MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

The Idiocy Of A $25 Million Day "Disappointment"

Funny… the first time this summer I didn’t warn about overhype causing stupid stories about a non-record for a movie being a “disappointment” and we get one.
Crazy shite.
This 5-day opening will still surely be amongst the 15 best ever. (#15 is $120.84m) And the odds are good that we are looking at the Top 10 or higher. But as is always the case with these movies, we are in the ether… all precedent is iffy, at best.
What galls is that the notion that this was going to be a $170m opening five came from people who want to tell the public that there is such a thing as tracking that says that a movie will open to $170 million. NRG or MarketCast may project that kind of number, but there is no such thing as tracking that is specific to ANY number, much less numbers for weekends over $100 million.
Of course, those same people then start using the “d” word to cover for the fact that their numbers were, simply, wrong… possible, but wrong.
And that’s what’s wrong with all this obsessive box office projection, which has really taken off since Drudge started linking to Nikki Finke offering Sony’s or Universal’s pre-weekend projections and/or Friday early evening (west coast) projections. As one of the regulars in here has asked, what’s wrong if the numbers are right? The answer is, “nothing.” The problem is when the numbers or projections are wrong. Like Barack Obama: The Muslim, unringing the bell completely is impossible. And false mythology continues to spread like a media game of Telephone.
My guess is around $140 million. But even if it’s $130m or $125m… are we really counting that as a disappointment these days? Even with that start, you’re still likely looking at the top grossing film of the summer. And internationally, it is pretty much guaranteed to be #1 for the summer in the traditional of Pirates and Spider-Man 3 and the Potter films. So….

Be Sociable, Share!

42 Responses to “The Idiocy Of A $25 Million Day "Disappointment"”

  1. mysteryperfecta says:

    I don’t know how anyone accurately projects box office for a movie like this. Yes the Indy trilogy was huge, but since ’89, its been almost totally off the grid (unlike Star Wars pre-prequels). The first and best entry is 27 years old. How much of that generation still cares? How many in the successive generations have embraced these movies?
    Does it boil down to a math problem? “Event Movie” + Release Date + Spielberg + Nostalgia + Shia + DVD sales + x = ???
    So yes, the “D” word is ridiculous.

  2. mutinyco says:

    It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the story. The media likes to create narratives. Build it up, tear it down. We saw this all the way through the primaries. The point is, there isn’t any place for prediction in journalism. The job isn’t to psychically predict the news before it happens but to report on it once it does.
    On a similar note, as disastrous as things seemed for Che after Variety whacked its knees with a tire iron, it’s also become the one movie that’s developed any kind of consensus that it should be the Palme winner — with Hoberman joining that group now.
    We’ve become a sort of bipolar society. We get our hopes up or make big deals about things reaching astronomical levels, then when they turn out to be Earthborn, which is all they were ever going to be anyhow, it’s considered a disappointment.

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    Think it’ll make more than Speed Racer by, oh, I dunno…. like, maybe already?

  4. Roman says:

    People are idiots. Anybody who though this was as frontloaded as Star Wars is an idiot. This movie will make a ton of money and and is only going to pick up more and more steam over the weekend.
    Indy fans are older and they don’t want to see the film in a room full of teenagers. They are the ones who will guarantee that the movie has legs. Trust me, this one will be leggy.
    And it already killed Prince Caspian.

  5. jeffmcm says:

    The problem is we have to turn every damn thing in life into some kind of horse race. People singing on TV? Boring, they have to compete against each other. Ditto for comedians. And since there’s so much money here, of course it turns into another high-profile thing to wager on across the media.
    And, every mention of the Indiana Jones/Speed Racer/ Narnia/ Iron Man horse race is one less mention of Redbelt, or Young @ Heart, or Standard Operating Procedure, or Roman de Gare.

  6. Blackcloud says:

    ^ Surprised you haven’t heard of it before, it’s one of the oldest (and most well known) rituals in American sports. One fish market owner in Pittsburgh even said he won’t sell octopi to people he thinks are from Detroit so it won’t happen in Pittsburgh.

  7. Jeremy Smith says:

    ROMAN DE GARE is getting the attention it deserves.

  8. mutinyco says:

    Imagine if somebody threw a dead cat onto the ice?…
    Do you realize how completely insane this is? They’re throwing a dead animal like fucking bolas. And they think it’s funny.
    It’s completely rancid. And the clinical detachment of that short doc is genius.

  9. IOIOIOI says:

    Get a handle on your fucking life, Mutiny. This tradition is older than you, your father, and possibly your grandfather. It’s not like they are taking live Octupus, cutting their throats, and throwing them on the ice. They are dead, frozen, and being thrown from coolers.
    If you have a problem with this tradition. Man up, head to Detroit, and tell them yourself. I will make sure to call the medical attendants on your behalf.

  10. mutinyco says:

    Certainly isn’t older than either my father or grandfather. At least according to that documentary.
    And just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s not repugnant and uncivilized.
    When the space aliens arrive and want to see examples of humanity’s greatness, I’ll make sure to point out that we throw animal corpses at sporting events.

  11. Blackcloud says:

    ^ I dunno if it’s all that bad. It’s probably preferable to the batteries, bottles, and bags of urine thrown at soccer games.
    Something tells me Mencken had Mutiny in mind when he made that comment about the Puritans and bear-baiting. Or just the one about Puritanism generally.

  12. mutinyco says:

    I’m sure Mencken had me in mind because the quote you’re referring to, I believe, was by Thomas Babington Macaulay…

  13. IOIOIOI says:

    Again: it’s a long-time tradition that you are all of a SUDDEN freaked out about, mutiny. Thus making your response rather hokey… to me. However, really, the aliens most likely have their own whacky sporting event traditions.
    You also need to watch more sports because anything referring to SOCCER FANDOM (football? Football? The Cowboys are almost worth more than the entire Premiere league. That’s football!) is repugnant and uncivilized.

  14. IOIOIOI says:

    No; I am not slagging all footie fans, but footie has some of the whackiest fans ever. You also have to factor in the lunancy of the world’s SPORT being settled by penalty kicks and/or the golden goal. That’s hokey. If the aliens come to earth. The first thing they will ask; “What’s the hell is going on with that soccer/football sport? Do they ever score? Do they really have ties? Really? That makes no sense. Alright. Pack it up people. We are leaving. They have a sport — more than one actually — where they settle everything at a time. Fuck this planet. Let’s go home and get some tacos.”

  15. marychan says:

    Paramount hopes this movie to gross $151 million in its first five days.

  16. brack says:

    Indy is a BOM!

  17. Blackcloud says:

    IO, no more golden goal. That was abolished about five years ago after massive complaining from fans.

  18. mutinyco says:

    Indy is doing fine. It’s just following the opening pattern of a family film — slow early weekday shows that pick up later in the afternoon/evening, and bounce over the weekend.
    And I’m also going to make sure the space aliens see this too:

  19. I’d love to see IO head to the UK, Anywhere in Europe or South America, certain parts of Australia as well as the middle east and say things like “Soccer is hokey”. He’d get a taste of SOCCER FANDOM, that’s for sure. He’d be owned, beaten down and owned again before he finished a sentence.

  20. christian says:

    If Aliens came down and saw that civilized cultures would beat, stab, cut or kill each other over a tiny ball on a field, they would probably bail. Or maybe that’s why they haven’t come down to say “hullo” just yet…

  21. jeffmcm says:

    Well, clearly we’re learning this weekend that aliens came to Earth and took off again about fifty years ago, for no clear reason whatsoever.

  22. Yeah, cause all the other shit that’s wrong with the world didn’t warn them sooner… :/

  23. leahnz says:

    hey, man, they needed that crystal head back! can’t go home without your skull, it’s just not done in polite alien society

  24. crazycris says:

    besides, I’m sure they took a soccer ball with them as a souvenir… preferably autographed by Pele ;o)

  25. gradystiles says:

    Just for the record, David, none of the tracking companies projected a number anywhere near $170 million.

  26. messiahcomplexio says:

    just did a triple feature of Indie, Iron man and speed racer yesterday.
    And I got to say. I get the sense I’ll be talking about speed racer long after I’ve forgotten the other two.
    The other two were fun, easy to digest, but by the numbers.
    Speed was more jarring tonally, but I think that’s because so much about it was new. (visuals, acting style etc)
    And yes, I saw spy kids 3d. the level of imagination, as well as execution is on a much higher level here…in my humble op.
    Speed should find it’s audience in the home market, much like the matrix. (yes I know the matrix did over 100M, but it became a mega hit on DVD).
    I believe speeds intense visual style will be more palatable for your average movie goer on a small screen. When that much is going on on the screen, sometimes smaller can be better. Take it all in rather than be engulfed by it.
    anyway, my two cents, for what very little it’s worth…

  27. Filmsnob says:

    Does anyone know how The Dark Knight is tracking?

  28. Rothchild says:

    The Dark Knight is going to make much more than Batman Begins but a film that dark has never grossed 300 million or more.
    And Speed Racer is much better than Indy.

  29. Rothchild says:

    The Sixth Sense and Matrix Reloaded are probably the most successful movies without levity (and you could argue Reloaded is fun).

  30. mutinyco says:

    Even the ’89 Batman, which had the biggest opening of all time, capped at $250M. That about the ceiling for Batman.

  31. brack says:

    “a film that dark has never grossed 300 million or more.”
    The Passion of the Christ.

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, if you make allowances for inflation, how about The Godfather?

  33. Rothchild says:

    Yeah, let’s bring up a movie whose audience was comprised of people that never go to any other movies ever. The Passion of the Christ is an anomaly. There is nothing to learn from it. People wanted the cathartic experience of feeling like they were suffering along with their savior.
    The message wasn’t even that you can get this untapped part of the American public out of the house if you throw a little bit of the Bible at them, because The Nativity proved that wrong. The only way those numbers would ever be relevant in the discussion of another film would be if for some reason Jesus died twice for “our sins” in the Bible and Mel decided to make another movie about it.
    But nice try.

  34. Joe Leydon says:

    Or — seriously — The Exorcist?

  35. Rothchild says:

    Leydon, I’m too lazy to deal with inflation, but you may be right about that one.

  36. Joe Leydon says:

    Rothchild: You might find this interesting:
    Of all the titles on this list, I have to admit: The one that surprised me the most was Dr. Zhivago. I mean, I remember it being popular — but not that popular.

  37. Rothchild says:

    Well, ignoring your legitimate math, stone cold logic, and seemingly accurate numbers…
    …no film that dark has ever made 300 million dollars.

  38. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Blackcloud doesn’t read the Brit press or follow the BBC. All those wee blokes came down from Scotland to get drunk in Manchester and run riot on the gendarmes while Rangers were losing to a Russian side.
    IOIOIOI, if footie is so boring, why did ESPN2 air the Champions League final live? Man Utd are owned by Americans and Chelsea are owned by a Russian billionaire.
    Incidentally the Premier League wasn’t decided this season until the final day — Man Utd had to win away to become champion.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    Finally, a new Chucky obsession!

  40. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Hey jeff, Chelsea just fired their coach. ESPN and Fox Sports have the story in their homepage roundup as I post this.
    The beautiful game continues to go global with the wonders of the Web.

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