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David Poland

By David Poland

What About W. $s?

So, people are trying to figure out what kind of money W. will do this weekend.
My first thing was to look at the history of these films, actual presidential movies first, then politically-oriented movies that opened over $10 million, plus Swing Vote, Disney’s movie this summer.
What this suggests is that $12 million is about the top for this opening. And some are already on record predicting around $10 million.
I like the movie and I still feel strongly that Josh Brolin should get a nomination for his work, but I say $6 million this weekend, maybe less.
I just don’t see who isn’t already overwhelmed with the political season. Combine that with less interest in Iraq right now, a population of potential ticket buyers who will actually read reviews that will be good but not sensational, and no Bushies in this current election, no matter that McCain voted with Bush over 90% of the time.
I was excited to see the film. I am looking forward to seeing it again. But while adult “civilians” are likely to make it their first choice this weekend, particularly in the big cities, are they anxious to leave their homes this weekend to see any movie?
I could be wrong and it could be $10m and it could be $15m… but I don’t think so.
What do you think?

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15 Responses to “What About W. $s?”

  1. Hopscotch says:

    Man of the Year numbers are what I’m expecting.
    Another movie that could be on the list is WAG THE DOG, which opened to about $7M and went to $43M. Which is very much in this range.
    I’m there Friday night. Can’t wait.

  2. Maskatron says:

    Most of my friends are pretty rabid Bush haters but I don’t know anyone who is excited to see this right away. It’s not registering as a must see event, more like a “I’ll Netflix it” type of thing.

  3. jeffmcm says:

    I’m on the low side. Bush lovers won’t see it because it’s an Oliver Stone movie and there just plain aren’t very many Bush lovers anymore. Bush haters hate Bush too much to want to see it. So that leaves Oliver Stone fans, and these days there just aren’t enough of them either for much of an opening.
    I’m guessing a $5m opening and a $15m finish.

  4. PanTheFaun says:

    I know we can never safely predict the success of anything politics-related, especially in this current climate, but for some reason I’m expecting “W.” to do above-average business this weekend, maybe $15 million, if not more. It’s not a “must-see” event, but I’m surprised how many people I know (including lots who aren’t the least bit politically informed) who’ve expressed interest in this, if only out of curiosity.
    The marketing has been in full swing, the ads make the film look “fun” rather than “important,” Brolin and Stone have been doing a ton of publicity, and the reviews look like they’re going to be largely positive (though lacking in all-out raves).
    As for how word-of-mouth will be once haters start spreading the word that Stone’s presented a fairly even-handed portrayal, I don’t know, but I think people should prepare for a larger-than-expected opening weekend.

  5. LexG says:

    $13 mil opening, *might* limp to 30 domestic total.
    I can also kind of see it going exactly the way Jeff outlined a few posts up, but figured maybe there’s enough curiosity value to take it outside of that rather logical estimate.
    One way or the other, YOU KNOW come Monday morning, all the ‘winger blogs and neocon film sites will be trumpeting its soft opening as some yee-haw victory for American patriotism, as if so many regular Joes are actually thinking of NOT SEEING IT AS SOME PROTEST BECAUSE THEY LOVE GOD, THE TROOPS AND APPLE PIE.
    Instead of the likelier alternative that they don’t really give a shit.
    But have no doubt, going up against Wahlberg is foolhardy, and W. is going to FEEL THE PAYNE.

  6. I’m expecting $10mil, but could see it going a few mil either way. Or it could outright die on the table and make a pathetic $3mil. W seems like a movie more people are interested in talking about than actually seeing.

  7. Triple Option says:

    I was going to say $8.2M but having been reminded of Max Payne I’ll say $6.9M.

  8. tjfar67 says:

    Until I looked at the chart, I didn’t realize political movies don’t make that much money.

  9. SmilingPolitely says:

    Devin Faraci’s review said that Josh Brolin’s portrayal is one the best of the decade. I hope this winds up being the consensus, as I would really to see Brolin get a nod. Yes, I’m Brolin fanboy. Gots to back a Goonie up!
    As for the opening, I predict it’s north of 10 million. The word seems to be that Max Payne is god awful, even for a videogame movie.

  10. doug r says:

    I’ll got out on a limb $19 million opening. F 9/11 got everyone by surprise, too.

  11. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Advantage: “W.” is playing arthouse/upmarket wherever possible. “F9/11” was released the same way.
    Slight disadvantage: Most theaters with “W.” took only 1 print, thus they’ll need full or nearly full houses for a big opening weekend.
    Speaking of “Swing Vote”, it was a total P.O.S. that made me walk out — and I don’t walk out of anything.

  12. yancyskancy says:

    Swing Vote wasn’t very good, but I’m glad I stayed till the end to hear my hometown of Henderson, KY get a shout-out (the letter Costner reads was sent from there).

  13. SmilingPolitely says:

    Weekend estimates for W. are in 12-12.9 range. Solid opening. If Lionsgate had gambled a bit more and tried to get a theater count closer to Max Payne’s, W. would be sitting in the #1 spot right now. May Payne is predicted to be finish the weekend at around 18.5 million.–2.html

  14. SmilingPolitely says:

    And at least W. and Religulous can say they both smacked An American Carol at the box office.

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    “I say $6 million this weekend, maybe less.” BZZZT. Sorry. But thanks for playing.
    And if you think THAT makes me sound childish and immature, get a load of this: I can’t begin to say how happy I am to see Sex Drive is tanking.

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