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David Poland

By David Poland

BO Friday

I will eventually post Klady’s chart, but the headline for the weekend will be that Avatar got beat by a girl, as Dear John will likely roll out to business in the low 30s. (Yes, Super Bowl is hard on chick flicks too.)
The more significant storyline will actually be that in Weekend Eight, Avatar may fall back to Titanic‘s weekend numbers for the first time. The “official” Titanic Weekend Eight was $23,027,838. If Avatar drops only 25% , it will still have the Weekend Eight record. But 30% – Super Bowl! – would drop it just below. And Titanic actually went back up the weekend after Super Bowl… to $28.2m… which will surely beat Avatar next weekend, if the Na’vi are not vanquished this weekend.
$262 million of Titanic‘s gross came after Weekend Eight. We shouldn’t expect that of Avatar. But with the legs it’s shown, another $170m to get to $800m domestic, should not shock.
Meanwhile, with over $1.5m in the international bank already, Avatar should pass Titanic‘s worldwide gross of $1.8b in international gross alone, ending up with over #2.6b at the box office. A 45% bump from the previous record and well over double any other film’s worldwide gross. Those who wish to shoot this down as being just about 3D or hype, please start your adjusting/rationalizing engines and know that you should red in the face with embarrassment, not fury.
And if you are looking for Dear John precedent, look no farther than the “same weekend” two years ago… Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour… $31.1m opening… and that was without a lot of women over 20. Simple marketing… give ’em what they want and get out of the way. Smart. Successful.

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40 Responses to “BO Friday”

  1. Stella's Boy says:

    From Paris With Love is Travolta’s worst wide-release opening weekend since Lucky Numbers in 2000. Was it the wrong weekend to release it? Where was the Taken crowd? It can’t be a marketing failure because I saw a TV spot 20 times an hour during the last two weeks and it can’t be the weather since that doesn’t involve the entire country and Dear John will do over $30 million.

  2. a_loco says:

    It’s probably because, unlike Taken, FPWL had some awful, awful marketing material. Putting out a trailer with a garbled sound mix? Bad idea.

  3. doug r says:

    If the Tar goes 6, 12 and 8 million for the weekend, then we’re still looking at about 26 million. Just because about half the households have a TV on the game doesn’t mean everyone is at home watching.

  4. torpid bunny says:

    My impression of the marketing material was that the demographic for over-the-top Travolta as action hero-badass (however deliciously well done) just isn’t as large as that for Liam Neeson vengeful-badasses, for whatever reason. Nor is there apparently a popular groundswell for Mel Gibson as vengeful-badass, bless his little totally bonkers heart.

  5. Geoff says:

    I can’t see ‘Tar going up 100% today, especially with a debilitating winter storm in the mid Atlantic that I keep hearing people complain about in Facebook – I’ll bet that storm will also goose Super Bowl ratings.
    Avatar is just normalizing a bit – it was bound to happen and we’re probably looking at a 30% drop, this weekend. The rest of February is going to be tough, as well – Valentines Day and Shutter Island could both be pretty big. I wonder about The Wolfman, though – Universal almost seems like they are dumping it, at this point. Is it even going to open?

  6. torpid bunny says:

    70 mill domestic additional is conservative for blue tarbabies, so all the knuckleheads should get ready to suck nutz.

  7. EthanG says:

    Lol I refuse to be red in the fact with embarassment. You continuing to pretend not to know how much international releasing has changed in recent years is tiresome. And having detailed conversations about “Avatar’s” run without bringing up the fact it’s sold LESS THAN HALF AS MANY tickets as “Titanic” domestically is simple-minded and it makes me look tiresome for continuing to bring it up. When one film sells 130 million tickets domestically, and the other film sells 60 million but makes more money…the tickets sold just don’t matter period apparently.
    I understand Hollywood cares about $$. But this argument is like saying Lil Wayne, Britney Spears and 50 Cent are more significant to Hollywood than the Stones because their records raked in more money.

  8. EthanG says:

    PS. No dispute from me that Avatar has the most impressive box office run of ALL TIME WORLDWIDE. Bravo.
    When all is said and done it will probably have the most impressive since The Phanton Menace or Titanic domestically.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny if When in Rome actually wound up making more (domestically) than Edge of Darkness? It could happen…

  10. Stella's Boy says:

    It wouldn’t be funny to Mad Mel. That dude needs some anger management classes.

  11. The bigger thing for me is that, with $32-35 million, Dear John will likely score the biggest opening weekend ever for a straight romantic drama (obviously, if I’m forgetting something let me know).

  12. Sorry for the double post, hit ‘send’ early. I’m sure we’ll see no end on the headline that ‘Avatar got beaten by a chick flick’, which completely ignores how female-friendly Avatar really was (a genuinely compelling romantic subplot, a dynamic female action lead that is every bit as bad-ass and as important to the story as the male lead, etc). Female interest was a big reason why Avatar has done so well, and male interest both in the apolitical ‘traveling soldier’ storyline and the appeal of Amanda Seyfried (both professional and prurient) is a big part of why Dear John is opening so well. Just like the ‘Cameron vs. Bigelow’ nonsense, not everything can be simplified into ‘boys vs. girls’.

  13. EthanG says:

    Pearl Harbor? That was on a little bit of a bigger scale I guess though lol.

  14. anghus says:

    I dont know which is more grating: channing tatums acting or nicholas sparks writing.
    Either way, the success of dear john means we’ll be experiencing more of both.
    How depressing is that.

  15. doug r says:

    The ‘Tar has been averaging a 70-80% Saturday bump. 6.2 million with a 75% bump gives us a 10.85 million Saturday. 🙂

  16. Pearl Harbor is the only thing that might compare (it opened with $59 million), but it’s as much an action/war picture as a romance. It had an entire second act with nothing but action, and it was sold as equal part action-epic and romance. I didn’t count Pearl Habor for the reasons above, but if you want to then Dear John is far and away the number two opener in said category, at a fraction of the budget.

  17. BOisasBOdoes says:

    Dave, what are your thoughts on Twitter tracking in relation to box office? I noticed on they track tweets for mon-thur to try to work out the friday BO, they aren’t always successful, but there are patterns there. Both Guru and Prophets had Dear John at $14-16m for the weekend, yet it got there on fri, pegged dear John, based on their twitter-tracking for a $10+m friday alone.

  18. LexG says:

    SEYFRIED POWER. YOU WILL BOW. Only one person could bring down the power of Cameron, and it was not Denzel, Mel or Travolta, awesome as they are. SEYFRIED 4 LIFE. GOOD MOVIE. Jenkins was awesome, too.
    Also: LG didn’t do themselves any favors with that goofy trailer, but FROM PARIS was a lot more fun and energetic than the light-comedy ads. I’d even go so far as to say it was kind of awesome, and Travolta hamming it up made his Pelham performance look subtle; I know a lot of people hate that, but I think he’s a riot when he goes full ridiculous.
    Also: TATUM POWER. This dude is THE NEXT BIG THING, Guide to Saints, Fighting, GI Joe, PUBLIC ENEMIES, now DEAR JOHN. He’s like the midway point between Josh Hartnett and John Cena, so to carry over the argument from the Lautner thread, he’s a dude guys would be OK with not and not some total lightweight.

  19. LexG says:

    Oh, yeah, one more thing:
    Sorry, had to get out another one.
    K-STEW, watch your back, the Lexman might have a new second-in-command.

  20. Geoff says:

    Seyfried is WAY more beautiful and desirable than Kristen Stewart – have you seen her in that Chloe trailer??

  21. LexG says:

    How dare you sir. HOW DARE YOU.

  22. Joe Straat says:

    So do we then go back and give ups to Heather Graham and Matt LeBlanc for bringing down Titanic with Lost in Space?

  23. Geoff says:

    You can’t argue with biology, Lex. 🙂

  24. LexG says:

    I’d like to give Heather Graham an up, if you know what I mean. GRAHAM POWER.
    Also: LOST IN SPACE was a GOOD MOVIE because Stephen Hopkins’ dark-murk color schemes are awesome; I think Lacey Chabert was pretty cute ‘bait back then, too.

  25. a_loco says:

    Speaking of Matt LeBlanc, he’s starring in a new Showtime comedy about Matt LeBlanc getting hired to play a washed up Matt Leblanc in sitcom about Matt Leblanc. I thought that was pretty clever til I a saw the teaser, which is a not quite Gus Van Sant level retread of the original JCVD teaser.

  26. Martin S says:

    Dave – Those who wish to shoot this down as being just about 3D or hype, please start your adjusting/rationalizing engines and know that you should red in the face with embarrassment, not fury.

  27. yancyskancy says:

    Lex: If you haven’t already done so, you need to get to FYE or someplace and pick up a Twilight calendar and a Twilight blanket. The February calendar pic is a lovely close-up of K-Stew, and the blanket features a life-size K-Stew image (only from the waist up, and Edward’s next to her — sorry). If you do buy the blanket, though, you might want to spare us the details of how you make use of it.

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    I wish they would have Avatar bed linens and blankets. But only if they have images of Sigourney Weaver on them.

  29. doug r says:

    So looking at the Mojo estimates I was a little low for Saturday. I think they’re underestimating Sunday again- going with a 40% drop for 6 million. I’m thinking closer to 7 million, still lower than my initial prediction of 8 million.

  30. David Poland says:

    Ethan… what are you talking about?
    “You continuing to pretend not to know how much international releasing has changed in recent years is tiresome.”
    What is that? I know EXACTLY how international (and domestic) releasing has changed. That’s the bloody point!
    “And having detailed conversations about “Avatar’s” run without bringing up the fact it’s sold LESS THAN HALF AS MANY tickets as “Titanic” domestically is simple-minded and it makes me look tiresome for continuing to bring it up.”
    You ARE tiresome continuing to bring it up. It’s a single statistic that means nothing to anyone but people who want to make a point of that one stat.
    And Gone With The Wind was before TV was being watched. And Titanic was before DVD shifted home ent to a fully sell-thru business with shorter windows.
    Two of the most significant changes in the history of the film business, disregarded in the name of counting – with serious evidenciary problems… making them as much as 20% off – tickets… which are not a relevant stat and which you cannot spread to over 60% of the overall ticket sales because there is no such stat for the rest of the globe.
    “When one film sells 130 million tickets domestically, and the other film sells 60 million but makes more money…the tickets sold just don’t matter period apparently.”
    Yes. Means NOTHING. And is not a reliable number if it means anything to you.
    “I understand Hollywood cares about $$. But this argument is like saying Lil Wayne, Britney Spears and 50 Cent are more significant to Hollywood than the Stones because their records raked in more money.”
    No. That would be bullshit. The delusion of this argument is that it is an incremental issue based on inflation. It is not. NO OTHER MOVIE BESIDES TITANIC HAS GROSSED HALF OF WHAT AVATAR HAS ALREADY GROSSED. There is nothing incremental about that.
    Moreover, the distributor is taking in a higher percentage of the gross because of how exhibitor deals have changed since Titanic.
    You want to argue “most profitable?” Great. Ticket sales are bullshit… a single stat hanging out as the only way, along with inflation, to make less of this singular event.
    There are many real changes to the economic model for movies in recent decades. And none of them are measured by ticket sales. And just because you and others want to use this misleadingly simple math of ticket sales because it is the stat most easily available is lazy thinking, lazy analysis, and just plain wrongheaded. It makes smart people look stupid to anyone who actually sees this business in a detailed way.

  31. David Poland says:

    P.S. –
    “I understand Hollywood cares about $$. But this argument is like saying Lil Wayne, Britney Spears and 50 Cent are more significant to Hollywood than the Stones because their records raked in more money.”
    First… “significant” is a blurry word.
    Second, if a recording artist showed up tomorrow and they sold fewer albums that Thriller did, but grossed 50% more, that would be earth shaking. In an era of music piracy, millions being willing to pay $25 or more for an album? Mind-blowing. But oh… you don’t care about hoe the industry has changed or raw dollars.
    Third, You make my point… if you try to measure success based only on records sold… well, first.. there are virtually no records. But just counting CDs… you would be a fool. You are looking at the movie business as though theatrical ticketa sold in North America are the key stat… but that hasn’t been true in decades now.
    The problem people have is that they can’t add it all up because we don’t have the details and much of the revenue still hasn’t played out. We don’t know what percentage Fox gets back from the 3D premium. We don’t know how many matinee sales vs evening sales… kids vs adults. we don’t know what China charges vs what the UK charges and all the variations within that. We don’t know what the DVD sales will be.
    So, we hang onto the little info we have like it defines everything… which is a lie.

  32. LYT says:

    Geoff, I’ve seen CHLOE in its entirety, and there’s no way anyone can have ANY other actress on the mind after that.

  33. EthanG says:

    Whoa there Poland…you have your opinion and I have mine. I still think the fact TDK selling millions more tickets domestically than Avatar is relevant, and that Titanic selling 102% more tickets than Titanic domestically is as relevant as the worldwide totals. Ive said 10 times I don’t think it diminishes Avatar’s accimplishments. It’s just something to bear in mind.
    The films both have unique circumstances. Avatar’s run is more impressive financially DOMESTICALLY due to its 3D price premiums. Worldwide it’s the first or second most impressive run EVER. End of story.
    If “Avatar” wasn’t in 3D, it would still be 50 million behind TDK…I know you don’t care but you keep sniping at me directly in box office posts. Maybe it will top that level so this whole thing will be 100% irrelevant.
    I take my hat off and bow to Fox, Cameron, et al for their accomplishment with this film…a film that has a unique set of circumstances that for an accurate perspective has to be taken into account when placing its accomplishments into historical context with other films.

  34. EthanG says:

    Titanic selling 102% more tickets than AVATAR obviously is what I meant lol

  35. David Poland says:

    I think a big part of what pisses me off, Ethan, is that your stats are not factual. They are estimates based at least 30% on ether. Not an opinion. That is a fact.
    And no, a domestic-only stat id, factually, not as significant as a worldwide stat. You might care about it as much. Roughly Estimated Tickets Sold Domestically (RETSD

  36. EthanG says:

    I feel you DP. The Titanic comparison is an estimate…but even if it’s off by 10 million…unlikely….you’re talking about a difference of tens of millions of tickets any way you slice it, agreed? (DOMESTICALLY)
    I have a hard time believing there’s a significant difference in TDK numbers, and if there is, it’s probably skewed in Avatar’s favor. At this point a 25% 3D bump for Avatar is being GENEROUS because fewer and fewer theatres are playing it in 3D. By the end of its run 28% might be closer to the truth.
    Regardless it’s a fact that’s it’s sold fewer tickets than either film…a boatload fewer than Titanic. I think it’s revelant, you don’t, I don’t think we’re getting any further…
    My problem with international is you have markets…like China, the Mideast, wide swaths of Eastern Europe, Africa, South America etc…where films simply didn’t play up until a few years ago. That’s why you get results like Titanic grossing 5 million in Russia but Avatar grossing 102 million……44 million in China to Avatar’s 128 million…17 million in South Korea to Avatar’s 88 million.
    What makes Avatar’s international run so remarkable though is it would likely be #2 without 3D if it was released on the model of ten years ago so kudos for that

  37. razorr says:

    I imagine Cameron (and Fox) is having sleepless nights over whether Titanic or Avatar sold the most tickets.

  38. EthanG says:

    Cameron hasnt had a sleepless night since the seventies.

  39. David Poland says:

    Again, you seem to be backing into agreeing with me, Ethan.
    China was not as open as it is now 20 years ago. On the other hand, piracy was more fully developed there than Redbox and Netflix combined.
    So foreign is much bigger. But note, you don’t know what Titanic would be doing in China if released today. You can pretend you do. But you don’t. And either do I.
    Obviously, domestic theatrical doesn’t draw anywhere near as many people as it did in 1939… there was no TV. And again, Titanic was not in the DVD era. But even in the VHS era, it was released on VHS more than 9 months after opening. Much wider windows. The first version of Avatar is all but guaranteed to be out in May.
    These are just a few of the variables.
    And they are all much more significant than some rough estimation of number of tickets sold.
    They are apples and oranges. And we should respect all the films that came before and had great success. But as with baseball, if someone comes along and breaks the 61 home run record without steroids – which still seems to have not ever been done – it should be given its full due. Likewise, the Dolphins are still the only team with an unbeaten season. And they played fewer games back in 1972. But an undefeated season is still an undefeated season… even if it’s harder. When the Pats came up short in the Super Bowl, they had won more in a row than the ’72 Fins. But they weren’t undefeated.

  40. Are we really now holding it against Avatar that Chinese people are now allowed to actually go see American movies? How dare they!

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