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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Klady

The weather outside is a popular cliche’… really.
Estimates may defy accuracy today. We’l see. Klady has Yes Man slipping well under 3x Friday… the other two openers right around there. At least one premature e-estimacator has retracted estimates a couple of times over the weekend.
People sometimes ask why some of this premature stuff irritates me so. It’s 3-fold. One, it’s often inaccurate. But more importantly, the sense of mining movie grosses like they are baseball stats is something that has irritated many for years, as box office has become assured of a Sunday night slot on every news show (and now, ever scroll). But we are getting to the point where we won’t wait for the news to happen before insisting we have the answer. This is not a situation where Traditional Media is doing a single bit of perspective reporting either. And those who are positioning themselves as experts are either completely ignorant of what they are really writing about or they are so busy trying to be first that they are doing a disservice to people who have a legitimate interest in what is going on out there.
And 3… the reason we have incredibly unclear and often no verifiable numbers in areas of new media is that there are so many irresponsible monkeys swimming around the pool in box office these days that the industry is dedicated to hiding every single number they can from her on in.
With due respect, this is AICN Syndrome. Reviewing test screenings has led to a test screening system that no longer works for filmmakers or the foolish execs that overvalued the numbers that came out of those screenings. And we don’t know the real numbers on anything other than box office now because “analysts” dipped too deeply into the well and misunderstood the numbers they did have, creating problems for every studio.
And by the way… here is a touch of what may become news in the days to come… purchasing a web business should require a lot of due diligence work, as word around the box office moat is that a lawsuit for stolen proprietary information is being seriously considered now that one web entity has grown deep pockets. As I have written before, domestic box office that studios hand out each week is not proprietary information. If you have a website or newspaper, you can get on the weekend phone list. But when you are digging past the first 20 or 30 grossers, it is likely that you are using numbers from just one or two actual hands-on box office information brokers aka reporting services

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41 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady”

  1. anghus says:

    Those are surprisingly good numbers for Rab Ne Bana de Jodi. Adita Chopra hasn’t had the kind of crossover success that many anticipated after the 2000 critical drubbing of Mohabbatein.
    But what did we expect? It’s obvious that Rab Ne Bana de Jodi lacked the kind of crossover appeal of a Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

  2. anghus says:

    “And by the way… here is a touch of what may become news in the days to come… purchasing a web business should require a lot of due diligence work, as word around the box office moat is that a lawsuit for stolen proprietary information is being seriously considered now that one web entity has grown deep pockets.”
    Damn, Heat. If they start allowing people to sue websites for copying and pasting information, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter might end up owning the Internet.

  3. anghus says:

    You know heat, as i re-read the piece, one sentence stuck out.
    “Look for Bedtime Stories to blow everything else out of the water from Thursday on through the rest of the season. Marley and Me could pass Yes Man right off the bat too. We

  4. Chucky in Jersey says:

    WB is the most commercial of studios and Clint is a proven star. It only makes sense to take “Gran Torino” national/limited on Xmas Day and wide after New Year’s.
    This moviegoer has serious doubts about “Doubt”. Streep may be “red hot” to Film Snobs yet she is Box Office Poison to the general public. Plus the subject matter will have limited appeal in the Mormon Belt and the Bible Belt.

  5. matro says:

    Family-friendly comedy going to make a lot of money during the Christmas movie-going season? That just sounds like common sense to me.

  6. Joe Straat says:

    Yes, Chucky, because Mamma Mia! and The Devil Wears Prada died quick and painful deaths at the box office because of Streep’s vial of poison. Or not. Doubt is and will never be one of those big box office players, but it’s more because the subject doesn’t reach out and grab mass audiences much. It will get limited audience success and make a few bucks on DVD for people aren’t in the regions where they get a lot of such movies and want to see them. Were you thinking it was going to take on Bedtime Stories or something?

  7. David Poland says:

    Well, Anghus… I’ll try to keep it brief.
    Movie City News

  8. David Poland says:

    And a Disney family film taking on Aniston and a dog versus the second week of a Jim Carrey comedy with middling word of mouth that opened under $20 million?
    Was that a call that requires back-up from tracking?
    And I will bet right now that tracking will come up 15% – 35% short of the number on Bedtime Stories. Hard to know on Marley, as it is hard to be sure of the audience and whether it is one that tracks well.

  9. anghus says:

    matro, i agree, it does seem like common sense. though, heat’s mention of propriatery information got me thinking: if box office reporting leaked from studios to certain sites, isn’t prognosticating based on tracking the same basic principle.
    If i’m talking to someone from 20th Century Fox and they say “Marley and Me is tracking at (blank) for the 4 day weekend”, then repeating that information as if i came up with it on my own is disingenuous.
    don’t you agree?

  10. anghus says:

    well said Heat. I agree with everything you said in that post.

  11. a_loco says:

    Remember when Carrey could pull an $80 mil weekend for Bruce Almighty?
    And I hadn’t heard of Marley and Me until today. But then again, I don’t have cable.

  12. anghus says:

    What happened to Carrey? Did people just get tired of him?
    After Bruce Almighty, which was a massive hit and an awful movie, he did Eternal Sunshine, his best performance but too eclectic for mainstream success.
    The triple serving of garbage that was Number 23, Fun With Dick and Jane, and A Series of Unfortunate Events seemed to tarnish the superstar luster. With the Love Guru and Yes Man, two of the most bankable comedy stars have lost the ability to open at numbers befitting of their price point.

  13. Paulseta says:

    “Reviewing test screenings has led to a test screening system that no longer works for filmmakers or the foolish execs that overvalued the numbers that came out of those screenings. ”
    With all due respect, David, test screenings very rarely to never had a value to the filmmakers. The whole system was always geared towards the absolute terror that studio execs have had towards making a “mistake” and being able to second-guess the public…
    …something that simply doesn’t work. A recent example of this would be Baz The Fabulous, and his ridiculous contention that he deliberately shot three endings (and if I recall, wrote four) to Australia, and the involvement of test screening audiences in deciding the “correct” one.
    In this case, of course, one could look at so many other factors in why the film is a huge reverse-enema of cinema:
    Nicole “box office poison” Kidman; Hugh “fabulous” Jackman in a leading role where the money is in having him as part of an ensemble; having Baz direct something that requires not having ADHD and being able to understand one’s own culture; a terrible script thoughout; appalling effects leading to audience laughter (yes that happened here in Australia)…
    Also, the young Aboriginal chap who seemed to be some awful young male model type (admittedly O/S audience members didn’t realise how ridiculous the direction of him was by Baz); an un-commercial title; 20th being run by goons etc etc…
    … but nowhere did the use of test screenings with or without leaks to AICN etc change the “quality” or lack thereof in the finished product.
    Most of the all time great filmmakers never used test screenings, as an artist one should bloody well know what you’re trying to achieve and know how to do it (although in all fairness, Kubrick used to cut some footage after an actual screening or three while the film was already in release – if only someone had done *that* to Baz).
    I know you said “the foolish execs that overvalued the numbers that came out of those screenings”, so I know you’re talking more or less the same language, but seriously, filmmakers of quality rarely use test screenings. It’s a crutch by the generally untalented.

  14. chris says:

    Re: the coming week. There’s also this to factor in and it’s not tiny: both “Marley & Me” and “Bedtime Stories” are crowd-pleasers and both happen to be better than they need to be.

  15. David Poland says:

    There is not a comedy director in history that didn’t feel a need to put the movie in front of an audience before locking.
    Coppola used test screenings – though this was before NRG turned them into stat sessions – for all his best movies.
    Kubrick, as you said.
    They weren’t called “test screenings” in the old days. They were called “sneak previews.”
    NRG sucks. But test screening does not. And just because AICN never saw a difference does not make the reckless disregard of the privacy of process good for filmmakers.
    Seeing the movie play in front of a real audience is absolutely critical for many excellent filmmakers. Sitting alone in a room doing post causes myopia for many.
    This doesn’t mean that I believe in test screening as a panacea for studios and I don’t think they should be throwing stats in a director’s face to try to force changes. But the idea that “real artists” know what they have before they see it with audience is a load of hooey. Maybe Fincher would have changed Ben Button over and over again without the coincidence of those changes coming after each screening. Maybe not. Certainly, Malick is not big on what audiences think. But that is one of the reasons that great artist is rarely seen by many people compared to others who don’t show that kind of contempt for audiences.
    And look… lots of studio people are full of shit… but many who I know, who like to tell truths, will tell you that they know what the movie is when the director does not. Sometimes history proves them right… sometimes wrong. In my history, when wrong, they are as often too enthusiastic and under enthusiastic. But perspective matters.
    And as far as Australia, the lack of time to show the picture turned out to be a horrible mistake. You may hate it profoundly, but I think seeing how the movie played and having some time to cut would have convinced Fox to give Luhrmann more time to cut the movie… not to mention giving it some real time to be marketed.
    What AICN has done is to create a climate of fear around showing movies in any way previously seen as private. And it helps no one… it has improved nothing… and it does, in fact, get in the way of the process.

  16. Nick Rogers says:

    I see “Slumdog Millionaires” is the new “Zack and Mira Make a Porno” of the box-office chart.

  17. David Poland says:

    How so, Nick?

  18. William Goss says:

    Nick, if anything, “Slumdog Millionaires” is the new “Madagascar: Back 2 Africa”.
    (Typos, Dave. That’s all they is.)

  19. Roman says:

    “Marley and Me could pass Yes Man right off the bat too.”
    Ahmmm… Only with the extra help of a Holiday Weekened. Otherwise the movie looks like a bomb to me (You, Me and Dupree anyone?). Notice how they don’t even show Aniston in most TV ads.
    That said, Aniston and Co. has successfully managed to create a “controversy” out of nothing, so who knows?

  20. LexG says:

    Chucky in Jersey aficionados, I hereby submit his 4:50 post above as proof that he’s entered a whole new realm of awesomeness.

  21. chris says:

    So any Owen Wilson movie gets compared to “Dupree?” “Marley and Me” is nothing like it and it’s certainly not a perfect movie but, if you’d seen it, Roman, you’d know it’s going to be huge.

  22. hcat says:

    The book is the main draw for the Marley and Me audience, not the stars. It is HUGE with the suburban book club set. If they are able to get the domestic sentimantality right this could reach $150 easy.

  23. Bennett says:

    I agree Marley & Me is gonna be big…Not National Treasure big, but it should beat Aniston’s The Break-Up at the box office and as for bitter revenge for Jen it should also beat Ben Button. Never down play dog-lovers…..Though a totally different demo…look at that little dog from Beverly Hills or many years ago a Big Baby with Charles Grodin or a Drooling Baby with Tom Hanks better than expected box office for all of them. I wouldn’t underestimate a bestseller book with a cute dog.
    As for Aniston….I think that Fox is doing the right thing by putting her in the ads, but not overexposing her. Between GQ(nice spread), 30 Rock(I still think that she is a better television actress than movie star), cover of EW, plus many other interviews…she is out there…
    As for Bedtime Stories….Disney will make a good fortune on it, but if I were them, I would make a few more adult ads with Kerri Russell(was still robbed for an Oscar nom with Waitress) and Adam Sandler. Try for all the demos…

  24. movieman says:

    I’ve been tagging “Marley and Me” as the holiday movie to beat (box-office-wise) since I saw it. This thing owns nearly every damn quadrant of the movie-going public (teenage boys seem to be the only demo it doesn’t appeal to), and I fully expect it to go through the roof and play for months. A $200-million domestic cume isn’t out of the question.
    “BB” will do just fine (and score a shitload of Oscar nominations next month), but don’t be surprised if “M&M” is the bigger hit.
    And “Bedtime Stories” should have no trouble expanding the audience base for a typical Sandler flick. It’s already got the kiddies thanks to the Disney imprimatur, and the Sandler fan base that has helped nearly every one of his films cross the $100-million mark should turn out in force, too.
    Despite their weather-plagued opening weekends, “Yes Man” and “7 Pounds” will both do okay in the long run, even if neither lives up to the traditional Carrey/Smith blockbuster standards.
    And I still think “Valkyrie” is a potential darkhorse in the holiday sweepstakes. There’s a huge “wanna see” factor that virtually nobody seems to have anticipated (certainly not UA) until the advertising blitzkrieg began in earnest earlier this month.

  25. hcat says:

    The weekend before Christmas is always weak. Dick and Jane opened to 14 million on the same weekend two years ago and ended up at 110. So both Yes Man and Seven Pounds have a good shot at respectable grosses.
    And while it looks like an easy hit I would rather eat glass than sit through Bedtime Stories. It looks like Sandler saw the kind of money Stiller made with Night and the Museum told his agent to sign him up for the next effects driven kids comedy that came along.

  26. hcat says:

    The weekend before Christmas is always weak. Dick and Jane opened to 14 million on the same weekend two years ago and ended up at 110. So both Yes Man and Seven Pounds have a good shot at respectable grosses.
    And while it looks like an easy hit I would rather eat glass than sit through Bedtime Stories. It looks like Sandler saw the kind of money Stiller made with Night and the Museum told his agent to sign him up for the next effects driven kids comedy that came along.
    And I just tried to post this comment and got this message:
    “In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I’ve enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Please sober up and remove the words OWN, boner, and douche. Thanks for your patience.”

  27. christian says:

    “Remove the words OWN, boner, and douche”?
    All that’s left for Lex now is contractions and prepositions.

  28. LexG says:

    Is that for real? Is that new? A glitch from months past?
    Ironic, since I haven’t really acted up for weeks, if Poland just now was laying down the law on those words.
    If anything, a recent rash of oversubmissions to the blog was due to everyone’s multiple posting attempts due to the TypeKey issues… not any one poster flooding the place.

  29. hcat says:

    Just kidding about the removal of words sentance but the rest of it did appear.

  30. lawnorder says:

    Regarding the test screening process, there are very few directors who can opt out. It is pretty much studio mandated (as well as by indie producers and financiers). Unless you’re Spielberg (and he should have done it for Indy IV – that way he would have witnessed the audiences derision at some of the crappy scenes), Tarantino or some other heavyweight, you have no choice but submit to the process. And you can be damned sure they will use every little audience comment against you. All it takes is for one audience member to write down, “I don’t like the shape of her tits” and the studio will cut the shot. “I hated that he died in the end.” Reshoot the ending. It’s the most bullshit process an artist ever has to go through. UNLESS, you’re shooting comedy, the test screening process is only good for one thing, and that’s determining whether your audience actually understands the flow of events on screen. When you see a serious disconnect between the story a filmmaker thinks he’s telling and the audience perception of it, then you’re in trouble and the process has served you well. Otherwise, it’s a means for studios to take good, risk-taking films and gut them of their complexity and edge. I’ve seen this happen dozens of times. And, yes, AICN has made it a nightmare for any filmmaker to test his work because the results are posted on the internet within hours. Not only is it an egregious violation of the test screening process, but the filmmaker is subsequently subjected to trial by internet (which is being read by the studio execs) and is punished yet again by a kangaroo court – this time comprised of a lynch mob that hasn’t even seen the film in question. This is why more and more filmmakers are turning to friends and family private screenings (if they can get around the studios). For a site like Aint It Cool which is supposed to be all about the love of cinema, these guys and their imitators have fucked filmmakers over in the worst possible way. I’m just waiting for the day when one of the studios turns around and sues AICN for interference with doing business. There is a legitimate case to be made and with the deep pockets of a major studio they could put AICN out of business over night.

  31. aframe says:

    Anghus–I don’t find the Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi numbers surprising at all. Mohabbatein was 8 long years ago, and Aditya Chopra has produced a lot of films for Yash Raj in the interim, not to mention he will always be the man responsible for Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, running 13 straight years and counting in Indian cinemas. And to top it off you have Shahrukh Khan, of course, who is a reliable a top 20 North American opener as any, plus any film with him and Aditya Chopra working together again have people think more of DDLJ, not Mohabbatein, so the interest will always be there.

  32. Bennett says:

    I’ve been two three test screenings. The first was a Mel Gibson blockbuster…audience loved it…big hit…the second was a big studio comedy featuring an older comedy legend….audience loved it…Bombed at the box office…But my third experience proved the point that all studios care about is the negative
    I saw a film from an indie director working for the first time in the studio system. It was a edgy comedy aimed at the teen/twentysomething demo. I was chosen to be part of ten people as a focus group. I was the ONLY person that didn’t like the film in our group…..not that I HATED it, but I thought that it was just kinda average. Nothing I would tell anyone to see. But the person who ran the focus group hammered me over and over again about why I didn’t like it. So despite the fact that 90% of our group liked…some loved the film… few negative comments was highlighted…Since I am a film buff(otherwise I wouldn’t hang out on this site), I noticed the director in the audience as I left…He looked quite pissed at me.
    Postscript…the film was released…did almost no business and was rated pretty average by the critics….

  33. Movieman movies don’t screen for months on end anymore, however, I’d be pleased for Aniston (and Wilson for that matter – lest we forget Drillbit Taylor) to have another hit on her hands. She’s one of those people that people routinely seem to think has only ever made flops and people like (yes, but it’s merely a coincidence) Angelina Jolie are hailed as the biggest box office draw on the planet.
    Chucky’s 4.50 reply is officially the most insane thing he has ever said. Meryl Streep box office poison? Because the critics just FELL IN LOVE with Mamma Mia while general audiences hated it and thought Streep was terrible. Oh, wait, I have that the wrong way ’round. Idiot.
    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned that the per cinema number for Frost/Nixon had the rug pulled out from under it, while Doubt managed to remain quite healthy despite being in the same number of cinemas.
    Nobody who was involved in Waitress was robbed of anything. What a dull ineffectual movie that was.
    I’m getting worried about Milk. Are they waiting for the Golden Globes before going wide or what? With a lot more of the critics awards going to Slumdog and Button than expected they really risk having that movie peter out (especially with Button to take people away).

  34. movieman says:

    I realize that the era of, say, “Titanic” when a movie could play first-run indefinitely is long gone, Kam.
    But “M&M” should definitely stick around at the ‘plexes for a few months. In other words, I’m not expecting it–or “Bedtime Stories” and “BB” for that matter–to blow its load within three weeks like a typica 21st centuryl H’wood movie.
    “BB” should remain rock-steady, at least until February’s Oscar telecast, and I fully expect “M&M” and “BS” to stick around on 1st run screens through Valentine’s Day at least.

  35. movieman says:

    Uh; that shoulda read, “…like a typical 21st century H’wood movie.”
    And I wouldn’t worry too much about “Frost/Nixon.” It should find its sea legs after the Oscar nominations are announced and play fairly steadily–at least in more “upscale” locations–through February.
    Glad to see that “Doubt” is doing as well as it is.
    But I have a definite feeling that Vantage is going to platform “Rev Road” into “Into the Wild”-style ignominy (they’re good at stuff like that). Sure hope that it can at least surpass “Little Children”s domestic cume.

  36. Chucky in Jersey says:

    @JoeS: 20th marketed “Prada” as chick flick first, arty pic second. The trailer did not refer to Meryl Streep by name.
    @movieman: “Revolution Road” is a DreamWorks title. Also, product flow ensures most Xmas Day releases will be gone from theaters before the Super Bowl.

  37. Martin S says:

    Re: Gran Torino. What’s with the Karate Kid references? If this was an accurate comparison, why wasn’t Finding Forrester labeled KK in reverse? And when KK was released, every review said it was Teen Rocky. So why isn’t GT Rocky in reverse?
    The KK remark seems to be an attempt at a snide putdown, but after seeing this movie twice, it comes across as sterotyping at best, subconscious bigotry at worst, which is ironic considering the whole point of Eastwood’s Kowalski.
    This could be spoilerish…
    FWIW, I don’t think the point of the movie was to show the atypical “protagonist grows due to the influence of an unusual friendship”. Tao did didn’t teach Walt anything. His sister passed on knowledge, but that was to humanize the Humong to Walt on every story level. That humanization went head-on with Walt’s other major interaction with Asians, his time in Korea. His natural inclination was to kill the enemy and defend Americans, but the Americans he’s defending look like his depiction of the enemy. This internal conflict physically manifests in the form of cancer and coughing blood. The cigarettes feed the cancer, while the Humong food makes him feel better. So he realizes that at the end, to feel at peace, he must go against his instincts, hence the upside-down smile. IMO, the second message, the Catholic message, is that Clint seems to be telling his audience he’s at peace knowing he’s going to pass at some point.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    Prada was not marketed as ‘arty’ at all. Huh?
    And yes, I think people knew Meryl Streep was in it when they bought tickets.

  39. movieman says:

    Chucky: “RR” is a DW/Paramount Vantage coproduction, but P/Vantage is handling the U.S. release.
    I should know: the film is being represented in the Cleveland market by the PV ad rep, not the DW ad rep.
    Paramount Vantage and DreamWorks titles (which are traditionally released through Paramount, a completely separate entity from P/Vantage) are handled by two competing Cleveburg ad agencies.

  40. movieman says:

    …and no way are “Marley and Me,” “Bedtime Stories” and “Benjamin Button” (the Oscar nominations will certainly give that one an additional bounce in late-ish January) going to be dvd-bound by Super Bowl Sunday, Chucky.
    It’s a Darwininian theatrical environment most definitely, but the cream does occasionally rise to the top.

  41. Chucky in Jersey says:

    product flow theory
    holds true. Not every area can support a megaplex and not every theater can afford to play Oscar Bait.

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