Box Office Archive for April, 2009

Weekend Estimates by Klady – April 26

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The opening of Obsessed brings up another interesting anomaly of the niche era of studio distribution. Of the 7 films with a higher opening gross and the one just below it – within a million dollars on opening – 4 have hit $100 million… but only one of those (Blart!) didn’t open much bigger than the other 6 titles we’re talking about. (Fast, Monsters, and Watchmen all opened over $55m… the next biggest opening is $41m for Medea Redux.)
So – sorry this is getting too numbery – the sample we’re looking at comes down to 5 films. Blart is the outlier with better than 4.5x opening. Medea in Jail is the second best multiple… at about 2.25x opening. The other two are the Friday The 13th re-do and Hannah Montana 1-D. Friday is already out of theaters and did just over 2x its strong opening. Hannah has another $10m – $15m left in the tank… which looks to make it around 2.5x opening.
Go back just 4 years to 2005 and you see the openers in that $28m – $40m range:
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As you can see… nothing happening now is all that different than what was happening then… except that the Young Teen and Pre-Teen Girl money has shifted from horror to Hannah, The Jonases, and HSM.
And so the question of the weekend is, what niches are Obsessed working with? Is it an “Urban” hit or a Teen Girl thriller? Both niches are likely to lead to a low multiple. Did they find anyone outside of these “love it and leave it” niches? I don’t know. But the question of what next weekend’s drop and ultimately, it’s domestic total – will be is not so much about “is it good?” but about who the audience for the film is. My guess is a $65m domestic total… which is a great day for Screen Gems, though you must know they are trying to figure out how to make Obsessed 2 work following this natural one-off.
Fighting, The Soloist, and Earth are all in a similar opening boat, though there is a very good chance that the best opener of the trio, Fighting, will be the lowest domestic grosser. Why? Again, niche. Fighting will have some holdover, but 2.5x opening is the best it can expect. The Soloist defines An Adult Picture… so if they can keep screens in Boca, the over 60s will find the film and it could go as much as 3.5x opening, though it will take time. And Earth is a kids play from Disney and we’ll see how they support it. There’s nothing much new for the younger kids until Night At The Museum 2. Are parents going to indulge their 8-year-olds’ demands to see Wolverine… or will they be at Earth, looking at real wolverines?


Friday Estimates by Klady – Draft Day

1992… The Hand That Rocks The Cradle surprises people with a good opening ($7.7m) and long legs ($88m domestic total) with a similar story… Rebecca de Mornay, Annabella Sciorra, and Matt McCoy never quite recover, career-wise..
Later that same year… Single White Female opens to $10.2 million and ends up with $48 million… Jennifer Jason Leigh has a nice run of roles afterwards while Bridget Fonda hits a career wall.
The opening of Obsessed looks to land somewhere between Taken and He’s Just Not That Into You. Nice number. Not shocking… except to those who think they should have seen it coming… and not very important.
Dito Montiel’s shot at The Next Level will do… okay.
The Soloist has a better shot at legs than either of the other films, it seems. A movie for adults takes some time to build.
Earth, ironically, is not being put in perspective by many as a TV project now being shown on a big screen. Good number for that. But Disney has certainly got to be considering what the potential of DisneyNature is, for future, and how they will build an audience for future releases that are fresher, but still about nature.


Box Office Hell – 2/24/09

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Weekend Estimates by Klady – 4/19/09

So, will 17 Again be a slightly smaller He’s Just Not That Into You, an dead-on Race to Witch Mountain or a slightly bigger Bride Wars? This is roughly where this Zac Efron fluff(er) fits. Somewhere between an eventual $60 million to an eventual $95 million


The Return Of Box Office Hell

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And the premiere of MCN Weekend


Weekend Estimates by Klady – Easter Sunday

Disney’s choice of Easter weekend for The Hannah Montana Movie was, I gotta say, kinda genius. With a film whose fan base pretty much assures that it will boom on opening day, catch the rest of the audience on Saturday, and drop like a stone on Sunday, the placement makes that short-lived trajectory seem less obviously about the product itself.
The estimate on Observe & Report puts it less than a million ahead of Zack & Miri’s opening… in spite of at least twice the marketing buys. It will be interesting to see how these two Seth Rogen films play out against each other, as the earlier one was kinder and gentler than its title and director’s career suggested while the new film is the opposite, clearly more harsh than what is being sold.
The cult around Jody Hill is making itself known, as in evidence with all the excuses made for the weaknesses of the film in comments after my review. We even got ourselves a little Bosley Crowther shout out… which in and of itself explains what’s so wrong with the rationalizations around O&R… unlike Crowther and then then-ground-breaking Bonnie & Clyde, no one that I have read has issues with the film because it pushes the envelope, but rather because it fails to deliver on its apparent ambitions… “apparent” because changing tone every 90 seconds is not a sign of genius or insight, but rather adult-onset ADD.
(Cue a parade of “he’s obsessed” comments in response to me daring to respond to those who disagree with me. Sigh…)
But I digress…
Fast & Furious is holding up well enough to be well assured of becoming the biggest grosser of the franchise… even if it won’t sell (yawn) the most actual tickets… because they funded the film based on the actual number of tickets sold and dvds purchased, not the revenue… right? BZZT! Wrong.
I Love You, Man is doing nicely, though it is not the breakout some hoped for. Seems to me like we are seeing The Apatow Era maturing into a series of strong, but not overwhelming numbers… not that there’s anything wrong with that. Of course, Apatow has nothing to do with this film – it is a Donald DeLine/Reitman/Pollock production of a John Hamburg film – but the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel combo was cast right out of Judd’s cash flow river. And Seth Rogen as the 100% frontman on Observe & Report is also an obvious spin on Apatow’s greenback village.
It’s generally a good bet that when a trend in movie talent gets a name, it is on its way to death’s door. Obviously, talent and commercial thinking can always overwhelm any trend line. And there is no question that Judd Apatow and many of those he has brought to the top of the business with him are very, very talented. But the gold rush for “bromance” may well be over.
Keep an eye on Year One, which I have some doubts about from the trailer and Super Bowl spot. I hope for History of The World, Part I – even though the ancient Rome stuff is the most forgettable in the film – but I fear Caveman, a movieI loved when I was 16… but mostly because I was amused by John Matusak acting and lusted for Barbara Bach.
I am even more scared of Funny People, which strikes me as Punchline with cancer. I was not a fan of Punchline without cancer. And even with a lot of critical praise and awards talk, a box office-hot Sally Field and a rising star in John Goodman, the film stands as one of Tom Hanks’ few early bombs. Apatow is a very talented guy… and maybe this film will turn out to be the great Adam Sandler dramatic effort. But when the funny guys try to do the melancholy thing… well… at least Woody Allen stole from Bergman before he finally figured out how to walk the comedy/drama line perfectly in Crimes & Misdemeanors… which was 11 years and 2 other bombs from his first effort with Interiors (a movie I actually like… but in a kind of kinky, theater way).
I honestly hope for the best. But the smoke signals spell “fear.” May they be dead wrong.


Friday Estimates by Klady – 4/11/09

The Hannah Montana Movie had twice as big a Friday opening as Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both World Concert Tour. What that will mean by the end of the weekend, who knows? But the base for this film – the niche – is cleaner and stronger for the film based clearly on the Disney Channel series, whereas the concert had all the fear elements that conservative parents bring to the idea of a concert… which seem to have hurt the Jonas Bros concert movie even more after word-of-mouth of the overt subtextual sexuality broke.
Fast & Furious‘ drop is no surprise given the massive opening. Look for the weekend drop to be more in the high 50s.
Monsters vs Aliens going up a little is a bit of a surprise. Probably a lot of people going to the 3D after being afraid of being shut out – or being shut out – in weeks past.
Observe & Report opens about a third behind I Love You, Man, about 50% off of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, about $300k ahead of both The Uninvited and Confessions of a Shopaholic, and at double the opening day of Zack & Miri Make A Porno.
Dragonball Evolution devolved.


Weekend Estimates by Klady – April 5, 2009

The second biggest non-summer/holiday opening of all-time, beaten only by The Passion of The Christ. Impressive. Sequels that give the audience what they want are a beautiful thing… though I have no idea of whether the movie is, having not yet seen it.
Though the opening of Adventureland will be seen as soft by some, it is the best opening for Miramax since 2005, including for No Country For Old Men, The Queen, Gone Baby Gone, and Doubt, the division’s biggest grossers in that period. Obviously, this is not an awards play. But still… context…


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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