Box Office Archive for November, 2007

Box Office

There is plenty of reason to be happy for Disney and Enchanted this weekend, but let’s not lose perspective. Like Memorial Day weekend, the strongest players have been released the weekend BEFORE the holiday for years now. Harry Potter, Bond, National Treasure, and Happy Feet, in recent years, have marked the trend. Disney is really the only company that continues to use that weekend and not the weekend before as its big launchpad.
So… a great opening. But the world changing tone of some coverage requires at least one or two more weekends to become any kind of reality at all. That said, the film looks a lot more like 101 Dalmatians than Flubber, which is about where I saw it headed.
And This Christmas proves, yet again, that Sony knows how to work the niches better than anyone. Props go to Lionsgate for jumping into the Tyler Perry business, but $22 million opening Stomp The Yard, $20 million for White Chicks and Guess Who, and $16 million for You Got Served set this up. And the trick of this opening was a combination of daring as far as the release date and crossover, in terms of finding a black adult audience – like Perry’s – for this film and not just serving the kids.


3D Too Hot?

I’ve landed in NY and posting via iPhone is still an iffy proposition… But Beowulf’s soft Saturday really struck me… Did the 3d gambit narrow the overall number?
Does it matter if it did? Will it create legginess?
The experiential story is my nephew last night, who went to the 2d when all 3d shows were sold out. He went, but how many people decided to wait for 3d?


Friday Estimates by Klady – 11/17

No at terribly interesting weekend. And one with Friday numbers leaving some doors open.
Will Paramount/Zemeckis


Box Office Hell – Nov 16



Sunday Estimates by Klady – Nov 11

Something about Friday….
I’m not sure what happened on Friday, but pretty much every film performed under expectations on Friday… and almost every film was stronger on Saturday and in Sunday estimates than you would expect based on Friday. I really don’t know what the story is, but it is a curiosity.
At the same time, Los Angeles’ AFI film festival was selling out over 90% of their shows on the weekend and about 75% during the week, a rather strong showing for the event.
Interestingly, Fred Claus opened at just about a million less than Santa Clause 3 last year and about 21% behind The Polar Express. Odds are that this film will not be as leggy as Polar and it doesn’t have the excuse of being the third in a series, but this opening is not quite the disaster that people want to make it. The new trend of overstating “failure” on Friday evening, based on east coast numbers and west coast matinees and “industry expectations” which are based on weak analysis of tracking… well, it’s just dumb. I’m not saying that Fred will have a huge comeback. But the idea that high 20s is the minimum for a decent opening is nuts.
In a market with no other light fare for adults, Dan In Real Life is holding exceptionally well. It’s not building, particularly, but it is finding an audience that wants something in that category on Saturday night.
Lions for Lambs is simpler than people want to make that one too. It’s not about Tom… it’s not about Iraq… it’s the idea that it’s a dry polemic, which no one wants to see on any subject, is being confirmed ahead of time by the one audience, adults, who still read critics enough to find confirmation of their suspicions.
Let me just state the obvious… critics obsessing on the morality of No Country For Old Men don’t understand No Country For Old Men. Some people just don’t like the truth. And those people include those who LOVE movies that are too cool for school… which really means that they are too cool to actually say anything at all, other than to make the viewer think they are smart for “getting it.” They like their art all of the surface also, though I prefer them to the wannabe censors. Part of the genius of The Coens is that they are stylized and actually do say something of significance in most of their films. There isn’t an enormous subtext. The messages are simple. But they are profound.
Not a sensational expansion for Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead. But there is still time.


Friday Estimates by Klady – 11/10

All three wide openers will underperform this weekend. Not much of a surprise for Lions For Lambs or P2. Fred Claus at under $20 million is a bit brutal for WB, though there was a clear indication of trouble as the ad campaign changed focus right near release, trying to make people think of it as a feelgood family film instead of A Wedding Crasher Visits The North Pole.
The No Country For Old Men opening is very, very good. However it doesn’t really fit easily into any comparison this awards season. Of course, the long game is what’s key, but in the short term, Across The Universe is the closest comparable opening… and No County wins that fight, and the Miramax history lesson is The Queen, last year, with $1 million on 46 screens in its third weekend of release. It seems that the studio has reconsidered the speed of its platforming, to no small success this weekend.


Box Office Hell



Whatever Happened To Patrick Goldstein?

Last week, Patrick was busy trying to make the writers look silly.
This week, he is reporting

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Sunday Estimates by Klady – Nov 4

Universal opened American Gangster in the Jarhead spot to $20 million more than Jarhead


Friday Estimates by Klady – 11/3



Box Office Hell

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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