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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by ASK1

Weekedn Estimates 2014-05-04 at 10.23.41 AM

The lowest total domestic gross on an opening of $90 million-plus is X-Men: The Last Stand‘s $234 million. The best domestic gross for a film opening over $90m and under $100m is Transformers: Dark of the Moon‘s $353m. So you have a domestic range of about $100 million. No one knows the answer to where it will land. It’s already got $275m in the bank overseas, so the absolute worldwide minimum is (logically) $500 million… which is slightly above breakeven (taking all nontheatrical revenues into account) on a film of this cost. Odds are, it will do another $200 million internationally, which, in the conceit of this conversation, is $90 million of profit on the film.

Remember last summer, when everyone decided to agree that World War Z was profitable after grossing $540m worldwide… even though it cost considerably more than ASM2 (and embarrassingly more than the Box Office Mojo budget estimate). Remember Man of Steel doing $688 million worldwide last summer and, as Zack Snyder’s 3rd profitable film, was hailed as a massive hit. That film cost about what ASM2 cost. So let’s see if coverage of the box office is objective or not. (It’s a rhetorical question. It mostly is not, like most film coverage these days.)

Personally, not a thrilling opening. Not a black spot either. It’s the 7th best Summer Opening Weekend since Spider-Man in 2002… 1 step into the bottom half. I have long said that one of the favorite media misreads about the movie business is that people vote negatively. Of course, this is occasionally true. It’s rare, but Transcendence happens. People vote with their dollars (and awards votes) in a positive way. People rush to see a movie on opening weekend because they are excited. There just wasn’t the highest level of excitement for Amazing Spidey 2. Writers are rationalizing the event in many ways, but no one answer is the right answer. How much of it is about Amazing Spider-Man and how much is it about Captain America scratching that itch a month ago? It’s pretty much impossible to make a rally good comparison to Amazing 1, which opened off a weekend, going into the July 4 holiday, and this launch. But they don’t seem wildly dissimilar.

ASM2 will likely become the 64th all-time $700 million worldwide grosser. Boring. Exclusivity now starts at $900 million (29 current members in that club). So success is all about how it is presented… and how the media “decides” it will play. Captain America 2 will likely gross a bit more than Amazing Spidey 2… a little… but one is likely to be forever remembered as a massive surprise success and the other will be remembered as a disappointment. You will be hard=pressed to find a showbiz story about how Roland Emmerich’s 2012 grossed more than any Marvel movie except Avengers and Iron Man 3… but you will read many about how White House Down defined flop for a year.

Again… I am not telling you that this is a great barn-burning opening. Just noting the lack of perspective in some of the coverage. Won’t be the first time this year… won’t be the last. And when people ask me, “Who cares?,” I respond that the reason I do care is that I hear civilians gacking up B.S. box office memes all the time. They read or hear a misleading notion a couple of times and they assume it’s true. Sad.

Not a lot else out there to write about. Noah is crawling to the $100m line domestically… one… million… to… go. $330m worldwide… which makes it a lot better, though still below expectations. (Again with the expectations!!!)

Over 100,000 people paid to see Transcendence this weekend in North America.

Belle did almost $25k per screen on 4 this weekend. A decent start. Ida did $17k per on 3. A nice serious indie start.

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44 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by ASK1”

  1. matt says:

    What’s the verdict on Noah’s box office performance? Hadn’t realized it still hasn’t passed 100 mill in the states, though I’m sure its international cume is much better.

  2. Big G says:

    It still amazes me that this weekend is considered to be the start of the “summer movie season”. I remember in 1989 Premiere magazine refused to include the Patrick Swayze movie Road House in its summer movie preview issue because it opened the weekend BEFORE Memorial Day.

  3. Curious says:

    TASM2 cost 300 million.

  4. Geoff says:

    Dave, I really enjoyed ASM2 as well and this is not technically a “bad” opening and they might even make some profit….but come on. Sony dropped the ball on this one, it’s completely obvious. You have always said that opening weekend is NOT about the movie, but the marketing for this was probably the worst campaign I have seen for a film of this type since Green Lantern (Let’s take Ryan Reynolds who can draw a female audience hot off of his biggest hit, but throw his appeal to the side with an outdoor campaign focusing on a bunch of goofy-looking aliens no one has ever heard of!). I mean talk about not knowing what you have….

    Sony threw everything and the kitchen sink into this campaign, when they had some truly unique elements for the genre that they could have pushed out front…..I mean, there’s no reason this could not have opened to Twilight/Iron Man 2 numbers at $130 million this weekend, the audience was THERE for the taking.

    But with this over-aggressive campaign hinting at “sinister” villains around every corner and being so relentless about it with literally dozens of trailers (many featuring characters that didn’t even have more than 10 minutes of screen-time), they found a way to piss off both many of the core fans and most of the American critics…..I mean seriously, how did this film get a lower Rotten Tomatoes score than even Spiderman 3, that’s bullshit and a true band-wagon effect.

    Sony got WAY ahead of themselves putting out stuff about multiple sequels and spin-offs over six months before this came out…I mean, there’s confidence in your product and then there’s CONFIDENCE. EVERY negative review has spent at least half of its time being critical of the studio and its “plans” you can’t deny that. Sony basically over-marketed themselves into a corner with this thing to the point when it finally came out the US, it had a TONS of bad buzz around it along with every fanboy from the UK screaming above their lungs about every spoiler….just a poorly executed campaign that left a ton of money on the table.

    There’s no way you can’t say this is not disappointing (even though it has very little to do with the quality of the movie)….Sony left a ton of money on the table for this weekend.

    And I’m sorry but you don’t have a studio spending over $200 million in marketing (though I get the sense that Captain America probably had about the same spent as well) on the second film of a franchise to barely make profit and HOPEFULLY equal what the last film did, primarily counting on expansion from the Asian markets…that’s just not good business.

    And you want to bash World War Z and how much money it might have lost, fine….but you can’t deny what Paramount did to turn that thing around last summer. That was a MASTERFUL marketing campaign, putting all of the best elements out there to basically take a film from a genre that struggles to get maybe $70 million domestic into a $200 million blockbuster. And did they have to spend more than $200 million on it? Of course not….but consider that they found a way to break even with that instead of taking a bath on a $150 million flop, I would put it in their win column. Sony found a way to take a property that could easily get to $1 billion worldwide with the right care and spend themselves into leaving several hundred millions of dollars on the table…that’s a LOSS.

  5. EtGuild2 says:

    Food for thought: Since “Skyfall” was released, 36 films have grossed at least $300 million worldwide. Of those 36, one (Smurfs 2) was a Sony release. One.

    Sony (excluding the indie arm) released 22 films in between “Skyfall” and ASM2 So when you’re talking about the relative importance of “Spider-Man” to the studio, it is certainly a disappointment. TRANNIES 4 has a similarly out-sized level of importance to its studio. They need $900 mil+, not 700. Looking at Sony’s slate, it’s hard to know that they will have another hit this summer or fall.

  6. SamLowry says:

    I’d say the simple reason was Spidey Burnout–this is the fifth Spider-Man movie in twelve years and it hasn’t even been two years since the last one.

    Toss in the comic fans’ continuing refusal to accept a mopey goth as Peter Parker–the ne plus ultra by which all geeks have been measured since 1962–and you have a predictable disaster.

  7. brack says:

    $92m opening a disaster? That’s laughable.

    The problem is the new Spider-Man movies aren’t different enough from the Raimi films. If TAS was a big leap like Batman Begins, this new film would be doing gangbusters. It’s as simple as that.

  8. storymark says:

    As far as comparisons to Man of Steel – Aren’t you one who says the opening of a franchise film is reliant of feelings toward the prior installment? So, in that case, MoS was following a fairly long hiatus for the character, following a less-than-loved Superman Returns, and Amazing 2 was coming off a fairly well-liked reboot. Wouldn’t that make this a bit disappointing, relatively speaking?

  9. Stella's Boy says:

    Less than two years ago ASM opened with $62 million. So just in terms of a sequel having a significant jump in opening weekend, isn’t $92 million pretty solid?

  10. jesse says:

    ASM opened with $62 million over a weekend… after it launched on 7/3. Its opening Friday wasn’t until 7/6, and a lot of people had 7/4 and 7/5 off of work/etc. that year. So it had $137 million by the end of its first Sunday.

    Of course, it had also been in release for nearly a week at that point. But it’s relatively unlikely ASM2 will be at $137 million by Wednesday or Thursday. Probably more like 120 or so? Which isn’t way off, and comes without the benefits of a long holiday weekend, but still: not exactly an uptick (though the comparison is tricky).

    ASM2 may also have a softer second-weekend drop than the first, as it’s only dealing with one comedy. I don’t know if it will play out as weakly as some are predicting, saying it’s going to only do $220 million or whatever (as Dave points out, that would make it the lowest gross following a $90 million+ weekend ever). But it almost certainly won’t gain enough momentum to pass the first movie.

    I’m still absolutely baffled that Dave is super into this series in terms of quality. I’ve gone into both Webb movies hoping to like them, and I actually preferred this one to the first, but they are pretty crazy messes. Some fellow nerds and I — unique I think in that we are nerds who want to like these movies and try not to spew total hate towards them — dissected it together after seeing the movie on Friday, if anyone is interested for an hourlong discussion:

  11. jesse says:

    And to ASM2’s credit — or to the character’s credit, really — people must REALLY dig Spider-Man, given that the fifth movie in twelve years, and the worst-reviewed of the bunch (though again, I think ASM is a significantly worse movie), still opens to $92 million. You have to wonder how much lower ANY even remotely convincing-looking Spider-Man movie could open. Is there a Spider-Man movie they could make that would do under, say, $70 million opening weekend?

  12. chris says:

    I don’t think the problem in “Spider-Man 2” is so much that there are too many villains but that the structure is a mess. The story climaxes and resolves and then there’s that tacked-on stuff that isn’t all that interesting, doesn’t look good (the integration of Giamatti’s head into the machine is a problem) and blunts the impact of what we’ve seen before.

  13. christian says:

    The people from my generation who were working out here at the studios, we never knew how much money a picture made until Star Wars. They never told us, and it wasn’t in the paper every day, the box-office results. All my contemporaries cared about was whether we liked the film or didn’t. There was no competition, it wasn’t all, “This is a great film, and this one’s lousy, and this one made X dollars, and that didn’t.” We never talked about that stuff. We talked only about the films we liked.

  14. jesse says:

    Chris, yeah, that’s what we get at in our discussion — that the “too many villains” complaint is actually sort of a myth. It’s just disorganized/haphazard writing. The Nolan Batman movie actually have multiple villains in all three movies, very well-integrated.

  15. storymark says:

    Stella: ” ASM opened with $62 million…isn’t $92 million pretty solid?”

    A fair point. I was just speaking in relation to MoS. I hadn’t checked in AMS’ opening.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    Well as Jesse notes above, ASM didn’t open on a Friday, so it seems my point is invalid.

  17. hcat says:

    ‘ASM2 may also have a softer second-weekend drop than the first, as it’s only dealing with one comedy’

    Well at least in my opinion that comedy is primed to move. Rogen helped open the very male centric this is the End to 20 mil last year, Neighbors looks like it may bring in a wider swath of audience, many of whom Spidey is counting on to give it legs.

  18. Hcat says:

    And perhaps this is an over generalization, but columbia should have no business releasing any movie with special effects that are not being used for comedic purposes.

  19. jesse says:

    And I guess looking back at 2012, Amazing Spider-Man only faced Ice Age 4 on its second weekend (though Ice Age 4 did gross more than Neighbors is likely to make on its first weekend). But it also didn’t have too bad a drop then — its real drop came on the third weekend when it faced Dark Knight Rises. The equivalent title in this case would probably be the X-Men movie (which won’t be as big as a Batman movie, of course, but should probably force a bigger drop for ASM2).

  20. hcat says:

    I’m betting regardless of competition the drop is over 60% next weekend just due to lack of interest. The first time out the Spidey films ended up in the one, two and one spot for the year they were released. Amazing ended at #7 and this one may not crack the top ten. Its probably not to early to call these the Roger Moore cycle of the franchise.

    Sony is probably pitching MIB4 to Smith as we speak.

  21. EtGuild2 says:

    This is definitely a strange May. Year-over-year this weekend was off 30%. We’re still ahead 8% year to date, but on pace for another 30% decline this weekend (GATSBY debuted to $50 million last year). I really think this will help NEIGHBORS, GODZILLA and XMEN more, though it may at least help SPIDEY hit $225 million. I think NEIGHBORS is a lock to crack $125 million.

    Looking at late May, I’m more bewildered by what to expect from BLENDED, MALEFICENT, and Cowboy MacFarlane than anything in late May in a long time.

  22. movieman says:

    Is it wrong that the only late May release I’m not (entirely) dreading is “Maleficent”? And that’s despite its (apparently) shameless cribbing from “Snow White and the Huntsman” and Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”
    I’m totally over one trick pony MacFarlane at this point, and I can only keep repeating, “But their (Sandler and Barrymore) previous collaborations were good!,” every time I see the putrid “Blended” trailer.
    “Jersey Boys” can’t happen soon enough.

  23. EtGuild2 says:

    Yeah, this month has been pretty much like January for me. Went in dreading 4 wide releases (Blended, MacFarlane, Moms Night Out, Legends of Oz), wary of 3 others (Spidey, Million Dollar Arm, Maleficent), and excited for 2 (X-Men, Neighbors).

    On the other hand, next month I’m stoked for every studio release aside from “Thinking More Like a Man” and Trannies 4 ..

  24. jesse says:

    Good god, movieman, how old are you again? 😉 Jersey Boys? Have you seen that trailer? Isn’t it supposed to be a musical? It looks like another brownish-grey Eastwood biopic. I know it’s probably a non-integrated musical (I haven’t seen the Broadway show) but I was interested in seeing how Eastwood handled the form and it looks (at least from the trailer) like he handled it by tamping it down as much as possible.

    I don’t begrudge your dread of MacFarlane and lord knows Sandler only makes a funny movie every four or five times out (if that) these days, but X-Men and Godzilla, at least, have me a lot more excited than a new Eastwood snoozefest.

  25. jesse says:

    Maybe part of my Jersey Boys disappointment is the fact that it seems to kinda-sorta have the Warner Brothers “non-franchise, for adults, vaguely musical” spot this summer. Last year that got us a Luhrmann Gatsby, and the year before, a Soderbergh movie, both of which I loved. So it’s kind of a bummer to see it in Eastwood’s hands this year — and I have liked him as a director. I even enjoyed J. Edgar more than a lot of people did. I was just shocked by how flat and muted the movie looked in the trailer. Maybe it’s just a lousy sell.

  26. SamLowry says:

    I wish there was a simple term to describe your testicles retracting into your abdomen to seek protection because that’s what I thought my head was trying to do when I walked into a theater last week and saw the JERSEY BOYS trailer already running. Thank Jeebus I caught only the last fifteen seconds because I kept thinking “Why oh why does this exist–are there that many ticket-buying senior citizens left?” But then “Clint Eastwood” came up at the end and I realized ah, it’s a vanity project.

    The only way I’d watch this is if you rigged me up like Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

  27. Ray Pride says:

    With a book/screenplay by Marshall Brickman, co-writer of Sleeper, Annie Hall, Manhattan and Manhattan Murder Mystery.

  28. SamLowry says:

    Yeah, SLEEPER was a great sci-fi classic, but I doubt we’ll get any of that feel in a movie about The Four Seasons.

  29. Ray Pride says:

    That would be something to see. The Orgasmatron would enliven any late Eastwood endeavor.

  30. movieman says:

    Re: Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys.”
    To paraphrase Linda Loman, “Attention must be paid.”
    (I dropped the “finally” part of that line since people have been paying attention to Clint for some time now–just not recently.)

    So pardon my auteurist predilection in summer movies.

  31. Hcat says:

    Brickman also wrote and directed the wonderful film Simon, which had a glorious supporting cast of Fred Gwynne, Wallace Shawn, Max Wright, and Austin Pendleton. Like a symphony of comic voices.

  32. YancySkancy says:

    I don’t know how Eastwood came to be involved in JERSEY BOYS, but since it’s a long-running, Tony-winning Broadway hit, it hardly seems like a “vanity project” for Clint. I haven’t seen the show, but it sounds pretty fascinating to me — clean-cut pop stars with hush-hush criminal histories, RASHOMON-style variations in the memories of the lead characters, a period setting that hasn’t exactly been overdone in American film, some catchy tunes.

    Joe Pesci is actually a character in the story. If Martin Scorsese were directing, I expect all the caveats expressed here would magically disappear. But even though Clint can fall short of the mark, he’s still a more interesting filmmaker than about 90 percent of the field. He ALWAYS deserves the benefit of the doubt, IMO.

  33. jesse says:

    I like Clint a lot; I’ve seen most of the movies he’s directed over the past two decades, and like my fair share (Space Cowboys forever!). I just look at his most recent period dramas — Changeling, J. Edgar, Invictus — and don’t get super excited about his ability to make Jersey Boys as exciting or electric as it should be. Yeah, you know what, if Scorsese were directing, a lot of caveats would disappear, because Scorsese is a way better director! And I can’t imagine him making a movie with that low-energy, vaguely sluggish trailer.

    I’ll still see the movie — I hope it’s good. I just don’t feel like “something for the adults” has to look as boring as this does.

    Though you’re right, it is in no way an Eastwood vanity project. When I first heard that he got it, I thought that was really interesting. I just wonder if he’s going to shy away from the fun musical elements of the movie and make another grayed-out muddy historical drama.

  34. cadavra says:

    If memory serves, didn’t he take JERSEY because STAR IS BORN stalled and he was already in musical-mode?

  35. jesse says:

    I believe so. But take a look at that trailer and tell me if it seems like he was ever in musical mode.

  36. movieman says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m a huge Clint (and “Jersey Boys:” saw it twice on stage) fan, but that trailer had my toes a-tappin’, lol.
    Can’t wait.
    Which is more than I can say for 90% of the movies being released between now (“Moms’ Night Out”!) and Labor Day.

  37. movieman says:

    Another reason to kinda/sorta look forward to “Maleficent.”
    It’s only 97 minutes (including end credits).
    How refreshing–and uncharacteristic–a trait for a 2014 studio tentpole.

  38. YancySkancy says:

    “And I can’t imagine [Scorsese] making a movie with that low-energy, vaguely sluggish trailer.”

    Generally, the only thing a trailer shows is the studio’s notion of what might attract an audience to a movie. It may convey next to nothing of the film’s actual pace or feel. We try to read these things like tea leaves, but at the end of the day they’re commercials. We may use them to help us decide whether to consume a product, but they’re of no use in forming an opinion about a product.

  39. cadavra says:

    Movieman: Remember that MALEFICENT is being pitched to family audiences, and children tend to get restless if they have to sit for much more than an hour-and-a-half–which is why most family films (especially animated ones) try to come in around that length.

  40. Sam says:

    I’ll never understand why some people categorically resent getting more movie.

    Oh, I get that each movie needs to be its optimum length, and blockbusters do seem to be more often too long than too short. But speaking in the abstract, shorter is not categorically better. And — again speaking only in the abstract — I’d rather have a great long movie than a great short one. I mean, why not, right?

  41. jesse says:

    Yeah, I have to say, I was actually kinda bummed to see that the X-Men movie is “only” 130 minutes. X2 and First Class were about that length, and I guess maybe the Days of Future Past Story isn’t necessarily bigger than either of those (it’s only two issues of the comic book!) but I was kind of hoping they’d go for a fuller 140 or 150-minute run. If any comics property would feel OK at that length, to me, it would be the ensemble-driven X-Men universe. I do like the economy of the first one, but X-Men 3 for some horrible reason runs about the same length (105 minutes or so) and feels horribly truncated (then again, maybe for that particular movie I’m making a “terrible food”/”and such small portions” argument). Maybe DOFP is nice and economical at 130 minutes. But I’d totally watch the 150-minute version happily.

    Yancy, you’re totally right about trailers. But they do include footage from the movie and if WB thought they were giving a great sell to the Jersey Boys target audience with that stuff, well, then they must think the target audience is eager to be bored.

  42. EtGuild2 says:

    Well we already know they sliced off enough that Anna Paquin is basically out of the movie. Apparently there’s a whole side story that heavily features Stewart and McKellen that ended up on the cutting room floor. For once I’d be excited to see a superhero director’s cut…

    So it was announced Jackman is on-board for the next X-Men also…seems as if he’s trying to put the record for most superhero appearences out of range for Chris Evans.

  43. christian says:

    Eastwood is such a boring director, if not interesting for his subjects. Watching him talk about Leone you see his impatience with his detailed style which reflects on Eastwood’s basic style.

  44. leahnz says:

    clint’s a pretty decent composer/musician in his own right (his numerous scores to his own films range from what i would call ok to a few that are rather terrific) so i’m kind of interested to see where he goes with a musical-themed flick, it might get him all riled up and passionate (and trailers don’t really mean jack shit in terms of the actual movie, just marketing)

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