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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by The Fault In Our Klady


I will have to write more later… but The Fault In Our Stars should be regarded as the most significant opening of this season. It’s impossible to predict the weekend final, but there has been no May or June opening with this strong a start without a budget over $100 million… ever. Ever.

The closest are The Karate Kid and Bruce Almighty (which some reports had crossing the $100m mark on production costs). But this opening day is more than 25% better than either of those.

And it seems a bit lazy to just throw it into the same pile as Twilight and Hunger Games, which have strong genre elements in the mix.

I just have to say… it’s a wow.

And… $25m or so for a Tom Cruise opening is not quite the disaster it’s being made out to be. It’s Cruise’s 2nd best opening in 7.5 years… so if you expected a ton more (his best was $10m more), you would be living in the past. That doesn’t make the budget any more comfortable for the producers. But if the film is as good as many seem to feel it is, would it be shacking if it got to $100m domestic? And given Cruise’s strength overseas, could there be $200m or more there? Of course, if the film cost $200m, that’s still a problem. But for Cruise, it would be just his 2nd $300m ww grosser since 2007.

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24 Responses to “Friday Estimates by The Fault In Our Klady”

  1. BoulderKid says:

    There has been a domestic disconnect for a half decade with Cruise. He is really not an independent draw anymore and his continual presence in big budget studio fare seems baffling when you look at the U.S. openings in a vacuum. But Cruise more so than anyone else is still very much a classic Hollywood star internationally where anything he is in is guaranteed to double or triple its domestic gross overseas. I bet “Tomorrow” finishes north of 400m worldwide and is ultimately a win for the studio.

  2. eric says:

    Thank God for overseas moviegoers. They don’t seem to be the judgmental ninny brains US moviegoers seem to be. Tom Cruise is not the only movie star with a weird personal life. I think his problem is that his main audience was women and once he lost them he is never going to fully get them back. There are enough men to turn Edge into a domestic hit but for whatever reason they are not going while their wives/girlfriends are seeing TFOS or Malifiecent. Hopefully WOM and overseas save the day.

  3. Stella's Boy says:

    Is even $400 million a win for the studio when Edge of Tomorrow’s production budget alone was a reported $175 million? And if Cruise has only had one $300 million ww grosser since 2007, isn’t a $175 million budget a pretty big gamble? Did Edge of Tomorrow, on paper anyway, really seem like something that would break out?

  4. Bulldog68 says:

    Godzilla 2014 is viewed as a box office success even with these big weekly drop offs. It will most likely end up being the lowest grossing movie to open above $90m in box office history. Spiderman looks like it will be a tad higher.

    Isn’t the perception of success something though. Godzilla 2014 will have sold less tickets than Roland Emmerich’s much maligned and “box office failure” back in 1998. By today’s ticket prices, Godzilla 1998 would have been a $231m hit. How do you like dem apples?

    Coincidentally this would also be the lowest grossing XMen to feature the original cast.

    And just for kicks, consider how much bloom is off the rose for the new Spiderman. The first one’s adjusted for inflation box office take is at $553m on Mojo. That’s a $350m drop off from it’s debut 12 years ago. Wow.

  5. Geoff says:

    I thinks what’s really shocking about this opening is the genre… I mean do romantic dramas EVER open during the middle of summer?? Even the Notebook relied more on good legs….even at the height of their stardom, neither Julia Roberts (remember how much Dying Young was hyped?) nor Tom Cruise (Far and Away) could really open these type of films during the summer. And even if you factor in high profile bestsellers like “Bridges of Madison County” or “Horse Whisperer” they never opened at a fraction of this, even taking inflation into account.

  6. Smith says:

    Bulldog – Yup, we now live in an era where big openers can’t even be expected to do 2.5x openings. It’s not just the May trio, either – it happened earlier this year with the 300 sequel and Noah, too.

    Another thing that’s been bugging me lately – should we really be celebrating foreign box office? Sure, it bails out some movies that deserve to be bailed out. But are we really glad that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is going to still make $700m, despite unquestionably underperforming in the US? China and other foreign markets are bailing out a lot of shitty movies, when failures might have at least gotten corporate execs to think twice about the creative direction of their McFranchises.

  7. chris says:

    The thing about “Fault in Our Stars” is that it was what some other huge openers, such as “Titanic” or “Hunger Games” or “Twilight” (which is sort of a romantic drama, too, although not summer openers) had: a rabid, teenage girl fan base. Look for it to have great legs, too, because they’re gonna go again and again.

  8. Hcat says:

    The 175 is quite a gamble, especially since the source material is nowhere as well known as Godzilla, xmen, spidey, or even Fault. Now who knows what the original budget was (doesn’t Liman have a history of going over), but no matter, it seems like like a risk.

    But I’m glad they took it, it feels almost nostalgic to have a monster budget summer movie where the draw is the star and not the costume. As for cruise’s individual drawing power, still not shabby given his age. Even megastars like Redford and Eastwood hit a wall around Fifty, but here we are thirty summers after Risky Business and cruise is still able to warrant these size budgets.

  9. Christian says:

    That “Obvious Child” number jumps out. Only three theaters, so per-screen should be expected to be somewhat substantial if the film is going to be something other than a disappointment. I can’t peg the per-screen for opening weekend based on the Friday figure, but that’s pretty strong, no?

  10. Hcat says:

    Smith, I don’t know if you can call oversea grosses a bailout anymore since the films are tailored more toward them than they are the domestic market.

  11. leahnz says:

    ‘obvious child’ is made of yay, i hope people go see it

  12. pat says:

    I know it must relieve Sony to see Spider-Man do so well in China, but wouldn’t they much rather be making their money in America. 500 million looks good on paper, but how much of that Chinese profit will Sony ever see?

  13. Jack1137 says:

    Sony is in trouble make no mistake about that. Of course this all depends if they make what they do the way we think they do beacause who can be sure these days?

  14. Jack1137 says:

    The No.1 Market for TFOS overseas looks like Australia at least it seems like it will.Although you could say U.K.But Aus looks like it fits.

  15. berg says:

    A Million Ways to Die in the West would’ve been funnier if they had had a cameo from Ted rather than Doc from Back to the Future …..

  16. jesse says:

    Bulldog, isn’t it also funny, though, how perception of box office among a lot of analysts or whoever still depends on drop-offs, as if the money is any different if a movie opens bigger and drops off faster. Godzilla ’14 is a great example of this. My sense is that $90 million was a bigger opening than a lot of people were expecting. It seems like people were predicting something more like $60-70 million or so. If the movie had opened to $65 million and then held on to get just under $200 million, I imagine we’d be talking about how, wow, that opening wasn’t AMAZING, but the movie hung in there and made almost as much as the Spider-Man movie after a softer start. But because it made more of that money upfront, there’s this idea that it COULD or should have made $250 million off that opener. Even though a $90 million opening no longer guarantees that.

    Similarly, that’s why it will be tagged as a greater success than Godzilla ’98 — it exceeded expectations (at least first) rather than failing to meet them.

    Well, that and it’s a good movie while as G98 is not.

    In general, it seems like movies’ ability to get marketed to a $90 million opening are exceeding their ability to hold on to screens and expand past their core audience and get to those big $250 million+ grosses.

    And as bullish as I’ve been about Fault in Our Stars (I suspected, as I’m sure many did, that it could hit $50 million+ in its first weekend), I don’t particularly expect it to become some Titanic-sized second-weekend-and-beyond sensation where it only drops to $42 million or something. Probably it’s going to fall 50%, because a TON of its audience went out on Friday, and the number of people who go see stuff again and again theatrically is not all that high, even in this demo.

    But, again: will that make it less impressive than if it had opened to $30 million and hung on better? It’s the same money.

  17. Chucky says:

    “The Notebook” leaned upmarket/arthouse and earned its place as a hit. “The Fault in Our Stars” is an uber-mainstream money grab. Why else would it be promoted with the usual Hollywood hard sell?

    And no, people aren’t going to see movies again and again in a theater, not in this economy.

  18. SamLowry says:

    “The teen weeper also promises to be far more profitable. Edge of Tomorrow, heavy on special effects, cost Warner Bros. (TWX) an estimated $100 million—about 10 times more than Fox (FOXA) paid to make The Fault In Our Stars.”


  19. Jerryishere says:

    @jesse — re: your Godzilla reasoning… The drop offs matter. It is less impressive than if it opened to 60 and got to 200.
    Here’s why — the 90 mil opening was all about marketing and hype. And then when the audience saw it the word of mouth was deadly.
    If it had opened to 60 and got to 200 it would’ve meant that audiences, y’know, LIKED the movie.
    Sure, it’s the same money but in the franchise building business it’s a big difference.
    Yes, it’s made enough to warrant a sequel but you can bet they’re nervous and there will be more scrutiny on the next one.

  20. Hallick says:


    Gotta love the “you got beat by a girl!” vibe in the headline from that.

    One quote out of that article get’s a chuckle: “In the ultimate spectrum of the summer movie season, both films will have been relatively small events.” Ummm, I’d say “The Fault In Our Stars” doing nearly $50 million in its first weekend during the summer would have to be viewed as a relatively MAJOR event since we’re going to be using the “relatively” qualifier in the first place. That was a gigantic Friday number for a non-action, non-superhero, non-sequel, non-guy-centric movie.

  21. Hallick says:

    “‘The Notebook’ leaned upmarket/arthouse and earned its place as a hit. ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is an uber-mainstream money grab. Why else would it be promoted with the usual Hollywood hard sell?”

    Oh, Chucky…ALL HOLLYWOOD MOVIES ARE MONEY GRABS. It’s the type of money grab one turns out to be that matters.

  22. leahnz says:

    i saw both TFIOS and EOT over the weekend with my usual little gaggle of (mixed gender and age) teens — i guess i’m indoctrinating them to be movie-crazy like me, i take them to everything, it’s kind of hilarious, i feel like shaggy picking up the gang in the mystery machine for a trip to the flicks; and now they’re old enough that sometimes there are boyfriends/girlfriends along for the ride, which is weird cuz i’ve known most of them since they were born or little kids and seeing them grow up is strange days, i’m like you can’t have a serious girlfriend you’re only 8! but no, they’re almost young adults now, too freaky) — and anyway i thought they were both good movies, it’s kind of sad to see them pitted against each other, isn’t it a good scenario to have different types of well-made stuff out there to see? the kids dug both of them (well one of the boys didn’t like EOT because Cruise annoys him – why he came along i don’t know, to go along with his peers i suppose – and a couple of them teared-up in TFIOS (the boys were fine with seeing it, i think teen boys can be a lot more soppy and romantic and lovey-dovey underneath than they’re given credit for, if something is done well and with heart i think everyone can relate on some level; personally i’m rather averse to movie romance that veers into cheesy, super-sentimental melodrama and clichés and i thought TFIOS managed to keep it pretty real)

    can i just say EOT has done nothing to ease my unabashed girl crush on emily blunt, damn that woman is a natural wonder; i thought EOT had lots of ‘girl-power’ fwiw. and it’s good to see liman doing action again, he’s got some intelligence and flair (just pretendiing ‘jumper’ never happened, yowza), i hope if EOT is somehow deemed a bit of a tanker it doesn’t mean the end of his action days.

  23. jesse says:

    Chucky would prefer movies open as quietly and discreetly, with as much dignity and as little mentioning of other movies, awards, or (I assume) stars or filmmakers as possible. Ideally, films would be advertised by the title and a brief synopsis in white Courier New font on a black background, and moviegoers could choose to donate money or not, most of which would go to cancer research.

    Jerryishere, I’m not sold on the quantifiable aspect of negative word of mouth. Positive word of mouth, sure. Negative, I think, is a lot harder to distinguish, not least because a lot of movies are frontloaded for a lot of reasons. X-Men is only holding up slightly better than Godzilla. Would you say that movie had poisonous word of mouth?

  24. Jerryishere says:

    @jesse re: x-men — slightly different. Established franchise with its base. But as for word of mouth, I would contend it’s middling in terms of expanding it. Nobody is going around saying you’ve never seen an xmen movie, you have to see this one! But that said, it is holding up better than Godzilla. And much better when you take into account the Memorial Day holiday aspect of its opening.
    It’ll have no prob reaching 200 which is a significant uptick over last in franchise so yes I’d say it’s a different, better, league than Godzilla.

    This of course is not taking into account budget which is another kettle of fish entirely.

    But back to Godzilla — it’s playing like a super sized cloverfield. But it’s super sized enough and has a brand so it’ll be back. Hopefully in a better movie.
    Studio’s need any franchise traction they can get and Godzilla got them enough. The next one will be interesting.
    Mabe bring emmerich back.
    Although the boxoffice comparisons are interesting…. But ultimately apples and oranges. ’98 was a different world.

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