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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Dis-Klady-able He

Universal did what only Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and Fox have done before… open an animated movie to $60 million. It is no small achievement. They did it by focusing on their target and using all those tools they have – especially with the NBC networks… though those tools, used in the wrong way or for the wrong property or both, guarantee nothing, as we have seen before – to make kids demand of those parents, “I want my minions!!!” As an adult, I found it all interesting, but I don’t really get it. But I was not the target.
If you wish to linger on the 3D Bump, this opening is about double the Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs launch, almost 4x Coraline, and if the estimate holds, a little more than Monsters vs Aliens. Only 3 of the 14 bigger animation openings were in 3D.
Regardless… a long way to go after opening weekend in the US. But the opening is an achievement for the Universal team.
The Sunday estimates on Twilight seem a bit high… not because of the World Cup, but because since last Monday’s holiday, Eclipse has been well off of New Moon every day. And If the Sunday estimate holds up, it will be a change of that trend. Look for this third film to fall back into line with New Moon next weekend. Nothing shocking there.
Predators did well. And word of mouth inside the niche seems pretty good. Even Rotten Tomatoes has it as “fresh.” So who knows? Could find its way to a shocking $100m… more likely around $80m domestic. As Fox prepares to go back to Alien as a stand-alone, this could well be a sequel-maker as well.
Toy Story 3‘s estimate pushes it past every animated film in domestic history, except for Shrek 2, which was, at the end of its run, the #2 domestic grosser in history, period. That target is about $100 million away… a long run. But a 26% drop in a weekend with a new $60 million-opening 3D animated film is another remarkable success for this film.
International for TS3 is a longer haul, as most of what are expected to be the biggest markets for this film are being held back because of the World Cup. But it still has over $200 million in that bank… and Nemo’s record of $529 million is far far away, nit not impossible.
$72,430 is a strong per-screen for The Kids Are All Right, though it’s always dangerous to project too much off of numbers like this, when the film has big commercial elements and a strong core of the interested in major metropolitan and gay communities. Keep watching that space.
The real “big stories” of the indie world right now are I Am Love and Winter’s Bone. Magnolia is around $1.5 million on Love, really based almost exclusively on interest in Tilda Swinton. Remarkable. And smart of SPC to relaunch Orlando into that. And Granik’s Bone is a buzz play for the art house interested. Jennifer Lawrence has gotten a lot of press. But it seems to be the art house film of the summer that people are being told by friends that they “have to see.”
Overall, small indie seems healthier than some think. City Island and The Secret in Their Eyes and clearly The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, though that feels like a franchise of some kind because of the book. We already have five $2 million documentaries after just four last year… all later in the year. The films’ grosses were bigger last year (including Michael Moore), but the diversity of interest of at least a few hundred thousand ticket buyers for five different docs is a good sign.
PS – There are a lot of unexpectedly small drops across the box office chart this weekend. Why? It’s even odder, given that last weekend’s 3-day had the benefit of a holiday Monday.
Well, for one thing, a Sunday July 4th slows down Sunday a bit. The other thing is, this is that summer lull when films have a little room to settle into niches. If you are willing to see an Sandler & Crew comedy, what else is there for you to see? Not a lot. Maybe Get Him To The Greek or The A-Team, but if you want goofy with a some smarmy, Grown Ups is where you are heading. Likewise, Knight & Day. Not a lot of other movies to satisfy that palate… though the film was, I still think, brutalized after it opened, lessening the ability to leg it out. And it certainly is working out for the indies, as noted above. If you aren’t a kid and aren’t interested in kid stuff, but you go to the movies weekly, you are probably heading to some arthouse titles that you may have skipped if there was something… anything… to see from the studios. (Inception is coming.)

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21 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Dis-Klady-able He”

  1. Pete Grisham says:

    This is a pretty great week for pretty much everyone in the top 10.
    Terrific opening for Despicable Me and a very respectable one for Predators. Knight and Day has finally stabilized and found its grove while the worst drop belongs to the Last Airbender (which, too, is doing quite well all things considered).

  2. IOv2 says:

    Hopefully Predators can have some weeks because darn it, that film needs a sequel. The more Predators movies we can get the better everything in the world will be.

  3. Pete Grisham says:

    I think that Predators would have gotten a lot further if only they name checked Academy Award Winner Adrien Brody in the ads.
    Right, Chucky?

  4. IOv2 says:

    Damn it, Pete! Don’t poke the LION!

  5. bulldog68 says:

    How about that 15% drop for Grown Ups. The thing is I’m not hearing extremely great reviews even from Sandler fans, just about average reception, but this thing has got some air under it.
    Does anyone think they will have a sequel to Airbender based on these numbers? Its not great, but its not bad either.
    And is Karate Kid a new franchise so that we can watch little Willie grow onscreen as his opponents become even more aggressive and dangerous? The one thing about the original Karate Kid is, and I’m not sure if it was part of the film, was that I did not know how much time passed between the sequels so Ralph Macchio looked the same in all the films. With a two or three year spacing between sequels, this new incarnation could be interesting, in a Harry Potterish kind of way. If the others are produced as well as this one, it could be a very profitable franchise. And considering that KK had to find breathing room between the giants of animation in Shrek and Toy Story, and two wannabe franchise starters in PoP and Airbender, eking out $170M was not bad, not bad at all.

  6. IOv2 says:

    Bulldog, there’s roughly six months or so between Karate Kid and Karate Kid 2. Karate Kid 3 is supposed to take place a year after the events of the Karate Kid because Daniel has to go back to the tournament to defend his championship.
    If Avatar the Last Airbender gets sequels. Here’s hoping M. Night is not involved. They guy needs to be sent away to the island of misfit directors at this point and it’s not like Avatar the Last Airbender was a short show. There’s plenty of material left to mine from that show.

  7. bulldog68 says:

    Thanks IO. If you remembered that and didn’t look it up, well kudos. Somethings my memory chip is just fried with all the ‘useless movie data’ I’ve got stored in there.
    Also to Dave’s benchmarks for Universal and Despicable Me, another that has been a personal watchpoint for me has been which non-pixar/dreamworks animated pic will cross the $200M mark. With Happy feet and Ice Ages coming so close, can DM do the trick? I think they will.

  8. Sandler has long played off said ‘summer lull’. His films open huge the weekend before the 4th, crash during the second weekend, and then have healthy runs for the next month or so as they become the safe second-choice for casual moviegoers. As expected, Knight and Day and Grown Ups are the ‘I wanna go to the movies but have already seen the mega-films and don’t have an arthouse cinema nearby’ choices, they are just lucky that they haven’t started to bleed screens yet.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    While watching the Astros game today on TV, I noticed a youngster in the stands with an “arrow-mohawk” Last Airbender haircut. Is this an aberration, or has anyone else out there seen other kids with this coiffure?

  10. CleanSteve says:

    Question for somebody more knowledgeable than I (i.e., most of you):
    Predators opening in just 2669 theaters seems odd. Yea, there are only so many screens out there but this seems way below average for a big sci/fi flick. And it seems reasonable to think it hurts it’s opening number. By much, I have no idea. And maybe it makes up for it in the long-haul. But when “front-loading” is such a major deal these days it’s hard to maximize that with less theaters than the 3 week old Grown Ups, and barely more than Knight & Day, also 3 weeks or so out, I think.
    Then again, maybe $25 million is all it had in it. The R rating probably hurt but I’d rather they went that way than PG-13 it.
    Plus, as much as I liked Brody in the movie, he’s not your average action movie opener. In fact I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a current, dependable and consistent guy who can open an action movie. The first that comes to mind is Jason Statham. They don’t make tons of money, but he can open mid-budget action junk 9 out of 10 times. Gerard Butler is trying to get there, maybe.
    And I’m talking guys that do pretty much NOTHING but action. The days of Arnold opening any action programmer he’s in are long over of course (sadly), but guys like that are rare. And personally, I miss them. That’s why I’m preying Expendables kicks ass.
    Had Arnold returned to film in PREDATORS, i would have opened far bigger. That’s a no-brainer. But, aside from the theater count, I wonder if Statham or Butler or somebody else might have helped. Whether they make the movie better or worse, who knows.

  11. IOv2 says:

    Joe, I worked an AAU tournament last week, were a ton of kids had those mohawks. It’s apparently the style these days.

  12. hcat says:

    So DM will most likely be Uni’s biggest grosser since the last Bourne film. That has got to be a giant sigh of relief after all their mistarts in the animation field.
    And anyone see Girl who played with Fire? Just caught the first one on Blu Ray and was impressed but a little underwhelmed given all the buzz. As for how close the releases are between the sequels (this was brought up in a previous thread that imploded), its very possible that Music Box is such a small company they can’t acquire any new properties until they get all the current product out. They don’t have the luxury of an IFC or Searchlight that can pick up a film and sit on it for 18 months.

  13. Pete Grisham says:

    “…Shrek 2, which was, at the end of its run, the #2 domestic grosser in history, period.”
    That’s not even true. Star Wars was (and still is) ahead.
    And if you are ignoring Star Wars because it made its money in multiple releases than you are simply being incosistent.

  14. Cadavra says:

    I was wondering what the biggest opening weekend was for a “regular” Disney animated feature, so I looked it up…
    THE LION KING! $40.9 in 1994. CHICKEN LITTLE was about $800,000 behind in second place, and DINOSAURS (anybody remember that one?) was third at $38.8.

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    I don’t know that Statham or Butler do much for Predators box office. The titular beasts are the draw. I also can’t imagine there’s a large contingent of fans of those two who wouldn’t be interested in Predators unless they were in it.
    As for the opening, the PG-13 and the versus element helped AVP at first, but with a $38M opening leading to an $80M total, let’s see where Predators ends up. Plus, it cost less.
    hcat, a review I read over the weekend said The Girl Who Played With Fire suffers from being the second in a trilogy. It feels like one long set up for the next one. I can’t get over how many people I see reading those books on the train, in airports, etc. Men and women of all ages. Guys in business suits and teenagers. Are they that good?

  16. IOv2 says:

    Stella, I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia summaries of them before jumping in. Yeah yeah spoilers, but those books are just weird. They are just weird in the whole “Feminist but not really Feminist” sort of way.

  17. Eric says:

    Stella, I’ve read the first in the series and will probably read the next.
    If you like murder mysteries, it’s very good.
    But if that’s not your typical reading, it probably won’t do much for you. It’s not so good that I’d recommend it to somebody who doesn’t like the genre.

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    I like a good murder mystery but I’m sure I’ll see the movies first. I have just been taken aback by the sheer number of people I have seen reading the series in the last few months. Thanks for the feedback guys.

  19. Hopscotch says:

    The Actuals came in. Despicable me at $56M. Still great start, but 4M off is quite something.
    Saw Restrepo on Saturday. Not as great as I was hoping, but a solid, solid film.

  20. WillRiel (aka CleanSteve) says:

    Stella, you’re probably right.
    But do you think Statham is the current, most dependable action star? Again, not saying much as he doesn’t compare to Arnold in terms of box office.
    I was most curious about that.
    I hope Predators has legs. And Arnold will be out of office, hopefully, around the time they would make a sequel. There’s an idea.

  21. Stella's Boy says:

    I don’t know about Statham being the most dependable action star at the moment. His biggest solo opening is Transporter 2’s $16.5 million, and after that it’s Death Race at $12.6 million. Not exactly huge numbers.

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