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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady – pre-Halloween

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The Friday before Halloween is stunningly consistent for horror/kill movies… $14 million has been the magic number. It started before Saw ever happened.
2002 – The Ring (wknd 2) & Ghost Ship – $10.2m – interrupted a little by Jackass opening
2003 – Scary Movie 3 & Texas Chainsaw Massacre (wknd 2)- expanded by comedy
2004 – The Grudge (wknd 2) & Saw – $14.2m
2005 – Saw II & The Fog (wknd 3) – $13.1m
2006 – Saw III & Grudge 2 (wknd 3) – $15.6m
2007 – Saw IV & 30 Days Of Night (wknd 2)- $17m
2008 – Saw V – $14m
So… $14m for Paranormal Activity & Saw VI combined is not terribly surprising. The question was always how those dollars would be split up and whether the duo would expand the market.
Lionsgate can’t be happy. And really, Paramount may have cost both companies money by doing their big expansion directly against the Saw franchise… but not for sure. Paranormal is a created phenom and how the timing works on it is, honestly, a bit of a mystery. What works works… what doesn’t doesn’t. And this is already a win for Spielberg & Paramount Marketing.
Astroboy and Amelia should not be too surprising to anyone either. Astro is an improvement on the Fly Me To The Moon opening, but they also spent a load more on marketing and there is a known character, even if the young generation has no idea who he is. But it’s easier to sell Iron Man meets Pinocchio than astronaut insects.
But Universal’s flop with Cirque du Freak seems like a seriously missed opportunity. Yeah, the world is a bot vampired out. But the film never seemed to find a clear sell. And that’s always a bad thing.
And let’s not go crazy on the WTWTA drop. It is not a great hold. It will get better over the whole weekend. But it is also going right into the face of two new strong openings, plus Astro.

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30 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady – pre-Halloween”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    Glad to see Paranormal doing so well – I think it’s now guaranteed to out-gross Saw VI, right? And also to lead to a terrible sequel a la Blair Witch 2?
    I take it that Cirque du Freak was based on some pre-existing line of books(?) that the studio failed to properly gauge the awareness/interest of.

  2. JohnBritt says:

    Next Friday is the Friday before halloween, not this weekend. That may see the bigger number for horror.

  3. LYT says:

    Paranormal also had a new gimmick where they had “parties” Thursday night, saying that if the midnight screenings sold out, everyone would get a gift bag with t-shirt, poster, and such. (I’d bet they were planning on giving them out anyway).
    I was at the Arclight Thursday midnight for Saw, and it was sparsely populated, but the Paranormal “party” did indeed seem like it had sold out.

  4. LYT says:

    As for Vampire’s Assistant – the marketing made it look terrible, but it actually wasn’t bad. They should have gone for a straight PG rather than PG-13, and pushed hard at kids too young for Twilight and True Blood.

  5. martin says:

    It would be nice if DP could be impartial in his box office reporting every once in awhile. Film he doesn’t like, pounce right on its 2nd weekend dropoff. But film he likes, dropping 64%, very little commentary and defending it with some weak stuff, sorry but I just don’t see 2 horror films and the 1.8 mill of Astroboy being much of a factor in a “family” film’s box office. How about some thought as to why it dropped off fri to fri like a geek or horror film? I’m not saying WTWA is deserving of a being called a failure, far too early to say, but for a family film to drop that much week to week IS a sign of WOM.

  6. The 64% drop for WtWTA is disturbing, and it likely is indicative of word of mouth. I liked it a lot, but it’s not going over too well with the general public (my mother didn’t like it, which is telling as she loved the book). Having said that, those that loved it think it’s a new classic, and they will buy the DVD or Blu Ray and watch it regularly and show their friends and family for years to come. Warner Bros. may not be in the black as quickly as they hoped, but it will make money in the long run (and good on WB for allowing Jonze to make his movie).

  7. LYT says:

    WTWTA is an unusual family film in that it’s playing very well to thirtysomethings who grew up with the book (massive hipster crowd at the Arclight opening night, many in costumes and/or paper crowns like Max’s). That particular segment of the audience is also part of the target for Paranormal.

  8. LYT says:

    Also agreed, Scott, that this will last on DVD, as long as the book remains in print. I’d say the same about Watchmen, too. If the book remains well-loved, future generations will discover the movie down the line.

  9. Aris P says:

    And what kind of title is Cirque du Freak anyway? Whatever, I just saw Serious Man, and I can’t wait to see it again. What the hell was that…

  10. Glad to see the Saw franchised knocked down a peg, although it’s got several cinematic installments to go yet before it disappears to Direct-to-DVD for a few years, leading to a franchise reboot, which will probably get the highest opening of all time for October or some such. Yawn.
    Can’t wait to see Paranormal tomorrow (a full month and a bit before it’s official release) at a horror film fest. Quickly followed the next day by Amelia (although that is not a part of the horror fest, you could be forgiven for mistaking it as being so) on Tuesday.
    Are Disney making ANY money at all off of these Nightmare Before Christmas reissues anymore. Or do they just keep sending out the same prints to cinemas (or allow cinemas to keep them, even?) year after year?
    re Motherhood: poor Uma Thurman. Poor sad, sorry, desperate Uma Thurman. Doesn’t she realise comedy is just not her forte?

  11. Wrecktum says:

    “Are Disney making ANY money at all off of these Nightmare Before Christmas reissues anymore. Or do they just keep sending out the same prints to cinemas (or allow cinemas to keep them, even?) year after year?”
    It’s a digital-only release, so there are no film prints. Content is shipped via hard drives. The studio is leaving it up to theater owners to market the film for the limited engagement, so the cost to Disney is absolutely negligable.
    So, yes, they do make money. Not a lot, but some.

  12. The Big Perm says:

    I’m glad Paranormal went against Saw. These studio guys want to cede all of October to them for some reason, except for releasing half-assed movies like The Fog. Why didn’t the Weinsteins release Halloween around this time? I remember seeing the earlier, shitty Halloween movies around the actual holiday they’re named after, as I recall. Back in the day you only got crappy movies like Halloween 6 around this time.
    Has anyone seem the commercial for this Kathy Bates/Michelle Pfeiffer period movie coming out on DVD? Was that even released to theaters? It looks so twee, why does anyone even finance movies like that any more?

  13. EthanG says:

    For those hoping this signals the beginning of the end for Saw theatrically…well Saw 7 is the first one done in 3D…so yeah…
    Poor Universal. The good returns of “Couples Retreat” pretty much negated 2 weeks later..

  14. LexG says:

    SAW VI: Best SAW since SAW II. Best traps in ages, tightest script in ages, MOST AWESOME “LEADING MAN” imaginable; I know I’ve seen that smarmy Peter O’Toole lookalike before, but that guy TOTALLY made the movie here, and that carousel trap was INSPIRED, bringing some genuine emotion and suspense and drama to a very solid entry.
    GOOD MOVIE. Seriously. I love the series anyway, but this one was seriously fun.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    The Saw series = awful.

  16. LexG says:

    Jeff “One Note” McDouche on his anti-SAW crusade = THE most tiresome thing ever.
    Also, commenting on shit you haven’t seen is super annoying, but you know what’s REALLY fucked up?
    On several occasions, you’ve mentioned that you have friends (the fact that someone as toxically LAME and unpleasant as you has “friends” is a modern fucking mystery) who ACTUALLY WORK ON THE SERIES, and still DISS IT AT EVERY TURN.
    Can you imagine this anywhere else in life? Like you have a friend who works in a toll booth, and some asshole “friend” gets on the Internet 17 times a day blaring, “FUCK TOLL BOOTHS, THEY SUCK, TOLL BOOTH WORKERS ARE ASSHOLES.”
    Some “friend” you are.
    Also: You’re a bitchboy douche.

  17. LYT says:

    “I know I’ve seen that smarmy Peter O’Toole lookalike before”
    Land of the Dead.

  18. LYT says:

    Also, as much as I hotly disagree with Jeff’s SAW take…I have friends who are hardline right-wing bloggers. So I know it isn’t always possible to agree with everything friends do.

  19. David Poland says:

    You know, Martin, have to call bullshit on that one.
    I have suggeted caution in assessing Fri vs Fri for almost every film now for years. And more and more as time has passed and Fridays have been more frontlloaded. Whether or not I like a film, that Fri-Fri drop does cause hysteria.
    And as for Wild Things Are, I have never suggested that it will do $100m domestic or even $90m. I didn’t trumpet last weekend’s number as world beating and, in fact, pointed out that weekend guessing based on Friday numbers overreached, as it often does.
    Feel free to blast me for what I do… and surely I show bias at times, pro and con… but “I wish he would play it straight now and again” is just bullshit. I think I am 100% church and state between numbers and opinion of quality about 95% of the time.

  20. christian says:

    Yeah, Jeff. It’s like wanting to get laid but instead leaving a trail of misogyny.

  21. The Big Perm says:

    I’m saying this not thinking anyone will care, but that it will annoy Lex…but I hung out with Bill Pullman for awhile the other night. What a cool guy!

  22. Lota says:

    Well I care. Bill Pullman is a cool guy Perm!

  23. LexG says:

    Big Perm: Talking up how great his life allegedly is… on the Internet… since 2007.
    I don’t believe that you met Bill Pullman.
    Nobody has ever met a celebrity, ever.
    Not even Poland. His DPs are LIES. I’ve never seen him in the frame with the famous people, so I just assume it’s A BYRON ALLEN CLIP with Poland dubbing his voice over Byron’s.

  24. martin says:

    DP, fair enough, and I’m not trying to get all McDouche on you here. But i see a subtle bias here and there, and this is certainly the place to point that out IMO. I am certainly convinced that if WTWA was produced by Brad Grey and directed by Rob Cohen, you would have been yelling from mountaintops about this weekends big dropoff against its production budget. But maybe those 2 are an isolated case.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    It never ceases to amaze me when Lex complains about somebody else being tiresome and annoying.

  26. The Big Perm says:

    I’m banging a stripper right this second. Personally, I don’t care for breast implants because it makes her TITTIES JUST TOO BIG!

  27. Joe Leydon says:

    LexG: I met Bill Pullman. At the Denver Film Festival. He’s a nice guy.

  28. LexG says:

    I’ve never met a celebrity, except for Chris Hardwicke and a couple other comics like Andy Kindler and Paul Thompkins.
    And David Poland.

  29. LexG says:

    Oh and a couple of the 90210 chicks back when I used to extra on that. YEP YEP and you KNOW I went home and punched the clown on that.

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