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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by (Name The Animal) Klady

Weekend Estimates 2016-03-06 at 9.24.59 AM

What can one say about a record-breaking $72.9 million opening for a Disney cartoon in March, the year after two $90 million-plus openings in animation, as well as a $132 million opening of an R-rated comic book movie in February of this year? Great. Well done. Honest. No mocking meant. But it would have been the 9th biggest opening of last year and will probably be the 11th biggest opening of this year (and third best animated launch) and opening record fatigue has set in… at least with this honey badger.

And not to take anything away from the film, which I like, but Disney’s historical method of releasing films exclusively, then going wide mid-week before the official opening weekend has a lot to do with this being a record. For instance, Frozen had $27 million in the bank before its official 3-day wide opening weekend, which took the edge off (to say the least).

In any case, it is an original film, which is also great. Kids love animals and parents feel safe with them, which led to a giant Saturday leap. And as I noted, the movie is very good. It’s simplistic compared to the best of Pixar, but there is plenty to be proud of here and plenty of toys to be sold. (For me, the most memorable character is Jenny Slate’s lamb… the film’s John Kasich.)

London Has Fallen fell 29% from the original’s opening. (Insert disinterest here.)

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot… Opening political satire is hard… which is why the ads kind of leaned on Ms. Fey’s love life, I suppose. The repeated joke in the ads, about women driving, just wasn’t that funny. I can’t say that I know a way to sell this movie that would have been more effective. There may not have been a way. If you go more political, no one wants to see it. And my guess is that they pushed away from the “comparisons to Margot Robbie” angle because Tina’s fan didn’t want to see her be endlessly self-deprecating. Maybe one of the twists involving the Alfred Molina character would have played in ads, but it would have given up a big story turn. I loved that first trailer. I didn’t much like the outdoor, featuring Tina Fey only, but with her face covered. TV ads were mixed. When selling a movie like The Big Short as something it really isn’t, but gets them in the theaters and then the film satisfies the audience, it’s a win for everyone. On a movie like this, I imagine it would feel better to go down swinging with having sold the actual film and not just a sliver of it… because it was probably never going to do a bigger number. But hindsight is 20/20 and studios put their best foot forward and are the ones who have to make the choices and suffer the consequences.

Surprising Star Wars Update: It’s still the #3 movie all-time worldwide, despite being the biggest domestic hit ever by $170 million, still $134 million being Titanic, if you include its re-release. And a reminder that Empire was 30% off the original Star Wars back when we were just measuring their original theatrical releases only. $1.4 billion for SW8: Rian’s Song won’t exactly be a crushing defeat. And history has been pretty worthless in box office analysis lately. But…

Spotlight, which was pretty much out of theaters when it won Best Picture, expanded to 1227 screens and did $1.8 million this weekend, even with the DVD landing this week. Around a 5% bump to its total gross, which is nice, if not overwhelming. The Revenant fell just 16% and Room only 24% as the Best Acting winners got audience attention. But for Brooklyn and The Big Short, back to business as usual… 48%/49% drops.

In today’s film market, blame who you —100% distribution’s intent, IMO—two months from the end of the year to The Oscars renders Oscar nearly moot in terms of audiences seeing movies, especially in theaters. Just the way it is. The Oscar season – Phase II, nominations to show – needs to be shorter. The self-indulgence of lingering for two months is not where the world is in 2016.

Strong start for Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, the latest from upstart Broad Green. But when it goes beyond four screens, it will be a lot harder to make happen. Trapped, which had a huge Friday on 3 screens, dropped off a lot as the weekend progressed, though $6300 per-screen is pretty good for a Sundance abortion rights doc.

There were only 11 2015 releases of 300 screens or less to gross $3 million or more. Six of them were specialty Indian product (Bajrangi Bhaijaan did $8.2 million). Top of the non-specialty list was I’ll See You In My Dreams, which did $7.4m domestic. Then 45 Years, which is still going with $3.9m in the domestic bank. NZ horror mockumentary What We Do In the Shadows is next, with $3.5 million. Post-WWII drama Phoenix did $3.2m for IFC. And SPC’s Wild Tales, one of last year’s Foreign Language Oscar nominees, did $3.1 million. [edit]

As of this writing, this year’s Oscar winner, Son of Saul, does not seem to be on a trajectory to $3 million domestic.

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15 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by (Name The Animal) Klady”

  1. movieman says:

    Did Sony leave money on the table by not electing to take “The Mermaid” wide-ish?
    Or was it always American-Niche?

  2. Christian says:

    I don’t believe SPC won an Oscar for WILD TALES, although the film was nominated. Didn’t IDA take the award?

  3. The Pope says:

    @ Christian, yup. Wild Tales was an honoured guest. It was Ida who took home the statuette.

  4. lazarus says:

    Why SHOULD we include Titanic’s re-release? Just because films in the old days were released over and over again doesn’t mean we should still use the additional money to pad all-time totals. You know, unless we’re going to start including DVD/Blu-ray sales in the interest of fairness.

    The Force Awakens will eventually get a re-release too and make up the difference anyway.

  5. movieman says:

    $7.1-million is a pretty nice cume for “Lady in the Van;” definitely on the high end for SPC.
    I guess everybody does love Maggie Smith.

  6. Sideshow Bill says:

    Really happy with The Witch’s run. $20 million for niche film that split horror fans down the middle. Good on A24. Bring on the Blu Ray so I can bask in it’s brilliance over and over.

  7. Chucky says:

    Academy Award Winners(R) or not, arty theaters outside of NYC/L.A. are starving for playable pictures. This week a suburban arthouse in my Northeast Corridor state opened “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”. Another suburban arthouse picked up “The Witch” to keep a screen from going dark.

    As always, the Film Snobs can’t see beyond the endless Hard Sell! Hard Sell! Legion Of Doom! for every comic book/superhero movie.

  8. leahnz says:


  9. YancySkancy says:

    lazarus: “the old days”? Wasn’t that Titanic re-release just four years ago?

  10. js partisan says:

    Still the #3 movie of all-time? [scoff]

    1) The Force Awakens and Titanic grosses are Hank Aaron. Avatar’s is Barry Bonds. If you doubt the analogy, then go read that wired article about the Avatar gross from 2010. It exists, and that record will ALWAYS be fucking dubious. Titanic and TFA, at least have numbers that are some what quantifiable. Avatar? Not really.

    2) Counting a re-release number, is so fucking hokey. The thing of it is: it was the first time China got to see Titanic, and they lost their shit for it. TFA will be re-released again at some point, and may make that money up.

    3) Only #3? Well Dave, would you rather have close to a billion domestic, with dollars you know you get? Or you know, the shit show that is international box office returns? Being #1 domestic, is still a better record to have.

    4) TFA would have had a better shot at those records, but China had Mermaid, and a bunch of other movies it would rather see. Also, they had to wait for Star Wars, and I am sure that didn’t help things at all.

    5) Finally, because it’s a point that needs to be brought up: 2.7bn, and people think about Pandora, as a music app. 2.1bn, and if you ask people who Rey is. They know. Star Wars always wins, Dave. It ALWAYS WINS! Nice underselling of Episode VII. I will state right now… it beats the records internationally, because it’s going to give everyone what they wanted with TFA… a LUKE SKYWALKER AS A JEDI movie. If you don’t see that as license to print money, then you know… Poland. David. Poland.

  11. Chucky says:

    I hate to tell David this, but somebody in Japan is spamming the comments section of The Hot Blog.

  12. Ray Pride says:

    Sometimes it gets through the spam filter. The spam filter seems especially enamored of Louis Vuitton bags lately.

  13. spassky says:

    JS is starting to talk about China box office… [stares ahead, pulls out revolver and sets it on lap]

  14. samguy says:

    Don’t know where else to post this put thanks for that extended quote from Ms. Warshowski. Even as a gay man I felt it enlightened me on the state of the trans community today.

  15. Ray Pride says:

    Hope you clicked through to the full statement! RP

The Hot Blog

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4