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David Poland

By David Poland

Sunday Wars

MCN’s Len Klady estimates a $105.5 million 3-day weekend for Sith.
Fox offered up $108.5 million.
That would be the 3-day for Shrek 2 last year on the same date.
I have always said there is about a 10% lean available to studio numbers before they start having other studios talk about the lie, as, a) everyone does it, and b) the finals aren’t really final when they are marked final.
And so, the $3 million lean – which is about what the other studios quietly had as the difference between Fox’s official $50 million Thursday and their numbers – will not cause any stir at all.
Of course, the whole thing is academic and only an issue of what non-industry types will say on air and in papers tonight and tomorrow.
The number is almost $25 million ahead of any other 4-day opening. And this is where the changing face of the box office is a story. The opening is the opening. But how long before one of these openings leads to a $500 million gross, much less Titanic

59 Responses to “Sunday Wars”

  1. SpamDooley says:

    And it turns out that for the most part, the film is actually GOOD…. it’s not all about the numbers….
    I am Spam Dooley and I use Garnier Fructis!

  2. Mike says:

    At 158,514,000 so far, Sith’s 4 day opening beats any other movie’s 5 day opening. Even if you go with MCN’s Len Klady weekend estimate, that’s still true.
    1 Spider-Man 2 $152,411,751
    2 The Matrix Reloaded $144,391,066
    3Spider-Man $135,840,755
    4 Shrek 2 $128,983,060
    5 The Passion of the Christ $125,185,971

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    Of course, you do realize that if you adjust for inflation, “Sith” ticket sales very likely are running way behind “The Empire Strikes Back.” Put it another way: according to BoxOfficeMojo’s “Adjusted for Inflation” list, “The Empire Strikes Back” topped out at $290.5 million in 1980 dollars — $628.3 in 2005 bucks. (Curiously enough, Mojo doesn’t indicate whether either figure includes b.o. gross from 1997 reissue.)Could it be that, while we’re all caught up in the moment, we’re neglecting the possibility that, speaking strictly in terms of people who buy first-run admission tickets, the audience for “Star Wars” might actually be DECREASING, not expanding?

  4. Martin says:

    The audience for movies in general is decreasing, has been ever since VHS entered the fray. Star Wars clearly still is a major franchise in theatrical distribution. It may not reach quite as many people as it did back in it’s heyday, but it’s still a major force to be reckoned with. Whether it does as much as Spiderman 2 in the long run, who knows. I still say $380-400 mill. is its topping out point, unless all newcomers fail to deliver.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Martin: True enough. In fact, “Sith” already has been locked into a November 8 DVD release. (Just in time for holiday gift giving.) I wonder how many fans are waiting for that, figuring it will include bonus features, deleted scenes (maybe one with the ghost of a certain dearly departed Jedi Knight?) and other stuff they won’t get if they see it in a theater right now. Probably not too many FANATICAL fans, I admit. But probably more CASUAL fans than we can imagine.

  6. L&DB says:

    Joe that would be a voice-over and not an appearance.
    A good voice-over mind you, but he does not show up.
    SW will still probably reach more people this weekend,
    then almost any film in years. Im shocked we have
    not heard any estimates on the overseas markets yet.
    Especially Japan, a nation that never sold SW out
    for some crummy little hobbits.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    From Variety: “Released day-and-date by 20th Century Fox in 115 territories, “Sith” has already taken in $303 million, a worldwide opening record.”

  8. GdB says:

    I wonder how much of that scene being cut had to do with it being something as a narrative focus for the new live TV show?

  9. GdB says:

    I REALLY wanted to see that scene in the narrative of this film though.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    I read somewhere that it’s not opening in Japan until July.

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    I wish they would have kept Natalie Portman’s nude scene. I mean, with THAT we surely could have told how far along she was in her pregnancy.

  12. lazarus says:

    That adjusted income for Empire Strikes Back probably includes the re-release, which is a bit misleading. It always bothers me that Box Office Mojo puts the original Star Wars at the #2 film of all time domestic, when really it’s not in the Top 5. The problem is that SW was rereleased several times, including the 1978 version which added the “Episode IV” to the opening crawl. As much as I love Star Wars I think it’s a bit unfair to let those extra dollars “count”.
    That also calls into question the #1 status of Gone With the Wind on the adjusted list. Its 1.2 billion dollar take is impressive regardless, but it has been re-released countless times and it makes me think Star Wars really has the most legitimate claim to that position, even if you don’t include its additional takes.
    What’s scary is that Titanic’s 600 million is now worth 800. Inflation is a bitch, and it makes more recent successes like Shrek 2 seem a little less the juggernauts they appear to be.

  13. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    forget adjusted inflation and all that jazz.. ticket sales are the one and only true indication.. it also means heavily unreported films like “Mom and Pop” should figure in the top 25 but don’t. A film like WIND blows away Titanic on every conceivable level.

  14. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    sorry i meant ticket stubs not ticket sales

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, some academics and historians will argue that, if you’re talking strictly in terms of tickets sold, “The Birth of a Nation” is the highest grossing movie of all time. Trouble is, it premiered during the dawn of motion pictures, when admission records were even dodgier than they are now, so we’ll never know for certain one way or the other.
    Also — and I swear, I’m not making this up — there are others who will argue that “Jesus,” a ’70s independent movie (originally released by Warner Bros.) about You Know Who, actually has been seen by more people currently alive than any other movie ever made, simply because it’s been so widely used in missionary work and outreach programs by so many religious groups.

  16. G-Man says:

    Jeffmcm is right. ROTS doesn’t open in Japan until July. Here’s the link that talks about it:

  17. G-Man says:

    Mildly SW related…
    I know a lot of people don’t like Portman’s acting in the SW movies but I honestly think it’s only a matter of time before she seriously breaks out into the Hollywood A-list.
    She got rave reviews for Garden State (even from Dave If I remember right) and a golden globe and oscar nomination for Closer. I think she’ll blow us away in the upcoming V for Vendetta this November.
    Not that I’m her publicist or anything.

  18. G-Man says:

    Oh, and if anyone disagrees I promise no 70+ post fight about it.

  19. L&DB says:

    Boam just gave some dap to WIND? Wow. So TWO PEOPLE
    really like that movie now. That must help Carroll
    Ballard rest easier at night.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    What the hell is dap?

  21. KamikazeCamel says:

    Ditto on dap!
    “What’s scary is that Titanic’s 600 million is now worth 800. Inflation is a bitch, and it makes more recent successes like Shrek 2 seem a little less the juggernauts they appear to be.”
    most things in this world are better than Shrek 2 (including Titanic, which for some bizarre reason is seen as an awful movie?!?!) so anything that makes it’s success look worse than it actually is makes me happy.
    God, Shrek 2 was awful (and that’s the truth).
    It didn’t break Spiderman’s 3 day Fri-Sun record, but I’m sure it would have if it opened on Friday.

  22. Terence D says:

    How can you say Shrek was awful? On what basis? Its like you have never experienced a good movie. What was great to you?

  23. JckNapier2 says:

    As for why people now consider Titanic to be a bad movie, it’s something called “Blockbuster Backlash” (my own term, if you want to use it, I demand $0.12). Anyway, sometimes months, sometimes a year or so, any huge movie will eventually start to lessen in the eyes of fans and critics, simply because no one wants to admit liking the popular, mainstream entertainment, no matter how good it was and is.
    Be it Titanic, Independence Day (which really is still terrific entertainment, and the 9 min on the directors cut do wonders for the overall dramatic arcs), Twister , Batman (oh, the Nolan film will be so much better, says those who gave the original 4 or 3.5 stars back in the day), the Harry Potter films (oh, part III was so much better, says those who justifiably raved about the first two), hugely popular films will inevitably fall out of favor, simply because people don’t want to admit to liking that which was popular and loved by all kinds of people, critics and audiences alike.
    The Lord of the Rings backlash has only recently started (it’s only about the special effects, says countless audience members who balled like babies at Return Of The King), and I’d imagine (tragically) that Pixar movies are next to suddenly become uncool.
    This also seems to apply to well-loved smaller films, as the charge is always that a well liked, creative smaller film was merely a ‘gimmick’. I watched Memento last night, and the film is incredibly moving not even talking about the storytelling structure. And The Usual Suspects pulled me in with great acting, fun dialogue, and an overwhelming sense of tragedy and doom. The ending was just gravy (as any good twist ending should be… gravy, not main course!).
    Their loss, I still love watching Titanic, Independence Day, Lord of the Rings, Sixth Sense, etc. And yes, I enjoy the other stuff too. Most symbolic theatrical double feature ever? In January, 1996, I walked into Dead Man Walking, then caught a later show of From Dusk Till Dawn. Point being, don’t bash what you once loved, purely to appear above it all. You’re only cheating yourself.

  24. bicycle bob says:

    tough for people to admit they liked a hit. they want to be “cool”

  25. joefitz84 says:

    I like hits myself but I’d be glad to never see ID4 and Titanic ever again.

  26. Mark says:

    I really don’t think anyone at Lucasfilm is crying over not beating some record that changes every month.

  27. L&DB says:

    Dap equates to props. You know? Propers? Giving
    some love to something? So on and so forth.
    And the LOTR backlash started the night of the first
    midnight screening. Hardcore Tolkien fans loathe
    those flicks. Plus, while the ending of ROTK makes
    a brother sort of misty. It still has too many damn
    endings and it has way too little story. Elijah
    Wood staring at a camera like he does when he cant
    satisfy a woman. Does not equate to great storytelling.
    Now if Dom or Astin were Frodo, then we are talking
    about something else entirely.

  28. joefitz84 says:

    Lord of the Rings can’t hold a candle to Star Wars.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think Mr. Wood is too concerned about satisfying women.
    And I don’t think anyone cares about hardcore Tolkien fans, since the really hardcore ones are too ensconced in their leather armchairs next to their fireplaces to go out and see movies.

  30. L&Db says:

    But they have such nice chairs jeff! SUCH NICE
    CHAIRS! An Elijah is all about the P***Y! ALL
    ABOUT IT! Beards, he has no need for a stinkin
    beard! Yet he remains a BLACKHOLE OF CHARISMA!

  31. KamikazeCamel says:

    If joefitz hated Titanic and ID4 originally and still does now then that’s fine by me, but if you were one of those who actually did like it at the time and decided to hate them when the tides turned against them then that’s just pathetic (I believe you never did like them and that’s cool)
    I think Titanic, ID4, Twister and Batman are still highly entertaining flicks. I actually didn’t like the first two Harry Potter’s but loved the third. The third didn’t feel like they were trying to fit everything from the book into a 2 hour movie that was all light and bubbly despite being about evil and shit.
    And, (from Terrance D) “How can you say Shrek was awful? On what basis? Its like you have never experienced a good movie. What was great to you?”
    Firstly, it was Shrek 2, secondly read the “Badagascar or Madistastar” one thread over for a mini case. And thirdly, some of my favourite movies are:
    Mulholland Drive, Moulin Rouge!, Rear Window, T2, American Psycho, The Shawshank Redemption, Amelie, Pleasantville, Thelma & Louise, Psycho, The Third Man, Educating Rita, Lost In Translation, Toy Story 2, Dogville, Rebel Without A Cause, KBV1, Flying High [Airplane], Blue Velvet, All That Jazz, The Breakfast Club, Crouching Tiger, The Wizard of Oz, Blade Runner, Dark City, City of Lost Children, Jurassic Park, The Lion King, Sunset Blvd, GoodFellas, Dick Tracy, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Alien, Bring It On, American Beauty, West Side Story, Dancer in the Dark, Requiem for a Dream, Chicago, JFK, The 39 Steps, Taxi Driver, Picnic at Hanging Rock, All About My Mother, Spiderman 2, Best In Show, The Sting, Lost Highway, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Joy Luck Club, Edward Scissorhands, Gilda, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Leon, 12 Angry Men, All About Eve and the misunderstood masterpiece that is Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls.
    …or, did you want a more detailed look? (it’s not like I don’t have a list or anything)

  32. KamikazeCamel says:

    Oh, and btw, Revenge of the Sith did end up beating Shrek 2’s $108mil. It’s weekend gross was pretty much exactly on target with what Fox predicted. has the final details if you’re at all interested.

  33. jeffmcm says:

    Why did you call it Flying High? That was just a working title that never got used, right?

  34. L&DB says:

    I figure it might have been titled Flying High in

  35. jeffmcm says:

    Oh…his ‘favourite’ movies.

  36. BluStealer says:

    Camel, that wasn’t a detailed look? I would hate to see a detailed look. I would be reading a novel here.

  37. KamikazeCamel says:

    A detailed look could be something like the Top 150 Favourite Films of all time list I’m doing on my livejournal blog at the moment with various lengthed paragraphs about each one.
    And, yes, Airplane was titled Flying High! in Australia. I like it much more than Airplane.
    “Oh…his ‘favourite’ movies.”
    Yes, Jeff, favourite. I am not one to go around claiming to have a “Best Films Ever Made” list considering (and I freely admit this) I have not seen a lot of movies that people consider the best. They are simply movies that I like and enjoy watching. That explains why movies like Showgirls, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit and Deep Impact can appear on my list…
    …because I’m not a snob.

  38. L&DB says:

    Hey, who doesnt like Sister Act 2? I prefer it
    to the first one. I also shamefully enjoy Showgirls,
    and applaud at the silly ending of Deep Impact. Oy
    the calamity.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    I was making fun of your spelling, not your tastes.
    And I agree that Verhoeven is misunderstood.

  40. L&DB says:

    Goofying on people’s spelling on the internet: the
    #1 sign of an asshole. Yet jeff, you seem like a
    nice enough guy that sort classification just wont
    suit you.
    After watching Z Channel, I really want to see some
    old Verhoeven from his Dutch days. Because that guy
    has such a larger body of work than I originally

  41. bicycle bob says:

    jeffs an english teacher. u didn’t know that? hes been writing his “novel” now for ten years. but he swears its gonna get done. he swears

  42. KamikazeCamel says:

    I spelled “favourite” 100% correct. It’s not my fault the letter “u” doesn’t seem to exist in certain words over there.
    And, yeah, Dutch Verhoeven is apparently really great. Not quite as good as comedy classic Showgirls, but still good.

  43. BluStealer says:

    Goofing on someones spelling is like paying to see a Paul V film. Doesn’t do much for you.

  44. Terence D says:

    Verhoeven lost any good will he may have had when he made Showgirls. You can give it a back handed compliment and say its campy and funny but what it comes down to is that it’s just a terrible film. With terrible performances.

  45. bicycle bob says:

    his shot of sharon stone still ranks as one of the greatest scenes of all time

  46. Joe Leydon says:

    I have just see Robert Rodriguez’s “The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D,” and I predict it will change the face of filmmaking as Spam Dooley knows it.
    I’m Joe Leydon, and I feed myself Slim Fast.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    Jeez, you Aussies and Limeys need to lighten up about your archaic habits.
    Lighten up. It’s not my fault if some of you can’t use spellcheck.

  48. jeffmcm says:

    Has anyone checked out the online poker?

  49. joefitz84 says:

    No offense, Jeff, but theres no spell check feature on this and I really doubt anyone cares as much to copy and paste their three sentence postings for a spell check. So chill out.

  50. bicycle bob says:

    i predict joe leydon will eat spam dooleys children and then wash his mouth out with garnier

  51. Mark says:

    I thought Joe Leydon had better taste than that. Stella and Chester haven’t posted in a while. Are they the same guy? Inquiring minds….

  52. Joe Leydon says:

    Sorry, Bob: Children aren’t on my diet. Unless, of course, Spam’s offspring happen to be chickens. (I don’t know anything about Spam’s personal life, and I’m not one to pass judgments, but who knows what goes only during those long, lonely nights at Casa Dooley?) Grilled chicken is, well, delicious. So is tuna fish. And broccoli? Yum, yum. But don’t misunderstand, I’m not obsessing over food or anything like that right now.
    I am Joe Leydon and I feed myself Lean Cuisine.

  53. Stella's Boy says:

    No, Mark, Chester and I are not the same guy. I just got really bored with the SW discussion. Didn’t see much reason to continue it. Figured I’d wait for something new and interesting to come along.

  54. L&DB says:

    Lava Girl and Shark Boy cant suck as bad as Sin
    City. It’s just not possible.

  55. KamikazeCamel says:

    “Verhoeven lost any good will he may have had when he made Showgirls. You can give it a back handed compliment and say its campy and funny but what it comes down to is that it’s just a terrible film. With terrible performances.”
    And you asked how I couldn’t enjoy Shrek (2)?!
    I am fairly certain that Showgirls is a comedy classic in the form of a really bad drama. There is surely no possibly way in the current days of cinema that anybody could make a movie that truly bad unintentionally. A LOT of people think this very theory is true.
    I mean, seriously, some of that dialogue is SO rediculous – “Don’t worry, I have towels!” oh. my. god. !!!.
    “I eat doggy chow too”
    And Gina Gershon was robbed of awards (apart from the Razzie), she just sinks her teeth into it like the agressive little fox that she is.
    Maybe it’s just because the film’s target audience is (clearly) gay men and women. So, whatever…

  56. jeffmcm says:

    Starship Troopers is the same movie, but even more obviously made to be a comedy, and with more biting social satire.

  57. L&DB says:

    The Dina Meyer death scene in Starship Troopers
    easily one of the most comedic moments of 1997.
    As Kevin Smith as pointed out about Showgirls. How
    can you not like a film where a girl goes down on
    a guy in a pool with little gloss on her lips. But
    comes back up with EVEN MORE GLOSS ON! They put
    a party version of Showgirls out for a reason.

  58. bicycle bob says:

    stella u bored or just at a daily showing of episode 3?

  59. BluStealer says:

    Showgirls is good for some laughs. Anytime you cast a Saved By the Bell alum in a lead role is going to be great.

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