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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady – Chris-massacre!

Not much more to say than I said last night. (And I guess that if I mentioned that Nikki got someone to cough up early numbers on Christmas Day, it’s worth pointing out that the number was wrong, as usual, Nikki wrote over the error as though it never happened, and she continue to run a non-analysis of what is to come this weekend.)
I know that some will think it is Sherlock bashing, but with an estimated $1.2 million lead, Holmes over ‘Tar, I expect Avatar to move ahead today, much as it passed the Chipmunks on Day 2 and on Sunday as well. With the additional fire of opening day, it is both too easy to overestimate how the movies stack up against one another and to undervalue the huge achievement of opening Holmes to a $25.5 million Christmas Day. Given that Christmas is a major moviegoing day, the built-up must see for a movie like Holmes could be expected to reflect a 15%-20% bump on opening day. And we did see a 5% Saturday drop on the first Saturday of Avatar.
We shall see.
It’s Complicated‘s start will make it Nancy Meyers’ best opening other than What Women Want, which then starred a tip-top movie star in Mel Gibson. Streep is having a great run, but not like Gibson in his heyday. And this opening is commensurate with Julie & Julia.
The real cume for The Squeakquel is $41.5m , which isn’t much behind the first 3 days of the first film. (I’d say “original,” but that word couldn’t be much less appropriate for these films.)
Up In The Air is the best reviewed film of the new commercial group, but the numbers are not as thrilling as the reviews. Paramount is walking an interesting line here… wanting to take advantage of the love… wanting to keep riding the awards season… but not wanting to start a flow of “why isn’t it Juno?” stories by going full out and not doing Juno numbers.
And on a purely experiential note – grain of salt – I was surprised by a 40-something woman who goes with a group of girlfriends to the movies on a regular basis, thinking that It’s Complicated was the only option for women. When I suggested Up In, I had to explain why it worked for women. I don’t know if Par is punching that audience hard enough. But this is very much Kendrick & Farmiga’s film as well. And only recently, they went to a rom-com sell in spots. But it’s a tricky piece, though I think it will work for all adults.
Nine suffered its reviews in a real way. Unanimity amongst non-quoters can still have an effect, especially for a musical with most of its appeal in the big cities. Can it actually find itself unnominated by The Academy? Probably not. But it’s a Pyrrhic victory. “Harvey’s dead” stories will start before the holidays are over.
Invictus is also done… but will still probably get a nomination. But it’s good news for someone – maybe Lee Daniels or Lone Scherfig – because Eastwood is no lock for DGA or The Academy as director.
Disney’s mishandling of The Princess & The Frog will be blamed on the previous administration. Rich Ross will have the pleasure of managing up to an angry John Lassetter. They really do have to do a better job with Disney animated titles, aka not Pixar. This one is looking to come up short of Bolt, which is a real shame.

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39 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady – Chris-massacre!”

  1. marychan says:

    Sorry. But Klady’s number of “The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus ” is a terrible mistake.
    At least, the film only opened in 4 theaters in the US and about 30 theaters in Canada. (By the way, Sony isn’t releasing this film Canada; E1 releases this film in Canada.)

  2. bulldog68 says:

    Cume for Alvin should be $40M not $14M. I think Avatar still takes the weekend crown, but even if it doesn’t, a 2nd weekend of 65-70m is top 5 all time. 2nd weekend of RotK was $50M and Legend was $33M, and Avatar does this opposite another blockbuster in the making is phenomenal.
    Kudos to Sherlock too, for performing in the face of Avatar.
    And isn’t kind of weird that Chipmunks once again goes toe to toe with a sci fi hit and a tentpole mystery for the 2nd time and comes up looking none the worse for wear. Its not the same demo I know, but still, I just thought it was a nifty coincidence.

  3. EOTW says:

    RDJ must be tinkled pink by all of this. Surely.

  4. For non-opening Fridays that were not day two or three of a long opening weekend, Avatar just broke the record, since The Dark Knight ‘only’ made $23.2 million on its second Friday.

  5. Telemachos says:

    AVATAR has a pretty decent shot at DARK KNIGHT’s 2nd weekend record (which, when you realize that its opening weekend was just $2m above TDK’s second weekend, is just crazy).

  6. christian says:

    Don’t tell IO…

  7. mutinyco says:

    I’m wondering if UITA’s traction difficulties might be because of the release date. It’s so geared toward the moment that a movie about job loss might’ve played great in September when it was first unveiled — but in December, when it’s cold out and people are with their families and they’re more reflective, that’s not a subject they care to deal with…

  8. Lane Myers says:

    DP, you’ve mentioned it a couple of times — what about the way Princess and the Frog was released do you think was so damaging to its B.O.? I feel like I’ve seen movies roll out similarly and yet still work well financially.

  9. Eldrick says:

    Avatar will finish as the 2nd biggest worldwide hit ever after Titanic.

  10. movieman says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Mary.
    I commented in the previous thread that those Gilliam figures (not to mention the overly generous screen count) were hard to swallow.
    $30,000-per screen sounds about right.
    That should give Sony Classics plenty of ammunition to take the film wide (or at least wide-ish) in January.
    I think it’s a safe bet that “Imaginarium” will perform better for SPC than, say, “Curse of the Golden Flower” did three years ago.
    And at $120,000, hasn’t it already outgrossed “Tideland”?

  11. movieman says:

    Interesting theory, Mutiny.
    But I think “UITA” is simply performing at typical (i.e., non-“Ocean’s”) Clooney numbers, e.g. “Michael Clayton” and “Syriana.”
    Oscar buzz should help give it decent legs, although it’s too “upscale”-leaning to ever be the #1 choice of Joe and Josephine Sixpack.
    THAT film, of course, would be–drumroll, please– “The Blind Side.”
    If “UITA” can hold onto enough screens for the long (i.e. Oscar season) haul, it should do just fine.

  12. mutinyco says:

    I wasn’t talking so much about UITA’s BO. More the general public reaction, which seems to be: Good but not great.

  13. EOTW says:

    I’ve writtne elsewhere about UITA but it was so undeserving off all the praise, so rote and awful and not even the Cloon could save it’s smarmy ass. JR is a TERRIBLE director. glad to see it stumble.. WOM will be VERY bad for it. AVATAR wins best pic at this point.

  14. movieman says:

    I mentioned the same thing on the “It’s Complicated” thread a few days ago. The middle-brow moviegoers I’ve (informally) polled thought “UITA” was “okay,” but that “IC” was frigging great.
    But they’re not the upscale types the movie plays best to.
    Still, you can’t deny that “UITA” is far more accessible–and warmer, easier-to-like–than “Michael Clayton,” “Good Night, and Good Luck” or “Syriana” in the u-s Clooney ouevre.
    But since it’s my favorite non-animated film of the year, maybe I’m prejudiced.

  15. LexG says:

    UITA = my favorite movie of the year.
    It’s definitely more of an “emotional” movie than an intellectual one, and the fact that most of its detractors are griping about the interviews and JR’s style and “what it says” about us and our times speaks to the disconnect here.
    I think the movie is most likely to hit the sweet spot not for ANY of those reasons, but most directly and movingly for guys who can relate to lone-wolf existential Clooney’s style. Christmas is a terrible time for this thing to break wide, because it’s a “family” time for movies, and I can’t imagine a man or woman with three kids and two nice cars and Grandma and Grandpa in tow breaking down and RELATING to the plight of a devil-may-care bachelor who’s eschewed societal norms like marriage and family to march to his own drum.
    Most movie critics process things intellectually from a remove instead of SEEING THEMSELVES on screen; I’d be curious how many of the “underwhelmed” are guys with wives and kids. Not that anyone shouldn’t be able to relate or appreciate the timing, pacing, melancholy mood, and individual brilliant scenes, but again, I think the movie’s more likely to hook fellow solitary men with a touch of misanthropy about their fellow man who don’t necessarily embrace the all-American tenets of personal connection.
    In a world where people can’t be alone with their own thoughts for eight minutes in line at the post office without grabbing their cell and having a mundane conversation with family or friends, I don’t know how many true “lone wolfs” there are left in America who would truly relate to Clooney’s arm’s-length predicaments in UITA. I think for those it speaks to, the movie means a lot.
    For people who process movies from the back row, notebook in hand, fixated on aesthetics and subversion and with no rooting personal interest, resonance, or identification with the character(s), the movie’s less effective.

  16. Geoff says:

    Very well said, LexG – it’s a great movie and among the best of the year; not sure if it’s my absolute favorite, but definitely top five.
    As some one who does a lot of local travel and work on their own, I could certainly relate to much of the film.

  17. a_loco says:

    My problem with it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t relate to it, but the combination of the really contrived plot twists, the really pointed conversations about life (Critics nailed Away We Go for this, but not UITA. I wonder why.), and the rather conservative moral it presents at the end.
    I thought the first half was quite good, and then it just dovetailed. Casting Danny McBride = bad idea (and I like Danny McBride).

  18. IOIOIOI says:

    Christian, you mean the movie that’s charging 17 bucks a ticket for IMAX screenings is making money? REALLY? Avatar represents this decade well. It’s Barry Bond in a smurf cat suit.

  19. movieman says:

    I seem to recall paying $15 (and change) for an Imax screening of “TDK” last year, I01. It is what it is.
    Just sayin’.

  20. leocharney says:

    Awesomely well-said, Lex, and exactly how I felt too. The movie is so existential that I’m surprised it would do any business at all.

  21. David Poland says:

    IO returns to spread more shit… comedic.

  22. David Poland says:

    Lex – I think you have it exactly backwards. I think many critics are identifying with the film intensely and in the process, perhaps overpraising. The movie fits a critic’s life better than anything else this year. And they all want to believe they are Clooney.
    That said, it is a terrific movie, and doesn’t deserve to be boxed in, whether in support or dismissal.

  23. Nicol D says:

    …a few thoughts.
    As everyone has said, the visuals are stunning. Cameron’s sense of tone, gravitas and editing for impact are all there. It was clearly a passion project and it shows.
    The 3D plains on view in the film are also stunning. One is constantly looking at different depths of fields on the screen and while I am not one who loves “elfin” or “fairy” type fantasys usually, the concept and visuals was beautiful to behold.
    The length is not a bother.
    Horner’s score is beautiful. The end theme is lame and too obviously trying to be Titanic for a love story…
    …that has no resonance whatsoever. This is a very emotionless film. The Na’vi are great visual creations of digital FX but if anyone says they are truly photorealistic they should leave the house more often. Same if they were moved emotionally. This is for guys who fantasized about having sex with She-Hulk.
    Stephen Lang is amazing in a very 1 Dimensional cliche role. Sigourney Weaver is fine. Worthington is has not yet proven himself a star.
    The dialogue is what everyone has said…cliched, tin-eared and black and white. Cameron was not always like this. True Lies has very clever dialogue and Aliens has given the culture some iconic lines (Stay away from her you bitch!). Nothing in Avatar is as iconic or memorable.
    Thematically, it is a turkey shoot. It is facile, childish and black and white in its worldview and dare I saw, like last years Benjamin Button, it is a a white male, baby boomer fantasy of a man who was raised with all of the comforts of the West yet is filled with self-loathing because of it. He indulges in the most cliche trappings of another culture (kinda like those people who think just because you sit cross legged and say ohm, you are a Buddhism) and then falls for a member of their culture while “saving them”. It is the new imperialism.
    On another level, it is completely hypocritical to have a film that criticizes the miltiaty industrial complex (yeah, I know they are really mercs but…) yet completely depends on their techology for effect.
    …to champion the “downtrodden” and “poor” while charging more for ticket.
    …that seeks to indict corporations yet is produced by a wealthy multinational media conglomerate.
    That romanticizes tribal, pagan, eco, gaia worshipping cultures yet is completely dependant on the modern technology they say is destroying the planet.
    And non of that would matter if the films fans would recognize how vapid intellectually it is.
    But an Oscar? Cameron’s deserves a nod for his technical accomplishments but movies are abou a cohesive whole. He managed the FX but let the story get away from him…and he can tell a great story. This is not a travesty but it is easily his weakest film.
    Give the film nods for most technical categories but if it gets anything for pic, director, writing or song…well it will just confirm again what we all know.

  24. LexG says:

    “The movie fits a critic’s life better than anything else this year. And they all want to believe they are Clooney.”
    DP, you’re extremely right about this, actually. I sort of worded it awkwardly, lumping “all” critics together, when I was speaking probably more about its film-board/commenter-type detractors than the lone white male critics who’ve generally been singing its praises.
    As for that 10-ton bit of provocation Nicol D just dropped (most of which I agree with, though I have no idea how he got that read out of Ben Button….)? Allow to cook up some Jiffy Pop and settle in with a beer, because once Leah gets a load of that? In the words of a certain cartoon out right now, “Dis gon be good!”

  25. Nicol D says:

    Ben Button is one of the biggest boomer fantasies I have ever seen.
    A year ago I would have written a longer piece but in short,
    Ben gets to have the benefits of having a wealthy white dad….but is raised by a romaticized poor black family.
    He experience they’re poverty…but is never really affected by it.
    He attends their Christian revival revues (as opposed to the Catholicism of his dad)…but only sees it as entertainment while never taking the message. He gets his dad’s wealth though.
    He travels the world in war…but never is scarred it.
    He has sex with multitudes of women (some married) but never emotionally hurts or connects with them.
    He has a child and just when he has to bone up and be responsible, he rationalizes it is best to become a world traveller…a citizen of the world as it were.
    And when he comes back…the woman he left is there to care for him. Button is the anti-Gump. Gump went through life and taught and learned lessons even though he was simple. Ben is the opposite. He neither learns nor teaches anything. Like a boommer, he takes from all and gives to none.
    This is not to say I disliked it…it is an entertaining film, but the subtext is pure baby boomer, white male, patriarchal fantasy…just like Avatar.
    Incidentally, that you tube clip of Cameron telling the autograph hound to fuck off gave me some vindication if any of you remembered the story I recounted a while back about Cameron and autographs at a corporate event I was at 12 years ago.
    I saw him bark at an old lady he would not give a second autograph to for her child. He – is – a dick.

  26. Eric says:

    Agreed that a screenplay nod for Avatar would be a farce but Cameron deserves a nomination and a win for direction. He directed the holy hell out of this thing.

  27. Nicol D says:

    Stunning visuals. Agreed. But no best nom for direction. Directing is more than visuals. It is how you move a story, direct the actors, plot the film.
    He managed the visuals but not the other elements of the story.
    If I was Michael Bay and George Lucas (who also make equally visually stunning films) I would be so pissed that this is being talked as Oscar.
    Essentially, anybody who loves Transformers 2 or Phantom Menace never need fear of having their films called “stupid” again.

  28. Nicol D says:

    Oh…I must have had too much wine tonight; I forgot my ace in the hole. On my way to the cinema I saw a McDonald’s with an Avatar tie in poster in the window!
    Do you have that in the States or is it just in Canada where an anti-corporate, anti-capitalist, pro-gaia animal loving, eco film is being promoted with McDonald’s?
    If anything says Avatar’s “message” has nothing to do with its BO…that is it!

  29. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “If I was Michael Bay and George Lucas (who also make equally visually stunning films) I would be so pissed that this is being talked as Oscar.”
    The impression I get from Michael Bay (and admittedly I’ve never talked to the man) is that he’s perfectly comfortable in his “lowest common denominator” schtick. I don’t think he has any delusions of grandeur, he just has a talent for reading mass audiences and then playing back his childhood fantasies with the explosions turned up to 11 to fit those opportunities.
    Lucas on the other hand…
    “If anything says Avatar’s “message” has nothing to do with its BO…that is it!”
    I’m not sure if Avatar’s “message” is contained in the plot or the delivery – as far as I’m concerned, Avatar’s “message” is ‘the new way for everyone to watch movies’ and you can’t really get more ‘everyone’ than McDonald’s.
    (honestly, I think they should have had the tie-in earlier and distributed the 3D glasses via McD’s, but that’s just me)

  30. IO, you’re not even trying anymore. “smurf cat suit”? You’re a lazy fuckin’ moron, that’s what. At least come up with an insult that makes sense and isn’t a stupid broad stroke that proves false to anyone who sees the movie. You mean because they’re blue they’re smurfs? Was the Fifth Element opera singer a smurf too? How about Mel Gibson in Braveheard?
    Get some new material.

  31. Braveheart, obviously.
    Also, Dr Parnassus was released wide here, marketed actually more as a kids movie than anything else with its PG rating, and did quite well for itself. The whole Heath Ledger angle helped, obviously.

  32. Geoff says:

    Ok, Finke is now confirming that Avatar went up on Saturday and Holmes went down a bit – Avatar is estimated for high ’70’s for the weekend and Holmes is estimated for high ’60’s, while the ‘Munks is expected to make $50 million – THREE films cracking $50 million on the same weekend??? Truly impressive, that has to be a first.
    Warners should be proud of pulling off Holmes like this – in any other environment, it wouid be the big story. I can see this being a little Holiday-front loaded, like Marley & Me last year, but still with decent word of mouth – I can see it doing about $175 million, which is a good franchise start and higher than any Bond film.
    Munks will probably fade a bit and I can see it topping out at around $160 million – about 3/4 of the first movie, which isn’t bad at all.
    The big story – how high will Avatar go? I think it’s safe to say this thing has stellar word of mouth and we are past the sampling phase – you can dish out all you want about the “blue smurfs” at this point, but people seem to be responding. All of this talk of McDonald’s, but it’s interested to see that the blue people are front and center in their campaign, too. It actually might be a selling point for the film to show just unique it is in the marketplace.
    Looks like they’re about to set the second weekend record, which is just incredible – you can say, well, it was Christmas weekend, but seriously…..all of the LOTR films had Christmas as their second weekend and never held as well as this. It’s truly amazing – this thing has a good shot at $400 million and above. January and February look quite competitive, but if they have $300 banked by the end of New Year’s weekend, should be doable – Oscar buzz will certainly help.

  33. Martin S says:

    Purely anecdotal, but anyone I’ve talked on the East or in the Midwest have one common phrase; they’ve been todl by co-workers, friends, etc…only see it in 3D or in some cases, at the Imax, and they are. I know for cinephiles and especially LA’ers driving farther for a certain theater is a given, but it’s a very rare practice for the general audience. When people I know could literally jog to catch a movie are literally driving 20 minutes for 3D, the ticket difference must be having a greater impact on the totals.
    As for the overall weekend, isn’t this going to be the biggest anomaly since Passion? Christmas on a Friday plus a down economy equals more people needing the most bang for entertainment buck. We might not see the normal drop next week. A few million were nudged into “forced vacations”, i.e furloughs for the end of the year.
    Nicol – criticizes the miltiaty industrial complex (yeah, I know they are really mercs but…) yet completely depends on their techology for effect…
    Typos aside, what does that mean? Do you mean “their technology” as in battle scenes, or as in the equipment Cameron used? Because the latter is incorrect.

  34. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Anybody looking for records may be disappointed. Blizzards from the Dakotas to Texas … ice storm and power out in the Virginias … flooding in the Northeast (there’s a flood warning in my county through Monday). When people are told to stay put they’re not gonna head out to any theater, especially if it’s something promoted with non-stop hype.
    FWIW McDonald’s does have a tie-in with “Avatar” in the States.

  35. george says:

    I think both Avatar of course and Sherlock will continue to do well this coming week with all of the kids out of school. My question….how much do you think Sherlock has to make before they greenlight a sequel? I would love to see one and then the big deal would be who would play Moriarty.

  36. Gonzo Knight says:

    “Stunning visuals. Agreed. But no best nom for direction. Directing is more than visuals. It is how you move a story, direct the actors, plot the film. ”
    Exactly why Cameron deserves to be recognized.
    “He managed the visuals but not the other elements of the story.”
    Actually he managed the story quite well. You may have a problem with the story itself but don’t confuse how it was exectuted.
    “If I was Michael Bay and George Lucas (who also make equally visually stunning films) I would be so pissed that this is being talked as Oscar.”
    Ah, I get it. You are going for the classic what if argument (i.e. Bay would never comes closes to touching this – he never would have made it) and you care more about who made it then the movie itself.
    Do peeople who go to see Sci-Fi Action Epics not know what that means. I mean, seriously?
    Avatar is EXACTLY the type of movie to win Oscars and it will win a bunch.

  37. The Big Perm says:

    So Nicol’s thesis is that all boomers are totally selfish people, and that Avatar was made possible by the military somehow?

  38. IOIOIOI says:

    Camel, I was fucking around. Seriously, totally just goofy off. Sorry it got such a rise out of you, but I do feel Avatar is a derivative work. That’s how I feel. I do think it’s a fucking testament to the maturity level of most people that the film can have furry sex in it, and it’s just an after-thought. Seriously, that blows my mind.

  39. Nothing you have or will ever say about Avatar can be misconstrued as “goofing off”. Everything you say about that movie is exactly how you feel about it and I have no qualms in believing you really think the movie is about big smurf cats or whatever. Even when you’re defending yourself as just goofing around in regards to saying the movie is about smurf cats you throw in seriously lame jokes about furry sex that only someone with a grudge would use and find funny.
    You need to get out and get something else blown if you think Avatar being a success is anything truly surprising.

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