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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by KladyBall

Brad Pitt’s Moneyball is running about $200k a head of the Friday opening of 2008’s Burn After Reading. It will take a bit of a surprise bump to get it to $20m for the weekend.

Meanwhile, if The Lion King re-release in 3D repeats its weekend multiple from last weekend, it will gross $20.3 million and likely win the weekend… if not by Sunday estimates, then by “actuals” on Monday.

We’re long way from knowing what the final story on Moneyball‘s box office run will be. Burn After Reading did about 3.1x opening… The Social Network about 4.3x opening. TSN ended up doing better overseas than at home. That will be a bigger challenge for the baseball-themed Moneyball, but Brad Pitt is a monster internationally and may turn that trick, making the film profitable… which is why studios so desperately want to be in the Pitt business.

Though Deadline is working overtime – even during vacations (moving from the office to the living room) – to suck up to three of its favorite contributors/editors/whisperers, the Oscar hype around Moneyball right now is marketing hype… praying to get to a bigger theatrical multiple. and this is not a great or good opening for Taylor Lautner’s first massively stupid payday.

The question of this week, as with all too many weeks, is why would two distributors put two single-quadrant movies chasing the same quadrant out on the same weekend? And add to the stupidity by putting them both against Brad Pitt, who is sure to eat some of their demo, even if his movie doesn’t quite fit. I just don’t get it. Perhaps teen girls make the estimated $400k difference between ABduction and Killer Elite, but it’s not s realistic play for Twilight‘s Jon Cena wannabe.

Dolphin Tale seems like a bit of a shock in its slot. It could match the opening of last year’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and had WB thought it had this potential, they might have moved it away from LK3D so it could breath a little. There’s not really another kids movie in the marketplace until the end of October.

Drive‘s hold is disappointing, $30m and change domestically looking like the glass ceiling for the film. They should be whipping the Albert Brooks Oscar potential hard right now. DVDs should be in Academy mailboxes by mid-October. Not sure that they will be.

Contagion is holding well, but is also paying a price for the crowded market for adult action. (For the record… opening day was 20% better than Moneyball and the weekend multiple was 2.8x Friday estimates.)

Don’t get me wrong. I am not fighting against Moneyball. I’m just not terribly susceptible to hype. It the film earns that audience, god bless it. It’s a very good film. But I’m still not sure that real world audiences will love it the way critics do. And opening day, as always, is not about the film itself. So we’ll see…

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5 Responses to “Friday Estimates by KladyBall”

  1. matthew says:

    Nikki’s spin on Abduction is a masterpiece.

  2. matthew says:

    Oh, at least, it was yesterday. She toned it down to a reasonable level in her updates.

  3. NickF says:

    So it apparently hit in the middle ground of what Sony “told” here. Baseball is a tough sell and it’s even tougher when the movie seems like a personal story more than anything else.

  4. Madam Pince says:

    Yes, Finke’s sucking up to Lautner was jaw dropping. Wow. I don’t get how she can slam others with such fury for “selling out” or cutting deals to go soft on a story, when it is obvious she does the same thing all the time. More than once, negative comments have disappeared after being posted for a day. A week later, a studio exclusive appears. I remember one weekend that over 100 comments disappeared when some Warner movie bombed. A week later she was dropping Warner exclusives. But this Lautner thing really takes the cake for how transparent it all is.

  5. Triple Option says:

    I saw Moneyball and could see it getting some Oscar noms the same way The Blind Side did. Pitt is likeable and delivers the same way Sandra Bullock did. I cringed at the thought of The Blind Side being another white angel movie, which it did have, but it really wasn’t an issue. The film, (Moneyball), is good for what it is not. It had the potential to be a real color by numbers, cliche sports structured film but that wasn’t an issue. And as much as I liked The Social Network, with Sorkin on the script, I worried about an overly chatty, venturing on didactic film. Not the case.

    It may not seem like an Oscar film because it’s not a really big film. Neither were Juno nor Little Miss Sunshine. While I’m not saying they did or didn’t deserve as much award love as they got, I would applaud each for exercising a lot of self control in not trying to make themselves bigger than they needed to be or could’ve been.

    What were the comparative numbers on Thomas Crowne? Maybe they don’t seem like fair comps but I’d think every apology made about that film’s opening would hold true for this. While I did not see Crowne, (is that the name of the Hanks/Roberts film that came out this summer?? Wait, sorry, Larry Crowne), I could see high retention w/an expected slower build. Wouldn’t this be a case of people not needing to rush out to see this film opening w/e? I think it tops $65M dom. Yeah, it’s baseball but it’s a pretty simple movie to get into. Social Network was by no means hard to follow but this film is much lighter to digest. Also much more straight forward and entertaining than Burn After Reading.

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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.”
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“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