, so it should be doing these numbers. Gridiron Gang wasn’t for the tykes. What else is worth saying? It’s running slightly ahead of Are We There Yet? and will likely stop at about $90 million. Yay!

  7. movielocke says:

    outside of Harry Potter, HDM, and Narnia the Dark is Rising series is probably the best written children’s fantasy series with the widest possible appeal. but, like Prydain, there’s really no fandom base for it, and if there was such a base they’d be about as pleased with this movie as cineastes would be with a colorized Citizen Kane. I think all that’s the same between the book and the movie are the names Will and Merriam, everything else is wildly different, at least that’s the impression I got from reading about the adaptation and seeing the changed title and awful trailers. this movie sounds and appears to be a worse problem than Spielberg moving Harry Potter to america and casting Haley Joel Osment.

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    ‘On the outside looking in it’s about a QB having an illegitimate kid. i.e. Tom Brady’s life redux. ;)You’d have to ask Disney how this concept and their family brand turned this movie into a family crowd pleaser.’
    Well, for openers, the kid isn’t illegitimate, a point clarified very early on in the movie…

  9. Glamourboy says:

    My biggest question since I heard about The Heartbreak Kid remake that still hasn’t been answered….why remake The Heartbreak Kid if you’re going to totally demolish the premise….Stiller could have done this as an original piece and pacified all the critics and audiences that know and love the original. Granted, it hasn’t reached the status of The Graduate….but the original is a brillant comedy. Why take a smart comedy and dumb it down to this degree…it’s like doing The Philadelphia Story with Denise Richards and David Spade. True, some films are critic-proof (Game Plan, latest example)…but I think adult comedies are often review-driven. And no way film critics were going to give an idiotic remake of a brilliant film any leeway. File it under, WTF???

  10. Wrecktum says:

    “It’s running slightly ahead of Are We There Yet? and will likely stop at about $90 million.”
    Well then it’ll stop at about $10m more than Are We There Yet and $0m more than Are We Done Yet, which I do find significant. Are We There Yet was also released in family friendly January instead of barren September.
    I think that Disney is running on all cylinders in terms of its family development slate. Their development team deserves props. No, I don’t work for Oren Avin.

  11. 555 says:

    Peter Farrelly was on a local radio show bemoaning the lack of quality in the TV spots, essentially saying that since this was their raunchiest film to date, none of the good jokes could be shown on television. That same issue didn’t seem to bother Knocked Up or Superbad, though.

  12. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Exactly when did Peter Berg become a significant filmmaker? Yes, he’s well-liked in Hollywood, but the actual films are mediocre at best.
    Very Bad Things is one the worst movies of the 90’s. Misanthropic in the very worst post-Tarantino way. The Rundown is hammy nonsense. The Kingdom is half a good TV show followed by half a bad Bruckheimer film, and dives right into a political minefield yet remains cautiously unpolitical in the worst Hollywood way. And Friday Night Lights the movie can’t hold Friday Night Lights the TV show’s jock.
    I give Berg his props for TV but as a filmmaker I don’t see it.

  13. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    I rate Berg too even though I think most of his work is flawed, however FNL the tv show (btw he IS the show ) is phenomenal. VERY BAD THINGS is underrated and it has nothing to do with the garbage that floated during Tarantino’s wake like THINGS TO DO IN DENVER etc. However THE KINGDOM is his least interesting film. A routine actioner that thankfully leaves the heavy jingoism at home but unfortunately thinks the 80m of investigation work by the operatives is actually compelling material.. well it isn’t, in fact it’s about as smart as STEALTH. It’s watchable entertainment and not boring but instantly forgettable fare.
    HEARTBREAK – Watching the Farreleys career over the last decade is like watching a cloned update of John Landis’s.

  14. Joe Leydon says:

    JBD: Oh, I don’t know. As far as I know, the Farreleys haven’t killed anybody.

  15. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Ouch Joe ! Kick a man when he’s down why don’t ya. Do you know why there never was a great documentary made of the TZ deaths? Only E! specials and the like.

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    JBD: Actually, you raise a good point. Why indeed hasn’t there been a worthy doc made about that incident? A couple of good books, but no doc. Hmmm. Because such a doc might have been too troublesome for the wrong people, and so it would never get much festival or theatrical play?
    I must admit: A few years ago, at SXSW, I was in a crowded room when John Landis entered. I literally had to leave the room, because I felt such a strong desire to walk over and punch his lights out just on general principle. Trust me: I don’t usually do that sort of thing, but I have a healthy respect for my own anger.
    And yet, a few days later, I gave his latest movie a good review that was later blurbed on the DVD package. Go figure.

  17. You’d think having a movie that is too dirty for advertisements would be an easy sell. People seem to be clamouring for the next taboo or whatever.
    It serves The Seeker right for looking like an even worse version of Eragon.

  18. Joe Straat says:

    Okay, Jeffrey, this comment seems like an overexagerration and bait, but I’ll bite. How exactly is The Kingdom as smart as Stealth? The Kingdom seems to me like a movie that is trying to make a common American audience understand the situation of that certain part of the world through an action/procedural flick (Of course, the common American won’t bother because they mostly only care about movies as escapist entertainment). And as a twist that made it resonate more for me than it did you, it made that understanding emotionally ambiguous. Maybe the added twist feels tacked on and false to you, and you can feel that way, but I think The Kingdom hits its target and blends things like buddy cop developments and political drama almost seamlessly and entertainingly. I am disappointed that the movie had to resort to BLAM BLAM, good guys hit everything while bad guys can’t hit the broad side of a barn climaxes, and I still think Peter Berg needs a true breakout film, but STEALTH? Come on.

  19. Joe Straat says:

    “And as a twist…”
    That should be “And adds a twist…”
    My apologies.

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    It is 12:47 am Sunday CDT, and there still are not yet enough reviews of Feel the Noise for the film to qualify for a rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, obviously, as anyne who has read my Variety review will know, I’m not a big fan of the film. Even so, I can’t help wondering: Why aren’t people in MSM and the blogosphere getting off their asses and reviewing this movie? Yeah, I know, it wasn’t press screened. So what? Lots of movies aren’t press screened, but they get reviewed pretty damn quick. The delay couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that this is a film dealing with people of color, could it?

  21. jeffmcm says:

    “I have a healthy respect for my own anger.”
    That’s for damn sure.

  22. PastePotPete says:

    I really need to echo movielocke here… I was a BIG fan of the Dark is Rising series as a kid and it’s probably my second favorite kid’s fantasy series after Narnia, but the second I saw the trailer I knew they’d ruined it.
    Just the casting of the main kid… I mean, casting an American is one thing, but the kid they cast strikes me as such a cliche California child actor type that it’s almost sickening. Like the child actor(played by the brother from Wonder Years) in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
    The Dark is Rising series had such a dark ominous tone to it that it really needed first rate treatment. Also there was really no purpose behind filling out the rest of the cast with check-cashing British actors for color. The kids are almost everything in the series.
    There’s not much of a following for the Dark is Rising but the material was there for a stellar series of films. Complete wasted opportunity.

  23. IOIOIOI says:

    Joe; the Landis story is damn funny. You also answered your own question with FEEL THE NOISE. If they do not get a screening. They simply will not pay to see it. That’s how they roll.

  24. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Joe Straat – fair call on the STEALTH analogy. Everything tends to go through some sort of amplifier on this blog (VERY BAD THINGS one of the worst of the 90s!!?) and I must admit I fail to turn down the volume level before hitting post on occasion. However that said, I do feel that the politics of THE KINGDOM were possibly dumbed down a lot from a smarter original script and it’s fair to say that you could remove a huge chunk of running time in that film and not affect the plot one iota. It reveals its shallowness by the sheer brutal fact that the animated opening credit sequence contains more information than the following 2hrs. And the ridiculous ‘twist’ you commented on, would not have been so annoying if it wasn’t for the horrible hamfisted redflag waving setup of it, earlier in the piece.. “you see people who have lost digits are bomb makers, I hope we don’t see any people later on with missing fingers”.
    What I found truly condescending was the “they’re just like us” reverse racism being thrown at us, which has been a folly for many well intentioned hollywood types. Oh brother. Actually it is as dumb as STEALTH, I take it back.

  25. IO, many critics pay to go see the movies that don’t get shown for critics. The movies ain’t gonna reach the 150 critics mark that most movies seem to reach on RT but 20-30 or so is enough to a fairly accurate score.

  26. Rob says:

    I have no intention of seeing either The Heartbreak Kid or The Kingdom, mostly because Jesse James, Michael Clayton, The Darjeeling Limited and Lust, Caution all opened in my city this weekend and I won’t have time.
    But I think people are being too harsh on the Farrellys. Am I the only one who secretly loves both Stuck on You and Fever Pitch?

  27. I would wager ‘Yes’, but I’ve been wrong on these sorts of things before. I was surprised people liked “La Vie en Rose”!

  28. Dr Wally says:

    I liked Fever Pitch but the British original is far better.

  29. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    KINGDOM spoiler above Dave. Can you edit or fix? My bad.

  30. anghus says:

    i’ve only heard snippets from the Landis story, but it just goes to show you how forgiving they are in Hollywood.
    Hell, they gave Polanski an Oscar. I mean, if you’re going to hand a pedophile the highest award in the business, why can’t a guy responsible for the death of three people keep getting work?

  31. RocketScientist says:

    Hey, let’s not forget Victor Salva.

  32. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Next weekend is jeffmcm’s wet dream.
    “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” — name-checking and Oscar-whoring in the trailer. Strike 1.
    “The Final Season” — name-checking an early-90’s movie in the banner ad. Strike 2.
    “Michael Clayton” — no name-checking, no Oscar-whoring, expect it to clean up.
    “Why Did I Get Married” — Tyler Perry movie, will be big in black areas, not so big elsewhere.
    “We Own the Night” — Oscar-whoring in the trailer. Strike 3 — yerrrrrrrrrrr OUT!

  33. anghus says:

    Did you see the numbers thing in EW for Tyler Perry.
    his cut of the 100 episode order for House of Payne is 200 Million dollars. I was thinking that number had to be some kind of mistake.
    Would he really get 2 million per half hour episode?

  34. Joe Leydon says:

    So if We Own the Night,/i> is the No. 1 movie next weekend, will Chucky hang his head in shame?

  35. Joe Leydon says:

    And if I get the coding right in my next post, will you all forgive me for the last one?

  36. Cadavra says:

    Okay, let me try again: /i> is this italicized?

  37. Cadavra says:

    Clearly not.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, please confirm, if you will: you have absolutely zero interest in the content of any of those movies, and you are judging them as losers or winners purely on the basis of their marketing campaigns, yes or no?
    Second question: are you twelve?

  39. IOIOIOI says:

    Again: WHAT DID THE 12 YEAR-OLDS DO TO GET SUCH A HORRIBLE CHARACTERIZATION OF THEIR AGE? This never ceases to confuse me because 12 is the last real year of childhood, and 15 year-olds are the real dick heads in the tweener/teenage hierarchy. So why dont people pick on them more? The 12 year-olds need a reprieve damn it!

  40. jeffmcm says:

    Good point. People probably say ‘twelve’ because it’s one syllable.

  41. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff; good answer. Good answer. I am going to be keeping an eye on you. Yeah… you’re a smart one.

  42. jeffmcm says:

    Er, thanks. Nonetheless, I just wish Chucky was as interested in conversation as he is in making pronouncements.

  43. TPatrick says:

    Maybe he’s just not interested in conversing with you.

  44. jeffmcm says:

    No, he doesn’t converse with anyone.

  45. Fact: Elizabeth only made $30mil in 1998 so how much are people actually expecting the sequel to make?

  46. christian says:

    “I wasn’t even aware that there was an original for this remake to even exist.”
    Then get thee to a netflix now. No excuses.

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