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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by The Home Klady

Friday Estimates 2015-03-28 at 10.08.18 AM

Lots of happy stories at the box office this weekend… for a change. That is to say, not just one movie having a story to tell and everything else looking weak.

Home has a good chance of being DreamWorks Animation’s best opening since it moved to Fox a couple years ago and the third best non-sequel opener in the history of the company. No, it doesn’t look like the next Shrek, but a solid success on the heels of last summer’s solid success with Dragon 2 and Jeffrey Katzenberg may get some sleep this weekend.

After this weekend, three of the top five openings of 2015 will have targeted children (Spongebob, Cinderella, Home). I look forward to the New York Times expose on how the market has shifted away from its new focus on women – this week’s crap analysis – to children. I know that it is frustrating to perceive a lack of interest in women in the film industry, but it should not cloud our minds and send us down the road of making up misleading stats. Hollywood has always had a strong interest in the female audience and, like all other audiences, exploiting it. You can be sure that if Screen Gems had It Follows, they would have opened it to over $20 million by targeting the strong female horror audience that has driven many of Screen Gems’ biggest hits. The New York Times leaned on the lame “it’s cyclical” thing to cover their ass with a lot of bad reporting on their “women in charge” story. But the cycle is Disney targeting balancing their male lean starting back with the femme re-build on Tangled in 2010. Alice, Oz, and of course, most profoundly Frozen have all come since. Insurgent is just a copy of the 7-year-old Twilight franchise. And 50 Shades is its own thing. As for why boys aren’t coming to the box office in huge numbers early this year, poking at two delayed-because-they-were-trouble films (Jupiter Ascending and Chappie) is closer to a lie than disingenuous, especially while avoiding the surprise male-driven success of Kingsman: The Secret Service and the sexually ambiguous Spongebob.

Enough about that… though I did see an editor discussing Brooks Barnes’ absurd article on CBS this morning and it occurred to me that the editor, who seems to think that the article made any sense at all, might be the problem. (Amusingly, the movie fan co-anchor chewed up some of the NYT BS in a cheerful, unintentional way… just by knowing a little bit about movies.)

Meanwhile, Get Hard‘s opening is nothing to sneeze at. After some wildly over-the-top political correctness came out of the film’s SXSW premiere, Warner Bros actively avoided addressing the issue and as a result, it dies quickly. It may not be the most honest play, but it worked. This $12.8m opening day is the third-best of Will Ferrell’s live-action career. And yes, Kevin Hart certainly is a big part of that success. But Ice Cube-led Ride Along is the only film of Hart’s to open as well, with Think Like A Man coming close. But to be in the position to be wondering which actor deserves more credit for this opening is a good place to be.

Insurgent is doing okay. Won’t match Divergent, which was a bit soft. Keep those talks with the company-buying suckers… uh, Chinese… going.

Cinderella will come in well behind the other Disney live-action adaptations, but it also seems to have cost a lot less, so…

Kingsman: The Secret Service has hit $300 million worldwide. I don’t know if it will ever play China, but if it doesn’t it will be a hugely popular illegal DVD, as it is really a kind of modern chopsocky picture, albeit with more weapons. But a lot of balletic violence should be very popular in the Far East. (The film does not seem to have opened Japan either.)

Expanding well is It Follows, which no longer has day-n-date VOD following it and trying to murder its financial prospects (did Harvey have to have sex with someone to make that happen?). I believe strongly that day-n-date VOD has a place that matters to the smallest indies. But I don’t know how anyone can argue that it doesn’t create a glass ceiling for theatrical. It Follows will likely be Radius’ highest theatrical grosser EVER by the end of this weekend, passing Oscar-winning doc 20 Feet From Stardom. But frankly, it is still underperforming what was possible had it been positioned as a straight theatrical months before its release, with a full and proper theatrical campaign. I’m talking $40m – $50m theatrical, minimum.

Also doing nicely in its debut is While We’re Young from Noah Baumbach, released by A24. It should end the weekend with between $40-45k per screen.

The Salt of the Earth, the Oscar-nominated Wim Wenders doc, will also close in on $10k per screen this weekend.

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4 Responses to “Friday Estimates by The Home Klady”

  1. Christian says:

    “Serena” doing what “Serena” was gonna do, I suppose.

  2. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Every time you veer off your comfort zone and talk about genre films you begin to flounder a bit. Not in any universe would the excellent quiet arthouse chiller It Follows reap in $50m. Not saying it shouldn’t, just that it wouldn’t. Your way = Radius would in the hole for the huge P&A spend to get to that imaginary $50m you cite as reality. If this release is now seen as a failure then your glass ceiling just became your floor.

    And your thoughts on what works in China I think are very much in the wrong. Hyper violent pics like Kingsman never play in plexes there. Chop socky? Really Dave?

  3. doug r says:

    Home also had an amusing tangential trailer focusing on Steve Martin’s character as hapless leader which drove some interest, certainly mine.

  4. David Poland says:

    JBD – 1. Have you seen the films that Screen Gems opened and did these kinds of numbers with? The Exorcism of Emily Rose? When a Stranger Calls? Targeted girls looking for a certain kind of horror. Maybe the gross is 40 or 35… but it’s not 12, which is likely where It Follows is maxing out.

    As for China, I noted that Kingsman may never get a release there… but what “plays” there is not just what gets into the theatrical release system. And really, chop socky is a huge part of the culture for decades and now the Shaw Bros never happened or are a PC embarrassment? People need to get over that.

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