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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Congrats To Panda & Risen Klady

Weekend Estimates t 2016-02-21 at 9.42.42 AM


[Deadpool cume should be $235.7 million.]

If you are wondering about today’s title, think South Carolina. Trump is Deadpool… in so many ways, starting with the hair. And the runners-up both declared victory, however iffy the claim.

As for the box office itself, there isn’t a lot more to say about it than yesterday. Except…

The Mermaid is just the tenth film in box office history to gross $1 million on 35 screens or fewer. Two were Disney films (The Lion King and Pocahontas), one was The Blair Witch Project, and the other six were Oscar-push releases with full studio marketing campaigns that benefited the limited openings, while also building for an upcoming wide release (Precious, Milk. Black Swan, No Country For Old Men, The Descendants, Up In The Air).

Admittedly, this is an oddball stat, but it shows you how powerful a draw this film is for Asian audiences in America and makes one wonder whether Sony is ever going to fix this seeming misstep. And if they are going to try to expand this film to a broader audience, they are really starting from scratch, having to ramp up a campaign that would normally take months to develop with almost no domestic publicity support. It’s a toughie.

In the Best Picture race for Oscar, The Revenant is not only the only nominee in the Top 10, but it is the only nominee to be draw at least $1 million. The Big Short, Brooklyn, Spotlight, and Room are still charting with $400-$900k grosses… but yuck. There have been between two and six Best Picture nominees grossing $1 million+ the weekend before The Oscars in the last five years. This year, just the one.

Broadly speaking, the industry has pushed for two decades to frontload box office grosses so that now, a studio movie will make more than 80% of its domestic gross in the first 31 days. The Academy seeks to sustain audience interest in movies, the newest of which have been in theaters for 64 days. In the case of The Revenant, for instance, the January expansion made that only 51 days… but it’s still weeks longer than studios expect films to stay top of mind for audiences. Also keep in mind that we who live in NY and LA still see marketing for the movies in play, whereas the odds of there being a single ad for any of these movies outside of the the three or four biggest markets in the last three weeks are almost zero.

Late February Oscars are fighting the trend of the industry itself. You want an audience of younger movie fans next weekend? Have Deadpool host. (Instead, we will get a steady stream of as much Star Wars: The Force Awakens talent as Rian Johnson can shoot around on Monday.)

Three of the Best Foreign Language films are doing “good for foreign” business, with Hungary’s Son of Saul over $1 million, Turkey-France’s Mustang with a legit shot to get there (more so if it pulls off an Oscar upset) and Colombia’s Embrace of the Serpent opening strong with almost $10k per screen on 6.

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11 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Congrats To Panda & Risen Klady”

  1. Bob Burns says:

    I don’t get why Le Petit Prince did not get a big opening from a studio. It’s a good film with all-star voice talent based on a story beloved by tens of millions. Too socialist is all I can figure.

  2. Ray Pride says:

    That’s the Quebec release. Paramount Animation releases in the U. S. March 16.

  3. Arisp says:

    Dead pool cume is wrong.

  4. Big G says:

    Spectre is at $199.7 million. At the rate it’s going it will hit $200 million around this time next year.

  5. Tracker Backer says:

    The Little Prince is essentially an arthouse animated movie that American mainstream audiences would reject whole-heartedly.

  6. leahnz says:

    “Trump is Deadpool… in so many ways, starting with the hair.’

    i proposed in some other thread that deadpool should be trumpf’s runningmate but frump IS deadpool is more depressing, assholes large and in charge (i don’t get the hair comparison tho? deadpool got zero hairs, trumpf has like 11 strategically combed around to look like thrice that number)

  7. cadavra says:

    I’m not so sure THE MERMAID is being mishandled. Asian audiences still lo-o-ove Stephen Chow, but even us vet HK film lovers can barely tolerate him, so why would mainstream audiences go for him? They made the right call, IMHO.

  8. reds says:

    When people complain of lack of diversity in Hollywood – Sony’s botched mishandling of The Mermaid is a perfect example. Kung Fu Hustle took $17 million and won loads of critics awards. Sony’s explanation for a lack of press screenings or even the lack of an international trailer – only “Chinese or Chinese American film fans” would be interested is borderline racist. The worst is progress is going backwards. To think 14 years ago Hero actually topped the US box office. Forbes has a good column claiming that the influence of one man made all the difference.

  9. Ray Pride says:

    I haven’t seen anyone report the details on this release, but almost every large, homegrown Chinese film has opened in recent months almost day-and-day at China-owned AMC theaters, with listings online, but without promotion. Was shocked to find Johnnie To’s OFFICE played for a weekend, three weeks before its cinematheque play in Chicago.

  10. cadavra says:

    The world was a far different place 14 years ago, foreign film-wise, not to mention HERO and HUSTLE were martial arts pictures and thus appealed to action fans. If Tsui Hark’s YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE, quite simply the best action film I’ve seen since Kissinger was a corporal, couldn’t break out of the Chinese-language ghetto, and the blockbuster MONSTER HUNT didn’t click even with Asian-American audiences (it only lasted a single week at AMC’s Atlantic Square 14 in Monterey Park), then why on Earth would MERMAID do better?

  11. spassky says:

    @cadavra… Spring Festival… not to mention Monster Hunt has been available for download for over 6 months…

    But let’s not fool ourselves — The Mermaid is just as big a piece of trash as Monster Hunt. And don’t get me started on the third act of Mountains May Depart… Let’s hope Rogue One bolsters Jiang Wen to western audiences so he can make something with foreign bucks closer to his first two features… There is hope (oh and Zhang Yimou isn’t it anymore)

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