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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady

Tracking aside, why would anyone be surprised by the opening of Four Christmases? Last year, Fred Claus got the worst possible reviews on the planet and with Vince Vaughn and the brilliant but not-box-office Paul Giamatti, and opened to $18 million. But even more interesting, This Christmas opened to a $26 million 5-day over Thanksgiving last year. The year before, Deck The Halls (does anyone even remember that film existed?) opened to $12 million. In ’04, the widely slammed Christmas with The Kranks opened to $22 million.
And look at the marketplace. If you want to go to a light comedy that is not for children, what are your options? This is the only movie out there. And then, add on the interest in Christmas movies. And then add Reese Witherspoon to Vince Vaughn. (I would say that WB learned the lesson last year that keeping Rachel Weisz out of Fred ads was a mistake… but 1) they didn’t make this film, and 2) there was no way that Reese Witherspoon, clearly a bigger rom-com draw than Vaughn, wasn’t going to be front & center here.)
Similarly, on the down side, who is so very shocked about Australia?
I mean, you know that the studio is not thrilled. If the film opened two weeks ago, as originally scheduled, this is the kind of weekend they would be expecting a Weekend Three for this film, not opening. But that said

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13 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady”

  1. Blackcloud says:

    Very nice recovery for Bolt. Should have a strong Saturday and Sunday. I should get out and see some of these flicks.
    “I hadn’t realized how long that list had gotten.”
    The more you debase a currency, the more devalued it becomes.

  2. brack says:

    The cume for Twilight seems way off, by about $13m.

  3. EthanG says:

    FINALLY it seems like we have some indie winners with Slumdog and Milk. The time is ripe for big expansions next weekend, as nothing is opening wide aside from Punisher 2, which is a lock to bomb. (Cadillac Records and something called The Nobel Son open semi-wide)
    The rotten-Fox streak lives!! Both financially and critically. I know of almost no one who wants to see the big budget “Day the Earth Stood Still.”

  4. bmcintire says:

    Not to nitpick, but your post-Oscar nomination data for MOULIN ROUGE! is skewed, seeing how it had already been released on DVD by the time nominations came out. I would say anything even approaching $250,000 in January ’02 for a June ’01 release is a nice take.

  5. David Poland says:

    A reasonable detail, bmc, but the point remains that there is not a whole lot of financial value in Oscar chasing unless you play it in a very narrow way.
    In additon, these re-releases for Oscar reasons end up costing the studios even more money.
    I expect that Searchlight will wait to expand Slumdog wide until a nomination or the week before, which also became their late-blooming strategy on Sideways.
    All the late December releases will try to ride the old Weinstein wave to some degree, though adjustments will be made after critics and The Globes lay it out in the next two weeks.

  6. martin says:

    The marketing I’ve seen for Transporter 3 has been great. It’s probably a pile of shit, and I was tired of the character by the end of Transporter 1, but I have to give them credit for keeping the series relevant to audiences.

  7. martin says:

    Also, am I the only one excited about “The Expendables”? Stallone, Statham, Jet Li, Lundgren. It kind of reminds me of how Tarantino originally described Inglorious Basterds.

  8. LYT says:

    The right-wing Christian website Movieguide claims Transporter 3 is better than Quantum of Solace.

  9. EDouglas says:

    There’s a big difference between a movie like Four Christmases opening with $20 – 25 million or even $30 million or even $35 million but it’s shooting to be one of the top 3 Thanksgiving openers ever… sure, a lot of that can be accounted to the Christmas spirit that everyone suddenly feels the urge to get this week, but even though the movie is better than the commercials and reviews convey, it’s no Wedding Crashers or Dodgeball and yet it’s going to make about the same as both of them. It’s hard to believe that Fred Claus did as poorly as it did going by this movie’s success, since I’m sure Joel Silver and WB were hoping that would be like Elf.

  10. I can’t think of a more apt title for a movie starring Stallon, Li and Lundgren than The Expendables, can you? Although I do like looking at Statham so we can keep him for a bit longer.
    The number for Australia isn’t shocking in the slightest. I expected about $17mil so it’s right in line although i do hope word-of-mouth kicks in and gets it a bit further in terms of box office. As far as I’ve heard from Americans it’s been quite well received by “the general public”, but I tend to take that sort of info with a big grain of salt.
    And not to toot my own blog, but does anybody have anything to say on this:
    ? It continues to baffle me, really.

  11. yancyskancy says:

    Kami: Yes, that instance of political correctness is absolutely absurd. The characters observe Christmas, so it’s Four Christmases. If it were Four Kwanzaas or Four Hanukahs, no one would say a word. What’s next, How the Grinch Stole the Holiday? A Holiday Carol?
    As for Transporter 3, you’ve gotta love this quote from nutty Armond White’s review:
    “Nothing in Cinema this week is more important than Transporter 3. It

  12. movielocke says:

    I hadn’t seen Fred Claus until last night and I saw Four Christmases on Friday. Both films are completely repugnant and almost without merit. Robert Duvall and Kevin Spacey cancel each other out, but I’d give Fred Claus the slight edge for having Paul Giamatti be an awesome santa (unfortunately with nothing to do) and for the director/producer/editor of Fred Claus restraining Vaughn’s rambling endless unfunny and dull yammering. but it’s the difference between being a 2 of 10 and a 3 of 10.
    What makes Elf so far superior to those films (or even a film like Christmas with the Kranks or Deck the Halls (5 and 4 respectively) is that Elf doesn’t fundamentally hate family and hate the holiday. At the same time, Elf is safe for a 5 year old, safe for a 10 year old, and funny for teens and adults as well while entertaining all ages and never boring any–like A Christmas Story or The Santa Clause. perhaps Vaughn thought he could subvert the christmas movie and subvert the romantic comedy (ala The Breakup) with Four Christmases, but when no one ‘gets’ that you’re subverting it or knows that’s what you’re trying to do all you wind up with is self-sabotage. Suicide really.
    Smart christmas movies that aren’t entirely nice understand the limit of acceptable awful, Christmas Vacation, for instance (Family Stone might also qualify). Or nasty mean spirited movies full of hate (like Four Christmases is) should let people know they’re an ‘anti-holiday’ film as Bad Santa did to great success. Selling an ‘anti-holiday’ film as a holiday film is an incredible mistake. Reese Witherspoon will recover, but Vaughn has been in two I-hate-Christmas, I-hate-family films in a row, I wonder what’s going to happen to his career now that mass audiences probably don’t trust him at all? To add insult to injury, other than the production design team for Fred Claus, Vaughn’s two films were incredibly ineptly made.

  13. christian says:

    “Nothing in Cinema this week is more important than Transporter 3. It

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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