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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by The Neighbor Two Doors Away Klady

Weekend Estimates 2014-05-11 at 9.51.23 AM

It’s funny that Universal is touting Neighbors as the 2nd best R-rated comedy opening (behind Ted), when it is even more impressive as the 3rd best original (aka 1st or 1st in a series) comedy opening (behind Bruce Almighty and Ted)… and all three of those films were released by Universal. This is really a strong suit for the studio over this last decade-plus. And it’s not just these at the very top of this list, but the many surprising openings over $30 million along the way, including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Bridesmaids, Couples Retreat, and Knocked Up.

The flipside is that as passionate and publicity-first the studio is about comedy when they have a winner on their hands, it shows how some comedies may not be very good when the studio chooses not to show their hand early and often. But we’ll know how true that is in about 19 days.

Great number for a lot of people. It won’t get as much shock and awe as it deserves. And it reminds us once again about just how amazing that Bruce Almighty number was 11 years ago. Bruce is still the biggest opening for an original comedy by about 25%. That’s truly remarkable.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 was off 59%, which is pretty normal for a $90m+ opener. Captain America 2 was off 57% with similar competition from the total box office of 3 movies opening against its second weekend… though none of those competitors were after the same demo as Cap, while Neighbors is right on top of the Spidey demo. Worldwide total on A-Spidey 2 is at $550 million.

Four nice holds from the films between Spidey and the 2 new entries into the market. The Other Woman, Heaven Is For Real and Rio 2 are servicing very narrow constituencies that clinging to their estrogen, religion, and childhoods. Cap 2 is still doing nicely on word of mouth.

I would normally wonder if Moms’ Night Out and Legends of Oz made enough to get back thier marketing spends, but in these cases, the marketing was so light, I’m not too worried for them. I assume that the dates for the first films from Tom Rothman’s TriStar were announced last week so no one would assume that he had anything to do with the Moms dump. And Legends of Oz… oy.

And The Grand Budapest Hotel passed 2 milestones this weekend. It became the #1 Wes Anderson domestic grosser, passing The Royal Tenenbaums, and it has now doubled the gross of any previous Wes Anderson film at the worldwide box office for Anderson. Great win for both Wes Anderson and Fox Searchlight.

Paramount is doggedly pushing Noah to the $100 million mark domestically… one more week there.

And in limited releases, there were four films over the $10k per-screen mark this weekend. Jon Favreau’s Chef opened on 6 screens and pulled in a strong $33k per. Amma Asante’s Belle expanded to 45 screens and will do just over $10k per. Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida did $12.5k on 8 screens. And Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto did $19k per on 4.

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27 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by The Neighbor Two Doors Away Klady”

  1. Gus says:

    I really don’t envy people whose job is to make the call to greenlight a movie. There’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that could tell you that Inception is an $800+ million grosser and Transcendence tops out at whatever it is, $75M worldwide or so. Same look, similar scale, similar level of cast. In no way am I saying Transcendence and Inception are the same film or even should have the same expectations given the pedigrees involved but Transcendence probably won’t do even 10% of Inception’s worldwide gross. Insane.

    Same with Quiet Ones. No idea how this didn’t do Blumhouse business. Poster and trailer were terrific, IMO. Didn’t see the film, but since when has quality driven box office in that genre?

    Also, typo on the Fading Gigolo number. That one has just cracked $2M.

  2. movieman says:

    That opening for “The Double” seems on the high end for Magnolia’s “D&D With VOD” releases.
    Which reminds me: I need to watch it this afternoon.

  3. Gustavo says:

    “There’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that could tell you that Inception is an $800+ million grosser and Transcendence tops out at whatever it is, $75M worldwide or so. Same look, similar scale, similar level of cast.”

    Ys, there is. Christopher Nolan.

  4. Bodhizefa says:

    “Ys, there is. Christopher Nolan.”

    I think the leading men are decidedly different as well. Depp has a surprising number of busts in his filmography and has only be a breakout when he creates wacky, weird, and fun roles. In Transcendence, he was essentially a schlub who turned into an evil creature — not so wacky or fun, that’s for sure. The same can’t be said of DiCaprio, who is seemingly a much more reliable star in terms of anticipated box office and actual returns.

  5. LexG says:

    But Nolan produced INCEPTION, his DP shot it, and it is 100% in TOTAL NOLAN-VISION, it is visually INDISTINGUISHABLE from Nolan’s usual look, and his name was all over the trailers. It’s amazing that NONE of Nolan’s hysterically rabid fanbase would turn out; It’d be like Clint fans back in the day sitting out THE DEAD POOL merely because Clint wasn’t the literal director of record, despite his ENTIRE CREW and style, sheen, and cast being all over it.

  6. Gustavo says:

    “But Nolan produced TRANSCENDENCE, his DP shot it, and it is 100% in TOTAL NOLAN-VISION, it is visually INDISTINGUISHABLE from Nolan’s usual look, and his name was all over the trailers. It’s amazing that NONE of Nolan’s hysterically rabid fanbase would turn out;”

    I don’t think so.

    Why would Nolan’s fanbase (or anyone else, for that matter, including studio executives) assume that just because a new film is going to be directed by their “master’s” DP it would be as unmissable as a film directed by the “master” himself?

    The ads made it clear Pfister was the director. As far as general audiences go, his name means zero.

  7. Matt McD says:

    Fundamentally, “guy goes into dreams” is much more compelling than “guy goes into computers.” And “Transcendence” ads never had an image nearly as striking as the Paris street folding over (or the fruit stand explosion, or the running up the walls, or a bunch of other shots).

  8. SamLowry says:

    …and when did the A.I. (are we still trying to maintain the spoiler about whether it’s Depp or PINN?) turn evil? If anything, it was far too mild, which may have alienated audiences that are now used to a wrath-of-God kind of resolution rather than, erm, nano vines.

    Although, yes, TRANSCENDENCE was visually anorexic.

  9. RRA says:

    Gustavo – All I know is that I assumed TRANSCENDENCE would advertize Nolan’s involvement, like so many 1980s movies that Steven Spielberg produced like BACK TO THE FUTURE and POLTERGEIST. But they actually didn’t and I can only guess that Nolan saw the final film and realized he didn’t want his name to be sullied by this turkey. Just a guess.

  10. RRA says:

    “Amazing Spider-Man 2 was off 59%, which is pretty normal for a $90m+ opener.”

    Mr. Poland – Didn’t the first TASM drop less from 1st to 2nd weekend than TASM 2 did? I believe it only dropped 40-44%, but don’t swear that number by me. I remember reading that at BOM sometime back.

    If what I wrote is true, TASM 2 still dropped harder than the last film. Parse that all you want, but that’s still the headline.

  11. matt says:

    Was that BOM stat looking solely at TASM’s Friday-Sunday opening weekend? TASM opened on a Wednesday, so it would make sense if the Friday-Sunday from week 1 didn’t drop off too much in the Friday-Sunday of week 2.

  12. Big G says:

    I’ve re-read that opening paragraph and still think I’m missing something. Neither Bridesmaids nor 40 Year-Old Virgin opened over $30 million.

  13. Gus says:

    The other thing about the Transcendence vs Inception thing is that Transcendence actually has added advantage of hindsight!

    Inception is a known quantity in the green-lighting of Transcendence, but green-lighting Inception could only have been driven by a desire to have Nolan back for a third Batman and an enormous faith in him as a filmmaker, as there is not really a way to read that script and know for certain what one is getting. Even DiCaprio has admitted as much in interviews.

    Again, I’m not saying that the two films are equal, but I am saying that it is truly incredible that Transcendence turned out to be worth less than 10% of its pretty obvious comparable. Given that Nolan’s name is on Transcendence and Depp’s the star (and I understand he’s had a lot of flops, but come on), it’s just a truly amazing result.

    I see a lot of people criticizing the script, too. But all metrics that exist for evaluating a script ahead of time said it was great. Made the black list, attracted top talent, etc. Other than with hindsight, I don’t see how anyone could have seen this result coming. $150MM worldwide would have been seen as a disappointment, but this won’t do even half of that, I don’t think.

  14. EtGuild2 says:

    Wow, estimates were really off this weekend. NEIGHBORS opened a couple million less than stated, and ASM2 actually fell by 61%, much worse than other recent Marvel fare.

  15. Hallick says:

    “That opening for ‘The Double’ seems on the high end for Magnolia’s “D&D With VOD” releases.
    Which reminds me: I need to watch it this afternoon.”

    I’m having a hard time getting into seeing a movie (for all of the positive reviews) that looks like it was shot entirely with emergency lighting.

  16. Hallick says:

    Would “Transcendence” have been better if Johnny Depp and Cillian Murphy had traded parts? For that matter, if Kate Mara and Rebecca Hall had done the same thing?

  17. SamLowry says:

    I hate to think that Depp was so frikkin’ bland and boring after the upload solely to maintain suspense over a question nobody cared about: Is it really him in the computer or his pet A.I. (“PINN”–what a stupid and utterly meaningless name) pretending to be him? Even worse, the “gotcha” moment when Freeman asks the uploaded “Depp” to prove he’s sentient and he replies the same way PINN did earlier is really an anticlimactic moment because OBVIOUSLY HE BASED THE A.I. ON HIS OWN MIND.

    Animators do it all the time–the movement and facial expressions of the characters you see on screen aren’t based on the voice actors but on the animators who breathed life into them; they’re constantly making faces into mirrors and taping themselves swinging swords and whatnot so they can copy it into their work. An A.I. researcher tasked with building a mind from scratch would do the same thing.

  18. Gus says:

    I guess I’ll be that guy but the comparison doesn’t hold much water because AI is dynamic. It responds to input. So it is not too correct to say that an AI would be “based” on someone or something. The design of dynamic AI systems (by definition) requires a response based on past behavior. So my opinion is no, that would not be an obvious response even if it weren’t handled so elegantly in the film.

  19. cadavra says:

    Caught up with TRANSCENDENCE this afternoon and didn’t think it was all that bad–I certainly had no problem following it. I like that it has no clearly-defined good guys and bad guys, leaving us to remain completely objective as it rolls along. But for audiences accustomed to obvious White Hats and Black Hats, I can see where this might be an issue. Plus the first act is about watching someone slowly dying, which doesn’t exactly make for a fun evening. But overall I felt it was perfectly okay.

  20. leahnz says:

    i agree cadavra, i didn’t think it dire, just a bit turgid and half-baked. ‘a simple story well told’ always seems a good bet, particularly for a first-time director finding one’s feet; there were some interesting concepts that don’t go anywhere or get lost in a lukewarm soup of too many ideas that don’t build to any mind-blowing or profound crescendo, all a bit perfunctory… pfister seemed unable to take the bull by the horns and tell/propel the story with urgency and flair, a much harder and more complex task than capturing imagery well. guess it shows to go ya that creating life and energy and building character and tension and drama and excitement is a finely-tuned ability and not just something that happens naturally. i actually wonder if ‘transcendence’ is an example of a movie that would have benefited in the end from a much lower budget that would have required more imagination and ingenuity and lateral thinking to pull it off with a cleaner result, i think these movies need to be stripped back and pared down to get lean and mean again, there’s seemingly little ‘hunger’, for want of a better word (and what is the deal with depp, yikes i’ve tended to give him the benefit of the doubt based on his earlier work but it seems he only has two setting now: freakishly mannered, painted ott quirky weirdo or dishwater dull, his earthy energy and sparkle and depth of feeling seem lost to him now, he’s kind of a bore, what a pity)

  21. hcat says:

    ‘‘a simple story well told’ always seems a good bet, particularly for a first-time director finding one’s feet’

    That statement immediatly brought to mind Charlie Kaufman’s debut. There was a lot of magic in it, but I didn’t feel it gelled on a whole, maybe he should’nt have come out of the gate with his magnum opus, but saved it for a second film.

  22. leahnz says:

    interesting comparison hcat, i haven’t seen ‘synecdoche NY’ in many years but i’ve been meaning to revisit it as part of my (ongoing) PSH retrospective and it’s one of a few i don’t own, so now i’m doubly keen. i remember the movie being a bit of a dreamlike headcase examination, interesting but a bit messy and heavy-handed – but i really do need to see it again.
    i’ve often wondered who (if anyone) has a particular advantage when it comes to film writers vs film photographers who turn to directing… writers would seemingly have more of an innate advantage when it comes to storytelling, since crafting a compelling narrative and characters etc is intrinsic to (good) screenwriting, and even terrific film photographers, who may have a great eye for design and visual style, aren’t necessarily any good at all at telling a story — and on the other side of the coin writers don’t necessary have design/visual flair or acumen when it comes to the leap from the page to the screen and may lack the skills and nuance intrinsic to crafting film as a visual art form. (i suppose one thing they likely share on a basic level is a keen imagination, but how that manifests with their respective skillsets, therein lies the rub) probably more successful writers-turned-directors than photographers but that’s just out of my ass, i don’t have any detailed mental lists or anything

  23. Hcat says:

    Good question, where do you see actors turned directors in all this. Isn’t that the common jump?

  24. SamLowry says:

    “it has no clearly-defined good guys and bad guys”

    Maybe I’m a bit wacky, but I tend to think that anyone who serves up poisoned birthday cake, blows up computer labs full of students, and kills professors because of the work they’re doing may possibly fall into the “bad guy” category.

    If not, then there was no reason to arrest the Unabomber, since he was merely expressing his free speech symbolically…with bombs.

    Getting real for a moment, I thought the bad guys in TRANSCENDENCE were so cartoonishly bad, so ridiculously bad–think of a rabies-infected Justin Bieber frothing at the mouth and the crotch–that no law enforcement officer would draw any heat for killing them on sight. And yet “the government” (consisting of a lone FBI agent, since I guess everyone else in D.C. took the week off) decides to team up with these mass-murderers to fight an entity that hasn’t harmed anyone.

    In the end, the message “Technology good, Luddites bad” was as subtle as a candiru swimming up your urethra.

  25. leahnz says:

    hcat, yeah i suppose so – i guess actors are in a somewhat unique position to observe and get an overview of the many aspects/skillsets used in film-making so maybe it’s natural that some performers would get a bee in their bonnet about ‘doing it themselves’; i suppose the reasoning behind it is probably as individual as the actor, but i’d think they’re probably the type of person who likes to tell stories and be in charge to begin with, otherwise i’m not sure why one would undertake such an ordeal

  26. SamLowry says:

    Well, it appears Cracked has a theory about why Depp’s movies have been tanking:

    “our goateed prince has never actually made box office smashes by himself”

    Ok, no actor is an island, but they go further:

    “while films like From Hell, Blow, Sleepy Hollow, The Ninth Gate, and Sweeney Todd totally made money, it was because they didn’t cost hundreds of millions to make”

    …and finally…

    “His most financially successful recent films were the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Alice in Wonderland — two films where his quirkiness is made bearable by the fact that he isn’t the central character. Want evidence of that? Take the same wacky Tim Burton formula of Wonderland and shift Depp to the lead and you get Charlie and the Chocolate Factory doing half as well. Shift the Deppness even further and behold the $150 million Burton black hole that is Dark Shadows.”

    You might want to read the rest of the article, too, since I truly cannot believe anyone is making a “Peeps” movie, and how can you pull off a WAR GAMES remake these days? Sure, Putin just gave us several reasons to compare him to Hitler, but does anyone really think we’re willing to go toe-to-toe with him over the Ukraine?

    EDIT: The news about WAR GAMES is three years old, but some studio seriously hired the guy who gave us FOUR CHRISTMASES and IDENTITY THIEF to make a technothriller?

  27. cadavra says:

    Well, as I’ve repeatedly said, SHADOWS did $250 million WW against excruciating odds, so not so much a black hole as a gray rut.

    But I would also argue that SHADOWS is to some extent an ensemble piece. Yes, Depp’s the lead, but he cedes a lot of screen time to his co-stars, among them Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Eva Green, Chloe Moretz, Johnny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote and even Sir Christopher Lee, as well as Burton, who was the ideal director for this project. Had it been released in March (instead of the week after THE AVENGERS) with an honest campaign selling it as a romantic chiller instead of a spoof, it would have done even better.

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