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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Klady – 11/10

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All three wide openers will underperform this weekend. Not much of a surprise for Lions For Lambs or P2. Fred Claus at under $20 million is a bit brutal for WB, though there was a clear indication of trouble as the ad campaign changed focus right near release, trying to make people think of it as a feelgood family film instead of A Wedding Crasher Visits The North Pole.
The No Country For Old Men opening is very, very good. However it doesn’t really fit easily into any comparison this awards season. Of course, the long game is what’s key, but in the short term, Across The Universe is the closest comparable opening… and No County wins that fight, and the Miramax history lesson is The Queen, last year, with $1 million on 46 screens in its third weekend of release. It seems that the studio has reconsidered the speed of its platforming, to no small success this weekend.

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36 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady – 11/10”

  1. movieman says:

    “No Country for Old Men” should 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).
    Just a thought:
    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.

  2. I agree MM, I think NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, as frigging awesome as it is, is going to piss ALOT of people off. Which, I love…but which can’t be good for box office bingo.

  3. movieman says:

    Petaluma-
    The people who get pissed off by “NCFOM” don’t deserve the Coens anyway.
    Let them eat recycled helpings of standard-issue multiplex gruel…and there’s certainly plenty of middlebrow crap out there for them to gorge on.
    All of the movies that dared to be “different”/challenging/provocative in any way this fall (“Into the Wild,” “Eastern Promises,” “Jesse James,” “Across the Universe,” “Lars and the Real Girl,” “Gone Baby Gone,” “Darjeeling Limited,” et al) have been met with a collective shrug by the same salt-of-the-earth types who embrace crap like “The Game Plan” 52 weeks a year.
    That said, I’d love to see Miramax take “NCFOM” to at least “Queen” numbers, but I really think it’s going to take Oscar’s attention to get there.

  4. Perhaps with the large amount of family films – just had The Game Plan and now Bee Movie, Fred Claus, Margorium and Enchanted, maybe people are decided to miss Claus and wait for another.
    Looks like Saw IV won’t reach $80mil, which is good.
    Seriously, sometimes these movies that clog the bottom of the charts just have ridiculous names. Who wants to see Steal a Pencil For Me based purely on that name?

  5. movieman says:

    The b.o. failure of “Lions for Lambs” was, of course, preordained, but I still found its unabashed Old School liberalism both lovely and moving.
    And I vastly prefer the idealism and hopefulnmess of “LFL” over the sour nihilism of DePalma’s career nadir, “Redacted.”

  6. movieman says:

    If the market can withstand only one truly successful “all-ages-friendly” movie at a time–and I think recent b.o. history proves otherwise–then “Magorium” and “Enchanted” are in serious trouble.
    Perhaps the disappointing opening for “FC” is simply the result of Warner’s schizophrenic ad campaign which couldn’t decide whether to court Santa-loving toddlers or “Wedding Crashers” fans.
    Glad to see “Bee Movie” putting up a fight, though. It ain’t great, but it sure beats the hell out of the crass, cynical, great-actor-prostituting “FC.”

  7. Dave Vernon says:

    KamikazeCamel, although Steal A Pencil For Me, is a unique and moving film about a romance taking place in a concentration camp, your point is about titles. I think what you have to take into account are two things. First, many studio film titles would sound ridiciulous if they hadn’t been presold to you….with mentions of the titles written in magazines and online discussions…many months before a film opens. Even in the top films, can you tell me Dan In Real Life isn’t a terrible title…or Lions for Lambs?
    Also, you might be used to the marketing universe of movies these days. It has to be snappy and mundane for audiences to ‘get it’. In truth, I think a title should be wonderfully specific, unique and could only apply to this one particular world and film. Consider these generic titles: American Gangster, Across The Universe, The Game Plan. Are these really the titles that you think good? They could apply to many films in many genres.
    Nice to see you belittling the title of a small indie film about the holocaust. Good job.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    Surely though, if you didn’t know it was a Holocaust movie, you would have to agree that it’s an odd and shrug-worthy title. If there had been a months-long ad campaign where Ben Kingsley pulls himself out of his gray bunk, dying of starvation, and tells Robin Williams …’steal a pencil for me’ and he proceeds to outsmart the SS and do so, we might be thinking differently. But they didn’t, so we don’t.
    Nice to see you belittling another person’s honest opinion for your own sense of self-satisfaction. Good job.

  9. brack says:

    I can’t wait to see No Country For Old Men. The trailer is one of the best this year, and getting some of the best reviews of the year. Who can ask for more?

  10. Dave Vernon says:

    Hey Jeff, you know you are right, and I appreciate it. I’d never want to trade in the kind of rudeness that both of you trade in. (Still remember around the time of Dreamgirls, of a black female poster saying she was leaving the board because of your rudeness). Thanks for the heads up.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    No, I don’t remember that, and I apologize to anyone that I might have been rude to who didn’t deserve it.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    That said, KCamel’s comment was not rude. It was uninformed, but that was beside the point.
    “Who wants to see Steal a Pencil For Me based purely on that name?” was what he said. Can you argue that point?

  13. LexG says:

    Really wanted to see NCFOM this weekend, but between every show being sold out at the Arclight, and the fact that the AFI Fest is there, I think I’ll have to wait a week; I cannot stand sitting elbow-to-elbow with strangers, especially since at that particular theater I’m always ASSIGNED-SEATED next to weird guys with various forms of ADD and restless leg. Or the idiot who left MICHAEL CLAYTON during the climax to go get more candy.
    Remember when only the smart people went to the Arclight?

  14. LexG says:

    Since we all agree that those LIONS FOR LAMBS numbers were to be expected, do we think it has anything to do with diminished Cruise-power, or just a general lack of interest in this spate of timely political movies?
    I’d say it’s almost entirely the latter, but I will say it’s the first time in maybe 22 years (since his LEGEND-LOSIN’ IT hired gun era) that Cruise (who I’m a huge fan of, incidentally) didn’t have the golden touch for picking the perfect material. Obviously, if everyone knew a year or two ago what we know now, maybe so many talented people wouldn’t have jumped onto this or ELAH or RENDITION so eagerly, but current audience disfavor or not, so much else about LAMBS looks even on paper to be fuddy-duddy by Classic Cruise standards.
    You’d think someone with his sixth sense for material would’ve jumped on the Three Amigos bandwagon or some other 00-era auteurist wunderkind, or doubled back to work with some other old master who’d so far slipped through his collaborative grasp. Redford is world-class, a ledend, and has directed some great movies, sure, but doesn’t seem like the kind of au currant A-list megawatt auteur or emerging exciting talent Cruise usually teams up with. I think the audience still loves the guy and will come back around. But though Abrams, Redford, and Singer aren’t exactly slouches, the best thing he could do is get back to working only with iconoclastic directors.

  15. doug r says:

    Oh waah, waah. My local 18plex charges $11.95 Canadian. One auditorium has a screen with a burn hole that hasn’t been fixed since The Two Towers, one auditorium has an exit door where you can see daylight around the frame, and the DLP projector is long gone. At least they reopened the IMAX screen so I will probably get to see Beowulf in 3-D without crossing the border and driving two and a half hours….

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Yes, we know.

  17. movieman-
    Again, I agree with what you said about the “common” film goers. In fact, I echoed that in my (plug, plug) fawning, glowing review here:
    http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?section=reviews&Id=10411

  18. movieman says:

    Nice job, Petaluma. Since we’re obviously share the same brain, lol, did you also happen to love “I’m Not There”?
    As far as Cruise miscalculating the commercial potential of “LFL,” I don’t think that anyone involved with the project ever expected it to be a b.o. bullseye.
    Since it was a relatively “inexpensive” film by H’wood standards ($35-million), I doubt whether it’ll lose UA a ton of money after foreign and ancillary are factored in. And a case could be made that it’s the sort of “prestige” project UA made its (original) name and reputation on back in the day.
    My hunch is that “LFL” was Cruise’s attempt at a lower-scale “retrenchment” after (a) the perceived failure of “MI3,” and (b) fallout over his increasingly erratic public behavior.
    It’s interesting that he would choose to bring along two icons (Redford and Streep) who were a very big deal in 1986–the same year as his dual Scott Bros. flicks (“Legend”/”Top Gun”). You’d almost swear that Cruise was attempting to recreate the era in which he initially became a superstar by surrounding himself with the leads from 1985’s Oscar-winning Best Picture.

  19. movieman says:

    Has anyone here seen the 2 hr./42 min. monk doc “Into Great Silence”?
    I just finished watching it on DVD and–rapturous reviews or not–found it a major ordeal to get through.
    “IGS” strikes me as the type of slow, meditative artflick that’s best appreciated in a theater setting where you’re essentially trapped for nearly three hours and forced to immerse yourself in the monks’ zen-like lifestyle and the film’s austerity and formal rigor.
    In the quotidian world–i.e., outside the sanctity of a movie theater–it’s much too easy to get distracted by “things:” internet websites like this one, the telephone, refrigerator pit-stops, etc.
    I’m sorry that I waited for home video. If I’d seen it in an actual theater, it might have been a transcendent (and transporting) experience like some equally “tough,” lengthy films that I’ve loved over the years: “Shoah,” “Satantango,” “The Mother and the Whore,” “Celine and Julie Go Boating,” the original “Solaris,” etc.

  20. Dave, if you were skimming through the local cinema guide and saw a cinema showing a movie called Steal a Pencil For Me would you really go “Hmm, that sounds interesting”? If you did then I bet you would be incredibly outnumbred.
    I never said movies like Lions for Lambs or Dan in Real Life were great titles, but they’re movies main for multiplexes. Movies as small as this Pencil movie apparently is it needs a title that will not only grab people’s attention (which if could be said Pencil succeeds at) but also intrigues people and sounds enticing.
    I personally love the title The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford but many people have expressed displeasure at the title.
    “Nice to see you belittling the title of a small indie film about the holocaust. Good job.”
    Just because the movie is about the Holocaust doesn’t give it a free pass. Have you seen The Devil’s Arithmetic? 😛
    (lighten up!)
    (thanks Jeff)

  21. I haven’t seen I’M NOT THERE yet….but I seriously cannot wait. Like a kid on Hannukah morning (day 4) I am. I did see BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOUR DEAD and was blown away.

  22. “I never said (titles) like Lions for Lambs or Dan in Real Life were great titles, but they’re movies (made) for multiplexes.”
    Those were some weird typos.
    Are there any words yet on what ThinkFilm plan to do with Before the Devil…?

  23. movieman says:

    I loved “Before the Devil…,” too, Petaluma.
    And I can’t wait to see “I’m Not There” again. It’s the sort of movie that demands (and I’m sure rewards) multiple viewings. “There” is also the perfect companion piece to Scorsese’s amazing, four-hour Dylan doc from a few years back.
    It reminded me a bit of mid-’70s Altman (think “Nashville” with the C&W playlist replaced with Dylan tunes). Great, great stuff. My favorite movies of the year (so far) are “Into the Wild,” “I’m Not There,” “No Country” and “Before the Devil…”
    Haven’t seen “Let There Be Blood” yet, but am totally pumped for it. That could be the final masterpiece on my 2007 hit-list.

  24. Scott Mendelson says:

    Quick request from the board here…
    I saw No Country last night at the Arclight, but due to the terrible parking situation (lesson learned – stick to Thursday nights with Arclight, especially with AFI going on), I missed the first 10 min or so (the movie ‘started’ at 7:40, I got into my seat around 7:55pm). The time the movie ended implies that I didn’t miss much. Can anyone fill me in on what happened before Brolin found the ‘mcguffin’? Thanks.
    Scott Mendelson

  25. brack says:

    “It’s interesting that he would choose to bring along two icons (Redford and Streep) who were a very big deal in 1986–the same year as his dual Scott Bros. flicks (“Legend”/”Top Gun”). You’d almost swear that Cruise was attempting to recreate the era in which he initially became a superstar by surrounding himself with the leads from 1985’s Oscar-winning Best Picture.”
    It’s an interesting theory, but I think that’s reaching quite a bit.

  26. movieman says:

    It’s easy to psychoanalyze Cruise, especially considering his “eccentric” behavior these past few years.

  27. brack says:

    People are just disappointed that Cruise really isn’t the hot-shot, cocky, but “normal,” guy from his movies. “Eccentric” is the right word to describe him. I really don’t think he’s crazy, any more than anyone else who has beliefs.

  28. movieman says:

    Cruise isn’t any crazier than anyone else in Hollywood.
    Gotta say that I’m rooting for the dude: I’ve been a fan since “Taps,” and it’s been a real pleasure watching his career develop over the decades.
    I’ve always admired Cruise for seeking out interesting directors (Stone, Kubrick, Scott, Levinson, Spielberg, Abrams, DePalma, Woo, PT Anderson, et al) when it would have been “safer” to hire an anonymous studio hack.
    Even the “unsuccessful” films he’s produced (including Robert Towne’s “Ask the Dust” and Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown”) have been “from-the-heart” misfires instead of your average H’wood mediocrities.
    And “Lions for Lambs” might not be great, but there was something both moving and honorable about its celebration of Old Guard Liberalism. I liked it a lot.
    Btw, I’m guessing that it’ll probably do a lot better in Europe than it’s (apparently) doing in the U.S.

  29. Chicago48 says:

    “People are just disappointed that Cruise really isn’t the hot-shot, cocky, but “normal,” guy from his movies. “Eccentric” is the right word to describe him. I really don’t think he’s crazy, any more than anyone else who has beliefs.”
    1) Tom needs to let some creases come into his face, he can’t remain baby-faced through his 40s and try to convince the public his characters are Mature
    2) Tom needs to find more romantic comedies and stay away from drama for a while
    3) Tom is smart to do ensemble, he can’t carry a movie by himself; Jerry Maguire was the last great solo acting he did, it was his best IMO
    I’m rooting for Tom ‘s studio to make it.

  30. Chicago48 says:

    Does anybody know what the total cost for AG was? The first time the studio pulled out when it reached $100Mil; the second time how much?

  31. L.B. says:

    Not sure how MAGUIRE is “solo acting.” (Not really sure what “solo acting” is, to be honest.) But if JM qualifies, then certainly COLLATERAL and WAR OF THE WORLDS qualify. I loved him in both and he did plenty of carrying for both of them.
    It’s not whether he’s capable of carrying a movie. He’s proven he can. It’s whether the public is fatigued with him too much to watch him in fictional scrapes after being inundated with his real-life ones.

  32. brack says:

    Unless Tom Cruise is in every scene in a trailer/commercial, I think people figure out that it’s not a “TOM CRUISE” movie, and aren’t as interested. I’m sure people will turn out to watch Cruise as a Nazi in “Valkyrie” next summer.

  33. Pelham123 says:

    Scott,
    Re: “No Country For Old Men” Opening
    SPOILER!
    The movie opens with Chigurh in police custody for an unnamed crime. He’s transported to the local sheriff’s office where he jumps his handcuffs and strangles the lone Deputy on-site. It’s a pretty disturbing scene. Right after that we see Chigurh in the patrol car where he pulls over an unsuspecting driver and uses that cattle gun of his for the first time.

  34. Chucky in Jersey says:

    I knew “Fred Claus” would get killed because the trailer billed it as “From the producer of ‘Wedding Crashers’.” David P. confirms that analysis.
    You do NOT promote a Santa Claus movie by name-checking a raunchy summer comedy!
    The b.o. failure of “Lions for Lambs” was, of course, preordained …
    The New York Post banned all ads for that movie, strictly for political reasons. That newspaper (a corporate cousin to Fox News Channel) is one of the biggest cheerleaders for endless war abroad and a police state at home.
    Of course the three strikes I brought up last week didn’t help.

  35. Blackcloud says:

    Because, of course, the NY Post “banning” ads for “Lions for Lambs” meant that no one in the rest of the country was able to hear about it.

  36. Tofu says:

    Screw the Post.
    Lions for Lambs reviews were annoying as all hell. Time and time again, reviewer after reviewer, they used the term liberal as if it were a derogatory word.
    Sorry geeks, but Liberalism and Conservatism are perfectly fine traits for anyone to have.

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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