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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Box Office Hell

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20 Responses to “Box Office Hell”

  1. movielocke says:

    early word is that fred claus is getting hammered with a 5 mil third place friday. Ouch.

  2. Rob says:

    I have a feeling that Lions for Lambs does, like, $6 million for the whole weekend.

  3. Andrew says:

    Yeah, looks like Fred Claus will open in 3rd even after weekend matinees. Rough year for Joel Silver.
    EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES
    1. American Gangster (Universal) – $7.4M – $2,419 PTA – $63.7M cume
    2. Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $6.4M – $1,623 PTA – $52.6M cume
    3. NEW -Fred Claus (Warner Bros) – $5.5M – $1,527 PTA – $5.5M cume
    4. NEW

  4. chris says:

    Those are some extraordinary numbers for the Coens — looking at a nearly $1 million weekend on only 28 screens. (And WOM should be good.)

  5. Eddie says:

    Speaking of which, did you ever review No Country, Dave?

  6. Scott Mendelson says:

    The Arclight evening shows for No Country (7:40, 8:30, 10:10) were all sold out by 3:30pm yesterday. I’ve never seen that in my 3 years living here. Oh well, tonight it is…
    Scott Mendelson

  7. jesse says:

    Yeah, the equivalent Union Square showings of No Country (7:40, 8:10, 10) were all gone by mid-afternoon on Friday. I’ve seen that pretty much only with Harry Potter and Borat.
    Excellent movie, though I think a little bit of the praise has been overblown — only in the sense that I wouldn’t say “best Coen movie ever” or even “best since Fargo” … but that’s only because I LOVE O Brother and Big Lebowski (and Fargo, which I think is a somewhat better movie than No Country).
    Of course, it’s a fairly ridiculous comparison to make, at least in terms of those two comedies (there’s a lot of thematic overlap with Fargo). And I find myself, 12 hours later, wanting to see it again.

  8. Wrecktum says:

    The Fantasy Moguls don’t have AfterDark Horrorfest on their list. It pulled in a measely $130,000.

  9. movieman says:

    Chris- Yes, “No Country for Old Men” will get great WOM…from Coen Brothers fans. I don’t, however, expect it to be a crossover hit for the Bros.; certainly not with the same mainstream audiences who turned “The Game Plan” into the biggest-grossing fall release.
    Unlike it gets showered with beaucoup Oscar nominations, I really wouldn’t expect it to get much further than
    $30-$35-million. Of course, anyone who paid to see “GP” (and, shudder, liked it) doesn’t deserve “NCFOM” anyway.
    Great legs on “Dan in Real Life,” just as I predicted. Disney should have opened it earlier: maybe even late summer, a la “Little Miss Sunshine.”
    It’s going to have a tough time holding onto screens with the barrage of Turkey Day releases descending on November 21st.
    “P2”? PU is more like it. I know that Summit wanted to prove they were a major player, but isn’t there a cheaper way to establish street cred in Hollywood these days?
    Those are some mighty naughty figures for “Fred Claus:” could the uniformly bad reviews have had some kind of negative financial impact??? That’s a semi-rhetorical question, of course. Everyone knows that critics don’t matter, especially with a heavily-hyped studio blockbuster (and that’s speaking as a professional movie critic).
    Is it possible that the reason Tyler Perry still isn’t playing in the big leagues because even notoriously myopic studio chieftains realize there’s a finite ceiling on all of his films (e.g., the $52-million cume for “Why Did I Get Married?)? Perry remains a wildly successful niche player, but studios are only interested in home runs, not singles or even doubles. (Sorry for the overdone baseball metaphors: I’m still suffering from post-playoff Indians heartache.) This ain’t the ’70s, alas.

  10. chris says:

    I’m going to respectfully disagree, movieman. Unlike the last few Coen movies, this one actually works as a genre film — it’s genuinely suspenseful. And it is going to get a ton of Oscar nominations but, even before that, it’ll probably pass your dollar ceiling. I don’t get the comparison to “Game Plan” at all — who said anything about it appealing to that audience?

  11. movieman says:

    Chris-
    For the Coens to achieve “crossover” status–i.e., appeal to an audience larger than their existing cult (the ones who are selling out opening weekend shows at the Arclight)–they’ll need to satisfy the same mainstream multiplexers who loved, sigh, “The Game Plan,” “Transformers,” “Shrek the Third” and various other “audience”-friendly films. I don’t see that happening. It would be great to see the Bros. have a certified b.o. smash, but “NCFOM” is probably too esoteric, too artful, for the meat-and-potatoes crowd.
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Miramax platforms it wisely enough–and wins enough Oscar nominations in January–to at least achieve “Queen” numbers.

  12. chris says:

    OK, but you’re already changing your tune, since “Queen” numbers are more than $20 million more than the $30-35 figure you tossed around earlier. And those other movies you cite have a b.o. range of about $300 million, so I’m not sure what that’s supposed to prove. I wasn’t predicting a specific b.o. for “No Country,” just noting the “extraordinary” numbers but, OK, I’ll bite. It’s going to appeal to an audience larger than what you call the Coen “cult” — not the “Game Plan” audience, a comparison that makes no sense to me, but closer to the “Brokeback” audience (although I don’t think it’ll earn “Brokeback” numbers) or, for that matter, the “Fargo” audience. You know, adults who like good movies. I bet at least $50 million worth of them.

  13. movieman says:

    $50-million would be great for the Coens, but that hardly qualifies as a commercial “bnreakthrough:” not when “American Gangster” does nearly that amount in its opening weekend.
    What I’m saying, Chris, is that it’s going to need “intelligent” platforming by Miramax (and a shitload of Oscar nominations) to ever get seen by “regular” moviegoers…and I’m not really sure whether they’ll “like” or even “get” it. I was only using “Game Plan” as the barometer for what (apparently) qualifies as a mass-appeal film these days.

  14. movieman says:

    And what constitutes a “good” movie for adult audiences these days is usually the same lowest common denominator crap topping the b.o. charts every weekend–not stuff like “Into the Wild,” “NCFOM” and “Jesse James.” Sure, every once in awhile something genuinely terrific “hits” (e.g., “The Bourne Ultimatum”), but that’s a pre-sold franchise picture. “3:10 to Yuma” was a “good,” satisfying “adult” movie, and it only sold $53-million worth of tickets. Again, hardly a “breakthrough” performance, or a statement about how quality-starved adult audiences will automatically flock to something that’s better-than-the-mediocre-norm. You’d be surprised at the number of adult moviegoers who actually think that crap tastes “good.”

  15. movieman says:

    What constitutes a “good” movie for adult audiences these days is generally the same recycled, lowest common denominator crap that routinely tops the box-office charts every weekend. I don’t think those “adults” will particularly like (or even “get”) “NCFOM,” let alone bother seeing it; not when it’s sharing multiplex real estate with Will Smith battling zombies in “I am Legend” or Nic Cage on another scavenger hunt in “Nat’l Treasure 2.”
    If you took an average American adult moviegoer and showed them “The Game Plan” and “NCFOM” back-to-back, chances are that most of them would say “GP” was better because it’s safe, familiar, doesn’t “confuse” them and tastes better with their overpriced satchel of popcorn.
    And a $50-million gross hardly qualifies as a “breakthrough” these days: not when “American Gangster” rakes in nearly that amount in its opening weekend. I would love, love, love to see “NCFOM” do $200-million in northern America, but it just ain’t gonna happen.
    Audiences will choose–and prefer–the tried-and-true every time. Sure, occasionally something terrific will break through (e.g., “Bourne Ultimatum”), but that’s a pre-sold franchise picture that just happens to be a great movie. Not even a “good,” satisfying, old-fashioned cowboy picture like “3:10 to Yuma” could do much better than $50-million this fall. And that’s a movie that “adult” audiences would have probably enjoyed if they’d actually gone in sizable numbers.
    And the reason I’m using “Game Plan” as a comparison point is because it qualifies as a typical, audience-pandering mainstream hit these days…the kind of junk audiences (adults, teens and kiddies) confuse with “good” because studio marketing convinced them that it was.

  16. Eric says:

    One thing I like about this site’s terrible commenting system is the way it allows us to observe other commenters’ editing processes.

  17. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Movieman won’t have to wait long. “No Country for Old Men” goes national on 11/16 and at least semi-wide on 11/21.
    Don’t worry, this latest overpraised pic will get killed. Why? At least 1 trailer ID’s the Coen brothers with the all-too-telling phrase “Academy Award Winner”. The kiss of death!

  18. movieman says:

    I’ve already seen (and loved) “No Country,” Chucky.
    (The Toronto Film Festival is a fantastic one-stop-shopping location!)
    It hits Cleveland this Friday, and Miramax is adding screens throughout northeastern Ohio on the 21st (the same day twenty other movies hit the ‘plexes in a blitzkrieg attack: good luck!)
    I wish “NCFOM” only the best, but how can a movie that’s merely “great” compete opposite blockbuster megaliths “I am Legend” or “Nat’l Treasure 2”? It’s best shot is a re-release when the Oscar nominations are announced. Until then, it’ll do terrific repeat biz among Coen buffs in major urban hubs.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, you’re wrong on this thread too. How can you say the movie is ‘overpraised’ since you refuse to see movies made by Academy-Award-winning writer/directors?

  20. chris says:

    Care to revisit this topic, movieman? “No Country” is now the Coens’ top-grossing movie, it’s going to hit $50 million around the time the Oscar nominations are announced and that should add, what, at least another $15-20 million?

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt