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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Source Klady (Analysis by Poland)

So… it was a hoppy start for Hop or another 2011 disappointing start, depending on your perspective.

First off, this movie was, it seems, a live action/animation combination. I say, “it seems,” because I don’t have any recall of this movie being sold as a live action/animation combination. There is a faint notion of James Marsden’s head showing up. But my experience with the marketing was very Despicable Me… all chicks and bunny. Mea culpa.

Second perspective, as I wrote with Rango when it came out, $38 million to open an original idea for families outside of the two big brand names, is a good number.

Third perspective, if the film is actually has an $80m price tag, as a reader indicated yesterday, this will be a solid commercial winner for Universal. $250m seems like a solid low number for a worldwide gross – who knows what international might turn into? – and it could be recurring character, in spite of the reviews.

Fourth perspective, for four the last five years, we had $40m+ opening animated films in March. The one year that the opening wasn’t $40m was Robots year… and that was seen as coming up short. This year we have two $35m+ openers in March and the cusp of April. It’s probably a good idea for box office followers to start recalibrating to this as the new reality. Yes, there will still be breakout numbers now and again. But solid doubles that make a profit are what the studios are aiming for. And we can’t be getting our panties in a bunch over the studios not making overly expensive films AND complain when they don’t and don’t deliver mega-numbers.

This is an adjustment. And that may be the lesson of this first four months of 2011. For me, too. But The Green Hornet, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, No Strings Attached, Unknown, Gnomeo & Juliet, Just Go With It, The Adjustment Bureau, Battle: Los Angeles, Rango, Wimpy Kid 2, and Limitless have all been success stories, if not all at the bottom line, then vs expectations. And now, Hop and Source Code.

We’ve also seen some unmitigated flops. But we always do. I guess my point is that the Alice in Wonderlands and The Passion Of the Christs are lovely anomalies that we, as media, tend to think then are the norm. Hop & Rango together will gross as much as, if not more, than How to Train Your Dragon, at around the same cost. Is that really a problem?

The film that seems to be the most analogous to Sucker Punch is Year One, which also opened on over 3000 screens and also dropped 69% in its second weekend, and also involved extreme costumes that showed off a lot of flesh but got a PG-13. You could roll out Wolverine, Hulk, and The Wolfman as analogies, but all three started with significantly more than Sucker.

And the reason that this is news is that WB is handing Superman to a guy whose last 3 films for the studio look to have a total gross of less than $400m worldwide combined. And this is not The Wachowskis or Bryan Singer, changing speeds from drama to big action. This is a director who has gone for it and tried to deliver massive hits… and one must admit, failed three times in a row. Will there be an announcement about John Malkovich or Zach Galifianakis playing Lex Luthor this afternoon? Who knows?

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90 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Source Klady (Analysis by Poland)”

  1. IOv3 says:

    There seems to be no real reason to put Luthor in that movie. There also is no real reason for that film outside of the nonsense with a lawsuit that Warners would settle if they weren’t fuckheads. Seriously, the best thing that could happen to the Superman franchise, is for that film not to happen. Settle the lawsuit, make good on everything, and then make a JLA movie that’s Supes centric.

  2. NickF says:

    Almost 1:30 Sunday afternoon, and nothing out of them yet.

  3. Rob says:

    Wow, what a ten-car pileup of platform debuts. I saw Super and found it totally disappointing, especially as a Slither fan. It just never brings the laughs.

    None of those 28 Trust screens are in the Boston area, but I hope it expands, as it’s high on my list to check out.

  4. LexG says:

    Liked TRUST a LOT. He gets written about so much as a big box-office punching bag, I’d almost forgotten what a GREAT actor Clive Owen is; One of his best performances in ages here…. Matched note for note by Catherine Keener, and that AMAZING chick who plays the daughter. Not a perfect movie by any means, but really queasy and unsettling.

    Also liked WIN WIN very much. And INSIDIOUS.

    I like most things.

  5. The Pope says:

    I agree that the last thing the world needs right now, and indeed ever again, is yet another Superman movie. But I reckon what is driving the Warners/Superman idea is fear. They don’t want to let is slip from their grip only to see another studio take it and hit it out of the park.

  6. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Really want to see Trust, Win Win, and 57 other movies. Tried to watch Rubber since it is somehow receiving some good reviews. Didn’t like it at all. I shut it off about an hour in, after you see the tire slowly roll around for the 187th time. Might have made a good short but doesn’t work as a feature.

  7. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Also, some sources are reporting that Hop’s budget was $63 million.

  8. al says:

    Bumped into Michael Fassbender this weekend.
    Safe to say everybody’s right about him becoming a huge movie star, it almost feels inexorable. Oddly enough though he’s much better looking in real life than on the screen.

  9. Krillian says:

    Really want to see Super. Christy & Ignatiy’s review intrigued me more in just the right ways. But with those numbers, looks like it won’t come to a theater near me; I know what I’m renting in, what, August?

    As for Superman, one problem with Supes as far as mainstream goes is it’s all about Lex Luthor villain-wise. No other Superman villain has really creeped in as effective as Lex. With Batman, his archnemesis is Joker but there’s a great gallery there of villains. Same with Spider-Man. But Superman, everyone knows Lex, and then there’s General Zod thanks to Terence Stamp, and then who? Brainiac, Bizarro, Darkseid, Doomsday, Mxyzptlk, Solomon Grundy… There’s a real opportunity for Snyder to elevate a good Supes villain into the mainstream, but if it’s Lex or Zod, eh, not as interested.

  10. RedTeaBurns says:

    68% drop! Somewhere there’s a sucker at Warner Bros being punched.

  11. IOv3 says:

    Kril, exactly, and that’s why I keep screaming about MONGUL! Mongul is the perfect bad ass Supes villain but they refuse to use him. Which makes this pointless reboot movie even more pointless if they do indeed, use LUTHOR or ZOD, AGAIN!

  12. bulldog68 says:

    The world does not ‘need’ any movie, but Supes is such a beloved character. Batman, Xmen 1&2, Spidey 1&2 and a few others proved that a comic book based movie can be great entertainment and even some of the best of filmaking. Batman abd Dark Knight worked on every level for me.

    IO said in another thread that the last we need is another Superman reboot, and I wholeheartedly agree. Can’t we just assume that everyone knows how Superman got here and just do a day-in-the-life type thing. The histroy can be dealt with in a flashback and no one will miss a thing.

    One thing I’d like to see solved however, is having some sort of CGI face reconstruction when Clark Kent becomes Superman. We can’t have Pulitzer prize winning journalist not recognize Clark kent is Superman when he takes his glasses off. Much like how the new Batman removed the mystery of where he gets all these cool gadgets froom and instead give us great story lines and a believability factor that catored to our senses, Superman needs to be reworked for the era that we live in, remove the stuff from the comics that doesn’t work, bang out a great script, and give us a great villan who isn’t interested in acquiring real estate. He might as well be fighting Donald Trump for christ sake.

  13. bulldog68 says:

    By Superman “reboot”, I actually meant to say origin story.

  14. berg says:

    Super goes out VOD in a week

  15. storymark says:

    I never saw a single ad for HOP which didn’t feature Marsden and a bunch of live action footage. Ive seen that bunny crap on Marsden’s car hood 50 times now.

  16. storymark says:

    Ive heard several people justify re-doing the Superman origin by saying “it’s been 30 years since it was done in a movie!” Well, sure, that’s technically true. But even setting aside the fact that there has been an entire TV series telling the origin (or thereabouts) for 10 years now – is there ANYONE who doesn’t have at least a basic familiarity with that story? Next to Jesus, it’s probably the best-known origin story in the western world.

  17. LexG says:

    Lex Luthor is who people expect in a Superman villain. And Zod, who they shouldn’t even try to top, as Terrence Stamp was the single most entertaining and awesome movie villain of maybe ALL TIME as the General. But it has to be LEX LUTHOR. HAS TO. You cannot have Superman without him, I don’t care what any completist comic book fan says. LUTHOR is the villain in Superman.

    I don’t know who the fuck Doomsday or Mxyzptlk (???? yeah that really rolls off the tongue, IO) or Solomon Grundy or fucking Howdy Man or BUZZ-BUZZ ot ZYYYZYZZYYZYX or AntFace or CURRYMAN and The Wild Oak Tree or Commando Man are or whoever the fuck these EIGHTH-TEAR jank-ass Superman villains are.

    There’s Luthor, and there’s Zod, and then there’s people NOBODY HAS EVER HEARD OF EXCEPT IO.


  18. The Big Perm says:

    You need Lex Luthor in charge of an army of giant robots or mutants, that what you need for a Superman reboot.

    And Poland is still insane…as in, if you want to compare Watchmen to SUPERMAN go ahead, but the differences in tone, rating, mainstream appeal are gigantic. There is no comparison. You really really think they’re that similar? Just because they’re both comic book movies?

  19. jesse says:

    Yeah, I’m no huge Snyder fan and was way more excited about the Aronofsky Wolverine before that fell through, but I’m not sure what David is advocating *for* when he keeps bringing up weird analysis *against* Snyder getting the keys to the franchise (because obviously since Sucker Punch grossing $32 million means that Snyder’s Superman won’t clear $50 million…?). Poland, who’s the financially responsible choice who you wouldn’t scoff at based on apple-orange box office stats? Who should Warners clearly be calling now that a pin-up fever-dream action-musical has flopped?

  20. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Sony must be really worried since 500 Days of Summer only grossed $32 million and less people know who Marc Webb is compared to Zack Snyder.

  21. The Big Perm says:

    Who directed Adam Sandler’s last movie? That one made a lot of money, he’d be a good match for Superman.

  22. LexG says:

    Mostly I just wanna know if Snyder’s gonna shoot Superman, which should always be in TOTAL BLUE AND PASTEL SOFT FOCUS, in his usual copper-and-exhaust sheen.

    For it to be a Synder movie, wouldn’t the Man of Steel have to be in a black and gold cape and wear a gas mask with big goggles?

  23. IOv3 says:

    Lex, you are the fucker whose obsessed with FRANCHISE pictures. Excuse me for laughing off this post above and hearty laugh at you owning all of those shitty snapper case Franchise DVDs. HEARTY!

    That aside, Smallville has indeed been on the air for 10 years, and to millions of people worldwide that’s Superman. The fact that they ignored Welling twice is fucking hilarious but Warners is ran by the most fortunate idiots in Hollywood, so that makes a bit of sense. Nevertheless, Smallville has defined the origin story, and that should lead to a freaking Superman movie that starts out as Supes being Supes.

    Bulldog, people wear glasses as disguises in real life. Changing that up ignores how oblivious people are in real life to the most obvious things. It’s sort of Supes thing to hide in plain sight, which is a part of the character, and should never be changed because Clark Kent is the disguise of Superman.

    Now, again, Supes has a bunch of villains that would be awesome to use. Mongul being the first and foremost one but he’s too ALIEN for Nolan and Co., so they have to use ZOD again. Seriously, if you factor this film in with Returns, they have basically remade Superman 1 and 2. YAY!

  24. LexG says:

    Nobody has watched SMALLVILLE since 2003. I CANNOT BELIEVE it is still on television; That’s like telling me that the Ed O’Neill DRAGNET or James Denton in THREAT MATRIX or Jason Gedrick and Frank Langella in THE BEAST are still alive, well and thriving on network television.

    It’s kind of annoying also, because Kristin Kruek would have EASILY been a Lexian LOOK AT HER! BOW! BONER! SHOW HER FEET! level megastar in big movies, instead of some CW chick for the prime decade of her career. In much the same way someone needs to cancel CHUCK for good so Yvonne Strahovski can start making some good movies, and I can start getting boners.

  25. Tim DeGroot says:

    I maintain that the new villain should be Bizarro Superman, and that he should be played by Matt Dillon.

  26. bulldog68 says:

    Sorry IO. I can’t put on a pair of glasses and hide in plain site from my coworkers of more than a decade. And these are supposed to be the finest journalists in the business.
    In a weird way, I’ve already suspended my disbelief that a man can fly, but the reason the Batman worked for me was that they grounded the unbelievable stuff in reality. All I’m asking is that some writer come up with a plausible explanation why Supes can’t be recognized.
    Superman was my favourite hero growing up, and one of the things that I liked about him and Spiderman was the media angle in the comics. The heroes were always the biggest story in town, and in turn the town that they lived in was another character of the story. The media, for better or worse reflected the population’s view of their hero.
    One of the best scenes ever is when the ordinary folk decide to take on Zod when they believe he has killed Superman, and that was copied in Spiderman 2 on the train.
    This is a bit longwinded to make my point, but I just want Superman to be real, and as a member of the media for the past fifteen years, I don’t want to be saying, ” aw c’mon, after all these years, you can’t tell that Clark is Superman, its a fucking glasses for christsake. Where did you get your Pulitzer? Peekaboo U?”

  27. Pat says:

    Bizarro, Braniac, Kryptonite. These are all made up words that are now part of the English language because of the popularity of Superman. Even mr. Mzyxptlk is better known to the average moviegoer than any of the bad guys in Batman Begins or Iron Man.

    Luthor ought to be in the movie even if he’s not ‘the villain’. He is as much a cast member of Supermans universe as Lois, Jimmy Olson, the Daily Planet and the Fortress of Solitude

  28. IOv3 says:

    Bulldog, if I did not stress it before, but I do agree you have a point. I just buy the Smallville explanation that people will fixate on Superman and not on a mild-mannered reporter. Again, Clark is the disguise, and Clark is no where near as suave as Supes.

    Lex, that you can just reference those horrible TV shows is worthy of some sort of praise. Here’s a figurative pat on the shoulder.

  29. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Jess/Paul/Perm – Seriously?

    Snyder’s been supported by one of the largest studios, doing big-budget fantasy/comic flicks, and his box office is on a downward trend… and you’re saying “Well, that doesn’t matter because this is SUPERMAN! Look at all these other directors who are on an upward trend/in a completely different genre/working on a fraction of the budget!”

  30. The Big Perm says:

    Well Foamy…if you put all big budget fantasy flicks in the exact same wheelhouse you’d be right. But yeah…I think Watchmen, which was a weird hard-R rated violent nudity filled movie with no stars is not really the same as Superman, which will be for everyone and rated PG-13.

    I mean, Blade Runner and Star Wars are both sci fi movies, you think they’re the same thing? Why weren’t they both big hits, both had Harrison Ford and spaceships in them.

    And like we’ve asked Poland which he hasn’t answered…since Snyder’s been on a definite downward trend, do you believe that Superman will open at 17 million and make 40 total?

  31. Al says:

    If Shymalan can get Smith- one of the biggest movie stars in the world- to star in an original (?!) future/sci-fi/post-apocaliptic mega movie after his recent run, than Snyder can do Supes. Criticize all you will but the guy will shoot the hell out of it, the action will, err, fly, and he’s got Nolan on his shoulder. I mean, prior to Sucker Punch’s box-office- did ANYONE think he was a bad choice?

  32. Martin says:

    The guy who shot Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video needs to helm the new Superman. Genius.

  33. The Big Perm says:

    Let’s play “which of these things are not like the other” just like on Sesame Street. Sam Raimi’s box office numbers!

    Drag Me to Hell Uni. $42,100,625 2,510 Spider-Man 3 Sony $336,530,303
    Spider-Man 2 Sony $373,585,825
    Spider-Man Sony $403,706,375
    The Gift ParC $12,008,642
    For Love of the Game Uni. $35,188,640
    A Simple Plan Par. $16,316,273
    The Quick and the Dead Sony $18,636,537
    Army of Darkness Uni. $11,502,976
    Darkman Uni. $33,878,502
    Evil Dead 2 DEG $5,923,044
    Crimewave Col. $5,101
    The Evil Dead NL $2,400,000

    I am shocked, SHOCKED that The Gift or Drag Me To Hell didn’t do Spider-Man numbers.

  34. The Big Perm says:

    Hey look, Bryan Singer makes an appearance.

    Valkyrie UA $83,077,833
    Superman Returns WB $200,081,192
    X2: X-Men United Fox $214,949,694
    X-Men Fox $157,299,717
    Apt Pupil Sony $8,863,193
    The Usual Suspects Gram. $23,341,568

    Hmm…a couple of his movies seem to have made more than others for some reason.

  35. bulldog68 says:

    Superman will open, regardless of Director. He’s bigger than any one named director. The difference would be $150M because it opened big and fell Hulkian style, or opened well and to have legs because people like it, and you gave people what the came to see, Spiderman style. If someone can get a second tier hero like Ironman to over $300M, and twice, Supes can get to $350 and more, if done right.

    The two most popular movies that seemingly no one will admit to liking are coincidentally two revenge movies, Revenge of the Sith and Revenge of the Fallen. They gave the audience what they came for. The Director of Superman has to do the same thing. Nolan found a way to stamp his vision on Batman while making it an extremely entertaining experience that made Gotham more real than ever before. You didn’t need a gimmick like 3D to feel like you were in Gotham.

    People only cared that Nolan was directing Dark Knight because he did an awesome job on Begins, but prior to that, what was Nolan’s trajectory. His highest grossing flick was Insomnia at $63m and then his numbers receeded for The Prestige with $53M, and that came out a year after Batman Begins. So going by a Directors’s box office record is about as much sense as comparing same weekend year to year figures.

    Snyder actually has more experience under his belt getting Superman, than Nolan did when he got Batman. Not saying that Snyder is the best to do it, just saying I have yet to see something that disqualifies him, and this is from the guy that did not like Sucker Punch.

  36. The Big Perm says:

    Jon Favreau is in the house!

    Iron Man 2 Par. $312,433,331
    Iron Man Par. $318,412,101
    Zathura Sony $29,258,869
    Elf NL $173,398,518
    Made Art. $5,313,300

    If you discounted Elf as making so much money just because of Will Ferell (fluke), I would have pegged Iron Man at making around 15 million, tops.

  37. bulldog68 says:

    I was composing my post while you put your numbers Perm, and ditto.

  38. The Big Perm says:

    bulldog68 is right on the money. ALL that matters is that Snyder delivers what the audience wants to see. Like, with Watchmen the general audience didn’t want to see a somber two and a half hour long violent movie where the bad guy wins and the hero has his dick flopping around half the movie. Who can blame them?

    With Superman, Snyder will bring his energy to finally make the Superman movie with updated effects but unlike Returns, will have the awesome action that we have never seen in a Superman movie before. Now will he fuck up all of the character scenes? Who knows, he might…I’m not saying the guy’s a great amazing director. But I doubt they’d get Scorsese or Spielberg to make this flick so who else are you gonna go to?

  39. Foamy Squirrel says:

    You’re still missing the point – studios hire directors on their ability to turn a profit. All of Raimi’s flicks bar Love of the Game and Quick and the Dead turned a profit, plus he had the hugely profitable Hercules and Xena series under his belt. This is a guy who had showed consistently his ability to deliver geek-cred money spinners. That’s why he was handed the keys to Spider-man.

    Currently Zack Snyder has shown an increasing tendency for being handed a $100mil geek property and pouring the money down a hole. No, I don’t think Supes would do $40mil total, but Snyder’s ability to return a profit? THAT I question, and Warners should too.

  40. The Big Perm says:

    Studios hire directors to turn a profit? Then why did Robert Altman get funded for years and years? Why does Woody Allen still get money? Prestige. They make tiny money. Until recently the Coens didn’t make big money. But to work with the Coens means something.

    I think Sam Raimi’s movies were all generally considered flops or disappointments, really…weren’t they? I mean, Darkman was supposed to be big. Wasn’t.

    Foamy, you think Snyder’s name really means anything. It does to an extent…but in the end it’s all about the property with these tentpoles. You get LexG to direct Superman and it will probably make the same opening weekend. It doesn’t matter. Why do you think mediocre directors keep working on and on? They play ball. Snyder will play ball with the studio and give them the big action movie they want. They obviously like the guy, and personal relationships are a big part of getting hired. And it’s not like Snyder’s been turning out SHIT, it’s just that audiences didn’t care for them.

    Besides, who said that the best director to get is a really talented one coming off a bomb? That way you get his talent but the guy is more likely to play ball. Coming off some huge hits, and a director has demands…and then you get a Superman movie where the big exciting climax is him lifting a big rock.

  41. IOv3 says:

    Actually, I could be wrong, but I remember reading a lot of stories from people shocked that Sony trusted Spider-man with Raimi after the Gift. I could be wrong but I remember Raimi outrage.

    That possible faulty memory aside, Snyder has shown that he has a visual flare few have today. People want a more dynamic Superman movie, and while I have my personal reservations, Snyder can pull it off. Is it his fault that people are not flying to his films? Possibly, he could be in a downturn, or people might just enjoy him on DVD/BD. Whateverthecase, Nolan’s wife is going to be working with Snyder on this film, and if she is as helpful to Snyder as she is to her own husband. Everything should be fine, fingers crossed, and Brit Superman unfortunately included… who just happened to look very Supermanish over the weekend.

  42. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Darkman did ~$50mil on a $16mil budget. Yes, Studios have shareholders. Yes, they run to make a profit. Yes, they sometimes have art divisions. Yes, many of Altman’s flicks still turned a profit since they were made for under $10mil.

  43. bulldog68 says:

    The studio investing $65M on 300, smart move. Investing double that on an r rated non-mainstream comic flick and watch a flaccid blue penis and expect the same numbers, i think not. That’s the studio’s fault. If 300 made Watchmen’s numbers it would have still been a success. Same is true for Sucker Punch.

    What was Zack Snyder to do when they told him they’d give him 100M or more to shoot his vision, say no?

    People look at Inception as this great example of a director’s expensive vision that was greenlit even though it was risky. Nolan ain’t stupid. He hired leonardo DeCaprio to ensure this movie got the attention it deserved, and surrounded him with a supporting cast of well liked familiar faces, and luckily got one breakout star in Tom Hardy. That’s how you minimize your risk.

    If you’re throwing $100M behind a movie project, it better have more going for it than “hey, that looks cool.”

    More to the point Foamy, Snyder delivered as you put it, ‘geek property”, a limiter in itself, and was erroneously expected to deliver blockbuster numbers, where nothing in box office history indicated they could do these expected numbers. If you want to keep shuffling geek properties to him, keep giving him that $65M budget, and maybe, necessity may be the mother of creative invention. “The shark didn’t work” is the greatest movie lesson of them all in my book.

  44. The Big Perm says:

    But this is like fantasy baseball, you’re looking at numbers by themselves in a vacuum. Would studios rather make two hundred million dollars or three million dollars? This is why small dramas are basically confined to HBO anymore, studios don’t want small steady profits, they want BIG money. I don’t really think they care if Sam Raimi makes a movie for $12 million and makes $13 million back.

    And really, do you think that Snyder’s name is poison? Like, audiences didn’t see Sucker Punch or Watchmen because they hate Snyder so much? Or just that they didn’t connect to the material? Keeping in mind that Watchmen opened to over 50 million bucks, which I was pretty surprised about, actually. I think if anything got them that opening, it was Snyder’s name…or, more accurately…”from the director of 300.”

  45. bulldog68 says:

    In something totally unrelated, I see the actual numbers put Hop opening below Rango. I smell a rat with the estimates. They really wanted that ‘largest opener of the year’ did they.

  46. jesse says:

    Foamy, I think what you and Poland are getting at is that Snyder hasn’t really shown he can make a movie with mass appeal enough to do the kind of numbers Warner Brothers needs to do for Superman to turn a profit (that it would have to be Snyder’s highest-grossing movie so far to do so). If I were framing that argument, I would concentrate less on a “downward trajectory” (because trust me, very few of the millions of people needed to make a profitable Superman are particularly aware of any directors who aren’t Spielberg or Tim Burton) than Snyder’s ability to please crowds, because yeah, I’m guessing this Superman movie is going to open within a certain range pretty much no matter who directs it, barring some kind of awful trailer or something (and Snyder’s pretty damn good at delivering trailers).

    But even then, I’m not quite getting that argument. As Perm says, this isn’t a vacuum. My main question remains: who IS this mythical director who’s proven he absolutely could make a Superman movie that grosses $350 million handily?

    You have to eliminate the directors who wouldn’t realistically do it, like Spielberg or Burton or Cameron or even someone less financially solid like Fincher.

    You have to eliminate the directors who already did the superhero thing and probably don’t want to come back around for more, like Sam Raimi, Christopher Nolan, Jon Favreau, and Bryan Singer (who had that prized upward trajectory with the X-Men movies and still didn’t deliver a highly profitable Superman movie) (though I actually really like Superman Returns).

    Apparently you have to eliminate the directors whose most recent movies haven’t been blockbusters… or is Duncan Jones OK because of his two-movie “upward trajectory”?

    So… Michael Bay? Brett Ratner? Louis Lettier? J.J. Abrams? Guy Ritchie? Andrew Adamson?

    Abrams and Bay have been mentioned before. Abrams is probably the best of those guys and his screenplay take never got going.

    Looking through the box office charts for the last few years, I came across one name that struck my interest: Robert Zemeckis! That might be really cool. Although if they’re looking to reinvent Superman for younger people, he might not be the go-to. I’d probably like it, though.

    But generally, there aren’t going to be a lot of big-ticket directors who consistently deliver big multipliers on big studio movies, except the ones who do mostly clumsy, crowd-pleasing comedies. Andy Tennant’s Superman, anyone?

    So, again, I’m posing the question: who’s the protect-your-investment choice for Superman who isn’t also kind of a laughable hack? Bay if you can stifle your laughter?

    If anything, all of this Snyder-will-create-financial-ruin talk has made me think about how while I was lukewarm originally, I can’t really think of a ton of natural fits for this material that would realistically agree to take it on.

  47. jesse says:

    Another question: obviously WB would be happier if Sucker Punch made money. I won’t suggest otherwise. But might they see a bright side in dealing with a newly-chastened director whose pet project lost money, rather than a director on top of the world who wants to enforce his vision? They need (or at least want) a guy who plays ball with a screenplay he didn’t originate, right?

    Again, if there were dozens of amazing alternatives, it might even be worth mentioning… but I don’t see what the supposedly “smart” move for WB is here.

  48. bulldog68 says:

    How cool would it be to get a great Superman, with the knowledge that you will be building toward an awesome Justice League movie. The wealth of material that could be mined from that is mind blowing.

  49. IOv3 says:

    The obvious answer to this question is David Yates (Sorry got my Davids confused). Seriously. If you don’t use Snyder, you can’t use Nolan, and that leaves Yates as the other BIG WB director. That’s all the WB has at the moment unless they go and get Duncan Jones or something, but those are pretty much the BIG THREE WB directors.

  50. The Big Perm says:

    And jesse’s right, that Snyder hasn’t exactly shown himself to make movies with mass appeal…but then again, his movies aren’t mass appeal type of movies, no matter what the budget is. 300 could have been a bomb, but it came at JUST the right time and worked in just the right way, and it made money. Watchmen was too dark and Sucker Punch looks too weird for mass audiences. To blame Snyder for the movies not making tons of money (even though Watchmen did all right) is to blame Scorsese for not making The Last Temptation appealing enough for mall audiences.

    You can make a movie really super stylized but history shows they tend to not do well, unless they’re made in a way to keep the audience safe…like Tim Burton does.

    Plus, I’m sure before they signed Snyder they all had a discussion. I doubt they asked him how he’d do it and he was like “I want to make it R rated and stylized and black and white and Superman is nude and fighting giant schoolgirls” and WB was like “Yay!”

  51. leahnz says:

    K-BIG for ‘superman’

  52. Monco says:

    What is also interesting, and something that I wish David would analyze because this is an area where he is really good, is the fact that Warner Bros. is “protecting” Superman in a way by releasing the movie in Decemeber. Don’t December movies historically have stronger legs and the openings aren’t as huge or expected. So a 50-70 million opening in December is great while it was seen as a disappointment in the summer with Superman Returns. Summer 2012 is gonna be crazy but they are not releasing him then because Superman Returns disappointed in a summer slot. I mean to me, a 70 million opening and around 500 million ww will be a success for Synder’s Superman. I think he is capable of making a movie that meets those modest expectations.

  53. bulldog68 says:

    Monco, while Tron Legacy wasn’t the bomb that people made it out to be, it now holds the distinction of being the first December release to open north of $40m and fail it to make it to $200m. So does December legs are becoming less of a guarantee, especially if your supposed slam dunk of a movie becomes viewed as a disappointment. You can reference King Kong for that too.

  54. bulldog68 says:

    ..those December legs, not “does”.

  55. jesse says:

    Leah, I like Bigelow a lot but her sensibility seems a little rough and dark for Supes. She could probably rise to the occasion (or sink to it, depending on what you think of her other movies; I dig her but thought The Hurt Locker was pretty powerfully overrated). She’s certainly good with action. But humor? Warmth? “Truth, justice, all that stuff” as Perry White says in Superman Returns? I’m not so sure. She feels better-suited to a darker-hued Marvel character to me. Granted, Snyder is obviously attracted to darker material and, in fact, has little discernible sense of humor, so maybe I’ve talked myself in a corner here. But he has a pop-friendly sensibility. Bigelow, not so much. Though I remember Strange Days being awesome and underrated.

    Monco, good point about summer ’12 and December legs. Tron didn’t really knock many people out, but it was neat-looking enough, had enough family appeal, and had sci-fi/action realm more to itself as there aren’t usually as many genre options around Christmas. As a result, it had way longer legs than it probably would’ve managed at just about any other time of year. They can certainly milk that with Superman.

    Also, sweet jesus is 2012 in general and summer ’12 in particular going to be crazy. We’ve got Dark Knight Rises, Avengers, new Spider-Man, Star Trek 2, the first non-sequel Pixar in awhile… and then later in the year, Superman and maybe Wolverine? (Wolverine would count more if Aronofsky was still in.) It feels kind of like a geek last hurrah, even though I’m sure the idea is to keep all of those franchises running forever.

  56. jesse says:

    Bulldog, just imagine Tron’s multiplier in July or August. Hint: it probably would not have been FOUR, which was also Kong’s, and pretty damn good for a movie that’s not any kind of phenom (though I dug both just fine) (Kong ’05 is better than any Lord of the Rings movie, there I said it).

  57. bulldog68 says:

    Jesse go to your corner and take a time out buddy. I’ll go get the soap to wash your mouth out.

  58. IOv3 says:

    If enough people buy DVD/BDs of Tron Legacy this week. I definitely will get a sequel, so BUY THOSE DVD/BDs PEOPLE! Seriously, get the five pack, and enjoy the amazing new Tron transfer. Nevertheless, Snyder is a director and he’s being supervised. I do not get David’s kavitching.

  59. leahnz says:

    i hear you re: kathryn, jesse, but i think what the world needs now if a new version of superman must be told is a rocking, hard-out superman that kicks big time ass with suspenseful action and gritty characters and high stakes and nasty villains, i think the ‘aw shucks ma’am let me rescue your kitten’ supes that donner did so well has done its dash. if this new one is set modern-day (which i gather it is, maybe that’s wrong), take it up a notch with a hard-core man of steel, a little more grounded in realism while still retaining that core of absolute, pure heroic good guy integrity the man of steel is known for in the superhero universe. i think k-big would be a genius leap of faith, and i also think she’d never do it in a million years.

    the problem is, the new breed of young action directors are pretty thin on the ground and don’t appear anywhere as gifted as the aging guard of cameron, spielberg, donner, mct, scott, verhoeven, woo, miller, bigelow, etc, at the height of their powers; if they’re looking for fresh meat to start a new franchise, which i assume is the plan, who are the alternatives to snyder (who i don’t think is well suited to the man of steel AT ALL, but i guess we’ll see)? antal? berg? letterier? marshall? lawrence? wright? charles stewart? luessenhop? lol. or the new hot shot sci-fi guys like blomkamp and jones? not exactly spoiled for choice when it comes to matching fresh action-jackson genius to suit the new big-money man of steel.

  60. LexG says:

    Translation of Leah’s last post:

    I peaked in 1988.

  61. anghus says:

    i think i’d actually prefer to see a Yates Superman than a Snyder Superman.

  62. leahnz says:

    yates as in ‘harry potter’ yates?

  63. bulldog68 says:

    How about Peter Berg? We believed Will Smith could fly, didn’t we?

  64. leahnz says:

    fwiw berg was one of the guys on my ‘possibles’ list above

  65. hcat says:

    I don’t know if it was this site or another where someone mentioned Emmerich for someone who excelled at the epic battle scenes that Superman requires. His charecters are always thin and silly which wouldn’t be terribly out of place in a Superman film (do we really want something as dour as Returns again).

    And we also need to remember that Superman has never been the Batman/Star Wars/Potter franchise. It has never been the biggest film of the year, having been bested in the past by Grease, Animal House, Raiders, On Golden Pond, Wargames, Flashdance, Staying Alive and the entire slate of 1987 including Jaws IV.

  66. Krillian says:

    I feel like I need to see Sucker Punch just to understand the backlash. I liked 300, I liked Watchmen, and the Owl movie wasn’t too bad. I just don’t get why Snyder is suddenly MCN’s Public Enemy #1, like he’s the Eli Roth of 2011.

  67. David Poland says:

    Sorry I haven’t been in here, Perm.

    Real simple. If you are a director of some talent and you are given the freedom to do the work that you are passionate about and that work shows an increasing tendency to drive people away, you may be incredibly talented, but your commercial instincts are not clicking.

    Will Superman Whatever do $300 million worldwide, pretty much guaranteed? Yeah. But WB isn’t going back into the Superman business to break even or lose just a litlle money. So if your position on Snyder for this job is, as IO claims his is, that he is a talented errand boy and really, Nolan will be all over his ass, making him color inside of the lines, why hire him? Why hire any director to do something that isn’t “his or her thing?” Bill Condon is not a CG director… but his relationship work is why they wanted him for the last two Twilight movies. The effects stuff can be handled by others, with his stylistic oversight. Same with Favreau and Iron Man… the only thing close was Zathura (or whatever it was), but the vision at Marvel was to make character movies and let the effects guys do their thing, so they hired a guy they thought would do the comedy part well.

    I am not against going against the grain with a director who is being asked to do something very different. Tim Burton and Batman fits. So does Nolan and Batman. X-Men is, in great part, about being an outsider, which was always Singer’s thing.

    Marc Webb is a reach of a kind, but the next Spidey series is obviously interested in that energy from (500) Days and is less worried about the webs. Raimi was a comic book fanatic and glad that worked. The guy who did Dardevil was, allegedly, a comic fanatic too and that was shite.

    But again, if you aren’t hiring Snyder to do Snyder, why hire him? If Synder’s expensive, allegedly commercial passion work isn’t drawing flies, why hire him on that basis?

    Where is the good idea here?

    As for who should be hired… there is no magic bullet. Nothing is guaranteed. A lot depends on the script and who fits that tone, talentwise. There are plenty of quality men and women who could do the job. The question is, why hire whomever is hired? And I don’t see an answer to Snyder, other than, “Don’t worry… how bad could he fuck it up?”

  68. David Poland says:

    I haven’t see Sucker punch yet, Krill… not the point. And nothing close to how I felt about Roth. But a similar problem… he is doing what he wants and not only haven’t I loved it, but much more importantly, audiences have rejected it.

    I have no problem with Snyder making movies for many years to come. I would go see most of them. But handing him the keys to one of WB’s major franchises – and hcat, you’re underselling how important WB sees Superman as – is a very odd choice in the face of three losers in a row, where he has been given a lot of room to do his best.

    Guillermo would be an obvious choice. Brad Bird isn’t available until fall, but an obvious choice. Verbinski. If you wanted to do wholesome, Chris Columbus can shoot this stuff. Silberling. Berg’s not available for a while. Woifgang Petersen is still out there. Bigelow could certainly do it, but he’d have to be a broken Superman. Paul Greengrass. Phillip Noyce. Matthew Vaughn. John Hillcoat.

    Like I said… no one is a mortal lock to be Nolan getting into Batman. But all I am looking for in competent, a fit for the idea of Superman in the script, and not getting in the way of the movie with “look at me” style.

    And if you are going to do “look at me” style, make sure someone who isn’t jerking off to Cinefantastique wants to look at it.

    I’m sure that someone will come up with a long list of the shitty and/or unsuccessful movies of each of these directors. And if failure was my only issue with Snyder, I wouldn’t question whether he should be given this franchise. But it’s not.

  69. jesse says:

    I think the answer to why-hire-Snyder is: he has a bigger-than-life, super-visual, pop-art, splash-page sensibility that so far has typically been used in favor of material that (in his hands) flirts with nihilism and superficial darkness. If he used that visual sense in service of something a little more playful and hopeful, maybe the resulting concoction would be visually interesting *and* emotionally engaging. So they’re hiring him for a bunch of WOW visual/trailer moments that maybe Superman Returns didn’t have? And assuming the script will steer him away from the more typically Snyder-y dark turns?

    Maybe that’s a reach? I don’t know. He’s not my favorite director and like I said, the Aronofsky Wolverine thing got me way more excited when both were announced around the same time. But it doesn’t strike me as ridiculous any more than hiring *anyone* but a handful of slam-dunk directors for a movie that needs to do $500 million worldwide. And David, your conception of why you’d hire a particular director just seems a little narrow to me: why hire someone unless they’re going to do exactly what they’ve done several times already? I dunno for sure, but I could conceive of several reasons.

    Related: I’m way late on this but I just read the first trade of that All-Star Superman run that Grant Morrison did… I don’t know why they’re not looking to do that as the movie. It’s big, but not so ridiculous that it lacks conflict. It’s fun, but not a spoof. It tells a big-picture Superman story without getting too crazy with mythology or aliens or what-not (but it’s still big enough to feel like Superman).

    Bulldog, is the soap thing that about my LOTR dig? I just never really understood the adulation of those movies.

  70. LexG says:



    Give Superman to Schwimmer.

  71. hcat says:

    Not trying to undersell it, I realize the importance, Potter leaves a giant crater. Warners needs a new franchise that can do at least $800 worldwide without breaking a sweat (actually they need two due to Potter’s 18 month turnaround). My point is that the public may not automatically go along with it. The first Superman movie was something completly new and still wasn’t a world beating gross (even with the biggest budget of its time), and each installment shrunk from there. While those were seen as tentpole events, the new ones will be seen as another Superhero franchise in an already crowded field.

    So I’m not wondering if Snyder can deliver, but if anyone can deliver what Warner’s is hoping for. They are aiming for Spider-man numbers but more likely to get Iron man numbers (at best) and at the budget they are going to have (Warners is probably the loosest with the pocket book and Snyder is not a less is more kind of guy) this will not the money machine that Potter was.

  72. The Big Perm says:

    I really think you’re reaching, DP. Snyder not clicking with the public? Well, maybe…but I could argue otherwise. I thought Watchmen would have made 50 million TOTAL considering the subject matter and rating. I’m surprised it made as much as it did. And there’s a huge difference between a studio giving a guy a hundred million and saying “here you go, have a good time!” And giving that same director more of an assignment. With Superman, you have to play nice. And they’re obviously hiring Snyder for the kinetic energy and effects expertise he brings to his movies. The guy is a great action director, whatever his faults may be. In a sense, the mirror of hiring Bill Condon for Twilight.

    But Snyder will still get to do his thing…he’ll just need to temper the stylistic excess (like Sucker Punch or 300) or darkness (like Watchmen). But Snyder’s still doing a Snyder type of movie.

    And Burton wasn’t Burton when they hired him for Batman. He took a TON of shit. The guy had only directed two quirky comedies. I’d have to think WB didn’t hand off Superman lightly.

  73. leahnz says:

    wait, if bigelow’s supes would have to be “broken” (which i don’t necessarily agree with), what would freakin’ hillcoat’s be? trussed up in a kryptonite straight jacket and deeply depressed, having a ‘rest’ at sunnybrook hill reflecting upon the notion that the world needs saving when even he couldn’t save lois lane from being accosted by a gang of thugs and roasted over a spit for sunday dinner

    (vaughn should have been on my list of ‘up-n-comer’ possiblites)

  74. yancyskancy says:

    I’d be up for a Yates or Bird Superman for sure. But really Superman should be made by the only director who is himself a superhero — Werner Herzog.

  75. hcat says:

    Perm- you could also argue that Batman wasn’t BATMAN until they hired Burton. Its success wasn’t some out of the blue suprise, but it was Burton’s stamp that made the franchise. He built the franchise, while Snyder is being handed the keys.

  76. The Big Perm says:

    hcat, I agree with you about Burton. He DID make Batman what it is now. But who would have thought that back then?

    As to handing Snyder the keys…the keys to what? A broken down series that had it’s best day with now dated effects from way back when, with a campy swishy Lex Luthor?…or the more recent one that no one liked? Right now there is no Superman franchise, so they may as well try to inject it with some life.

    I like the thought of a Brad Bird Superman. He’d do a great job. Let him write it too.

  77. IOv3 says:

    David, I have read at least two articles stating how the Nolans are going to work this, and yes it’s weird to hire Snyder as an Errand Boy. However, it would seem, that they like his style for Supes and his style is made for a bad ass flying Superhero and in particular, bad ass flying superhero.

    Now, if you have a problem with Snyder, then Yates the only other guy not named NOLAN, whose helmed movies that made billions for the WB. Seriously, WB has three big directors at the moment, and that’s it.

  78. LexG says:

    Todd Phillips is a big-name WB/Legendary guy.

  79. bulldog68 says:

    Yeah Jesse, it was. And while I think LOTR is superior, I actually put on King Kong for some atmosphere on Saturday while I had some kitchen duty at home. I always start it from the time the reach the island. The dinosaur scene runs like a virtual wet dream.

    Re Superman, I’d also be interested in a warchowski version of superman. Barring the Street Racer disappointment, they have a visionary style that could fit Supes.

  80. hcat says:

    “Right now there is no Superman franchise”

    Thats true but I think the property is slightly diminished since there has been one, or two depending how you count Singers, in the past. Burton was walking on new snow while Snyder and Nolan are going to trying to recapture lost magic. I think the studios are going to have a problem returning to the same well over and over again. No one is interested in making King Kong, they are only interested in remaking King Kong.

    With Superman they are trying to chase a sure thing, meanwhile they are the studio having the most success with non-sure things like Inception, Hangover, and Blind Side (I know Alcorn took the majority of the profit there, but that was still a huge marketing success for the Warners team). What will replace Potter is not Superman, but whatever the next Matrix idea is. They need to have their talent trying to start new franchises not resurrect the old ones.

  81. IOv3 says:

    Lex, you are very true and it is wrong to exclude him, but he’s not an action/fantasy/superhero director.

    That aside, Hcat, I get your point about returning to the same well, but the most simple way to respond to that is: Batman and Superman are timeless properties that will be remade time and time and time again. Those stories people will flock to, if they are done well, and Nolan seems to do them in a style that people love. So there’s magic there and if anyone can translate Supes to screen worth a shit. It’s Snyder.

  82. The Big Perm says:

    The one big big big thing in Superman’s favor, the thing NO Superman movie has ever really done…is some all-out major super battles between Superman and some kind of foe. Yeah yeah, Zod…but that was two people on wires swinging each other around.

    THIS is why WB hired Snyder. They want a visual stylist with action experience to make the first big Superman movie with huge setpieces. I think they got a good guy for the job…are there BETTER guys for the job…probably. But Snyder’s a good one.

  83. hcat says:

    Thats true IO, like Bond there will never be a time when there is not a Batman movie in development. And its not that I am against reboots, I look forward to the next Kong in 2021, hope Fox will one day get an Apes redo right and think Abrams can do great things with Star Trek.

    Any arguement I have against the new Superman film is that it will not succeed the way that Warners will need it to succeed and the hopes they have for it is misplaced no matter what talent it has behind it.

  84. IOv3 says:

    Hcat, I agree a 100 percent that the Superman franchise is not going to mature until a second film. Which means the first film has to make Begins money for 2012, or I guess Tron Legacy money. Whateverthecase, unless the fucking thing is in 3D and the 3D bump magically RETURNS next year, it’s probably will do Tron Legacy money.

  85. The Big Perm says:

    Does WB have any real big hopes for the movie though? Aren’t they mostly making this one because they have to in order to keep the rights?

    Man, how foten do they need to make a Superman movie anyway? There was a huge gap between the last Reeves one and Returns.

  86. leahnz says:

    for those advocating brad bird for the job, perhaps you’d better wait to see ‘ghost protocol’ first. directing animated action via the virtual camera a la ‘incredibles’ is a significantly different beast from effectively staging a live-action blockbuster likely rife with big complex set-piece action sequences. skills with the former doesn’t necessarily transfer over to the latter.

  87. IOv3 says:

    Perm, they are indeed doing it because of the rights, but it’s Superman. I know you folks hate those basic answers, yet that’s the answer. If you give the folks a Superman movie with Superman being SUPER. They will come. If not, balls.

  88. hcat says:

    The reason they are making it is not just because of the rights, it is one of their highest profile properties and with Potter ending they are short a gigantic franchise. Green Lantern and other properties will help a bit but they have a gap to fill and are hoping Superman will fill that gap.

    Warners and Fox have come the closest to having a franchise wheel of rotating properties that guarentee a huge return each Summer: Fox with Star Wars, X-Men, Apes, Warners with Odd Number Potter, Batman, Superman. Both failed to create the third sprocket (though both did big box office). Potter didn’t move off the Christmas date because Twilight came out, it was because they didn’t have a Superman sequel to plug into the summer slot. Warners is now short the Potter and may only have one more Nolan Batman in the wings (though obviously the Franchise will continue without him). They probably see Superman and JLA as their best hope to reinvent their wheel.

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