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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by 4-Day Klady

Even being generous to Sex & The City 2, comparing the end of the first Monday last time to the end of today (by estimate… which doesn’t include a 5th day), the franchise is off 18% from the last time. Being less generous, 5 days vs 5 days, it’s off 25%.
Once again, Hollywood helps prove that women are smarter than Hollywood sometimes thinks.
So they are probably looking at $120m or so domestic… if they get that far. It could be a steeper drop this time, as the quality of the film seems less likely to draw girls-night-out crowds the second weekend this time… and it wasn’t like the multiple was sensational the first time out.
But again… as will so many pictures… the real money for this film – they hope – will be foreign. You want to know the real reason they women were on camels? The first film did 2/3rds of its theatrical business overseas. Of course, it may well be that the world enjoys looking at the hedonistic pursuit of New York ideals of money and power and not just the next wave of parachute pants. We’ll see.
Sadly, $250 million worldwide, for a TV show converted for the second time with no directorial skills whatsoever to the big screen, is still just barely a breakeven proposition… no cash cow here. The budget for the first film was wildly inflated, but with $415 million in theatrical, the Shaye/Lynne New Line and after-the-fact distributor Warner Bros cleared budget and P&A before they ran out of theatrical rentals. This time, with the budget even more hyper-inflated – because the success of this show has always been about spending money, not characters, right? (huh?) – and domestic down, they will be waiting on foreign with the passion usually held for waiting on Friday numbers here… and then, they will be reliant on post-theatrical sales, TV and DVD, to make money or just to get out without red ink.
What’s intriguing is that SJP & Co can make a third movie… for $40 million… which is about what it should cost, max, and make a boatload of money, unless this film actually kills the franchise. But even if it does damage it severely… for a $40m budget… It would be hard for them not to do enough business to make it work. So unlike most problem sequels, the ball is still in the franchise’s court… they just need to deal with reality if they want to continue. And the cost of Vaseline going up.
Prince of Persia (I’ll skip the extended name, so as not to pretend that there will be a sequel) isn’t so lucky. Conceived as another big, PG-13 Bruckheimer ride movie, Jake Gyllenhaal ain’t Johnny Depp or Harrison Ford, the videogame with a strong narrative got in the way a lot more than a ride without one could have, and the wow factor was limited by effects we have all seen, not only before, but repeatedly. Worse none of this could be disguised in a trailer. And there was no single go-to-effect that made it a must-go movie.
As a result, PoP couldn’t muster Robin Hood business, much less the opening for the first The Mummy. It even did a third less at opening than the decade old Tomb Raider, which did have Ms Jolie as a valuable special effect. Her pecs way outdid Jake’s.
Shrek Forever After did about what it was supposed to do in a second weekend. No new story here, really. Winning the weekend indicates nothing but the weakness of the two new entries and the solid base for the Shrek franchise.
And there is a real chance that Shrek The Last wins again next weekend with a mid-20s number, the biggest threats of the weekend not being the presumed bigger movies (Greek and Killers), but the strong niche plays, Marmaduke (though I haven’t felt that they have found the strong marketing hook… aside from Owen Wilson and dogs) and Splice, which is not likely to be leggy, but could rise up and shock with a $30 million opening (or better) a la Species ($17m opening in 1995), which is what the campaign looks like to me, shy a lanky, sexy blond.
Iron Man 2 should hit $300 million in the next 10 days or so. It gets the benefit of First Summer Weekend and we’ll see if either or both Toy Story 3 or Twilight 3 can deliver $300 million domestic.

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74 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by 4-Day Klady”

  1. PastePotPete says:

    Looks like Nightmare on Elm Street is tapping out right around where the Friday the 13th reboot did.

  2. Pete Grisham says:

    Box Officewise Sex and the City 2 is A-OK. And so is Shrek 2. Even if Sex2 ends up with a 2x multiplier it will still be a profitable (and popular) film.

  3. EthanG says:

    I don’t think profitability is assured as all for “Sex 2.” This movie probably cost close to $130 million including marketing, and the internal multiplier on it is HORRENDOUS unlike the first film. Even if it eases into the green, this is likely the end of the franchise.
    “Persia” is already at about 130 million worldwide, so it has about the same shot at marginal profitability as “Sex,” but again not enough for a sequel.

  4. Pete Grisham says:

    And the drops that they experienced are completely in line with realistic expectrations.

  5. Pete Grisham says:

    But Ethan, here I was under the (perfectly understandable) assumption that just like with the first film, the bulk of the gross will come from overseas. Even with steep drops all around I doubt it’s that unrealistic to say we are looking at at $250 million worldwide grosser.

  6. Hopscotch says:

    My wife saw SATC 2 on Friday night. She hated it. Her friend hated it. Everyone on facebook they saw reviewed it, HATED it. The word of mouth factor will kill this thing. My wife said she went in with the lowest expectations and she left the theater extremely pissed off. She loves the series and liked the first movie.
    Star Wars Episode I – think you have met your match.

  7. Hopscotch says:

    The gross on Macgruber is just embarrassing.
    SXSW don’t mean shit!!!

  8. EthanG says:

    If it performs the same as the first one, yeah 275 million or even 300 million is realistic…but even overseas, sequels are more front-loaded that originals, and given the devaluing of the euro, it’s pretty easy to think a 40% international drop is a possibility. It may very well play better overseas but the CinemaScore drop to B+ here, from an initial weekend audience likely made up of hard-core fans, makes it “wait-and-see” I’d think.

  9. David Poland says:

    WB wishes S&TC2 cost $130m with worldwide marketing including. Ha. Minimum 180.
    We won’t have any idea whether either film will be red or black ink until foreign plays out fully.
    And really, Ethan, you think anyone outside of the industry knows about or cares about CinemaScore? Hell… few in the business take CinemaScore seriously.

  10. gradystiles says:

    “Splice, which is not likely to be leggy, but could rise up and shock with a $30 million opening (or better).”
    Uh, yeah, that’d be a shock, to say the least. Are you just posting crazy-talk like this to get Don Murphy to come out of the woodwork and post or something?

  11. mutinyco says:

    Alice is at roughly $1,006,000,000 ww.
    Which means it’s about $4M ahead of TDK.
    Which means TDK has been passed twice in less than 2 years.

  12. David Poland says:

    No, Grady. I think it’s been smartly marketed. The genre doesn’t tend to track accurately. The Resident Evil movies open in the mid-20s in September. And though Nightmare and Friday the 13th reboots were, indeed, reboots… both opened well over $30m.
    Would you think mid-20s would be less of a shock?
    I’m not saying it’s assured, by any means. But it’s old school summer-y stuff. I haven’t seen it… but of course, the movie itself has almost nothing to do with the opening. And this one looks like fun, over-the-top, summer, low-expectations fun.

  13. jasonbruen says:

    @Hopscotch I assume you are comparing word of mouth or after-opening buzz of SATC2 to episode 1? Still, people associated with SATC2 would love for it to be like Episode 1, considering the latter made $400m domestically.
    I agree with DP, $250M WW on SATC2 would not be breakeven. Also, with sequels like this, won’t the cast (4 main players) get some back end on this?

  14. chris says:

    She may not be blond, but “Splice” does have the lanky, sexy covered.

  15. Chucky in Jersey says:

    On a dollar-for-dollar basis, not adjusted for inflation, this is the slowest Memorial Day weekend since 2003. Hollywood’s gonna blame it on all the nice weather. Blame it on high prices and crappy product. Yes, 3-D surcharges are now a factor.
    @Hopscotch: Most theaters with “MacGruber” downgraded it to night shows only for the 2nd week.

  16. Blackcloud says:

    “Star Wars Episode I – think you have met your match.”
    SATC2 can only wish to be subjected to as much ridicule and derision as Phantom Menace.

  17. Hallick says:

    “SATC2 can only wish to be subjected to as much ridicule and derision as Phantom Menace.”
    Phantom Menace was shielded upon release with plenty of the “this is all just setting things up for an AWESOME sequel” benefits. SATC2 is reaching a special level all its own of contemptuous scorn. There might be movies with worse reviews, but there won’t anything near as hated and despised (largely by the franchise’s own core fans) than this thing. If characters could be pulled out of the screen and parboiled “Purple Rose of Cairo”-style, this is the cast who’d get it.

  18. Hallick says:

    And one venal sin that both of the Sex and the City movies committed was an outrageously bloated running time. 145 minutes for the first one, and then 146 minutes for this one? Really? For an HBO series that I don’t recall even running a whole thirty minutes in its own time slot? What the fuck? Seriously, what in capital lettered FUCK were they thinking when they walked out of the editing rooms with these things? Was the spine of Candace Bushnell’s original book something to rival a J.R.R. Tolkien novel?

  19. Pete Grisham says:

    I fail to see how a $300 milion dollar gross (yes, I do believe it could get there) for Sex 2 is anything but a huge sucess.
    Yes, it’s a drop (but an understandable one nevertheless) but how many HBO show conversions would even get to a half of that gross for their first outing. Alternatively, do you know how much last 4 Scorsese films cost and how much they grossed? Wrong expectations folks.
    In my mind even $250 million is enough to greenlight a third sequel (albeit a cheaper one). That’s the whole point – those movies could be cheaper that’s my own beef with them. Otherwise, let the ladies have it. Rambo 4 never produced as much outrage and it was an even shittier proposition.

  20. David Poland says:

    Pete – You get into the Scorsese business as a cash cow. You only get into S&TC for money.
    The first film, which Shaye and Lynne took on when WB passed, was a massive cash machine. A $65m movie that grossed $415 worldwide.
    This one had a sizable budget and back-end bump, more marketing dollars, and substantially less gross and DVD upside than just two years ago.
    As I wrote, if SJP decides to make cheaper S&TC movies, she can keep making them for many years to come. But at these prices, this is going to have to be extra-large overseas to make WB much more than their distribution fee.

  21. Blackcloud says:

    SATC 2 would love to be scorned to the tune of $900M world wide like Phantom Menace was. Anyway, can we put to rest this bogus idea that TPM had bad word of mouth? Movies that gross as much as it did do not have bad word of mouth. Take a look at its weekly grosses; it had good legs. The idea that people disliked TPM is bogus. Some segments of opinion were quite loud in their displeasure. And remain so. Other measures of approval and disapproval tell quite a different story.

  22. EthanG says:

    Umm, no David, I don’t think anyone outside of industry cares about Cinemascore, nor can I fathom why you thought I did based on what i said. It’s merely the only general sign of word of mouth available, however rough it is, and anything below A- on a behemoth sequel like SATC 2 on opening weekend is often a sign of trouble. It’s been a good indicator of smallish sequel drops for Iron Man 2 and Shrek 4 this summer…and a good indicator of the massive drop MacGruber (C-) was in for. It’s not even close to a science, but it has a decent track record of predicting internal multipliers.
    (PS I thought the production budget was closer to 80 then 100 this time around; hence the underestimate.

  23. Joe Leydon says:

    Just curious: I cannot say I was a fan of the show — actually, I’ve never seen a single episode — but given its enduring popularity here and overseas, can’t the capital outlay for this and later sequels be viewed as a long-term investment? Seriously: Might we be talking about movies that will continue to sell DVDs and Blu Rays well into the next decade?

  24. Hallick says:

    “Just curious: I cannot say I was a fan of the show — actually, I’ve never seen a single episode — but given its enduring popularity here and overseas, can’t the capital outlay for this and later sequels be viewed as a long-term investment? Seriously: Might we be talking about movies that will continue to sell DVDs and Blu Rays well into the next decade?”
    If the movies are made like this, then no.
    If people who even kind of liked the last movie are dumbfounded by everything about this one, then no.
    If your core audience feels betrayed because every sneering remark their male significant others made with derision about the series over the years starts hitting bullseye after bullseye with this sequel, then again, NO.

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    Hallick: Are you a fan of the series?

  26. goodvibe61 says:

    This weekend was a two way street:
    1. Very disappointing from a box office results perspective.
    2. Very, VERY good from the “let’s all hope crappy movies bomb like turkeys at the box office” perspective.
    There has been so little of merit in the theater this year that it’s starting to pain me. The only two things I’ve seen in a theater in the past few months that I thoroughly enjoyed were Exit Through The Gift Shop and Oceans. I believe both of those to be of good quality, or better.
    I’m waiting now on Toy Story and Inception. Really looking forward to those, while trying to keep my expectations from overflowing.

  27. Glamourboy says:

    Regarding SATC….I was a fan of the show….I somewhat enjoyed the first film….but then I saw the trailer for the second movie. There is one pivotal shot that shows SJP in a beautiful room..either a bedroom or a hotel room, which is nicely furnished…a huge beautiful bed, gorgeous sheets and laying next to Mr. Big..the man she was chasing almost the entire series…and she gives this look as if all of this lush wonderment is just not enough.
    That is the moment I decided that I could never see this movie. I mean, WTF….why can’t she just look around her…living larger than 90% of American…larger than 98% of the world…getting the man that she’s been telling us for years is the man of her dreams…and all of this prosperity is not enough??? Fuck her. Fuck her ridiculous world. I have friends who just got from fighting the war and they ate snakes for 6 months cause the military didn’t pack them any edible food….fuck Sex in the City….the characters don’t deserve jack shit. I will never fucking see that movie.

  28. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “Anyway, can we put to rest this bogus idea that TPM had bad word of mouth? Movies that gross as much as it did do not have bad word of mouth.”
    That’s a logical fallacy – “People saw it, therefore they like it” does not make sense. Honestly, given the goodwill that Star Wars had built up over the years, Lucas could have had 2 hours of Jar Jar Binks tapdancing and it would have grossed enough to make most filmmakers weep.

  29. LYT says:

    True, Foamy, but the grosses and DVD sales suggest there was repeat business.

  30. LexG says:

    Well, not entirely, but at least huge stretches of it feel like Star Wars, and it has a lot of the deserty minimalism of the first movie, before the increasingly purple, garish and baroque second and third prequels with their muddy digital and eyesore CG “sets.”
    But too bad Lucas didn’t repeat the Keira/Portman double-POWER in the later movies when they were older.

  31. IOv2 says:

    Glamourboy, that pretty much sums up how I feel about SATC and Entourage. Seriously, those characters, are the height of vapidness, and why people continue to torture themselves by watching this movie and that show is beyond me.
    Foamy, no he could not and the Clone Wars movie proves it. Yes it came later but that ends that point of discussion. However, if Lucas put out a Clone Wars movie now, it might make a pretty penny because that show is way too good.
    Finally, Toy Story 3 should be a juggernaut. It has Pixar going for it, it has the whole beloved character thing going for it, and it’s in 3D which will help the tally as mutiny some what hints at above. Toy Story 3 should be the closest film to Avatar’s domestic gross until the last Potter film.
    Now the Twilight Eclipse gross is perplexing because moving a film from Fall to Summer could lead to a Caspian, or it could lead eventually to what happened with the latter Potter films. I am just not sure if that audience, given all the choices of Summer, are going to propel this film to 300m. If they do, if it gets that high, then I guess we all know when Breaking Dawn is going to come out and may we all pray they radically change the story from the book, because Taylor Lautner deserves better!

  32. Foamy Squirrel says:

    LYT – Also true! I just get slightly annoyed when people pull out the “Money = Quality” (and vice versa) argument. 😉
    IO – 3 things. First, the timing is integral to the argument. Phantom Menace was the first new Star Wars film to be released in 16 years (15 if you count Caravan of Courage). Second, the marketing for Clone Wars was so poor that Pepsi, who had a 10 year partnership with Lucas Licensing, weren’t even aware that it was coming out. Third, despite that it still beat the domestic grosses of 526 films released in the US that year. It STILL grossed enough to make most filmmakers weep.

  33. IOv2 says:

    Thanks for the info Foamy but I still do not believe for a minute that Jar Jar’s Big Adventures could gross as much as TPM, even if it were the first new SW film released in 24 years back in 1999. Oh yeah, Jar Jar has a Rolling Stone cover. I have the poster up in my bathroom to remember that JAR JAR FREAKIN BROUGHT ABOUT THE CLONE WARS BINKS has a Rolling Stone cover. This bugs me now and it even bugged me in 1999.

  34. Foamy Squirrel says:

    That wasn’t what I was saying. I was saying that there were a large number of factors that influenced TPM’s box office, with “quality” being quite a way down the list.

  35. LexG says:


  36. Krazy Eyes says:

    Maybe now George Romero will stop making shitty zombie films and retire before he completely obliterates any legacy he once had. Since the awful LAND he seems to be trying to outdo how bad a zombie film he can make.
    Who would have thought two decades ago that not only would there be a huge zombie film revival but that Romero would return to the genre he made famous and crank out three of the most awful films of his career?

  37. Stella's Boy says:

    Regarding Splice and a $30M opening weekend, I am not a gamer, but don’t the Resident Evil video games have a huge following? And of course the Platinum Dunes remakes have built in name recognition and popularity. Splice has none of that going for it. Plus, it has some competition this weekend. Get Him to the Greek and Killers are also going after younger viewers. I am psyched to see it, but I can’t see Splice hitting $30 million this weekend.
    So does Prince of Persia open in the low 30s with an unknown in the lead, or does it do even worse without Gyllenhaal?

  38. Hallick says:

    “Hallick: Are you a fan of the series?”
    I thought the TV series was okay myself, but I know a lot of hardcore fans personally who are mortified by the developments of the film series. The ill will brought on by the sequel is palpable in a way I never saw with, say, the Star Wars prequels. Possibly because boys have so many franchises to choose from or turn to when one of theirs goes belly up, but women really don’t have nearly the same options. This is like if The X-Men, Matrix, Transporter, and Star Trek franchises had all gone shitstain-sour at the exact same time (maybe throw in Lord of the Rings for good measure).

  39. Blackcloud says:

    “That’s a logical fallacy.”
    Yes, but that’s not the argument I was making. As I said, take a look at the weekly grosses. TPM was still doing quite well weeks into its run, so if the word of mouth was as poor as people make it out to be, either people ignored it, or it wasn’t that bad. I think it was the latter, because in fact people in 1999 did not dislike TPM as much as they do in 2010. A lot of the arguments made about TPM are retrospective, based on how people felt about the movie after the fact. To wit: after thinking it over for weeks/months/years, we think the movie sucks, ergo, all the people who saw it then did so despite the fact that it sucks. Whereas, in fact, a more logically consistent argument is that people did not think the movie sucked.
    Just because people don’t like the movie now doesn’t mean they didn’t like it in 1999. You can revise your historical view after the fact, but be aware that that’s not necessarily how people perceived things on the ground at the time.

  40. jasonbruen says:

    I agree with Blackcloud, word of mouth was not crap on TPM. If it was, then you’re saying it should have done Titanic or Avatar numbers. Bad word of mouth would have meant a $150M opening – it would have taken a dump after opening.
    I have no problem admitting I enjoyed it and saw it a couple times in theater. I think it set out to do what it planned: entertain and provide something new from the star wars universe. It was never supposed to be Citizen Kane in space..

  41. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I think there’s some middleground here – I’d agree that the majority of the badmouthing came afterwards, but as you point out there are several possible explanations for the performance. More than anything else, it was a chance to experience history with the revival of the most-loved film series in history. That’s my point rather than “people hated it” – that a good box office performance does not necessarily mean a film is universally well liked. There’s a tendency these days to look at weekly dropoffs and make assumptions about the word-of-mouth.
    Consider Trannies 2 – sure, a large number of people went to see a dumb popcorn movie and got exactly what they wanted, but if many of the stories are accurate a not-inconsequential portion said “This looks complete balls”… and then paid to see it anyway (perhaps so they could say “I told you so!” afterwards).
    On the flip-side, there’s New Moon. That had a pretty high 70% drop-off rate, but do you think the Twihards were going around saying “don’t see this”? Given the enthusiastic reception by fans, more likely explanation is that the vast majority to whom the movie appealed had already seen it multiple times by the time the second weekend rolled around.

  42. christian says:

    Uh kids…it was the first new STAR WARS film since 1983.

  43. Triple Option says:

    I sure thought Phantom Menace suckt out loud. And I am far from alone. Granted these aren

  44. The Big Perm says:

    Who hated the Star Wars prequels? For a large part it seems to be middle aged guys who grew up with the originals and post on the internet.
    If everyone hated Phantom Menace as much as some think, then could the others have made the money they did? Sith almost made as much as Phantom Menace, there wasn’t any pent up demand for that one, unless you count the fact that you’d finally see the Obi Wan/Anakin fight…but then if you hated the others why would you care.
    And I say that as someone who doesn’t think too much one way or the others about them. I saw them all in the theater, I had a fine enough time. In each of the movies there was some good shit, and there was some horrendous shit. I can’t believe George Lucas watched Vader yelling “nooooooo” 15 years after The Simpsons parodied that kind of thing, and thought he did a good job.
    I also can’t believe IO is going to compare the first real Star Wars movie in 15 years to a shitty cartoon made way after the prequels were finished.

  45. LYT says:

    I was disappointed in Phantom Menace, but I also remember at the time the excitement for this brand new thing called “digital projection” that only a few theaters had. So I went to see it in that after going to the Chinese.
    I have yet to meet a young kid who doesn’t like the movie, though.

  46. The Big Perm says:

    Exactly, I know plenty of people who liked the prequels just fine. Remember, the originals were good but suffer a lot of the same problems the prequels did…shitty acting and horrible dialogue.

  47. christian says:

    SW: TPM has a fantastic John Williams score, the equal to any of his previous SW soundtracks; Neeson and McGregor, who hold their own despite a bare script; and a fantastic light saber battle at the end. Whatever I thought of the film, it was pretty damn exciting to be in the theater opening day…

  48. I think “Splice” can open big….it is (as was alluded to by others) the type of film that will appeal to an audience who hasn’t had shit to see in well over a month. That being said, unless it’s way different from Sundance in the 3rd act, I can’t see the film having legs. People are NOT going to dig that 3rd act.
    That being said, I hope I’m wrong because I really loved the film and think it’s a clever spin on the parenthood/child horror genre which is my favorite horror genre. Go get ’em. “Splice!”

  49. chris says:

    The third-act problems remain.

  50. The Big Perm says:

    Splice makes 20 million total if they’re lucky.

  51. The Big Perm says:

    And by the way, that’s not saying anything about if the movie is good or not. Haven’t seen it.

  52. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “Killers” won’t be in any Carmike theaters because they’ve got a spat with Lionsgate. The nearest Carmike to me is an hour away and it’s opening 2 prints of … wait for it … “Marmaduke.”

  53. hcat says:

    I’m thinking Splice opens to 18 and has some legs. Warners has been on a roll the last few years and I think they will pull the marketing off for this one. I can see it doing Freddy numbers.

  54. The Big Perm says:

    Never, teens won’t see it.

  55. hcat says:

    And not to change the subject to immigration, but country of origin seems so random a reason to deport someone when we can just round up anyone who shows up for Marmaduke this weekend and throw their ass on a bus. Getting rid of that element is how we make the country stronger.

  56. Geoff says:

    I really liked Splice, but that third act is very twisted – Warners is hyping this heavily and is probably just hoping for a big first weekend with huge drop-offs to follow.

  57. leahnz says:

    “…but that third act is very twisted”
    gee, you say that like it could be a BAD thing, geoff!
    (and i get that you mean ‘the public’ might deem it too fucked up for it to catch on past genre fans to make buckets of cash)

  58. IOv2 says:

    Perm, it’s not a bad TV show. It’s pretty tremendous and if it had a movie released from it this Summer, thins would be different.

  59. The Big Perm says:

    Not sure about that, even if it is good. Animated action has historically done pretty poor in America. If people want an action movie, they see a live action one. It’s like whenever an animation company decides to start targeting teenage boys you can pretty much sit back and wait for the failure.

  60. IOv2 says:

    Perm, I see your point and I raise you How to Train Your Dragon and the Incredibles. The Clone Wars animated series is tremendous, shockingly enough, it’s a really good show.

  61. John Wildman says:

    The problem with SPLICE’s third act is when the audience realizes that they aren’t watching something that will be even remotely scary. Rather, they are watching something that is just bat-shit crazy. And there is nothing wrong with that (as Don Lewis and I discussed after seeing the film at Sundance), unless you are really hoping for something that will scare the crap out of you.
    Then the film becomes a “midnight movie” versus a horror/genre film with big numbers potential.

  62. Geoff says:

    Leahnz, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – though the last 15 minutes of the film are a bit overstuffed, it truly worked for me on a twisted level. There was even a Q&A after the screening with Natali and I just had to ask him what he meant by all of it and he did make sense of it.
    I just think it’s going to hurt the film commercially, but oh well – this is not a film meant for mass consumption, no matter how aggressively Warners is marketing it.

  63. movielocke says:

    the problems in phantom menace are really pacing. Naboo opener, steller stuff. Tatooine detour, great entertainment. Everyone goes to Coruscant to complain – boring as all hell. More boring Coruscant shit. Back to Naboo, mix of good and bad shit.
    Now imagine if it were ANH and we delete the line “The Imperial Senate has been dissolved”: Tatooine stuff, golden. Death Star rescue cool. Detour to coruscant Leia complains to the Senate. We have a seen of the Emperor dissolving the Senate. Everyone is bored shitless by the politics bullshit. Daring escape to Yavin IV. Death Star attack, yay victory. Add twenty minutes to the run time, turn a classic into a semi turkey.
    There was no reason to go to Coruscant, it was bad writing, stupid as all hell for the pace of the film. I remember friends falling asleep in the Coruscant stuff, the only complaint I heard in real life about Phantom Menace in the summer of 1999 was about the political stuff that bored everyone to tears. Everything else about the movie everyone loved. Any real life comments about Jar Jar were along the lines of “did you hear he’s all CG?” I started hearing real life grumblings about jarjar in march 2000 when the VHS came out and people started watching it again.
    That said, it was a damned entertaining and incredibly fun movie to see in the theatres. It had an air of discovery about it still. The first time we’d see real jedi in action. The darth maul battle was the most epic sword fight anyone had ever seen and the film was just incredibly satisfying.
    But the bitching about Phantom Menace Online started in march of 1999 as I recall. And the online bitches just created an echo chamber of bitchyness that has expanded and now possesses vast powers. And layman decided over the three years in between TPM and AotC that TPM was “good, but not as good as the originals.”

  64. leahnz says:

    geoff, what you just said to me is exactly what i was trying to say to you in my previous comment, i knew what you meant, that’s what i was trying to say (obviously i failed, but that’s probably my fault for being sarcastic and vague). if that makes any sense. but hey at least we’re on the same page

  65. LexG says:

    Not having seen it:
    What Geoff and Leah are not-so-subtly hinting at re: the last act of SPLICE, I’d put good money down that it essentially turns into last year’s ORPHAN in the stretch.
    ie, I’m assuming the genetic creation becomes hyper-sexualized in the last act.

  66. leahnz says:

    and the problem with thePM, and the rest of the prequels for that matter – apart from a profound lack of serendipity in the chemistry of the cast that the original trilogy had in spades – is that they were way too padded out and bogged down in detail and political minutiae. the strength of the original star wars trifecta was as a simple, straight-forward rollicking sci-fi action/adventure romp with cheek and flair and pathos and humour and villainy and daring-do, even as it’s kinda endearingly cheesy and kitsch at times (esp with hindsight), but one thing is certain: very little political tedium in the original trilogy.
    why lucas thought, ‘hey i know, i’ll bring in a bunch of political minutiae and endlessly convoluted intrigue and tedious malingering on boring shit interspersed throughout the big set-up/pay-off for one of the greatest villains ever’ was a good idea is beyond me. basically the same story with all the needless junk cut out and condensed down to two flicks told with a bit more of an eye to the simplicity, flair and character of the original movies and the prequels could have been epic
    (having said that, i don’t mind ‘revenge of sith’, or ‘sith happens’ as i like to think of it, so be it, but ‘menace’ and ‘clones’ easily could have been trimmy-trim-trimmed and told in a much more timely and engaging fashion streamlined into one romp instead of two slogs. it’s as if there was pressure for another TRILOGY or something…)

  67. LexG says:

    they also should of shown portman’s bare feet more

  68. leahnz says:

    i don’t know about anyone else but totally dig ‘orphan’, one of the best horror movies i’ve seen in ages (and sarsgaard as the dad, man he was just dumber than a sack of hair and so excruciating, i’ve never wanted to smack anyone in a movie a la cher and shout ‘snap out of it!’ so much in all my life. which was great, because that was exactly the point)

  69. Stella's Boy says:

    Does WB stand to make a tidy profit if they can get a decent opening out of Splice? I don’t know how much they paid to pick it up, but other than that some minor editing and the P&A is all they’re in for right? So sell the shit out of it and see what happens. I still don’t think it’s going to open to more than $15 million. There’s some real competition for it this weekend and I don’t see it having the appeal of something like The Strangers.

  70. The Big Perm says:

    IO, How to Train Your Dragon and the Incredibles are still first and foremost family animated pictures. They’re not action movies, even though The Incredibles works extremely well in that regard.

  71. movieman says:

    I liked “Splice” well enough, even if it’s a tad too derivative of early-to-mid Cronenberg (“The Brood,” “Scanners,” “The Fly,” etc.) for comfort. Nice seeing real actors like Brody and Polley in a genre film, though, and it has more than enough “ewwwww!” moments to keep you goosed. The French actress (name?) who plays Dren reminded me of Patty Duke in “The Miracle Worker:” if Duke’s Keller hadn’t been blind, sprouted reversible wings and killed small animals with her bare hands (then ate them raw). Sure hope they don’t spoil it by making a sequel (which the ending sets up in typical 21st century fashion). Overall it’s a nice mix of (pace Cronenberg) the cerebral and the visceral.
    Shockingly, “Marmaduke” isn’t terrible. Owen Wilson is such a likable screen presence (even when providing the voice for an overgrown Great Dane) that he kept me (mildly) engaged for 80-odd minutes. Speaking of odd, it’s peculiar how all of the animals talk (with accompanying “lip-sync” movements), yet none of the human characters can hear them (or see their busy CGI mugs moving a mile a minute). If nothing else, it beats both “Chipmunks” and “Garfield” movies even though “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” remains the current gold standard for talking pet flicks. Am I damning it with faint praise? Perhaps. But it’s a far sight better than Tom Dey’s wretched “Failure to Launch” (an even worse SJP rom-com than “S&TC2”). And while Mamet this ain’t, it’s always a pleasure to see Bill Macy

  72. Blackcloud says:

    “the problems in phantom menace are really pacing.”
    Agree 100%. It’s quite uneven. It goes in stops and starts, and Lucas didn’t get that down until ROTS really. As for the political minutiae, as Leah calls it, that was one of the main points of the prequels. The whole plot is one gigantic but murky Sith conspiracy to destroy the Jedi and conquer the galaxy. Could there be less politics or could it be better handled? Sure. Nonetheless, I’d argue the politics is integral to the prequels. It’s Palpatine’s stage, and he uses politics to undermine the Republic and the Jedi, with the result we see at the end. There’s politics in the first three, but it’s of a standard, black and white kind with a totalitarian regime being confronted by a plucky band of freedom fighters.
    As for TPM itself, I watched it again a few months ago for the first time in ages and the thing that struck me most about it this time is that it is 120 (or however many) minutes of exposition. TPM exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to establish all the relationships and structural features that will define the rest of the trilogy. No way that would have been obvious in 1999, but in 2009 it was pretty blatant. It’s all set-up.

  73. jeffmcm says:

    Even if Splice gets hyper-sexualized in the last act, I don’t think anyone was turned on by the third-act twist in Orphan, except pedophiles (Lex).
    TPM’s problems are partly pacing, but also largely structure – they keep bouncing around from place to place in an awkward way that wasn’t true of the smooth progression of the original Star Wars and Empire.

  74. Bob Violence says:

    “Killers” won’t be in any Carmike theaters because they’ve got a spat with Lionsgate.

    wow I guess Carmike really really really hates the word “ass”, right Chucky???

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