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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates By Whining About A $101m Opening Klady

Weekend Estimates 2015-11-22 at 8.49.33 AM

I saw a funny one last night in one of the trades that Lionsgate might have been better off not making Mockingjay into two movies. A head-scratching comment, since even without working the numbers, it is pretty obvious that two highly profitable movies are better than one. My assumption is that whoever floated this idea (not sure why anyone would publish it) is thinking that records and which film’s number looks best next to the others is the objective. That is how a lot of box office is analyzed these days. It’s just dumb.

The last Harry Potter movie, in 3D, was the biggest of the series by 38%. It was also the final book split in two, but let’s disregard that for the moment. If you applied this enormously unlikely leap onto the top Hunger Games movie, the fantasy solo finale could have grossed $1.2 billion. Mockingjay grossed $755m worldwide & #2 will gross, at at absolute worst, $645 million. $1.4 billion total. So with the added costs of making and distributing a second birdcall, given all the venue outside of just theatrical, the two films, at worst, are more profitable. But the reality is that Mock 2 will likely, thanks to a continuously growing international market for this series (growth every episode, unlike domestically), equal or pass Mock 1 worldwide, making the split massively profitable.

Another film that has taken a hit for not being as big as the biggest in the series ever is Spectre, which will become the #2 Bond all-time by the end of next weekend, both here and worldwide. The fantasy that Bond was now going to be a billion-every-time franchise is broken. But it’s still a cash machine.

The Peanuts Movie is just doing mediocre business. Not sure how else to say it. It’s no disaster. But…

The Night Before opened soft. Discussed yesterday in some depth. Sony’s move now.

The Secret in The Eyes ain’t no The Gift. If you want to know what happened to Julia Roberts… the answer is that she’s been in semi-retirement for a decade, since Closer, really. People don’t remember that long. She’s taken supporting roles (not equal) to Tom Hanks twice, she did the one two-hander with Clive Owen, she took a backseat to Meryl Streep even though her role was the lead in the story, she did the “evil version of my image” role, and Eat Pray Love (back in 2010, which seems forever ago). On paper, it’s 12 movies in 10 years. But it’s all been in-the-pocket or miscast. Someone like Reese Witherspoon, who also took some time off game for a while, makes a terrible movie like her mismatched road comedy last year… and still, flop or not, it feels like she is going for it. (Of course, this was on the heels of Wild, another box office miss, but man, was she going for it there!) Same with Bullock, who feels like she is in the game, even if her movies aren’t working at the box office. We just kinda lost Julia Roberts as JULIA ROBERTS.

It happened a couple weekends ago, but The Martian became the #6 film of 2015 (for the moment) and is at the top of the $200m club… since everything that else that has made over $202m domestic has made over $300 million domestic. Not really shocking. This year we will have seven films gross over $300 million domestic, which beats the all-time record by 2 or 40%. Looking at the broader picture, $100 million domestic grossers, the number of them has been between 30 and 35 most years for a while now… and should be in that pocket this year too with at least 5 and as many as 8 coming in the last 6 weeks of the year, added to the 24 we’re now at (including Peanuts).

Excluding Hunger Games, Spotlight easily had the best per-screen amongst films on more than 500 screens. Likewise, Brooklyn had the best per-screen amongst films on more than 100 screens (except THG). Trumbo is doing well with $5380 per on 47.

Legend entered the ring with a strong $20,700 per on 4. But it had its ass kicked by Carol, who did $61,530 per on the same 4 (best of the week at any weight class).

Mustang, a wonderful film that is competing for France in the Foreign Language race, also had a nice outing with $6170 on 3 screens.

Not so thrilling was By The Sea, which expanded 12.6x to 126 screens and did $180k or growth of 55%. Mrs. Jolie Pitt is, in this case, suffering the weight of her fame. She should not be discouraged from making movies. But she should make something that comes with lowered expectations as she develops. She clearly has things to say, but you don’t become a master overnight, even if you can afford A-list crews and cast.

The biggest box office story this week was Creed, which has become a favorite to be a big moneymaker now that WB has started showing it in earnest. They’ve had a very tough year over there and this feels like the updraft for which they have been praying.

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19 Responses to “Weekend Estimates By Whining About A $101m Opening Klady”

  1. Pete B. says:

    When are studios going to learn that Seth Rogen quit being funny awhile ago?

  2. Hmmm says:

    CREED might be the best movie of the year. If they can’t get it to decent numbers everyone in marketing at WB should be fired.

  3. movieman says:

    Since it seems unlikely that Universal will really take “Legend” wide on the 11th, that leaves one film (Ron Howard’s Moby Dick) on that date.
    Yet two movies bravely (crazily?) daring to open against the behemoth that is “TFA” the following week.
    Doesn’t it seem like somebody–“Sisters,” or maybe one of the Xmas Day wide releases like “Daddy’s Home”–should (PDQ) shift gears and open on the 11th?

  4. eldrick says:

    you guys really have me excited for Creed. maybe best movie of the year you say Hmmm? wow. good to see ryan coogler is the real deal.

  5. Hallick says:

    “We just kinda lost Julia Roberts as JULIA ROBERTS”

    Sporting one of the most disasterous hairstyles in movie star history with this film didn’t help things either. And after 25-odd years of trial and error, you could probably make the case that casting Julia Roberts as anything other than JULIA ROBERTS will just not work.

  6. EtGuild2 says:

    CREED the best movie of the year?


    I’m sorry, I’ve been seeing this shit on my NewsFeed and it’s absurd. It’s in contention with STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON as the 2nd best studio release I’ve seen this year, but….please. Stop.

  7. movieman says:

    1st and 2nd best studio releases of the year, Et??

    What about “Mad Max,” “Steve Jobs,” “Sicario,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Inside Out”……?
    I liked “Creed” and “Compton” well enough, but geez.

  8. Smith says:

    Have critics seen In the Heart of the Sea yet? I’m really surprised that word is so quiet on a big budget Ron Howard movie being released in what would otherwise seem like prime Awards season territory. I thought that was the whole point in pushing it back from March?

  9. EtGuild2 says:

    @movieman MAD MAX is clearly #1. I have mixed feelings about calling “Sicario” and “Jobs” studio releases. These are films that would have been released under shingles if shingles still existed.

    INSIDE OUT is a push for me.

  10. pat says:

    I think it would have been better if Mockingjay had been actually made into two separate movies with their own three-act plots and distinct titles, instead of two overlong halves of one movie.

  11. amblinman says:

    “When are studios going to learn that Seth Rogen quit being funny awhile ago?”

    Is there any comedic actor who becomes The Guy for a period of time that people don’t start writing this shit about?***

    ***The exception to this is Adam Sandler. He wasn’t funny from day one, but his movies made a shit ton so whatever.

  12. Tuck Pendelton says:

    Mad Max will get a lot of technical nods, deservedly so, but not best picture or best director. It’s not going to happen, I think folks should really cool jets about that likelihood.

  13. movieman says:

    Agree, Tuck. Never imagined that it would receive picture or director nominations.
    But, sight unseen, it’s pretty safe to say the same about “TFA.”

  14. Triple Option says:

    This has come up here before but I thought Sandler was plenty funny in his screwball comedies, Happy Gilmore, and Billy Madison. I thought he owned it in The Wedding Singer. Can’t defend any of the other goof jobs he’s done but he’d be the first name I’d think of someone who started out funny but then got stale.

  15. Mike says:

    How is Mad Max getting nominated for Best Picture any crazier than District 9?

  16. Steve D. says:

    Seth Rogen was never funny. Well, maybe he came close in The Interview. Like Sandler before him, he just plays a bland likable dude who can’t be bothered to attempt a joke.

  17. Pete B says:

    The Waterboy is one of Sandler’s best.

    And was Rogen ever “The Guy”?

  18. Amblinman says:

    Can’t help you guys. Something either strikes you as funny or it doesn’t.

  19. brack says:

    “How is Mad Max getting nominated for Best Picture any crazier than District 9?”

    It isn’t really, though it’s no better than any of the previous Mad Max movies.

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