Box Office Archive for June, 2011

Friday Estimates by Green Klady

The Green Lantern problem is not a revenue problem, it’s a spending problem.

Yeah… that’s the Republican talking point on the insanity of not raising taxes on the rich. But this has never been more true in Hollywood. Green Lantern is a dinosaur of sorts, not heavily hedged by outside money, and way too expensive. WB is admitting $200 million and $150m marketing… but that is said to be about $50m short by insiders who like to gossip.

The opening is likely to land in third place amongst the three big comic book movies to date, with an outside shot at being bigger than X-Men: First Class. It’s not catching Thor‘s opening. But it’s certainly a decent opening for a 2nd tier comic book character with a lot of (overly) nasty buzz that’s been around for months.

With 13 wide-release summer movies so far, it will be #4 or #5 in opening, perhaps behind only the two big sequels and the summer opener. Give WB Marketing credit for that.

But then realize that the film needs to “pull a Thor” to get to breakeven, which is to say, even if it ends up in the range of $150m domestic, it needs to double that internationally to… well, still be on the cusp on red/black ink.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins will likely open somewhere between Jumping The Broom and Bridesmaids… not a thrill for a Jim Carrey movie with animals. The opening will probably improve slightly on Yes Man, which is not thrill either.

Super 8‘s hold is fine… not especially strong or weak. It’s actually the same hold as Grown-Ups last year, which ended up doing 4x opening weekend. So that would be nice. For Super 8, that would be a $142m domestic gross. Seems about right, unless it gets swamped by Trannies 3.

And as I noted last week, the very successful Midnight in Paris is now in its downward trajectory, as happens over and over with films that expand carefully. There is a place – which the distributor fully knows, which is why this is Woody’s widest release – and after that, the cost of expansion does not match the returns. Once you expand and your box office gross drops, expansion is over and it’s time to manage for a leggy run in the places you’re playing strong. Based on previous weekends, MiP should be at $22.2m by the end of this weekend. And even with screens dropping, $40m domestic is not out of the question.


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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