Box Office Archive for June, 2010

A Little Clarity On A Billion Dollar Year

The actual fact: Paramount Marketing is the first studio marketing group to generate a domestic gross of over $1 billion this year.
I hate these stats. The idea of market share in the movie business – especially domestic only – or hitting $1 billion is a throwback to the pre-VHS movie universe. Silliness.
That said, of all the majors, Paramount has had the leanest year, in terms of movies that the studio produced or financed. Specifically, none of the three big hits are anything but service deals with the studio for distribution and marketing. Remove the two DreamWorks Animated films (8%) and Marvel’s Iron Man 2 (10%) and the studio has generated under $256m with movies that Paramount has produced, the biggest of which is Shutter Island, which was produced in-house.
In fact, I believe that Paramount, with the three big hits, is the only major other than Universal with MacGruber, that has done any service deals for a domestic studio release this year. So Sony (not counting Screen Gems) is the second lowest domestic grosser of the majors so far this year, with about $300 million on in-house movies. Universal is third from the bottom with about $350m. Disney is near $800m. WB is around $850m. And on top is Fox, with just short of a billion… all from movies in which the studio invested.
Now… Paramount will earn about $122 million from their three big hits, on theatrical distribution and marketing fees alone. They will make more on Home Ent. So it’s not nothing.
But when Fox hits $1 billion – today, perhaps – it will not only earn distribution fees, but a lot of profit on the 4 highly profitable hits… not to mention the losses on their three films on which they may need to eat a loss. (Three other films are somewhere right near breakeven or minor loss or slight profitability.)
Disney and Warners are also likely to pass The Full Billion by the end of July as well.
I don’t know. Maybe I am not being fair to Paramount. But I just think that these kind of stats need context and their context is not like any other studio… until Disney starts emulating it in earnest in 2011.


Weekend Estimates by Buzz Klady 2

A very Sandler opening. I was wrong about the weekend multiple based on the Friday open. And if you look at Sandler’s history, this estimate is a pretty good fit. In his comedies, he’s consistently a little below 3x Friday. The Sunday drop-off on Zohan was deep, so we’ll see tomorrow whether this estimate of Friday as 35% of the weekend is a little generous about Sunday.
It also reminds us of just how amazingly consistent Sandler is, with a lot of friends in support or not. $34m – $47m seems like a wide range, but when you are the clear front man in your oeuvre 10 times in 12 years and you stay inside that range so consistently, it’s pretty remarkable. Yes, he has paid for reaching into drama and even into family fare. And he still only has three $100 million grossers overseas… and just barely at that. But you can pretty much rely on a $120m gross from his films when he doesn’t stray.
My sense on Knight & Day is that Cruise realized he had some make-up to do and focused and went out to kick some publicity butt. To see him on Leno and Kimmel on back-to-back nights was a surprise. To see him in SportsCenter promos was… well… shocking. The problem for Fox is that the wave of publicity really broke too late. They needed to do the Tom rehab in May for the June release.
That said, the burial of the movie and Mr. Cruise is overstated. This is one of two openings with Cruise up front since Mission:Impossible 3. And as hard as they pressed Valkyrie, if you look at the 5-day vs the 3-day as a complicated distinction (which I do), you could argue that Knight is further along than Valkyrie at the end of its opening weekend. And now… word of mouth will become the issue.
Without comparing the quality of Knight to Jerry Maguire, it is instructive to note that it is the only other romantic comedy with action or rom-com af any stripe in Cruise’s career. This was a surprise to me when I noticed it. And Maguire opened to $17m and followed openings of $37m and $45m for Interview With The Vampire and Mission: Impossible. I don’t think Knight will do anything close to the 9x multiple that Maguire did. And it’s worth noting that Maguire is one of his weakest showing internationally. But let’s all take a breath and let history happen before deciding it’s outcome. I know this is not what people are doing these days, but…
Toy Story 3‘s estimated 47% drop is actually quite good when considered amongst the ranks of movies that open to over $100 million (we’re up to 16). It’s right in line with the Alice in Wonderland and the Thanksgiving-supported Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire holds, not as good as the Memorial Day Weekend enhance Shrek 2 drop, but better than every other $100m+ opener except the original Spider-Man. After 10 days, it’s behind Shrek 2‘s number by only $10 million an di sjust behind where Finding Nemo was after 4 weekends. So… things are good.
How to Train Your Dragon passes Kung Fu Panda tomorrow to become DreamWorks Animation’s biggest non-Shrek movie ever. And TS3 will probably pass Shrek Forever After on the all-time animation list (if not tomorrow, Tuesday).
Showtime has to feel pretty good about having Oliver Stone’s documentary series coming, probably late this fall, after such a solid opening for his doc, South of the Border, which slightly out-per-screened Restrepo in spite of being on a subject that has a very small natural following. Both films are very much worth the time and money.
Please Give is doing pretty well, but it looks, in the end, to be heading to a similar gross to Nicole Holofcener’s Lovely & Amazing. In the end, the indie world is being reminded that Jennifer Aniston (in the $13.4 million grossing Friends With Money) in a french maid’s outfit and threatening to have sex on camera is worth about $7 million at the box office. I don’t know if this is a good lesson or not. But a lesson it is.


Friday Estimates by Opera Man Klady

So Team Sandler strikes again. His best opening going into this weekend was The Longest Yard, with $47.6 million. Grownups will be in that vicinity, probably setting a new high for Sandler.
It’s no mystery. The ads have been goofy and sweet, found female appeal, and brought together five guys who each have fans. Somehow, even the guys staring at some girl’s bent-over ass -and utterly sexist moment and a truly remarkable rear end – is somehow sweetened by the age of the men and the desperate nature of children with their nose pressed up against candy store glass.
Team Cruise.. not so much. The 3-day will probably be a little better than Killers. The 5-day will put Knight & Day around Date Night after the first weekend. The hope, as I noted a couple of weeks ago, of expanding to a 5-day is to get a sampling in for a movie that Fox likes and with which they knew they were having a hard time getting women on board. I imagine they are hoping to get to a What Happens In Vegas result, with some more muscular numbers overseas. We’ll see.
Toy Story 3 hits $200m today, and it will be in the all-time top ten for gross-per-day for days 8, 9, and 10, surpassing anything this year, though not by a massive amount. The big showdown for the domestic outcome of the film will take place this week, when we will find out if The Last Airbender eats into TS3’s business much, both as a kid film-vs-kid film battle, but 3D vs 3D as well. I’m sure Paramount sees July 4 weekend as their private slot, with Trannys and War of the Worlds, but it seems that they would have been smarter to go out a weekend later with Airbender.
Shrek Forever After is done. Interestingly, it is less off of the Shrek 3 (about $90m) than 3 was off of S2 ($120m) at the domestic box office. Of course, the big Shrek money is overseas, where the last two films did an almost identical number, around $475m. Another waiting game.
The Karate Kid will pass Bad Boys II domestically in the next week and is also wary of Airbender… probably more so than TS3 is. Still, $170 million domestic is not a reach and closing in on the film going to profit on that alone. And the film is waiting for the answer from the rest of the world.


Weekend Estimates by Klady

For me, the lead needs to be, from Klady’s analysis, “Weekend revenues climbed 31% from both last weekend and the comparable frame in 2009.”
Irrelevant number. Just as irrelevant when it’s up 31% as when it’s down 31%. I am an equal opportunity “bullshit” caller. Ironically, this is the same problem I have with the ticket counters and the adjusted grossers… it’s not that history has no value, but when offered as some kind of strict interpretation of the broad idea of what is happening in the industry, it’s a load.
I continue to anticipate, in a few weeks, the stories – that I don’t think will happen – about how the bottom has fallen out on ticket pricing. A few idiots will likely do the story with the angle that the studios and exhibitors got scared and lowered prices, when in truth, story of ticket prices “rising” has little to do with normal tickets and everything to do with 3D and 3D IMAX pricing and what percentage of tickets sold those premium tickets represent.
Solid number for Toy Story 3, second best opening of this summer and has a real chance to be the #1 grosser for Summer 2010, though the $310m (or so) for Iron Man 2 reminds us yet again about how powerful being first is in the summer when you have a movie that is capable of opening huge. As noted yesterday, not doing 3x Friday is not unusual for Pixar’s summer films. But 4x the opening weekend isn’t unusual either. The only mysteries are whether TS3 will be the first Pixar film to rack $340m domestic and if it can bear Nemo’s other Pixar record of $530m overseas. The film is opening in many markets internationally this weekend, but the big money markets are all waiting at least two weeks, some, like the UK, four.
I made a mistake yesterday when saying that Jonah Hex would be a worse studio opening than MacGruber. Apologies. It’s the #2 worst of the summer. That said, Universal didn’t pay for MacGruber, Relativity did. And WB only will eat half of Jonah Hex.
Why did Hex open soooo poorly? Well, the studio clearly gave up on it. Happens 2 or 3 times a year at each studio. They weren’t going to push the marketing, throwing more good money after bad. But what happens in many of these cases, as it happened here, is that it feels like the exasperation gets into the crevices of the film’s marketing plan… in this case, not even making a real choice about what the story they were going to tell the public about this movie was. Is it a straight action movie… and let’s pretend Brolin isn’t scarred up? Is it supernatural? Is it a western? Is there sex to sell with Megan Fox? There is only one thing worse than picking the “wrong” thing to sell (which you find out as the movie fails to get traction)… it’s not picking anything to sell.
If I was inclined to see Jonah Hex, for whatever reasons, I would not be able to anticipate what I might see in that theater from any combination of the trailer, the TV spots, and the clips shown on TV. It’s movie hash. And people tend to be more resistant to going to movies when they have no idea what they are getting themselves into than when they don’t quite like the idea being sold.
And I have to say, beautiful as all the materials on Inception have been so far, if WB keeps hiding the foundational idea of the movie, expect a surprisingly weak opening. If the film is great and great fun, they can make it up with legs. But with all respect to Chris Nolan, the fact that he had a mega-movie with Dark Knight doesn’t assure him more than $20 million or $30 million for this next opening weekend. You can’t just expect audiences to come see trippy, beautiful images because “The Director Of The Dark Knight” directed the film. And you don’t have to give away the twist. You just have to make it clear to audiences what kind of ride they are in for… and “trippy” isn’t an answer and “you know this guy” isn’t either. And yes, I know that virtually everyone reading this is anxious to see this movie. But we are part of that core, 75% of which were going to see this film without any marketing push at all… for Nolan.
I am amused that some would make virtually the same drop for Karate Kid and A-Team good… and then bad. Both are okay. Neither is world-beating, though Kid had a bigger problem with the Toys landing in town. One thing I imagine is true… the folks at Columbia have to be kicking themselves for their release date on Kid now. It will still be a great success, but the competition of TS3, followed by Airbender, will likely shave $30 million or more off the final domestic gross of the film.
Get Him To The Greek is running about $3 million ahead of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Shrek 4 took the biggest hit from Toys 3, off an estimated 65%. Ouch. And Prince of Persia had an inexplicable 19% drop. Hmmm…
Iron Man 2 doesn’t seem likely to catch its predecessor domestically, though it will get within a stone’s throw. But it’s already topped the first by over $35 million overseas.
Fox is claiming that Knight and Day drew “85% overall capacity.” I’m not sure what that really means, but it is a chance for the film to get some needed word-of-mouth for a movie that works pretty darn well. What they have to feel is a Six Days, Seven Nights opening (circa 2010… $27million?), which should be improved on by Cameron Diaz over Anne Heche, but carries the same danger of an aging (and tabloided) Tom Cruise. (For was 56… Cruise “just” 48) They are quite unlikely to do less than $150m overseas… and could a lot do more. But there is pressure all around on this one. Fox got the movie that can relaunch Cruise for another strong box office run. Will it?
A nice opening for Cyrus, though I am always fearful of 4-screen openings coming off of full-on national campaigns. What it assures is that there is a run of, probably, $6 million – $10 million in this film. Could always be more. Could always be less. The dream is that it turns into Amelie or One Hour Photo, doing more than $30 million domestic. But we are really weeks from knowing how real that could be.


Friday Estimates by Toy Klady 2

It’s hard to figure what this Friday start will mean for the Toy Story 3 3-day. Last year, Up did $20m more than 3x Friday on its wide opening weekend. Before that, most Pixar films haven’t done 3x opening Friday. So…
Either way, this is at least 30% better than any previous Pixar launch.
On the film side, Jonah Hex was relegated to hell. It looks to beat out MacGruber as the worst studio opening of the summer. I guess it’s nice to have some kind of record!


Weekend Estimates by The Klady Kid

The Karate Kid is the second big family film of the summer… though there is less room to breath here than there was for Shrek 4, as Toy Story 3 (aka, “easily the first best studio film of 2010 so far”) is on the way in just a few days, followed 2 weeks later by The Last Airbender, which seems to be The Karate Kid With Lots O’ CG and seems to have a real chance to be the next film to take the media by surprise. $200 million domestic for Kid is a real possibility, but again, foreign is where the big green fat is. It’s profitable without foreign… so when that international money starts rolling in, it’s all cash in, profit out… cash in, profit out.
So The A-Team opens right between Miami Vice & Starsky & Hutch… both of which ended up between $160m and $170m worldwide. Do the few years since those suggest that A-Team might be looking at $180m worldwide? Could be. Could the action sell, as opposed to the old TV sell, improve the numbers in the key foreign markets that aren’t opening mid-World Cup? Possible. Still, there are no signals that this film is going far north of $200m worldwide – perhaps not even that high – so there is a good chance there will be red ink for Fox on this one, though the studio has the distribution cushion, having sold off part of the production to Dune.
How To Train Your Dragon continues to play well enough to hope to pass Kung Fu Panda domestically… just a million or so away now. However, Shrek Forever After will likely pass both films to become DreamWorks Animation’s #4 all-time on Thursday – maybe Friday – and is pretty assuredly heading towards $250m domestic by the end of the 4th of July holiday, even with the added competition. And again… foreign, Foreign, FOREIGN. S3 did almost $500m overseas. This one hasn’t opened in any of its major foreign markets, except Russia, where it is up over the last film in the franchise. So… we’ll see.
Killers is another movie that is really waiting, as the domestic results are mediocre, on foreign. What Happens In Vegas‘ $80m domestic is out of range, but you can bet that Lionsgate (and Carl Icahn) have their eye on Kutcher’s $100 million foreign potential. Even if it does that, it won’t be the hit that Lionsgate execs wanted to prove they know what they are doing nor would it be the proof Icahn would like that they are all petulant, overpaid idiots. Ah… the magic of the middle.
Get Him To The Greek continues to mirror Forgetting Sarah Marshall, though no doubt, they are hoping that Russell Brand will help to generate more at the UK box office than Marshall’s $15m.
The Prince of Persia isn’t going to get to $100m here… but it should crack $300 million worldwide before the end of next weekend. Still, I would look for Disney to take a $50 million or so writedown on the film this quarter, as it’s so well balanced by the Alice In Wonderland DVD smash.
In a similar position, Robin Hood, which is near $300m worldwide… but it’s not enough for that expensive a film.
Sex & The City 2 is another one that probably won’t hit $100m domestic, but is banking on foreign. They are already open in all their major markets and are over $100m foreign… but the first film did over $260m foreign. I would bet that this time, it will end up between $160m and $200m foreign… enough to keep the film from being in red ink. Time to lower the budget and make the franchise work… $40m – $50m a movie, one every 2 years, I think they get to S&TC 5 before they are really done. Then in 15 years, they can do Sex & The Viagra: The Granny Years.
Iron Man 2 passed Iron Man‘s worldwide total this week and will tip $300m on Tuesday, joining the $600m worldwide club, along with 51 other films in history. This is no disaster, but it can’t be making Disney too happy either. Those expecting a Transformers, Pirates or Batman style leap for the second film ($150m ww, $450m ww, $630m ww, respectively) had to be disappointed.


Friday Estimates by The Karate Klady

A near-Shrek4-ian opening for The Kid could lead to a $200m domestic film for Team Smith. The question here is whether it will be able to maintain an over-12 audience or if it narrows as Toy Story 3, Airbender, and other family films open. And what of international? $200m? 300m? More?
The A-Team has a modest, but not bad opening. $100m domestic is a goal to chase, but the profit picture here will be written overseas, where the series has even longer legs.
People looking to why the 80s films are being made need not look at America too hard.


Box Office Hell – The A-Kid



Sunday Numbers (with Klady)

Shrek 4- $25.9m – off 40%
A good drop, coming off of a holiday weekend.
Greek, $17.3m – again, right on the Sarah Marshall number ($17.7m) – the studio will hope for exceptional legs, but most of the conversations I seem to have about the film start with asses, dildos, and a lack of lube… which will draw some… but not those looking for the heart the film seems to want us to see… and which, ironically, is what producer Apatow does better than any of his progeny.
Killers at $16m is not a death number. $50m domestic and $150 overseas and the film is a hit. Of course, it needs that big number overseas, where Mr Kutcher does carry more box weight (and Ms Heigl, less).
Fox must be comforted, a bit, that Marmaduke recovered with a (relatively) big Saturday of little kids. It’s still not pretty, but $8m would have been a lot uglier.
I don’t know what WB’s deal for Splice was, but $7.4m is not a great number, given the studio’s marketing budgets. Could a smaller company have done better? Probably. But the real measure is the cost added to the movie by a distributor… as is the issue with most indie companies these days.
S&TC2 (or s&thc2) is looking at the real possibility of not hitting $100m domestic. As the biggest dropper without many screens lost, it is now fair to start blaming the quality of the movie for its ongoing failure.
Robin Hood will quietly crack $100m by the end of next weekend and Summit will hit, eventually, $50m for Letters From Juliet, still well off Dear John, but a step up for the distributor.


Box Office Faceplant Friday Numbers

Shrek The Last is still running about $70m behind Shrek The Third, but also ahead of all non-Shrek DWA films, including Dragon and Panda and Bees (oh my!).
Get Him To The Greek is opening almost exactly at Sarah Marshall numbers.
Killers will be the worst opening for Ms Heigl since she became a chick franchise. And Ashton Kutcher is really good looking. How many of the 600,000 or so who saw the movie yesterday were Twitter-driven? My guess? 12.
Marmaduke’s number is brutal. They just never figured out what they were selling.
And my biggest surprise of the weekend was just $2.7m on Friday for Splice. It’s funny. Joe Morgenstern wrote about the studio being coy about the showing the movie. I didn’t get that impression. And I thought they found a nice Species-like theme for the ads. But as exciting as a small Canadian indie finding a major to distribute a Sundance midnight movie was…. it just didn’t take.


Looking For Excuses '10 – Box Office Edition

Why is it that when one or two movies underperform – especially in a year that has already produced a massively outsized hit – the Gloom & Doomers start throwing out theories as though there was some event happening?
Yeah… rhetorical question… they are just desperate for a story.
But dear lord, can’t they come up with a saner argument than “franchise fatigue?” This argument only brings up two options; willful disregard for the facts or ignorance of the facts.
Don’t get me wrong. I get sick of the lack of originality out there as well. But there is no arguing that franchises are still the clear road to bigger box office numbers. But Gloom & Doomers are always looking for some statistical angle to make an argument that really comes down to a taste issue, not a business issue.
There are seven $100m+ domestic movies so far this year. Two sequels (Iron Man & Shrek), a remake (Clash of the TItans), a celebrity filled spin-off of Love, American Style (Valentine’s Day), a Scorsese/DiCaprio thriller (Shutter Island), a DW Animation film, and the biggest of them all is the oldest and most worn of them all, Alice In Wonderland, made fresh and must-see by Tim Burton.
Of course, even more important than domestic box office these days is international… especially for franchises. Add Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Robin Hood to the list of 9-figure domestic grosses when you look at $200m+ worldwide grossers. Alice and Clash both did about double the domestic number overseas. And we are waiting on international grosses to define the success level of Shrek 4, S&TC2, and Prince of Persia, which is about to cross $100 million foreign (it opened in some large international markets a week earlier than it opened in the US).
But instead of looking at these undeniable numbers, excuses are being made about a franchise like Sex not winning the weekend… not grossing as much as the last time, etc. But it’s the wrong perspective. The question, at this time as much as any, is why the assumption that Sex 2 would improve on its first shocking gross would ever be made? Just what audience is the series going to expand to?
And even so… the story of Sex 1 was foreign, not domestic. Like The Simpsons Movie, had this TV show conversion not played overseas, it would have been a modest success, not a smash. It was that $263 million from the rest of the world that made Sex a cash machine for WB (which had passed on the film before Shaye & Lynne’s New Line decided to take on what seemed to be an absurdly inflated $65m budget).
Even The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is a franchise in the making and may have the first book in the series remade domestically, is a nice indie success in US with $7 million… and $92 million overseas.
Of course, that’s the kind of franchise that movie writers like… so that franchise is okay.
Summer 2010 always looked soft from a distance. Why? Because of a lack of sequels. No Spider-Man, Batman, Transformers, Bourne, or Harry Potter. But Pixar and The Karate Kid and Adam Sandler and Tom Cruise and Twilight and Angelina Jolie and a reboot of Predator and hopeful franchises The Last Airbender and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice are all on the way, amongst 3 more sequels, 2 remakes, Chris Nolan, Julia Roberts, Sly Stallone, and a Will Ferrell/Adam McKay comedy.
We’ve had eight wide releases so far this summer. Five of the eight have or will gross over $200m worldwide… and the other 3 were not released by majors (MacGruber technically was Universal… but it was a $10m Rogue property). The five? Three sequels, a video game, and Robin Hood.
Waa waa waa. Grow up and eat what’s in front of you.
(Edit, 2:15p – Left out a title.)


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