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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Kilted Klady

Keep your overwriting pencils handy, because we still don’t know exactly where Brave is going. We do know that it’s not Toy Story 3 and not going to become Toy Story 3. Aside from that, this is the 2nd best non-TS3 opening day in the animation giant’s history and it could easy be their 2nd best opening weekend ever (a slot currently held by The Incredibles‘ $70.5m launch). It certainly will be the 2n best opening of the summer so far and given Pixar’s history, is a near-lock for $200m domestic. But the top group of Pixar movies start at 4250m domestic… which is also quite possible. Based on the last 3 years, the weekend number could range from 2.6x Friday ($67m) to 3.2x Friday ($77m). We’ll see.

(corrected, 12:22p Saturday, for a missed Cars 2 opening day number.)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has got a well-known title character, but no star power. As a result, we have yet another movie this summer that found its core audience, but little else.

Focus kinda ole’d Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, which seems like sad lost lamb out there.

The new Woody launched on 5 screens to $24k per for Friday, a bit behind the launch of Midnight in Paris, which did $28k per on 6. I don’t think word of mouth is Sony Classics’ friend this time around. So while Midnight did $100k per in their 6-screen opening, Rome should be more like $80k for a $480k start. It’s a good number, but SPC is going to have to count on the starvation diet for movie loving adults over 50 to get them through this one. Low to mid teens would be a happy result for this film at this point.

It’s not much of a box office story, but go see The Invisible War, a powerful reminder that we haven’t come that long a way, baby. Also out there with the potential to surprise grown up audiences with its intimate charms is Safety Not Guaranteed.

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47 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Kilted Klady”

  1. etguild2 says:

    The “Abe Lincoln” budget should have been cut in half given the lack of drawing power in front of the camera and, I assume, limited appeal internationally. Instead they spent almost as much on this as “Wanted” (???)

    -6% for “Avengers?” I guess young guys are feeling neglected?

    Madagascar 3 will be the first in the franchise to $200 mil domestically most likely. Another great hold….

  2. anghus says:

    i like how nikki’s matinee numbers said it was going to perform ‘above expectations’ and could end up as high as 25 million.


    those matinee numbers really are a fantastic metric, arent they?

  3. Big G says:

    Lack of drawing power? Everyone knows who Benjamin Walker is, right?

  4. movieman says:

    No figures for “Moonlight Kingdom”?
    My sister and brother-in-law went to see it yesterday afternoon in Fresno, CA, and told me they and another couple (nobody they knew) were the only ones in the theater.
    Mind you, this was opening day–and at the only local theater that was playing the film.
    To add insult to injury, the other couple walked out midway through, possibly demanding their money back.
    On the positive side, my sister and her husband both loved it, but they’re huge Wes Anderson fans.

  5. Krillian says:

    My wife and I saw Abe Lincoln last night and there were only two other people in the theater. It has a couple good scenes, but it wasn’t remotely clever with the blending of history and vampires, and it took itself too seriously too much of the time.

  6. David Poland says:

    It’s funny. I forget how ubiquitous vampires have been in recent years. It also struck me in the middle of watching the terrible Dracula 3D… so behind the curve.

    Robert Pattinson in the lead of AL:VS may have been interesting.

  7. bulldog68 says:

    The thing is, AL:VS had some very unique scenes, like a fight scene between Abe and a vampire during a horse stampede that made me go ‘okay, never seen that before’.

    I actually thought it was very brave in taking itself seriously and not being tongue in cheek and enjoyed it more than I did Priest last year.

    One of the problems was the time span of the movie which led to an unexplained lull in activity, and some of the usual 3rd act problems. Also, it seemed that such powerful vampires were easily killed.

    The beginning was reminiscent of some of the training sequences in Wanted and the fanboy in me loved all the blood, so it wore it’s R rating gloriously. The two endings were also a nice touch.

    All in all, I’m not disappointed, though I didn’t expect much, and I would actually like to see more revisionisms if they could keep the budget down and have a smarter release date. This doesn’t need to be in summer. Maybe President’s Day weekend would have been better, and they could start a series like Saw or Underworld where they release a new revision of a different President every two years. That’ll be some B movie fun. Can’t wait for the Clinton retelling, and of course we all know where he’ll get bitten:-)

  8. reds says:

    Has the Pixar propaganda machine been so effective that we’ve forgotten the existence of Cars 2 already? Its 25.7 million opening, rather than Brave holds the record for their best non-TS3 opening day.

  9. David Poland says:

    Blindness more likely, Reds. I checked it. Very odd.

  10. Don R. Lewis says:

    I’m headed to the movies today and am pleasantly surprised to have 5 movies to choose from which is a real rarity.

    I honestly can’t remember the last time there were 5 movies within 30 miles of me that I want to see to varying degrees. I think I’m gonna do SEEKING A FRIEND because it actually looks great and as DP noted, smacks of a summer dump which is weird. BRAVE needs to be seen in a theater but I’m not about to go to a Saturday screening full of kids. Gotta hit a nighttime one for that. Nice problem to have….

  11. christian says:

    People walking out of MOONRISE KINGDOM in Fresno does not surprise me in the least. Horrible city. I saw it in a packed suburban theater last night – a definite audience pleaser tho the folks behind me who looked like they just came from Chili’s were stymied by the quirk.

  12. LexG says:

    What anghus said:

    Seriously, wasn’t Nikki calling ABE as an 8 Friday minor hit midday yesterday?

    Seriously, aren’t her early projections wrong literally EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY?

  13. chris says:

    If I were you, Don R Lewis, I’d concentrate on “Brave” and “Sister’s Sister.”

  14. Prettok says:

    Loved Moonrise Kingdom. I can’t imagine why someone would leave halfway through the movie. Maybe they were dog-lovers?

  15. bulldog68 says:

    That’s a fantastic hold for Madagascar when you factor Brave into the mix. Thought it would have dropped by a lot more this week. Depending on how Brave holds next weekend and itself survives the incoming Ice Age 4 the following weekend, looks like it will be a real horse race between these two. I actually thought Brave would have been the easy winner, but with the surprising strength of Madagascar, it’s now a toss up.

  16. Hallick says:

    One of the problems with “Seeking A Friend…” is that the TV commercials make it look like everybody on Earth is just going “Hey, cool, whatever, I get to eat Twinkies for breakfast, lunch and dinner! See ya ’round dude!”. It looks like a happy little pothead comedy about the days leading up to Y2K, not the absolute, never-gonna-stop-it END OF THE WORLD.

    And every time I see that shot of a memento box in the ads, I can’t help thinking “if that Misfits sticker is supposed to belong to Steve Carrell’s character, the methane fumes spewing out of the BULLSHIT in this movie is more than enough to destroy the ozone layer and end the real planet Earth right now”.

  17. LexG says:

    Hahahaha at MISFITS superfan Carell.

    Hey, does anyone throw more of their own movies under the bus than Focus? Why do they DO that? What’s the point?

    Being Flynn, Pariah, Somewhere got the “don’t even bother expanding” treatment, and then the seemingly more mainstream ones get the 1500-theater who-cares dump and they fall off the face of the earth just the same.

    I consistently don’t understand their thinking. It’s like when something of theirs finally sticks, it’s sheer luck or probably something (Milk, TTSS, Beginners) where they probably threw so much Oscar promo money at it, the minor success doesn’t even register.

  18. jesse says:

    Hallick, having now seen the movie, I suspect that Focus got a little fearful of how melancholy a lot of it is — even if the broader end-of-the-world stuff isn’t all that convincing. It wouldn’t be as big a problem if the movie were funnier, but it’s actually better at the reflective melancholy thing than it is at actually getting laughs, although the sequence at the TGIFriday’s knockoff place is pretty funny.

  19. etguild2 says:

    Focus does have quite strange marketing strategies recently…for “The American” they tricked people into thinking it was mainstream, but hey, at least that worked.

    They had a killer movie in “Jane Eyre” and ended up strangling it in the bathtub with a stilted roll-out campaign that had it peaking in 300 theatres and finishing with $11 million. “Becoming Jane” and “The Duchess” outperformed it.

    Now they seem bound and determined to do the same with “Moonrise.” counts for Wes Anderson films in week 5:

    Mr. Fox-1,268
    Life Aquatic-1,105
    Royal Tenenbaums-905
    Darjeeling Limited-698
    Rushmore-573 ( even counting a year-end Oscar qualifier)
    Moonrise Kingdom-395


  20. Triple Option says:

    Krillian wrote: It has a couple good scenes, but it wasn’t remotely clever with the blending of history and vampires, and it took itself too seriously too much of the time.”

    These were my sentiments EXACTLY! I wonder how stuff came across in the book. Someone I talked to said they were similar, of course, some parts condensed. I’m not a big vampire movie, though given the opportunity like Let the Right One In or Thirst, new ground can be broken. And I’m cool w/all established rules or even bending of “known” rules. But from the premise one would expect the movie to answer one simple question, “what if Abraham Lincoln hunted vampires?” For all the ways your mind would naturally expand on that, it’s like they picked the most obvious w/out any ingenuity. Reminds me of hearing about a movie called Cowboys and Aliens and all the wonderment that movie would bring to mind but the moment I saw the first trailer all I could think was “huh???”

    I was hoping for the same kind of excitement I had watching Wanted. I was a bit surprised at how low Buffy Abe had been flying. From my vantage point, it didn’t even seem like Fox was supporting it like a summer tent pole. I even surprised when I went by the lot and didn’t see a big board for it like they had for Prometheus or most of their other even quasi big releases. They had something up for Anger Management instead.

    Seeking a Friend for the End of the World sounds like another amazing premise. I know I shouldn’t be totally consumed by a gut reaction off a trailer but from what I’ve seen, I have a feeling like I’m gonna walk out of the theater thinking how do shank an extra point of an idea? But at this point I’m still saying I’m going to go. And will have an open mind. Still, a bit of a lingering bad feeling still persists.

    I do want to see Brave but echo Don’s dilemma and not go to a showing before 10 PM.

    I’m honestly not trying to insinuate slump, and I know technically the first day of summer was only earlier this week, but is it just me or have a sort of elevated number of films released thus far under performed in regards to speculation? It’s hard to know what studio expectations are vs what they’re telling the public. It’s also hard to escape the noise of elevated hype. Is it a matter of needing to manage expectations? Is there an issue of people wanting to go see a movie in general but won’t for various or specific reasons? Are the movies released not appealing or is the marketing that’s failing? Or, is there an issue at all? Should the grosses be higher? Not just, we’d like them to be higher but they aren’t. Like Facebook stock. I’m sure if set against different comps, one could rationalize any b.o. turd. Slump to me would suggest random downturn, but what I wonder is if any of you think there is really an addressable problem? If so, what? If not, why not? Really just asking here.

  21. movieman says:

    I really dug “ALVH.”
    If the sheer novelty factor of the premise wasn’t enough of a kick, it’s just a good old time at the “picture show.” (I could imagine seeing it on a double bill with fellow Fox-mate “The Three Stooges” at a drive-in–or downtown movie palace–when I was 9.)
    Another plus was the freshness of the cast, many of whom were new to me (like the B’way baby lead). Even the few familiar faces (e.g., the excellent Dominic Cooper and Anthony Mackie) haven’t worn out their welcome w/ me yet. Sweet.
    Also appreciated the fact that it doesn’t overstay its welcome like most tentpole/franchise hopefuls, clocking in at a circumspect 105 minutes (including beaucoup end credits).
    Would I have maybe enjoyed it even more if it had been a tad crazier/loopier–a “Liszotmania” w/ vampires? Possibly.
    But I liked it well enough to give it an “B PLUS,” putting it in the same doomed-to-be-underrated/fated-to-flop category as “Battleship,” “John Carter” and another 2012 Tim Burton production (the delicious “Dark Shadows”).
    Ho-hum first half; terrific second half. I had the same reaction that I had to “Pocahontas” (a decent-if-underwhelming Disney ‘toon that followed instant classics like “The Lion King,” “B&B,” “Aladdin” and “Little Mermaid”) in 1995.
    “Brave” is a decent-if-ultimately-underwhelming Pixar ‘toon that has the misfortune of following in the footsteps of some all-time keepers (“Wall-E,” “Up,” “Nemo”).
    I enjoyed the weird and haunting (and weirdly haunting) “Seeking a Friend” despite never quite believing Carell and Knightley as a romantic couple in the third act.
    Focus should be ashamed of themselves for throwing it to the wolves of summer. It might have fared better in a less blockbuster-oriented season (say, spring or fall).

  22. movieman says:

    I just realized something.
    June 11th marked the 30th anniversary of the opening of “E.T.”
    I wonder why nobody made a fuss over it.
    That was a pretty historical film (both artistically and commercially), and played in theaters for an entire year.

  23. Hallick says:

    E.T. has been off the radar for a number of years now, and I’m guessing it’s because nobody feels cool for having loved it when it came out, unlike Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Empire Strikes Back or Tron (even though I once had a cherished copy or two of the novelization based on the movie, and a homemade E.T. costume my mom made for me in 4th grade that I probably hung onto up til 7th grade. Yep, virginity was like a conjoined twin to me for quite some time).

    I don’t get the feeling that people even care whatever happened to Henry Thomas anymore, y’know, it’s gotten THAT faded in the public imagination now. Do people bother to show the movie to their kids and pass it along to the next generation? If Drew Barrymore didn’t bring attention to the movie as a “before” to her drunken drugged up “after”, it might be even more forgotten than it is today, which is sad because E.T. is still an awesome awesome movie.

    Fuck it, I blame Neil Diamond now.

  24. jesse says:

    Aw, movieman, don’t cut Vampire Hunter so much slack just because it has a cool cast (it does! I like just about everyone in it! I had a constant “oh cool! That guy/gal!” reaction throughout) and a short-ish running time. I feel like that’s grasping at reasons to like a movie that AS A MOVIE is pretty gash. Triple and Krillian are SPOT ON. It’s got this big hook premise and then what the movie does is: uh, show the premise a bunch of times. Nothing else. Cowboys & Aliens is an interesting comparison, but at least the first half of that movie — pretty much right up through the first alien attack on the town — has some intriguing character development, a cool B-movie western vibe, and actual mystery about the way sci-fi is going to fit in. Then the second half, yeah, shockingly boilerplate and unimaginative (though well-shot). Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is pretty much that way straight through. And I love shlocky silly horror/action junk! This was just so clunky with only the occasional spark of crazy inspiration. I saw McWeeny at Hitfix making a big deal of how the director is a MADMAN and SO CRAZY and all that and… yeah, I’m not seeing it. He’s barely more imaginative or distinctive than Brett Rather; he just has more ridiculous taste in pulp material. In fact, his movies are sort of like Ratner directing a Robert Rodriguez screenplay (so a Rodriguez picture minus the humor, charm, and actual coolness). It’s definitely a step up from the awful WANTED… but not remotely worth seeing.

    But then I mostly disliked Battleship, too. I wish they were both the unpretentious, economical B-movies you describe!

    With you on Dark Shadows, though: a pleasure, even though the screenplay is a mess (hey, gosh, was it written by the Lincoln Vampire guy? Almost as if he’s not really cut out for this). And I enjoyed John Carter well enough. At least that movie is pretty well-made and not trying to knock you out with coooooooooool money shots that look like other movies.

    I really liked Brave. The post-Lion King Disney comparison is a good one (especially because the gap between Lion King and its follow-ups, for the most part, isn’t as wide as their reputations will have you believe). Funnier than I expected, and I like the mother-daughter stuff a lot. Not top-tier Pixar, but yeah, following Ratatouille/Wall-E/Up/Toy Story 3 — four four-star movies in four years — is not an enviable task. This was Pixar trying a new type of story for them, unlike the pure kid-movie run-around of Cars 2.

  25. LexG says:

    Abe Lincoln was the rare movie I didn’t love. Still found it entertaining, but something seemed WAY off about the pacing in the first hour (how did Abe woo MEW away from Alan Tudyk? Didn’t it seem like something was missing there?), then around the time they flash-forward to the President years, I kinda got on board with the tone. Still thought it moved in fits and starts, though I liked Cooper and especially Sewell.

    But who casts the CUTE! CUUUUUUTE! Mary Elizabeth Winstead then puts her in old age makeup? If I were Lincoln I’d have made a deal with Sewell or that SMOKING supermodel just to have ’em turn the M.E.W. into a vampire frozen at The Thing/Black Christmas level hotness.

    The chick in BRAVE doesn’t look or sound as cute as the chick in TANGLED.

  26. JS Partisan says:

    Lex, there’s no world in which Kelly MacDonald is not prettier than Mandy Moore. Seriously. That aside, Brave is a tremendous Pixar film, that’s getting crapped on why? Comparing this film to Nemo is like comparing a nice 90s compact car to a Fiat 500 ABARTH edition. They are in different universes and yes, Brave is the ABARTH, How this wonderful film about a mother and daughter, oh yeah, dudes XD! Sorry forgot, dudes.

  27. LexG says:

    I was making a joke about the animated characters, there, Quick Draw. Blonde beating redhead EVERY time.

    But IRL Mandy Moore is WAY WAY hotter than Kelly Macdonald, who I always think guys overrate because she has an accent. Always thought she was kind of anonymous looking, nothing really distinctive about her hair, face, or body… but different strokes.

  28. JS Partisan says:

    Blonde never beats redhead in this or any reality, and MacDonald’s voice is still better. Also she’s pretty beyond her accent, but you keep working that angle huckleberry XD!

  29. chris says:

    The book has a sense of humor, unlike the movie, Triple Option — none of the weirdly solemn tone the film has.

  30. LexG says:

    Mandy Moore = “Candy” video = this case is getting CA-LOSED!

  31. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah Kelly Macdonald in Trainspotting. YOU LOSE, AND I WIN AGAIN XD!

  32. LexG says:

    Kelly Macdonald is like a bland mix of the annoying Natasha McElhone and MEREDITH, the most boring Bachelorette ever.

  33. JS Partisan says:

    Seriously, I am just shaking my head at you. Just shaking it.

  34. Yancy Skancy says:

    Nothing against Kelly Macdonald, but yeah–TEAM MANDY.

  35. etguild2 says:

    Candy? Why did you have to make me remember that awful song…too skinny, plus jailbait.

    Personally, I always thought Moore was much hotter as a brunette in the “Walk to Remember” era. She’s SMOKING in her skimpy pink dress at the end of her video cover of Have a Little Faith in Me.

    If you want skinny blonde pop singer “actresses” no one will ever top ditz Jessica Simpson strutting in her pink bikini for the Dukes of Hazzard Boots song…

  36. LexG says:

    HOW TO DEAL Mandy with the cute CUTE short dark hair is great, too, especially the opener where she does a handstand and puts her feet up close to the camera lens.

  37. Foamy Squirrel says:

    AL:VH never really seemed to me to actually dive into the alternate history of “what if vampires actually set up a society”, neither does it go tongue in cheek for “Abe Lincoln – Axe Crazy Killer”. It sits in a weird middleground of playing with symbolism for vampires/slavery – which possibly doesn’t sit that well with Southerners who are literally demonized for the film.

    If they wanted to take the source material seriously, there’s the far superior Kim Newman “Anno Dracula” series which does explore the societal effects if Van Helsing failed to stop Dracula’s entry into England and he eventually deposed Albert as Queen Victoria’s consort.

  38. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Or just make George RR Martin’s Fevre Dream. The only good southern gothic vampire novel worthy of an adaptation.

  39. Chucky says:

    @etguild2: “Moonrise Kingdom” got thrown to the wolves as a programmer. It’s playing in Syracuse but not in Albany. It’s playing in Allentown but not in Scranton — and the one Allentown booking is a snooty arthouse. Around Philadelphia, it’s playing in arthouses (35mm only) but not in any AMC multiplexes (with digital projection).

  40. jesse says:

    Chucky, the movie was shot on film so I’d actually be really excited if it were possible to see it on film in more NYC locations. I imagine it looks just as good if not better on 35mm as compared to digital.

  41. Sean says:

    Has anyone noticed the tremendous hold of The Avengers this weekend? Dropping only a projected 21% to about 7 mil. It will pass 600 mil in the next two or three days. There’s 10 weeks of summer boxoffice left and think The Avengers has at least about 20+ mil left in its tank. It’s funny how when haters can’t hate, they grow silent. In this case, the silence is deafening. 207 mil opening, 102 mil second weekend. Go Avengers!!!!

  42. Don R. Lewis says:

    Shoulda listened to Chris. SEEKING A FRIEND….was just ok. Barely. Very odd choices in there. And The Misfits poster isn’t Carrel’s but it’s also just as weird and out of place in the movie as it is in the ads. I certainly didn’t hate the movie and if you come across it on cable, it’s an easy enough trifle. It just had more stuff that annoyed me (celebrity cameos up the wazoo for one) then funny or cool scenes.

  43. SamLowry says:

    “…which possibly doesn’t sit that well with Southerners who are literally demonized for the film”

    I wonder how Southerners feel about a movie that tries to defend them by saying slavery was caused by vampires? Because, really, is there any other explanation that anyone can live with?

    (Sure, there’s “White folks are evil”, which interestingly enough brings this to mind, especially the last two sentences.)

  44. David Poland says:

    Sean… The haters thing is as bad as actually being a hater.

    I don’t know enough about the hold this weekend to speculate nor do I care enough to ask. That said, I don’t think you can hold it up as a referendum on the film.

  45. Chucky says:

    @jesse: Anyone who insists that a movie be released only in 35mm is out of line.

    AMC has converted all of its New York-area theaters to digital projection. You want to show “Moonrise Kingdom” in the AMC Empire in Times Square, it’s digital or nothing.

  46. jesse says:

    I didn’t insist that it be released only in 35mm, just that it’s a silly metric to say that in some town, it’s not playing anywhere with digital, only 35mm. In NYC, it’s playing primarily in digital. I’ve seen it twice, both times with digital projection. But playing someplace that can show 35mm prints doesn’t seem like a downgrade in status to me if the movie was SHOT that way.

    Did almost LOL at your use of “out of line,” however. Better fall back in line!

  47. Sean says:

    Hi David. Don’t get me wrong, I love your site. You’ll always have a special place in my heart for pointing out some of the more amazing Nikki Finke, ahem, errors. I was teasing you a bit because of some your earlier comments about The Avengers. Just having a little fun. Sorry if it came across mean spirited. Peace.

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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.

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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.

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