Box Office Archive for February, 2009

Friday Estimates by Klady, 22809

Is there really anything to say?
The Jonas Bros. generated a strong number, which was overhyped going into the weekend.
The last Madea was off 57% in Weekend Two, 67% Friday-to-Friday..
Slumdog is getting a boost – not as all Oscar winners do, but as films that win and directly benefit from the new sense of public familiarity do – and has an outside shot of chasing down Juno ($143.5m domestic) to become Searchlight’s biggest grosser. Slummy is a near-lock to be bigger than pPreggo worldwide,with about $50 million to go and lots of big territories still yet to open.
The skinny former cop (Taken) cracks $100 million and the fat not-a-cop (Paul Blart) will crack $125m this weekend.
Coraline took a Jonas Bros. and 300 screen loss hit this weekend, but I actually expect it to recover and move up a slot or two this weekend as well as to remain in the Top Ten next weekend and perhaps longer.
And finally, a shout out to the Italian neo-realist thriller Gomorrah, which has done great at the IFC Center in NY for a few weekends now. For whatever reasons, it has not been coming up here on Saturdays as a big winner, but it really has been very strong.


Trying A Tweet Poll – Watchmen


Weekend Estimates by Klady

Madea sells tickets and Tyler Perry is going to have to live with that. Now, he must love this character he created, but he does seem to chafe from it at times. But the trajectory on Madea is clearly his strongest play in a pretty strong Tyler Perry franchise, $22m for Diary of a Mad Black Woman to $30m for Madea’s Family Reunionn to $41 million this weekend.
Perry also dropped the news – maybe reported elsewhere before? – that the Sundance film, Push, is being renamed Precious, which is the title that made sense in the first place (for all too many reasons). Director Lee Daniels was running Mariah Carey around the Indie Spirits tent on Saturday… prepping for next year’s hopefulness.
The rest of the Top 5 is a show of strong holds, even 40% and 56% for two of the films… $8 million for weekend 4 of HJNIY is still quite a big number for a not well regarded film. And Taken‘s run is amazing… especially considering the film. That said, Peter Bart’s proclamation of Pierre Morel as The Hot Director of The Moment is okay with me. Maybe he will get better at story, but as an action director, he has mad skillz. I was still disappointed by Taken.
I am sick of all the box office Oscar whining at the moment… it’s not that there is not a story there… but the one that is being told is bullshit. We go through this every few years. Studios will still chase Oscar. But they will return to “commercial first” as a principle for a while… as they should. All this crap that “The Academy does this” and “The Academy does that” is for fools who think there is a monolith called “The Academy” “snubbing” The Dark Knight or whatever. For The New York Times and down the line… arguing that some idiot at a studio (and we know who you are, even if you are unnamed and unexplained as an unnamed source) is claiming that “If The Academy did this, then the ratings would be better” is irresponsible hackery.
Yes, the season should be shorted. Oscar should land, as I have been arguing for a while now, the Sunday before the Super Bowl… certainly no later than the Sunday before the Super Bowl. (And if that killed parties, that would, logically, increase ratings, because more boxes would be working.) But this notion that they need to make their choices more populist is embarrassing. The ratings, however low this year, will more than double The People’s Choice Awards.
There is some smarts in saying that the Oscars needs to be marketed like a movie opening… but a good movie marketer doesn


Oscar Bump Redux

Thanks to Patrick Goldstein for waiting two full weeks before rewriting my piece on the extreme lack of an Oscar bump this year. Looks like he read the blog on Saturday for even more detail about what films have done what so far.
Unfortunately, he didn’t read carefully enough and decided, in his wisdom, to completely overlook the details and to keep selling the load of crap he loves about the marketplace instead of putting the responsibility in the places it so obviously is.
Specifically… you can’t get an Oscar bump unless you market your movie when you expand… and oh yeah, you have to expand.
Patrick is busy selling his “One big factor in the evaporation of the Oscar bounce has less to do with the Oscars and more to do with the commercial marketplace” theory.
And what is profoundly flawed about this – and it is not just about this, but it stands as the biggest misunderstanding of journalists covering this industry, year in and year out – is this notion that the movie business operates on some sort of continuum that is general and not deadly specific.
Of COURSE it was the actual movies – and their studios’ unwillingness to chase an Oscar bump – that didn’t make more money. There is no way to explain this away. People, whether we think they are brilliant or idiots, make choices. They are not automatons. They are no without will. They are, in the end, just like you and me, the dumbest and the smartest among us


Klady's 4 Day Estimates… P-Daydy



Weekend Estimates by Klady

While Friday The 13th will not be anywhere close to being the biggest 4-day R-rated opening ever, it will easily be the best start in the series. (Freddy v Jason did $40.1 million in its first 4 days.) There is an outside chance that it will break Ghost Rider‘s President’s Day record $52 million 4-day start of 2 years ago… but it’s unlikely. Based on Sunday estimates, the film is running about $3 million behind that record.
If Friday manages to get to $100 million, that will break the tie between WB and the deceased Shaye/Lynne New Line for $100 million movies in the last 12 months, with NL taking the lead with 4… which, obviously, WB will match in a few weeks with Watchmen. But Old NL is batting .500 (4 of 8 with Friday) while WB rolled out 14 to get their 3 so far… and the sticker price comparison… well…
The big difference between this year


Friday Estimates by Saint Valentine of Klady

Five and a half years without The Mask seems to have built up a lot of wanna see… thank God they didn’t put Jamie Kennedy in this one.
I thought it was particularly interesting that three different pay-tv networks were runing Jason content last night, often for hour after hour after hour.
The last Jason film (v. Freddy) opened to $36 million. This opening should beat that handily. It will also beat the opening of Marcus Nispel’s first remake of a classic, Texas Chainsaw Massacre by a significant margin. Nispel’s first in this form also did an unusually good near-3x opening domestically. If that holds here, we may be looking at the first $100 million Jason film… which one should note, has never been achieved by any of the Saw films. We also havenm’t seen any horror remake of any kind do $100 million since The Grudge in 2004. Of course, it has to get there first…
The news for the other two new films was not as happy. Shopaholic came in behind the second Friday of HJNTIY and The International, perhaps the worst title for a studio movie in years, couldn’t beat the third Friday of Taken, a movie that will shockingly be in a close fight with Paul Blart: Mall Cop for the title of Most Proftable Film Of First Quarter 2009.
And Blart hitting $100 million is important for Sony, where the dissapointment of Pink Panther 2 (which is also brutally painful for an in-trouble MGM) and The WinterSleeperNational (which was, at least, hedged with German tax credits) is sharp. The studio has a long wait now until Angels & Demons – just a couple of Screen Gems films in between – and the pressure on that one to come close to the numbers on the first of the franchise will be intense. And that’s the only real franchise film of the year for the studio, so like I said… intense.
The hold for Coraline is encouraging.
And Slumdog remains the only Oscar nominee in the Top 10.


Frosty Cold Nixina

To answer someone’s question from last week… Frost/Nixon is Ron Howard’s lowest career grosser (leaving out Grand Theft Auto, for which an accurate gross is elusive).. more than $5 million behind the previous low, the 1982 perceived-hit, Night Shift ($21.1m).
Aside from a lovely party the other night, Universal has basically bailed on the film, dumping 2/3 of the screens it added after nomination week. They cut 57% of its screen count this weekend, leading to the estimated 47% drop in gross (a good hold under the circumstance, really). $20 million domestic is not looking likely at this point.
Besides the obvious – the movie should have opened in Peter Morgan territory, early October – I have say that I have never seen Universal miss the mark on a movie this solid with awards play. It’s going to do less than half of what The Queen did in America, which really makes no sense.
I would argue, gently, that political fatigue hurt the get-out-the-audience effort for this film. And when the many who just decided not to bother with this film end up seeing it on their TV, they will wonder how they missed it.
Even Munich did $47 million!
In 1993, In The Name of the Father did $25 million.
You have to go all the way back to 1983, to Tender Mercies, to find a Universal BP nominee that did a number this low ($8.4m).
Frost/Nixon is not a game changer… but it is a really solid piece of drama, with strong comedy moments and insight into the human condition as much as politics, with great performances and material for which Ron Howard found just the right tone. It really is a shame that more people didn’t see it.


Weekend Estimates by Klady

A very interesting set of estimates, which either suggest that Friday’s guesses were way off or that Saturday’s number popped enormously for some unknown reason.
Most notable was that the only films in Friday’s estimates by Klady that didn’t do better than 3x Friday were newcomers HJNTIY and Push.
And here is the Oscar breakout for the weekend…


Friday Estimates by Klady

(1:45p – Corrected daily # on Taken… cume is correct)
Once again, the castoff New Line of Shaye & Lynne delivers a strong opening for Warner Bros. In fact, including all of 2008, New Line and WB are now even-steven with three $25 million-plus openings each!
Now, to be fair, there is Inkheart and Pride & Glory to account for. Then again, there are Body of Lies and failed marketing efforts for RockNRolla and Speed Racer to account for on the other side.
All in all, it looks like the smart move would have been cutting down Horn & Robinov’s budget and asking them to focus exclusively on the bigger films rather than shuttering New Line. But that’s not how studio politics work and more former New Liners who were absorbed were quietly dumped in the last round of layoffs.
Taken is holding shockingly well. Funny how media bullies shut up when the studio they love kicking has success.
Coraline won’t quite match the top stop-motion opening of all-time, Chicken Run, but it’s a little ahead of the #2 opener, Wallace & Gromit. $60 million as a total will be a nice success for this film… we’ll see if it gets there.
Summit may match its opening “success” of Never Back Down with Push (Dakota’s second film of the weekend) . Oy. Now if Dakota had vampire powers instead of push powers… I mean, combined, she is going to have a $20 million+ weekend.
Pink Panther 2 is off 42% from the opening Friday of the original. Guess that tricking the public twice is harder than doing it once.
For that matter, Underworld 3, starring Faux-na Beck-tra, will be off about 30% from the last one, though $40 million and change for a low-budget thriller without an arty actress in spandex would have been considered a big success on its own terms… and the ttile will be right at the top of the Screen Gems grosser list going back through last year. (Prom Night‘s $4m is the high flier for the division, 2008/2009.)


Proud Moments – The Top 2009 Releases So Far

And for fairness sake… all the films that have generated as much as $20 million at the box office this year, so far…
But it’s not really very comforting either.


Weekend Estimates by Klady – Super Bowl Sunday 09



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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