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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Gobbler Len

Friday Estimates 2017-11-25 at 9.44.00 AM

We’re about $400 million behind the best-ever year-to-date gross… just under 4%. That’s one big domestic hit or two moderate big studio hits from even.

Paramount alone will be more than $300 million short of last year at the domestic box office.

Warner Bros. and Universal will all be up at the domestic box office this year.

(*Ed Note: Corrected 11/26. Disney will not top isn’t 2016 domestic gross.  Last year, the studio did $3 billion will 11 titles. This year, it should end up around $2.7 million with 8 titles.)

Last December was the second biggest December ever, after 2015’s biggest December ever. December this year will rely not only on another numbered Star Wars movie, but Ferdinand, Jumanji and Pitch Perfect 3. But it will likely be a Top 3 December again this year.

The media delusion that the theatrical sky is falling, fueled by execs who aren’t finding a way to sell under-quality movies this year, has to break. Anything less than a half-billion change in box office from year-to-year is not a cultural trend, but something that can be made up by or reduced by a single movie or two.

That said, Coco is a weak opening for Pixar and Disney, which cultivated the November holiday slot remarkably well in recent years via the reborn Walt Disney Animation Studios, which almost exclusively launched films in November. Coco  at much the same strength as Tangled.

Justice League is underperforming under the analysis of WB throwing the entire DC muscle at it and coming up well short of Wonder Woman. But is it a disaster, out of context? Depends on foreign. It may be okay. Warner needs to reboot the entire thing yet again. So there is a problem there that needs fixing. Obviously. Warner clearly knows this too… they just don’t know what to do.

Wonder is a shocker. It has a legit shot at $100 million domestic and it would be Julia Roberts’ first $100 million domestic grosser as lead since Erin Brockovich in 2000. Stephen Chbosky is having an epic year, having worked on Beauty & The Beast as well. In spite of being a white make, Chbosky should have studios chasing him for a big movie with feeling, and surely are… I’m just not paying attention to that stuff these days.

Thor: Ragnarok is running $70 million ahead of Doctor Strange domestically and is about even with Spider-Man: Homecoming after 22 days, with $800 million worldwide a sure bet. Universal is insane for not making a deal with Marvel for a Hulk standalone. That would be a billion-dollar movie. 50% of the profits on a billion is a lot more than 100% of the profits on a marginal grosser.

Murder on the Orient Express may suck, but it’s going to be a moneymaker for Fox.

Is this the year that studios get over the silly idea of releasing Christmas-themed movies in early November? Regardless of what you think of the films, A Bad Moms Christmas and Daddy’s Home 2 each cost themselves tens of million by coming out early in November. Daddy did almost $100 million international. Will it do anything this time? Paramount has to hope so.

It’s good news on the awards release front… except for Roman J. Israel, Esq. I don’t know what is going on at Sony, but they have released 14 wide-release movies in the last year and only three have opened to $20 million or more: Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, and The Emoji Movie. Denzel Washington hasn’t failed to go wide with a movie to at least $20 million since The Great Debaters in 2007 and Fences last year. But Fences opened to just under $7 million on Christmas weekend and had $33 million in the bank by the end of the holiday. Roman J. doesn’t have a holiday to build with: they have one of the weakest weekends of the year ahead. The movie deserves a bigger audience than this, but Sony hasn’t found a hook, aside from Denzel’s changing looks and some snappy lines. People may have been unhappy with the dark places the film goes, but it could have opened stronger playing up Denzel as the weird underdog hero… heavy on “hero.” As is, Roman J. will likely be crushed by the December wave, before it gets to $33 million or the $58 million that Paramount squeezed out of the “unsellable” period drama, Fences.

On to better news…

Call Me By Your Name will be the top per-screen grosser of the year by the end of the weekend, pushing past Lady Bird‘s $91,109 per three weekends ago. This launch is ahead of Moonlight and Birdman and behind American Hustle and Moonrise Kingdom. This suggests that the film is close to a sure bet to be Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, which will be an achievement.

Darkest Hour also launched strong on four, though not nearly as powerfully. Expect that the demographic analysis will find an older audience that takes a few weeks to show up. Still, a solid start.

And Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri expanded well again, outpacing Searchlight’s Brooklyn while on fewer screens. December is the most dangerous month for this film, before Oscar shows its hand. But across-the-board support from awards and critics groups for the movie, Frances McDormand, and Sam Rockwell, could propel it through the danger zone and up over $25 million before the end of the holiday run. Then the Oscar nominations can propel it further.

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68 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Gobbler Len”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    The COCO opening is fine, but one of the most under-reported box office stories this year was that, going into this weekend, animation was down $600 million over last year, or the entire box office gap.

    It’s early but next year’s slate doesn’t give me confidence for a big turnaround. After INCREDIBLES 2 you have TRANSYLVANIA 3, WRECK IT RALPH 2, The Illumination GRINCH, and….ummmmm……the animated SPIDER MAN?

    The “Big Five” animation studios (Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, Illumination and Blue Sky) have only three releases between them (all aforementioned). It’s the first year without an original between them (another GRINCH iteration certainly doesn’t count) since 1993(!!!!!!!!).

    Something is rotten in ToonTown.

  2. JS Partisan says:

    Ethan, is it down domestically 600m, or is that internationally? Also, you have Smallfoot and Lego Movie 2 coming, and who knows what else will just pop up through 2018. You are also looking at a lot of money with at least three of those films.

    What’s rotten in toon town? I’d imagine… it’s the wait of it all, and 2019 will have more going on.

    And you know what? Justice League, isn’t a rancid shit show, and they finally get Superman right. It’s not a terrible movie, and here’s hoping it makes a couple of sheckles more.

  3. EtGuild2 says:

    Domestically it’s down about $500 million if you count the fact we had stronger holdovers this year (MOANA, SING) than last. Calendar releases=600m+ domestically. It’ll probably stay around there.

    LEGO MOVIE 2 is 2019. SMALLFOOT could pop…or not as WBA has no track record outside of LEGO.

  4. Stella Boy says:

    Haven’t been to the movies this weekend but I have watched 9 episodes of The Punisher. Anyone else? I love Jon Bernthal but it’s just terrible. Incredibly cliched and predictable. Lame villains. Bad writing. It’s one of the worst shows I’ve seen in a while. But my friends who love Marvel love it so maybe others dig it.

  5. EtGuild2 says:

    Here’s the Top 5 animated Movies of last year and this year:


    1. Finding Dory $486 million
    2. Secret Life of Pets $368 million
    3. Zootopia $341 million
    4. Sing $270 million
    5. Moana $249 million

    1. Despicable Me 3 $264 million
    2. Coco $250 million on the high end
    3. Ferdinand $200 million (I’m being generous and saying this will be Blue Sky’s #1 all-time)
    4. Lego Batman $176 million
    5. Boss Baby $175 million

    That’s -$650 million right there at the top, and that’s assuming a great COCO hold and great FERDINAND result.

    @Stella, no but NetFlix has let me down this year. MINDHUNTER I finally had to discard. The rare series that was TOO procedural and slow paced for me.

  6. Non-Revisionist says:

    EtGuild, Ferdinand will not gross $200M domestic. Nowhere close. It’s probably more in line with bottom-tier Chipmunks movies than anything else.

  7. EtGuild2 says:

    @Non-Revisionist, I agree, but I think the point is already pretty clear, so projecting high still illustrates it in this case. (CARS 3 would crack the Top 5 at $153 million if we’re right)

  8. Christian says:

    I read these threads every week and don’t expect anything other than box-office talk under a box-office chart. That’s what the chart is there for – to generate discussion of earnings.

    But as movie fans, we all know that box office is mostly – mostly – irrelevant to a movie’s place in film history. That’s why it’s so great to see the “Passion of Joan of Arc” reissue on this week’s chart. It sits there, low down, mocking us.

    Does anyone know that film’s total box-office gross over its long lifetime? More important, does anyone *care*?

    No. It’s simply a staggering film – the best thing, by far, playing on any screen across the country this weekend. And its box office is completely irrelevant.

    It cares not how quickly “Coco” turns a profit, or how great “Call Me By Your Name” is doing at the arthouse compared with “Darkest Hour.”

    It just sits there, comfortable in its majestic greatness, knowing that once this weekend’s discussion has faded, once the Oscar season has concluded, it will stand tall, in all its reissued glory.

    Carl Theodor Dreyer. The best!

  9. Dr Wally Rises says:

    See, I loved Mindhunter so different strokes for different folks. I hope that the character of Bill Tench will do for Holt Mcnally what The Sopranos did for Gandolfini ie. transform a been-around-the-block, paid-his-dues solid character actor into a star. Which makes it all the more infuriating that he’s thrown away after the first two minutes of Justice League.

  10. Bender says:

    I’m shocked at the response to Justice League. I saw it last Friday, loved it and was wanting to see it again. I was thinking of going last night to the 10:10. Checked the AVX (it had quickly gone from 3 screens to 2 at my local plex) and there were 12 seats sold at 10:00. Decided to go this afternoon instead. 1:40 show 26 seats sold. I got a refund because 13 of those seats were sold to a 10 years old’s bday. I’m not dealin’ with that noise.
    I just can’t believe its doing so poorly, not because I enjoyed it, because its JUSTICE LEAGUE!!!!

  11. David Poland says:

    This has not been a great year for animation, but comparing any year to the greatest year ever – more in animation than elsewhere – is just silly… that is, unless you are explaining how meaningless the gap is this year overall.

    And yeah, next year won’t be much better than this year, because there aren’t 3 Buena Vista animated releases, Universal doesn’t have a Despicable/Minions movie until 2020, and everything DreamWorks has been shoved into 2019 and beyond.

    But 2019 could be massive again… lots of returning IP.

  12. Stella Boy says:

    Mindhunter is my favorite show of the year. Loved every second.

  13. Big G says:

    “Wonder has a legit shot at $100 million domestic.”

    Is there really any doubt it will hit that number and then some? It’s already halfway there after 8 days and the word of mouth on it is phenomenal.

    When does Kingsman hit second run theaters so it can finally slow crawl past $100 million domestic?

  14. JS Partisan says:

    Holt McNally should have already been a huge star. Thanks to his FX boxing show, that was fucking tremendous. Here’s hoping Mindhunter gets him some more work, but I am not watching that show. Don’t give a shit, because the answer is always, “THEY WERE EXPOSED TO LEAD PAINT!” I do love Blazing Transfer Students. It’s hilarious.

  15. Greg says:

    Why on EARTH would they not make the marketing change and show Superman everywhere in the commercials. Horrible decision to not have him pre release but now? Casual moviegoer doesn’t give a fuck about cyborg or aquaman but Superman? EVERYONE knows the big red S. people need to be fired.

  16. Christian says:

    Big G: My wife saw KINGSMAN:GOLDEN CIRCLE at our 2nd run theater last Tuesday. It was in its second week there.

  17. Big G says:

    Christian: Thanks. Wow, in that case the studio might have to do a re-release. At the rate it’s going it might hit $100 million by New Year’s Day…. of 2019. Lol. Has any movie ever been pulled from theaters with $99.9 million? Can’t imagine Fox would do that.

  18. EtGuild2 says:

    Disney… will all be up at the domestic box office this year.”

    Ummmm…Wat? I appreciate the optimism but an -$800 million, -25% box office result doesn’t indicate an “up year” by any bizarre stretch of the imagination.

    As for your “2019 could be big for animation!,” you sound like one of the saddest shillers I’ve heard in a minute. Please don’t hurt yourself!

  19. scastagnoli says:

    I just wanted to say I read the “thank you” piece recently and connected with your loss last year as I’ve been two Thanksgivings now without my mom. Things aren’t ever quite the same after experiencing such a departure.

  20. Stella Boy says:

    That’s why I don’t watch superhero movies. Because I know everything about them sight unseen.

  21. JS Partisan says:

    Hey Ethan. I am the Last Jedi. That’s all.

  22. EtGuild2 says:

    Yeah JS, that’s what I’m counting. It’s still a -$800,000,000 million YOY decline. Maybe 700! Either way it’s not an “up year for Disney” by any Trumpian stretch of figures. It’s garbage that Poland wants to feed his narrative that there isn’t a black and white narrative.

  23. EtGuild2 says:


    I don’t get your idea of animation here. We’re obviously having a problem when “2019 could be good!” is the conversation.

    What’s going on here? “Scheduling” is not an issue that creates industry-wide instability for 18+ months.

  24. Geoffs says:

    Wow Dave you’re really selling this “Warners need to reboot the whole thing!” line of bullshit too? Come on you’re smarter than that….

    Six months removed from a game-changer success not just for the franchise but for the genre, their next film underperforms….and they just need to throw EVERYTHING out and start from scratch? Right guess you could have said the same thing about Marvel Studios at the end of 2010…after all, The Incredible Hulk had lost money and Iron Man 2 underperformed…..

  25. Hcat says:

    Agree that there is no way that Disney catches last year, their deficit matches the total box office decline nearly exactly. Their decision to make fewer films this year has had a negative impact. Yes Paramount and Sony need to get their shit together, but they have been in the basement for a few years now and Paramount being down 25 percent is not nearly as seismic as Disney being down the same.

  26. Monco says:

    Just wanted to second Bender’s sentiment on Justice League. Loved it. The Superman sequences are phenominal. So much better than Thor, which I fell asleep in.

  27. JS Partisan says:

    Ethan and Hcat, and? Seriously. They made fewer movies and basically are just missing a Jungle Book. Beauty and the Beast will hold onto the top domestic spot… until Star Wars takes its place. They have once again shown, that they know how to make profitable comic book movies. While their competition hired a guy, WHO DOUBLED DOWN ON HIS SHITTY FUCKING SUPERMAN! I can go on and on, but you know… they are Disney.

    They don’t even make as much money from movies, as they do from Parks and Licensing. They win… always. When they get Fox, and they will get Fox. Guess what? Still winning, even though they should turn FOX into the 21st century TOUCHSTONE, but there is no guarantee… but FF movie! Yes. It’s a mix bag, but again… Disney.

    Geoff, of course they should fucking reboot. Make the Wonder Woman series, self contained, and start again with Superman in 2020. You know, a SUPERMAN THAT DOESN’T SINK THE ENTIRE FUCKING FRANCHISE, BY HAVING A DIRECTOR WHO THINKS TO HIMSELF, “I know better, better than the brothers Nolan. What have they ever done?”

    Again, I love these films, and own all of them except… Man of fucking Steel. They fucked up Supes, and that was a poison pill for the whole thing. Why not start again? Why not start again in 2020, with everyone knowing one another, and just going from there?


  28. Poet says:

    Justice League needed more Holt McCallany.
    I’m assuming there was a lot more of him in the original Snyder cut.

    Why does Wonder Woman have to be self contained? Superman and Batman were the characters that got screwed up. They’re the ones that Warner Bros. needs to quarantine for the next few years to protect the rest of the D.C. universe. Not Wonder Woman.

  29. JS Partisan says:

    She has to be self-contained, because Wondie is the only fucking success. Her next movie, is taking place in the 80s. It’s not like it’s going to be a current era film, so let the Wonder Woman trilogy be something that takes place out of the time, and the DCEU, that’s happening right now.

    I get the need, to want to keep on with the keeping on. However, it’s a Trinity, and when 2/3rds of the fucking Trinity need some serious tinkering. Warners should go with what’s working, and that’s Wonder Woman. Everything else, needs some work, even though I fucking love it. You can’t see those numbers, and not get how toxic these fucking films have become in this country.

  30. Hcat says:

    JS, again this is about more than comic books. But I agree on many of your points though think none of them are good things.

    The scoreboard does not lie, I know you referred to this on another topic but the numbers are the truth, and while it won’t hurt their profit margin the case can certainly be made that making less movies is harmful to the industry (and again Paramount is terribly guilty as well).

    Disney makes more on liscensing and theme parks. Agree wholeheartedly, but damn I wish the top studio was actually in the moviemaking business instead of making decisions based on what else they could sell along with it. This is one of the reasons Wonder is such a breath of fresh air. Find a book, put a star in it, make the audience cry, recoup three times your budget in ten days. It feels so 1950ish. No country for old men was not greenlit with intention of selling lunchboxes and backpacks, Doubt didn’t have a board game tie-in. Disney was once in the game of making real films along with their t-shirt and onesies inspiring films.

    Now where we disagree is them getting Fox, though they need something along those lines because right now their nothing but big family films strategy is going to bite them in the ass when it comes to streaming. Unless you cannot live without ESPN, there is no need to subscribe once your kids age past the Liv and Maddie audience. If I am a Star Wars or marvel fan I own those movies and don’t need a new service to deliver them. If I like animation it is cheaper to rent the three titles a year than subscribe to another streamer. Fox could supply that but the price would be steep even for the company that has been on a buying spree. Besides, the antitrust case against it would be monumental, with every cable company and theater owner coming out against it. Exhibit A is the bullying tactic of taking 30% of the theaters share of Jedi in a down year.

  31. Geoff says:

    JS seriously so a Batman movie starring Affleck with a DIFFERENT director, marketed properly, wouldn’t open huge tomorrow?? 🙂 I’m not buying that.

    And if BVS poisoned the well so much last year and THAT was the introduction of this Diana/Wonder Woman, then how come Wonder Woman actually OVER-performed from the get-go? And Fox was able to reconfigure Deadpool with the SAME actor who played him in the shit-show that was X-Men Origins. Warner Bros/DC is staying the course – they don’t have another team-up film on the docket and I’m guessing there won’t be another one for at least three to four years FINE, lesson learned!

    No the team-up movies are an expensive trap and we’re going to learn that next year again when ‘Infinity War makes less than ‘Ultron even though it’s going to cost at least a $100 million more to make – the BEST (and the most profitable) films in this genre are almost always the stand-alone stories…..The Avengers in 2012 was like lightning in a bottle that couldn’t be duplicated with the same team PLUS three years later nor with a dual generation X-Men nor with Justice League this year. I LOVED ‘Days of Future Past but apparently Fox barely made profit on it just as Warners will barely make it on Justice League. The lesson for ANY franchise is usually the same one: KEEP IT SIMPLE.

    If any one truly believes that Warner Bros cannot still launch a successful Flash movie and Aquaman movie from the EXACT point where they are right now, then they’re just not paying attention.

    Logan, Wonder Woman, Deadpool (even though I think it’s over-rated), Iron Man…..THESE are the standouts that every other film in this genre needs to emulate.

  32. Alex says:

    “Justice League needed more Holt McCallany. I’m assuming there was a lot more of him in the original Snyder cut.”

    @ Poet:

    The scene actually was part of Whedons reshoots. Here a quote from McCallany

    “I love Joss Whedon. My scene with Batman was originally conceived as a comedic scene. That’s how Joss wrote it, and that’s how we shot it. I thought it came out great, but the studio felt it would be a mistake to open the film with a completely comedic scene, so it was re-edited a little bit.”

  33. Amblinman says:

    “JS seriously so a Batman movie starring Affleck with a DIFFERENT director, marketed properly, wouldn’t open huge tomorrow?? 🙂 I’m not buying that.”

    Not directed at me but: nope, don’t think so. I think Affleck was a tough sell in the role to begin with. People still like him much more as a director than an actor. His character in Gone Girl is his wheelhouse. BvS killed any curiosity in how an Affleck Batman would play out. BvS killed this DCEU attempt. This is why I don’t agree with folks insisting more Superman in marketing helps. The ads featured Wonder Woman and Batman. WW is crazy popular after her debut, and Batman is supposed to be Batman. I think people’s dislike for Snyderverse Batman, and the rest of it in general which includes his Superman, wouldn’t have made a dent. I believe people fundementally dislike this version of these heroes. So all of it is kinda “fruit from a poisen tree”. Aquaman and Flash on their own in a few setting might have generated interest but inserted into what looks like more Snyderverse stuff, nope.

    WW’s strength was that it looked and played nothing like any of these movies. So JS is right. Keeping her away from this DCEU is the smart money.

    Kind of a shame. JL is pretty terrific. People should be foaming at the mouth for a Flash movie yesterday. And despite the material I thought Cavill the actor was a great fit as Superman.

  34. EtGuild2 says:

    No “and” from me JS, just pointing out a 20% decline isn’t an up year.

    Regardless, they could be headed to a $3.5 billion result next year, which while not good for film, is damn impressive.

  35. Geoff says:

    Whatever personal baggage he brings, I highly doubt that the average moviegoer actually has any issue with Affleck playing Batman – sprinkling him throughout the marketing for Suicide Squad certainly didn’t prevent that film from over-performing last year and a stand-alone film from Matt Reeves if marketed as a proper BATMAN movie (not Batman and Friends) would make bank.

    As for Superman, I think LIKE Hulk, the prospect of a true stand-alone film featuring the character just poses too much risk and not enough reward at this point – it’s just way too effects intensive and if you bungle any of that as we’ve seen with both characters, it just ends up looking silly and distracting. But having him in a supporting capacity for say a Shazam movie only helps.

    And a Flash movie is happening, there’s no way around that – Justice League under-performing doesn’t change that. I saw it a second time last night and the audience was digging his character as much as any one….besides that, you have more recognition from the TV show at this point so the learning curve for audiences just isn’t as sharp as it would have been ten years ago. Even sprinkle in some Cyborg.

    So yeah you look at this OBJECTIVELY and the franchise will be fine long-term as long as they KEEP IT SIMPLE – let Batman do his Batman thing, let Wonder Woman do her thing, grow the other characters….Justice League is a fun film bottom line and despite all of the hyperbole around it right now, the films goes to ABSURD lengths not to offend nor even make its audience feel uncomfortable. So 2017 ends up being a net positive for the franchise even just slightly so – make no mistake but almost every other aspiring “shared universe” including Transformers, Ghostbusters, Power Rangers, Dark Universe, etc…..would kill to be in the position they are in right now.

  36. Geoff says:

    “They don’t even make as much money from movies, as they do from Parks and Licensing. They win… always. When they get Fox, and they will get Fox. Guess what? Still winning, even though they should turn FOX into the 21st century TOUCHSTONE, but there is no guarantee… but FF movie! Yes. It’s a mix bag, but again… Disney.”

    JS I know you’re the biggest cheerleader out there for Disney right now but just how does that make sense? They’re not going to land Fox for less $10 billion and for what?? JUST bringing in the comic book IP, they already have Blade, The Punisher, Daredevil and they don’t have the balls to make REAL movies for those characters – they’re all relegated to Netflix so Feige can continue to punish Perlmutter. What would they gain from nabbing the X-Men then?? Suddenly Disney is going to allow themselves to go hard-R under the Marvel brand with Wolverine and Deadpool….not gonna happen.

    But the other point you make about Touchstone is interesting…..why not just start ANOTHER Touchstone in-house? 😉 I don’t get having to lay out all of the cash for the Fox shingle when it’s a LOT cheaper and less risky to just do it yourself – hell they did it back in the ’80’s! Going after the Star Wars audience and overspending on live action stuff like Black Hole and Tron just embarrassed them but….how much did it REALLY cost to spend moderately on comeback stars like Bette Midler or Richard Dreyfess….or invest a bit in aspiring TV-to-movie stars like Ted Danson, Tom Hanks, or Shelly Long?? What they pulled off with Touchstone in the ’80’s is a template for how you create a different new in-house brand, there’s no reason they can’t go that route again – hell just cut some deals with the ABC talent like folks from Black-ish or Scandal, start with them and make some mid-budget comedies and dramas….it doesn’t ALWAYS have to be a big acquisition.

  37. David Poland says:

    Can’t really claim anyone else is pushing a narrative when writing, ” “Scheduling” is not an issue that creates industry-wide instability for 18+ months.”

    DreamWorks is off the table for next year, as of now. The big franchises are not in this year or next. And then, in 2018, a wave of winning IP returns… and so on.

    18 months in animation is 1/3 of the life of making a film. It is not forever.

  38. David Poland says:

    As for Disney…

    You are correct, in fact, though not in principle.

    They will be likely be down about $300 million for the year… with 3 fewer releases.

    As noted repeatedly yesterday, you need to look at the details, not just the broad numbers. That way lies ignorance… even if I made an error yesterday

  39. JS Partisan says:

    Geoff wrote, “No the team-up movies are an expensive trap and we’re going to learn that next year again when ‘Infinity War makes less than ‘Ultron even though it’s going to cost at least a $100 million more to make – the BEST (and the most profitable) films in this genre are almost always the stand-alone stories…..The Avengers in 2012 was like lightning in a bottle that couldn’t be duplicated with the same team PLUS three years later nor with a dual generation X-Men nor with Justice League this year. I LOVED ‘Days of Future Past but apparently Fox barely made profit on it just as Warners will barely make it on Justice League. The lesson for ANY franchise is usually the same one: KEEP IT SIMPLE.”

    Before I get into this: No, Geoff. Wonder Woman is a cultural moment for women, and people seemingly dislike a miserable guy playing Batman. I love Affleck Batman, but there seems to be a lot of people who hate these fucking movies. You can’t look at last weekend and this weekend, and not see how Zack Snyder’s groundwork poisoned the well.

    Now, Geoff. This is like your sitcom thing. You want it simple. Guess what? I can’t wait to see the Guardians, Avengers, and Revengers team up. That’s what I am looking forward to; and so are a lot of people. We are about 19 days, from an Avenger trailer. Let’s just see how nuts people go for it. Before declaring it’s already a financial disaster.

    Also, buying FOX is about owning that library, and OWNING STAR WARS. This seems to be a thing, that means a lot to Disney. They currently lease ANH, and I doubt this makes someone like Iger happy.

    If you want to go on about 10 billion dollars, then imagine all the money they can make with X-Men movies that don’t suck. A Fantastic Four movie, that’s actually fucking fantastic. They also get the folks running FX, and those folks aren’t idiots.

    While I agree with you about restarting touchstone. It’s just a better idea, to use FOX as the “edgy arm,” of the Disney company. FOX, has a history, and I really doubt Disney wants to destroy it. They seemingly, want to make sure everyone knows it exist.

  40. David Poland says:

    Geoffs… I’m not saying that they need to tear it down to origin stories. But what they have is a style (Snyder’s) that is just not going to grow, a change in Batman, a Superman who no one cares about and has nowhere to go (a forever Superman problem), Flash and Wonder Woman.

    In my eye, Wonder Woman was a launch and her sequel will be fine. A Flash movie seems likely, though not easy to make a full feature out of the beloved spice of a bigger movie. And the 2 core characters relaunching again.

    A big problem for WB is that Superman and/or Batman movies that can’t crack a billion worldwide will always seem like underperformance, so long as budgets remain what they are.

  41. palmtree says:

    Sure the DCEU is a poisoned well in the eyes of the public.

    But the franchise can pivot. WW works, and it can pivot in that direction. Hell, they can keep the cast exactly the same as far as I’m concerned. It’s mostly about finding that magic sweet spot and for DC, it’s WW.

    The best example I can think of is the Fast and Furious franchise which pivoted from street racing to heist/team-up movies. I mean, they pivot so well that they’re practically superhero movies at this point. I don’t see why DC can’t learn to shift their focus toward something that will give them long-term viability.

  42. Amblinman says:

    Hey, apropos of nothing: am I completely crazy in thinking Snyder didn’t direct or have anything to do with the editing of the Batman warehouse fight in BvS? It doesn’t look like anything from any film he’s made before. I wonder if Affleck didn’t own that piece.

    @Geoff I don’t think Affleck sold or cost a single ticket for SS. That’s not a fair argument. The film was introducing a new Joker. And my point about Affleck isn’t that he’s hated, but just doesn’t work as Batman for the general public. I don’t agree people don’t care. They may not be passionate about it but that’s the point. No one is clamoring for more Affleck as Batman.

  43. Geoffs says:

    I honestly believe that at worst, the public is ambivalent about Affleck as Batman – you put out a good stand-alone Batman movie and market it right, it’ll make money with him in the lead. I loved Christian Bale in the part but I doubt he moved the needle much in one direction or another – ‘Begins is my personal favorite but it actually underperformed, the other two were sold more on the villains. And by the time The Dark Knight Rises came out, Bale’s public persona had taken quite a hit after that Terminator set outburst.

    Batman IS Batman, it’s an IP like Star Wars that transcends any one actor or incarnation. He survived Bat-nipples and Birds of Prey, he can survive anything. 🙂

    About Snyder poisoning the well eh….did he do that for Wonder Woman – they clearly weren’t trying to distance themselves TOO much from BVS with the marketing campaign….hell they kept the theme for her from that Doomsday fight. Like I said, wait a few more years for a team-up, focus on stand-alones and they’ll be fine.

    JS, I’m not predicting “financial disaster” for Infinity War, just that folks won’t care as much this time around.

    And with the exception of the original prints of the original Star Wars trilogy, doesn’t Disney ALREADY own Star Wars?? 🙂 I’m not seeing the huge upside in buying Fox for that reason.

  44. Geoff says:

    And besides when it comes to Fox and Disney, I would be very surprised if Disney pursues that acquisition at this point just based on the current climate – they apparently dodged the Harvey Weinstein PR bullet by a few years, they have to figure out what to do with John Lassetter and is News Corp of ALL conglomerates the type of place they want to consider buying from at this time??

    I get that Fox News was a separate entity but wow for 20 plus years, Roger Ailes was able to run that place like it was fucking Mad Men…..can any one be sure that kind of shit wasn’t allowed to develop within any other Fox/NewsCorp divisions? If Disney’s smart, they’ll keep their distance and if they want to re-build an adult brand, just do it in-house.

  45. JS Partisan says:

    Geoff, most people seem to get, that FOX TV/FILM isn’t the same, as that god damn mess of a network.

    Also, Disney doesn’t own A New Hope. They lease it, from Fox. They own, 9 of the 10 Star Wars films. The first one though? That’s FOX’s in perpetuity.

    Now, if you want to make a friendly wager Geoff. Let’s put it out there, and see who is right.

    Infinity war will make like 1.8 bn, and have the biggest Summer opening ever. Also, Infinity War is going to be kept simple. Thanos wants to make Hela happy, and he wants to bring death by the stones. There you go.

  46. brack says:

    I’m with JS here – Infinity War will be HUGE. This year Guardians Vol 2 proved that franchise was no fluke (could’ve done better internationally, but oh well), and Ragnarok was the biggest Thor movie ever (partly to do with Hulk, I have no doubt). Add in Spider-Man:Homecoming, and Black Panther this coming February, and BAM, juggernaut of the likes of the first Avengers, or at least very close to it.

    Outside of Wonder Woman, the DCEU is a mess. It’s all over the place. I liked the other movies enough, but they pale in comparison to the MCU. Why? It’s what countless nerds said that WB decided to ignore. You can’t just expect people to care just on character recognition every time. Instead of a Man of Steel 2, they decide to scrap that for a stupid BvS fight movie that made no sense, and oh yeah, kill Superman, but do it in a way that has no emotional weight behind it. Then for a follow-up, let’s have a team-up with half of the team never being on screen for more than a few moments in BvS. Brillant! Smh. WB tried to do a shortcut and it bit them in the ass. Lesson learned? Probably not.

  47. brack says:

    Stella Boy – After the god awful The Iron Fist, The Punisher was a warm welcome; I didn’t even bother with The Defenders after an episode or two because Danny Rand is the most annoying hero of the Marvel Netflix shows. Faint praise, I know, and I knew one of the characters was going to be the main bad guy the moment he popped up on screen, but I liked Frank and Micro’s banter. I enjoyed this more than Luke Cage, which ran out of steam after a certain villain was killed off. But I agree, not great, The Punisher was only slightly above average for me because of Bernthal. And Amber Rose Revah is easy on the eyes.

  48. JS Partisan says:

    Brack, you may not believe me, but Defenders fix Danny Rand. All of the older, wiser, and better characters knock the piss out of him. It’s rather joyous.

  49. brack says:

    I’ll give The Defenders another shot, thanks JS.

    And I deeply apologize for my mean-spiritedness towards you a couple of weeks ago, you didn’t deserve that.

  50. Stella's Boy says:

    Just finished The Punisher today. I haven’t seen Iron Fist (which I’ve only heard bad things about), The Defenders (a friend said the same thing about it and that guy JS), or Luke Cage, so I can’t compare it to any of those shows. Bernthal is great as always and the banter between him and Micro does have its moments, but the show itself is fucking repulsive and one of the worst I’ve seen in years. It’s gun/torture porn and right-wing fantasy. Not to mention the terrible writing, nonstop cliches, pathetically boring villains, and ho-hum action. I was hate watching by the last few episodes. The worst ’80s action movie is ten times better.

  51. brack says:

    Worse than Cobra? And as far as I could tell, the righ-wing nut jobs bit the dust, aside from Frank. But to each their own. I’m not defending it at all, your points are valid. When I think of torture porn, I think of stuff like Hostel, which I had to turn off within the first half hour or so because that shit is impossible for me to watch.

  52. Stella's Boy says:

    Worse than Cobra yes. I don’t see how it isn’t just as gleeful as Hostel with the torture. It feels like half of every episode is devoted to torture. It’s got a very right-wing perspective regardless of the body count.

  53. brack says:

    Maybe I saw a different show, because for a show called The Punisher, there wasn’t much punishing. He was far more brutal in Daredevil Season 2 than he was here. and The Punisher is no hero, never was one in the comics.

  54. JS Partisan says:

    Can I just put out there, that I FUCKING HATE COBRA! Good fucking lord, that fucking movie is as miserable as a film gets. It makes Nighthawks, which is really fucking dower. Come across like a fucking jamboree picnic, with free balloons for the kids. It’s just the fucking worst.

    Brack, it helps to vent, and I know that I can be a bit much. My apologizes as well. I have yet to watch Punisher, because I am not really ready to watch Punisher. Again, Blazing Transfer Students… is tremendous, as is the Jim Carrey doc. My god, do I love how that doc explains what the fuck happen to him.

  55. Geoff says:

    I REALLY want to see that Jim Carrey doc – is it more about Carrey or Carrey acting LIKE Kaufman?

    And you’re ON JS – $1.8 billion would mean an open field for May which it isn’t even going to have if Solo still comes out three weeks later but sure, I’ll take that bet. 😉 The original Avengers cleared $600 million domestic because there was nothing in the domestic marketplace for three weeks before it came out besides the original Think Like a Man and in the weeks after it came out: Dark Shadows, Battleship, and Men in Black 3….it was lightning in a bottle and none of the MCU team-up movies since then have even approached that quality.

    I mean how many years in a row are we are going to play this silly expectations game: ‘Age of Ultron was GUARANTEED $2 billion, ‘Civil War was DEFINITELY going to make as much as The Avengers, GOTG2 was SET to clear a billion EASILY….ALL confidently predicted on this very blog! 🙂 Hell JS, I can even vaguely remember WAY back in the day when you were predicting that Iron Man 2 would clear The Dark Knight numbers…which to be fair, I might have predicted as well before I actually saw it. How much you wanna bet?

  56. Geoff says:

    Oh and Cobra’s fine but wow, to think THAT story concept transformed into Beverly Hills Cop once Sly left and Eddie jumped on board still boggles the mind.

  57. JS Partisan says:

    No. Cobra is not fine, and Beverly Hills Cop existed before Cobra. Cobra, was Sly’s response to serious action films.

    And again, Geoff. How much did Guardians make this year? It made a lot of money in the month of May, and Infinity War will as well. Also, Civil War is better than Avengers, in every single way.

  58. Stella's Boy says:

    I can’t imagine watching those 13 episodes and thinking there wasn’t a whole lot of torture, especially in the last couple episodes as Frank and the main bad guys are punished pretty damn severely and graphically (and slowly). I figured beforehand it would be pro-vigilante but it’s still distasteful.And the show certainly treats Frank as a hero, unequivocally. Everyone loves him and will do anything for him. You’re right to be leery JS.

  59. Pete B says:

    That sweet 1950 Mercury in Cobra was Stallone’s actual car. That’s star power… “I’m driving my own car and you need to make stunt doubles of it for the rough scenes.”

    Not a big fan of Bernthal. Frank Grillo would have been great in The Punisher role if Marvel hadn’t wasted him as Crossbones. Purge Anarchy was almost a trial run with such a similar character.

  60. KrazyEyes says:

    The Netflix model annoys me so much sometimes. We just started watching OZARK on a whim the other night and we’re halfway in and it’s awesome. Sure, it’s derivative of Breaking Bad, but it’s easily the best Breaking Bad replacement I’ve seen since that went off the air.

    Why aren’t people talking this show up more?

  61. JS Partisan says:

    KE, I’ve read some people go on about Ozark, but no one was looking forward to it. It wasn’t the 18 months of build like Stranger Things. Bateman, used all of his capital with fucking AD season 4, so who was looking forward to something else with Jason Bateman?

    The dude, apparently, has a fucking third act in him. Good for him, and Ozark has been given another season. That’s good, but the Netflix model is really based around following them on social media, reading their press releases about what’s coming each month, and following their youtube channel. I have no idea, how anything finds popularity on that fucking thing, but I am looking forward to Bright. WOO!

  62. Stella's Boy says:

    Anecdotal but in my circle Ozark is talked about a lot. Just over the weekend family members raved about it. Many college students where I work said it was their favorite show of the summer. I have noticed that in almost every case those who love it have not seen Breaking Bad (my wife included; she loved it). I thought it was OK. Some really strong performances from an incredible supporting cast (Julia Garner, Jordana Spiro, Peter Mullen, Esai Morales, Harris Yullin). But it wastes Linney and it’s pretty damn predictable and overly familiar.

  63. Hcat says:

    In their attempt to be one stop shopping Netflix does have a tendency to flood its own marketplace. Plus with the binge model people tear through the episodes at a sprint and then move on to something else, its tougher to build word of mouth than with the traditional “Did you catch last night’s This is Us?” way of getting the word out, especially regarding social media and website reviews.

  64. Amblinman says:

    Punisher’s biggest crime is that it’s boring as shit. Either have the courage to make a series about a psychopath vigilante or don’t bother. Trying to give it a sheen of dealing with PTSD and warrior-returning-to-society is bullshit.

    @Pete, I’ve been saying likewise about Grillo and Anarchy since walking out of the theater after that one. Grillo should be a bigger deal at this point. Dude has the goods.

  65. Stella's Boy says:

    That’s very true Amblinman. The attempt to have serious discussions about PTSD and gun control are handled poorly and don’t coalesce with the violent vigilante part of the show. Count me as another huge Grillo fan. Anyone watch Wheelman? I can’t bring myself to watch it despite his presence.

  66. palmtree says:

    You Grillo fans seen Wolf Warriors 2? He’s good as the big bad.

  67. brack says:

    Anyone catch the Avengers: Infinity War trailer? One word: EPIC. The biggest film of the year will be this film.

  68. KrazyEyes says:

    It’s depressing to me (as I used to love big Hollywood tentpoles) how little I care about the new Avengers movie. I watched the trailer and it looks like the same old shit to me but with a bigger cast of characters who now happen to be fighting a bad guy who’s escaped from a Pixar film. Bleh.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon