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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady… Clashy

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WB’s search for 302 continued to come up short today, as the real story of Clash of the Titans is not the 3D, but the third shot at a massive genre hit in roughly the same time period… only at twice the price, both times, as 300… and without the same box office results. Clash seems destined to do a touch better than Watchmen, especially internationally. But what made this slot a cash cow was a film that cost $80m or less (depending who you ask) doing $450m worldwide. A film that costs over $125m to produce and grosses under $300m worldwide is a borderline movie that could be in the red and is not going to produce much green, but will eat a lot of the resources of a studio for month.
And this is with the 3D price bump. Without it, you might be looking at Watchmen numbers or just a skootch above, which would mean red ink for sure on this movie.
A $60m+ domestic opening can’t be considered anyone’s disaster… but it’s not a particularly happy occasion. Meanwhile, Alice is nearing $700 million worldwide… and if you think that’s primarily because of 3D, you are a sucker of the highest order. A legendary brand (Alice) meets what seems to be the perfect filmmaker for it (Burton) and add a massively popular star known for quirky characters (Depp) and that’s what accounts for at least a $500m worldwide smash, 3D or not.
Meanwhile, How To Train Your Dragon, which seems to be fairly well liked, continues to be behind Monsters Vs Aliens at the domestic box office. Again, $400m worldwide is not a horrifying number… but it’s not groundbreaking in any way either.
So… maybe the 3D drunks will be sobered sooner than I expected.
Tyler Perry’s exploration into branding – first Medea and now a sequel to a non-Medea success – is probably going to deliver his second best opening ever. The fact that Perry ended up at Lionsgate is one of the great stories of the big studios missing the train in history. He is – in spite of being a bit of a demanding diva with unreasonable expectations – a dream franchise that any studio would love to have. By himself, he probably produces as much profit as half of Screen Gems each year. Of course, he eats more of the cream off the top than Screen Gems cheapie players do. But still… give the man HUGE props. He’s no Hitchcock… but on a financial level, he’s Hitchcock… and then some.
The Last Song is likely to be an underrated opening. $20 million or so isn’t Dear John, but for romantic dramas, it’s a strong number, bigger than The Time Traveler’s Wife, for instance. Another hit for the old regime.

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32 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady… Clashy”

  1. CitizenCooper says:

    Isn’t the Clash of the Titans budget around $70m? Or are you including marketing and distribution? And shouldn’t a $28m opening day mean at least a $60m weekend? I thought this would be a pretty good result.

  2. marychan says:

    “Clash of the Titans” budget is around $125m. (not including marketing and distribution)

  3. Blackcloud says:

    If Watchmen and Clash were attempts to get 302, what was 301?

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    I am truly shocked by how much I enjoyed Remember Me. And I’m even more surprised that, until today, I somehow managed to avoid any on-line spoilers and walked into the movie not knowing how it would end.

  5. I’d heard the same lower figure as Cooper (around $80m) so I was confused at this $125mil number. I still am. Where did it go? Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson surely don’t ask that much, right?

  6. jasonbruen says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent $70M just on the CGI. The movie has massive effects and it’s apparent that it is more like a traditional tentpole effects movie than 300. I bet Liam and Fiennes got more than Jake Scully.
    Sure the acting bill was not that much (what Kamikaze is saying), but I still say the move was closer to $125M than $70M. At least $100M.

  7. Triple Option says:

    Blackcloud: First was 300. Watchmen would’ve been 301 and now Titans is 302. At least that’s what I think he means. At first I read the 2 as generally a sequel being 2 but then I saw what he meant.

  8. mutinyco says:

    I kind of love that audiences are worshiping Zeus on Easter weekend…

  9. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Well, considering that Easter was originally a pagan festival dictated by the cycles of the moon and dedicated to Eostre, goddess of the dawn…
    It amuses me to see the various articles about clergy whining that people have “forgotten the true meaning of Easter” when apparently so have they.

  10. LexG says:

    JOE LEYDON: REMEMBER ME POWER. I was talking it up weeks ago. Liked it a lot, Pattinson is awesome, Brosnan was heartbreaking, and Emilie De Ravin was posed hotly in every scene. Yes, Chris Cooper is officially THE LEAST FUN GUY IN MOVIES and Pattinson’s homeboy was a DOUCHE (and there were ZERO period details for either 1991 or 2001), but a solid, sad, respectable little movie. And I liked Coulter’s prior theatrical effort, HOLLYWOODLAND, a lot too. GOOD DIRECTOR. He’s the New Paul Schrader (as director, not writer.)
    CLASH OF THE TITANS: Eeeee… Anyone else think this was a little… generic? WAS SO STOKED, WORTHINGTON POWER. NEESON POWER. FIENNES. AKA the three GREATEST ACTORS in the world. The action beats were fine, but it was SO bland and faceless, I couldn’t even remember who was on Worthington’s crew except for the CASINO ROYALE GUY and those weird brothers. The rest of his ‘FOUR GREAT MEN!’? Couldn’t tell them apart from one second to the next. And it’s like NINETY MINUTES. Seemed edited to hell and back…
    And really, why couldn’t ZEUS have just stopped it all at any given moment? It was OK, but it kind of made me drowsy, mostly because for the first hour, EVERY SCENE LOOKED THE SAME, the colors were boring, the shots were average… Leterrier should’ve sent in THE TRANSPORTER to liven this bitch up.

  11. Bob Violence says:

    And it’s like NINETY MINUTES.

    106, but then credits are pretty long these days.

    (Actually most sites say it’s 118, which could just be confusion with the original, but then I wouldn’t be surprised if they chopped some stuff out to get the 3D conversion done quicker.)

  12. marychan says:

    Stella’s Boy: LA Times’ number doesn’t include the post-prod 3D conversion cost (which is cheap, though)

  13. Stella's Boy says:

    I know. I seem to recall reading that the conversion was done for $5 million.

  14. MDOC says:

    So a $60 million opening and the Easter weekend record is considered a dissapointment? These are strange times we live in. Last I checked it wasn’t summer. Star Trek opened to $75 on a big summer weekend, Terminator Salvation $50.
    The box office story of Watchmen was the second week drop, I’m curious to see where Clash is next weekend. Clash could play for a few weeks, I have no doubt that Kick Ass is going to be awesome, I’m not sure if it’s going to find an audience. I am beyond psyched but my dad and my wife don’t care. How many quadrants are you counting?

  15. Tim DeGroot says:

    Agreed on TITANS, Lex. Leterrier’s direction, as it was with THE INCREDIBLE HULK, was so drab, unstylish and charmless. Forgettable.

  16. mutinyco says:

    Would’ve been better if it was THE CLASH of the Titans. Then, it could’ve been, like, Paul Simonon rocking The Guns of Brixton, and the kraken is like, “Woah, these guys are badass — I better not fuck with them!”

  17. EthanG says:

    Those are the times we’re in MDOC. It’s not about the numbers anymore…a lot of people were crowing about “The Wolfman’s” beastly opening two months ago…and Universal probably ended up losing some decent dough on that film. Unless it has a major international reaction and/or a great CinemaScore, any film with a price tag of 150 million or greater (including P&A…Titans’ cost probably nears 200 mil) earning back less than one third of that on opening weekend can be considered disappointing.

  18. Dr Wally says:

    “Leterrier’s direction, as it was with THE INCREDIBLE HULK, was so drab, unstylish and charmless. Forgettable.”
    Well in fairness Tim, it’s widely rumored that Leterrier was screwed over on Hulk by Ed Norton and Marvel. look at the deleted scenes on the DVD and there are traces of a much more thoughtful movie in there. And the first act, with Banner in South America, is really promising. Shame.

  19. David Poland says:

    It’s all about context, MDOC.
    Leave a $100 bill on a Manhattan street and consider how differently finding that bill would affect any of the hundreds who might pass it within minutes.
    The context of the disappointment is not summer, it’s 300, which is the gold ring that WB has been chasing in March/April ever since that movie did so well having spent so little.
    Similar to Avatar, whose opening could not be compared to summer or Nov openings, but was in context of the December numbers… and then legs took over.
    As for Kick-Ass, I think we’re looking at a title that will have to be a word-of-mouth, strong hold movie to be a big hit. Right now, it’s a one quadrant movie with pre-teen kids wanting to go, but parents certainly being wary of every element, from the title on. But if it opens in the high-teens/low-20s, getting a decent sampling, and it turns out to be a positive message that parent will allow their kids to see in spite of some cursing and violence, it could a 5x multiple kind of film.

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    DP: Seriously, what happens when certain conservative commentators raise an uholy stink about all that violence being perpetrated by an 11-year-old girl?

  21. Cadavra says:

    Then millions of Fox News viewers and Limbaugh listeners will rush out to see it. Several times to make sure.

  22. LexG says:

    I’ve changed my mind. MASTERPIECE.
    Like all the fanboys with Phantom Menace, I am going to see TITANS again and again every day this week til I convince myself that I LOVE IT.
    NEESON POWER. Two weeks in a row of NEESON slaying it. Best actor in the world?
    If Daniel Day-Lewis and Jeff Bridges are IRREFUTABLY the first and second greatest working actors, Neeson and Fiennes HAVE to be in serious competition for #3 and #4. (I am talking male because otherwise Kristen would be between DDL and Bridges.)
    I am also a day on still cracking up that the BIG RELEASE THE KRAKEN MOMENT we all were waiting for turns out to be…
    …the Kraken stands up in the water.
    Imagine a movie where Jaws or Apollo Creed or Hannibal Lecter or Leatherface or Jack Torrance are merely SPOKEN ABOUT for 90 minutes.
    Then at minute 90 everyone’s all, “HOLY SHIT, HERE COMES APOLLO/HANNIBAL/JAWS ETC.”
    And like they play dramatic music, and basically the BIG VILLAIN is sitting in a chair, and he stands up, and the good guy shoots him straight in the fucking head without so much as a thrown punch or cross word, MOVIE OVER.
    That’s how anticlimactic THE KRAKEN is. Really, Perseus just kinda flies around him once or twice and that’s it. The Kraken barely even fucks up the King’s patio.

  23. LexG says:

    And long as I’m rambling:
    Did he even have a single line? They have this intro narration about THE THREE GREAT GODS, ZEUS, HADES AND POSEIDON.
    Zeus and Hades live up to the billing, but Poseidon’s just kinda sitting around eating Baked Lays in the background in ONE SHOT… Surely they didn’t hire a great actor like Huston to be a virtual extra? Seemed like TONS of stuff was missing.
    See also, Worthington going from being hated and locked up in prison to BEING THE LEADER RESPECTED BY ALL THE MEN in like 18 seconds.

  24. The community wowsers have already complained about “Kick-Ass”, which they surely have not seen, here in Australia It’s actually quite offensive and ridiculous.
    “Real Mums founder Amanda Cox said that film censors had passed the buck to parents.
    “I think it’s a cop-out,” she said. “The Government is society’s parents; they can’t do this stuff and then turn around and blame parents.””
    Yes, because parenting your children is the GOVERNMENT’S job. Fuck, these people are truly horrific. Heaven forbid they should actually do some parenting of their own children instead of trying to parent everyone else, including teenagers over the legal age of being able to see Kick-Ass. The article also compares Aus ratings to American ratings, which is ridiculous since they’re completely different.

  25. Lynch Van Sant says:

    @ Dr Wally – Actually, Norton was the one that wanted more backstory added but Marvel ignored him and chose the “more action” route. That’s why Norton didn’t do much press for the movie, because he was pissed at how it was edited.

  26. Paul Gruber says:

    Hah! seems that all care only about how much profit they will get from the movie! But do they care about sense of the films? And what is the lowest age for kids to watch this movie?I do’t think that all scenes could be watched by teens!!!

  27. David Poland says:

    I think that’s a real concern, Joe. Think m-fing snakes in a m-fing plane. That movie was well-reviewed by a lot of serious publications… but even with all the hype and some critical love, they missed a bigger audience (though still great for Snakes On A Plane… if you didn’t buy the hype).
    Kick-Ass could well be the next Iron Giant, in terms of geek love vs box office. Too many things to keep too many people away. And then, a beloved film on the long tail.

  28. Stella's Boy says:

    AICN orgasms make me more skeptical about a movie’s quality. Nothing I have seen makes me want to see Kick Ass. With that title can they only advertise on TV at certain times? I have seen a few TV spots but only after 9 PM EST (granted that is really the only time I watch television). Is there any awareness for it outside the geeks?

  29. The Big Perm says:

    Easter Sunday afternoon had a bunch of commercials for Kick Ass.

  30. Stella's Boy says:

    Oh OK. After A Couple of Dicks/Cop Out I wasn’t sure if there would be any issues regarding Kick Ass and its marketing.

  31. Cadavra says:

    Credit where credit is due, Lex: “barely even fucks up the King’s patio” is a funny line.

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