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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Box Office: We're All in this Together

Although the weekend take was a bit lower than some were predicting (and there was a surprising Saturday drop-off), the folks over at Disney still have to be happy with the opening-weekend box office for the theatrical debut of the third film in its tween-and-teen-targeted High School Musical franchise. High School Musical 3: Senior Year (thankfully re-named from the once-tossed-about title of High School Musical 3: Gradu-Dancin‘) pulled in its target demographic to the tune of $42.3 million.
I have to think the marketing team at Summit is happy with those numbers as well, given they’ll be targeting a similar market with the November 21 release of Twilight, the first adaptation from Stephenie Meyer‘s mega-popular vampire-teen-love series. Twilight has the advantage of potentially pulling big numbers from both the tween-teen set and the series’ huge fanbase in the female 25+ demographic. Assuming Twilight is able to draw in High School Musical-level numbers from the tweens and teens who are obsessed with all-things-Twilight, that, combined with the older female fanbase, could very easily see the film kick off with a $50 million-plus opening weekend, and we could see Twilight‘s numbers end up even higher if the fans come out in the droves Summit expects.
Of course, opening weekend aside, the bigger test for Twilight will be the fans’ perception of how well director Catherine Hardwicke does at adapting their beloved book for the big screen. Twilight fans seem to have a sense of personal investment in the characters and series not unlike fans of the Harry Potter franchise; if Hardwicke adapts the book for the screen in a way that meets or exceeds their expectations, I’d look for solid word-of-mouth and repeat viewings to give the film legs and drive up the overall gross to well over $100 million. If not, though, they will defect in droves, putting future adaptations of the remaining three books in the series in question.
I live with a highly-obsessed tween Twilight fanatic; I’ll be reading the barometer of my daughter and her pack of equally obsessed friends as an indicator of how well the film measures up. Meanwhile, it’s going to be interesting to see how much High School Musical 3 pulls in over the next few weeks. I hope the folks at Disney have plans to release the DVD of HSM 3 in time for Christmas, because it’s already on the top of my daughter’s Christmas list; getting it out in time for the holidays would guarantee many sales to parents looking for the perfect DVD stocking stuffer for their tween and teen Wildcats fans. In the meantime, parents can sate their kids’ passion for HSM with the soundtrack CD and novelizations, which, naturally, are available now.

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3 Responses to “Box Office: We're All in this Together”

  1. Cadavra says:

    A major studio releasing a hit movie on DVD barely two months after it opens in theatres? Do we really want to open that door?

  2. Kim Voynar says:

    Depends on the perspective, I guess. Right now, HSM 3 is hot, but will the target market still be going to see it in theaters in December? But on the other hand, release the DVD just in time for Christmas while interest among the short-attention span demograhphic is still piqued, and it might sell more than waiting 6 or 8 months until they’ve moved on to the Next Big Thing.
    Disney debuted HSM 2 (on televsion) August 17 of last year, the DVD was out December 7, in time for the holidays. That was an almost four-month window, and it was a television release, not theatrical, so I agree, it’s unlikely Disney will put the DVD out in time for Christmas. More likely they’ll push the soundtrack CD and other merchandise through the holidays and then roll out the DVD early in the new year.
    I’m just saying, my daughter would be thrilled if they had it out in time for her Christmas stocking, and she’s probably not alone in that wish.

  3. Cadavra says:

    You’re right that it probably won’t be on many screens come Christmas; I was more concerned about setting a precedent. As the gap between theatrical and DVD narrows, people have become even more inclined to “wait for the DVD.” It’s barely three months now; cutting it down to two, even for something as tightly targeted as HSM3, can only raise further howls of protest from exhibitors, who will for the most part be justified in doing so.

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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