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David Poland

By David Poland

Sunday Estimates by Klady – Oct 21

I think it’s worth pointing out, though no one seems to much care – could it actually be a race thing… a quality thing? – that Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married is holding better than any Tyler Perry film to date and that it will be no worse than his #2 film (of 4) and could actually pass his #1, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, if it keeps holding. Is this a sign of some crossover? Are adult white women, clearly rejecting Rendition and Elizabeth 2, showing up for this one as a colorblind alternative that speaks to their lives in bigger numbers?
30 Days of Night is one of Sony’s weaker openers in the teen/action/horror categories. But was there much more there to get? Like Lionsgate, Sony’s efforts in that arena that target boys and not really girls seem to be fading. It’s not quite the shock some make it out to be. Even the tne boy demo gets tired of being fed the same thing over and over. They’ll come out for Beowulf, but their next group obsession has yet to come clear.
$5 million plus for The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D reminds us that the theatrical experience is still valued… especially when the kids market is being underserved. It will be interesting to see if WB can get any screens for The Polar Express in the next 2 months.
Across The Universe continues to hold strong on the grrrrl power tip. $25 million is not impossible. But the whole experience has to be much more exciting (and pressure filled) for the DVD release, where they will hope to become a phenom and make back the money the film cost.
Anyone who thinks that a $3500 per screen for Gone Baby Gone is a bad result was smoking the pipe going into the weekend. It’s the third best per screen amongst 1000+ screen titles, which is amazing considering that Casey Affleck is not a star and the film is being sold almost exclusively on positive media energy.
Into The Wild took some more lumps as it expanded from 153 to 658 screens. As a point of reference, it did a similar per-screen to GBG while being on about a third of the screens. I don’t know why this film, which is beloved by a high percent of viewers once they see it, isn’t quite catching.
The Darjeeling Limited is playing it closer to the vest, doing better in per screen, but finding a smaller audience in actuality. Logically, Searchlight is mining all the money that is out there for the film… a limited opportunity once they knew lightening wasn’t striking.
3:10 to Yuma has been forced to give up screens, essentially ending the theatrical run, but $53 million is quite an excellent haul.
Lars & The Real Girl is limping along, hoping for a word of mouth push to come. The $8800 per screen is second only to Nightmare 3D in the Top 30. Nice. But that next step has been the killer this season… let’s hope they figure out how to turn that trick. The film is running on a similar track to Half Nelson so far… but this one not only deserves better (so did HN, for that matter), but it is a much more audience friendly film… they just need to let audiences know that.

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47 Responses to “Sunday Estimates by Klady – Oct 21”

  1. ManWithNoName says:

    Good hold for Michael Clayton. Hopefully Gone Baby Gone’s word-of-mouth can help it find a wider audience.
    Interesting that Tyler Perry had a higher per screen average than the #1 movie. Good for him. I enjoyed the flick, and like I said elsewhere, Jill Scott should (but I know won’t) be nominated for several acting awards.

  2. NickF says:

    This will turn out to be his best 2nd week drop. 2& better than Diary.

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    I don’t want to dredge up an old argument, but, seriously: Do you think many people may be staying away from Into the Wild because it’s fairly common knowledge how the story ends?
    Much like — and no, I’m not trying to be snarky or condescending, I mean this as a serious question — do you think many people will stay away from “Sweeney Todd” once they hear what the movie is about? Yes, I know, it’s a great musical, it’s had an impressive run on Broadway, and on and on. But…?

  4. movieman says:

    MGM should be sneaking the hell out of “Lars” since it’s a w.o.m.-driven kind of film. Instead, they’re frittering away whatever steam it picked up in Toronto with their half-hearted marketing/release strategies. Very sad.
    Of course, the bigger question is whether “sneak previews”–such a quaint, old-fashioned phrase, isn’t it?–even matter anymore. Disney apparently doesn’t think so. They sneaked “Dan in Real Life” last nite on a whopping 497 screens! Great way to generate buzz, Mouse House.
    It’s beginning to look like Warners stumbled big-time with “Jesse James.” Maybe they should have just blown their entire wad on a 2,000+ print break last month.
    If they had, “Jesse” might have at least garnered some decent opening weekend numbers thanks to Brad Pitt’s name.
    By platforming it to death, the damn thing will be lucky to hit $5-million domestically.
    While I’m happy to see crudely manipulative, stultifyingly earnest movie-of-the-weeks like “Rendition” and “Reservation Road” flop, those numbers–particularly the ones for “RR” in its platform launch–are truly appalling. Especially when you consider the “name” actors involved and the fact that both actually managed to accrue some very good reviews (go figure).
    Anybody want to bet that Focus ditches their plans to take “RR” “wide-ish” on November 2nd?
    Those abysmal numbers for “The Comebacks” are semi-surprising, particularly since it’s actually (marginally) more tolerable than either “Date” or “Epic Movie.”
    Maybe poisonous w.o.m. from those two are finally catching up with Fox’s nascent quasi-franchise.
    I’d like to think that “Gone Baby Gone” might have done a tad better if Miramax had actually sold the damn thing (and opened it on several hundred more screens). But probably not.
    Hopefully positive audience reaction will at least give Ben’s baby some much deserved legs.
    Re: Tyler Perry’s latest mass-cult phenom.
    I find it very interesting that no mainstream publication has yet commented on the film’s wildly offensive gay stereotypes.
    I hate to make it a race thing, but you can bet that if a white director had featured African-American stereotypes as hateful, and hurtful, in one of their films the black establishment (Reverend Al Sharpton, et al)–not to mention knee-jerk liberal “entertainment commentators”–would have crucified them.
    And rightfully so.

  5. Noah says:

    I saw Into the Wild this weekend and I enjoyed it quite a bit. But, the truth of the matter is that it is a very long and quiet two and a half hours. While I found the story moving and deliberate and thoughtful, I’m sure there are a lot of folks that might disagree with Sean Penn’s politics and also might not want to see a movie about a rich kid who burns his money to go to Alaska. It might not be getting the best word of mouth from regular joes because they might be turned off by the idea of a kid who has everything but throws it away.
    Like I said, I didn’t find these to be problems and I quite liked the film (though I fell short of absolutely loving it), but Emile Hirsch isn’t exactly Teen Beat material even though he is absolutely fantastic. Perhaps if this film were released after Speed Racer, which is sure to make his star shine brighter, then the film would have had a reliable young star to sell.

  6. Wrecktum says:

    Is it pernounced the French e-MEEL or the German E-mil?

  7. Wrecktum says:

    That’s “pronounced” of course.

  8. hanimal says:

    the german e-mil.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    Joe, I think the answer to both questions is no. Not as many people as you think are familiar with the story and if people stay away from Sweeney Todd it’ll be for different reasons.

  10. Wrecktum says:

    The cover of the latest paperback of Into The Wild states right on the cover that the dude dies so I doubt that’s a motivating factor for filmgoers lack of interest.

  11. CloudsWithoutWater says:

    I think the only Box Office hope for Into The Wild is an awards re-release. It’ll do well in Europe, I would imagine. And I think it will have a very long life on DVD as the basic ideas will resonate with a certain type of person for the foreseeable future.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    Wrecktum: I don’t quite understand your argument. Again, I’m not trying to sound snarky, but if the info is that widespread, might that actually support, rather than negate, my theory? I mean,if word is out…

  13. jeffmcm says:

    I think Wrecktum’s point is that if the publishers didn’t think it would hurt their book sales, it probably wouldn’t hurt ticket sales either.
    And the info is not that widespread, Joe.

  14. The Big Perm says:

    Sweeney Todd’s hurtle is that it’s a musical, not that it’s a slasher film.
    Into the Wild just sounds dull.

  15. ManWithNoName says:

    Just want to say the info isn’t that widespread, Joe, and that these comments all suck!! Oh well, I’m still gonna go see it (it just came out here), but I wish I didn’t know the ending already. I had heard it didn’t end well for him (meaning, to me, any number of things besides death).

  16. Wrecktum says:

    “I think Wrecktum’s point is that if the publishers didn’t think it would hurt their book sales, it probably wouldn’t hurt ticket sales either.”
    Yes, that’s right, jeff. The publishers are using the fact that he dies to spur book sales. Clearly that’s a marketing hook the filmmakers don’t mind utilizing.

  17. Wrecktum says:

    Here’s the cover I was talking about:
    There’s an even more recent printing which features the movie poster but with the same text. Obviously, if they wanted to keep the ending a secret, they wouldn’t be so overt with the marketing.

  18. Nicol D says:

    Saw 30 Days this weekend after a huge busy stretch. Not too bad. Good enough mood and atmosphere and well cast vampires who actually look creepy, but a 3rd act that defies logic and panders to the ‘fanboys’ way too much.
    As usual, I continue to wonder why films like Halloween are released in August and not at well…Halloween.
    As for Into the Wild…I was always surprised that people thought that it had wide appeal. Telling people the way Chris McCandless died is being used to sell the film because it is the raison d’etre for the film’s existence. For his followers, it’s what makes him a martyr to the ‘capitalist power structure’.
    Penn lionizes his subject matter and turns him into a ‘saint’. But to the vast majority of people who have to work hard to put food on the table; a rich white kid who burns his money, goes off to Alaska with no knowledge or research of the land because he is ‘in tune with nature’ and dies 20 miles from civilization is a spoiled brat; which is what McCandless was, and the wealthy Marxist Penn is.
    I like Clooney and look forward to Clayton. At least he is upfront about who he is and acknowledges his lifestyle.
    Not trying to be contentious, but that is why Into the Wild is not catching on. It appeals to the same crowd that loves The Motorcycle Diaries. There is no tragedy here. Just arrogance and stupidity.
    Having said that, Into the Wild has one great thing going for it…the Eddie Vedder remake of Hard Sun. Very similar to the original by Indio, but a fantastic piece of rock. Great lyrics by Gordon Peterson! I will also say the trailer cut to the song is well done.

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. Chalk it up to all the years I have spent fielding complaints from civilians — that, everyday folks who buy tickets, who don’t read film journals or post on blogs — about movies that they hear are “too depressing” to go see. But I remain convinced that a large number of potntial ticketbuyers just ain’t going to buy a ticket to something once they so much as get a whiff of an unhappy ending. Mind you, I’m saying the unhappy ending is the only reason why Into the Wild is not doing better. But it can’t help.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    Joe, I don’t need to tell you that there are plenty of movies with downer endings that have made plenty of money. But I agree, it doesn’t help.

  21. matro says:

    Is Beowulf really a teen boy movie? Apart from the gimmick technology, the trailers and commercials all point to a snoozefest.

  22. IOIOIOI says:

    Outside of the fact that Into the Wild is based off of a rich kid that pissed his life and money away on some journey of self. I really have zero desire to see this movie, with this rich kid, that croaks at the end. What am I supposed to get out of it? He was a good kid that died to young? Really? That’s the point? The hell with that chicanery. I will wait to see it on cable or DVD.

  23. Chicago48 says:

    For me there are only 2 movies to wait for: Atonement and American Gangster. None of these other movies attract me at all. The actors don’t attract me and the storylines don’t attract me. i think Gone baby gone is going to suffer from being too closely affil. w/ Mystic River, which left most audiences unsatisfied, incl. me. Written by the same author, regardless of what the critics say, the audience remembers Mystic River. While the acting was good, the story went absolutely nowhere in the end.

  24. tjfar67 says:

    In the book Into The Wild you find out Chris McCandless, err, Alex Supertramp, dies in the first paragraph or so.
    It is not a story that leads to death. The story starts with the death and then peices together the story of the person’s life. I don’t know if the movie follws the same structure as the book, but the ‘ending’ of the story is just the beginning.
    That said, I am not sure if the eposodic nature of the book would translate well into a narrative feature. So as a read of the book, I have a wait until DVD feeling towards it.

  25. marychan says:

    According to Hollywood Reporter, “Lars and The Real Girl” will expand to 1200 theaters on this friday….
    A stupid strategy, if you ask me….

  26. Chicago48 says:

    Would it be fair to say:
    1) there’s too much product out there and not enough theatres to showcase them?
    2) Just because you’re an award winning star doesn’t mean you can open a movie?
    3) Maybe some of these star-powered movies need to find supplemental venues like HBO pay per view?
    4) The economy and higher unemployment, lack of consumer bucks, may be effecting boxo?
    All of the above?

  27. Wrecktum says:

    Mystic River made nearly $90m, which is almost nine times its opening weekend. Seems to me not only did people like it, but they recommended it to their friends.

  28. Ian Sinclair says:

    BEOWULF has had the most brilliant advertising campaign of any picture released this year. All they needed to have was all of those IMAX 3D screens packed for a night or two by curious people who don’t really know what to expect – word of mouth is all they will need after that to make it a phenomenon, as the stunned crowds leave the theater hailing it as the experience of their lives.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    So you’ve seen it then, Mr. Tremayne? Please favor us with a brief review.

  30. Rob says:

    “Mystic River, which left most audiences unsatisfied, incl. me.”
    And you’re basing this on…

  31. tfresca says:

    Tyler Perry’s movies could be getting a pass because of the persistent rumors about Perry himself. Truth be told Rev. Al and others rarely start protesting about movies with offensive stereotypes starring Blacks and when they do it’s usually movies starring African Americans, such as Get Rich or Die Trying. But all that’s beside the point. Couldn’t Perry’s success just be because of the pre-awareness his product brings.

  32. Wrecktum says:

    “BEOWULF has had the most brilliant advertising campaign of any picture released this year. All they needed to have was all of those IMAX 3D screens packed for a night or two by curious people who don’t really know what to expect – word of mouth is all they will need after that to make it a phenomenon, as the stunned crowds leave the theater hailing it as the experience of their lives.”
    It will also cure cancer and get even the feyest of Englishmen laid.

  33. IOIOIOI says:

    Mary; all of this LIMITED RELEASE is a BAD IDEA. This is 2007. People have internet access and can read about these LIMITED RELEASED FILMS MONTHS before they get to their towns. It makes no damn sense to have this structuring in this day in age.
    I know there are only so many screens and only so many days in which to release these pictures. However… I have always wondered… if it would be better to get these films in more theatres across the country — no matter the limited screen count– instead of slowly creeping them out across the country? It just seems odd to me that these movies are expected to seem FRESH and NEW when they get to my town. When I know that they are OLD AND STALE in terms of other parts of the country already have weeks and months with them.

  34. Wrecktum says:

    IOIOIOI the answer to your question is “print and advertising costs.”

  35. IOIOIOI says:

    Wrecktum; they should use online more? There’s ways to get things out there, but you make sense with your answer. So thanks.

  36. That book cover for ITW reminds me of The Blair Witch Project.

  37. Nicol D says:

    The problem is Into the Wild does – not – have a downer ending. The film revels and elates in McCandless’ death. It martyrs him and sees him as a prince because of it. It is The Passion for the Naomi Klein set. That is why people cannot relate to it.
    Most people ( even on the left ) are no where near as extreme as Sean Penn is in his world view and McCandless is simply not a sympathetic character. If the film saw his death as a tragedy; in that we were asked to consider how this young man wasted his life; wasted his opportunities and put his family and friends through grief, it would have a better chance at success. As is, it is a woefully misguided tale of the selfishness of a spoiled young man motivated by his own instinct and – not – the needs of others or the poor. That is most likely a great part as to why this film is not clicking.
    But damn…I do love the Vedder song!
    As for Beowulf,
    I love Zemeckis, but I still do not see the benefit of hiring actors and CG’ing them. The trailers are fine, but it just makes me long for a live action version. CG naked Angelina just makes me want to see live action naked Angelina.
    …but I will be there opening weekend.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    I just came from Into the Wild and liked it (surprise, Nicol) but all I want to say is that you overstate yourself to the point almost of absurdity.

  39. movielocke says:

    Supertramp was only 20 miles from civilization? A day’s walk in mid summer? That moves his death from tragic to dumbassery. Just being unable to follow the river downstream until he found a ford when he decided to leave already tells you how thoroughly incompetent he was, but I was willing to forgive him thinking his only attachment was the bus (which is what I think eventually killed him because the bus tamed him). His inabilities as an outdoorsman just continue to mount the more I learn.

  40. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, Penn should have displayed a tad more skepticism towards his wilderness abilities, but it’s there – it’s pretty clear early on that he’s out of his league, and Penn knows it. The key to the movie, for me, is the scene at the end (SPOILER) where McCandless is writing in his diary the line about ‘happiness is meaningless without someone to share it with’ or something similar to that. He realizes that no man is an island, just too late, and the book and movie are the redemption he could not get in life.

  41. christian says:

    “BEOWULF has had the most brilliant advertising campaign of any picture released this year.”
    Based on what? I haven’t liked any of the trailers and that billboard poster is uninspiring. Nobody I know who’s seeen thse clips thinks of it as the second coming. Except Ian Sinclair. Have you seen it? I think not.
    And Nichol D., INTO THE WILD is far more objective than Penn’s politics. If you miss this film, then you miss a career peak performance from Hal Holbrook and others.

  42. Spacesheik says:

    The only advertising campaign i saw was the poster with the angelina lookalike with the big tits —
    that is not exactly gonna pull in the ‘300’ crowd

  43. jeffmcm says:

    You’re being ironic,right?

  44. Rob says:

    “It martyrs him and sees him as a prince because of it. It is The Passion for the Naomi Klein set. That is why people cannot relate to it.”
    You can’t possibly have seen the film and think this is true.

  45. anghus says:

    anyone who thinks Bewoulf is going to do 300 like numbers should take a look at the box office for Pathfinder.
    I have a feeling Bewoulf’s box office will be closer to Pathfinder than 300.

  46. Sevenmack says:

    “Why Did I Get Married” is holding up largely because this is the first high-quality film Tyler Perry has made. “Daddy’s Little Girls” did some decent business for Lions Gate, but no one would call it a good movie on any level; too many on-set miscues that made it through editing and a script that was just plain melodramatic. And “Madea’s Family Reunion” was just a rehash of Perry’s previous Madea skits.
    “Married” had a quality opening and the on-location shots looked good too. Given that this is a Tyler Perry film, it wasn’t as low-budget as his previous outings. The film also has a script that is accessible not only to black middle class couples, but even to white couples too. Marriage hell is just simply a universal theme anyone with a decent script and a nice budget can milk. And Perry milked it well. There were actually a few in the audience when my girlfriend and I went to see it two weeks ago.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if you have a growing number of white folks who end up watching the film based on word-of-mouth from their black friends. With the success of this film, along with the decent ratings for “House of Payne” — which is an awful sitcom by any measure — Perry could end up crossing over into the mainstream from the modern chitlin’ circuit in which he’s made so much money.

  47. Cadavra says:

    “Do you think many people may be staying away from Into the Wild because it’s fairly common knowledge how the story ends?”
    Didn’t seem to hurt TITANIC 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