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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Klady – Easter Sunday

Disney’s choice of Easter weekend for The Hannah Montana Movie was, I gotta say, kinda genius. With a film whose fan base pretty much assures that it will boom on opening day, catch the rest of the audience on Saturday, and drop like a stone on Sunday, the placement makes that short-lived trajectory seem less obviously about the product itself.
The estimate on Observe & Report puts it less than a million ahead of Zack & Miri’s opening… in spite of at least twice the marketing buys. It will be interesting to see how these two Seth Rogen films play out against each other, as the earlier one was kinder and gentler than its title and director’s career suggested while the new film is the opposite, clearly more harsh than what is being sold.
The cult around Jody Hill is making itself known, as in evidence with all the excuses made for the weaknesses of the film in comments after my review. We even got ourselves a little Bosley Crowther shout out… which in and of itself explains what’s so wrong with the rationalizations around O&R… unlike Crowther and then then-ground-breaking Bonnie & Clyde, no one that I have read has issues with the film because it pushes the envelope, but rather because it fails to deliver on its apparent ambitions… “apparent” because changing tone every 90 seconds is not a sign of genius or insight, but rather adult-onset ADD.
(Cue a parade of “he’s obsessed” comments in response to me daring to respond to those who disagree with me. Sigh…)
But I digress…
Fast & Furious is holding up well enough to be well assured of becoming the biggest grosser of the franchise… even if it won’t sell (yawn) the most actual tickets… because they funded the film based on the actual number of tickets sold and dvds purchased, not the revenue… right? BZZT! Wrong.
I Love You, Man is doing nicely, though it is not the breakout some hoped for. Seems to me like we are seeing The Apatow Era maturing into a series of strong, but not overwhelming numbers… not that there’s anything wrong with that. Of course, Apatow has nothing to do with this film – it is a Donald DeLine/Reitman/Pollock production of a John Hamburg film – but the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel combo was cast right out of Judd’s cash flow river. And Seth Rogen as the 100% frontman on Observe & Report is also an obvious spin on Apatow’s greenback village.
It’s generally a good bet that when a trend in movie talent gets a name, it is on its way to death’s door. Obviously, talent and commercial thinking can always overwhelm any trend line. And there is no question that Judd Apatow and many of those he has brought to the top of the business with him are very, very talented. But the gold rush for “bromance” may well be over.
Keep an eye on Year One, which I have some doubts about from the trailer and Super Bowl spot. I hope for History of The World, Part I – even though the ancient Rome stuff is the most forgettable in the film – but I fear Caveman, a movieI loved when I was 16… but mostly because I was amused by John Matusak acting and lusted for Barbara Bach.
I am even more scared of Funny People, which strikes me as Punchline with cancer. I was not a fan of Punchline without cancer. And even with a lot of critical praise and awards talk, a box office-hot Sally Field and a rising star in John Goodman, the film stands as one of Tom Hanks’ few early bombs. Apatow is a very talented guy… and maybe this film will turn out to be the great Adam Sandler dramatic effort. But when the funny guys try to do the melancholy thing… well… at least Woody Allen stole from Bergman before he finally figured out how to walk the comedy/drama line perfectly in Crimes & Misdemeanors… which was 11 years and 2 other bombs from his first effort with Interiors (a movie I actually like… but in a kind of kinky, theater way).
I honestly hope for the best. But the smoke signals spell “fear.” May they be dead wrong.

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29 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady – Easter Sunday”

  1. LYT says:

    If you’re going to say that people who disagree with a movie review are a cult who simply make excuses, you gotta expect some pushback.
    Comedy is hugely subjective. You didn’t laugh. Other people did. No amount of justification from either side will change that.

  2. jeffmcm says:

    “even if it won’t sell (yawn) the most actual tickets… because they funded the film based on the actual number of tickets sold and dvds purchased, not the revenue… right? BZZT! Wrong.”
    Can someone parse this one for me? It feels like it starts out taking one position, then does a 180 and argues the opposite?
    “Cue a parade of “he’s obsessed” comments”
    Clearly, the thing you’re obsessed with isn’t Jody Hill, or people having divergent opinions…it’s people calling you ‘obsessed’.

  3. Tofu says:

    David, you’re making Jody Hill into more than any of us.
    jeff, read it again. Makes sense, and is in line with what David says all the time. Tickets and DVDs sold isn’t important. Revenue is.

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    You know, under normal circumstances, I describe critics who insult people who disagree with them as childish. But, actually, I can see what David is going after here. After all, Jeff Wells insults peope who disagree with him all the time and, supposedly, his numbers are up. So maybe this is David’s way of playing catch-up?

  5. jeffmcm says:

    Tofu, I did look at it and figured it out. (IMHO it could have used an easy rewrite).
    The thing is, ‘important’ is relative. David saying ‘revenue is all that matters to the bottom line’ is perfectly true in context, but also ignores the ‘tickets sold is a more accurate indicator of popularity’ frame; and that frame is what several here are more interested in.
    I mean, in terms of sheer dollar-for-dollar box office revenue, Gone With the Wind made less money than The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. But which one would a studio rather have?

  6. movieman says:

    “Punchline” was “one of Tom Hanks’ early bombs,” Dave?
    As I seem to recall, Hanks made almost nothing but mega-ton duds between “Splash” and his “Big” “comeback” four years later.
    “Every Time We Say Goodbye” (barely released), “The Man With One Red Shoe,” “Volunteers” and “The Money Pit” were all flops (“Pit” mostly because the budget was ridiculously large for a one-joke comedy: blame Spielberg and the Amblin crew for that miscalculation).
    Even “Bachelor Party” wasn’t the yuppie (or were they still preppies back then?) “Porky’s” Fox was clearly hoping for.
    It didn’t achieve (undeserved in my book) “classic” status until video/cable a year or so later.
    “Nothing in Common” and “Dragnet” were probably the only two Hanks films between his “Splash” breakout and “Big” that can really be considered (modest) hits.
    But, yeah. I noticed the “Punchline” resemblance the first time I saw the “Funny People” trailer. In fact, I commented on that–and a few other things that worry me about the film–on a MCN blog posting some time ago.
    “Year One” just looks like flat-out crap (this summer’s “Love Guru”?), although “History of the World” was hardly primo Brooks either.

  7. martin says:

    Punchline was one of my biggest disappointments in a movie theater. Just a horrible waste of talent. And I totally got the same vibe from Funny People. A movie called Funny People should have a trailer with more than a chuckle or two, in my opinion. The whole “we’re above that whole making you laugh thing” is tired and never works.
    As far as tickets sold vs box office revenue, clearly revenue is more important. That is why gizmos like 3D are coming into play, because they can make more revenue with the same or even fewer tickets sold. Does a studio prefer $200 million with 20 million tickets sold, or $180 million with 25 million tickets sold? Not a hard question.

  8. mysteryperfecta says:

    I agree with DP on Funny People and Year One. I was underwhelmed by the trailers.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    Martin, you’re still in frame A.
    And I would make the claim that this kind of perspective – revenue uber alles – is one of the same reasons why the economy is in the shape that it’s in; because businesses became obsessed with short-term revenue streams at the expense of long-term healthy business models (and individuals, too).

  10. Direwolf says:

    The thing about revenue vs. tickets sold is that costs are in dollars not units. DP often correctly notes that what matters is profit and loss not box office. I think in general this is where lines get crossed between DP and others when the talk is box office. A studio worries about revenue from all windows against costs to produce and market in all windows.
    I do think 25 million tickets sold for $180 million vs. 20 million vs. $200 million could be relevant for DVDs or other forms of distribution to consumers. An extra 5 million tickets sold might mean more DVDs sold generating greater revenue. Of course, there is nowhere that large of a variation in ticket sales for similar grossing movies from year to year which is what matters to studios. The comparison is valid when comparing popularity of films that were released many years apart.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    Yes, but the consumer doesn’t care about dollars or units or profit and loss. That’s the frame I, and others here, are more interested in.
    It seems to me that for a long-term business model, the studios need to be ensuring that they hang on to their market share as a proportion of the population who goes to see movies in theaters vs. those who watch TV or play video games. Because all the ticket price inflation in the world isn’t going to help them if there’s a long-term theatrical attendance dropoff.

  12. tjfar67 says:

    Does anyone else feel that the “Funny People” trailer gives away the whole movie? The ol’ ‘you have to almost die to learn how to live’
    Unless, in the third act, the remission is short lived and Adam dies anyway. Or, maybe he could get hit by the bus that missed Queen Latifa in ‘Last Holiday’.
    The stand up comedy in the trailer doesn’t look that funny either. Movies never seem to get it right.
    But I hope the movie is better than the trailer.
    The Hannah Montana movie must of been extremely front loaded. Didn’t it do over half the weekend on Friday?

  13. Direwolf says:

    That is a fair point, Jeff. I suspect that how studios define market share might be broader than tickets sold, however. They want profitable revenue to flow across windows and it is the share of all that consumer time and money that matters. It is impossible to maintain market share based solely on tickets sold, in my opinion, given the competing technologies and entertainment options. That said, the long run decline is tickets sold is pretty modest, about 1% per year on a smoothed basis over the past decade, slightly more on a per capita basis. Given all the worry about the box office, I think the actual decline is rather modest. What is more worrying is the inconsistent and often low margins produced by the studios.

  14. SJRubinstein says:

    “Fast and Furious” was a pretty solid piece of work – quite liked it, almost as much as “Death Race” (yes, “Death Race”). Also thrilled that “Knowing” is becoming something of a word-of-mouth success. It deserves the eyes. High hopes for “Crank” this week, too.
    Finally saw “Adventureland.” Nowhere near as taken with it as some, but Martin Starr was awesome.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Direwolf, I was under the assumption that low margins produced by the studios was an expectable part of the industry, by its very nature. Obviously nobody likes consistency, but has there ever been a period in cinema history when the studios were making really large profit margins as a matter of course? Leaving behind such time-specific bubbles as the DVD boom.
    It’s seemed to me (somebody correct me if I’m wrong) that this was part of the issue as well with the studios being purchased by conglomerates – that Viacom, Sony, etc. began putting pressures on the studios to deliver profit margins similar to those of their other business streams (consumer electronics, whatever), but which had never been typical in motion pictures.
    Or is this just the result of the studios becoming a fully mature industry and no longer having as many opportunities for easy growth?

  16. Hopscotch says:

    Observe and Report’s b.o. does not surprise me. I’m in the ideal demo and I don’t want to see it, and most of my friends are either uniterested or on the fence.
    The other big b.o. story should be Sunshine Cleaning. It’s staying power for these few weeks has been remarkable, despite no big ad buys and so-so reviews. I moderately enjoyed the film, but am a huge fan of everyone involved. Good for them.
    Funny People – I know from a good source that there will be many MANY cameos by famous stand-ups, new and old, and some of them do their bits. Not sure if that’ll help or hurt the film. But yeah, the trailer is not that funny, gives away the whole plot it seems and…that Apatow backlash was going to hit sooner or later. Had it been any other lead than Sandler, I’d be more excited, but I’m not.
    Year One – looks dreadful. Almost as bad as Land of the Lost. I’m sure we all love Harold Ramis, and remember his in his funny parts back in the day. But as a Director, post-Groundhog Day. It gets pretty bad. Bedazzled…good god that was awful.

  17. Cadavra says:

    Hate to sound like a broken record, but if studios really did worry about the bottom line, they wouldn’t spend so goddamn much making the pictures. Anybody wanna start a pool on how long the “new frugality” lasts?

  18. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Variety says year-to-date admissions are up 12% and box office revenue up 13%. That says a lot about what people want to see.
    @Hopscotch: “Sunshine Cleaning” is already out of the Edgewater Multiplex (NJ) and the UA East Hampton (Long Island). In secondary markets like Raleigh/Durham the movie is playing mostly in dumpty arthouses.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    “That says a lot about what people want to see.”
    Such as? That people would rather see Paul Blart and Monsters vs Aliens than 10,000 BC and Horton Hears a Who?

  20. LexG says:

    “@Hopscotch: “Sunshine Cleaning” is already out of the Edgewater Multiplex (NJ) and the UA East Hampton (Long Island). In secondary markets like Raleigh/Durham the movie is playing mostly in dumpty arthouses.”

  21. Hopscotch says:

    Despite whatever theaters it’s playing in, Sunshine Cleaning is holding relatively well for its release.
    Hey remember when Watchmen was still in theaters and people gave a shit? me neither.

  22. leahnz says:

    ‘The other big b.o. story should be Sunshine Cleaning. It’s staying power for these few weeks has been remarkable, despite no big ad buys and so-so reviews. I moderately enjoyed the film, but am a huge fan of everyone involved. Good for them.’
    hopscotch, you’re a huge fan of christine jeffs? may i ask what about her work you particularly admire? (i wouldn’t think more than a handful of people outside enzed have even seen her two previous features)

  23. LexG says:

    Emily Blunt owns firecrotch Amy Adams.

  24. Hopscotch says:

    Leahnz, you nailed me! No I haven’t seen Sylvia.
    I was just talking about the cast. Blunt, Adams, Arkin, Collins, Jr. All great performers, and I’m a fan. Adams’ performance in Junebug is one of my all-time favorites.
    Sorry LexG. Amy Adams OWNS all!!!

  25. leahnz says:

    ‘rain’ is a better place to start than ‘sylvia’, hopscotch, if you’re going to make a sojourn into the brief filmic jungle that is christine jeff’s directorial career

  26. Lota says:

    Jeffs–I saw Rain at a European film fest and she won a bloody prize so she did. I just can;t remember if it was in Netherlands or Belgique! Rain was excellent.
    AT any rate…I think if she gets chances/funding she could do quite well for herself.
    enzed rocks but you can keep that manky Russell Crowe unless he loses his big conceited head and fat gut.

  27. leahnz says:

    chica lota, christine is true blue, talent, grit and creativity oozing from every orifice, she just needs a really great script to make that leap
    (and russel is austraaaaain now as far as i am – and most kiwis are – concerned…until he turns out a real corker of a perf again, then we’ll trumpet on about how he’s born and bred)

  28. I was gonna say, the Australian media adopted Russ years ago. “Our Russel” as they like to say.

  29. leahnz says:

    why do we (kiwis & ozzys) say ‘our so-and so’, it really does sounds quite stupid. do americans say ‘our brad’? ‘our meryl’? no. maybe because we’re off the beaten path we feel so territorial; we should just pee in a little circle around ‘our’ actors and be done with it

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