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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Early Thanksgiving Day Estimates

Can Harry Potter IV pass $200 million in 10 days or less? That is the golden question for the weekend.
Walk the Line should near $60 million in 10 days by the time the weekend ends. The solid show in a second weekend bodes well for a nice run into Christmas and position as the highest grossing awards movie when Oscar nominations are released in late January

32 Responses to “Early Thanksgiving Day Estimates”

  1. EDouglas says:

    $20 million seems kind of high for Just Friends based on its first two days… Will have to make about three times yesterday’s box office to do that. I’m thinking closer to $16 million. (It’s not exactly a family type movie.) Also doubt that Yours, Mine will have the legs of the Kranks, not without the Christmas theme which would continue to pull people in.
    That Weds-Thurs drop-off for Rent is terrible…the biggest drop-off for a Thanksgiving movie ever, including Alexander last year. Before seeing yesterday’s #s, I was thinking it could do closer to $30 million.

  2. the keoki says:

    If HP4 does an average of $20mil the next three days it blows by the 3-day and 5-day Thanksgiving and does $200mil pretty darn fast. The real question is, can it do Sith numbers before Kong shows up? Also, can it do Polar Express IMAX numbers form the IMAX screens? Because if it does, is $400mil in range?

  3. martin says:

    ice harvest is an odd one, anyone know how much it cost? there are so many elements to this movie that say “box office disaster” that I wonder how it got financing. The titles aren’t coming to me at the moment, but there have been a bunch of these dark comedies (x-mas time set ones too) that have bombed in the last decade. This one actually seems sorta interesting and has gotten some good reviews, but the track record for these types of movies is awful. Must have been fairly low-budget or been greenlit by blackmail.

  4. joefitz84 says:

    Potter is huge. Everyone knew it would be but this is really big.

  5. Josh says:

    Rent better pick it up or it’s going to join Phantom of the Opera type bust.

  6. David Poland says:

    Rent would be very lucky to get to the $155 million Phantom did worldwide. And they knew that, I think, even when they greenlit it.

  7. martin says:

    if rent got great reviews and awards buzz it would easily do phantom #’s (more of a domestic tilt however). But the word is already out that it’s simply not very good. Plus, it’s getting killed by all the rent-haters out that there are calling not only the film crap, but the original broadway production as well. I always find it amusing how you don’t really know how disliked a play/tv show/musician/etc. is until they’re a big movie and all the haters are out on the front page. I always figured I was in the minority in thinking Rent was a pile of pseudo-bohemian crap but apparently many/most critics and many viewers feel the same way. Kind of reassuring.

  8. Angelus21 says:

    Rent doesn’t have the name brand type thing that Phantom has worldwide.

  9. AgentArc says:

    Potter is running along very nicely.
    $400 million is a pipe dream, however $280 million is clearly a lock. If it is keeps running, it will finish with $200 million this weekend, and $250 by the end of the next. Everything else beyond that is a mystery. The international numbers will clearly around $600-$650 million, making it the biggest release of the year, above even Star Wars III.
    And O_o at Rent’s 50% drop. NOTHING else dropped more than 18%, and as a matter of fact, most everything else elevated.

  10. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Because I love the movie, i’m going to bring it up. Could a reason for Pride & Prejudice’ softer than expected Thanksgiving day gross be because, to be politically incorrect, it’s primary audience is females and many females have other things on their mind than seeing a movie??
    I mean, the US is the same country that has cinemas open (and successfully so) on Christmas Day, so I can’t really guage what Thanksgiving means, but whatever…
    (Why on earth are cinemas open for Christmas? That’s kooky)
    Anyway.
    That is a scary drop for Rent. If word of mouth isn’t very good it may fall short of $50. Phantom was actually a strange release. It kept the limited/semi-wide angle through it’s entire run I think, making $5mil or so per week. Rent went for the whole hog by going wide. In Phantom’s defence (I’m not that big of a supporter of the film. i merely thought it was okay), $50mil US is pretty great for an operatic musical these days.
    Warner must be ecstatic about Harry’s numbers. It’s most definitely going to reverse the trend of downward numbers. So can we rest assured and know that HP will stay put on Thanksgiving from now on?
    Who cares about In The Mix and Ice Harvest (a poor Bad Santa wannabe by the looks of it – by that i mean, dark comedy in the joyous season). Probably doesn’t help that both of these movies have horrendous name. What the fuck is the ice harvest?
    THe thing that kept Polar Express chugging along to $160mil was IMAX. It’ll be interesting to see if Chicken Little can reach that number.
    Christmas With the Kranks… Yours Mine & Ours… Cheaper By The Dozen… there really a theme. Each year has a horrible holiday family movie. This year we’re treated to a sequel to Cheaper By The Dozen, as well! Yay… *chirping crickets*

  11. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Hmm, i didn’t know where to put this, so i’ll put it here.
    In the NYPost’s Turkey prizes, I’m not going to argue with any of them except one.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    That’s a funny cultural comment up there about theaters being open on Christmas, Camel. Of course theaters are going to be open. What on earth else are you going to do with your family after you’ve finished opening presents? That or watch TV.
    You are completely correct, though. Women are more likely to be busy cooking and shopping to see a movie like P&P right away. Give it a few weeks.

  13. Joe Straat says:

    “Because I love the movie, i’m going to bring it up. Could a reason for Pride & Prejudice’ softer than expected Thanksgiving day gross be because, to be politically incorrect, it’s primary audience is females and many females have other things on their mind than seeing a movie??”
    The big reason, I think, is that it looks like a stuffy period costume drama and the ads aren’t really separating it from all the similar poductions you can see on PBS, A&E, or other such networks. “From the makers of Bridget Jones’s Diary” means nothing if it’s not a modern romantic comedy.
    Compare this with the trailer for Casanova, where despite going overboard on costume and period, they show that the movie might be actually entertaining (my brother, the last person who would see something like Casanova, even laughed at a couple of the gags). I’m not about to say Casanova will make more, but it seems to me the problem is with selling it. Oh, and in more “traditional” places, like here in the Midwest, the movie isn’t even playing in most spots.

  14. EDouglas says:

    Well, the theatre reports I got for Friday are not looking good and this may end up being the worst “Black Friday” at the movies in years. Usually, movies do much better on Friday from people going out as a family after shopping to see something together. In most cases, Harry Potter should increase a lot from THursday, but I’ve heard that it barely made more than Wednesday in a couple theatres.

  15. Bruce says:

    When has nicole Kidman ever had any chemistry with a male costar? Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge? Cruise in Days of Thunder?

  16. Melquiades says:

    Re: theaters opening on Christmas Day… um, anyone ever hear of the Jews?!
    Not everybody celebrates Christmas, even in the United States.

  17. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Mr. Poland and Mr. Staat are correct: “Pride & Prejudice” is getting killed because its ads resort to name-checking. Same with “The Ice Harvest” and “Zathura”.
    Paramount used a Xmas angle of sorts to promote “Yours, Mine & Ours”. Newspaper ads yesterday read “30 shopping days left. 18 kids. You do the math.” Today the ads go back to the usual pull-quote hype. Duh!
    BTW, did anybody notice the new ad campaign Fox did for “Walk the Line”? When there’s a new ad campaign after a picture comes out it’s a sign that movie might be in trouble.

  18. martin says:

    based on #’s from the last few days, walk the line is hardly in trouble. it’s beating rent, yours mine and hours, etc. everything but potter. so i’d say the new ad campaign is a result of bigger box office than expected “holy shit we may hit all 4 quadrants” and are capitalizing on it.

  19. Blackcloud says:

    What about Massachusetts? They still have blue laws in effect which date from Puritan times. Can theaters be open there on Xmas?

  20. Aladdin Sane says:

    I think that ‘Narnia’ will take a bigger chunk out of the marketplace that ‘Potter’ is eating up right now…’Kong’ will be big, but it seems Christians are abuzz about another movie for them…and it certainly isn’t Kong.

  21. martin says:

    kong feels like a well-reviewed godzilla to me, which may mean double the g98 box office, which means around $250 or so. A movie about a big ape, no matter how well-reviewed/received is not going to take over the US box offices for a long period of time. Problem is, most audiences are not in the daily “movie” loop, and Kong sounds like a really dumb, not very appealing time at the movies. It will do big with the core crowds and expand a bit, but the effort required to get the chicks and the adults into a Kong movie is more than any reasonable marketing budget could hope to achieve.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, your weekly rant against ‘name-checking’ is crazy as always. People don’t choose to not see a movie because they don’t approve of its marketing strategy. The three movies you mention are failing because they didn’t look like especially fresh or interesting movies. You really seem to hate ‘name-checking’ when it is in fact one of the best tools a marketer has.

  23. Blackcloud says:

    What is “name-checking”? This ignoramus wants to know!

  24. jeffmcm says:

    It’s a name for when advertising says something like. “Zathura, from the producers of Jumanji” or “King Kong, from the director of Lord of the Rings”. Obviously a good way to capitalize on a filmmakers’ prior success, no?

  25. Blackcloud says:

    Ah, I didn’t know it had a name. Thanks, Jeff.
    That could lead to some interesting ads: “Munich, from the director of E.T.” Or this one: “From the writer of Hamlet and Othello, Macbeth.” Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be seeing either of those.

  26. Cadavra says:

    Theatres are open on Christmas so those of us of the Hebrew persuasion can go see a new movie without standing in long lines because the goyem are home opening their presents. 😉

  27. JckNapier2 says:

    I’m most amused by the trend, usually by Disney, of advertising ‘from the ‘studio that brought you…’. Considering how varied most studio output is, I long for the day when we see ‘from the studio that brought you A Clockwork Orange and The Wizard of Oz, comes… Charlie And The Chocolate Factory!’
    Scott Mendelson

  28. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Until they do indeed start advertising things such as “Munich, from the director of E.T.”, I think the strategy is good. I probably wouldn’t have wanted to see The Constant Gardener as much as I did if I didn’t know it was the director of City of God.
    And I think for the casual moviegoer it means a lot more. “Oh, it’s from the guy that directed The Lord of the Rings? I’ll see that”. It also helps you get a good early thought of what the movie will be like.
    Business for P&P was up something like 124% on Friday, where most movies experiences upsticks of around 75%. So…

  29. Krazy Eyes says:

    So has Poland spilled the beans about that train wreck of a film he dangled tantalizingly above our noses a few weeks (months?) ago? If not, I’m assuming it still hasn’t been released yet?
    How about a fresh round of guesses?
    I still vote for AEON FLUX even though he mentioned it in the original post.

  30. Josh Massey says:

    Actually, theaters are open on Christmas because business is freaking HUGE that day – yes, even for Christians. I worked at a theater in high school, and Dec. 25th was always a huge day for moviegoing. People hang with their families all day, and go to movies at night – it still feels like a family event, but at last you don’t have to talk to each other.

  31. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Name-checking is when the studio involved thinks “This Picture is a Piece of Shite, So We’ll Link It to a Previous Hit”. Mr. Poland and Mr. Staat have confirmed that thesis.
    At least I’m not the moderator — those constant personal attacks on my P.O.V. would have been deleted.
    As for those pissing on “Rent”: Quite a few arthouses are playing it, including the BAM Rose Cinemas in Brooklyn and the Criterion Cinemas in New Haven. So are theaters where arty pix do well (Regal Union Square, UA East Hampton, Princeton Garden Theatre, AMC Hamilton to name a few).

  32. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky I’m not trying to attack you personally, but you have never offered any rationalization of your position on the subject, just constant rants.

Box Office

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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