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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office Peek

It occurred to me… how is Harry Potter 7 really doing, now that we are a week in?

The answer, of course, is great. Big consistent series. However, the excitement around the massive Friday number last week? It does seem to be falling back into the Potter pack. The gross for HP7 has been behind HP6, on a daily basis, since Day 3 and remains so after Thanksgiving Thursday. HP7 will probably push ahead over the rest of the holiday weekend, as HP6 opened on a Wednesday in summer, meaning days 8-10 were Wed, Thurs, Fri. Regardless, Potter 6, which was way out ahead of the previous films going into the second weekend, scored the weakest 2nd weekend in the franchise’s history. Second worst 3rd weekend… worst 4th, 5th, and 6th. By then, you’re looking at weekend under $3m… not big scoreboard changers.

The point is, front-loading is getting greater for the series. No reason, yet, to think that 7 will be exceptionally big.

I am amused by the spin on Burlesque, which would have to do unusual numbers indeed to get to Sony’s $17.8m prayer. Rent started with $2.3m more over the first two days (if you buy Sony’s Thursday estimate, which is likely high) and ended up with $17.1m for the 5-day and $29m total domestic. Perhaps that drop-off is more extreme than Burlesque will experience, but $16m seems like a more realistic 5-day goal and $40m domestic does seem to be about the max we could see from this title.

Fox kind of expected to split the Love & Other Drugs weekend with Burlesque, in terms of the core audience for these film, women. And that’s where it seems to be going. It will be interesting to see if the less showy romantic melodramedy will catch up with Cher’s narrow lead before the five days is over… and where the legs are.

Faster is a career-worst start for The Rock. Perhaps even the great Terry Press – and I mean it, she is great – can’t turn the CBS Films train around. Perhaps The Movie Gods have just decided that Sumner Redstone allowing his two sides of Viacom compete directly as though they were random strangers is just stupid and self-destructive. If you can’t open a violent Rock movie to much more than Summit opened a star-free Never Back Down to -and really, Faster will open to less without the 5-day advantage – something is wrong. This ain’t Harrison Ford in a surgical gown looking as confused as the audience. This is The Rock Kicks Ass. Come on.

Hard to be sure where Tangled is going, but at the least, it looks like the best non-Pixar Disney animation opening in many years.

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20 Responses to “Box Office Peek”

  1. LexG says:

    Then why wouldn’t Fox move Love and Other Drugs off this weekend, if they “expected” it to get pretty much massacred?

    What comes out wide next week? Just “Warrior’s Way”? They couldn’t have bumped it a week?

  2. Was going to wait until the weekend to discuss this, but in all honesty, Potter 7 is playing pretty similar to Twilight: New Moon (same weekend, similar uber-entrenched franchise that plays primarily to its base). The weekend stats were identical in terms of front-loading and what not (19% of weekend just in midnights for HP7 vs. 18% such for New Moon, etc). In fact, yesterday was the first day that HP7 out-grossed the respective single-day gross for New Moon by any notable margin (about $2 million).

    Of course, Harry Potter 7 isn’t going to drop $100 million in weekend two like New Moon did (I’m still aghast that a film lost $100 million between weekends last Thanksgiving). So the worst-case scenario $260 million domestic is likely not going to happen. But anyone who thought that this 7th film, itself an exceptionally adult and depressing entry (I know parents who’ve let their young kids watch the prior entries, but are seeing this one first for themselves), and one-half of a single movie to boot, was going to magically severely out-gross the prior Harry Potter pictures was nuts.

    The series finale in July could very well become the first $400 million+ Potter picture (especially if the rest of the summer crop disappoints ala Inception and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl) , but the penultimate chapter was always going to play, at best, like a standard $290-$310 million picture give-or-take frontloading, demo competition (Narnia 3, Tron 2), and IMAX ticket-price bumps. Yes, a ‘horrible’ place to be, but there does seem to be a ceiling. Another scary thought: if Twilight had eight films too, would their fans stay equally consistent enough to end up one of the most successful franchises of all-time as well?

  3. LexG says:

    Much as I enjoyed ECLIPSE all *seven* times I saw it in theaters this past summer, I really am missing my November TWILIGHT fix. They should’ve re-released it.

  4. mary says:

    “Burlesque” was cost at least $55 million to make. (Screen Gems’ most expensive film ever!) If the film only grosses $40 million in US, it would be one of the very rare box office flops from Screen Gems.

    “Never Back Down” was rated PG-13 and “Faster” is rated R. Here is the difference.

  5. Tagg says:

    $40 million domestic is not a flop. If that was Burlesque’s total worldwide gross, than yes. It’s being released in Europe, Asia and South America in Dec, Jan and Feb.

  6. mary says:

    I don’t think that “Burlesque” will do very well overseas.

    Afterall, “Crossroads” only grossed $24 million in overseas, even though Britney Spears was hugely popular in 2002.

  7. IOv3 says:

    Scott, there is a ceiling in the US. Overseas the films keep on getting close to a billion and I would wager DHpt1 has as much of a shot as getting to it as Half Blood or Order. It sort of makes me happy that these films are least appreciated more overseas because I guess over there, there are less people questioning the MAGIC of films and what not :D! Whateverthecase, pt.2 is in 3D, Imax, and we all know that’s gong to lead to a big ass BUMP.

  8. Foamy Squirrel says:

    $40mil domestic on a $55mil negative budget is certainly a disappointment, and indicates that it’s probably going to end up in the red rather than the black – which is pretty much the definition of a “flop”. It may still be saved by large international numbers, but there’s nothing at this stage to indicate that will be the case.

    What did they spend the $55mil on? Was Aguilera’s fee really that big?

    @IO – the growing overseas base may simply be a case of increasing theatres etc. rather than a difference in audience tastes. But, yeah, the 3D will lead to a fair bump – those who are dedicated Pottheads after 7 movies are unlikely to go for the cheaper version on the 8th.

  9. But of course, IOv3. But I’m far less familiar with overseas patterns and thus try to not even guess at eventual overseas box office totals. With domestic gross, I can at least sound like I know what the hell I’m talking about.

  10. Foamy Squirrel says:

    People here knowing what they’re talking about? MADNESS!!!!1one

  11. EthanG says:

    Overseas is a total crapshoot at this point. “Crossroads” was released at a time where overseas box office was half of what it is today…so assuming Cher+Aguilera+Tucci/Bell+passable reviews=2002 Spears….that’s $50 mil overseas.

    In a year in which “Alice” became the 4th largest film overseas of all-time (Avatar, Titanic, LOTR 3), Res Evil 4 has a chance to crack the overseas top 10 of the year, and Jackass 3 will probably do double the overseas business of the previous two installments COMBINED…anything is possible.

  12. s carr says:

    Burlesque is a great movie.

  13. SJRubinstein says:

    The Rock is really solid in “Faster.” McWeeny @ HitFix suggested him as someone to play Jack Reacher and I totally agree.

  14. AH says:

    Re. the Rock as Reacher, great idea!

  15. Proman says:

    Nobody really gives a fuck about the Rock, Poland. And don’t pretend like it isn’t true.

  16. Lynch Van Sant says:

    According to studio “accounting”, not even Harry Potter movies make any profit. Ha Ha.

    Tangled is doing great – $19.7mil on Friday vs. $20.75mil for Potter. Could it actually be #1 over the weekend? If not, it surely will be next weekend.

  17. IOv3 says:

    The fact that they are still stating films don’t make money, when they have been proven wrong in a court of law (Coming to America comes to mind), is pretty damn astounding.

  18. Foamy Squirrel says:

    The practice is common for any high-value asset – although outside Hollywood it’s both more and less cunning.

    What typically happens is that a Trust will build or acquire the asset (usually a toll road or building or something – in this case it would be the Harry Potter film) and then sign a contract so that the asset is operated by a corporate body.

    Where it’s more cunning is that the flow of money between the trust and the corporate is highly flexible, and will change even on a monthly basis since trusts and corporates operate under different tax laws. This lets them get more after-tax profit than they could by controlling the one thing under one roof. In the case of Harry Potter, the easiest identifiable item is the distribution fee – which is almost certainly going to a separate WB arm (albeit under a fixed %, so it’s not as efficient as it could be).

    Where it’s less cunning is that outside of Hollywood it’s usually made perfectly clear that this is happening, and investors are sold a “stapled entity” where they get 1 share of the operating corporate body and 1 unit of the trust. That way, investors always get paid no matter in which direction the money flows. I have a suspicion that Spider-Man was set up in this matter, since it’s a separate joint venture between Sony and Marvel. However, outside of Hollywood the loophole is usually that there’s a third-party that “manages” the Trust… which often isn’t as independent as it should be.

  19. azmoviegoer says:

    RE: The Rock as Reacher great idea!..somewhere immediately after this was written and posted, Lee Child shuddered involuntarily and muttered “no fucking way-over my dead body!”

  20. christian says:

    This is how Hollywood convinces its talent it just doesn’t have the money — tho somebody is making some bank.

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