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David Poland

By David Poland

It's Crappy… But It's Box Office!!!

Klady’s Weekend Estimates…
This is actually quite a good number for The Coens… though one should keep in mind that even Leatherheads opened to almost $13 million and it’s the worst wide opening for a Brad Pitt film in nine years. Mixed bag. Focus, I imagine, will be pleased.
11a- This just in… This is not only The Coens’ best opening (by around 50%), but Focus’ best opening ever (by $10 million). Do keep in mind that both entities release most of their product via platform, but still, very much worth noting.
The Tyler Perry is a little low for him, but he is close to unrecognizable in the ads and he shows once again that even without a Madea in his films, he can open in the $20m range (if not $20m this time).
Righteous Kill‘s opening shows that even if everyone can see that it’s a pig in a poke (with lipstick), they want their beloved actors to be there.
And Tropic Thunder closes in on paying for its domestic marketing with its domestic box office. Foreign release has barely begun, but conservatively, the film will have to significantly improve on its domestic number overseas (at least $250 million total ww) to not be in the red when the books are closed.

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36 Responses to “It's Crappy… But It's Box Office!!!”

  1. PanTheFaun says:

    LOVING the average for “Proud American.” What does that average out to attendance-wise, about one person per showtime?
    I saw the trailer attached to “Henry Poole is Here,” it looked like an SNL parody. Check it out — hilarious stuff.

  2. EthanG says:

    The Pitt number is misleading, given that other than the Ocean’s franchise (a star studded series) he’s only had three wide movie openings in the past 9 years…
    Tyler Perry gets back to business with “Madea Goes to Jail” early next year. Ching ching….zzzzz. If he ever gets around to making “Jazz Man’s Blues,” maybe he’ll finally break out.
    How about the near 70% dropoff for Cage?
    Biggest story this weekend seems to be the total collapse of indies, from Elegy to Transsiberian to King of England and Frozen River. Even Towelhead had a really mediocre opening given its publicity. Maybe next week will finally liven things up with “Appaloosa,” “The Duchess,” and “Battle in Seattle.”

  3. Krazy Eyes says:

    “it’s the worst wide opening for a Brad Pitt film in nine years.”
    Why is this a useful observation? Should we really be comparing “Burn After Reading” to the “Oceans” movies or “Troy”? Shouldn’t we really be comparing this opening to other smaller films Pitt has done such as “Jesse James” or “Babel”?

  4. Roman says:

    Both observations are wrong. First of all there’s nothing crappy abou the box office.
    Second, considering the competition in wide releases, Burn did REMARKABLY well. Watch for those legs in the coming weeks.

  5. martin says:

    This is an avg open for a Tilda Swinton movie. Note that Narnia opened much bigger than Burn, so her star power has diminished a bit since then.

  6. EthanG says:

    Richard Jenkins, meanwhile, has obviously burnished his “street cred,” exploding at the box office since “The Visitor” earlier this year.

  7. tjfar67 says:

    Three adult skewing movies opening to over 15 million dollars in the middle of September seems to be good.

  8. David Poland says:

    I think it’s a competely valid discussion about how a film like this fits in with the history of the actors used to sell it… bit some of you love to be snotty.
    I think the weekend is a bit Clooney, a bit Pitt, and a bit No Country.
    My point is that it is a good, but hardly breathtaking start.
    Legs? Maybe.

  9. Rothchild says:

    That’s a breathtaking start for the Coens. If a movie doubles the average estimate… Did you compare the opening weekend of Ladykillers to Castaway or Forrest Gump? Or to Scary Movie?
    O Brother Where Art Thou is considered a monster hit for them and it grossed 40 million domestic. If anyone thought this film had a chance of grossing 20 million in its first weekend they would have spent more than 30 million on it.
    This is an incredibly funny movie but it was expected to make next to nothing.

  10. Was anyone predicting a “breathtaking” start? I mean, it is the best opening EVER for a Coen Brothers movie.
    Clooney + Pitt + Directors of NCFOM = nearly $20 million.

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    Reminder: No weekend b.o. in Houston, the fourth largest US city, thanks to Hurricane Ike. Had those numbers figured into the mix, I bet we would have seen a slight improvement for Burn After Reading — and an even bigger bump for Tyler Perry.

  12. Sam says:

    Actually, I’m pretty sure he DID compare the Ladykillers opening to Castaway, etc, because I remember him saying something about how it broke Hanks’ phenomenal opening streak.
    Not that that comparison was entirely valid, either. It was worth noting, maybe, but only in context of the circumstances. Sure, Hanks and now Pitt were used to sell their respective Coen movies. But stars only sell movies to a point. If a popular star is in something that people don’t think they’ll like, most of them won’t go.
    In short, Pitt’s drawing power has to be balanced with that of the Coens. Seems pretty obvious and intuitive to me. And if you do that, you get a phenomenal opening number that Pitt probably helped build up. I’m not seeing a downside.
    It’s premature to assume the movie will have legs, though. It might. It might not.

  13. PanTheFaun says:

    I’m sorry, but anyone who says this opening is anything less than excellent is dead wrong. The Coen Brothers have never been particularly profitable — more just consistently respected and break even box office wise — nor has Clooney really (besides the Ocean’s films), and nor has Brad Pitt anytime he steps out of his Ocean/action-movie comfort zones (e.g. Jesse James, Babel, Snatch).
    The fact that this opened to nearly 20 million against a mass-appealing DeNiro/Pacino movie and a new Tyler Perry is no less than amazing.
    I don’t know if I’d count on the legs though. Like literally every Coen Brothers movie I’ve ever seen, on the way out, I heard more than a few comments like “worst movie I’ve seen” and “it was sooo weird.” Coen diehards (myself included) love it, but I have a feeling the masses will instantly spew putrid word-of-mouth at the watercoolers on Monday.

  14. chris says:

    One other way that it was like every other Coen movie you’ve ever seen? It was made reasonably and does not have to be a blockbuster to make money.

  15. anghus says:

    Honestly, I don’t think you can claim that openings are solely based on marketing and then wrap the financials around the neck of an actor.
    You can argue that Tyler Perry is solely responsible for financials because he is a brand. You could argue that Deniro and Pacino are solely responsible for the financials because the movie was marketed squarely on their name.
    But Burn After Reading was marketed on the Coens. It’s a great opening for them and an ensemble piece marketed with Clooney, Pitt, McDormand, Swinton, and Malkovich. I don’t see how anyone could attribute the opening to anyone other than the Coens.

  16. L.B. says:

    I’m sure they engaged in some sort of Oscar-whoring, name-checking that doomed them to failure. They’re lucky they got what they got.
    Wow, that was easy.

  17. The top three actually looks very solid. Three movies opening the same week all grossing within a few mil of each other when on this weekend last year the #1 movie was The Brave One with $13mil.

  18. LexG says:

    Ever been in a mass audience showing and have some asshole(s) groaning at the start of each trailer, like, OOOOOOHHHHHH, ANOTHER ONE? Usually it’s some douchewad who sees like one movie a fucking decade, but this happens with some frequency at regular multiplexes. I LOVE trailers, but there’s always a (clueless) faction of any multiplex crowd that isn’t used to the experience and audibly starts bitching around trailer 2. When we all should know it’s standard 5-6 trailer before any movie.
    Yesterday I had some thug type loser trying to impress his gf bellowing IF THERE’S ONE MORE TRAILER, THAT’S FUCKING IT!…. at trailer number three, then proceeded to YAWN and YELL at each subsequent ad.
    People are so fucking stupid; PLEASE someone tell me you know what I mean.
    And while you’re at it, back me up that in every mainstream paying audience, THERE’S ALWAYS ONE ASSHOLE WHO SUCKS ON THEIR CANDY.
    LOUD CANDY SUCKERS (WHO MAKE THAT POP SOUND) and SNORERS are even worse than talkers and texters.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Lex, I agree that trailers are awesome. I disagree, because I think texters are the absolute worst.

  20. LexG says:

    Splitting hairs, because texters DO suck, but there must be some form of movie theater candy that inspires middle-aged men (usually the ones who go to movies alone) to suck and plop and slurp and clean their teeth and cluck their tongue with some HIDEOUS THWUHHH, CLUCK, THWUUU, SLURP sound. Don’t know if it’s Jujus or dudes licking the chocolate off of their Raisins, but it’s the most repulsive sound ever, and much like SNORING, just vacuums the air out of an auditorium, and kills the movie dead on contact.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    You clearly see movies with more geriatrics than I do.

  22. LexG says:

    ZING. (Pretty sure we go to the same theaters; I’ve had snoring at the Arclight a half dozen times, curiously often during loud action movies)
    Eh, it’s a matinee staple. And admittedly speaking as someone who has no problem going to movies alone and does so at least 30% of the time, I’ve noticed that solo moviegoers frequently have SOME form of weird tick. Often shaking their legs, jangling keys, laughing too hard, talking to themselves, chomping their food disgustingly.

  23. doug r says:

    Just be glad you don’t see movies in the same theater as Paul Reubens.

  24. hcat says:

    Not only is Burn after Reading the biggest Focus opener but its the third largest for all the dependents, trailing only Miramax’s Kill Bill movies.

  25. yancyskancy says:

    A few weeks ago at Arclight Hollywood, we had to exchange our tickets for seats in another row in order to escape someone with excessive b.o. Kinda surprised that doesn’t happen every week in summer.

  26. Rob says:

    I’ve only been to the Arclight twice (because I live in, um, Boston), but I hate the assigned seating.
    Everybody always wants to sit in the same section, so you end up huddled with a bunch of strangers in the center of the theater while the back and sides are empty. And then if your neighbors are talking or texting or having sex or rooting around in plastic bags like raccoons in a garbage can, you can’t move.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    There’s nothing wrong with assigned seating if you know how to deal with it. Show up at the ticket counter, look at the little map that shows where people are sitting, ask for a seat one or two away from the people who are already there. If the movie isn’t full, the ushers aren’t going to be nazis and keep you in your seat (except the El Capitan).
    If the movie ends up being sold out and you’re sitting next to some stranger, surprise, that’s exactly what would have happened without assigned seating.

  28. Roman says:

    ” think it’s a competely valid discussion about how a film like this fits in with the history of the actors used to sell it… bit some of you love to be snotty.
    My point is that it is a good, but hardly breathtaking start.”
    My point it is, for a September weekend with five wide releasea, this is a great opening, especially considering the movies $37 million budget.
    And I do believe that Pitt’s and Clooney’s star power will show in the coming weeks.
    No snotiness here.

  29. yancyskancy says:

    Rob: I’ve been to the Arclight hundreds of times, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been bothered by someone texting or talking (never encountered any disruptions involving sex or plastic bags). Maybe I’m just lucky. At any rate, I don’t see why those things would prevent you from changing seats, assuming any unassigned seats are left (as jeff pointed out).
    If “everybody always wants to sit in the same section,” wouldn’t that hold true for unassigned seating as well? The middle always fills up first, no matter where you go. As for the “bunch of strangers” issue, unless you travel with an entourage, there’s not much you can do about that. Do you frequent a theatre in Boston “where everybody knows your name?” 🙂

  30. Triple Option says:

    Here’s my problem w/trailers, they show too much of the whole stinking movie. The WHOLE thing. Enough. Set up, a few characters, a good laugh, nice START of a stunt, then titles and release date. I better not have a scene from the 3rd act engraved in my head or else I’m gonna be sitting there wondering when it’s gonna happen and it ruins the whole film. Or knowing a certain character is going to die because they haven’t given the key yuk-yuk line. Paramount I think is particularly bad at this, though I’ve never really bothered to keep score. It was the Michelle Phiffer/Harrison Ford film What Lies Beneath, they gave away the frecking reveal in the stupid trailer!!! Are you kiddin’ me?! they’re all bad.
    More than that, I detest commercials in theaters. I’m paying. No ads. Simple correlation that should be as synonymous w/movie going as when the feature starts STFU. Don’t know how rules could be any more simpler and inalterable.
    People putting their feet up on the seats and arms rests in front of them. Just the mark of a spoiled, entitlest behavior. I don’t wanna see your effing feet dangling in my peripheral vision or my primary focus because you think it’s less annoying to look at than the back of someone’s head who’d otherwise be sitting there.
    Most texters I see are like the last member of a party of 4 or 5. talk to your friends or stay your ass at home. They obviously won’t miss you. No one’s impressed by you. I just wanna smack that little insecurity blanket right out their hands then raise my 9 up to their forehead and say “do something…”
    I tend to go to first showings of films on Sat mornings. Less annoying people behavior ratio. Assigned seating I don’t like either. It’s easier to visually judge what people to avoid. Man and woman talking to each other but three empty chairs between them? Stay away, you know the kids are in the concession line. mid 20 males in button down shirts, jeans and loafers, prolly agent assts who are gonna blab all the way through about some unverifiable bits of info as a way to name drop and who’ll ruin the film by saying how their contribution came in to save the day or went unheard and botched an upcoming scene. Surprisingly, I’ve found midnight movies to have a good mix of energy w/less bs than most other showings.

  31. I find so-called adults to be worse than teenagers a lot of the time. At a festival screening this past weekend the couple next to me kept leaning towards one another and saying “oh, that’s the girl from that show with Glenn Close!” or “Hugo Weaving’s not a very good singer, is he?” throughout the movie.
    Having said that, I think either a) some of you people exaggerate beyond belief or b) you need to start going to different cinemas.
    Of course, if you people are to be believed y’all CHEER TRAILERS so maybe the American cinema going experience is just so radically different to those here that I can’t fathom how truly horrible it is.

  32. christian says:

    Commercials in theaters are like demons in my church. They are unholy and don’t belong. But I LOVE me a good trailer. Sadly most today are cut the exact the same way, “branded” out of existence and you know you’re going to get that third section of the trailer that shows you the whole narrative arc in quick clips. THE SOLOIST is a perfect example.
    Go watch the original trailer for ALIEN to see how to do it RIGHT!

  33. hcat says:

    in a packed movie house I have seen people cheer the trailers. Mostly if it is opening weekend at something like a Potter film and the audience is all revved up already, but it does happen. The first time I can remember it happening is a crowd going nuts for the trailer for Ghostbusters.
    This was of course before the internet or the 200 million dollar marketing campaigns when trailers were the best indication of what was coming. Anyone remember those cheap little pamphlets that they would have stacked in the lobby with release dates and the loglines of the upcoming films (maybe it was just in the midwest chains), I used to memorize those as a kid.

  34. leahnz says:

    christian, which one is the original? (if either is the one you meant)

  35. leahnz says:

    oops, my bad, i posted the wrong link! the second one above is the special addition trailer, obviously not the original… duh. i can’t find the other one i was going to link and i’m supposed to be working so i give up

  36. leahnz says:

    special ‘addition’, lol, man i’m retarded…i meant special edition, for those who speaka de english

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