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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Soft Sequels Klady

Weekend Estimates 2016-07-24 at 9.58.19 AM

I think we covered most of this yesterday.

Star Trek, as a film franchise, faces what the old TV-based film series faced… a glass ceiling. No one should be complaining about a $59m opening. But the films are too expensive for that number not to be, uh, problematic. So do you raise the bridge or lower the water? I believe that Paramount needs to find a scrappy young filmmaker to reboot the whole thing again – perhaps with the central 3 to 6 cast members – as a $100 million an “episode” series. More digital mayhem will simply continue to see a release-by-release decline in gross. Get back to character over CG and they have a chance to do a consistent $250m – $300m worldwide gross, make some money, and if they got very, very lucky, it could actually break out with a new voice.

Ghostbusters – again – did this to some degree. Feig humor is not UCB humor or even, really, Apatow family humor (even though Paul and Judd came up together in part). This Ghostbusters had a very different energy than the original, but it was recognizably the energy of Feig’s films. But the power of the previous legendary franchise, both pro and con, really kept Columbia from selling the change. They were either trying to capitalize on the original or to fight off obnoxious pigs pushing the anti-woman agenda. As a result, this film won’t even do good Feig business. This could have – in theory – been a Fey/Poehler film or a Rogen/Goldberg film or a Nancy Meyers film (ghostbusters who are inconvenienced by ghosts while getting their Bentleys detailed). Really, you could have gone all Furious and put together a beautiful, multi-ethnic cast of rising stars pretending to be underdogs, up-ed the action and lowered the brain density. Someone could still do that under another name. Ghosts are not copyrightable.

What Ghostbusters (2016) never was going to be was the original… even more so with Harold Ramis gone… but even with Ramis, it was never coming back together. Feig was a direction. And though I would have liked a bit more aggressive/specific a character from one of the two leads, he gave them what he does. And it works on that level. So I don’t question why it didn’t do monster business. But I do wonder why it didn’t do Feig business, at least.

The Ice Age: Collision Course number – somewhat irrelevant as noted yesterday – is a horror show. An animated film very specifically directed to kids can’t do 3x Friday? Wow. That sucks. I mean, a big Thursday/Friday number and okay… but coming off of $7.5 million? FUGLY. And the movie will still probably play overseas and make good money. But oh my my… embarrassing. A tipping point of some kind? When we look back?

The chart is loaded with sad numbers… Mike & Dave didn’t blow up… The BFG is a low moment for Spielberg… ID4-2 passed $100m domestic (even though international may keep red ink from spilling, now at $365m ww)… Now You See Me Again (#3 headed to Netflix?). But there is balance from surprises up and down the chart as well. Central Intelligence, Conjuring 2, Pets, The Shallows, the size of Dory, etc.

And here are some worldwide numbers that make domestic flops look less floppy…
Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 11.30.51 AM

Of the 24 films worldwide that have passed $150m worldwide to date this year, only 3 are under 50% of revenue from overseas… 2 of which (Dory/Pets) are pretty much guaranteed to flip and the third of which (Central Intelligence) could catch up even though it is at multiple commercial disadvantages overseas. So I suspect there will be no more than 1 such title released in the first 7 months of 2016.

There were 2 such films last year by this time (Pitch Perfect 2 and Spongebob with Compton about to arrive)… and 6 released by end of July 2014 (Ride Along, 22 Jump St, Neighbors, Lego Movie, Divergent, Monuments)… and I suspect that number just keeps increasing as you go back.


Per-screen winners for the weekend are AbFab: The Movie, Cafe Society, and murdering it on 1 screen, with an epic $86,500 (especially for a non-awards player just releasing like a normal film), Don’t Think Twice.

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18 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Soft Sequels Klady”

  1. Geoff says:

    Obviously some folks are going after Star Trek and how it under-performed but I don’t see how it could have made much more money on this particular weekend – you had FIVE films grossing more than $20 million, about $60 million in money just going to animation, and the weekend was up about 20% from last year – there wasn’t enough money on the table for a bigger four-quadrant launch, Paramount should have just bit the bullet and moved it out of summer.

    And right along with that, Fox clearly didn’t care about the domestic opening of a new Ice Age – after 14 years and all of the overseas money, isn’t it just found money at this point?

  2. EtGuild2 says:

    Illumination becomes the second studio to release four $250 million+ computer animated movies. Pixar has 8, with a record-holding four 300 million+ grossers…a record Illume will come within one of in a couple weeks.

    Hard to believe CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is Viggo Mortensen’s first $1 million grosser in almost five years…until you remember he’s been off doing the most interesting, if often inpenetrable projects of any working lead-actor.

    Saw PHANTOM BOY this weekend and really liked it. GKIDS is flourishing quality-wise post-Ghibli, with this, BOY AND THE WORLD and APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD all dropping in the last 6 months or so. I wish people would go see their movies.

  3. David Poland says:

    The Pixar/Illumination comparison is a rather specious. Timing. Originals. Etc.

    It’s pretty clear that 4 more Pixar titles, if released in the market of the last 5 years, would have easily cracked $300 million.

    And the fact that Pixar has 5 originals over $250m domestic to Illumination’s 2 is major. It’s not dissimilar to Pixar vs DWA.

    That said, great to see Illumination hit big with a non-Minion film. Great company. Hugely successful. Etc. Just not quite Pixar.

  4. EtGuild2 says:

    That’s very true. Illumination has a more early-days DWA approach, but it’s interesting how the comparison is more apropos now to Dreamworks than, even a year ago, Blue Sky. A comparison with Pixar starts to become a bit more apt if they can score with SING this Christmas.

  5. Movieman says:

    Mike Birbiglia’s last movie opened huge in limited release, too, but that initial heat never translated to crossover country success. Not expecting any miracles this time either. He’s becoming a nice niche unto himself, though.
    Delighted that D’Souza’s latest stink bomb opened meh in wide release. Guess that means Repubs hate Obama more than they do Hillary, lol.

  6. David Poland says:

    Geoff… with due respect… bullshit.

    There is zero reason why Trek couldn’t have opened better and certainly up to the numbers of the first 2 JJs.

    If people wanted to see the film, there was easily $20 million more there for Trek. It coasted.

    And that title… Beyond? Huh? I have seen the film and I still have no idea why it has that title.

  7. Geoff says:

    I appreciate the due respect Dave but the last one had a hyper-aggressive six month marketing campaign (which this one didn’t even approach), much less crowded market to open in, and barely cleared $70 million opening weekend – that’s $10 mill more than this one, where’s that extra $20 million coming from?? 🙂 MAYBE if you didn’t have a (formerly) big animated property AND if you didn’t have an overperforming PG-13 horror film BOTH opening to over $20 million each the same weekend.

  8. Geoff says:

    You had $100 million in openers this weekend….. Paramount opens this in April, they could have cleared $70 million opening weekend, they MIGHT make up some of that difference with higher weekday grosses.

  9. EtGuild2 says:

    I’d guess it comes from childless white people over 35. I assume they still exist…though TARZAN seems to be the only meager evidence this summer.

    EDIT NOTE: Angels and Demons and STAR TREK both managed over $40 million in May 2009. DA VINCI CODE opened to $77 million across from OVER THE HEDGE. I think those movies are a somewhat good comparison. MONSTERS U and WWZ opened to $65 million+ in direct competition as well. You had INSIDE OUT and JW at $90 million+ the same weekend. Etc Etc. If the want factor is there, it’s there.

  10. Pete B. says:

    So according to Dave’s chart, we should expect Ice Age Warcraft to make a killing overseas. Sweet!

  11. Joshua K. says:

    I’m not sure what’s so impressive about movies making more money overseas than in the U.S. There are a lot more people outside the U.S. than in the domestic market; the U.S. and Canada combined only have about 5% of the world’s population. And most big-budget movies are planned to have international appeal rather than a solely domestic audience.

    Even just considering five major foreign markets — Japan, Germany, U.K., France, and Italy — those five countries have a combined population greater than the U.S. and Canada combined.

  12. Christian says:

    EtGuild: I haven’t caught up yet with APRIL, but saw BOY AND THE WORLD last week and found it, well, EXTRAORDINARY! GKIDS really has been consistently excellent, picking up the Pixar slack as it went into sequel mode. But hardly anyone mentions that. So, thank you.

  13. EtGuild2 says:

    No problem Christian, they need all the exposure they can get. I started to think maybe there was a problem with their market-release strategy in late 2014, when they dropped arguably the two best animated movies of the last several years, SONG OF THE SEA and PRINCESS KAGUYA two months apart, along with the Miyazaki/Takahata documentary KINGDOM OF DREAMS AND MADNESS and no one went to see them, or has any idea what I’m talking about most of the time when I bring them up today unless its “oh I saw they got Oscar noms.”

  14. Mike says:

    I was really happy to see them release an English language version of Only Yesterday, one of my favorite Ghibli films. Princess Kaguya didn’t do much for me, though.

  15. Steve D. says:

    @Joshua K
    “I’m not sure what’s so impressive about movies making more money overseas than in the U.S. There are a lot more people outside the U.S. than in the domestic market; the U.S. and Canada combined only have about 5% of the world’s population. And most big-budget movies are planned to have international appeal rather than a solely domestic audience”

    I’m not sure “impressive” is the word, but it is an interesting change. International box office has always been big, but it is getting to the point where it may be more important to profitability than domestic box office for many big titles, and that certainly wasn’t the general rule 20 years ago.

    If you look at the biggest worldwide grossing films of all time on Box Office Mojo, the 100 films with the highest percentages of foreign gross (70% and above) break down as follows by release date:
    1980s and earlier: 0
    1990s: 6
    2000s: 23
    2010s: 71

    That’s a pretty clear trend.

  16. Joshua K. says:

    @Steve D: While I agree that the trend demonstrates international box office becoming more important over time, the Box Office Mojo data may not be the best proof of that. For many films from the 1980s, even films that were major hits domestically, no international grosses are listed on Box Office Mojo at all. Not until 1989 do all of the domestic top 10 films for the year have international grosses available.

    For example, in 1987, no international grosses are listed for THREE MEN AND A BABY, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, MOONSTRUCK, THE UNTOUCHABLES, STAKEOUT, or THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, all of which were in the top 10 for the year domestically. I doubt that these films all went unreleased abroad, even if they still received the majority of their grosses domestically — but the data is just not available at this time.

  17. brack says:

    So if the data isn’t available, you make up your own conclusion that overseas box office has always been significant for profitability? That’s a stretch. A lot of films back in the 80s barely even had an international release. You skipped over movies like Crocodile Dundee, which was a huge success worldwide.

  18. jspartisan says:

    You know what changed international box office? AC and China! The AC meant, that the Europeans had a place to cool off during the Summer, and those places just happened to be theatres. China? You know… CHINA! Seriously, International Box Office floats so many films, that devaluing it in anyway (even putting in China’s cut), is completely missing the point.

    Oh yeah, Dave, THIS STAR TREK FILM HAD A SHIT TON OF HEART! They finally give the reboot cast something awesome to do, and JJ fucked them up from the Into Darkness bullshit. If Beyond comes after 2009 Trek. We are looking at a franchise, that is really going somewhere.

    JJ may have helped Star Wars, but he sure as shit fucked over Star Trek.

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