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By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Still Floating Klady

Friday Estimates 2013-10-19 at 8.55.09 AM

The box office analogy to Gravity that you never hear is 300, yet both were visual groundbreakers and both will/will have hit $150m domestic on their 16th day of release. Only five films got to the landmark faster outside of summer and the holiday window: The Hunger Games, Alice in Wonderland, The Passion of The Christ, Oz The Great & Powerful, and Fast Five.

The firing squad arrival of The Fifth Estate is a shame. Caught in between Gravity and 12 Years A Slave, just as it was in the September festival zeitgeist, a movie overtly about current ideas just never stood a chance. Assange was last year’s story and people are clearly as anxious to see a film about him as they’d be to see a feature about Mitt Romney, the Gangnam Style guy, Seth MacFarlane hosting the Oscars, Steve Jobs or that thing, you know, remember, that thing that was so cool, it’s right on the tip of my tongue…

The standard for horror movie openings is $20m, set by Screen Gems a decade ago. Carrie won’t get close. Personally, I think they – as others have – thought they had better publicity cards in their hands than they did. The only press Kym Pierce seemed to do was slavishly devoted to rebuilding her image… which will be (unfairly) torn down even further after this opening. Chloe Moretz coming of age was not a story… even as images of her covered in not-really-menstrual blood are all over town. Julianne Moore, who is a goddess of the screen, is playing an Oscar-nominated role (as was Moretz) and outside of geek press, you would hardly know she was in a new movie. Sony should have been looking past the geeks – who showed up, pretty much – and taken it to the adults. Not only is this part of our history, but there are real conversations to be had about this film… about bullying… about young women coming of age in this culture. But instead, it felt like just another knock-off. And maybe it didn’t deserve better. But no great marketing or publicity relies on what the film actually is, but rather sells the public on the idea of what the world might want it to be. Can’t always pull it off, but this one – perhaps because of the transition at Sony – felt like a by-the-numbers coulda, shoulda situation.

12 Years A Slave is looking at about $40k per screen on 19. I am proud of Fox Searchlight’s choice to release it as they see fit and to not pander to the 2 screen $100k+ press-bait weekend that they could have had. This number is actually much more impressive. If you look at the list of “comps” that fit, you see Precious, Lincoln, Black Swan, and Up In The Air having similar opening screencounts and doing much bigger per-screen numbers. But all of those Academy chasers also opened at least a few weeks further into the hype as well. American Beauty did $54k on 16 screens (albeit in 1999). Then you get to Mystic River, Michael Clayton, Dances With Wolves, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lost in Translation, Good Night & Good Luck.… all right in there with this opening number in limited. This may seem like I am only picking Oscar-nominated or winning films to mention, but there really aren’t any “comps” that fit were not only Oscar chasers, but failed to get nominated. There are others that were more impressive in the 20-40 screen range (No Country For Old Men, The Descendants, Milk, The Blair Witch Project), but releasing this way requires a lot of confidence and clearly Searchlight has it and clearly it is deserved.

Nice hold for Captain Phillips, with a lot of stuff floating in the water.

Also launching this week with awards aspirations were All is Lost and Kill Your Darlings, with the Redford art movie doing slightly better than the Harry Potter art movie. Really, it is unfair to turn either film into the sum of its media cliches, but Maureen Dowd and Dan Radcliffe’s open-faced charms have taken us to a new place. Both are looking at $11k – $12k openings per-screen on 4/6 screens. Neither is a world beater. Neither precludes success in expansion. I doubt there was a market with either film that didn’t also include 12 Years… and Gravity… and for that matter, in this demo, 5th Estate. So let’s not close any doors on these two films.

Are we supposed to mention FilmFocusDistrict’s $2k per-screen opening this weekend… or is that a write-off that shouldn’t scare the producers of Dallas Buyers Club at all?

Oh yeah… and Stallone & Schwarzenegger had a movie open. $10m is not a disaster. Not a hit either. Whatever happened to Ah-nuld’s real sklil as a movie star… selling the excrement out of his films? “$10m opening is for puny movie stahhhhhssss!”

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28 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Still Floating Klady”

  1. movieman says:

    That’s a staggeringly bad opening for “Fifth Estate,” and “Carrie”–even w/ its modest budget–has to be considered a major disappointment for Sony.
    When the only new horror movie in release can’t post a $20-million (minimum) opening this close to Halloween, something is seriously wrong.

  2. Etguild2 says:

    Underwhelming opening for “All Is Lost.” Seems like “Twelve Years” sucked all the oxygen out of the room.

    Yeah….yikes re: FIFTH ESTATE. Dreamworks has had a pretty awful time in the last couple years unless Spielberg is directing. DELIVERY MAN smells like a bomb as well.

    Speaking of rough times at the box office, IM IN LOVE WITH A CHURCH GIRL is another flop for Christian themed movies. Outside of the FIREPROOF guy, the genre has really faded.

  3. pj says:

    All is Lost is gonna bomb hard when it goes wide next weekend…eek. They had better put a hold on that plan.

  4. Etguild2 says:

    $10 million for ESCAPE PLAN certainly is a disaster if the budget is as high as it’s rumored to be. I’ve seen it pegged at $70 million, and even as high as $100 million, both of which seem outrageous.

  5. David Poland says:

    Escape Plan was always about foreign… and still is.

    If the budget was $70m, it is probably already in profit before release… or close to breakeven.

  6. Bulldog68 says:

    It’s gotta bruise the ego though that on their own earlier this year, Sly and Arnie both bombed, and now together, they bomb as well. If Escape Plan is about foreign, well I think they’re still sweating, because The Last Stand pulled in $25m foreign. And I don’t see any foreign numbers for Bullet to the Head. Lets see what’s the cache on the two of them together. At least this opening guarantees it will out-gross their previous 2013 outputs, but not by very much.

  7. movieman says:

    There are a lot of good things about the new “Carrie,” but Chloe Grace Moretz isn’t one of them.
    Maybe it’s her “Kick-Ass” baggage, but I never once felt any vulnerability/fragility in her portrayal. And when Moretz’s Carrie unleashes the furies of hell, I thought I was watching a Marvel Comics movie where the lead character is getting acquainted w/ their super hero (or heroine) abilities.
    Moore nicely underplays her role, but I still prefer Laurie’s over-the-top looniness.
    The Katt and Irving subs are both immensely appealing, and I also liked the (new to me) actors who played the Allen and Travolta roles.
    Greer is surprisingly effective as the P.E. teacher, but she’s no Betty Buckley. (Who is, right?)
    I was surprised at how much of the dialogue from DePalma’s original was lifted verbatim.
    Not surprised there was NO NUDITY WHATSOEVER, even in the opening shower scene. (I wasn’t expecting–nor do I care to see–15-year-old Moretz in the buff, but certainly a few of the older actresses could have supplied a touch of, uh, realism.)
    Puzzled as to why they didn’t just erase a couple of “fuck”s to get the PG-13 rating that would have obviously been a box office help since this is, for all intents and purposes, “PG-13 Horror.”
    A very weird commercial miscalculation on Sony’s part.

  8. dinovelvet says:

    So what happened to Benedict Cumberbatch’s legions of online fans we keep hearing about in every interview?

  9. Tom says:

    Screen Gems has really been in a slump lately. Mortal Instruments disappointed, Battle of the Year flopped and now this happens to Carrie. It’s a good thing they have 2 Kevin Hart movies and that Idris Elba/Taraji Henson thriller in the bank for next year.

    Keeping Carrie rated R was a huge mistake. The ads made it look like a PG-13 movie and the lobby of the theater I saw it at was packed with girls who were either turned away from buying a ticket or walking down the line, begging someone to buy tickets for them.

    It also doesn’t help that the movie isn’t scary at all. The Roommate was scarier and that was PG-13. The one thing this movie has going for it is that it’s the only horror movie between now and January. I wonder how this movie would have done if it had been released in March, as was the original plan.

  10. movieman says:

    Speaking of horror, I was amused to see a trailer for something called “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” w/ what looks to be an entirely (English-speaking) Hispanic cast.
    Considering how popular these movies have been w/ Latino/Latina auds, it feels rather cynical on the part of the filmmakers.
    Is this even connected to the original “Paranormal Activity” series? It doesn’t seem to bear any resemblance to the previous “PA”s.

  11. Etguild2 says:

    “Maybe it’s her “Kick-Ass” baggage, but I never once felt any vulnerability/fragility in her portrayal.”

    That’s pretty funny, because the baggage I had was Moretz carrying the best American horror film of the past 5 years, “Let Me In,” in which her vulnerability, in the end, made it click. But I came to the same conclusion you did, just from a polar opposite starting point.

  12. movieman says:

    I’d completely forgotten about “Let Me In,” Et.
    Yes, a very good film, and Moretz was quite good in that.
    For better or worse (and in this case it’s the latter, I’m afraid), I only see Hit Girl whenever Moretz shows up onscreen post-“Kick Ass” 1 and 2.
    And when Carrie goes all telekinetic on everyone’s ass at the climax, I swear I could detect a smirk on Moretz’s face like she was some badass Marvel super hero flexing her powers rather than a bullied wallflower enacting vengeance.
    Spacek’s Carrie had a haunted and haunting glazed look on her face as though she was in a trance-like state.
    That was, uh, more effective, lol.

  13. Nick Clement says:

    what’s the tracking on The Counselor? Why is there a media black-out on this one with less than one week to go…?

  14. Ray Pride says:

    The just-published script gives a hint: it’s maniacally verbal and sexual and dark.

  15. Nick Rogers says:

    movieman: They teased a Hispanic-audience “PA” spinoff at the end of the last one. There are actually two “PA” movies last year — this one at the start of the year, and “PA 5” in October. Beyond played out at this point, wouldn’t you say?

  16. alynch says:

    I doubt there was ever a point in time in which people would’ve been interested in seeing a Julian Assange movie.

  17. leahnz says:

    i haven’t seen the ‘carrie’ remake just the trailer so talking out of my ass here really, but what made spacek work in the de palma version is that she was like a delicate porcelain doll, so fragile and pale and frail to the point of otherworldliness, so the contrast of when she ‘breaks’ and opens a can of carnage, it’s so visually shocking and elicits an uncomfortable mixture of horror and empathy for carrie — the moretz casting reminds me a of garfield for peter parker, inherently changing peter parker’s essential nature from nice, timid supernerd-to-wisecracking hero to the seemingly new paradigm of slightly-tortured-foxy-outcast-to-hero/(or mass killer in carrie’s case) arc, no fragile homely weirdos or supernerds for us, thanks, chloe as carrie seems in this same mold (maybe what they should have done is gone right back to the source – king’s novel – instead of de palma’s flick, to give the story some fresh legs and points of difference, there’s a lot from the novel that’s unexplored in the ’76 screenplay)

  18. LexG says:


    Though Gabriella (Three Musketeers) Wilde in the same movie is THE MOST PERFECT WOMAN EVER.

    Movieman, the Nancy Allen stand-in is Portia Doubleday, who was the love interest lead in “Youth in Revolt.” if you saw that. She always stands out to me because her dad is FRANK Doubleday, aka the guy who killed the little guy at the ice cream truck in Assault on Precinct 13/Romero from Escape from NY. Just some random trivia that will interest no one.

  19. movieman says:

    I saw “Youth in Revolt,” Lex, but hardly remember Doubleday at all. And I definitely didn’t recognize her name in the “Carrie” credits.
    In fact, hearing that title (“YIR”) today, the only actor that springs to mind is Michael Cera.
    The “Carrie” Doubleday seems to have sprung from the same snarky brunette gene pool as Krysten Ritter, Aubrey Plaza and Lizzy Caplan.
    The girl I (vaguely) recall from “Revolt” seemed rather sweet.

  20. movieman says:

    Truth be told, I didn’t recognize the actor who plays the Travolta role in the new “Carrie” either, Lex.
    Was surprised to learn on that he was the nice (white) kid from “Chronicle.”
    Quite an image makeover.
    Off the subject–but not completely–I was stunned by the new “Endless Love” trailer (starring the lovely Emma Rigby from “Carrie 2.0”) since apparently its only resemblance to the Scott Spencer source novel is the FREAKING TITLE.
    From the look of it, you’d swear this was just another Nicholas Sparks Valentine’s Day Special.
    How sad to have waited 34 years for someone to correct the mistakes of the disastrous Zeffirelli version only to discover that the new adapters didn’t seem to have bothered even reading Spencer’s book.

  21. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    “The box office analogy to Gravity that you never hear is 300, yet both were visual groundbreaker”

    Lolz. Gravity is not a phenom because of fx. Joe Schmoe is not seeing it as a visual groundbreaker. Do you ever talk to job film people DP?

  22. Ray Pride says:

    There’s a link to Scott Spencer writing about the new script you can find through the search box… It’s an umbrage-rich read.

  23. Ira Parks says:


    What does SESSIONS OF GRAY’s per screen say about its potential cume? And its VOD date. WTF? Isn’t that fishy to anyone else?

  24. christian says:

    Yes, a 3D IMAX space film directed by a masterful visualist has nothing to do with the success of GRAVITY. It was Sandra Bullock howling.

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    What exactly is Sessions of Gray?

  26. movieman says:

    I’ll have to check that out, Ray.
    Thanks for the head’s-up.

  27. Sam says:

    Did anybody even know the Schwarz/Stallone movie came out last weekend? I was purposely watching for it and still didn’t realize it had opened already.

    This will be blamed on their fading star power, but all the star power in the world won’t get people to a movie they don’t know exists.

  28. Gus says:

    I wasn’t looking for that movie at all and saw quite a few ads for it on TV. Maybe that’s because I watch sports, but sure, I was plenty aware of it. Still won’t see it, but, yes, aware of it.

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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.

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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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