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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Klady – May 9

Weekend estimates are all over the place, from the studio-placed $76.5m to Klady’s $73.5m. $3 million isn’t much to argue about at these levels, given that these are still complete guesses about how the film will perform on Mother’s Day… but drama it shall be.
My guess is that the studio REALLY doesn’t want to be seen opening behind Fast & Furious over 3 days, which just passed $150m domestic this last week. But the fact that people are talking about how HUGE the difference between the mid-60s estimates that have been out there for weeks and current estimates of about $10 million more… “better than the guesses” is great, but… we are in overhyperspace on this one, folks.
I don’t want to continually rub the studio’s nose in the price of this film, especially when they are so aggressively selling the film as a cultural event on every talk/variety show they can find, along with a faux price tag. So, let past entries speak for themselves. I’ll just say, facts don’t change because you like or dislike the movie. But how people use those facts can change a lot.
The question remains, does the media bubble – hating Wolverine for doing more… loving Trek for doing less – matter? Will it move the box office needle? And will word of mouth mean more $s in a dense release period? We’ll see.
Ironically, the estimated drop for Wolverine, via Mojo, is the same exact % as Cloverfield. (Of course, Clover met the cash cow known as Meet The Spartans in its second weekend, which could stop any movie in its tracks.) Putting it in more appropriate perspective, if this number holds, it will be behind only Hulk ‘s drop amongst movies that opened over $50 million. On the other hand, it follows a long list of third films in franchises that opened big and dropped over 60% the next weekend, including Spidey, Pirates, X-Men, Matrix, and Potter.
Obviously, the drop is not thrilling to Fox. But profitabilty looks to be around $300m – $325m Worldwide (after post-theatrical is added) and that looks like a cakewalk, given that there are a lot of world markets where the film still hasn’t launched.
Next Day Air is Summit’s ninth opener… and is dead in the middle of the pack n first weekend grosses. Twilight remains the hero franchise. Knowing was a modest success by box office standards. And the only other Summit release to open to $10 million, Push, not so much.
I don’t think Summit is suffering from any failure that any other independent distributor would now. Twilight was the kind of monster – summer cover of EW – that was a marketing wet dream. Knowing has Cage in National Treasure mode, which some may not like, but which is a money machine. But without a big hook, Summit is stuck with pounding through the movie media din without spending the same insane amount of money.
Counterprogramming Star Trek is fine if $4 million is a good number for you or if you have a female-skewing comedy for which $80 million domestic is a good result. (From J-Lo to Diaz to Garner… who’ll have to settle for 50)
Rob Friedman & Co face the same problem that every one of these indie distributors who have had a huge hit face… what’s next? And while they could, in fact, sit on their money and wait for the congratulations in November when Twilight II does big numbers again, the ego pressure is, “we have this team that could do that… so we should be able to do it for something else while we wait.” But without ego, there is the reality that it is really hard, really expensive, and often a game of percentages to be in the $100 million grosser game. It is not a reflection of how good the team at Summit is… though they can produce better and worse work.
I am a big fan of Hurt Locker and think it can be more commercial than some think. But opening it the weekend of Transformers 2 and the weekend before Public Enemies… really? Sony Classics faces a similar challenge with Moon, a well-loved little thinker… but they are Classics and expectations are skewed to that. If it performs incredibly well, it is a success of overperformance. Summit carries the burden of more mainstream expectations. So they must be very careful not to get caught up in that game, as it has taken more than one of these companies right out of business.

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45 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady – May 9”

  1. doug r says:

    So are the Thursday pm numbers included in the May 8-10 numbers? Either Klady is 3 million too low or 1 million too high.

  2. the keoki says:

    i don’t think we’re going to get a true consensue on that Thursday number untill tomorrow afternoon. it’s definitely not 7 mil as previously reported. how did they get that so wrong? seems to me that the sunday number is pretty low as well.

  3. martin says:

    It’s a decent opening weekend. For a Trek movie, it’s great. For a summer blockbuster, it’s so-so. I could see it getting close to $200 mill. by the end of its run. WOM clearly will be better than the last few Treks so if it means breaking even or moderate loss, this is still a good success for the franchise.

  4. Wrecktum says:

    Based on recent trends, just north of $150m for Star Trek looks like the final number.
    “(Of course, Clover met the cash cow known as Meet The Spartans in its second weekend, which could stop any movie in its tracks.)”

  5. bulldog68 says:

    As is so often the case, the second weekend will tell the true tale. Wolverine’s drop of 68% places it in the bracket of movies that will barely make double its opening weekend gross. As Dave mentioned, its in Cloverfield territory, and Meet Dave, and Final Fantasy:The Sprits within, and Basic Instinct 2 territory. Ouch! The trajectory indicates a topping it at maybe 180M. Is this what the studio wanted?
    Ironically, there will still be some nervous moments over at Paramount as Star Trek Nemesis plunged by 76% in its 2nd week. Ouch! Ouch!
    More good news. Battle for Terra drops by 83% in its 2nd week. The 3rd biggest drop ever. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

  6. Blackcloud says:

    “Putting it in more appropriate perspective, if this number holds, it will be behind only Hulk ‘s drop amongst movies that opened over $50 million. On the other hand, it follows a long list of third films in franchises that opened big and dropped over 60% the next weekend, including Spidey, Pirates, X-Men, Matrix, and Potter.”
    I’m missing the point here. Are you saying compared to Hulk’s drop Wolverine is doing okay, but compared to some third films in franchises (like which it is performing), it’s not doing okay? Pardon my confusion, but yeah, this statement confused me.

  7. bulldog68 says:

    It also just occurred to me that with no absolute guarantee that Star Trek, Angels and Demons, and T4 will cross 200m, there is the possibility that we could enter June with the highest grossing movie being released prior to May, Monsters Vs Aliens at 195M, I don’t think that has happened in a long time. My belief though is that Trek and T4 will get there.

  8. Chucky in Jersey says:

    That $73.5M estimate for “Star Trek” includes Thursday night, hence a more accurate weekend estimate would be $66.5M. Rentrak and EDI consider Thursday night part of the preceding week.
    BTW the actual title of Twilight II is “New Moon”.

  9. LYT says:

    So if “Moon” does well, will people go to see the Twilight sequel thinking it’s a follow-up to that?

  10. SJRubinstein says:

    “Knowing has Cage in National Treasure mode, which some may not like, but which is a money machine.”
    Except absolutely, positively ZERO sequel opportunity whatsoever 🙂
    But still, easily one of my favorites of the year.
    And I quite liked “Moon,” though I think it suffered in my viewing from reading online reviews that were written under the influence of “Sundance Glow.” That said, if it had been one of the old one-hour “Twilight Zone” episodes, absolutely, it would be one we’d be talking about for decades upon decades to come. Rockwell definitely deserves his forthcoming Independent Spirit nom as does the screenwriter.
    “Now I know what Tess was talking about” was just about one of the most mind-bending lines ever.

  11. the keoki says:

    There’s no way that Trek doesn’t hit 200! It has that vibe of something special. The weekday numbers will tell the story, i expect it to do very well over the week as great word of mouth starts to spread. Next weekend will be a 40% drop… let my words be marked!!!

  12. IOIOIOI says:

    I am marking your words Keoki because I agree with them. Wolverine always seemed like a turkey to most people. It had that Turkey smell. While Star Trek never really gave it away in the trailers, and had an aurora of mystery to it. Which led to people seeing a film that’s better than all of it’s advertising, and hopefully leading to them praising a movie that brought Trek back. Even if there are those people who dislike Trek. This is like a Begins cleansing of Trek universe. Next stop… bigger and brighter days for those above NCC-1701.

  13. Wrecktum says:

    *Snort* Forgive me while I stifle a chuckle.

  14. the keoki says:

    plus Nimoy said anyone who doesn’t like the new movie is a dickhead…. so that equals huge box office

  15. IOIOIOI says:

    Excuse me while I continue to freakin laugh at a guy, that refers to himself as something most people wipe. Please… bring it… gwatdpbagnrdab!

  16. Crow T Robot says:

    I do wonder about endurance with this one.
    I enjoyed it, but it’s still very much a Star Trek flick. After the hot rods, bar brawls and college sex subside in the first act, it settles back into familiar inside nerd baseball.
    What Abrams does best is take Roddenberry’s final frontier of teamwork in the multi-cultural-racial-sexual world (a dream we’ve more or less realized in this country) and rework it into teamwork in the final frontier of… well… employment.
    The new movie is essentially about punching the clock — and the fear gifted, goodhearted young people feel when they first do it. When the characters do overcome their performance anxiety in the end and settle back into the new seats of their new jobs, you may feel empowered to go to work yourself… any work. I think that’s a swell message to youngsters with Playstations and their X-Boxes.
    That said, I don’t buy for a second that J.J. Abrams didn’t watch plenty of Trek in his youth. There are a few dork-tacular scenes in this movie that only a die hard Trekkie would have left in.
    The Old Spock flashback scene… good grief.

  17. the keoki says:

    there is no way that Trek bottoms out at “just north of 150” no way!!! That’s where Wolverine will end up, but not Trek.

  18. IOIOIOI says:

    Good grief it’s awesome? Yeah. It’s awesome. The Hot Blog: Where Whimsy Goes To Die!

  19. the keoki says:

    Ummmmm…. did anyone see a flash of young Shatner during the Kirk naming scene? Anyone? Or am i just nuts?

  20. David Poland says:

    If you did, Keoki, expect a lawsuit.
    I do expect Trek to get to $200 million… not much farther.
    Blackcloud… my point is that the stats run both ways. If you want to make the argument that Wolverine sucked and therefore is going to drop fast, you can find examples. If you want to make the argument that there is a trendline as you get farther out on these sequels, you can. We certainly can’t be sure what this drop means right now… and even when it plays out the whole way, things are changing, so it is more a stat that will be part of a whole rather than a key moment in and of itself.

  21. IOIOIOI says:

    David: does Wolverine really count as an X-Men sequel?

  22. Hallick says:

    “The question remains, does the media bubble – hating Wolverine for doing more… loving Trek for doing less – matter?”
    Doing more what?

  23. Blackcloud says:

    Half full, half empty. Right, Dave, thanks for the clarification. That’s what I thought you were saying, for some reason it just didn’t click with me at first. Probably because I was too lazy to look up the examples and see what they meant.

  24. IOIOIOI says:

    Hal: I am wondering the same thing about that point. Clarification would be a good thing.

  25. Blackcloud says:

    More business, probably.

  26. David Poland says:

    There is a reason it’s called “X-Men Origins’ first and “Wolverine” second, IO.
    And yes, business.

  27. IOIOIOI says:

    David, referring to the other X-Men films does not exactly mean it’s the fourth film in a series. It will most likely be the first film in the ORIGINS series, but they should be seen as two different entities. If not; donkey kongs.

  28. Geoff says:

    Dave, you keep on emphasizing how much Star Trek cost, but honestly, what did you expect the studio to do? They HAD to spend that kind of money if they were going to relaunch the franchise, what’s the big mystery. Seriousl, how much did Fox spend on Die Hard 4 – probably significantly more that the highest sequel grossed.
    No doubt it was a risk, but has been less of a risk to spend upwards of $300 million on sequels to Pirates or Spiderman???? It’s gotten crazy, no doubt, that’s the business, now…..need I remind you that Wolverine probably cost about the same amount at $150 million as Star Trek.
    The new visual razzle dazzle was heavily used to sell this movie and it worked; the risk paid off.
    But if you read Box Office Mojo, the risk was not as big as people expected; adjusted for inflation, the average Trek film grossed $150 million and that includes some heavily disliked clunkers like Final Frontier and Insurrection. So the audience base was there to support such a budget, if they marketed it properly. Sure, Wrath of Khan and Voyage Home were over 20 years ago, but seriously, do you think the people who saw loved those films died, all of a sudden? They were there for the taking, just like fans for Indiana Jones and Die Hard over the past two years. You gotta love inflation, this isn’t rocket science…..

  29. David Poland says:

    Geoff – They could have spent $50 million less (or more) and had the same effect.
    Does a film have to be over 2 hours to draw an audience?
    Do you have to have as many effects?
    Or do people react to the characters they like and the story and the overall look?
    There is no excuse for this film being as expensive as it was. The notion of the franchise doing $250 million worldwide was not beyond conception. They originally budgeted for that. But then the budget got out of control… not a studio choice to make it happen. Moreover, opening weekend IS NOT ABOUT THE MOVIE. It was about the very expensive marketing and, indeed, the twist. But you don’t see how expensive the movie is in tv spots or the trailers. You see 2 minutes max.
    And when they have clips… what are they of… the cheap stuff… characters talking on a set… same as it ever was.
    In other words… strongly disagree.
    I didn’t and don’t think it was a bad idea to reboot. Choices were interesting, even if I’m not sure they will work as future films are conceived… we’ll see. But the budget was not acceptable (which is why Par is fighting to spin it so low). And you can be 100% sure that the next film will be the rare “sequel” that costs significantly less than the “first.” Whether Grey or someone else is running the studio, there will be no choice.

  30. tfresca says:

    I think Star Trek must be viewed as a success mostly because the last Trek movie, did like what less than $50 in its entire run. As an aside I think I’m in the camp that enjoyed the movie but doesn’t feel all the tinkering with canon was necessary.

  31. “As Dave mentioned, its in Cloverfield territory, and Meet Dave, and Final Fantasy:The Sprits within, and Basic Instinct 2 territory. Ouch! The trajectory indicates a topping it at maybe 180M. Is this what the studio wanted?”
    Except none of those movies hit $85mil on opening weekend. There’s a big difference between Final Fantasy and Wolverine.

  32. IOIOIOI says:

    David: here’s a question has to be asked of you at some point. What do you feel is an acceptable budget on this type of film? If you think it’s 50 million. Do you really feel a 50 million dollar film could look like that on screen? I know you go on and on about this, but you have to have some set level you find acceptable for the producing and marketing of Summer films.
    That aside; if you compare the trailers for Trek to the trailers for Wolverine. It clear to tell which one appears to have put the money on screen and which one put it in it’s star’s pocket.

  33. Star Trek made around $4.5mil here in Australia while, last weekn, Wolverine made $8mil. Take that as you will but maybe it’s a sign of international returns to come? I haven’t read anything about other countries though so it could be an anomaly.

  34. bulldog68 says:

    To Kami: Just really a comment on the opening weekend to total domestic gross ratio. The fun thing is that movies stick to and betray convention every single week, and the premise that the bigger the opening weekend, the greater the fall off just isn’t true. But then the tale of the second weekend is a stronger convention than the first. The second weekend drop off indicates where your movie will end up, hence my comment on its territory, and it doesn’t matter whether you are a $10M opener or an $85M opener.
    To do the math, there are 13 movies that dropped 68% from the first weekend, of that 13, 6 films managed to do 50% or more than double their opening weekend gross, and by more I mean just barely more with the best staying power being Pokeman: 2000 with a $19M opening and a $43M total gross, thats a multiplier of 2.26, which if applied to Wolverine, gives it an eventual gross of $192M.
    Ironically, Wolverine would hope that it does a Final Fantasy, as that movie opened to $11m, closed at $32M, despite a drop of 67.9% in the 2nd weekend. If Wolverine can do that, its total gross would be $239M. Do you really think that Wolverine has $110M left in its thank to get there, Kami?
    Of course this is all semantics. Final Fantasy could only fantasize about Wolverines numbers.

  35. Telemachos says:

    One of the strong negatives of the Star Trek series is that, aside from The Motion Picture, the movies have been handled by essentially their TV division with low budgets (or modest budgets) at best. This has lead to pretty much all the movies (even the really good ones) looking really cruddy and bargain-bin production values at times. FX shots recycled from film to film, sets that look dubiously lame, etc. In 1991, when T2 was setting the high bar for budgets at $100+ million and most blockbusters would cost $50-60 million (or more), Star Trek 6 cost…. $26 million. And it looked it, at times.
    It’s a really nice change to have a ST film that *looks* expensive, even if (at times) it’s still just talking heads in a cavern. Now, could this look have been achieved with $150 million instead of the rumored $200 million? Sure, I guess… but I’m glad they erred on the side of expense (for once).

  36. storymark says:

    Aside from Shatner and Nimoy directing 3-5, they didn’t really have TV folk working on the films untill The Next Generation crew stepped up.

  37. jeffmcm says:

    When was the last time a movie intended to be a studio summer tentpole cost $50 million?
    Unless DP thinks that Star Trek should not have been a tentpole movie, $100m was obligatory. $250m is out of control and crazy, but $50? That logic does not compute.

  38. Telemachos says:

    Storymark said: “Aside from Shatner and Nimoy directing 3-5, they didn’t really have TV folk working on the films untill The Next Generation crew stepped up.”
    After TMP, Roddenberry was forced off the creative team by Paramount. They turned to Harve Bennett, who at that time was a TV producer for them. Bennett brought on his friend Robert Sallin (who was directing TV commercials) to help him produce. They went through various draft developments and eventually brought on Meyer for an un-credited script polish and to direct. According to IMDB, its budget was around $11 million (about a $24 million budget in 2009 dollars after inflation).
    ST III (produced in 1983) – budget, $17 million ($36.38 million today)
    ST IV (1986) – budget, $27 million ($52.38 million today)
    ST V (1988) – budget, $27 million ($48.6 million today)
    ST VI (1991) – budget, $26 million ($40.56 million today)
    ST: Generations (1994) – budget, $35 million ($50.4 million today)
    ST: First Contact (1996) – budget, $45 million ($61.2 million today)
    ST: Insurrection (1998) – budget, $58 million ($75.4 million today)
    ST: Nemesis (2002) – budget, $60 million ($70.8 million today)

  39. Joe Leydon says:

    Er, I don’t think David ever suggested that a Star Trek movie in this day and age could be produced for $50 million. On the other hand, David, I don’t see how a Star Trek II (or whatever the hell they’ll call it) could cost less than the current one. I mean, unless you’re foreseeing a direct-to-video sequel.

  40. martin says:

    I think Dave is generally suggesting that $100 mill should be a reasonable cap for Hollywood these days. $150 mill is too much, and $200 mill. is just burning money. As far as cinematic vs tv looks, I’d agree that the last few looks very tv-ish (at least in ads, I didn’t watch them). But I remember the earlier Trek’s looking quite good. They got a lot out of those budgets, and some had a sweeping epic look to them. The new Trek certainly looks flashy but in that action/special effects way, not necessarily a glossy big Hollywood cinema way.

  41. Telemachos says:

    I’d imagine that you’d save some money on sets and so forth, since at least some of the major Enterprise sets have already been built and can be re-used. And all the key actors are cheap and have been signed to a 3-picture deal (I’m pretty sure). Then again, JJ and Co. are probably getting significantly better deals than the producers and directors and screenwriters of the earlier films.
    As long as the sequel is written in advance and actually planned out, so they don’t go way over schedule or have to do last-minute crazy reshoots, I don’t see why they can’t produce it for reasonably less than this one (which admittedly is on the high end of the cost scale).

  42. jeffmcm says:

    Joe, you’re right – I misread David’s exact quote, which was that they could have spent $200 million, as opposed to his believed $250 million, and gotten basically the same movie out of it. Which I would have to agree with.
    An effects related question – why do Abrams’ starships have huge concrete-lined basements and boiler rooms? There was a time when, if you saw that kind of thing in a movie, you’d know that you were dealing with something so uber-cheap that the filmmakers were almost intentionally insulting the audience (exhibit A, the insanely stupid South African movie-turned-Mystery Science Theater episode Space Mutiny, in which a starship is constructed out of old Battlestar Galactica footage, a bridge set, a nightclub, and a huge basement boiler room).

  43. Bulldog, what I meant was that none of the films you mentioned opened to $85m – only Cloverfield was remotely close, and then… – so even though Wolverine has dropped hard and will continue to (one must presume) it won’t be seen as the out right flop that something like Final Fantasy is. In fact it could be argued that after the first few weekends nobody really cares about how much it dropped from week-to-week and instead only cares about the final number, which I’m sure will be enough to keep it from even being moderately discussed as a flop.
    I haven’t seen the movie, by the way, I just think that despite similarities in their week-to-week patterns, it seems silly to compare something such as Wolverine with Final Fantasy or Basic Instinct 2.

  44. hcat says:

    The budgets were low on the earlier Star Trek movies because Paramount was the “thrifty” studio back then. They could spend a couple million on a Crocodile Dundee movie, market it well, and make a killing. In the Post T2 years Paramount was slow to approach the 100 million threshold for their films and their market share would drop year after year as the other studios were getting the big names for their hits and Paramount was relying on Affleck and Wahlberg to deliver an audience (they caught a few breaks by owning the remake rights to the Longest Yard and War of the Worlds, but had to coproduce with the filmmakers home studios).
    The new Trek is probably the most expensive film they have ever produced (they were only responsible for $64 million of Titanic’s costs), while Warners and Fox have easily made a dozen films apiece at this budget level. So the earlier budgets were not a lack of faith in the material but are reflective of a different business model than they are currently pursuing.

  45. Geoff says:

    Whow, did they really spend $250 million???? Come on, a few months ago, Dave was saying it was $150 million, then $200 million, and now it’s $250? The studio is saying $125 – that’s quite a range, there. I’m guessing between $150 and $200 million – Paramount is smarter than most on these kinds of films and given that recent sequels to Pirates, Spidey and Indy cost over $200 million, this is not crazy.
    Monday grosses came in – the film made $7.5 million, actually more than Iron Man made on its first Monday – I think this thing is going to have some legs. I can see it doing around $225 million.

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