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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by KladyTron

Weekend Estimates 2014-06-29 at 9.21.45 AM

Because the Transformers 4 opening didn’t blow the roof off the summer, it’s kind of a non-story at this point. The idea that critics kept a $99m opening 3-day (or slightly better) from being a $115m opening 3-day is kinda idiotic. (Likewise, the idea that an A- Cinemascore rating from the hardcore Friday night audience means much of anything is also kinda idiotic.).

But what is interesting is a summer without a $100m+ opening. This is after two straight summers with two $100m openings each. There is no trend story in bouncing this off of the $200m Avengers launch or the $160m for the last Nolan Batman. But the question of whether there is a new glass ceiling on domestic box office is worth considering.

On the other hand, Tr4 is the record-breaking fourth $90m+ opening this summer, with only half the summer gone. And it’s the record-breaking fifth $90m+ opening for the year, with half a year still ahead of us.

After many years of calling “bullshit” on doom & gloom coverage of the domestic box office, this is the first quirk that really makes me wonder if the studios have finally “perfected” the system into diminishing returns. Of course, the international business is booming and all movies over $100m are now international-first.

The real test will be Summer 2016, with 2 franchise films that should be expected to open to over $100m (assuming the head-butting butt-heading is avoided). Long way away. Next summer, there is Avengers 2, for which any opening under $150m will generate shock and horror in the media. (It will probably be a better movie than the first and drop off a little on gross, as the tradition goes.) But if it’s the only 9-figure opening next summer, it will be more evidence of a plateau.

Of course, there is already Transformers 5 hum… which would be a disaster for Bay’s legacy. It’s time to drop out for Mike. He maxed out, I believe, the possibilities in Tr3. And 4 feels like he took every gag he ever decided not to do in earlier films thrown in, bringing his Pain & Gain pal Wahlberg in for some box office heft and a mega-payday. Directing a 5th film would confirm every overly unkind thing said about Bay over the course of this franchise.

There is also no replacing Bay as a director if the next film – there will be a next film or 3 – tries to continue with Bay’s style. If any franchise is clearly up to carrying over to a significant change in style, it’s this one. Lord & Miller already made theirs… in Legos. But you know, Edgar Wright would be a brilliant choice. If they could talk Brad Bird into it, that would be a huge win. And this could be the chance to get Michelle MacLaren a big opportunity to change the game.


This summer feels a bit like Summer 2005, when there were a lot of $200m movies, but only one $240m+ film a year after there had been three. Not coincidentally, that is also the year when the. New York Times and Sharon Waxman launched the false alarm about the end of theatrical and did it often enough to infect both media and real moviegoers. (Lots of manipulation to make the lie/crap reporting appear true. Ugly. As the box office rebounded, they/she changed the stats used so as to keep selling the tale they wanted to sell after making the commitment to the meme. Weapons of Box Office Destruction.)

Not a lot else exciting at the box office this week, as studio hid their babies from big, bad Transformers. The two successful launches were on 8 and 5 screens… Begin Again and Snowpiercer. But the numbers were strong more than thrilling.

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46 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by KladyTron”

  1. movieman says:

    Methinks “America” isn’t going to be the grass-roots phenom that “2016” was two summers ago.

    Shows the value of the word “Obama” in a film’s title, I suppose, lol.

  2. Geoff says:

    Yeah I think we all know that Paramount is throwing that $100 million number out there just for the headlines – still given the reviews and length of this movie, I think they should be pretty pleased with this number.

    And it’s all about perspective: if a couple of months back, you had predicted that Tranny 4 would barely open at $100 million, that would be looked at slightly disappointing. But now given the current climate with X Men and Spiderman not making that number along with weaker debut Dragon 2, this opening now looks a LOT better by comparison. And from a cost perspective, you have to give them some credit – this movie actually seems to cost a bit less than ‘Fallen did five years ago…..adjusted against inflation, that’s pretty impressive. I gotta think part of that is due to TONS of incentives from China.

    It’s still gonna be a stretch for this thing to break $300 million domestic but even with mediocre word of mouth and intense competition last year at this time, Man of Steel STILL came pretty close to that with a similar opening.

  3. Warren says:

    Man of Steel grossed $291 million domestic on a $116.6 opening for a multiplier of almost exactly 2.5. If T4 has a similar multiplier, it won’t catch CA2 or The Lego Movie for biggest domestic film of the year so far.

  4. jesse says:

    I have to say though, as little as I care for the Transformers series and as probably OK it would be if they started taking a box office hit, I’m not so sure that this movie can fail to pass $250 million. I know it nearly just happened with Godzilla, X-Men, and Spider-Man all doing $90 million or more and only getting to $230 million or so max with X-Men. But you have to keep in mind that we’re going into a pretty major vacation week/holiday weekend where the two new wide releases don’t go after the Trans4mers audience at all. I imagine one reason Paramount didn’t open this movie on a Wednesday this time is that they’ve already pretty much got a ten-day opening stretch from 6/27 through 7/6. Wouldn’t word of mouth would have to be downright poisonous for this movie to not do another $60-80 million over the next seven days? It’s entirely possible it’ll do another $100 million. That puts it around $220 million before Apes even opens, and even if it gets hard by Apes (which it could, although beyond-Apes competition is not super high), it probably inches its way to $300 million.

    Which of course would be on the low side for this series. But by pure virtue of timing and (inexplicably popular) brand name, this has to be the biggest movie of the summer unless Apes is a major phenom (and I hope it is! I loved the previous Apes movie and have high hopes for this one).

  5. bl says:

    Paramount sold a ton of product placement
    offsetting the budget significantly from fallen
    they also presumably still paid less for Wahlberg
    than they had to if they brought back original cast.

    Spielberg still takes a healthy cut and Bay has to be getting 10 million
    or more though

  6. Chucky says:

    The World Cup is why this latest rock ’em sock ’em robots movie won’t open to $100 million.

    Anyone see Brazil vs. Chile yesterday or Netherlands vs. Mexico this morning? There was more drama in those two matches than anything Hollywood can put on screen today.

  7. EtGuild2 says:

    X:MEN DOFP just became the biggest superhero box office hit, worldwide, that doesn’t feature Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, or Tony Stark.

  8. cadavra says:

    Not that I’m defending T4 or anything, but isn’t it possible there’s just some plain old-fashioned burnout? In ten weeks we’ve already had three Marvels (plus one more on the horizon), GODZILLA and EDGE, with APES just around the corner. Maybe even the kids can just watch cities leveled so many times before they need a breather.

  9. Hallick says:

    “X:MEN DOFP just became the biggest superhero box office hit, worldwide, that doesn’t feature Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, or Tony Stark.”

    Is this like proclaiming yourself the world’s greatest heavyweight boxer that hasn’t beaten the greatest heavyweight boxer, the second greatest heavyweight boxer, and the third greatest heavyweight boxer?

    Still, I guess the news does deserve an indifferent nod or some other kind of non-verbal sigh of recognition.

  10. Hallick says:

    “The World Cup is why this latest rock ‘em sock ‘em robots movie won’t open to $100 million.”

    It’s like FIFA took a wet dream it had last night and wiped it on the keyboard…

  11. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Question. Where is Don Murphy?
    DPs been throwing out bait all weekend but still the beast hasn’t pounced.

  12. Hallick says:

    “Question. Where is Don Murphy?
    DPs been throwing out bait all weekend but still the beast hasn’t pounced.”

    Those fucking orderlies…

  13. Hallick says:

    “Not coincidentally, that is also the year when the New York Times and Sharon Waxman launched the false alarm about the end of theatrical and did it often enough to infect both media and real moviegoers.”

    What real moviegoer ever thought to himself, “Well hmmm…I was gonna go see that one movie tonight but Sharon Waxman and the New York Times are nailing it, theatrical’s dead. I’ll just stay home and get my Jenga on”.

  14. EtGuild2 says:

    Don’t be surprised when those stories start getting revived next weekend. There’s going to be an “Independence Day Massacre” at the box office in the year over year comparisons.

  15. pat says:

    “Still, I guess the news does deserve an indifferent nod or some other kind of non-verbal sigh of recognition.”

    They don’t give out medals for fourth place.

  16. Hallick says:

    “They don’t give out medals for fourth place.”

    Maybe they can apply for a “Most Improved Franchise” ribbon or something.

  17. SamLowry says:

    Or a “Certificate of Participation” award, like at the Special Olympics.

  18. Jack1137 says:

    If theatrical is alive can anybody tell me were it is (in US) because it feels mighty dead most certainly this year and I’m not talking about B.O.

  19. Jack1137 says:

    By the way speaking of dead have the Critics “Certified” the new Planet of the Apes movie as a Masterpiece yet.(I have no information just a feeling)

  20. Jerryishere says:

    Print is dead.

  21. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Jack, yes the usual same handful of 30-something critic bloggers have announced DOTPOTA as another masterpiece and the best film released since The Avengers.

  22. Jack1137 says:

    Jeffrey funny thing i usually don’t really like Blockbusters these days but Avengers was OK

  23. christian says:

    Chucky once again servicing the corporate commercial media giants and their breads and circuses.

  24. leahnz says:

    dawn of the POTA is pretty fucking good (war: what is it good for)

  25. EtGuild2 says:

    So….the two major studio films being released on July 4 weekend aren’t being screened for critics? Oof…

  26. chris says:

    “Tammy” was screened, Et. It’s not very good.

  27. EtGuild2 says:

    “Tammy” was shown here at noon today, which is basically a joke.

    I really hope Scott Derrickson goes away after “Deliver Us From Evil,” but that’s probably too much to ask for. Can’t believe people thought this looked good. There were so many inventive up and coming horror directors from that 2005-2007 golden age (Neil Marshall, Christopher Smith, David Bruckner/Dan Bush, Christophe Gans, Alexandre Aja, Scott Glosserman, Carter Smith) who now struggle to find or release work, but the hack who made “Exorcism of Emily Rose” is in demand, and even writing the “Poltergeist” remake? Depressing.

  28. chris says:

    I’m intrigued by the very generous Variety review, coming on the heels of its wall-to-wall Falcone/McCarthy coverage in the days leading up to release: “a well-meaning, very personal project?” Huh? It’s a lame rewrite of “Identity Thief,” which wasn’t that great to begin with.

  29. movieman says:

    I can’t believe Sony gave “Deliver Us” a July 4th weekend slot, Et.

    When a glorified “B” horror flick and another Melissa McCarthy vulgarity fest are the “big” Independence Day (studio) releases, you know this has been a seriously OFF summer in every way.

  30. EtGuild2 says:

    I still think it’s actually quite a step up in quality over the last few years (Apes is the best studio film of the year by far…and it’s not even close). July 4th has become such a suck in quality in the last decade that I enjoyed “Earth to Echo” more than any Independence Day wide release since…good God, “Spider-Man 2???”

    But there is definitely something off with the scheduling.

  31. SamLowry says:

    FYI: July 4th Weekends: 1982-Present.

    BACK TO THE FUTURE made only 5.3% of its total gross in its opening weekend; ID4 had the highest number of bodies per theater; ECLIPSE opened in the most theaters…ehh.

    (Other holiday weekends are even more fun to examine: FLUBBER and ROCKY 4 are still in the Thanksgiving top 10 if you go by ticket sales alone–and TOY STORY 2 totally thrashed FROZEN’s ass; HEAVEN IS FOR REAL couldn’t even knock INDECENT PROPOSAL or HANNAH MONTANA out of the Easter top 10; this year’s X-MEN finally knocked MISSION IMPOSSIBLE out of the Memorial Day top 10 but couldn’t get higher than #7, and KUNG FU PANDA 2 couldn’t beat THE FLINTSTONES, which probably explains why they’re putting more effort into the TV series than another movie.)

    (Holy crap–examine Memorial Day by % of total gross during that weekend and it’s a pileup of shitty movies at the top going waaaay down, yet DAYS OF FUTURE PAST sits there proudly in 5th place amidst all that dreck. So is Memorial Day weekend now the new dumping ground?)

  32. movieman says:

    And as far as MM movies go, “Tammy” almost looks like an Alexander Payne movie compared to “The Heat.

  33. leahnz says:

    EtG, clearly you don’t like ‘Emily rose’ (i like it a bit just for linney, wilkinson and cambpell scott, who should still be in more stuff – more a courtroom drama with demonic overtones than horror really) but i take it you’re not keen on ‘sinister’ either? i mean i wanted to shaken-baby-syndrome ethan hawke’s character for being such an arrogant dipshit but that was part of the appeal i think, there’s something disgusting and disturbing about it, and infuriating (maybe i’m a bit sensitive to ‘the thing’ of it, if you know what i mean without spoilers, the type of found footage). pity it kind of dorks out at the very end – why do so many movies fail to nail the landing? like ‘mama’, i saw that recently and liked it until the final act when it just dorks way out with bad cg, but i’m easily swayed by jessica Chastain so it’s worth it for her alone. anyway i had some hope for derrickson, who seems to do better with stuff he’s also written, bummed to hear if his new one screws the pooch. there’s not nearly enough good horror around these days, i pooh pooh that

  34. EtGuild2 says:

    Leah, I think you hit the nail on the head in your last sentence. I didn’t hate “Sinister,” but feel like it’s given a pass more thanks to its adherence to current trends, as well as its relative strengths compared to most studio horror releases nowadays. As you point out, Hawke’s cluelessness is pretty egregious even by genrre standards (you find out there’s a terrifying demon leaving ritualistic murder-signs in your house and do nothing about it except make a kinda-sorta Concerned Face?). Bughool is pretty cool, admittedly.

    But Derrickson has had more chances than almost anyone gets in Hollywood. He’s now directed and/or wrote three completely forgettable and rote projects aside from “Sinister” and wrote the mind-numbing West Memphis murder-story “Devil’s Knot.” But man if he doesn’t know how to put in scenes that edit together for a really nice trailer/opening weekend.

  35. leahnz says:

    interesting, i haven’t seen ‘devil’s knot’ so can’t comment on the writing in that one, but obviously i’m a bit more forgiving of ‘sinister’ than you are; i’ve seen it a couple times and it’s more the hawke character’s ego-driven, arrogant stubbornness and refusal to come clean with his wife and family about what he’s up to and what’s going on that’s so annoying (and supposed to be, i believe, ego-driven desperation is his downfall) rather than the shortcomings in how the story logically pieces together, which makes more internal sense than i think you’re giving it credit for, subsequent viewing helped with that, though it’s certainly not without silly flaws – but as always this stuff is highly subjective. it seems i don’t find derrickson quite as flat as you do when he’s directing his own stuff, but i haven’t seen this latest one so maybe just another horror fizzler, bummer. the sad fact is there just don’t seem to be many writer/directors out there who are able to deliver consistently good, successful horror – or who are given the chance to get their projects off the ground for whatever reason – which is baffling, i don’t understand it. (and if wan and whanell’s ‘insidious 2’ – possibly the most laughably, cringingly, embarrassingly inane ‘horror’ movie i’ve ever seen – is any sign of things to come, if he/they’re ever given more money to make another horror movie, well then we’re clearly through the looking glass and the end is extremely fucking nigh. the apparent bizarre demise of for instance the likes of brad Anderson into the ranks of mediocrity doesn’t help, yet another sad nail in the coffin of directors who showed early promise dipping their toes into different genres to combine elements of drama, suspense and horror in creating unique hybrid cinema; the lack of up-and-coming artists in the vein of lynch and cronenberg is troubling and depressing.)

    the spellcheck on my tablet is ridonkulous

  36. EtGuild2 says:

    There was a wealth of up and coming talent 7-8 years ago…now it seems like horror fans are finding their delights with Mumblegore directors like Ti West, Adam Wingard, and Amy Seimetz (House of the Devil, Sun Don’t Shine, the V/H/S films, You’re Next etc) or experimental oddities like Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers). Aka the type of people who will never work for a big studio, and wouldn’t if given the chance.

  37. cadavra says:

    Leah, you might not know this, being on the other side of the globe, but Campbell Scott’s been a regular on ROYAL PAINS for the past six years, which is probably why he’s not been doing a lot of films of late.

  38. LexG says:

    Good God, Poland actually ripping his heart out writing longform pieces this week about his passed friends, and the FOUR Cold Blog faithful (who nag him year-round to actually write) totally blow it off entirely — really, nobody’s EMBARRASSED that Poland’s obits are stewing sans comment — to engage in the usual “Movieman vs EtG What We Saw This Week Plus Some Facile Box Office Discussion”?

    Christ, if I were Poland I’d consider 86ing this whole blog if I eulogized two dear friends an the only comments in FIVE DAYS were a breakdown about the esteemed auteur of HELLRAISER:INFERNO.

  39. EtGuild2 says:

    Lol, Lex, love how you didn’t leave a comment either, but instead used two deeply personal pieces as an excuse to rant about blog traffic.

    Both entries were beautifully written, and I think everyone appreciated them. I personally feel it’s distasteful to leave comments under really personal shit unless you have something meaningful to say, because it distracts or detracts from the original composition. Unless you knew Ebert or Mazursky, or it resonated with you in a specifically unique way, there’s no need to clutter it up with inane banality.

  40. YancySkancy says:

    Yeah, I think the heartfelt remembrances are the sort of thing that would get a lot of “likes” if there were a like button here, but that don’t inspire a lot of thoughtful commentary response. What does one say? Thirty posts that say “Sorry for your loss”? David probably knows we all feel that way. But it’s human nature to be unsure of how to acknowledge another person’s grief in a way that seems appropriate.

  41. Hallick says:

    “…really, nobody’s EMBARRASSED that Poland’s obits are stewing sans comment — to engage in the usual ‘Movieman vs EtG What We Saw This Week Plus Some Facile Box Office Discussion’?”

    (jumping over to the Mazursky and Ebert rememberances to see what Lex left in the comments section and finding…nothing) Did you type a moment of silence for both of them or something, Lex?

    I didn’t add anything to the Mazursky eulogy because I haven’t seen his work and I’ve never met him. Not much for me to add but a “great eulogy, Dave!” which just looks so stupid after you type it.

    I tried writing something worthwhile about Roger Ebert, who had a profound impact on me as a movie lover, but I just got too depressed remembering how, at forty-frigging-one, most of my pop culture icons are already dead. I feel like a premature dinosaur.

  42. chris says:

    Et, are you saying those folks aren’t interesting horror makers? I’d disagree, if so. “V/H/S 2” is three-fourths brilliant. There’s nothing mumblecore about West’s “The Sacrament,” which is pretty effective stuff. And Wheatley is working with big stars on his next film, “High-Rise.” I suspect he’d be just fine with studio work. (Heck, West’s new movie has Travolta.)

  43. EtGuild2 says:

    @chris, not at all. Love “You’re Next,” the middle two shorts in V/H/S 2 (and the first short in V/H/S) as well as “Kill List” and the weirdo “Field in England.” Just saying that there was a time not too long ago, before the overexposure of torture porn, followed by the non-stop wave of found-footage/something-in-your-house-is-going-to-kill-you movies where it seemed like there there was a gold rush of talent that never made it for whatever reason, and in recent years we’re stuck with guys like Derrickson and Wan making the same thing over and over.

    Had no idea Wheatley was doing “High-Rise,” so that’s great news. West has said he’s taking a good long break from horror (even though he’s attached himself to Blumhouse), and honestly I’m not really a fan of his. “House of The Devil” is decent, but was bored by his contributions to “ABCs of Death” and “V/H/S.” “Innkeepers” just implodes after a great setup. “Sacrament…” I held off but will give it a shot.

  44. leahnz says:

    thanks for that cadavra (yikes i’ve never even heard of ‘Royal Pains’, i’ll have to look it up), a bit of relief to hear Scott’s working, i kinda miss him

    re: not commenting on DP’s quite personal life-n-death obits, i thought about saying ‘sorry for your loss’ or ‘heart-felt commentary’ or whathaveyou but i felt like an egg, it seemed so slight and superficial, kinda sounds like others felt similarly. here’s hoping DP didn’t take offence at the lack of commentary, i guess i just assumed he’d realise people had read his very personal thoughts and just felt a bit awkward chiming in with rather incongruous superficial quips.

    re: the indie horror directors mentioned above, i don’t find hardly any of them particularly stand-out talented or fresh, largely caught up in the typical horror tropes and clichés, same as the ‘money’ directors just with lower budgets (and without the seemingly relentless ‘found footage’ fetish) – with the exception of wheatley, but it’s hard to extricate his horror film-making from his collaboration with Jump as writer, i think she’s a large part of what makes their films somewhat different and unique.

    (i don’t get the “Aka the type of people who will never work for a big studio, and wouldn’t if given the chance” sentiment, what is this theory based on?)

  45. brack says:

    I’m pretty sure David is able to track clicks on his blog posts. Otherwise I doubt he’d write obit posts.

    But maybe he really shouldn’t care. It’s not like people at funerals ever comment after a eulogy. Why should we do it here just because we can?

  46. doug r says:

    I dunno. I’m thinking with all the reasonably strong late spring pictures like Godzilla, Edge, Cap 2, I think maybe folks are taking it easy on flocking to big dumb pictures like T(insert number here). When there’s a picture that warrants it, people will show up. Am I wrong in having high hopes for Guardians of the Galaxy, Let’s Be Cops and Sin City 2? Or will we have to wait til November 7 or 21st?

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