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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Not Real Early Box Office Analysis

The news of the weekend was somewhere between

56 Responses to “Not Real Early Box Office Analysis”

  1. Jeff McM says:

    I missed Hide and Seek (if you can call it ‘missing’) but of the rest of the film, I thought that only White Noise was so bad to not deserve the money they made. All the rest delivered at least mild entertainment.
    However, I expect House of Wax to be a dud on the lines of Wrong Turn. Here’s hoping Romero’s Land of the Dead is a hit, too.

  2. Martin says:

    Why? So they keep churning out more dumbass zombie movies?

  3. L&DB says:

    “Dumbass zombie movies?” Dude. Romero does not
    make dumbass zombie movies. Calling anything associated
    with Romero “dumbass” reveals more about your ignorants
    than anything else. Romero is easily one of the
    greats. It’s that simple. Few people could have
    a career he had with all the problems he has had to
    deal with. Get better educated before you start
    talking smack, Martin.
    Jeff, we agree on one thing; I hope LOTD is a hit
    as well. Romero deserves to have at least one huge
    hit in his career.

  4. Martin says:

    The guy made one movie, about 40 years ago, that was a modest critical and financial success. Fuck him for remaking the same crap again. That’s whats called a sellout. Hell, anyone making a “zombie” movie is basically a sellout by definition.

  5. Stella's Boy says:

    The Amityville Horror, The Forgotten, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, The Grudge, Hide & Seek, The Ring Two, White Noise, Boogeyman and Saw. What do they have in common, other than a strong opening weekend? They all suck ass. Seriously, some of the worst movies of the past year. Not a single decent movie in that list.

  6. Martin says:

    I heard Saw was OK, haven’t seen it though. The rest were awful. As long as people keep paying for this horror crap, it won’t get any better. Plus it’s embarassing that Hollywood is so completely out of ideas that this tripe is either remakes, sequels, adaptations, or sequels to adaptations. They can’t even come up with a decent original idea for a horror movie, its a fuckin joke anymore.

  7. Stella's Boy says:

    I really didn’t understand all of the hype surrounding Saw. It’s garbage. Could have been good, but quickly becomes nothing but cliches and plot holes. Just another generic, idiotic horror flick. Dime a dozen.

  8. Lota says:

    Wrong. not all Zombie flicks are “sell-outs”. Shaun of the Dead was pretty funny and a pretty decent movie.

  9. Martin says:

    Not really, because that’s what is called a “parody”. And typically the parodies start coming along when their targets cease to be entertaining.

  10. L&DB says:

    Martin, come off it man. Night of the Dead has a
    subtext dealing with the racial issues of the 60s.
    Dawn of the Dead deals with the commercialism that
    began to spring up in full force during the late
    70’s. Day of the Dead deals with the problem of
    over militarization and the ramifications of that.
    Which brings up to Land of the Dead: IGNORING THE
    PROBLEM!
    Martin, you are entitled to your opinions, but the
    facts just do not bear them out. Sorry there kid,
    but you know jack and shit about Romero and even
    Shaun of the Dead. Shaun would fall more in the
    line of an HOMAGE to Romero’s films than a parody
    of them.
    Zombie films do not constitute selling out. If it
    does, then what the fuck does SAW constitute? A
    perfectly good waste of Cary Elwes?

  11. KamikazeCamel says:

    THIS is funny.
    “I heard Saw was OK, haven’t seen it though. The rest were awful. As long as people keep paying for this horror crap, it won’t get any better.”
    So… YOU paid to see these movies, right? Or are you just assuming that they’re bad movies because critics didn’t like them (like they do 90% of horror movies). So maybe if YOU stop seeing them they will stop making them. Unless of course you’re not the one going to see them and in which case you’re obviously making shit up.
    “The Amityville Horror, The Forgotten, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, The Grudge, Hide & Seek, The Ring Two, White Noise, Boogeyman and Saw. What do they have in common, other than a strong opening weekend? They all suck ass. Seriously, some of the worst movies of the past year. Not a single decent movie in that list.”
    Again, obviously you’ve seen all of those movies, right?

  12. Chester says:

    Here’s something that will please some, infuriate others: “Million Dollar Baby,” with its $30 million budget, is going to join the $100 million club this week. Right now it’s about $3.5 million short of the gross of “The Aviator,” which had a $110 million budget and hasn’t broken even yet.
    While on the subject of Oscar movies, I think we now have further evidence as to why studios find it necessary to hold up the release of dramas until awards season. “The Upside of Anger,” which has gotten some of the most positive reviews of any movie released since the Oscar nominations and has a fairly high-profile cast, has only grossed $15 million since it opened six weeks ago. That’s not bad for a film that only cost $12 million, but I still think it’s remarkably low considering it’s had absolutely no competition from any other new dramas. You’d think that at least the “Terms of Endearment” types of audiences would have been packing them in.
    Does nobody in Hollywood know how to mass-market a well-reviewed mainstream drama anymore without Oscar nominations/wins attached? Sheesh, even the reviled “Miss Congeniality 2″ has done better than $40 million.
    If Kevin Costner no longer has the star wattage to sell even this kind of “Bull Durham”-ish performance, he’d better go shopping for a TV series before it’s too late. Maybe Middle America will rediscover him in something like “CSI: Des Moines.”

  13. L&DB says:

    While I agree that studios do have a hard time
    selling any drama (Just look at the trailers they
    produce for any drama. They get more given away
    than absolutely any other genre–including comedies.)
    to the American moviegoing. However, Upside of
    Anger does not suffer from that dilema.
    The Upside of Anger did not ever open wide. I forget
    who distributed the film, but they killed it before
    release. The limited-releasing guaranteed it never
    had a chance to build on any steam from Kevin Costner
    or Joan Allen being in the film. Why this film received
    this sort of marketing and distrubution absolutely
    befuddles me.
    Hopefully people will find the film on DVD, rental,
    or on cable. If not, it just adds to continuing
    growing list of films that LIMITED RELEASING HAS
    KILLED. Sure it works from time to time, but how
    many films has it just killed? For a group of
    people who have all the accounting going there own
    damn way. The suits and the corps that own them,
    sure know how to throw money away.
    We just do not live in a world…where limited-releasing
    should even be plausible. When a flick gets reviewed
    all over the net, in countless mags, and hyped out
    the ass but ONLY OPENS IN NY AND LA!?!?! Does that
    make anysense anymore? Oy to the vey. This gives
    me a ruttin headache.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    Better a limited release than straight to video.

  15. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “Saw” was a hit — made its money back from the US theatrical run.
    “Sahara” is a Paramount title in the US, Canada, Australia and England. Studio didn’t put any money into proudction; instead it’s taking a fee to distribute.
    “The Upside of Anger” expanded on 3/18 and went semi-wide (~1100 theaters) on 4/1. New Line went for megaplexes on this release; the closest arthouse to me didn’t pick up this film until 4/15.
    FWIW I happened to like “Hide and Seek”.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    I paid to see some of those movies (some I saw for free) because I am a fan of the genre and when it comes to movies I’m an eternal optimist. They just all happened to suck. I know Costner was upset with New Line over their handling of The Upside of Anger. He held off on promoting it for a while because he didn’t think they were marketing it properly. Said he wasn’t going to put in the effort if the studio wasn’t willing to do the same. I liked the movie. Allen is fantastic. Deserved a wider audience.

  17. bicycle bob says:

    theres a reason some movies don’t get promotion. its because they aren’t good.

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    More astute analysis from bob, who only sees the world in black and white. Could you be any more simplistic? There’s a little more to it than that, whether you realize it or not. Did you even see the movie? It’s a good movie that got mostly positive reviews. Sometimes it appears that you are speaking out of your ass.

  19. bicycle bob says:

    if the money people behind a movie thought they could make more by promoting it, don’t u think they would, mr i see the gray of the world? no. in ur world i guess its not true. the reason costners movie got no publicity is because its NOT GOOD. did they have publicity for field of dreams? bull durham? yea because they were good. so fawn over joan allen all u want thats not bringing people in a theatre.

  20. teambanzai says:

    You know it’s not that they are out of ideas. Hollywood just plays it safe now, people want to see cheesey horror, and since they are cheap to make Hollywood has no problem pushing them out the door, (of course as long as House of Wax doesn’t include the cost of the sound stage they burned down in the final cost of the film), I can’t stand those films so I don’t see them. However there seems to be an audience.
    But then what do I know I watched the film Freaked over the weekend and remember just how funny it was, and I’ll bet most people don’t even remember Alex Winters first attempt at writing producing and directing.

  21. Terence D says:

    As long as people see cheesy horror flicks, the more they will make and remake them.

  22. Spam Dooley says:

    Davey- Go home Now. I mean fucking really.
    SAW a near hit? Gregg, Oren and Mark the producers personally clear $40 m, Lions Gate many millions more and it’s a near hit?
    David you have outdone yourself- the crap film only cost $2.5- it was one of the most profitable hits of 05.
    You really are stupid, says Spam Dooley.

  23. Ethan Edwards says:

    Chester, I’d argue with you about “The Upside of Anger”. I’d say it got mixed-to-good reviews. But not flat out great reviews that “Million Dollar Baby” and “Sideways” received. I read some critics that hated it. I’ve seen the movie. I enjoyed it because it was different than the typical mother-daughter(s) melodrama, but I can’t say I was overly impressed.
    Both Fever Pitch and Sahara fell less than 30% from last weekend, I think that is quite impressive. But The Interpreter will be the big winner next week. The question is how “big” will it be.

  24. jesse says:

    Do you guys think that the slightly depressed overall receipts have actually spread dollars around a little more? It seems like this year so far is sporting, at least, fewer out-and-out flops. Last year by this time we had Club Dread, Against the Ropes, Spartan, The Whole Ten Yards, that Dirty Dancing sequel, The Girl Next Door, Mooseport, and Tad Hamilton all sliding in under the 20 million mark (no reflection meant, of course, on the varying quality of those movies, one way or the other), and The Alamo losing all kinds of money. There have been a few notable flops this year (Elektra, Cursed, Alone in the Dark) but it seems like a lot of stuff — even franchise diappointments like Miss Congeniality and Beauty Shop — will be able to make it to the $40-80 range. Hey, a few of the movies are even inexpensive enough to turn a profit on that. Which is probably how movies released during this time should be working anyway, right
    I’ve never understood this entertainment-biz (or maybe business in general) phenom of how you can’t just be making money — you need to be making a RECORD amount of money. Like the music companies filing lawsuits against downloaders, seemingly founded on the belief that the music industry has a *right* not to experience sales drops (whatever may be causing them).

  25. Stella's Boy says:

    Is Sahara’s decent hold due to its popularity with moviegoers or a lack of competition over this past weekend? Fever Pitch skews more adult and female, so I’m not surprised by its hold. Not really all that noteworthy.

  26. bicycle bob says:

    saw didn’t cost 2 million to make. work on those numbers spammer

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    I believe the writer and director claim that Saw cost only $1 million to make. Filmed it in 17 days.

  28. Spam Dooley says:

    Bicycle Boy
    It was UNDER $2 as per Gregg Hoffman
    Get bent
    I am Spam Dooley and I say you suck

  29. Mark says:

    No matter its budget, Saw has to be qualified as a success.

  30. Stella's Boy says:

    No doubt. Whether it cost $1 million or $5 million, Saw was a big hit.

  31. David Poland says:

    Context Dooley… you are a reactionary… read full sentences… both Saw and Boogeyman are financial hits… both fell just short of $20 million openings…
    Stop looking to rage… full sentences… even if poorly constructed…

  32. Chester says:

    Ethan, I never said “The Upside of Anger” got “flat out great reviews.” I said it “has gotten some of the most positive reviews of any movie released since the Oscar nominations.” There’s a huge difference.

  33. Spam Dooley says:

    Should read “Last graph edited to reflect the truth”
    Everyone here read the posting- you called it a flop.
    Spam Says That is a Spammy No -No!

  34. David Poland says:

    Not what I said, Spammy… just because you are functionally ill-tempered doesn’t change my words or my intent.
    One would have to be ignorant indeed to think Saw was not a big money winner. But that wasn’t the point of the paragraph. The $19 million opening alone was enough to make it a success. And if you can’t figure out that I know that, you need to retire from Spamming.

  35. Martin says:

    I think that Saw is only slightly disappointing per-expectations. I know when I saw ads for it at the time, I thought it would be a breakout hit.. and it was, but I don’t think it reached it’s full potential at theaters. To a certain extent, it was not quite as good as moviegoers expected, and also, it got burnt by another movie, I think it was Grudge, that was playing at the same time. This is similar to what happened to the movie Hellboy, which got hurt by that Rock movie opening the same weekend. $50 mill for Saw is alot of $$, but it could’ve done almost double that.

  36. Spam Dooley says:

    Guys help Davey
    He called it a “near-hit”
    In English this means NOT a hit but ALMOST.
    It was a MONSTER hit if hit means making money.
    It made money and then some opening weekend.
    So please- I agree that you knew- I agree that you are smart- I agree that you are even THE MAN- but what you said was not True.
    And Dooley Goes Round and Round….

  37. jeff mcm says:

    get a life.

  38. Spam Dooley says:

    YOu mean I should run a blog and website about movies that strives to be definitive and then state falsehoods and then say that I never said them?
    That’s a life?
    Come Sail away with Spam Dooley.

  39. Joe Leydon says:

    Speaking of dubious statements about movies: Here it is, three weeks after “Sin City” allegedly changed the face of filmmaking forever. Only thing is, last I checked, the revolution appears to have dropped off the radar, even in this blog. Is anyone, anywhere, still talking about this movie?
    I’m Joe Leydon, and I send out for pizza for my people.

  40. The Interpreter says:

    I am spam dooley and I feed my ego!

  41. Spam Dooley says:

    Joe-
    Yes. SIN CITY has completely changed Hollywood.
    Expect to see the new Hollywood in 2007.
    Change takes time.
    I am Spam Dooley and I FEED my people!

  42. KamikazeCamel says:

    “You know it’s not that they are out of ideas. Hollywood just plays it safe now, people want to see cheesey horror, and since they are cheap to make Hollywood has no problem pushing them out the door, (of course as long as House of Wax doesn’t include the cost of the sound stage they burned down in the final cost of the film), I can’t stand those films so I don’t see them. However there seems to be an audience.”
    1. Horror is cheap and ALWAYS HAS BEEN
    2. Horror is popular and ALWAYS HAS BEEN
    I don’t really understand the lamenting that people are doing over horror movies lately (Not you, i was just pointing out that they ARE cheap and theyARE popular but always have been). I mean, seriously, horror movies were always the cheap double feature and have always been immencely popular.
    They’ve also been lacking in originality since a few decades back.
    But i think the reason that there are no “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”s or “The Last House on the Left”s anymore is because limited release is held specifically for more arty pictures and distributers don’t do the whole Midnight showing/drive through thing anymore.
    Movies open all on one weekend, they don’t open a few hundred and then make their way around the country.
    Plus, can you IMAGINE the outcry if a movie about a bunch of guys raping and murdering two girls and then having the parents go on a murderous rampage was released now? The right would have a field say saying it promoted anti-christian views and that we should see more movies about cute little kids and their dogs.
    Of course the most violent movie of last year was “The Passion of the Christ” and that got shown on 3000 screens and was hailed as a masterpiece.
    …bizarrely, i know.

  43. bicycle bob says:

    i really think spammer is jeff wells and hes still pissed dave has surpassed him

  44. Joe Leydon says:

    At the risk of encouraging Spamster, I almost hope he knows what he’s talking about. No, I don’t want to see a slew of blue-screen movies. (Trust me on this: I’ve seen enough BAD blue-screen movies at film festivals to know that they’re even WORSE than bad traditional-technology film.) But a “new Hollywood” likely wouldn’t be a bad idea. Surely something needs to change in the remake/recycle/retread mentality that apparently has the creative talents and decision makers in its grip. I mean, it seems like every day now I’m reading about yet ANOTHER FREAKIN’ REMAKE being green-lit. (Today’s announcement of a new “Experiment in Terror” is just the latest in a long, long line.) Maybe filmmakers really have run out of new ideas. The good news is, maybe this will boost sales for my book — filmmakers and wanna-bes can scour the pages in search of movies to remake. But the bad news is, we’re all in for some numbingly familiar films.
    I’m Joe Leydon, and since I’m in Nashville this week, I’ll buy Krystal hamburgers for my people.

  45. Lota says:

    Spam is not Jeff Wells. SPam knows what he is talking about, but polite diplomatic talk isn’t his strong point, scrapping is. At least he isn’t a passive aggressive back-stabbing wanker, which is rare in entertainment biz.

  46. Terence D says:

    How does Spam know what he’s talking about? All he does is disagree with David about nonsense.

  47. Spam Dooley says:

    Terry
    I disagree with WHOMEVER when they are wrong.
    Davey is RIGHT way more often than he is wrong.
    I know what I am talking about because I am in the business and only speak what I know.
    I am Spam Dooley and I FEED my People!

  48. bicycle bob says:

    dave can say the sky is blue and dooley will go on a rant about how its really green and dave is blind.

  49. Mark says:

    Spammer Dooley. The Know It Least is at it again. Props to his feeding people.

  50. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    regards to SAW. It was the most profitable film for LG – more than Farenheit 9/11. Spam is correct. Who cares about opening numbers in whatever context when a hit is not declared a hit.
    So you can say it was a monster smash of epic proportions for them and the filmmakers who took a sweet backend deal and no upfront.
    Boogeyman is a piece of shit that pulled in young girls who read RL Stine. Wait for his bigscreen GOOSEBUMPS crossover to make some serious coinage.
    pre-teen horror – next big wave. catch it.

  51. KamikazeCamel says:

    I’d be there for a Goosebumps movie! As long as it was better than the annoying tv series.
    Man, Goosebumps were awesome.
    Although they were extremely popular with boys not just girls.
    But, seriously, the Goosebumps books are the greatest thing in the history of the world. Gimme some “Camp Jellyjam” any day of the week!

  52. Terence D says:

    These horror movies do very weel week one. The key is having staying power for the oncoming weeks.

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  54. Lota says:

    ***SIGH***
    I really miss Spam Dooley feeding his people!

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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