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David Poland

By David Poland

Sunday Estimates


27 Responses to “Sunday Estimates”

  1. Hopscotch says:

    I think what killed “Grindhouse” was the running time. I was this close to handing over my $11, but a three hour blood and guts movie, I just wasn’t in the mood.
    NOW, here’s what I think they should have done. MADE IT A COMPETITION. Release both movies the same day. See which one would have came out on top. just a thought.
    I want to see Tarantino’s and the trailers, but I don’t want to sit through a bad movie to get there.

  2. martin says:

    Hopscotch, i think you’re completely wrong about the running time having any significant effect on the box office. However I agree that they could have released each movie separately and done more money in the long run. Tarantino’s name and the genre would have gotten an $11 mill opening for DP. Rodriquez and the genre would have done roughly the same (“From the director of Sin City”). I don’t think anyone really gives a fuck about the “double-feature” aspect of the “grindhouse” movies. The audience does like the cheesy, gritty aspects of these movies though, and separate releases would have cashed in OK numbers (perhaps 30-40 mill) for each.

  3. martin says:

    Also, just watching the occasional tv ads like during 24, to me at least, BARELY sold the double-feature aspect. If you were only half-paying attention to the trailer, you’d think it was just a single cheesy grindhouse-style movie. So IMO the double-feature aspect was possibly undersold, and either way has not paid off at the box office.

  4. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Unfortunately the reason for GH’s seemingly embarrassing lack of boxoffice clout is simply due to one reason and one reason only – confusion.
    Calling this two-headed beast ‘Grindhouse’ instantly set the film up for a fall. It made no sense at all to the film going public – they spent so much time trying to explain what the term meant (largely incorrectly from RR’s end) to the public that they only ended up preaching to a small percentage of the converted and utterly sailing over the heads of 90% of potential customers.
    They should never have called this thing GH in the first place. I talk to the public about film every day and not one of them knew what this hydra was – sure your loyal AICN reader knew about it – but those others?
    I’m sure the numbes were crunched and it’ll end up being a profitable title once the 3rd special edition is released – but was this vanity project handled as well as it could have been? That’s the focus of any discussion – and not – is PT better than DP. Lessons will be learnt.
    Most unfortunate thing of all ? Probably say goodbye for any co-production between Weinstein and Alliance Atlantis for HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN.
    Martins figures are probably a little high but they would also have had to up their marketing spend a bit to release two films but there would have been two defined films out there instead of one giant hunk of celluloid confusion.

  5. martin says:

    Jeff – I think they could have spent 75% of the current marketing for DP, and then say 25% of current for PT by releasing it a couple weeks after DP. It IS possible they would have wound up with the same combined box office, but I think the potential upside would have made it a better bet. Granted, many BO predictors thought the double-bill GH concept would lead to big returns, so this is all with 20/20 hindsight. And I do agree that in the long run this project will make back its money… unlike, dare I say it, 4 Rooms.

  6. David Poland says:

    This figure is so low that hitting black on the project is no longer a given. The domestic release will likely lose money or barely break even on P&A alone. Foreign could be stronger, but there is a lot of money to make up.
    My estimate – They’ve probably covered about $25 million in costs with foreign pre-sales. The film will need to gross over $70m foreign to start returning anything more to TWC.
    7 million units of DVD (which is not a small number) will net about $50 million for TWC.
    That leaves them about $10 million to $15 million short, $5 million or so which will come from Showtime. Not sure what the soundtrack deal looks like. Not sure when backend for QT & RR kicks in. Not sure whether TWC has sold off Japan or not, which could be a key market for this film.

  7. martin says:

    I see it as $40 mill domestic, $80 mill foreign (incl presales). Minus 20% for theaters = ~$90 mill in, minus $35 mill WW marketing = $55 mill. All they need to do is sell a couple mill DVDs and they’ll be in the black. Where are my numbers incorrect?

  8. jeffmcm says:

    20% for theaters the incorrect part.

  9. David Poland says:

    Well, not sure what “20% for theaters” means. 55% of gross is what comes back in the U.S.
    If the film were to do $120ww, as you state (probably high), that’s about $50 million back to TWC (because they won’t get 55% on the foreign presales). Marketing may be more like $25m. So that’s $25m against an $85 million cost of production. That leaves $60 million to make up on Home Ent and ancillaries… which is a lot for a film that didn’t do bigger numbers.

  10. martin says:

    So the real killer that general public is not aware of on box office/vs/budget is the 55%. I had always heard higher, but I have read the 55% as well. Really if that # is across the board, then not many movies make profits till DVD.
    $60 mill on DVD seems do-able to me, since it’s the type of flick that typically would excel in that market. Kind of ironic, considering it’s a movie stylistically designed for theatrical.

  11. martin says:

    Also, where did you get “$85 mill” cost of production?! I’m seeing numbers in the $60 mill. range. Is that an insider number?

  12. David Poland says:

    $60m is what they are admitting publicly.

  13. marychan says:

    A interesting news.
    The Weinstein Company didn’t allow Grindhouses to show “Grindhouse”.

  14. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Martin. No offense but HUH?!?!
    What is the real killer? Why does the public need to know anything? Not sure you have a grasp for the business but there is no simple formula for any film that can be analysed like you have attempted. You state you always heard higher than 55% for exhibition but previously you mention a figure of 20%… I think its time someone called your bluff that you have absolutely no understanding of this biz at all. please stop throwing numbers around like that, it looks silly. And give Dave his due – his numbers from that side of things are usually very good.

  15. David Poland says:

    Mary… why you keep dragging roadkill into my yard?

  16. marychan says:

    Sorry, David.
    If I didn’t something wrong, I’m so sorry about it…. You can kill my post if you want….

  17. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Marychan – I love how anyone with a single screen suddenly can claim to be an expert on grindhouses. These kids born in 80s never stepped foot in a real fleapit, all they’ve done is programme some eastman faded prints a few times in a local single screen (which probably never showed Five Fingers of Death) and suddenly they are the #1 expert in the US on exploitation film exhibition. Fuck me. Apart from that – Weinstein Co did blow an opportunity for some great free marketing from all these indie setups. Unfortunately the chains won’t play ball with their next film if they made allowances to certain fanboys wet dreams. And this decision did not affect GH’s boxoffice at all.

  18. martin says:

    jeff, I’m not going to claim to be an expert on the business of the business. I have read though that some movies bring back 80% to the studios (ie 20% to theaters) in the first week or two. The 55% number seems low to me, but I guess it’s right. And by “killer” I mean many web discussions about box office vs budget are worthless, since the 55% number is rarely mentioned.

  19. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Martin, Yes those discussions amongst fans are extremely depressing. Not because they have no clue which is obvious but simply because of why.
    Why are kids talking returns/splits/backends? It’s pretty damn sad.

  20. They’re releasing these as seperate films in Europe, aren’t they? That could get them some extra cash.

  21. David Poland says:

    The era of 90/10, 80/20, 70/30 and down ended in this country about five years ago. The vast majority of deals are now 55% aggregated to studios (often after negotiated expenses), period.
    Like so many things, the studios don’t often talk about it because they really don’t want us to understand how the system works. At this point, if they could get rid of the Top 10 every week, they would.

  22. Cadavra says:

    Coincidentally speaking of FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH, this week the Weinsteins are bringing it out on DVD under its original title, KING BOXER, with the original Mandarin soundtrack, as well as 36 CHAMBERS OF SHAOLIN (a QT favorite). While I wait for them to arrive from Amazon, I shall take in a matinee of GRINDHOUSE at the least appropriate place to see it, Grauman’s Chinese.

  23. David Poland says:

    Mary… I don’t pull posts and what you have done is not wrong in any real way. I just find some of the things you quote in here to be by bad journalists and it is problematic for me to respond, since anything I write is seen as somehow competitive. I would prefer simply not to have to deal with them in this space. (I will spare you the private exchange of lunacy in the last 30 hours with one of those people.)
    But honestly, I really don’t want to censor you either.
    And unfortunately, this exchange has forced me to look further into the issue and now I will be posting a new entry to deal with the lack of reporting in what you linked to… sigh…

  24. marychan says:

    I’m sorry, David.
    If you don’t want me to post that link, I won’t post that link in your blog anymore. Since here is your personal blog, I will respect your opinion.

  25. David Poland says:

    Just posted a new piece… which kind of explains why…
    And thank you very much for being considerate of what is a personal issue for me more than a purely professional one. It’s just difficult.

  26. Krazy Eyes says:

    Doesn’t the Weinstein company have an exclusive rental contract with Blockbuster? I’m not sure if this will help the ultimate DVD numbers or take a bite out of them.

  27. tfresca says:

    I always think that the marketing fails when I see a trailer and have NO idea what the movie is about. I had no idea what the movie was about from the title or the trailers. I think the Blockbuster thing will hurt the bottom line, unless Blockbuster pays them a big upfront payment. I avoid Blockbuster like the plague. It’s a shame that Nikke Fink doesn’t allow comments on her blog. She’s got a real mean streak too.

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