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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office Sunday

Well, Alexander turned out to be far uglier than the first few days of the weekend suggested.  Word of mouth travels fast.  An estimated $21.7 million five-day suggests strongly that this film is going to have a very hard time getting to $50 million domestic.

I mean, we’re looking at The Siege, Men of Honor and The 6th Day as the precursors of this ugliness, though Alexander cost more than twice what any of those films cost.  Scrooged, which got to $60 million, is the upside of this equation… but that film had the advantage of a Christmas theme that brought an upturn on Christmas week.  I don’t expect Alexander to be on more than 800 screens by Christmas week.

On the flip side, The Polar Express is holding better than expected.  The film got very tough review from a lot of critics, but the film was the only film not going wide this weekend that actually had an uptick in viewing.  I still say, see it in IMAX 3-D… but someone out there is really liking this movie and talking about it.  And this weekend’s success will encourage exhibitors to have the film on a large number of screens on Christmas week, even if they start going to matinee-only plays for the next couple of weeks as they await the next wave.

As usual, expectations determine how one sees the success or weakness of the box office results for limited release movies.  MCN’s Len Klady sees the results for Finding Neverland, Sideways, and Kinsey to be “solid.”  I see them as a bit underwhelming. 

Kinsey’s position is very reminiscent of the distribution of The Motorcycle Diaries, a film that has now stalled at around $14 million.  Of course, that number is great for a film like Swimming Pool… but not for a hard charging Oscar wannabe.

Miramax has done an excellent job of parlaying an early entry into the season and the power of Johnny Depp to move Finding Neverland along.   They’ve gotten some separation from Sideways, which is doing okay, but feels like it is a long way – perhaps an Oscar nod will be required – from a $20 million total.  Finding Neverland feels like it could go to 2000 screens next week and do $10 million.  Remember, Johnny Depp + Secret Window = $48 million domestic. 

The film that Finding Neverland probably will most emulate fiscally is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which hit $35 million in its run last March.  For Neverland, that should be enough to make a legitimate Oscar run.  There are two huge differences between the Neverland and Eternal Sunshine as far as the awards race goes.  First is timing.  It is very difficult to rev things back up for a March title in December.  Second is that eternal Sunshine is hip and smart and young (just try to get an Academy member to recall the title accurately) while Finding Neverland is an old fashioned weepie.  Which do you think Oscar voters prefer?

13 Responses to “Box Office Sunday”

  1. Stella's Boy says:

    No doubt Alexander is a box office failure, but how much did Warner Bros. actually put into it, and how much was funded by Intermedia? I don’t understand the thrashing it has received at all. It’s a mess, but an enjoyable one. Overall, I liked it. I’ll take it any day of the week compared to the latest shitfest from Brett Ratner or Joe Roth or Jon Turtletaub. Yet critics and viewers make excuses for those movies while relishing the chance to tear into Alexander. Makes no sense to me.

  2. Sam says:

    Entertainment Weekly reported that Stone got most of his financing from a German investor who rounded up foreign money. WB invested about $20 million, plus the marketing.

  3. Blake Falls says:

    This sunday I catched the poster for FINDING NEVERLAND here in germany and was stunned how the german distrubitor is trying to totaly fuck this baby off over here. They gave it the german title WENN TRÄUME FLIEGEN LERNEN, which is WHEN DREAMS LEARN TO FLY in english.
    Seems like they doing theire best to produce another HEAD IN THE CLOUDS over here. What a shame.

  4. bicycle bob says:

    gay movies? don’t work.

  5. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Most Regal/UA theaters (and a few indies) posted their Thanksgiving-weekend bookings on 11/19. In the New York area, at least 2 Regal/UA theaters and 1 indie were to have picked up “Finding Neverland” on 11/24. Then Miramax decided on 11/22 that those theaters would not get the film. Wonderful!
    “Kinsey” and “Sideways” are the kind of movies Miramax would have released 10 years ago. At least those 2 films are earning their way. Fox doesn’t screw theaters around the way Miramax does.

  6. Harvey Milk says:

    I went to see it down here in Dallas and the sign behind the counter said “Faggy Pirate Movie”. I bought the ticket, turned out to be Spongebob Squarepants. Good flick tho.

  7. Mark says:

    Miramax is only about the movies they think can net Oscars. And really crappy comedies.

  8. bicycle bob says:

    lets thank them for giving us ben affleck and gweneth paltrow. thanks miramax

  9. Barry says:

    Hey Bob Avary lost his keys up your mom’s ass can you help him find them?

  10. bicycle bob says:

    hey barry, u just reliving those nightmares of when ur daddy would come into ur room late at night?
    it won’t hurt, barry, it won’t

  11. Mark says:

    Hey Bobby, Barry seems to want your ass too.

  12. bicycle bob says:

    we got another closet case here. come out to us barry

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