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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates: Meg Eats, Slender Man Thin, BlacKKKlansman Burns Gently

Friday Estimates 2018-08-11 at 12.04.25 PM

The Meg will likely be the biggest opener of the summer for Warner Bros, with a number in the low 40s. The most striking thing about this is that WB put out such an unambitious summer slate by their historic standards. They should have a much better fall/holiday run. But even looking at next summer, one wonders if we will ever again see the studio flex all that muscle it used to show off constantly. Still… Crazy Rich Asians next weekend… so it could be a heavy August slate of wins for WB.

Slender Man arrives with a whimper. Will Screen Gems ever develop a strong post-Clint voice?

And BlacKKKlansman has a mixed launch. Strong for Spike and in this 1500-screen range, solid for Focus. But it’s still a $10 million launch focused in all the locations that are expected to be strong for this film. Expansion is not going to change the trajectory. So you can look at it as Spike having a single day that is better than the total grosses of his last 3 films. Or you can look at it as his best opening, with the exception of Inside Man, in the last 15 years. Or you can look at the opening as stronger than a couple of Focus’s other 1500 screen openings, The Ice Harvest and The World’s End, which are both beloved films. Or you can look at it as the Florence Foster Jenkins or Hell or High Water of this summer. Or you could see it as a $25m domestic-grossing disappointment. It’s all about perspective. And this opening allows for many variations in perspective.

Nice single screen opening for Skate Kitchen… which everyone should try to see on a big screen, though it will be a hip movie to watch on phones for many years to come.

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35 Responses to “Friday Estimates: Meg Eats, Slender Man Thin, BlacKKKlansman Burns Gently”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    It’s weekends like this one that remind me: Some movies are made for box-office bloggers, others are made for the history books. And, fortunately, there’s room enough in this world for all of them.

  2. Pete B says:

    Joe, you really think The MEG is one for the history books?

    (showing myself out)

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    Call Uber. Don’t try to drive yourself.

  4. Stella's Boy says:

    Here I was thinking $11 million was actually pretty good for Slender Man. It got delayed, some bad press, and then dumped in August not long before its release date. Seemed like they just wanted it to be off their hands quickly and quietly.

    Seeing BlacKKKlansman later this week. Very much looking forward to that. Hope to see The Meg soon as well.

    Saw Tully over the weekend. Easily one of my favorites of the year. Theron is not surprisingly absolutely sublime. It’s funny and moving and rings very true. Wish it had found more of an audience back in May. Deserves it.

  5. Bulldog says:

    That Meg number keeps getting pushed up. Now actuals are at $45m. I hope to see it soon, and hope it’s pure dumb fun. We had this chat on another thread, and I’m a sucker for an escapist shark move. Deep Blue Sea remains a guilty pleasure family fave.

    Also, really extremely ironic that a move named Equalizer 2 is running basically identical to Equalizer 1. Both are at $89m after 4 weeks. In fact for the past three weeks they have been identical, week 2 $64m, week 3 $79m Did they plan this shit or what?

  6. Hcat says:

    Just saw Tully recently myself, loved Theron but didn’t like the last bit. Like what it was trying to do but didn’t think it stuck the landing. Chomping at the bit to see the new Lee and still need to see fallout as well. Been awhile since I have had two MUSTSEES on the plate.

  7. Sideshow Bill says:

    Seeing both KKKLANSMAN and THE MEG today. Interestingly my 15 y/o daughter and movie partner is only interested in the Spike Lee film. She’s skipping THE MEG. I’m many ways my daughter(s) are so much smarter than me.

    And seriously if at some point Statham doesn’t look at the shark and says “Shut up, the Meg,” then farts in it’s face I will feel so ripped off.

  8. Sideshow Bill says:

    BLACKKKLANSMAN. Jesus Christ. I’m rocked. I’m sad and angry and pissed off. Like the film is.

    I was also enormously entertained.

    The last 10 minutes are victorious and sobering.

    Good lord. The power of movies, man.

  9. Sideshow Bill says:

    R.I.P. The Hot Blog….

  10. JS Partisan says:

    The Hot Blog is fine. IT’S FINE! Dave just didn’t feel like doing shit on Sunday. It happens. How about Disney though? They really don’t fucking get, that they just squandered a shit ton of fan goodwill. I really feel, like I am finished with them. You can’t fucking let the nazis win, and they are letting the nazis win. I can’t support any studio that does it, and it’s not even Marvel Studios. It’s the assholes at Disney.

  11. Stella's Boy says:

    I love all aquatic horror. I rewatch, among others, Leviathan and Deep Rising every chance I get. I love shark movies. I’ve seen Jaws three or four times this summer alone. I just rewatched The Shallows. You get the idea. So I was psyched for The Meg (SPOILERS follow). But man it’s a bust. I don’t mind the rating or tone. I expect something like this to be PG-13 (though it’s disappointing to hear Turtletaub talk about all the gore they filmed that won’t be on the DVD). I expect some jokes and comic relief characters. But the $150 million or $175 million isn’t on the screen. The shark gets so little to do and the body count is miniscule. You spend 15 minutes setting up the beach sequence and it goes nowhere. The only time I got all excited was when the bigger meg ate the smaller one and tipped the boat over. But there are very few memorable moments for a summer blockbuster about a giant prehistoric shark. I was giddy when it started and extremely bummed when it was over. I do hope it ends up doing well just so they make more aquatic horror. We could always use more of it.

    So Peppermint (saw the trailer for The Meg; it was not on my radar) is basically a Death Wish remake in the same year we got a Death Wish remake? People of color kill some fine white folks, so the surviving family member goes on a rampage and slaughters lots of people of color. The justice system is corrupt. The public cheers on the vigilante. Looks like a right-wing fantasy. Hope it’s not.

  12. JS Partisan says:

    Peppermint is about destroying the patriarchy, because it’s men who messed her life up. That’s the difference: one is white male fantasy. The other? Is a woman taking down the patriarchy, and inherently a better movie. Just like Steve McQueen’s Widows is going to be a better version of Peppermint later this year.

  13. Stella's Boy says:

    Widows looks fantastic. Peppermint does not. The trailer makes it look like the same old right-wing revenge fantasy. It doesn’t convey anything about taking down the patriarchy. I hope the movie itself is better than the awful trailer. Have you seen it since you say it’s a better movie? Or are you just hoping?

  14. JS Partisan says:

    I am just judging from the trailers, but the Peppermint trailer is totally about destroying the patriarchy. That’s the only reason it looks worth a darn.

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    Hmm OK yeah we must have seen different trailers. I’ll seek out the one you saw.

  16. Pete B. says:

    Gotta second Stella on the Deep Rising love. That movie is a blast.

    So we’re not going to get a bloody R rated director’s cut of The MEG? Bummer. I had not heard that.

  17. movieman says:

    “Widows” looks like “Time’s Up” meets grindhouse.
    I can certainly dig it, especially with that cast.
    Anxious to see how McQueen tackles genre.

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    Yeah it sucks Pete. Turtletaub said some gory scenes were filmed but they are incomplete and there’s no way the studio will spend lots of money to finish the visual fx and include the scenes on the DVD. So he said they will never seen. Bummer.

  19. Pete B says:

    Sober news to start a Friday…
    While the rest of the world mourns Aretha Franklin, and rightfully so as she was phenomenal and a one of a kind talent, this metalhead would like to say RIP Jill Janus. Mental health issues and addiction are both hard crosses to bear individually, but combined they can be devastating. She fought through them until she took her own life Tuesday at just 43.

    I was lucky enough to see her band Huntress twice, and both times were great.

    Here’s to you Jill.

  20. Sideshow Bill says:

    I didn’t hear about Janus until now. That sucks. Not really a metal head but I found them entertaining. Mental illness sucks. When Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit killed himself in May I was devastated. I still am. I even got a tattoo in his honor.

    I liked THE MEG little more than you, Stella, but yea…it’s a missed opportunity. I enjoyed it while it was happening but I doubt I’ll ever seek it out again. I went to a Tuesday bargain night so I paid $5 for the ticket and I feel like I got just about $5 in entertainment. That should go on the Blu Ray cover. It’s an endorsement of sorts but i should have had way more fun.

    I did laugh out loud at the line “it’s already proven aggressive towards boats!” That was the funniest thing in a too-jokey movie.

    Oh well. I’m ready for The Predator, The Nun, Mandy and the return of The Shape. Those all look like a lot of fun so at least one ore 2 should hit the spot.

  21. Stella's Boy says:

    $5 in entertainment is a good summarization of The Meg. It was just hard not to hope for a little more. It definitely should have been way more fun.

    The next few months are loaded. Indeed those all look very promising. Not to mention others like Hell Fest, Suspiria, Overlord, and more. Also Puppet Master: Littlest Reich is available to rent or buy for $.99 right now and I am definitely expecting that it’s worth at least that much.

  22. JS Partisan says:

    Hey SB: here’s a question, and I think I know the answer. I just want to ask anyway. Do you like the Puppets from Puppet Masters evil, or do you like them as anti-heroes? Personally? Their anti-hero movies, are just so much fun to me, that it bums me out they have returned to their violent and deadly ways. The new rebootish movie, still looks like a fun movie.

    I will admit, that I am looking forward to A Star Is Born. It looks ridiculous, but sweet.

  23. Sideshow Bill says:

    I forgot about SUSPERIA. And OVERLORD could be a lot of fun. I plan on watching the new PUPPET MASTER this weekend, as well as UPGRADE.

    THE BARN, which I’ve been trying to see for a long time, is finally available to stream. And I’m alsolooking forward to the sequel to HELL HOUSE LLC. I thought the first one was surprisingly effective.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    Really liked Upgrade a lot. Good stuff. I think you’ll like it. And I also enjoyed Hell House much more than I thought I would.

    I never really considered that JS, and honestly I haven’t seen much of the Puppet Master series. My interest in the new one is due to being a big fan of S. Craig Zahler and the highly enthusiastic reviews from horror nerds.

  25. movieman says:

    “CRA” is a wonderful indulgence: it’s like a Bollywood movie (albeit w/ a different kind of Asian), no musical production numbers and a shorter run time.
    I hope Michelle Yeoh gets some Best Supporting Actress traction during awards season.

    Appreciated what Berg was going for in “Mile 22,” but the movie just didn’t work for me. Like in “All the Money…,” Wahlberg’s thesping limitations are a sore spot.
    Found a good two-thirds of the movie generally incoherent: yeah, yeah, it all “comes together” in the concluding 5 minutes, but it was too little too late for me.
    “The Raid” dude is cool, though, and Maggie from “TWD” does a nice job.
    Can’t imagine this launching a Wahlberg franchise: “CIA spook w/ Asperger’s” doesn’t translate as Bourne 2.0 to me.

  26. Stella's Boy says:

    Wahlberg and Berg are launching a franchise on Netflix with that Spencer for Hire project. Probably a smart move for them both.

  27. leahnz says:

    berg and wahlberg should just get married already, they already even have the same name practically — go for hyphenated, “Wahl-Berg”, so as to avoid any bitchy double-the-patriarchy arguments.

    i’m compelled to pay cash money to see any movie that features cliff curtis in el cinema, but good grief can anyone make a decent big-budge ‘B movie’ anymore?
    ‘deep blue sea’, while dumber than a sack of hair at times and laughable CGI sharks and all, is freakin ‘jaws’ compared to ‘the meg’ in terms of suspense, story and pacing.
    ‘the meg’ was tolerable for maybe half the runtime when the ensemble cast was still all together (— sPOILERES —- i chuckled at the ‘best i-told-you-so’ line between the exes and there was a single moment of semi-suspense, when the megalodon’s face materialises in the deep water outside the tube to the little girl, first good look at the massive predator) but then they leave the research vessel and go to shore and it’s all just a very sad trombone

  28. leahnz says:

    crap i meant to say above after the mention in this thread of puppets that i’m intrigued by ‘the happytime murders’ after learning that the writer was inspired by ‘meet the feebles’, hopefully it’s even 1/5th as fucked up

  29. movieman says:

    With Hollywood’s mania for recycling, I’m a little stunned Wahlberg never got his “Million” (or has it been upgraded to “Billion”?) Dollar Man” franchise wannabe made.
    A rebooted “Spencer for Hire”–as a streaming series–will suffice, I suppose. Just hope it’s better than “Wahlburgers.”

  30. leahnz says:

    all sarcasm aside, i wish berg would step away from wahl for a bit, branch out and see other people (with berg’s next up flick it’ll be five in a row i think for Wahl-Berg, it’s just getting weird and boring). berg’s early bit of action flair and edge like in ‘the kingdom’, rundown and hancock is getting dulled by all the middling wahlberg sameness

  31. Sideshow Bill says:

    “berg and wahlberg should just get married already, they already even have the same name practically — go for hyphenated, “Wahl-Berg”, so as to avoid any bitchy double-the-patriarchy arguments.”

    seconded. They need to give it a rest. It’s not working. Wahlberg, a limited actor as someone else said, is capable of being very funny. He needs to break away from Berg and do more comedy. Not just Daddy’s Home type junk. He was so great in The Other Guys (and ye I know that had Ferrell too but it also had Adam McKay).

  32. JS Partisan says:

    To be faiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir, Berg and Funky Bunch, are both of the belief that it’s 15 years ago, and not almost another decade. They keep making these movies, that would have been HUGE during early 21st century bro-years. Now? They are just movies you see, scratch your head at; and ignore.

    Spencer for Hire, may be something that gets some eyeballs. Other than that? They are cinema anachronisms.

  33. palmtree says:

    I was hoping for some CRA analysis given the amount that was written about its prosects and its significance before this weekend.

  34. leahnz says:

    re wahlberg, not sure it’s entirely kind to recommend but his appearance as a guest on ‘the graham norton show’ (last year maybe?) wherein he gets progressively and ultimately shitfaced on white wine, making a right fool of himself in the process, is rather cringingly amusing viewing

  35. Dr Wally Rises says:

    So…… Boyle is out of Bond now. Here’s a suggestion – flip him and Gunn. Boyle to give us a Guardians movie, and Gunn to parachute into the Bond franchise. Not that it would ever happen. A more likely scenario?

    Is your movie heading into trouble? Are you experiencing creative differences? Have you recently fired your director and need your movie delivered by a set date? Just dial 1-800-CALL-RON now!

The Hot Blog

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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