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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Deja Vu Klady

Friday Estimates 2014-04-19 at 9.24.59 AM

7 weekends, 4 God films… $208 million domestic and counting. We’re still over $150m away from The Passion of The Christ, but still, a pretty great run for organized religion. There is no clear trajectory. Two of the three films only ended up doing a little over 2x opening weekend. The third, God’s Not Dead, is doing a striking 5x opening, though perhaps because no one saw it coming. Or perhaps it best fits what Christian audiences wanted. Or maybe that is the max size of audience for these films, unless it is a bigger event, like The Passion, which you could argue was the Burton’s Batman or first Raimi Spider-Man of this genre. (Noah, the highest grosser of the group this year, clearly had more crossover appeal to non-religious people.) If Heaven Is For Real follows the Son of God weekend trajectory, we’re looking at an opening of about $21.5 million, which would be a hot run in any niche genre.

The well-liked (oy) Captain America: The Winter Soldier will pass $200 million tomorrow and Thor 2’s domestic total in the next week. It will gross significantly more than any of the previous Marvel-B-character movies, but it unlikely to get too close to the A group of $300m+ domestic grossers Iron Man and Avengers.

Transcendence is one of those rare films upon which the critics might have had an opening weekend effect. When “everyone” says it’s bad, that is the one circumstances in which I think there is a real impact. But there is also this… it’s bee 5 years since a live-action, fictional Johnny Depp movie has gotten a fresh tomato at Rotten Tomatoes. As you may know, I am not a fan of throwing around RT numbers as proof of anything. But since Public Enemies in 2009 (68% Fresh), it’s been 20% for The Tourist, 51% for Alice in Wonderland, 50% for The Rum Diary, 33% for Pirates 4, 38% for Dark Shadows, 30% for The Lone Ranger, and now a career low of 19% for Transcendence. (The odd man out was a 88% win for Rango… but an animated Johnny Lizard was the star. And his new doc, For No Good Reason, will be fresh… but it’s a doc about Ralph Steadman, not Johnny.)

Depp showed his box office clout as two of those rotten reviewed films did over a billion dollars each. And The Tourist did triple overseas what it did here. But there’s every indication that critics are fed up with Johnny and audiences – especially at home – may be ready to follow. We’re still waiting on word on who will direct Pirates 5… if there is a Pirates 5.

A Haunted House was a hit for Open Road and this sequel will open to about 2/3rds what the first one did. Not thrilling. Not shocking.

Bears is about right for a DisneyNature film. It’s opening about where 2 of the last 3 films did.

Fading Gigolo is the best opener on the indie front. Not a thriller. Not bad.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is now losing screens, as expected, but it still had a very nice hold from last Friday, down only 2% in spite of losing 13% of its screen count. It should pass Moonrise Kingdom to become Anderson’s #2 highest domestic grosser sometime in the next week. It is already the #1 Wes worldwide by over $35 million.

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21 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Deja Vu Klady”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    Holey moley on the “Transcendence” number. Good thing WB has been killing it at the box office this year. I think it’s clear Depp’s run as a top-line draw is over.

    I’m rooting for “Heaven Is For Real.” It may not be a great movie, but it’s definitely serviceable, which is something the Christian audience doesn’t see too often…and it’s the polar opposite of “God’s Not Dead” in tone and message. I want it to kick its ass at the box office.

  2. Bulldog68 says:

    The main reason I’m sorry Transcendence bombed is that this result will most probably send Johnny Depp running and screaming back to roles that require him to paint his face.

    He’s already signed on for Pirates 5. How much money do you need?

    You gotta give Leonardo DiCaprio lots of credit. He has managed to have a career that doesn’t hinge on being in blockbusters, are for the most part character driven vehicles, and not one sequel in the bunch. His blockbusters have been surprise smashes, i.e. Titanic most of all, and Inception to a lesser extent.

    Looking at his filmography, he may have arguably one of the best acting resumes in the business. We have argued time and time again about the most reliable box office draw today, and Will Smith and Johnny Depp seem to always be the top pics, but Leo doesn’t have a franchise pic to pad his resume and five of his last six films dating back to the turn of the decade did over $100m, and the exception was J Edgar, that was made for $35m and grossed $84m worldwide. Not bad. Not bad at all.

  3. movieman says:

    Et tu, Et?
    I found “Heaven is For Real” pretty damn insufferable.
    Except for Margo Martindale and Thomas Haden Church, the performances all seemed phoned in from an Evangelical Channel version of a Lifetime Movie.
    The kid’s vision of “heaven” was ludicrous: pretty much the kind of hallucination you’d expect the four-year-old son of a red state preacher to have while under anesthesia.
    Why didn’t he see Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, too? They wouldn’t have been any less fantastical/Looney Tunes than Jesus astride a rainbow-colored horse.
    I don’t like begrudging any movie their success, but I am concerned about the plethora of Christian-pandering films (studio and indie) that are certain to follow the b.o. success of “Heaven is…” and the truly odious “God’s Not Dead.”

  4. EtGuild2 says:

    Like I said, not a good movie. But compared to stuff like “God’s Not Dead,” “The Christmas Candle,” I’m in Love with a Church Girl,” and “Son of God,” it’s practically a touchstone of Christian cinema. Still not my cup of tea, but I liked that it allows for disagreement, something that doesn’t happen in most Christian movies.

    In “God’s Not Dead,” Margo Martindale would have been hit by lightning for daring to not believe the boy’s story, you know?

  5. movieman says:

    LOL, you may be right about MM’s date with a lightning bolt in “God’s Not Dead,” Et.
    But when I think about what we’re probably in store for over the next couple of years (at least), death almost seems preferable.

  6. Breedlove says:

    Thank god for leading men with taste like Leo, Pitt, and even Cruise. Depp is an embarrassment. So is Will Smith.

  7. Vaus says:

    Ronning and Sandberg of Kon Tiki were announced as pirates 5 directors ages ago. I don’t think that has changed.

  8. Vaus says:

    Re The Depp problem. You know the saying “any simple solution to a complex problem is probably wrong’.
    There has been plenty of people writing columns of advice for Johnny columns over the past couple of years and now Transcendence would seem to take on many of the suggested solutions but is a bigger box office and critical flop than its predecessors. It has no Tim Burton, no painted face, he looks like a handsome man of his actual age, no weird voice, the script was on the respected black list, it was set in near present day USA not past TV show world. So the stuff that was said to be the problem maybe wasn’t. Anyone who says he should make films like he used to pre Pirates is ignoring that no-one really makes them like they used to and Depp is now older than those character types.
    Depp didn’t do Pirates until he was 40, about DiCaprio’s current age, and he wasn’t a first choice lead at the time so that comparison about film choices doesn’t seem quite applicable.
    Who knows why Depp chooses his projects.
    I looked at Depp’s future films list and the only ones that might be financial successes are the Pirates and Alice sequels but these will surely be critically disrespected.
    Producers need to realize that having Depp like their project doesn’t guarantee anything and set budgets etc accordingly.

  9. Ray Pride says:

    That voice is damn weird.

  10. eric says:

    I think it is safe to say that there is a pretty good chance that Wally Pfister will be back to DP on Nolan’s next film after Interstellar. Just because you can make a movie look good does not mean you can tell an interesting story when given the chance. Too bad, because he is a great DP.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    “When “everyone” says it’s bad, that is the one circumstances in which I think there is a real impact.”

    This is a genre where critics have an effect on both ends of the scale. There’s no way “Gravity” would be the 6th biggest domestic grosser of the year without those reviews…ditto “Inception.”

  12. Amblinman says:

    All this consternation about Depp’s choices just seems to miss the obvious: the movies just aren’t good. Face paint, no face paint, Burton, whatever. Pirates 4, Alice, Lone Ranger – these films by and large sucked.

    Depp doesn’t need a career overhaul. He just needs a little luck with projects in terms of how they turn out.

    P.S. Most streaks come to an end. Very few leading men last. It’s utterly remarkable that Cruise, despite the diminishing returns, is still a star after over three decades. One of the reasons is the guy or his team picks really good projects.

  13. Breedlove says:

    Vaus the difference is Pfister hasn’t directed a movie before. I’m not saying go back to making the quirky indie shit or the first Pirates movie, I’m saying work with A list directors. Public Enemies is a masterpiece and the best film he’s ever made hands down. For the most part he seems to have shit taste in scripts.

  14. movieman says:

    Public Enemies is a masterpiece and the best film he’s ever made hands down.

    Really, Breed?
    I like “PE,” too, but what about “Ed Wood,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”,” “Dead Man,” “Donnie Brasco,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Finding Neverland,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Rango”…..???

    And I’m quite fond of “Arizona Dream,” “Dark Shadows,” “The Ninth Gate,” “Blow,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “The Lone Ranger,”””From Hell” and “Sleepy Hollow,” too…

    Sure, Depp has made his share of clunkers, but which star of his magnitude hasn’t stumbled from time to time?
    Even his biggest flops (e.g., “The Tourist” by the director of the Oscar-winning “The Lives of Others”) aren’t without interest.

  15. David Poland says:

    Vaus – Disney dumped them a while back. There has been a phenomenon at Disney lately… hire really interesting directors for reboots, then dump them. Happened on Cinderella too.

    There is talk that David Lowery will direct the Pete’s Dragon reboot… which I would love to see hold. He’s co-written the screenplay, so if they actually sign him, they will be signing off on a clear vision from him.

    Then again, they hired others with a clear vision… but it wasn’t Disney enough so, bye bye

  16. movieman says:

    The director of “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” helming a remake of Disney cheese-fest “Pete’s Dragon” (Helen Reddy! Jim Dale! Red Buttons! Mickey Rooney! Charlie Callas! ) makes even less sense than Trevorrow getting the “Jurassic Park” gig after “Safety Not Guaranteed.”
    That’s some crazy shit, lol.

  17. JoJo says:

    David: When did Disney dump the Kon Tiki directors? Where did you hear that?

  18. cadavra says:

    David, thanks for pointing out what others seem to miss: the critics have the long knives out for Depp no matter what he does. They clearly want him to go back to the little artsy movies of the past, but RUM DIARY also got shellacked, so they don’t even have the saving grace of consistency.

    Moreover, both DARK SHADOWS and LONE RANGER were foolishly and erroneously marketed as spoofs, thus confusing audiences who came and keeping away others who would have liked them. I’ve had numerous conversations with people who “hated” both films (especially DS), only to eventually admit they hadn’t actually seen them. A couple of SHADOWS naysayers finally did, and both wrote to tell me that they were wrong and the film was great. And beginning with A.O. Scott in the NYT, people are already taking a second look at RANGER and acknowledging it’s far from the fiasco the initial wave of savagery made it out to be.

    So it really doesn’t matter what Depp does at this point; haters gonna hate.

  19. Lane Myers says:

    Doesn’t blaming critics for Transcendence’s weak opening (or giving them some credit for augmenting Gravity’s opening) violate Hot Blog rule #8?

    8. Opening Weekend Is Never About The Quality Of The Movie.

    I feel like there are certain movies that are so inherently so unappealing, that no marketing execution, no matter how honest or dishonest, will fool people into seeing the movie. Conversely, I’ve also seen movies open bigger than expected — either based on pre-release critical acclaim or general “buzz” generated from word of mouth screenings, or festivals, or other.

    For example, I was on the fence about Neighbors…it looks ok in the TV spots…but I keep hearing that it’s really funny, so that’s pushing me off the fence and into going opening weekend.

    Anyone else experience either of the above?

  20. YancySkancy says:

    Maybe Number 8 should be “Opening Weekend Can Be About the Perceived Quality of the Movie, but Is Never About the Actual Quality of the Movie.”

  21. christian says:

    I tried to watch RANGO last week and couldn’t figure out who or what the audience was (one good review said it was a cartoon for “jaded Leone fans.” Sums it up perfect) No consistent tone or style or theme. Faux subversive family films don’t quite work, like THE LONE RANGER…

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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.

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?”

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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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