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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates (via pad)

The only significant variation from Friday is placement. The numerical positioning is nothing but a marketing tool. This is my way of saying that whether Kick-Ass was #1 or #100, the gross is what matters…. and the only disappointment is balanced against the hype.
That and at Lionsgate, where Carl Icahn just avoided another $1 a share to close the deal. This was the company not having the sucess that would prove how smart they are with a pick-up. I wonder whether their bankers will be happy to wait until Killers to see if Icahn has to raise his price or the stock starts sliding beyond recovery.
Like Lionsgate, Sony is touting how cheap Death At A Funeral was compared to the opening. Fair enough. Interesting, however, that the film has underperformed expectations twice in 3 years now. Has to be some kind of record.

How To Train Your Dragon is holding well… but is still running about $5 million behind Monsters vs Aliens. Good, but not 3D good.
(edit -6:06p – dumb typo)

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41 Responses to “Weekend Estimates (via pad)”

  1. Geoff says:

    How to Train a Dragon now has a very good chance at becoming the highest picture from Dreamworks that’s not Shrek, pretty good – yes, its about $5 million behind MvA, but it grossed about $7 million more on its fourth weekend and will close that gap, very soon.
    Considering the competition it has had and that it could possibly out-gross Kung Fu Panda, how can this not be looked at a success?

  2. Brian Aranas says:

    I mean this all in fun David (I’m no way able to be a nitpicker myself) but regarding the film title in your last paragraph “HoeTo Train Your Dragon”: Is this the Tiger Woods or Jesse James version? 😛

  3. bulldog68 says:

    Sometimes Dave, you underwhelm me. You wouldn’t admit, despite all the weekly drops, that A Christmas Carol was a disappointment. You trotted out various comparisons that you wouldn’t ordinarily use, to show that ACC was doing good numbers.
    Now it seems you can’t bring yourself to admit that HTTYD is, or will be, a commercial success. Yes its still $5million behind MvA but it started out $16million less. It’s 4th weekend is the highest grossing Dreamworks animated film outside of Shrek2, and knowing the way Dreamworks never leaves a buck unearned, HTTYD is a newly born franchise. All the things that ACC was not. And define why these results are currently “not 3D good” again.

  4. Che sucks says:

    I do remember Dave stubbornly defending A Christmas Carol, but its not like there were any aspirations of a franchise here. What would the sequel have been – A New Year’s Carol? [Sounds like something Gary Marshall would direct.]

  5. The Big Perm says:

    So I finished the second season of The Wire. I’m sure you all wanted to know this. And get ready for major, major controversy, but…it’s not the greatest tv show ever.

  6. EthanG says:

    “I do remember Dave stubbornly defending A Christmas Carol, but its not like there were any aspirations of a franchise here. What would the sequel have been – A New Year’s Carol? [Sounds like something Gary Marshall would direct.]”
    It was going to be the mo-cap “Nutcracker.”
    And yeah, uh ending up as the #2 animated 3D film of all-time domesticlly isn’t 3D good DP??? If that’s true then what were Coraline, Monster House, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt and Chicken Little?
    Since when is a movie doing 400 million worldwide not good by any standard?

  7. Tofu says:

    16th biggest fourth weekend. Yummy.
    Was pulling for a #1 upset last weekend, but landing it this weekend is both cooler if not more bittersweet.

  8. Lane Myers says:

    Quick: Name a movie that spoofs superheroes that did really well at the Box Office.
    Mystery Men? Blank Man? My Super Ex-Girlfriend?
    If a movie appears to be making fun of Superheroes, who is it supposed to appeal to? On one hand it pisses off traditional superhero fans, and on the other, why would non-fans want to see a movie make fun of a subject they have no interest in?
    You can argue that KA wasn’t as blatant a spoof as say “Super Hero Movie”, but it is still self-aware and thus still falls into this weird category. It will be shocking if KA makes it to 50mil domestically. Or somewhere around 20% less than Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
    Maybe someday studios will stop overestimating online “heat”. But until then we will continue to see movies like Hot Tub Time Machine put out 4 full length trailers. That just makes total financial sense.

  9. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Actually, that’s true – overly genre savvy stuff hasn’t had the greatest record. Iron Man and Spiderman might have had a few winks to the audience, but they were played pretty straight.
    Besides, the Kick Ass concept was done better 10 years ago with “The Tick”.

  10. leahnz says:

    “Quick: Name a movie that spoofs superheroes that did really well at the Box Office.”
    ‘the incredibles’ (while not a flat-out spoof, arguably a worthy send-up of the superhero ethos)

  11. The Big Perm says:

    Also, it seems to me that Kick Ass falls into that sort of midlevel R rated action territory…that Jet Li or Jason Statham would be in. You hope to make 25 – 50mil TOPS.

  12. Jack Walsh says:

    Perm-don’t worry and don’t give up. The first two seasons of ‘The Wire’ are good, but it keeps getting better as you go.

  13. LexG says:

    No, THE FREEZONE in S3 is THE SINGLE STUPIDEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION. Except maybe for the bogus serial killer and obvious James Frey/Stephen Glass moralizing of S5.
    KICK-ASS and DEATH AT A FUNERAL. In one weekend.
    The best one-two punch since K-Stew and Dakota.

  14. a_loco says:

    I want to come out with examples of internet hype that actually did translate into box office. All I can think of at the moment is Iron Man and Dark Knight (arguable), and Borat.
    Any other examples?

  15. LexG says:


  16. The Pope says:

    The Blair Witch Project.

  17. christian says:

    Still a great movie too.

  18. LexG says:

    They didn’t have the Internet back then.
    Or at least most people didn’t.

  19. christian says:

    Yeah, in 1999 the web was only a select dream.

  20. LexG says:

    I’m not saying it didn’t exist, I’m saying it wasn’t as pervasive. Yeah, AICN was around and I guess Poland was around and a few others, but it was still in a somewhat nascent form and EVERYBODY HAD DIAL-UP THAT TOOK EIGHT HOURS TO GET ONLINE.
    And it wasn’t the gathering place for MOVIE HYPE that it is today or even was in, say, 2003. The idea of MOVIE TRAILERS and WEB CONTENT was still pretty new and the quality was somewhat between spotty and unwatchable.
    It wasn’t THE place to still get movie news or buzz… mags like EW and Movieline and Premiere were still going strong, entertainment shows were probably a more likely source of “hype” than the few fanboys who were on the Internet.

  21. christian says:

    It’s pretty well-established that TBWP launched the whole internet-as-viral-film-marketing phenom.

  22. berg says:

    I would say that around 1998 was when the dial up modem versus cable modem issue resulted in faster download times and more people starting latching onto the internet while using the latter … in 99 when Blair Witch took off I was working at a web design firm and everyone had ISDN lines at work so I guess that is not a fair example, however there were several people at work who religiously followed BW on the web and who insisted weeks into its release that Blair Witch was true … yeah, and everyone had Matrix-numbers-falling style screen savers

  23. Chucky in Jersey says:

    The actuals are up and they don’t lie: “Kick-Ass” kicked ass!

  24. christian says:

    The net was more powerful then in big college towns, like Austin where I saw BWP with a sold-out all-day crowd. And did indeed hear some loons say, “I never heard about these kids.”

  25. guselephant says:

    Lex for as much as I love your style you have picked the absolute wrong thing to get in a foxhole about. Blair Witch is the definitive made-by-the-internet movie of all time, for all time. The whole is-it-real thing was fueled by the fact that the general public at the time wasn’t that net savvy and didn’t know how contrived the sites were, or that there even was a network of sites conspiring together to build up the story outside the world of the movie.
    But even that said, it wasn’t the dark ages. People were playing online games on broadband. Intranets at companies and universities were already lightning fast. There were loads of internet-only companies and publications, etc etc.

  26. LexG says:

    Okay, whatever.
    I got my first-ever computer in the summer of 1999, which is the first time I’d ever been online. So I was probably too MESMERIZED by the concept of a message board or e-mail to have paid much attention to a viral movie campaign. And again, I was rocking the 56K that took approximately four and a half minutes to open a picture of Britney Spears, so I wasn’t exactly visiting the Burkitville Interactive Game or whatnot.
    For some reason I thought the net frenzy with BWP was AFTER THE FACT, like people who saw the movie went home and researched it like it was true.
    But Christian’s like the only guy in America who even STILL REMEMBERS THAT MOVIE, so I’ll concede to his authority.

  27. a_loco says:

    another case of internet hype leading to big opening weekend: Cloverfield.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t understand how a 38-year-old with THREE DEGREES! Can be so blind to the world outside of his head.

  29. LexG says:

    Hey, McDouche, care to elaborate on that? I have no idea what you’re talking about. If you’re basing that idiotic claim on my ignorance of the Web in 1999, well, congrats on your moral victory. Or having grown up with richer parents than I had. THREE COLLEGE DEGREES while writing all my EngLit essays on a MANUAL TYPEWRITER. And still graduated just shy of a 4.0. Winner: ME.
    And, really, “so blind to the outside world.”
    Look who’s talking, a 33-year-old MAN who’s probably earned a total of $15,134 in his ENTIRE ADULT LIFE, relying on the charity of parents and roommates to fund his daily naysaying Internet travails.
    But, really, if anyone wants to play STUMP McDOUCHE, he who is OH-SO-PLUGGED-IN and ATTUNED TO THE GOINGS-ON in the world, all you’d have to do is ask:
    1) Hey, McDouche, name a sports team.
    2) Hey, McDouche, name a black guy.
    And watch the clueless sheltered Los Feliz whiteboy sputtering in full effect. Pretty sure outside of your wheelhouse of movie whining and Jon Stewart/Colbert/UCB sketch comedy trained-seal Christian-worthy politics, you don’t have a whole lot of other areas of interest. Name a musical act since 2002 that you like. That should draw snake eyes, too.

  30. Joe Straat says:

    I remember in Nebraska, we only got the movie after weeks of stuff from all media sources on the Blair Witch hype, and a lot of people thought it was the worst damn movie ever. I thought it was well made (They had the faux-documentary ripped off a camcorder thing down pat), but for the longest time-well, until there was actually a movie called Fuck-I called it “Fuck: The Movie,” because that was every other fucking line of fucking dialogue in that fucking movie. I get it. They’re teenagers and teenagers love that word, and I’m no fucking prude, but it got to the point where it was extremely distracting when they’re trying to do things like build tension.

  31. LexG says:

    Straat, get the fuck out. THAT IS HOW PEOPLE TALK.
    I drop 30 F-bombs an hour when I’m having a perfectly good day (which is never), so I’m pretty sure some “lost in the woods/possible witch” shit would turn even a Disney kid into Tony Montana with the quickness.
    MAN UP. Swearing RULES. It RULES.

  32. christian says:

    Lex, a Limp Bizkit fan shouldn’t j’accuse about shelf-life.

  33. Joe Straat says:

    Swearing is a goddamn art, and people who just use it to use it might as well be making finger paintings.

  34. LexG says:

    LIMP BIZKIT’S about to sell out every fucking auditorium it plays when GOLD COBRA *drops.*
    A screening of BLAIR WITCH PROJECT in 2010 couldn’t even sell out Christian’s fucking futon.
    Winner: DURST.

  35. Martin S says:

    I moved in ’97 just so I could be in the district for one of the first cable broad bands. Back then, you could contact anyone, like the BWP guys. I went back and forth with them for a while, until I asked the fateful question –
    “Were you guys also involved with The Last Broadcast”?
    No clue on my part, until like ’03, of the frivolities between those two camps.
    BWP is one of the true AICN/Web creations.

  36. hcat says:

    I might have had dial up at home, but I have easily been sneaking in movie sites at work since 98. I remember reading Wells at back then (found Poland when Wells linked to him in an article), and there was some guy writing a site called that I checked out daily until he was bought by Yahoo or something.
    But BWP was totally sold on the internet previously to release. Didn’t Time and Newsweek have them on the cover on the same week confirming the rise of the internet in marketing?

  37. leahnz says:

    ftr, the TIME cover:,16641,19990816,00.html
    excerpt from Blair Witch Craft:
    “If the product was eccentric, so was the peddling, what Artisan co-president Amir Malin calls “guerrilla marketing tactics.” Blair Witch’s creative team, known as Haxan Films, hustled the movie’s clips onto John Pierson’s Split Screen cable show, premiered its trailer on the insider Ain’t It Cool News website and launched its own site, which, on an eventual investment of $15,000, had racked up 75 million hits by week’s end. If Artisan can create an avid audience on cable and in cyberspace, why is Fox or Warner Bros. spending tens of millions advertising in the papers and on prime time? No wonder Hollywood, looking at Blair Witch, says both Wow! and Uh-oh!”

  38. RudyV says:

    Heck, “Tank Girl” had a website in 1995–with games, even–along with clips from the movie. They were all the size of a postage stamp, but with dial-up that was to be expected.

  39. a_loco says:

    I remember doing research for a paper on Neil Jordan last year and randomly stumbling upon the original website for Michael Collins.
    That cannot be worth the server space.

  40. lawnorder says:

    Lionsgate knew exactly what they were doing when they picked up KICK-ASS. The film is going to be a huge DVD – and at the very least, will generate several inexpensive sequels, possibly straight to DTV on some of them. The film is going to develop cult status and will make them a lot of $$ in the long run. PLUS – Lionsgate spends A LOT LESS on marketing than you might think. Whatever their estimated marketing spend, I’d divide it by three. I also wouldn’t believe what they spent to pick up the film in the first place. Having insider experience with them, I know they will make a lot more on KICK-ASS than you might think.

  41. Martin S says:

    Law – what’s the benefit for a publicly traded company to lie about overpaying when they’re getting hammered for excessive spending on every front? The 50Mil wasn’t hearsay. It was an official LG number.
    As for marketing, they had spots all over G4, Spike, SyFy, USA etc…during prime hours. I don’t know those costs all well as Dave, but I do know they ain’t cheap.

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