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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Early Box Office Analysis (The Short Form)

$8.1 million was a good start for The Hitchhiker

39 Responses to “Early Box Office Analysis (The Short Form)”

  1. Martin says:

    I just think that people are tired of seeing Morgan Freeman in movies. Oh, wait. Actually $8 mill is more than I expected for fri, and sat may hold OK because I think the audience for the film is fairly broad. But I really doubt the film is going to get good word of mouth, so a 50% drop next week and a $60-$65 mill finish for the flick seems likely. Did it cost much? Will it do better overseas? I haven’t the faintest.

  2. Filipe says:

    25m opening for a film that eveyone but a few fans expect to be a big flop is pretty good, but unless it has a surprising strong word of mouth I doubt it will go beyond 65m finish. On the other hand XXX2 is a disaster (somewhere Vin Diesel must be really happy) and David the first XXX drop Friday to Saturday.
    But the big story is that the summer didn’t truly start this weekend, doesn’t matter how hard the press may try to cover their early mistake.

  3. Stella's Boy says:

    According to the-numbers.com, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy cost $45 million. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2005/HTCHG.php

  4. Martin says:

    I think that Disney knew HH wouldn’t get good word of mouth, which is why the marketing sort of turned a corner for the worse in the last month. After seeing the final cut they had to realize it would open then die off quickly. I know a number of people that have already seen it and the best I’ve heard is “not bad”. But maybe it will do well over in england?

  5. Martin says:

    Ok, so lets say $45 mill budget, another $25 mill marketing, they’re down $70. It does $65 in the US, about which the studio takes $45. Another 30-45 mill overseas and they’re in the black. Franchise numbers? Not really.

  6. jeremy says:

    Actually, HITCHHIKERS could see a pretty startling dip on Saturday if you figure that the die hard fans streamed out to see this on opening day.
    And Filipe is right; the summer season just won’t start in April. XXX2, despite a healthy marketing push, fell prey to the same illogic that felled THE SCORPION KING and VOLCANO, while HITCHHIKERS probably could’ve opened anywhere out of season and done this kind of solid, if not spectacular business.

  7. jeremy says:

    That’s a lot of “felling”.
    Oh, and I expect HITCHHIKERS to do extremely well overseas; if DVD sales are decent, which I expect they will be, Disney will likely reap a tidy profit. Still, this is the last Douglas Adams adaptation we’ll see for some time.

  8. hitlist says:

    No one wanted to see a sequel for XXX. That’s the biggest reason behind this weekend’s disastorous results. Did you hear of anyone clamoring for a return after the dissapointment after all the hype for the first movie? Remember the sequel for TOMB RAIDER? Same thing. Sony should have done more research before greenlighting this thing.
    Also, since Ice Cube is obviously a star…why not put him in the damn poster?
    If Hitchhikers gets to $80 million Disney deserves some sort of award…

  9. Martin says:

    XXX2’s marketing was a disaster. The title alone “State of the Union” is fucking retarded. The action crowd and politics do not mix. That plus the disappointment over the original, the feeling that Cube is in there as a 2nd rate Vin Diesel, no great action shot in the trailers, and on and on. This is a movie that should’ve gone straight to video.
    And unless Kingdom of Heaven surprises, the real summer starts with Star Wars.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    Martin: Er, which movie stars Morgan Freeman? Last I checked, Samuel L. Jackson is the co-star of “XXX: Bottom of the Barrel” (or whatever the hell it’s called). I’m not gonna accuse you of thinking all black folks look alike, but….

  11. Spam Dooley says:

    Rhapsody for Lee
    Once upon a time a film came out for all to see
    There had been nothing like it in all of memory
    ONCE WERE WARRIORS it proclaimed
    Those who saw it screamed acclaim.
    The Maori Man did come to town
    Robot Newman signed him down
    Recreate the glory flick
    Check these scripts. Take your pick.
    Mulholland Falls not the one by Lynch
    The Edge with Lecter bored every inch
    Soon the Maori who was the leader
    Ended up with sequels to films by Fleder.
    To James Bond he came and went
    We saw it all, go get bent
    You whored your talent for a song
    Took five million for a sequel-that was wrong
    Lee Lee Lee
    You shoulda listened to me
    Lee Lee Lee
    Too late to come back, don’t ya see?

  12. Mr. Bloppy says:

    Looks like you might be a little off David…..
    FROM MOVIECITYNEWS Summer Box Office Chart:
    XXX2 Total Gross: $115m Comment: The summer starts early this year…
    HHGG Total Gross $48m Comment: Even the cult will be challenged to offer a $20 million opening…

  13. Joe Leydon says:

    Mr. Bloppy: Now don’t be dissing Dave’s predictions. He gets sensitive about that stuff.
    Spamster: Hey, “The Edge” wasn’t that bad. The bear was cool.

  14. Matt says:

    Kung Fu Hustle was never going to take off big time. It’s not arty enough to appeal to an art crowd (Hero, Crouching Tiger, Flying Daggers) and it has subtitles, which is going to turn off the “blow shit up” crowd. Honestly, while I thought there was a lot of interesting “stuff” in the movie, I wanted an actual plot rather than just “everyone beats everyone else up.”
    On XXX2, what the real test is going to be is week 2. Cube’s last movie held up asroudingly well, despite horrible, horrible reviews, though, obviously, it’s in a different genre than the last one was.
    HHGG is going to be interesting. I don’t know how word of mouth is going to be–I think it may wind up being a movie that satisfies absolutely nobody–too impenetrable to non-fans and not closely hewn enough to the source material for fans.

  15. Lota says:

    the only thing to like about XXX2 is Ice Cube. Lee Tamahori…I Hope he likes all the money he’s made, no one will hand to him a work of dramatic art, like that of WARRIORS, ever again.
    HHGG has been trailerized into a Dr WHo mid 80s episode. we’ll see what the movie is like today or tomorrow.

  16. L&DB says:

    Having seen HHGTTG. I must say that I truly love this film. Of course, only people who dislike Zooey Deschannel or a dancing Sam Rockwell could dislike a movie with this much silly Brit humour. If nothing British has ever made you laugh, then avoid the movie. IF not, go have a good time watching a slightly epic Sci-Fi flick from Britain not titled LIFEFORCE.
    As long as the Brittons pull a Bridget Jones on this flick. It should be a financial win for Disney. Neither the flop or failure many of you said it would be. Good times all around man. Good times.

  17. hatchling says:

    HG is not going to pick up unless someone starts to tell people what it’s about. And I don’t see that happening. I still don’t know.
    What worries me is Kingdom of Heaven. I want it to do well. But the Fox PR for it sucks, just as it did for Master and Commander. They just don’t seem to know how to tell people outside of the already enlightened, what their films are about and why people should want to see them.
    Ridley is god at making epics. KOH has all the earmarks [except for iffy casting of teen idol Bloom as action hero] of something wonderful. So why isn’t the PR screaming it’s potential to people?

  18. David Poland says:

    I’m not sweating Hitchhiker… but xXx2 is a marketing mess. They tried to do 2 Fast 2 Furious and failed utterly… above and beyond the issue of the quality of movie, which was irrelevant to opening.

  19. KamikazeCamel says:

    “HG is not going to pick up unless someone starts to tell people what it’s about. And I don’t see that happening. I still don’t know.”
    That’ll be impossible considering it’s not actually about anything.
    Man, the further away I get from seeing Hitchhiker’s Guide the more I dislike it. Sure, I like British humour (The Office and other stuff) but here it was all just “I. AM. BRITISH. PLEASE LAUGH.”
    or, ya know…
    Technically, the film is great, but as a film it isn’t. Films are meant to go somewhere, have characters do stuff that makes us feel something, etc. This one just has characters going from one wacky british situation to another. It starts out fine but it wears out it’s welcome very quickly. I agree 100% with Roger Ebert’s review of the movie. ABSOLUTELY.
    xXx2 failed because nobody cared… and it’s not Summer. Seriously, who knows ANYBODY who was legitimately excited about a new xXx movie being released?
    And, somebody up there talked about “State of the Union” as a bad sub-title, well Australia (and I’m not sure where else) got the even more horrible “The Next Level” sub-title! How’s that for horrible game tie-ins!!! It is sad about Lee Tomohori. Once Were Warriors was great and now he’s reduced to making this shit.
    At least when Peter Jackson or Sam Raimi made big blockbusters they were actually, ya know, GOOD. Great! Excellent! …xXx (and Die Another Day for that matter) are just poor.

  20. Josh Massey says:

    Gotta echo an above poster – “The Edge” is very underrated (although I would have changed the ending to make Baldwin a good guy, because the villain role was too expected). That said, Tamahori has wasted his talents since.

  21. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    Can’t believe I was so wrong on XXX2 – then again not as nearly as off as Dave was. The Edge is a lil ripper but I think it shoulda just been a wilderness action flick without the stoopid subplot. I agree Josh.. ending misses the emotional punch it should have.

  22. Chester says:

    Regarding some of the “Kingdom of Heaven” comments, I would be very surprised if it did the super-blockbuster business some of you have forecasted. Sorry, but Ridley Scott is still not the sort of director who can guarantee significant box office with his name above the title (anybody remember “Matchstick Men”?), and Orlando Bloom has probably already scared off a lot of business after his wimpy performance in “Troy.” Bloom is no Russell Crowe, and comparisons to “Gladiator” seem a bit too convenient and rushed IMHO. Given the dour weightiness of the trailers and the underlying subject matter, I can’t see younger audiences choosing it over the competition. I have no idea why the studio is releasing it now instead of Oscar season.

  23. L&DB says:

    Camel, HHGTTG is about something so simplistic
    among something that seems so complex. Feel that,
    and I cannot wait to see this film again. It has
    heart, and Zooey Deschannel. That counts for
    something.
    XXX2 just goes to show you; PEOPLE LIKE VIN DIESEL
    MORE THAN ICE CUBE. Ice Cube is not Eva Mendes,
    Paul Walker, Devon Aoki, Tyrese, or even fucking
    Chris Bridges. When it comes to an ACTION FILM.
    Rev Studios would have been better suit making
    Xzibit the star, because he does not have all of
    that family film baggage bogging him down. Who
    would have that the man who first uttered, “The wrong
    ***** to fuck wit” would have become a family
    box office draw.

  24. bulldog68 says:

    My 2 cents is that I’m glad that an off beat, unorthodoxed flick was given the light of day at the B/O instead of a cookie cutter noise maker.
    I live in Trinidad and have never been exposed to any Hitchhiker lore, so therefore the preview had me the time I saw it, so I had no pre-hype expectations to deal with. I’m sure the studio would have been happier with 30+M opening, but they will take this with a smile for now.
    Most,including myself, felt xxx2 would be #1 this weekend. Box Office Prophets had HGTTG at #1 with 42M, so while it’s only half that, its a victory nonetheless. Most prognosticators got this weekend wrong.
    So will HGTTG have long legs ar a short shelf life? Weekend 2 holds the answers. I hope more of an audience gives this flick a try.
    “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick some ass…..and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

  25. bulldog68 says:

    One other thing I forgot to mention in my previous post, another sub50% drop for Amityville. Does this horror have hold or what. It might go past Constantine and Ring 2 or at least come close. Who’d have thunk it?
    “One for me, and one for my homies.”

  26. Josh Massey says:

    Hey, but if we agree with the New York Post’s recent assessment, “Kingdom of Heaven” is destined to succeed because Orlando Bloom has starred in five of the biggest films of the last few years.
    (As if Bloom’s presence had anything to do with the financial success of the “Lord of the Rings” films, “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Troy”).

  27. Martin says:

    I’m somewhat ambivalent about Bloom’s acting abilities, but he just looks ridiculous in the trailers for this movie, as out of place as he did standing next to Brad Pitt in Troy. He’s a goofy looking dude and hardly the action hero that Crowe was. He also feels like a cheap attempt to bring in the teenage crowd. If Crowe was in Kingdom of Heaven I guarantee you this film would have a much higher profile and do a ton more $$.

  28. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Weekend estimates per Mojo: “Hitchiker’s Guide” $21.7M, “The Interpreter” $14.2+M, the “xXx” sequel $13.7M.
    When “The Interpreter” is the only title selling out in a New Jersey megaplex you know people are starved for a good picture.
    Summer season starts 5/6 per Nielsen EDI. Given the surfeit of product, the EXCESS HYPE!!! and the OVERWROUGHT TRAILERS!!!! it doesn’t look good.
    I see “Star Wars Episode 3″ opening big and falling off big. “Episode 2″ lasted all of 4 weeks in the Hamptons.

  29. Matt P. says:

    “I see “Star Wars Episode 3″ opening big and falling off big. “Episode 2″ lasted all of 4 weeks in the Hamptons.”
    Well, the Hamptons can do that, but the rest of the country’s ready to go beserk for this thing. People have been clamoring THE Star Wars movie for two decades. If this thing delivers, the box office across the country won’t know what hit it.

  30. Martin says:

    It’s not hard to predict the #’s for episode 3, just look back to when the last “last” SW movie came out, ROTJ. It did between Empire and SW numbers. Sith will do better than Clones, less than TPM. Not very complicated.

  31. lazarus says:

    Yeah, since when are the fucking Hamptons a barometer for box office success? Episode 2 did over $300 million. Without Spider-Man, it would have probably pulled in $350 mil. If you think that’s a disappointment you’re crazy.
    The repeat business on Episode 3 is going to be through the roof. Plus you’ll have people holding back and then deciding to bring the kids after all. Don’t be surprised if it does $400 mil, and the “inbetween” theory is a good one. Nothing could top Episode 1 at this point.

  32. L&DB says:

    In the name of all East Coast commuters who have
    to travel out to that little hunk of land via the
    traffic from hell. Let me say; FUCK THE HAMPTONS.
    Revenge will be cutting down people like Sidious
    after Mace Windu talked smack to him. Keep doubting
    this flick. It will come back and bite you in the
    ass.
    One more time just for Fred Norris of the Howard
    Stern Show; FUCK THE HAMPTONS!

  33. Filmmakers beware of Mike Broder and Small Planet Pictures. They have been in breach of contract Ie they havent paid for the film Rockets Redglare and have ignored their contractual obligations since November of 2004. Small Planet Pictures are financed in part by Palasades Pictures. Mike Broder is a liar and

  34. Filmmakers beware of Mike Broder and Small Planet Pictures. They have been in breach of contract Ie they havent paid for the film Rockets Redglare and have ignored their contractual obligations since November of 2004. Small Planet Pictures are financed in part by Palasades Pictures. Mike Broder is a liar

  35. KamikazeCamel says:

    I’ve said for a while that I reckon Revenge of the Sith will make around $100mil opening weekend and end with roughly $390mil.
    Although this movie could actually play for a long time if die hards like it and continue to go back.
    Now, onto this week’s numbers. I estimated a few weeks ago that xXx2 would open with about $28 mil and finish with around $80. Man, am I glad it did less that half of that!
    To quote Box Office Prophets:
    “XXX: State of the Union is neither the number one nor the number two film, making it a disaster of epic, epic proportions”
    and this
    “In a devastating third spot this weekend is XXX: State of the Union”
    and this too
    “This is unmitigated disaster territory for Revolution and distributor Sony, as the production cost on this one was an astounding $118 million. Released to a large 3,450 venues, folks probably heard a lot of crickets at screenings, as the action flick had a venue average of $3,936 (remember we

  36. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    Yeah, and what about the dumb bastard who said XXX2 would do 80 mill without breaking a sweat? Wotta moron. Sheesh, I haven’t been this wrong since I told Cher she’d never survive without Sonny.

  37. Joe Sullivan says:

    I caught Hitchhiker’s Guide last night at a late show on Sunday night and it was packed! Packed! of course, I live in Los Angeles so that is not too out of the ordinary. I think the film will do decent. I mean the film has laughs, but no big laughs. We tend to forget that above all selling points, the film is rated PG. What else are the kids to see before Star Wars?
    I think what will blow us totally out of the water will be Monster-In-Law next weekend. It’s previewing in about 800 theatres and it will do huge numbers.

  38. KamikazeCamel says:

    But… kid’s aren’t out of school yet, are they?
    I don’t exactly understand your school system over there so I don’t know, but it’s not even Summer yet so the kids have plenty of stuff to occupy them while they wait for Star Wars.
    right?

  39. jeff mcm says:

    Yes, school is still going on all over the country. That’s why the first summer movie of the year has traditionally been released over Memorial Day weekend. It’s been successfully moved back over the last few years to be beginning of May, but that’s only worked because the successful movies (Van Helsing, X2, Spider-Man, etc) have been juggernauts without competition. This year they crammed four or five mid-level movies unto the release slots before Star Wars and none will make a huge amount of money.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin