MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Klady

First… I would like to protest, yet again, the idiotic use of estimated ticket sales as a measure of ANYTHING other than journalists looking for an angle. Paul Dergarabedian is a good guy, but he doesn’t have the slightest fucking idea what the average ticket price is right now and more importantly, has no inkling what tickets to Spider-Man 3 were sold for versus The Dark Knight. None. And with due respect to AP’s Dave Germain, another good and smart man, reporting that shite is lousy journalism… because it is a FALSE stat.
How many tickets were sold in which cities at what prices at what times? If you don’t know, then SHUT UP and tell us about what you DO know and not what you are guessing at for no reason other than to try to differentiate your ideas from all the other drooling media attention seekers out there.
It’s bad enough that people have now institutionalized what studios tell them on Sunday morning as fact, staring dead in the face the FACT that no one knows for sure what today’s box office will be. Media is guessing. Dan Fellman is guessing. Len Klady is guessing. And we all do that. And almost no one reports the final numbers. And that’s what it is. But at least put a damned “estimated” on the number instead of hiding behind the tail end of the sentence of “according to WB,” as though real people are supposed to be able to parse that out as “the people who are selling you the movie are guessing at this number, 25% of which has not happened yet.”

Be Sociable, Share!

69 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady”

  1. matro says:

    That is a lot of money. Especially for such a grim, long, and fairly violent movie.
    Although somehow I suspect Dave will quickly post about how we should all keep it in perspective, etc. etc.

  2. David Poland says:

    I will, Matro.
    And that doesn’t make the number any smaller.
    Maybe you prefer living is a constant state of delusion… maybe we should go back to burning witches, thinking blacks are inherently inferior, that jews secretly run the world, that trickle down economics work, and that Britney Spears is important.
    These moments are always educational for me because I actually hold people in higher regard than they seem to deserve. I have real faith that people want to seek truth, understand in some depth, and decide things based on information and not a media-driven popularity contest.
    And for many – especially those who are hear daily but don’t post here – that is true. But when your first reaction is to express how upset you are that I might suggest perspective… I mean, really… what is that?
    My work has NEVER been about partying in the streets about the trend of the week. Never. And if you are reading me reguarly, you know that. So why so serious?

  3. David Poland says:

    P.S. Isn’t it dead ironic that The Dark Knight is trying to be about the choice between hysteria and moral consideration and the result on this blog, amongst some, has been the former in response to the latter. Hmmm….

  4. rossers says:

    so if the estimate is right… there are about 16 hebrew bankers five miles into the center of earths core (maybe with brendan fraser) talking about how their viral campaign squeezed TDK over the 150 mark…
    …anyway, dave, would you say you are getting into a chicken and egg thing with that comment? Weren’t the postings of moral consideration at least partly (I don’t want to say completely in objection/response to the hysteria, for that would undermine the merits of these “moral considerations” of TDK) in response to the hysteria surrounding the thing in the first place?

  5. IOIOIOI says:

    So it has the biggest opening weekend ever, and UNIVERSAL ARE THE WINNERS? What in the blue hell ever. Look at the history of the last film, then maybe a reassessment would be in place. Oh I forgot… that hardly ever happens.

  6. marychan says:

    Thank you for the box office result of Johnnie To’s MAD DETECTIVE, David and Klady.
    It is not surprise that this movie doesn’t do well. (IFC probably knave that; this movie only has few screeings at IFC Center)

  7. tyler666 says:
    This defines better than anything else this weekend 😉 Can you picture anyone at Warners doing that? 😀
    And i have to wait til Aug 13 to watch it. Fuck!

  8. Citizen R says:

    “Maybe you prefer living is a constant state of delusion… maybe we should go back to burning witches, thinking blacks are inherently inferior, that jews secretly run the world.”

    Wow, talk about rhetorical overkill. Get a grip, Dave. And anyone who pays close attention to the box office knows that the weekend estimates are just that… estimates, albeit estimates that are generally close to the actuals. I don’t think the rant on that was particularly necessary.

    Any way you cut it this is an incredibly successful opening. Unless there’s a major surprise TDK should be the #1 film of the year in domestic box office. That’s down to Batman Begins gaining a strong fan base through home entertainment, interest in Ledger’s final complete performance, the appeal of the Joker as a villain (the two Batman films that achieved the biggest box office phenom status have the Joker in common; I don’t think that’s a coincidence), and a strong marketing campaign from Warner Bros.

    And, Dave, as for writing off the Warners marketing campaign as “selling water to geeks in the desert” you’re contradicting what you’ve written in the past about geeks having limited impact at the box office and how to gain huge box office numbers studios have to reach far beyond the geeks.

  9. EthanG says:

    A less reported stat but a neater one to me is that this weekend blows away the record for total box office in a weekend set by Pirates: Dead Man’s Chest two years ago by a huge margin. That weekend had a total haul of $218 million….this weekend is likely just under $250 million!
    I actually agree perspective needs to be taken here with TDK number…you have to figure Transformers: Revenge of Michael Bay is going to top this number next year…if something doesn’t sooner. Still, it’s nice that a critically acclaimed movie holds the record for once, especially after the craptastic Spidey 3.
    Mamma Mia might have the musical record as well…sad about Hellboy 2.
    Also Meet Dave with that amazing 540 per theatre average is set up nicely for a record next weekend. Largest theater count drop, a record currently held by kiddie flick Hoot. And surprise surprise…early reviews for XFiles2 are bad!! The streak is alive for Fox.

  10. IOIOIOI says:

    Citizen: you have come with more correct analysis then “CRUSADER DAVE” has this weekend. The guy is once again backed into a corner, has gotten his hairs up, and has decided to lash out instead of responding like someone who ONCE A-FREAKIN-GAIN did not see something coming.
    It’s cool I guess, that’s how he rolls.

  11. EthanG says:

    Try or Leesmovieinfo for number comparisons Dave.

  12. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Holy smokin’ projector, Batman! Some IMAX shows of “The Dark Knight” had to be canceled when the IMAX unit overheated!
    At least the story includes the ticket prices so the AP hack and Mr. Rent-a-Quote can refer to them.

  13. Blackcloud says:

    I can imagine. The King of Prussia (western Philly burbs) IMAX had shows at 1:40 and 5:00 all three days. That’s 1:40 and 5:00 AM for those of you keeping score. I bet that’s never happened with those nature movies most IMAX theaters show.

  14. christian says:

    “maybe we should go back to burning witches, thinking blacks are inherently inferior, that jews secretly run the world, that trickle down economics work, and that Britney Spears is important.”
    Love ya Dave, but let’s get some perspective.
    We’re talkin’ Batman here.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    So if we’re talking about total number of tickets sold instead of raw-dollar gross, this would be a good time to make comparisons with D.W. Griffith and Gone with the Wind, right?

  16. David Wong says:

    DP, when you’re wrong, just admit it. Don’t start screeching insults at the world for pointing it out, desperately clinging to your position. It’s ok to be wrong every now and then.

  17. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: that’s like comparing Red Grange and LDT. It’s a different worlds. Thus making any sort of comparison such as that one a bit silly.
    Also, Mr. Wong, this is David Poland. If you have read enough of this man over the years. It’s clear that he will never ever back down. He was still right, and the rest of the world remains wrong.

  18. mutinyco says:

    Broken down in simplest terms… (And I could care less since I haven’t even seen TDK yet.)
    There are different numbers coming in. Each has it as the highest opening of all time. But the figures vary from a high of $155.4 to a low of $151.7.
    If it’s the lower figure, the argument goes, the number is negligible in relation to Spirder-Man’s $151.1 — and thus, ticket prices (Imax included) made the difference.
    That said, nobody has statistically questioned that it’s the biggest opening.

  19. IOIOIOI says:

    Mutiny: it will probably be 160 tomorrow. You know how these things work. Plus: 160 is a much cooler number to hang your hat on.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, you missed my point.

  21. Jeremy Smith says:

    If it had a shot at $160 million, they’d be hanging their hat on it right now. (But this summer has been one big anomaly, so who knows?)

  22. Roman says:

    Anyone else finds it funny that Box Office Mojo reports it’s sunday earnings for TDK as ACTUALS!
    So much for accuracy.
    And holly shit Mamma Mia already made over $100 million worldwide!

  23. Citizen R says:

    I doubt that’s a willful act on Box Office Mojo’s part. It’s more likely that whoever typed in the figures just forgot to tag the Sunday number as an estimate and so the software has it labeled as an actual.

  24. IOIOIOI says:

    Mr. Beaks: the numbers really do not matter until they are said on the morning shows. This would mean that the Sunday number would have to be bigger than estimated, but I am willing to wager it will be.
    Jeff: you did not get my point. It’s just as silly to compare the men from Red Grange’s era with the men from the current LDT era. Do you even know what I mean with this comparison?
    That aside; if we are going to go with total tickets sold. It’s a ridiculous stat on a lot of levels. It’s sort of like saying that a movie coming out in 1939 is the all time grossing flick, when it came out when there was hardly anything else to do but going to the theatre. So I am more about the time where everyone has eighteen million more options, but still decide to go to the theatre.
    I got your point. I just think it’s silly.

  25. Roman says:

    Well, considering that BOM doesn’t normally label actuals as “actuals”, I’m going to go ahead and call this a “no”.
    It’s somebody’s mistake of course, I have no doubt about that but it’s all a good reminder that estimates are nothing more than educated guesses. And the larger they are, the more they normally miss.

  26. qwiggles says:

    A fine post. But a couple things caught my eye:

  27. Roman says:

    “Jeff: that’s like comparing Red Grange and LDT. It’s a different worlds. Thus making any sort of
    comparison such as that one a bit silly.”
    Also, Dave’s take on trends is totally dead on and is a wise on to keep sticking too. Just a few short weeks ago, this was the summer of Indy, then Robert Downey, Jr., then Indy again, and now Batman…
    The cycle never ends. You just can’tplan for another Miley Cyrus in Tropic Underpants cameo.
    Nobody knows crap. This is why the whole media crowning circus is annoying. People actually listen to it.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, my point was about DP and how, usually, he has no problem talking about raw-box-office totals, except for moments like today when it doesn’t serve his purpose and he suggests ‘tickets sold’ as a more accurate way to frame whatever the debate is.

  29. Roman says:

    “Our Web site is momentarily offline while we finish tabulating The Dark Knight grosses. Please check back in about 5 minutes for full coverage…”
    Oh shit, somebody noticed. Apparently it requires taking a site down to fix one little thing.
    Or what’s is really going on? Are they re-estimating the estimates.
    You know that’s another thing that’s pissing me off. The fact that they doing all this for this movie.

  30. LexG says:

    Why would anyone want to listen to ABBA instead of PANTERA? Why would David Poland go to see MAMMA MIA! a FIRST time, let alone a second? He clearly is free to pick and choose which movies to attend… why the hell would anyone see MAMMA MIA! by choice?
    And Meryl Streep looks embarrassing in this.

  31. David Poland says:

    What does me being wrong – a fact that is not in question regarding the box office number – have to do with anything else in discussion here, DW or IO or whomever?
    Is there something else I am wrong about

  32. Jeremy Smith says:

    IO: $155 million is the estimate. That’s what will be reported tomorrow morning. The actuals won’t hit until afternoon Monday.
    So, just to be clear, I’m saying that if WB thought there was a chance in hell of a $157 million actual, they’d probably go w/ a nice, round $160 million estimate for this news cycle. That they didn’t suggests we’ll see something like a $153 million actual come tomorrow ’round this time.

  33. Citizen R says:

    Dave, the main point about your delusion rant is that it was ridiculously overheated in its rhetoric. That’s just as true with the rant being aimed at the state of box office reporting in general as it is if the rant had been aimed at this particular film.

    And I’ve been reading you for years – although I’ve only rarely emailed or commented – and I’ve got to say that I think your own participation in the discourse has coarsened. If you’re worried about the standards of discourse on the site I think you need to look to yourself, too.

  34. David Poland says:

    Citizen R – Please quote accurately – “the online push selling water to geeks in the desert” ONLINE PUSH, not the entire push. There is a massive difference. Those things where you have to solve the puzzle to see the image of the Joker or whatever… very successful but to the very narrow audience that all went to midnight shows.
    As for Critics Mattering – I didn’t say that critics have mattered to any summer movie opening. I will say that they helped Iron Man after opening and that the reviews will help TDK after opening too. But we’re talking a small percentage of the ticket buyers.
    And J-Mc… I am saying “tickets sold” is a stupid stat, not a good one.

  35. David Poland says:

    I think I have, CR… “I don

  36. Citizen R says:

    Fair enough, but in that context the online marketing seems like a relatively cheap and cost-effective way to keep enthusiasm at peak level amongst a core audience group. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Overall, I think you were too dismissive of the strength of the marketing campaign.

  37. Citizen R says:

    You know, I think the big story here isn’t the record-breaking. That’s transient, and really whether a film comes in $5 million above the record or below it only matters insofar as bragging rights.

    The story to me is an incredibly successful rejuvenation of a film series that was moribund 10 years ago. The Batman series was WB’s crown jewel from 1989 to 1995 and then went off a cliff in 1997. Batman Begins had a fight on its hands to get the public interested again, and now The Dark Knight has gone through the roof.

    The question for Warners looking towards the next film is how do they prevent the box office from falling by a third with a Joker-less sequel?

  38. Roxane says:

    Nikki Finke is reporting that four “rival” studios are claiming that WB’s numbers for TDK do not add up.According to Nikki at least some of these “rival” studios are saying Spidey still holds the opening weekend record.

  39. David Poland says:

    I think everyone in town saw that Warners did the right thing with Batman the last time – $205m domestic (DP NOTE: I edited this from $250m because I either typo’d or brain farted when I first wrote it, as noted in the next two comments.) was a huge success at the price – as Fox had done on X-Men. That was the irony of Superman Returns being such a screwed up piece of business. And of course, WB has failed to get the rest of the DC franchise back on its feet.
    It’s interesting that Fox and then Sony continued to persue hack directors for other comic wannabe franchise films. I assume that Marvel had no small influence on those choices.
    And now, with the new Marvel strategy, they chose NOT to follow the Batman lead, but to continue to hire mid-range directors to build franchise with, while hiring (like Ghost Rider) really interesting actors to play the leads.
    ALSO – The Bat franchise went off the cliff because WB lost their sanity and started spending like drunken sailors on the last two movies. B&R was, in fact, the first $200 million movie ever released, before Titanic. And as poorly as B&R did, it was only $100 million off of Batman Forever, which means only $60 million or so less coming into the studio in rentals (back in the uneven split days). But they had spent almost double in production costs… about $100 million more. So even if the franchise had remained even, the movie would have been $50 million further in the hole.
    WB should make deals with Nolan, et al, for bigger back end on the next one and no more than a $50 million budget increase. Nolan doesn’t need more pyrotechnics and they should all be able to get richer if the next movie hits this number and not be hurt if it doesn’t.
    Thing is, we have no idea what the final number on this film will look like. Could be $750m, could be $500m. It’s when people get caught up on the opening number and not the final… when they start pushing for a LOT more money and the studio is afraid to say “no,” that’s what kills them.
    A $225 million Nolan B3 is pretty much a guarenteed success. A $300 million Nolan B3 is a pretty dangerous choice, even if this film does $600m worldwide or more… though he does have an advantage in that it can’t get much harsher than this one.

  40. Citizen R says:

    Batman Begins did $205 million domestic – it was a huge success at the price, but it had to fight for that success. Audiences didn’t flock to it in huge numbers (by summer blockbuster standards) right from the outset.

    As for the rest of the DC franchise, it’s more a case of getting it on its feet for the first time, since Warners has always been happy to concentrate almost exclusively on Batman and Superman, and related characters, in terms of DC superheroes (although they’ve obviously also made some non-superhero films based on Vertigo comics). I think the next few years will see the pipeline of DC films flow a lot faster, with more characters making it out of development hell.

  41. Roman says:

    “B&R was, in fact, the first $200 million movie ever released, before Titanic. ”
    Come again???
    “I think everyone in town saw that Warners did the right thing with Batman the last time – $250m domestic was a huge success at the price – as Fox had done on X-Men.”
    Wait, are you talking about the first Batman movie here because Batman Begins grossed $205.3 million.
    I also never agreed that Schumaker KILLED the franchise with “Batman and Robin” (or that this movie relly affected “Batman Begins'” performance. I think people were just tired of the franchise and needed a reason to get excited again.
    Nolan’s movie are very different animals.

  42. David Poland says:

    Got me, Kris!!! Obviously marketing is not the ONLY thing. I’m pretty sure you knew that I knew that. You probably also understand that franchise value is a built-in part of marketing and that the marketing for, say, Hancock, had more than a little to do with existing goodwill for Will Smith. But yes, you win this round!
    Opening weekend can also be about a franchise driving its own train… the better example for you to throw at me being Pirates 2 and 3. Or Rocky Balboa.
    Austin Powers is somewhat irrelevant here, Noah. That was a brand launch (like Iron Man). But it is a little relevant in that the last Batman movie made this one a safer choice for people to want to see. After the B&R disaster – which still opened strong – people were off on the series. And Nolan turned that around last time, in some ways the way the video of Austin Powers set the sequel up for a big dollar opening. Conversely, it is why Rush Hour 3 was 25% off the opening of Rush Hour 2.
    WB doesn’t deserve a kick in the balls for this opening, no. And I am not suggesting one.
    But were you out there saying how BRILLIANT the Revenge of the Sith campaign was? Or Indiana Jones? Or, yes, Hancock?
    When it comes to franchises and franchise actors, it is about rolling with what you have. how power is used in marketing is quite different.
    What exactly do we think WB Marketing did differently this time that tripled the box office? And do you think it can be duplicated?

  43. David Poland says:

    Sorry Roman… got lost in those numbers… yes, I meant $205 domestic… not sure whether brain damage or typo.

  44. David Poland says:

    And yes, Roman, Batman & Robin’s pre-marketing cost was over $200 million, although reported otherwise. My sourcing on that, a long time ago, was beyond questioning. It wasn’t some junket slip-up or a rumor on set or anything like that.

  45. Noah says:

    I guess the thing is, if the first movie (Batman Begins) made 48 million its opening weekend and let’s say those same people who went opening weekend three years ago were all satisfied and went opening weekend for this, you still have to account for over a hundred million more bucks. I think more than a little of that has to do with the marketing (viral and otherwise). But I think the smartest thing they did was find a release date that was devoid of blockbusters and I suppose that has little to do with marketing; but I do know that in NYC it was impossible to escape those “Why So Serious?” ads whenever I was in a subway.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    Well, I think I agree with an earlier point DP had made – that Batman Begins’ opening is the anomaly, being so low, which I personally would attribute to Schumacher Hatred Syndrome.

  47. IOIOIOI says:

    [checks his title belt and his kneecaps] Nope, I am all good. Nice of you come to clean on how you get personal David, but you are like others. You can try, but you know the rest. Nevertheless David, you came correct, and that makes us all squarsies.
    Jeffy Mac: my bad. I did not catch the intent of your analogy. It happens.
    Mr. Beaks (You going back to your old name really is a silly bit of business, sir): that makes sense, but I still have a good sense of chicanery coming this week.

  48. Tofu says:

    Everything mattered. The virals. The critics. Everything. Nolan’s Batman films fight like hell, and they are rewarded.

  49. Telemachos says:

    “I’m saying that if WB thought there was a chance in hell of a $157 million actual, they’d probably go w/ a nice, round $160 million estimate for this news cycle.”
    It’s actually kind of rare for a studio to wildly over-estimate. Usually they’re within a million or two. The largest over-estimation I can remember was with SCREAM 2 (I think Miramax’s estimate was 6-8 million higher than actuals).

  50. doug r says:

    Well, there’s your proof it’s a passionate movie, just check out this blog. Maybe we should all take that heated passion and go check out the IMAX version now that the projectors have had a chance to cool down…

  51. BTW, has anyone noticed that Journey to the Center of the Earth has made $43mil. That’s impressive, no?
    I must say, that movie looks better than The Mummy Goes to Asia, which I just don’t understand the reasoning behind.

  52. messiahcomplexio says:

    what about the hellboy drop? Does this kill a third movie? I expected a drop with the dark knight, but wow!

  53. IOIOIOI says:

    Messiah: my thinking would be no. HBII will find a home on DVD like the first film did. Universal had to have some idea what they were doing by putting HBII the week before TDK. Sort of in the same way FOX has to have known that putting out the XFILES next weekend could cause problems. It most likely will not keep it from earning it’s 28 million dollars, but these things happen.
    So give it 3 years, the Hobbit being a success, and we will most likely get HBIII. It’s a guess, but it seems apt. Given Universal buying this property for a reason.

  54. Geoff says:

    It’s fun to hear the speculation on what movie will next break the opening weekend record. My thoughts:
    Avatar probably doesn’t have a shot, even with the pent-up demand for Cameron to return. It’s opening in mid-December and there will be a ceiling.
    The Hobbit would seem an ideal choice and it’s going to be HUGE, but once again, December opening, tough to pull off.
    Transformers 2 seems to be a solid choice, but they raked some serious extra dough with the mid-week opening, last time, and if Dreamamount does that again, it will limit the actual weekend.
    Iron Man 2 is a strong choice in April 2010 and I am sure it will have the weekend to itself – so much goodwill from the first one, the DVD will probably be huge, so I could see it doing $150 million plus.
    Toy Story 3 is coming out the next month in June 2010 – also a strong choice and there will be huge pent-up demand (it will have been TWELVE years since the last one, if you can believe that).
    But my top choice would be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows – Part 2 coming in the summer of 2011. Warners MIGHT do a mid-week, but if they do not, then look out – this will be the final swan-song for the most popular fictional character of the 21st century. The timing will be interesting – some fans who read the first books when they were teens could have kids that they could bring. It will truly be on the level of Star Wars.
    So it’s possible that this record could stand for three years, possible.

  55. Citizen R says:

    If Marvel’s plans come to fruition, and if nothing else sets a new record before then, I would think that The Avengers would be a contender in 2011.

  56. IOIOIOI says:

    I just think this needs to be kept in the back of people’s minds over the next 3 years: we are going to hit 200m in a weekend. It’s going to happen. It’s a logistical nightmare, but it seems like the next plateau given what we have coming the next three years.
    SO my guess is that Iron Man 2 will do two times it’s opening weekends business.

  57. IOIOIOI says:

    It’s predecessor’s opening weekend business. Is what I was trying to get after with the last sentence above.

  58. jeffmcm says:

    By the way, I’d like to make a proposition:
    Huge opening weekends and the increasing frontloading that they’re symptomatic are a terrible thing for quality filmmaking. Anyone want to discuss pro or con?
    I’m going to guess that Iron Man 2 will not open to a $197 million dollar weekend, but what do I know? I was guessing right around $100m for The Dark Knight.

  59. Citizen R says:

    There will eventually be a $200 million opening weekend, but I don’t think it’ll be Iron Man 2, or any film released as soon as 2010. It’ll take more than a couple of years of inflation before $200 million becomes statistically possible.

  60. EthanG says:

    Final number from WB: 158.3 million.

  61. christian says:

    Good lawd, who gives a shit? How many millions reveal some secret truth about the film? MAMMA MIA will take in the same amount over the next week or two. And ABBA is the sound of soullessness.

  62. Eric says:

    I’d like to make a proposition: Huge opening weekends and the increasing frontloading that they’re symptomatic are a terrible thing for quality filmmaking. Anyone want to discuss pro or con?
    Jeff, that might have been an easier argument to make prior to this weekend, when a really good movie took the title from a real piece of shit.
    I do think frontloading is killing most mid-level movies like, say, Hot Fuzz, which could have made more money if it had been given more time in theaters to reap the benefits of good word of mouth. Instead those movies get rewarded on home video.
    So that’s the general trend as I see it for frontloading. However, I don’t think you can really generalize on opening weekend record-setters, which don’t happen often enough to see any “statistically significant” trends. Each one seems to be a freak occurrence / perfect storm of marketing, legit demand for a sequel, name recognition, etc.

  63. Joe Leydon says:

    Eric: I don’t see how opening a pocorn movie on a zillion screens in any way affects the fate of a specialty movie in limited release. I mean, if The Dark Knight were playing on 6,000 screens, would that mean someone who might otherwise buy a ticket to Mister Lonely or Surfwise or Gonzo would see the Batman movie instead?

  64. Eric says:

    Well, it does if Mister Lonely loses its screen after just a week in the theater.
    I’d like to further refine what I said above and note that I think frontloading is the inevitable result of changes in the marketplace, specifically the nationalization of the marketing campaigns. I don’t think it’s a good thing for the industry but of course any individual studio will look out for its own interests and maximize its own profit potential by participating in the behavior. Kind of a classic free rider problem.

  65. jeffmcm says:

    Eric, that’s kind of why I wanted to make the argument now. I would say that, in the long run, frontloading = safer big-budget movies (Spider-Man 3, Pirates, Terminator 4) and a total squeezing out of more interesting, risky smaller-budget titles, aka the realm where good cinema goes to die.
    My parallel is the 1960s, when the studios panicked and tried to spend their way into successful movies like Doctor Doolittle and Star! and ended up with a lot of expensive, out-of-touch flops.

  66. Eric says:

    Yeah, you’re probably right in the long term. Safety seems to pay off. When it comes to opening-weekend records, we’re talking almost exclusively about sequels. This situation does not encourage innovation. Although I find it vaguely noteworthy that two of the last three record-holders were actually pretty good: Pirates 2, sort of, and Dark Knight.
    (Disclaimer: I know a lot of people hated Pirates 2, and I didn’t like it well enough to expend much energy defending it. But it does look pretty good in retrospect compared to Pirates 3, which was just lousy.)
    I’ve been trying to think of a common thread between those two, but, like I said above, each one is an anomaly in and of itself. Their opening weekends just kind of explode for different reasons, as a matter of circumstance as often as not.

  67. IOIOIOI says:

    Front-loading will end one day. It’s just the way of the world. The thing of it is: the mid-level movies have times of the year now in which to come out. The Summer months are just not it.
    Sort of like the Wackness. Who at Sony thought it was a good idea to put that movie out during the Summer? It’s a freakin April movie or a late September/October movie, but Sony puts it out in the MIDDLE OF SUMMER? Really? Mind-boggling.
    So all front-loading seems to do is prove which execs have a head on their shoulders… or not.

  68. jeffmcm says:

    How’s that?
    Front-loading = not good movies can make a lot of money before word of mouth gets around to let people know how bad it is = rewarding execs for making shitty movies with expensive and slick ad campaigns.

  69. LexG says:


Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4