Box Office Archive for October, 2007

Weekend Estimates by Klady – Oct 28



Friday Estimates by Klady – 10/26

Based on Klady


Box Office Space…

Here on the east coast, they have these crazy times for sports… so I’m off to a college football game at 7am L.A. Time and will be back at the computer until about 3p. So keep an eye out for Len’s Friday estimates… or the other ones… and we’ll talk when I get back. All and all, it should be very uninteresting.


Sunday Estimates by Klady – Oct 21

I think it’s worth pointing out, though no one seems to much care – could it actually be a race thing… a quality thing? – that Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married is holding better than any Tyler Perry film to date and that it will be no worse than his #2 film (of 4) and could actually pass his #1, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, if it keeps holding. Is this a sign of some crossover? Are adult white women, clearly rejecting Rendition and Elizabeth 2, showing up for this one as a colorblind alternative that speaks to their lives in bigger numbers?
30 Days of Night is one of Sony’s weaker openers in the teen/action/horror categories. But was there much more there to get? Like Lionsgate, Sony’s efforts in that arena that target boys and not really girls seem to be fading. It’s not quite the shock some make it out to be. Even the tne boy demo gets tired of being fed the same thing over and over. They’ll come out for Beowulf, but their next group obsession has yet to come clear.
$5 million plus for The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D reminds us that the theatrical experience is still valued… especially when the kids market is being underserved. It will be interesting to see if WB can get any screens for The Polar Express in the next 2 months.
Across The Universe continues to hold strong on the grrrrl power tip. $25 million is not impossible. But the whole experience has to be much more exciting (and pressure filled) for the DVD release, where they will hope to become a phenom and make back the money the film cost.
Anyone who thinks that a $3500 per screen for Gone Baby Gone is a bad result was smoking the pipe going into the weekend. It’s the third best per screen amongst 1000+ screen titles, which is amazing considering that Casey Affleck is not a star and the film is being sold almost exclusively on positive media energy.
Into The Wild took some more lumps as it expanded from 153 to 658 screens. As a point of reference, it did a similar per-screen to GBG while being on about a third of the screens. I don’t know why this film, which is beloved by a high percent of viewers once they see it, isn’t quite catching.
The Darjeeling Limited is playing it closer to the vest, doing better in per screen, but finding a smaller audience in actuality. Logically, Searchlight is mining all the money that is out there for the film… a limited opportunity once they knew lightening wasn’t striking.
3:10 to Yuma has been forced to give up screens, essentially ending the theatrical run, but $53 million is quite an excellent haul.
Lars & The Real Girl is limping along, hoping for a word of mouth push to come. The $8800 per screen is second only to Nightmare 3D in the Top 30. Nice. But that next step has been the killer this season… let’s hope they figure out how to turn that trick. The film is running on a similar track to Half Nelson so far… but this one not only deserves better (so did HN, for that matter), but it is a much more audience friendly film… they just need to let audiences know that.


Friday Estimates by Klady – 10/19

Another week, another four new movies with expectations. (The complaining in New York about the number of new movies that needs to be reviewed each week is understandable, but the truth of every other city is that four newbies from studios with real hopes is still a pretty busy week.)
Did Sony see 30 Days of Night as being soft as The Messengers? Probably not. But it might be interesting to note Sam-Raimi-as-producer produced that soft seller as well as the more unexpected, but still not $20m opening Boogeyman. I


Whose Tracking Is It Anyway?

In trying to offer some perspective on box office prediction madness, the Los Angeles Times’ John Horn, a guy who has been around and smart for a long time, takes us further down the rabbit hole.
He writes:
Every weekend, the studios turn to three research firms to help predict upcoming box-office numbers. The companies — IAG Research, OTX and the National Research Group — conduct different surveys, but their numbers all try to answer the same question: Are moviegoers interested in a new release?
The data is called tracking, and throughout the week (but especially on Thursday and Friday), marketing and distribution executives sift through the numbers as closely as a desperate 49er panning for gold.

First, instead of getting into why tracking from all three companies is inherently flawed, he just kind of accepts that they are chasing a goal. But their goal is not primarily to find out if moviegoers are interested in a new release. The primary goal is to find out if the tens of millions in marketing and publicity is hitting the mark as it rolls out.
The simple reason for the Tyler Perry being so drastically off of the tracking number is that telephone surveying does a piss poor job of finding black audiences and hispanic audiences, just as it fails to find the audience under 22 week after week after week. Smart studio execs with a history with tracking can read around those numbers and see how they are doing with their marketing… which again, is the only real goal. Everyone likes to know the future… but studios need to feel they are spending millions and millions of dollars as efficiently as they can. It’s not about being Carnac.
Alleged journalists who now want to tell everyone they “have tracking” and that they know what it means are simply misleading the public for their own self-aggrandizement. This brings me to Horn’s second terrible misstep in his piece.
Again, “The data is called tracking, and throughout the week (but especially on Thursday and Friday), marketing and distribution executives sift through the numbers as closely as a desperate 49er panning for gold.”
They are panning on Thursday and Friday the week BEFORE opening. If they are sifting for anything on the day of release or the day before, it is only for their upcoming success or humiliation. But the real work of tracking is done when marketers can do something with the information. If you are “panning for gold” on opening day, it is, as any marketer will tell you, fool’s gold. Too late. The ship has sailed. Moreover, on opening day, execs are getting reports from actual business on the east coast, then across the country as the day progresses. And even at 7p, when the east coast has early evening numbers coming in, it’s still not anything more than 80% sure. And even on Saturday morning, when Friday estimates are pretty clear, the weekend still has major variations to come.
Of course, reading the story, perhaps all of that soft information about tracking is just a rationalization to allow the LA Times to start sifting through the numbers as closely as a desperate 49er panning for gold each week. Historically, sifting like that would be embarrassing to a savvy veteran like Horn. I can’t say I disagree with that sentiment.


The Comedy Of Commenting

This started in the BYOB thread, care of THX5334.
Ad Age ran an insane story this afternoon about the theory, floated by Paramount of course, that The Heartbreak Kid‘s soft opening was a result of Halo 3 being released a few days before that movie.
However, some found the comments on the Kotaku website that cited the Ad Age silliness to be significant.
And I say, even more absurd.
My sense of the geek boy demo is that they are, in reality, the easiest marketing marks in the galaxy. They will go see the worst movies in the world by the standards of anyone else and often withn their own ranks… and then go try out the shitty sequels as well.
How do you explain the Saw series? Ok… one gimmick movie they love. Maybe a second. But the third film, down $7 million domestic was up $25 million worldwide. And even the downturn was not as severe as you would expect from just more crap.
At least Police Academy got fewer dollars in as the painfully bad series got older.
Or maybe Hostel 2 was just a sign of the geeks getting wise… no matter how geek hyped it was.
But the laugher is the geek boys on Kotaku claiming they just want better movies. Well, I say, then maybe you should stop going to all that crap!
So far, twelve movies have opened to over $40 million this year. The Top Five clearly found four-quadrant status. Then you have 300, Transformers, Bourne 3, FF2, Rush Hour 3, The Rat, and Ghost Rider. Four of the seven are first and foremost teen/geek boy mega-events. (Rush Hour 3… who knows?) Yes, they found more than the Geek 8. But were they really worried about “tremendous amounts of crap” or do they just like making noise?
Adults who really think it might be crap don’t go. Girls who really think it might be crap don’t go. “The Boys” go to what seems cool and loaded with new effects… boom boom, bang bang.
But hey… you may think I am writing out of my ass.


It's A Ratatouille World After All

Variety’s latest international box office round up caused me to look up the latest on how Ratatouille fits into the Pixar picture.
Well… it just passed Cars to become Pixar’s #5 worldwide grosser of all time. And Toy Story 2 is well in view, likely to be passed this week, just $10 million away. The film did over $21 million in the last week.
The film just opened in the UK and closes out its major market openings next weekend in Italy, where Cars did $16 million last summer. The final worldwide number looks to be about $520 million… still not enough to take The Incredibles‘ #3 slot and likely to come up just behind The Simpsons‘ $525 million worldwide. But $530 million, beating out both films’ positions, is possible
So do ya think that maybe all the authors of those “Ratatouille is a dissapointment” stories owe the best mainstream animated film of 2007 a bit of an apology?


Sunday Estimates by Klady – Oct 14

There has been a weekend like this in this October slot before, though by any historical standard, this was a strong weekend for mid-October. 2003


Friday Estimates by Klady – Oct 12

What’s the most interesting thing about the Top Five from Friday? They are exactly in reverse order of the number of theaters in which the films are playing.
That and that releasing three movies with the same demographic in the same weekend isn’t the best idea. It looks like the winner of the Serious Trio will be the one sold most as an action film with the most consistent box office star in the group, Wahlberg, and a popular actress showing cleavage.


Box Office Hell – October 12

(updated friday 3:30p)


Sunday Estimates by Klady

There’s not a lot more to say about the wide release movies.
What catches my eye this weekend is a phenomenon that I expect to continue through the fall/holiday/award season


Friday Estimates by Klady – Oct 5

There’s something about Ben Stiller openings… he is big box office in concept comedies or teamed up with someone. But he is also completely capable of having an Envy or a Duplex. The Heartbreak Kid is neither of those. It’s a lot more like the opening of Zoolander. Thing is, $45 million total domestic for a Ben Stiller movie is no longer considered a success. He is paid with the expectation of doing double that.
I would also say that on this one, the studio never found a hook, has terrible outdoor, and scared away both kids and adults, leaving only teens and college kids as an audience… which can be okay… but Stiller’s success has been in finding a wider audience. Night At The Museum was Stiller’s Flubber, which is to say a machine that was aimed at kids who wanted to see the gimmick more than the perfectly likable star.
It’s not real clear who “they” thought was waiting to see The Seeker… or even who knew it was coming. But it isn’t working out.
Sadly, Peter Berg’s The Kingdom took almost exactly the same Friday-to-Friday hit as Peter Berg’s The Rundown… maybe people stayed home to watch Friday Night Lights. I find the whole thing very frustrating. Berg has become a significant filmmaker. He is getting beat on this time around for his style, which has been stolen so often since Friday Night Lights that he is now accused of imitating the style. But at some point, the story he chooses and the style he shoots in and the audience interest will merge for a massive hit (see: Judd Apatow/Larry David)… and until then, the box office results, while not bad, will not feel quite good.
Nice number for Michael Clayton. I kinda love this movie… but still, a $45,000 – $50,000 per screen at the end of the weekend is great, but assures little as the film rolls out.


Box Office Hell



Why Adults Buy

We have the discussion about box office every week. But Joe Leydon, in another entry, offered this rather elaborate query…
Getting back to The Brave One: While I am the last person to equate box-office failure with artistic deficiency, I am genuinely curious about the relative underachievement of Jodie Foster


Quote Unquotesee all »

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