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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Urban Comedy Klady

Sometimes, the numbers are interesting… and yet boring as hell. This is one of those weekends.

Think Like A Man is right in between Screen Gems two 2012 releases, The Vow and Underworld Awakening. It’s a big opening for a – yes, I’m going to say it – Black movie. The studio’s never opened one to over $20m before, though it feels like they found crossover, making it more about men & women than about black & white. This one may even outdo the Barbershop films.

The Lucky One is no The Vow… but it’s a clearer pitch than Charlie St. Cloud. This is right out of the playbook that has sold like hotcakes since The Notebook revived the Love Story thing.

The Hunger Games will hit $350 million domestic today in its 30th day of release. Slowing down after a stunning run… still stunning really. But $400 million domestic is now looking unlikely. Worldwide will top $550m after this weekend. The question is, can the film, which has passed all the Twilights domestically, close in on that franchise’s international numbers?

And Chimpanzee is DisneyEarth’s best launch to date. Still, no penguins.

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24 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Urban Comedy Klady”

  1. BoulderKid says:

    From a pure risk-reward standpoint, “urban” comedies and PG-13 horror films are the way to go. Both cost nothing to make and are practically guaranteed $20m or more opening weekend.

  2. Christian says:

    If I’m reading BoxOfficeMojo’s list correctly, “Woman, Thou Art Loosed” dropped 80% Friday to Friday. Ouch.

    I was hoping to see how “Blue Like Jazz” did Friday to Friday, but the totals aren’t reported.

  3. Tom says:

    I don’t know if you meant to say $30 million instead of $20 million but Screen Gems opened both Stomp the Yard and Obsessed to over $20 million.

    I don’t think they found a crossover audience as much as they marketed this movie as THE event movie for black audiences, just as they marketed The Vow as THE Valentine’s Day event movie for couples. I know it was on 3+ screens, selling out and adding showtimes at theaters where this type of fare normally does well.

  4. Krillian says:

    Touchback expanded to a couple screens near me. A Kurt Russell movie that has ZERO publicity.

    Saw Cabin in the Woods. Loved it. It’s a movie that inevitably had to be made. And the less known about it going in, the better. I thought I already knew too much, but that last 40 minutes was a real ride.

  5. Bitplayer says:

    The “urban” audience is starved to see themselves on screen and not in drag. It’s really not a surprise. I love how Hollywood works. Every year or so one of these movies does great business and everyone is shocked but nobody else tries.

  6. ethang says:

    DP is right.

    “The Hunger Games” is about to become one of the biggest films of all-time domestically. But it doesn’t FEEL like a blockbuster, I agree. Let’s use DP’s most hated measurement, adjusted for inflation, and discover the last four non-sequal films that measure HUNGER GAMES:


    All four films are touchstones. I simply don’t see that with the media coverage of Hunger Games in the same light. These films were covered day after day after day for weeks. Hunger Games, I feel, has not received nearly the same treatment. Do you?

  7. brack says:

    Movies seem to get more attention closer to summer or the holidays. The Hunger Games came out during neither, so that could be a factor in the coverage. While the film has performed very well, it didn’t have the same legs as some of those other films.

  8. azmoviegoer says:

    When are you going to post your hopefully spoiler free review of Avengers DP? I’m curious to see if you are as enthusiastic about it as the reviews released so far. I actually wasn’t that enthused by the trailers that had been released but it sounds like I was way off the mark in judging it’s quality by them. Will this be the first billion dollar worldwide hit of the summer?

  9. David Poland says:

    Honestly, Tom, didn’t know that Obsessed was an “urban” film.

    And EthanG… we had this conversation back with Dark Knight. Even Avatar didn’t feel as invasive as, say, the first Batman or Jurassic Park or even Spider-Man, which is where I think that feeling of the cultural event started dying.

    Maybe it’s healthy.

    Now the standard is less about shock and more about good. And Hunger Games, like Twilight, and all of the Marvel-made Marvel movies… not really very good. (And still, I say unto you, I would pay double to see a Joss Whedon Hulk movie. The Hulk is saved by Whedon and to some degree, Whedon is saved by The Hulk.)

  10. JS Partisan says:

    Hating on the Marvel movies? Really? Good lord are you nothing more than a geek hater at this point. Seriously, when are we going to get your gushing Battleship review because we all know that BATTLESHIP is better than Hunger Game, the Twilight saga, and Marvel movies.

  11. Krillian says:

    Everything that happened before Hunger Games was just warmup until Hunger Games could enter our collective consciousness. I know Dave hated Hunger Games, but it’s here and it’s going to remain huge until Mockingjay in 2015. It’s what the kids are talking about. And Hunger Games, to a degree, snuck up on us.

    I can’t even remember what Sam Worthington’s character’s name was in Avatar. I want to say Jake.

  12. JS Partisan says:

    We still have cultural events though, but they are usually TV related.

  13. David Poland says:

    No hating, JSP. Just speaking plainly. You can do one without the other, you know.

  14. JS Partisan says:

    David, you don’t, and that you feel all the Marvel movies aren’t very good, reads like a shot.

  15. BoulderKid says:

    Isn’t the cultural event question easily answered by looking at adjusted boxoffice dollars, which correspond to admissions rather than current boxoffice numbers which really just mean studio revenues and don’t give us a valuable indicator of how “big” a film is except relative to those released within the last two to three years? Right now, Hunger Games at around $350m does not even crack the top 100 films. Let’s say it stops around $380m. That puts it right at the same level as Terminator 2, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Spiderman 3, and Temple of Doom.

    That feels right. All big films, but none of them were world beaters in the same way that “The Dark Knight”, “Titanic”, “The Lord of the Rings”, or “Jurassic Park” were.

    I’d actually argue that “Terminator 2” is probably the biggest event of all those films in the first group seeing that it is the signature film of a massive star (Schwarzeneggar) and the biggest film of the first half of Cameron’s career. It’s also a movie that has been endlessly parodied, ripped off, and has gotten endless cable play for the last twenty years while still spawning sequels decades later.

  16. Jerryishere says:

    Can’t really compare cultural relevance or “bigness” between Hunger Games and, say, something like Temple of Doom or T2…
    Different times… Cable, VHS windows were much longer… No Internet… No streaming…
    The ONLY way to see those movies was theatrically.
    Hence much more repeated viewings.
    Hunger Games and it’s ilk don’t get the same repeat viewings because one can go home and download it illegally the next day.
    And have it legally on your iPad within months.
    Dfferent world.
    Different metrics.
    Taking that into account, HG is as big or bigger than any of those flicks.
    Not a qualitative judgement… Just an observation.

  17. BoulderKid says:

    Point taken, but Hunger Games still doesn’t feel like a full level phenomenom in the four quadrants way. Seems like a lot of women going for repeat viewings, with a little more male participation because of the science fiction angle and promise of violence than something like “Twilight.” I don’t know any men who have seen it, and thus I don’t see it passing the litmus test of an “event.” I think a lot of the attention has to do with the fact that it blew up in March rather than July and the fact that the film is at least decent when many were expecting a movie that was Twilight-style bad.

    Also, I really think the film’s audience is not of the type that is likely to go download the movie on a bit torrent rather than trek to the theater. I buy that argument for something like “Captain America” or “The Grey”, male driven films with a lot of people who are probably indifferent to viewing it in optimal viewing conditions.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    Jerry and Boulder raise interesting points. Back in the day, a movie like The Graduate or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid might remain in a first-run theater in a large or mid-sized city for half a year or longer. To paraphrase L.P. Hartley: The past is a foreign country. Movies meant something different there. Not saying better or worse. Only different.

  19. Hallick says:

    “That feels right. All big films, but none of them were world beaters in the same way that “The Dark Knight”, “Titanic”, “The Lord of the Rings”, or “Jurassic Park” were.”

    This is the problem with equating box office and cultural impact because “Terminator 2” was INDISPUTABLY a world-beater of a cultural touchstone film just based on that FX quantum leap alone. Add the fact that it was a cracking-great action film too and it easily ranks on high.

  20. Hallick says:

    I think the idea that “Hunger Games” is somehow just a “girl’s movie” is feeding into this discussion about downplaying it’s cultural impact. Which may or may not be fine, but it’s the kind of discussion I don’t recall seeing a lot of from the same people when it’s a guy-centric movie.

  21. anghus says:

    cultural phenomenons are hard to come by in an era where fifteen minute fame seems to be coming every closer to fruition.

    It’s hard to explain to people who werent around when there was no internet, smart phones, and only three networks about something that grabbed everyone’s attention and held it for an extended period of time. Because there is no longer anything that holds people’s attention for an extended period of time.

    I think James Cameron makes eye rolling-ly awful movies. But it’s hard to deny the guy is able to get people’s attention and put asses in seats for an extended period of time. Avatar.. Titanic… these are the only modern examples you have of a movie that really goes beyond 60 days as a story in the modern era of film before being passed through the rectum of the news cycle.

    The fact that Hunger Games was number one four 4 straight weeks is impressive. But in an era of streaming entertainment where Hunger Games competes with every other movie out there for attention + the tabloid stuff + reality shows + game of thrones + justin lin + 24 hour news networks + Rush Limbaugh calls a girl a slut + and so on and so on and so one….

    The focus just gets lost. Remember when there were thirty magazines? And when a movie came out the star of that movie was on all of them? The media was so limited that phenomenons were easier to produce. You only had to get the attention of three networks and a few dozen magazines.

    Nowadays, to even get a movie to be at the top of the box office for four straight weeks, that’s impressive. To dominate the best seller list and have the highest grossing movie for a month… i think that’s about as close as anyone’s going to get in this attention span challenged world we live in.

    You end up with more things like Harry Potter in this modern era. Something that sells 100 million books and has 8 hit movies but its over such an extended period of time that people dont consider it a phenomenon even though it’s spawned an entire theme park section.

    I’d be curious to have a thread about cinematic phenomenons. The films that really did grab the cultural attention and owned it.

    Obviously you got Star Wars. Batman pretty much owned the last half of 1989 and was one of the first affordable VHS tapes with a shortened window. Raiders. Avatar. Titanic.

    Phenomenons were never very common. However, they’re even more difficult in an era where entertainment has gone viral. Your hit movie is pretty much done in four weeks and a show with a million viewers is considered a hit.

  22. BoulderKid says:

    Halick, I agree with you, but my point was that “Hunger Games” is really not that big of a phenomenom when you look at something that equates more to actual attendance than gross boxoffice dollars.

  23. doug r says:

    Is it too late to ask for a Klady in the Woods Spoiler Thread?

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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.

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