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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Premature Summerlation Klady

Weekend Est corr 2015-04-05 at 11.56.20 AM

A mega-opening used to be a shocker. Now, not so much. We never saw a $100m opening before 2002’s Spider-Man. And since 2005, we haven’t had a year with fewer than two. In 2012, we had four. Three in 2013. Just two last year, leading to “sky is falling” stories that didn’t account for the massive budget tightening that made last year one of the best years for most of the studios, in terms of profit (oh, that!) ever. And now, our first $100m opener of 2015.

It’s interesting, looking at the chart, that Disney’s Marvel division is the superstar of Hollywood right now and they only have three $100 million openings. That might put opening-mania (brought to you by the breathless media) into perspective. Marvel will have its fourth $100m opening in four weeks, perhaps the second $200 million opening in history (after their own Avengers).

The other striking thing is how odd last year really was. For one thing, Transformers: Age of Extinction delivered the lowest overall domestic gross from a $100m+ domestic opening so far. $245 million after a $100 million launch.

But on the world stage, none of the three films that did over $300 million domestically did as much as $800 million worldwide. And two of the films in the mid 200s (Transformers and Hobbit) did over $950 million each. Even if one uses the China Asterisk (which we really should when discussing mega-grosses), Tranformers would still be over $900 million worldwide and Hobbit around $895m. (For me, the “China Asterisk™” is counting the China gross for American films at 50% the revenue value for the distributor/studio/producer of any other country’s gross. This is because only 20% of China theatrical grosses are returned to distributors, as opposed to about 45% for most foreign territories and 55% domestically.)

So are the 2014 numbers an anomaly, or the future? No one can really know. Our first $200 million domestic grosser of 2015 will be Furious 7 and it seems like a lock to do over $800 million worldwide. So that will end last year’s trend. Avengers 2 will do likewise.

For the last decade, big films with over 70% of the gross coming from international have been 36% of the cases (10 of 28). Of those 10, two Hobbits, two Ice Ages, a Pirates, and a Transformers (6 total) grossed less than $300m domestic. Bond, Hobbit 1, Potter 7a, and Avatar both broke $300 million domestically and $800m worldwide, suggesting the imbalance was less significant.

What strikes me is that we may be seeing with franchises very much what we saw with movie stars in years past. Perhaps it is not, as I have felt in the past, that the rest of the world is simply behind the U.S. on the trend line by three or four years (the fading of 3D being the next big landmark if that is the case). But rather – or in addition – that there are franchises that, somehow, just play better internationally than domestically.

Note – Almost all $500m+ worldwide grossers now gross more internationally than domestically. That’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about over 75% coming from international. Ice Age, the last Transformers, the last Pirates. Are these the Brad Pitts of current Hollywood?

Also… this is the one weak part of Marvel’s game, which you can be sure they are working on improving. They have had just two films of their ten – Avengers and Iron Man 3 – do over $460m internationally. This is not a dig at Marvel. But if things ever slide domestically, it is great to have international there as a safety net (or cash cow). Avengers did 59% of its business internationally. Someone with a slide rule is worrying today about getting that percentage – no matter how it does domestically – up to IM3‘s 66% or better. If they can do that, they can start projecting champagne baths for an extra couple of years.

Great opening by Furious 7. Impressive. And Furious 7 is a Top 10 all-time. (Seven of those 10, btw, are not 3D… for those who endlessly worry about 3D asterisk-ing stats.)

Not a whole lot else to chew on this weekend. Drops were modest, but nothing to write home about.

It Follows is not growing, even with added theaters. It has nothing to do with the movie. It has to do with marketing… or lack thereof. And that was a decision that came long before the (correct) choice to push VOD back. They should have never set the film with a day-n-date VOD. But we’re discussed that in depth before. VOD is great if you are aiming relatively low… and terrible for a movie that has real commercial appeal. (Kinda like my Old Harvey Weinstein thing… great cutter if your movie sucks, terrible cutter if your movie is great.)

While We’re Young added 7x the theater count and got a 2x bump. Still, it seems to be running more in line with bigger A24 films, rather than the smaller ones. One never knows, but $4m – $5m is looking doable for this one (which would make it Top 5 for A24).

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21 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Premature Summerlation Klady”

  1. Brandon says:

    The total cume for American Sniper is off; should be in the neighborhood of $350mil?

  2. David Poland says:

    $346m… not sure where that came from… thanks…

  3. Bulldog68 says:

    “The other striking thing is how odd last year really was. For one thing, Transformers: Age of Extinction delivered the lowest overall domestic gross from a $100m+ domestic opening so far. $245 million after a $100 million launch.”

    That title belongs to X-Men Last Stand. Opened to $102m. Final domestic gross, $232m. Transformers AoE is 2nd. Still not good.

  4. Bulldog68 says:

    Ironic also is that if Spidey and Godzilla had opened a bit bigger last year to put them in the $100m+ opening range, based on their eventual multiplier, they would have done worse than X-Men Last Stand as well.

  5. cadavra says:

    Also ironic is that by next weekend, a small movie full of elderly people (most of them British) will catch up to that expensive Hugh Jackman-meets-Robocop turkey. Quelle surprise.

  6. PcChongor says:

    Well, the British sure do love themselves some post-Colonial nostalgia.

  7. Bitplayer says:

    Marvel should get some foreign blood as leads in these movies. Dr. Strange is a great opportunity. The character is swarthy and oddly ethnic anyways. He’s not well known and won’t bring much baggage, it’s a great opportunity for an unknown or an unloved known ethnic actor.

  8. Kevin says:

    Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Dr. Strange.

  9. David Poland says:

    Sorry Bulldog… don’t know how I blew that…

  10. AlexW says:

    “the rest of the world is simply behind the U.S. on the trend line by three or four years (the fading of 3D being the next big landmark if that is the case)”

    I would very much like that to happen. But unfortunately here in germany way too many movies play only in 3D (the exception are family/kids-movies). And movies somewhere between kids and adults like Insurgent. For them you can choose between 3D at 8pm and 2D at 11am (!) this week.

    We’d really like to follow some of the better trends sooner, but we can’t. So please forgive us for being behind the U.S.

  11. Greg says:

    could it not be that the U.S. was too quick to discard 3D and its actually behind the rest of the world?!?

    I’m biased, I LOVE 3D!I get very angry when people malign 3D.

    Furious 7 could have definitely used 3D.

  12. EtGuild2 says:

    There are actually some potential interesting uses of 3D this summer. JURASSIC WORLD. TOMORROWLAND (Brad Bird’s first use of 3D). MAD MAX, if they do it the right way. This fall you’ve got EVEREST and THE WALK. But everything else…meh.

  13. John E says:

    Wow, Cut Bank. Is this another sign that despite Hunger Games, Liam Hemsworth just isn’t happening?

  14. Greg says:

    Don’t forget San Andreas! If any movie woulda looked great in 3D it was 2012. San Andreas is the next best thing.
    Mad Max looks amazing for 3D.

    Rented Static in 3D the other day…crappy movie and not suited to 3D but the clarity depth of field was incredible.
    Ordered Step Up: All In in 3D from Europe. First movie 3D movie I’ve seen since Texas Chainsaw that really uses the ‘before the window’ aspect. At one point, a character throws a hat into the camera and I actually moved outta the way.

  15. Triple Option says:

    I don’t mind 3D it’s just that it’s over priced. I did want to see that Step Up movie in 3D but wasn’t able to catch up to it in the theater. I might feel differently about it if it served as potential bad movie insurance. Like, some big budget action films are on the bland side but you go see it opening w/e on the big screen and large crowd you walk out thinking meh instead of what a waste! 3D on a mediocre film just makes me more upset. When I see a really good film I won’t care so much what I paid. I’ve also seen some really good movies in 2D instead of 3D and while I would’ve been fine paying the surcharge, I haven’t felt like I’ve missed anything.

  16. dinovelvet says:

    “Wow, Cut Bank. Is this another sign that despite Hunger Games, Liam Hemsworth just isn’t happening?”

    Wow, Blackhat. Is this another sign that despite The Avengers, Chris Hemsworth just isn’t happening?

  17. EtGuild2 says:

    I can’t tell if you’re being ironic, but a balls to the wall dump like that isn’t indicative of anything. He’ll sink or swim with “Vacation.”Younger Hemsworth has made such toxic choices, he’ll be pushed into a corner soon.

  18. dinovelvet says:

    It was…half ironic. But aren’t they basically the same? They’re in huge hit franchise roles, and outside of that, can’t get arrested (though Chris seems to have Universal in his corner, going ahead with this Huntsman thing full throttle despite the shrug reaction of the original).

  19. EtGuild2 says:

    I think elder Hemsworth is passable in the right role, while Liam is downright terrible. “Rush” didn’t make any money, but I thought Thor held his own next to Bruhl and it seems like Ron Howard is rooting for him too.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    I agree. Rush is excellent and Thor definitely holds his own next to Bruhl. Heart of the Sea looks great. I like the elder in the right role. Not much interest in the Thor stuff.

  21. EtGuild2 says:

    Universal raised the worldwide cume on FAST to $500 million through Wednesday. 1 billion seems like more than a lock now. IRON MAN 3 numbers might be doable.

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