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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Snowy Klady


So the big story this weekend isn’t Puss… but it is animated. Tintin opened to an estimated $55.8 million in 19 international markets.

It was the biggest non-sequel opening of a Hollywood film in French history. It was 10x bigger than the weekend’s #2 film in England. It was even BIG in Belgium!

But back to the US…

There’s nothing shocking or wildly snow stormed about the Puss In Boots opening. It fit the pre-snow Friday opening. Maybe 2 or 3 million was lost to weather… but not much more. Don’t forget that this is a spin-off character being released in an untraditional animation slot.

I am a little surprised that Paranormal 3’s drop stayed as high as it did. But I guess that makes it normal, not paranormal.

In Time is only interesting in as much as an opening at this level may mean something different now than it did a couple of years ago. I don’t really know what I think about this. There are certainly more disastrous openings from studios. But is this a good opening? Is Justin Timberlake an 8 figure opener now? It’s less than Friends With Benefits and that was seen as a bad opening. Hmmmm…

Johnny Depp is a major movie star… when he is giving his audience what they want. They don’t particularly want The Rum Diary.

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96 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Snowy Klady”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    In Time is only interesting in as much as an opening at this level may mean something different now than it did a couple of years ago.”

    If the economy were in better shape — that is, if more people had more disposable income — would this be the sort of movie that might have sold more tickets 3-4 years ago? I don’t know, but I’m curious to read opinions of David and other people. Come to think of it, I might ask the same question about Footloose — or even Real Steel.

  2. LexG says:

    I know, broken record/repeat material, as I complain about this constantly… but is there ANY chance studios will take away the lesson from all this that September and October are just TOO DAMN OVERSTUFFED every year? This year has been a nightmare (since I pay to see movies and have to squeeze them all in on weekends)… The cumulative result of the insane pace of 6-12 major releases EVERY weekend for the last 9-12 weeks is nobody remembers ANYTHING. Everything, good, bad or different, just seemed to come and go. Movies I loved, like Moneyball or 50/50, seem like a blur, and there’ve been so many mid-range movies that could’ve played longer were they not run out of theaters in two weeks to make room for the next week’s SEVEN new releases…

    I know these are all the “boring non-Oscar/non-box office” tweener movies that aren’t sexy to movie bloggers, but, hey, good or bad, anyone remember Killer Elite, Abduction, Dream House, What’s Your Number, The Thing, Machine Gun Preacher, Footloose, Warrior, Straw Dogs… even Contagion… it’s all seemed like one big blur of product between The Help and PA3. Honestly I wish studios would spread some of those kind of B-movies out into the summer; They couldn’t do any worse, and summer has a nice, relaxing, one/two movies a week pace, usually some kiddie popcorn bullshit where I’d RATHER go see Warrior or Drive than in some superhero movie.

  3. bulldog68 says:

    This might not be the answer you’re looking for Joe, but if people had more disposable income, wouldn’t every movie do better?

    I don’t whether there is any evidence than in bad economic times there has been a coalescing around a particular type of movie. There is no hive moviegoing mind. Look at the track record for all the comic book movies in the summer, almost every single one to tee, performed in the wheel well, with two underperformers in Xmen ad Green Lantern.

    The money was in the R rated comedies, with the bottom rung occupied by 30 Minutes and The Change Up with $37m a piece. That’s kind of a high bottom rung if you ask me, especially after 5 or 6 other comedies came out prior to these.

    If anything, it’s the family movies that might have suffered as thus far this would be the first time since 2005 that we have no animated film crossing $200m, and notably that was the year that Pixar released nothing. In that year Charlie and the Chocolate Factory got passed $200M.

    Back to this year and both Footloose and Real Steel have done well for the types of movies they are. Fame, just 2 years ago topped out at $22M, and Footloose looks to double those numbers. And lets reiterate, a movie about boxing robots is making $80M in October, and was actually a mild critical success as well.

    The thing I’ve learned from watching box office trends is really the more things change the more they stay the same. Cliche yes, but it bears true.

    Cheap horrors that make money hand over fist have been with us for a long time, and they’ll be here for a long time to come. For some weird reason, studios will still pump out expensive vanity projects starring big stars that make no sense on paper. The one thing that I think has changed is that the age of the star drawing power is dead or at least on a respirator. It has been the the project that people want to see the star in, and not just to see the star, case in point, The Rum Diary.

    On another note, I’ll channel a bit of Lexg and say who was the fucking idiot that decided to open four family movies within 5 days of each other. Happy Feet2 dances in on Nov 18th, then on Nov 23rd we have The Muppets, Hugo and Arthur Christmas. Something’s gotta give. I don’t remember any other Thanksgiving being this congested with big ticket family fare competing for the same dollars.

  4. LexG says:

    Heh, Hugo’s gonna be the one to give, big time. Also the Twilight juggernaut on the 18th is gonna draw business away from all of those, too.

    Next week seems like a TERRIBLE week for Harold and Kumar, since Tower Heist is a big comedy that’s gonna open to 65-85 mil come next Monday. Also isn’t it still 90 degrees? Who’s thinking of Christmas anyway?

  5. bulldog68 says:

    It just seems really amazingly stupid that these four movies, all with very healthy production budgets and marketing costs believe that (getting back to Joe’s point about the economy) they will all succeed. It seems like a game of Opening Weekend Chicken took place here.

    Each of these movies will depend on families in numbers to do respectable numbers. Happy Feet 2 is the known entity and loved by my kids so it’s the one they’re most looking forward to seeing. Followed by Arthur, then Muppets, then Hugo.

    As for family Christmas movies in November, Grinch opened on the 17th in 2000 to $55M, and Disney tried again to less than stellar results with A Christmas Carol in 2009 with a $30M opening. So that’s a wash. But just like the summer season starting earlier each year, with the success of Fast Five on the last week in April, studios seem to be willing to risk trying to extend the Christmas movie going season.

  6. LexG says:

    Can I just ask as someone who knows NOTHING about kids’ movies– What is ARTHUR CHRISTMAS? Is it a sequel or a new thing? Is it related to those weird-ass Luc Besson ARTHUR AND… movies where they seem all French but the voices are like De Niro? Or is it related to that Indian and the Cupboard type stuff from the ’90s? I never understand any of that…

  7. JKill says:

    CHRISTMAS CAROL ended with an 137 million dollar domestic gross, though, which I think THE MUPPETS or HUGO or ARTHUR would be totally happy with. I think the idea is to take the fact that kids’ movies often have longer legs and combine that with the extended holiday movie season for a longer run. I think putting all these movies out at the same time, with the addition of HAPPY FEET 2, doesn’t make sense too.

    Opening HAROLD AND KUMAR now, though, is just strange since the audience for the movie won’t be able to sustain a long period of it being out. I like the movies, and I’m sure it will do fine, but I think it is naturally front loaded.

    Ha ha. I have no idea what ARTHUR CHRISTMAS is either. I think I may have seen the trailer in theaters but my eyes must have glazed over or something.

  8. movieman says:

    Hey, Bulldog–Give credit where credit is due.
    I first opined about November’s absurd glut of “family movies” (and how they were likely to cannibalize each other) months ago, lol.
    That said, I’m still convinced “Muppets” will own the (T-giving) holiday frame, and “Arthur” serve as the same period’s designated sacrificial lamb.
    Still not convinced “Hugo” is going to score anywhere near “Happy Feet 2” or “Puss in Boots” numbers (despite the latter’s softer than anticipated opening, it should evince neat legs for two add’l weekends), but I’d love to be proven wrong.
    “Tintin” could face the same problem opening opposite the “Chipmunks” juggernaut in December. Like the Muppets, Alvin & Co. are brand name goods. “Hugo” and “Tintin”–at least domestically–aren’t nearly as well-known, or popular, with the Yank wee bairn crowd.)
    P.S.= You’re not really serious about “TH” opening in the $65-85-million range are you, Lex? I’m guessing $30-million at the high end of any/all reasonable estimates for the Ratner ensembler. (And I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if it debuted below $20-million either.)

  9. Christian says:

    A bit of news down the list: “The Big Year,” which opened to nothing, experiences a small drop of 87%.

    What a disaster.

    Also, what’s the budget-to-gross ratio for “Courageous,” and why aren’t more people talking about it? Post-“Fireproof,” is this kind of success now just expected? I haven’t seen the film and don’t know the budget, but I’m guessing that the “Courageous” number already reflects massively profitability, with more gas still in the tank.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    Am I the only person who finds it freakin’ hilarious to see someone named Chrsitian posting about… oh, never mind, it’s too obvious.

  11. bulldog68 says:

    I must have missed it Movieman. And yeah, I don’t see Tower Heist doing $60M plus either, but that’s LexG for ya.

    Hey Joe, has Leannz quit the blog? Haven’t seen her for quite some time.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    Can’t say, Bulldog. Haven’t seen her post here in a while. Don’t know if she’s banned, or simply lost interest. People come and go here. For some, the novelty wears off.

  13. jesse says:

    Movieman, remember how this Ratner “ensemble” movie has two huge comedy stars, Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller? It’s not like anyone is saying “oh yeah, Tower Heist, that’s the movie with Casey Affleck and Matthew Broderick, and who’s that other guy? Oh yeah, Eddie Murphy from SNL.” I know Murphy hasn’t been setting the box office on fire lately, but he also hasn’t been doing many movies with teenager/adult appeal. Stiller, too, has mostly been doing Meet the Parents/Night at the Museum (both of which do quite well and accrue him more goodwill than us movie nerd types would be happy to admit), but he’s done quite well in big comedies with recognizable costars (Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball, Starsky & Hutch, Along Came Polly). He, too, is some years removed from this type of movie, but I feel like that’s only going to stoke demand further — and with Puss in Boots out this weekend, next weekend’s default “big holiday kickoff movie” status has essentially been shifted to Tower Heist.

    Lex may be a little bullish on his Tower Heist estimate, but it looks like a big hit in the making to me. I’d be surprised if it did less than 30, and I could see it going much higher.

    But yes, late October into November and December looks like a release-date disaster to me. Puss in Boots semi-inexplicably jumped off the high-profile first-weekend-in-November date for Halloween weekend. OK, kinda thinking outside the box, sort of interesting. But I’m shocked that no one made a move in its wake to get out of the family-movie pileup coming in late November. OK, Happy Feet 2 is probably going to stick with its date by that weird release-date superstition where studios tend to want to keep analogous dates for their sequels, and Muppets is set to rule on Thanksgiving so no reason for them to worry about moving. But what are Hugo and Arthur Christmas doing on the same weekend? I guess neither are really big enough to survive on a smaller weekend? Or small enough to be moved at the last minute? But it’s a crazy imbalance.

    And speaking of Christmas: yeah, I get that for family movies, opening a hit Christmas movie in early November can help them play all season long, a la Elf. But this only works if (a.) the movie is a pretty big hit and (b.) the movie isn’t, yeah, as someone pointed out, pretty much designed for frontloading a la Harold & Kumar. This is your Thanksgiving-weekend alternative programming, or maybe first or second weekend in December (where The Sitter is trying out now). It’s not gonna play longer than three weeks, so you don’t need to get a jump on it. (It also means that as a part-time critic I’m seeing my first Christmas movie two days after Halloween.)

    It’s also strange that after years of actual Thanksgiving weekend being mostly one big family movie (if that) and a bunch of programmers, with the “big” movie (Twilight, Potter, Bond) usually coming out the weekend BEFORE, suddenly they’re trying three big-ish family movies in a single long weekend.

    Basically, given the Puss in Boots move and various other factors, here’s a release-date schedule that would make more sense to me:

    11/4: Tower Heist, Happy Feet Two
    11/11: Jack and Jill, J. Edgar
    11/18: Breaking Dawn
    11/23: The Muppets, Immortals
    12/2: Harold & Kumar, Arthur Christmas
    12/9: New Year’s Eve, Hugo (OK, no real good place to put this)

    The Sitter could go later in December. Or into January… I mean, I want to see a lot, because of David Gordon Green and Jonah Hill, but it looks like a weird holiday choice.

    And the pile-up starts all over again in mid-December and basically continues through the end of that month.

  14. movieman says:

    No worries, Bulldog. That was eons ago–probably when the fall release slates were first announced.
    Half the time I don’t remember what I said (or wrote) last week, lol.
    Yeah, I was wondering the same thing about Leah.
    Does anyone know what happened to her? I can’t remember the last time she posted anything on the HB.

  15. bulldog68 says:

    Here’s my random movie wish for next Halloween, two more seasons of The Walking Dead, a cliffhanger season ending, and then a kick ass Halloween release of the climax. Make it on the cheap, capitalize on the popularity, and have some cool event marketing. I’ll line up for that.

  16. chris says:

    I think (or maybe hope) “Hugo” will be fine, but “Arthur” does strike me as worrisome — unknown quantity, horrible trailer, logjammed release date are all not promising indicators.

  17. bulldog68 says:

    It’s Hugo that worries me more Chris. Which seems to be the easier sell to you:

    Hugo: Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

    Arthur Christmas:Set on Christmas night, the story of Arthur Christmas revolves around Santa’s ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole, his family and especially around his son, Arthur. When on a Christmas night a single present for a very upset little girl is missed, Arthur must go on a mission with Grandsanta and elf Byrony using an old sled to deliver the present before the Christmas morning.

    Now I’m not talking about the people who are seriously creaming themselves to see the first Martin Scorsese flick that is kid friendly, of which group I would put myself a member. I’m talking the general family audience who has a chance between choosing something safe, or taking a chance on something new.

    I actually thing Hugo won’t be huge on opening weekend, but may find an audience in the following weeks once word of mouth is good.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    I am hoping Hugo is huge — freakin’ HUGE, you hear me? — because I’m hoping to be able to tell my film history students: “A Trip to the Moon was directed by Georges Melies — yeah, that’s right, the dude in Hugo.”

    Hey, stranger things have happened. A student once came up to me after a screening of Citizen Kane and remarked: “Hey! Endora was Kane’s mom? Cool.”

  19. JS Partisan says:

    Joe, word up to that reason because honest to goodness, that’s one of the reasons why I want Hugo to succeed as well. Also, seriously, Sasha is a hell of a talent, and hopefully that will lead to him doing less things where he’s spinning small Asian men on his penis!

    Now, Arthur Xmas doesn’t even have to worry about the US. It’s Aardman for god’s sake. It will be fine even if it fails in the US sort of like Tin Tin. Tin Tin, a movie that I am super excited for in case you think I am disparaging it, will probably be lucky to make two cents here because does anyone really see Dragon Tattoo and Zoo not killing it that week?

    Finally, BD, people have money for the movies they want to see. If they had more money, then they would probably take chances on more movies.

  20. Rob says:

    Hugo seems like the kind of movie that generates a ton of ink leading up to its release and then makes about $35 million. What kid is going to want to see it?

    Also, does anyone know what’s up with Box Office Mojo?

  21. djk813 says:

    Is getting 3D screens still an issue? I assumed that Harold and Kumar is being released when it is to grab the 3D screens it wouldn’t be able to pull over the holiday period.

  22. movieman says:

    Tin Tin will probably be lucky to make two cents here because does anyone really see Dragon Tattoo and Zoo not killing it that week?

    I feel your angst, JS, but I wouldn’t worry too much about “Tattoo” (a completely different demographic) or “Zoo” stealing “TT”‘s thunder.
    The real movie to fear is “Chipwrecked.”
    Re: “Zoo.” I’m rooting for a Crowe comeback as much as anyone who loved “Jerry Maguire,” “Singles,” “Almost Famous” and “Say Anything,” but I’ve yet to be convinced (by any of the trailers) that this will mark a triumphant return to form. (Fingers crossed that I’m wrong.) Anyway, it seems to skew a tad older than “TT” anyway.
    And you’re probably right about “Arthur” doing fine overseas even though it’s likely to come in a distant fourth in the domestic Thanksgiving weekend kid movie sweepstakes. Aardman is nearly as revered a brand-name in parts of Europe as Pixar is in the U.S.

  23. movieman says:

    I was wondering the same thing re: Box Office Mojo, Rob.
    They haven’t posted any grosses since Thursday afternoon, and you still can’t log onto their website.

  24. The Pope says:

    I know I’m coming to this particular party very late (The Help just opened on this side of the pond). While it has its flaws (plot lines seem to go missing for stretches), it reminded me a lot of The Shawshank Redemption. In fact so much so, I would say it will become The Shawshank for women. Not to say that women don’t like Shawshank, but here they sat rapt in their droves and laughed and hissed and balled their eyes out and by the end, they were hugging each other. Make a movie for women that isn’t about shopping, where they acknowledge struggle and isolation and pain, and in the end where they express apologies, forgiveness and kindness to one another and you have a hit.

  25. movieman says:

    Has anybody seen (the French-language) “Love Crime”?
    Just caught up with it over the weekend.
    A fun movie overall, with beaucoup U.S. remake potential.
    I can easily picture Screen Gems giving it an African-American gloss a la their Beyonce sleeper, “Obsessed.”

  26. LexG says:

    TOWER HEIST is going to do FAST FIVE numbers. It is the first movie since maybe THE HELP that EVERYONE is going to see. 65-85. Not a penny under 65.

    On the flip side: Hey, how ’bout that J Edgar, eh? Any guesses how that’ll play?

  27. JS Partisan says:

    I’m with you Lex. If anything, baseline, it does 50 million. Seriously, it’s going to be huge on the hope of Eddie Murphy being funny again. That’s a huge draw for people.

  28. Gustavo says:

    movieman: Brian De Palma was attached to an American remake of that film last year. But the project fell apart.

  29. Rob says:


    I thought Love Crime was pretty bad. I love both leading ladies, but it was just so predictable and lifeless. And maybe it was just the translation of the dialogue, but the portrayal of the inner workings of a global corporation was laughable: “Yes, that was a brilliant idea to hire subcontractors.”

    Wesley Morris sort of summed it up in his Boston Globe review: “This is a ridiculous movie – a thriller so indifferent to suspense, so above mystery that one character literally stabs another in the front.”

  30. Joe Leydon says:

    Every year, there’s one movie slated to open in December that, frankly, really doesn’t belong there. And if it’s launched either the first weekend of December, or as “counter-programming” on Christmas Day, five will get you ten that it’s a burn-off. Last year, it was The Warrior’s Way — which, I admit, I enjoyed a lot more than most people, but came and went even quicker than I expected. This year? Maybe… The Darkest Hour?

  31. JKill says:

    I STILL haven’t gotten around to seeing THE HELP. I know I should because it’s been a big part of the movie conversation this year and I adore Emma Stone but I just haven’t pulled the trigger…

    I would be pretty shocked if TOWER HEIST does anything below at least 40 million. Murphy and Stiller are two of the most beloved comic stars of our time, and the plot seems like it would be very appealing to people in the here and now. It seems like the type of thing EVERYONE would want to see.

    I think J. EDGAR looks really good and I’m looking forward to it, although I tend to like the recent Eastwood flicks that get the less than enthused critical reception fairly well (HEREAFTER, CHANGELING, INVICTUS, ect.).

  32. JKill says:

    Joe, I don’t get THE DARKEST HOUR winter release at all. It seems very clearly like a Feb. or March genre release, and I don’t get how it’s going to make its presence known amongst the much higher profile relases of its time. I also find it hard to believe that there’s not at least some alien invasion fatigue at this point. I will be there with everyone else in the world to see BATTLESHIP next summer and THE DARKEST HOUR does look different and somewhat original, but I’m personally slightly burnt out at this point.

    (As an aside, if the Emmerich directed ID4 sequel is made with Will Smith, won’t that be one of the biggest, most anticipated summer blockbusters in recent times?)

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: I don’t think Eddie Murphy ever stopped being funny. He simply stopped — for a while — making movies that large numbers of people rushed out to see. It’s by no means a classic, but Meet Dave was pretty damn funny.

  34. jesse says:

    I’ve been assuming The Darkest Hour will be booted out of Christmas into Jan/Feb pretty much everytime I’ve seen the trailer in the past few months (not an inconsiderable number of times, so maybe they’re not going to bump it). It’s a particularly crowded second half of December and I have no idea what Summit thinks it can do opposite Sherlock Holmes 2, Mission Impossible 4, The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse, and We Bought a Zoo.

    Are they assuming that teenagers and genre dudes are going to be like FUCK THIS SHIT about ALL of that, and bail for a cheap-looking invisible alien movie? News for them: those teenagers will be fine with Sherlock or Zoo and those dudes will be out at Best Buy blind-buying Blu-Rays.

  35. jesse says:

    Joe, I don’t know, I would say that Eddie Murphy stopped caring about appearing funny to adults, at least for long stretches. So many kids movies and/or third-tier for-hire directors. And that’s coming from someone who quite liked I SPY (it’s funny! Owen Wilson is good at being in buddy movies and he + Murphy is funny enough, even if Murphy is basically playing the part as Kit Ramsey from BOWFINGER). Tower Heist will be the first time Murphy has enticed me into the movie theaters in ages (well, I’m reviewing it, but still, I would’ve paid to see it).

    I found his big Rolling Stone interview a little disappointing. Some funny and interesting stuff, but largely didn’t really go into a lot of depth about much of anything, except admitting that yeah, he’s made some movies for the money, and yeah, he’s kind of sick of doing kid movies. But he won’t really cop to the kind of laziness he’s shown in the past decade. And maybe it’s not laziness. But it *feels* lazy, so it might as well be. Especially if you compare his last decade (and I did see Pluto Nash; I see no evidence of even trying to be funny in that movie, yet it’s not NOT a comedy) to his amazing career-peak work in Bowfinger, which proves he doesn’t have to rely on the young-fast-talking-smoothie persona from the mid-eighties.

  36. movieman says:

    Rob- Noticed I said “fun,” not good, lol.
    But it definitely has an exploitable enough “B”-movie premise (and enough seriously overblown melodrama) that it could “work” in any language. Maybe that’s why I thought of “Obsessed” and the typical Screen Gems fodder since they’re usually just glorified “B”s at heart.
    If “Tower Heist” can hold onto enough screens, it could be the default “adult” movie of choice at neighborhood multiplexes Thanksgiving weekend. If not, that honor will inevitably/sadly fall on “Jack and Jill’ (which ain’t my idea of “adult” anything). I still don’t see “TH” opening to blockbuster-sized numbers, though.
    Consider: “Immortals” will play to its fanboy base–for opening weekend anyway–with zero potential of crossing over to “300”-size blockbuster numbers.
    “J. Edgar,” sadly enough, looks as likely to get crushed in the stampede of jolly-holly holiday fare as “Anonymous.” (I’m pretty sure that J.E. Hoover is as unfamiliar a historical personage to most contempo–read “youth”–auds as Shakespeare.)
    By November 23rd most medium-sized ‘plexes will be glutted with multiple prints of the same 4 kid flicks (“Muppets,” “Happy 2,” “Hugo,” “Arthur”) and tweener bait “Twilight 4.” It’ll be difficult for grown ups to find anything besides rugrats fare, vampires and werewolves playing at their local bijou.

  37. Joe Leydon says:

    Of course, what’s really funny is, Christmas will be on a Sunday this year. I wonder what sort of Christmas Day date movie Drakest Hour will turn out to be?

    Will it be as good as.. nah, I can’t do it. Even I’m not so shameless as to link to my Black Christmas blog post here.

  38. JoJo says:

    “Hugo seems like the kind of movie that generates a ton of ink leading up to its release and then makes about $35 million. What kid is going to want to see it?”

    Exactly. I don’t know why anyone here is even thinking it’ll be in the same ballpark as the other releases around that time frame. It’s going to get slaughtered.

  39. David Poland says:

    Keep in mind, this is really Eddie’s first press tour in a decade.

  40. Joe Leydon says:

    Maybe even longer, David? Seriously: I can recall that, as early as Trading Places, he stopped doing the print end of movie junkets. Did he ever resume?

  41. sanj says:

    imdb has Hugo 2011 costing 85 million …so many other movie choices that week. at least they aren’t crying they didn’t get the budget ..but they also missed out on a major film festival for the hype factor.

    so it oould lose money but does any movie critic want to ask
    the cast that question ? regardless of the reviews .

  42. Christian says:

    Joe: Why’s it so funny that I posted about “The Big Year”?
    (This attempted joke, flat as it fell, still funnier than anything in “The Big Year,” if I do say so myself).

  43. movieman says:

    Exactly. I don’t know why anyone here is even thinking it’ll be in the same ballpark as the other releases around that time frame. It’s going to get slaughtered.

    I recall saying something similar a few weeks back, JoJo (and Rob), and being severely reprimanded for likening its eventual b.o. path to “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (another auteur-driven kidflick).
    While I’m pretty sure that “Hugo” will indeed outgross “Mr. Fox” (why that didn’t do better I’ll never know: it was my favorite movie of 2009), the blockbuster projections of some HB visitors seem more like wish fulfillment to me.

  44. chris says:

    The Scorsese factor will be a boost for “Hugo” among some folks but the thing you’re all overlooking — the book was hugely popular — is a bigger boost. Plus, word is the movie is terrific. I love a lot of Aardman work but I honestly don’t know what “Arthur” has going for it other than Russell Brand bombing in his second “Arthur” movie of the year.

  45. these_eggs_are_cold says:

    “but they also missed out on a major film festival for the hype factor”


  46. sanj says:

    “but they also missed out on a major film festival for the hype factor”

    yeah sure look at all the movies coming out – they could have saved money on advertising .

    or they could have saved it for summer 2012 .

  47. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I can’t believe I didn’t spot this earlier: Ra.One outgrossed Anonymous? Say what? A subtitled Bollywood movie playing in about 80 fedwer theaters?

  48. sanj says:

    Joe – check the craziness that won’t happen with anonymous.

    SRK’s arrival in Toronto for Ra.One

  49. these_eggs_are_cold says:

    sanj, Hugo premiered at the New York Film Festival three weeks ago.

  50. Joshua says:

    Christian: The budget for “Courageous” has been cited in various places as $2 million. If that’s anywhere near correct, then, yes, the film is already very profitable. As to why more people aren’t talking about it, my guess is that (a) a lot of participants here and on similar sites haven’t seen it, and (b) its total gross isn’t that impressive, just its gross-to-budget ratio. But undoubtedly the folks at Sherwood Pictures are quite pleased with the film’s box office totals, as they should be due to its profitability.

  51. sanj says:

    Joe – I haven’t seen a full movie with SRK .. all his films are like 3 hours long .

    i wonder why he didn’t breakout into a few big hollywood movies ..

    everything was supposed to change after slumdog millionaire.

  52. LexG says:

    Holy crap, I was hugely looking forward to THE DARKEST HOUR (big fan of Wanted and Bekmambetov’s two WATCH films)… but was under this assumption it was total FEBRUARY FARE that’d blow in like a nice PUSH-sized mid-sized release on a dreary weekend… Had no clue until this thread they’re dropping that on CHRISTMAS DAY– and it’s in *3D* to boot, meaning it’ll either be fighting for, or eating up, 3D rooms… Somehow finding this out makes the movie just seem instantly lower-rent, like a total studio dump, but as Milla Jovovich just complained about, pretty much EVERY Summit non-Twilight release is treated like a tax write-off.

    Dimension was always the master of mind-boggling Christmas Day counterprogramming (Darkness, Wolf Creek, etc…) I guess Summit saw how those movies usually made, oh, about $1.98 and figured their big sleazy Russian club life Hostel-meets-Wanted alien movie just HAD to go up against the big guns.

    Jesus, if anyone Summit related lurks here, for the love of God, move your fucking movie into next year.

  53. movieman says:

    Joe- Guess we’re the only ones who noticed.
    Here’s what I posted at the top of Friday’s estimates:

    Wow. “RA.One” did better–and on fewer screens, no less–than “Anonymous.” Hail, Bollywood.

  54. sanj says:

    if the help 2011 gets an oscar nomination – does it get pushed to 200 million worldwide ..or will it get there by itself .

    how come nobody notices Tate Taylor the director ? … he’s mostly done tv directing .

    time for a exclusive dp/30 with Tate Taylor since nobody else is …

  55. Joe Leydon says:

    Movieman: Being a visionary can be a lonely job.

  56. movieman says:

    Indeed, lol.

  57. JoJo says:


    “The Scorsese factor will be a boost for “Hugo” among some folks but the thing you’re all overlooking — the book was hugely popular — is a bigger boost. Plus, word is the movie is terrific. I love a lot of Aardman work but I honestly don’t know what “Arthur” has going for it other than Russell Brand bombing in his second “Arthur” movie of the year.”

    Just how “hugely popular” was the book? I think you’re vastly over-estimating its impact. Same with Scorsese, really. He only means something to cinephiles, and he’s matched with material that at first glance doesn’t fit into what he’s known for, even by those who know him.

    I also think you’re over-stating the buzz on the movie. Most of the reviews that I’ve seen have said that the third act is very appealing to cinephiles (there’s that word again) and that the 3D is excellent. The rest? Ehhh.

  58. Krillian says:

    Arthur Christmas looks like the spiritual brother of Flushed Away, box-office-wise.

    I’ve seen the teaser a few times but only saw a TV commercial recently that looked like it actually gave the plot. It’s about Santa’s son (nephew?) who takes the sleigh without permission to drop off presents to a good kid who got missed. And there are a lot of jokes about the North Pole being a high-tech operation.

  59. chris says:

    I don’t know the exact sales number but it was at the top of the New York Times sales list for a year. Just trying to clue you in, Jojo. Feel free to ignore me.

  60. Michael says:

    Tintin BIG in Belgium… easiest BO prediction in the world. Tintin was created by Belgian artist Georges Rémi. Visit Belgium and you can visit Tintin museums, shop in Tintin stores and discuss your favorite Tintin story with any local over a beer.

  61. anghus says:

    I’m in Budapest right now. There are TinTin posters everywhere. It has the kind of P&A presence of something monstrous. The last time i saw this much space devoted to a movie was Harry Potter. A billion worldwide for TinTin? I never would have thought, but it seems like they’re shooting for the moon. I’m still curious as to how it plays in the states.

    I think i may have to see it while i’m here. Since i don’t speak Hungarian, it could make for an interesting theatrical experience.

  62. LexG says:


    Who are you guys, JAMES BOND? Who the fuck’s ever been to EUROPE??? Who the fuck ever TRAVELS? Don’t you people have jobs? Jobs where you guys like ONE WEEK OF PAID VACATION per year, and you have to use that to go visit your parents in the Midwest?


    Who the fuck has ever been outside the States? That’s like some Rockefeller shit.

  63. LexG says:

    And hell with it, no offense because this isn’t aimed at Anghus or anyone here in particular, but I seem to have a worse life than ANY OF YOU. ANY OF YOU.

    And know what? I can say with 90% certainty I’m funnier, more interesting, and smarter than almost all the phony “movie producers” I see posting on movie blogs, all the “PAID FILM JOURNALISTS”– I mean, there’s a guy named Gabe Toro who has WHOLESALE STOLEN MY SHTICK and gets paid to write reviews, and I work in a dungeon office doing transcriptions… I’m smarter and funnier than most movie bloggers, who aren’t FUNNY at all, who don’t do standup, who have no COMEDY background…

    And yet ALL you dudes seem to have this SWINGING LIFE where you just TRAVEL and above all, DO NOT HAVE TO BE IN A SOUL-SUCKING OFFICE. And I’M SMARTER THAN YOU.

    It’s enough to make a man drink.

  64. LexG says:

    Oh yeah, here comes POLAND with YOU NEED TO DO THE WORK, like me whipping up some wack-ass BLOGSPOT is gonna delight the masses… Nobody would read that shit… Does GILCHRIST or TORO have a BLOGSPOT? Half these fuckers just BECAME MOVIE CRITICS AT JUNKETS with no BLOG and NO COLUMN, they just got hired somewhere. And I’m better than all of them, but FUCK IT, i don’t want to be a MOVIE CRITIC or a BLOGGER, I want to actually work on movies like SUPERSTAR PRODUCER ANGHUS so I can travel to BUDAPEST.

    But he shouldn’t be in HUNGARY, he should be in LOS ANGELES going to movies because anyone who DOESN’T SEE EVERY NEW RELEASE MOVIE has no business working in showbiz.

  65. JS Partisan says:

    The previous post simply lacked the spirit of Halloween. So, really, chill out Lex, just keep breathing, and everything will be fine. IT WILL BE FINE! IF NOT, SHENANIGANS WILL BE DECLARED! HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO YOU ALL!

  66. berg says:

    anyone who DOESN’T SEE EVERY NEW RELEASE MOVIE has no business working in showbiz

    Everyone I know who works on movies doesn’t have time to see movies when they’re working and don’t see a lot of films per se …. Anonymous was very very good, but who would’ve thought it was about the queen fucking her son

  67. cadavra says:

    Why would you even WANT to see every new release? I had to do that in the 70s when I was in exhibition, and much of the time it was sheer agony–and movies on the whole were a helluva lot better then than they are now.

  68. David Poland says:

    Lex… you don’t have to do the work like me. Frankly, love my work or hate my work, a big part of earning my place at the table was working harder than anyone else… Harder than I could work today. When this online thing started, I out worked everyone… though the AICN bunch certainly worked like crazy feral rabbits too.

    Get off of Todd’s ass. If you worked as hard as he does, you’d have what he has… maybe more… maybe less. But you would have a real place.

    Even Nikki Finke… when she made the move to a blog, she worked her ass off. She doesn’t put out half of what she used to now. Not a third. You can’t burn it that hard for long, even of you’re sane… maybe especially of you’re sane.

    I don’t know what Anghus is up to, but I have always gotten the impression that he was willing to work his ass off for it.

    You ready to work your ass off in Europe? I’ll make calls and get you a job. But you have to be willing to work, because blog commenting doesn’t prove you can be relied on, trusted, or that you have real talent.

  69. Joe Leydon says:

    “She doesn’t put out half of what she used to now.”

    Heh, heh, heh. Heh, heh, heh. He said “she doesn’t put out.”

  70. LYT says:

    Damn, when I was unemployed, DP never offered to get me a job in Europe. Go for it, Lex.

  71. LexG says:

    I don’t have a passport. Plus like I said, I wasn’t asking to go to Europe… I was saying I can’t relate to it, as I’ve never traveled.

    IT’S A TOUCHY SITUATION (TM DICE) because, REALLY, as Poland suggests, me being a doofus in COMMENTS SECTIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE’S BLOGS isn’t proof of anything, but if after six or so years of the “character,” I’ve said enough RETARDED shit that I’d be unhireable…

    Plus I have jobs and family and semi-in-laws and friends, and “lexG” is pretty embarrassing, if not unexplainable, to most of them… In a very real way, I DO NOT WANT to succeed, because who can explain to friends and family, “Oh, yeah, I use profanity and talk about women’s bodies on the Internet 11 hours a day?” It’s fucking EMBARRASSING. Shit, both Poland and another big blogger have offered me chances galore, but at the end of the day overriding instinct is, “CHRIST, I don’t want my coworkers and exes reading THIS shit.” I don’t think my extended family even knows I’m heterosexual.

    Plus I DO NOT WANT to be a blogger. I barely want to be a performer. I just want to have sex with skinny white women. Since I MAKE NO MONEY, and since movie blogger isn’t a way of having sex with beautiful women on name-recognition “celebrity” alone, I guess have to go back to fucking STANDUP, which is at least PERFORMANCE, it’s me doing my material, it’s a way into acting…

    But it’s torturous and depressing and leads nowhere and I hate comics at least twice as much as I hate movie critics.

    In the end, there is just no defining what it is I’m even TRYING to do… I don’t think anyone’s ever been cast in a movie or comedy revue because they were funny on a MOVIE BLOG.

  72. JS Partisan says:

    What you are trying to do is get out of a shitty career. That’s what you are trying to do. If you are going to let exes or family getting in the way of you actually having a career that doesn’t suck the life out of you, then that’s rather sad.

  73. LexG says:

    My current job DOES suck the life out of me, as it is a stupid job that maybe 20 ppl in the WORLD do, and yet somehow I have to have, and when I complain about it, NOBODY can even IMAGINE in their wildest nightmares what I am talking about…

    But imagine being a sports fan and somehow having to watch EVERY GAME in black and white, before it airs, in reverse order, frame by frame, often having to watch the game 12-18 times in one week, until every moment of it is sapped and you hate it, you hate your team, and it just reminds you that you’re not playing the sport.

    I have such a NICHE profession I can’t expect anyone to even conceive of what I’m saying, but I’ll fudge the names and say, WHY does somebody need a script or translation or sub file of, say, THE AVENGERS, six months before it’s even released? And if someone has THAT lousy fucking job to see movies on a two-inch screen at a depressing cubicle, why does it have to be ME?

    Imagine an upcoming movie like, say, HUGO. To do what I do on “Hugo,” it takes 16-20 hours to get thru the movie frame by frame. Then u QC it. Then you watch it like a vulture between 6-18 more times, all step by step, frame by frame, over the course of two-three weeks. (Again, I don’t have anything to do with Hugo, just pulling it out of a hat…) Can u see how that is a HORRIBLE JOB if you have a Tarantino-like LOVE OF MOVIES?

    There has to be SOME. OTHER. JOB. in LOS ANGELES that pays MONEY.

  74. al says:

    David just said he’s help you get a job. so it’s essentially the choice between soul-crushing work on a daily basis or a relatively minor amount of embarassment with family/exes and coworkers?

    as the man said, I don’t get it

  75. LexG says:

    Dude, he ain’t gonna help me get a job, nor would I expect him to. Jesus, he was riffing. To me a JOB is a JOB, like something that pays 50-100k a year with benefits and steady pay… To movie blogger guys like Poland or whoever, a “job” means you’ll do some nebulous web writing on a 1099 freelance basis where some shady fuckers have your SSN and they don’t take out taxes properly and you have to answer your phone and email people and NETWORK and talk to people, NONE of which I can do or feel comfortable doing. I have OCD, I’m bipolar, and I have social anxiety… Wells is ALWAYS railing at me that I don’t have email on my phone, but BY AND LARGE I don’t want ANYONE calling or emailing me, EVER.

    Bill Murray has a PAY PHONE and doesn’t contact people until he goddamn feels like it. That’s the way to go… The idea of people CALLING ME or CONTACTING ME is TERRIFYING… I want to be left alone.

  76. The Big Perm says:

    You needs translations and sub files of movies in advance so you can prepare the DVD and all of that in one swoop. Plus for the overseas audiences, if they need to subtitle they need that shit. A lot of times when they record a DVD commentary the movie hasn’t even been released, which sometimes is too bad when it’s a major disaster or unexpected success and you’d like to hear about it.

  77. Anghus says:

    hard work is a must. Though you can still work your ass off and fail. Hell, ive put countless hours into projects that have crashed and burned. Ive failed as often as ive succeeded. Probably more.

    Lex, I took no offense. Ive worked really hard for the smallest successes. And while you might find this depressing, the most talented people are rarely the ones im sitting across from in a meeting. Hard working is more likely to succeed than raw talent. I know talented people who lack the ability to start something or lack the skill to see something through.

    Dave hit the nail on the head. What separates successful people from unsuccessful ones is hard work and the ability to see things through to the end. You have this idea that the road starts with talent and ends with success. Theres a lot hurdles to jump and glass to crawl over. You dont even need the talent (though it doesnt hurt) if youre wiling to work.

    Brett Ratner used to call production companies who did hip hop videos and beg for work. Over and over again. People would roll their eyes at the mention of his name. He would stop by offices and drop off demo reels. He was relentless.

  78. The Big Perm says:

    I may be remembering wrong but didn’t Lex used to say for his stand up he just walked onstage with nothing prepared and because he’s so hilarious, expected that to work? That may have been true or just more in-character bullshit but you read that…and I see that in a lot of people…and you’re like how does that dude ever expect to succeed? Like Chris Rock doesn’t write a set and practice it before he goes on tour? Or Louis CK? Or Dane Cook or any comedian?

    I like it when I see other filmmakers have that attitude because I now there’s one less fucker I have to climb over.

  79. LexG says:

    I always prepared for standup. I said I didn’t bring my notebook onstage like an asshole, which a lot of “alternative” comics were doing in that era.

  80. bulldog68 says:

    LexG: In the end, there is just no defining what it is I’m even TRYING to do… I don’t think anyone’s ever been cast in a movie or comedy revue because they were funny on a MOVIE BLOG.

    A possible reality: Shit My Dad Says is a Twitter feed started by Justin Halpern, who, at the time, was a semi-employed comedy writer.[1] It consists of quotes made by Halpern’s father, Sam, regarding various subjects.[2] Halpern started the account on August 3, 2009, soon after moving from Los Angeles back to his parents’ house in San Diego. He intended it only as a storage site for his father’s salty comments, but a friend posted a link to it. Comedian Rob Corddry then tweeted the link, and that really “jump-started it” according to Halpern.[3] In less than a month, the page was mentioned by The Daily Show, a popular San Francisco blog called Laughing Squid, and actress Kristen Bell.[4] As of February 3, 2011, the feed has over two million followers. Courtesy Wikipedia.

    See any similarities here.

  81. Gus says:

    There was an article in a recent New Yorker about a surgeon who had climbed to the top of his field and realized he had no one to give him advice any more. It occurred to him that people like Rafael Nadal (#1 Tennis player in the world) and Tiger Woods had coaches. But surgeons didn’t have coaches. So he got his old mentor to come and supervise some of his surgeries and give notes. And in doing that, he was able to improve more in just a few hours than he had in five years.

    Moral of the story is that success comes from work, even for talented, already successful people.

    I am sure you have heard the claim that every overnight success story is ten years in the making. I agree with that whole heartedly, and that’s not ten years of hanging out. It’s ten years of busting your ass daily and finishing projects.

  82. palmtree says:

    “I have OCD, I’m bipolar, and I have social anxiety… ”

    That seems like a bigger obstacle than working hard. I think one of the chapters in Outliers was about how having social skills trumps genius. I have similar issues so I’m saying this empathetically.

  83. LexG says:

    It is a HUGE obstacle… I can’t call people to inquire about stuff… I can’t put myself out there, I can’t ask about open mikes or auditions, I can’t go to get new headshots, and when some movie critic or blogger asks me to do something I turn off my phone and ignore my email for days, because of the stress, anxiety and PANIC ATTACKS that accompany almost all human interaction outside my already established comfort zone.

    This is also why I can’t sign up for J-Date. I can NOT talk to people I don’t already know. It has gotten progressively worse and worse, and I can feel it leading to full-on agoraphobia– were it not for my insane compulsion to see every new-release film, if I had MONEY I’d never leave the house.

    When Poland has this outsized faith in my ability to “do the work,” I don’t know WHERE that’s coming from. I’m descending into Raymond Babbit territory with my social anxiety. I can’t exactly do “PHONERS” with actors or go to events. It’s terrifying.

  84. The Big Perm says:

    A comic who brings his notebook onstage is indeed and asshole.

    Hey, didn’t Tucker Max start out with a blog or website or something?

  85. JS Partisan says:

    There are too many people in this world who success comes easy to them, while there are others who work their asses off to achieve it. That social interactions get you anywhere is so damn random in so many ways, but that’s the big human brain for you.

    That aside, Lex, you are funny. Go with the funny. It will take you where you need to go, but you have to want to go there. If not, you’re going to continue to be miserable, and that job is going to keep ruining the one thing in your life that seems to bring you joy.

  86. JoeLeydon'sPersonalPornStar says:

    “Tintin BIG in Belgium… easiest BO prediction in the world.”

    No kidding and thanks for pointing out why, Michael. I would have, but I assumed that David was joking. Maybe not, though!

    BTW, at the 2005 World Expo in Nagoya, Japan, Belgium’s display was practically all Tintin. Tintin is/was the country’s calling card.

  87. JoeLeydon'sPersonalPornStar says:

    Just went back and finished reading all the other comments on this post. Gosh, Lex, I hope I didn’t depress you further by mentioning one of my trips to Japan….

  88. Madam Pince says:

    I just got back from Japan a couple of weeks ago. Narita was miserable. I was melting. They had the air conditioning turned practically off. Plus every other light bulb was unscrewed to save energy, so everything looked uncommonly dingy. It didn’t feel like Japan at all. It seemed to affect everybody’s mood too. Nobody had any zip in their step and everything took forever. I was ultra paranoid before the trip about the nuclear situation. I even bought Iodide pills and had a list of possibly contaminated food sources, including sea food, since they seem to be venting radioactive sludge right into the ocean. Then I ended up eating all the sea food anyway. It was delicious. I look forward to my new mutant superpowers and glowing in the dark.

  89. LexG says:

    What the fuck was that about? Why is everyone on the Internet totally insane?

  90. Madam Pince says:

    I should have probably added a smiley face to Ms PornStar. I was just so surprised when she brought up Japan out of the blue, when I have just returned from there. It was a good trip despite my pre-trip worries.

  91. LexG says:

    I would go to Japan because ENTER THE VOID, aka THE GOD OF ALL MOVIES, made it look awesome, but I already live in L.A. so I’ve seen enough Asian chicks to last seven zillion lifetimes.


  92. Steve Lamacq says:

    What the hell is Arthur Christmas????????

    Searched on YouTube and found this..SOFAS???????

    What a surreal world we live in.

  93. Hallick says:

    The first “Arthur Christmas” ad I saw I couldn’t believe didn’t end with the words “a special ABC Family Event”. It looked so weak that I couldn’t even picture it on an actual television network.

  94. Hallick says:

    Lex, what do you want to do for a living as opposed to what you want to get as a result of it? If you’re really as committed to this dream life of hot chicks, stardom, and endless fuck-you money as your comments suggest you are, then nothing anybody here can offer you is going to come anywhere close. The gap between what would make you happy and what you can’t stop wanting is unbridgeable.

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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.”
~ 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