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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Marvin The Klady (Again)

Wekeedn Estimates 2015-10-11 at 8.54.41 AM

The battle for hearts and minds and wallets in the first half of October was really between The Martian and The Walk, which turned out to be no battle at all. Fairly or not, The Walk seems to have been put into a “specialty” category by real-life audiences. Sony emphasized the visual 3D spectacle of the film from the advertising start and it seems to me that American audiences have been pretty clear that they are willing to roll out for 3D, but not to see the 3D so much as to see something they really want to see, enhanced with 3D.

Personally, I find the numbers on Walk very sad. Zemeckis is a true master and does some singular work in this film that audiences would love, if they went. With an anemic number like $3.7m on 2509 screens, the word-of-mouth is too limited to establish an ticket-buying uprising.

Did Everest suffer a similar fate… audiences just not clamoring for big, broad imagery? Probably. Universal had another problem on Everest, not unlike The Walk… people could suss out the ending. One is happy. The other is not. But I would say that any movie that is a “you must see this in 3D” is a movie that is likely to pay a price at the box office. (That is not to say that 3D cannot be a great add-on, as it clearly is for The Walk.)

The Martian, on the other hand, is looking (commercially) like this fall’s Argo/Gravity/Gone Girl. This is a movie that could end up winning Best Picture, as all the more challenging films slide into their specific niches. That doesn’t mean i am saying it will or is any kind of lock. Bit this is exactly the kind of movie that wins in a non-consensus awards year without a “must win” movie showing up. There are still some movies out there that could become the “must win” film. Spotlight is already a strong candidate, though it has played more for the press than for real audiences. The Martian has a good chance of being Ridley Scott’s biggest all-time grosser both domestically and worldwide. He has been thrice nominated for Best Director (thus, he is “due.”) And there is a very low percentage of people who dislike this film in any way. That is a road to not only a dozen or more nominations, but like Gladiator – which beat out some truly great films that stand the test of time – it can win by default (which is not to say indifference).

My personal favorite of the award season so far is Steve Jobs, which I think is sublime and which pushed buttons for a lot of audiences. This weekend, the film product-launched in four venues and generated more per-screen each day of the weekend than any other English-language film did for the whole weekend. So there clearly is an audience… but now is the part when we see how big an audience it can get and how much of it will be as passionate about the film as I am.

Sicario also continues to do well for Lionsgate, albeit not world-beating numbers. It could well end up Lionsgate’s biggest non-YA, non-Madea hit in years. And remember the Oscar-winner that Lionsgate did have… Crash, with only $55m domestic.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is on track to be Sony Picture Animation’s biggest domestic film ever, surpassing the first..

They may rewrite sayings to discuss, well… “Out of the fire, into the Pan.” Maybe it is time to stop trying on this front. Even Finding Neverland, which was seen as a success, only did $53m domestically. I’m sure someone out there understands why Blackbeard is the star of this film… but I’m betting that the answer eludes more than 90% of the potential audience. And that was only the first obstacle.

Of course, Pan fits in this very messy year for WB, where The Intern will end up passing Focus and Black Mass and probably Magic Mike XXL to be the #4 domestic film of the year for the distributor with around $70 million. That would be the non-well-received comedy from the not-to-box-office-strong-actress passing Will Smith, Johnny Depp, and Channing Tatum’s franchise. This does remind is that Nancy Meyers makes consistently commercial (if hard-to-watch) movies… but also that WB just hasn’t been firing on all cylinders in 2015.

Is there more than $2 million in He Named Me Malala? Hard to say. Searchlight is pushing hard, but it is hard to imagine the $3m domestic mark coming together on this one.

The Visit, $61 million and counting… War Room, $$64m and counting… The Perfect Guy, $55 million. Just saying. No English-language limited release – aside from Steve Jobs – managed $5k per screen for the weekend. N.G.

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6 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Marvin The Klady (Again)”

  1. movieman says:

    It’s not on this chart, but the “surprise” success of “A Walk in the Woods” deserves notice.
    I don’t think a lot of people expected that to hit $30-million.
    Pretty impressive for a start-up company like Broad Green, especially when you consider that no A24 release to date has done as well (although “Ex Machina” came close).
    Of course, BG’s “99 Homes” did crash and burn in wide-ish release this weekend.

  2. Ray Pride says:

    And arthouse Eden didn’t break $20,000 for Broad Green.

  3. J says:

    WB should have run spots saying, “Just to be clear, Allison Williams isn’t in this one.”

  4. Hcat says:

    In the previous quarter century Warner’s has managed to get a movie in their all time top ten a rather remarkable 21 out of 25 times. And of the years missed they twice hit 11, had a 14 and even batman and robin landed at 17. This year San Andreas manages to get to 44.
    I know this doesn’t mean all that much but for a reliable hit machine to be that off the mark, it just makes the bombs sting a little more.

  5. PcChongor says:

    Instead of being marketed as a banal fingerwagging melodrama,”99 Homes” should’ve been sold as a Wolf of Wall Street-esque tale of seductive greed. In order for audiences to also make a Faustian bargain with their wallets, the devil first needs to look like one sexy bitch.

  6. Bob Burns says:

    The Martian is arguably a better contender than Gravity (ensemble for example) and Steve Jobs is arguably a better candidate than Social Network (Jobs is a grown up and the Apple/Pixar connections to the industry).

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