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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Again With The Videogames Vs Theatrical BS???

I don’t want to belabor the idiocy of all this… but Financial Times, of all places, is selling this junk about the release of Grand Theft Auto IV damaging Iron Man‘s opening. (Variety added this goof.)
Last September, when Halo 3 was going to destroy the box office, Peter Berg’s The Kingdom opened to $1.4 million less than Peter Berg’s The Rundown did on the same date four years earlier. It is possible that Halo 3 geeks staying home and playing all weekend had some minor effect on that opening. But it’s a lot more likely that the $23 million opening for The Game Plan was a lot more significant. In the end, the total domestic grosses for the two films were almost identical (under $200k).
Could there be a million dollar hit on the Iron Man opening because GTA4 players stay home all weekend and don’t go to see IM until the second weekend? Sure. But with an opening that is likely between $60m and $75m, that million bucks is minor.
And Paramount should be lowering expectations, which have run way out of control based on geek love. The studio knows that their audience is somewhat limited. You can see it in every single ad. That doesn’t mean that they won’t have a huge number by any fair standard. But this idea that it’s a $100 million weekend or bust is just dumb.
I repeat… the best opening for a non-sequel and non-Spider-Man in that slot is still Van Helsing‘s $52 million. Four years later and much better buzz, one can imagine a 50% increase. But a 100% increase?
Anything is possible. But if it does, it will be a shock, not something you should be expecting.

41 Responses to “Again With The Videogames Vs Theatrical BS???”

  1. IOIOIOI says:

    “But this idea that it’s a $100 million weekend or bust is just dumb.” No. It’s a bit dumb to under sell this movie based around your own biased views towards geeks and what appeals to them. Seriously… Heat… 300… [drops drumsticks].

  2. scooterzz says:

    i think that if the release date for ‘gta4′ were 5-2 instead of 4-29 it would have most def impacted the opening numbers of ‘iron mam’… but, as it atands, the gamers get three days to be sated and will be more than ready to take a movie break…..
    and i do think that the gamers are every bit as invested in this as the comix fans…..
    you’re right that 100% seems ambitious but i think it’s going to be a surprising opening……
    so, dz…..still making predictions on movies you haven’t seen, eh?

  3. scooterzz says:

    oh…did i say ‘dz’?….my bad…i meant ‘io’….

  4. David Poland says:

    Seriously, IO… $70m… naked men…

  5. IOIOIOI says:

    Scoot: you need to down-scale before stepping up, and you also need to release IT’S THE NET! You read enough. You know enough. You get enough. It also has nothing to do with me. It has to do with a review that is pure and utter dick-move on Heat’s part.

  6. David Poland says:

    Making predictions on movies you haven’t seen is actually a benefit in most cases, scooterzz.
    Personal feelings about a movie blur the reality… it’s about marketing and that opening weekend in 90% of studio releases.
    Note… my position on Iron Man hasn’t moved an inch in terms of business since seeing it. My position on Cloverfield opening didn’t move an inch when I saw it. Same with 300.
    What I (or any critic or civilian) think(s) of a movie means shit when it comes to the money when we’re talking about big openings.
    And remember, the same critics giving Iron Man a pass now gave M:I3 a pass two summers ago.
    Iron Man is a better movie than M:I3. And I have consistently said that it will do better than M:I3. I have consistently said that it will have the biggest non-Spidey, non-sequel opening in that slot ever.
    Whatever…

  7. Monco says:

    I don’t think GTA IV will impact the opening of Iron Man. I bought it today and have been playing all day. It’s a great game but I will also be seeing Iron Man on Friday.
    And IO DP’s projections are more than fair for this movie. You have let your fanboy attitude about this character warp how you view it’s box office potential. As I have said on this blog before I am a huge Batman dork but I don’t think The Dark Knight will make 400 million domestic or even win the summer.

  8. Jerry Colvin says:

    Seriously though, isn’t Iron Man several rungs down on the fanboy superhero ladder? I was a comic geek for decades, but in discussions with my son, I realized today that I don’t think I ever bought an Iron Man comic. There are several more popular yet so-far-untapped potential adaptations that might build more excitement… Captain America, Green Lantern, etc. Iron Man falls even below Daredevil and Catwoman and the like as a major superhero character, right?

  9. scooterzz says:

    Making predictions on movies you haven’t seen is actually a benefit in most cases, scooterzz.
    well, that certainly explains a lot….
    you should not see more films…..we look forward to the insights…..

  10. doug r says:

    Iron Man is a better movie than M:I3
    All I really needed to know.

  11. IOIOIOI says:

    Monoco (MONOCO… ): my fanboy what? It has nothing with what I believe the movie will do. It has to do with the way Poland has had his hate-on towards Iron-Man for a month now. It’s ridiculous that he can post some shit that he would give anyone else crap for on this blog, and no one gives him any slag for it? No one? It’s a garbage projection based around a biased review that is rather ridiculous.

  12. IO, are you seriously seeing a $100 m opening for Iron Man? Cuz if you are, you’re gonna be in for a surprise. Also, Poland hasn’t changed his predictions for Iron Man since seeing it. I doubt he went into the movie expecting to dislike it like considering the reviews. He’s been saying for a while that it’ll make around $180m total and that $180 should be considered a win for Marvel.

  13. The “Iron Man” character ain’t “Spiderman” and, as others have said, no movie other than the original Spider-Man has opened to more than $100mil unless it’s a sequel.

  14. Unless we’re counting Transformers. I can’t remember where we stand on that in relation to future reference.

  15. scooterzz says:

    c’mon, io…for once, speak fucking english and make your point….really, you just keep blathering in some unfamiliar language…..make your point, sport…..

  16. Hallick says:

    But “Transformers” had a hook that “Iron Man” doesn’t really have (the spectacle of the live action transformations); and in their heyday, the toys and cartoons were bigger than the “Iron Man” comics ever were.
    It’d be sweet if “Iron Man” could top $100 million, but the only way I see it happening is if the audience is hyper blue-balling for a blockbuster due to the lack of anything substantial at the theaters in the last few weeks.
    And come on now, anyway, I think we’re all overlooking the Made of Honor factor here. That absolutely motility-free pun ALONE gets my money!

  17. scooterzz says:

    now, watch…IO won’t communicate unless it’s a new thread……

  18. Roffle. Everyone’s cool with LexG now, but now they hate Nicol and IO. Will the Dave Poland blog drama never end?

  19. Noah says:

    Honestly, no opening weekend number would surprise me with Iron Man. I think it could legitimately open to anywhere from 45 to 95 million dollars and I wouldn’t blink an eye. Robert Downey Jr. could be hitting that Johnny Depp/Pirates moment of his career or he could be just a niche star; Iron Man could be really popular with the comic geeks or maybe they’re more stoked for Hulk. If this were a baseball free agent signing, I really don’t know if I’m getting Barry Zito or Johan Santana.
    This one is really hard to predict for me, so I find myself agreeing with practically everybody and their reasons because they are all compelling. I’m really curious to see how this plays out

  20. THX5334 says:

    Well, I’m going to say it here because this is the thread that addresses it, in case anyone cares:
    Grand Theft Auto IV lives up to the hype.
    Another envelope breaker in a year that has seen this medium push new boundaries.
    And as I said in another thread, the writing is some of the best a game has ever seen.
    I agree with the above poster, this would be a very different article if the game was released on 5/2.
    But with three days in, they will find time to see Iron Man.
    IO, I understand where your coming from, and I’m not defending Poland, but I do remember the guy saying more than once that Iron Man is his personal favorite character in comics, so where does that stand with your logic that the review is biased?
    (apologies if that question reads abrasive or chidingly, I really mean to ask it in a polite sincere tone)
    Because I do kinda follow you, but that is the only sticking point I’m having with what you’re saying.

  21. David Poland says:

    Noah… the reason this will not be a Johnny Depp Pirates moment for Downey is that Downey spends the entire film riffing, whereas Jack Sparrow was a very, very specific and detailed character.
    And in the second half of this film, the things people are loving about Downey in the first half, for the most part, goes away completely and is not replaced by an equally large character with different goals.
    This is likely to be more like a Hugh Jackman moment for Downey.
    But I will be curious to hear what you and others think when they finally see the film.

  22. Noah says:

    Interesting…I wonder if perhaps Depp had more room to play because he didn’t have the comics to contend with and could really create the character from the ground up whereas Downey might be a little hamstrung by the character tics inherent in the character? I haven’t seen it yet, but that’s a pretty interesting difference in the two roles. Also I’m guessing it’s tough to pull off a really great acting job underneath a suit of armor!

  23. PastePotPete says:

    thx, GTAIV *is* great isn’t it? I’ve been playing it all night. Driving drunk is fascinating gameplay, strangely drunk walking is even harder. All the little minigames are actually fun. Hell, just watching TV in the game is fun.
    They fixed all or most of the flaws of GTAIII(aiming guns particularly) and added tons of great new features. Great soundtrack too. I’ve been sticking with the rock station, which has Iggy Pop as the dj.
    IOIOIO, let the numbers do the talking. There’s a new Wachowski Bros movie, and Iron Man(sort of like any movie competing for Best Picture against a musical) is The Enemy That Must Be Snickered To Death.
    Remember, just because there’s a brick wall doesn’t mean you have to bash your head against it.

  24. JPK says:

    I understand that annecdotal experience does not a trend make…but…I’m a 35 year old, white collar, middle America livn’, married, father of one who is planning on seeing Iron Man with his family on opening night, and then is going to see it with his 62 year old father on Sunday afternoon.
    This will be my first theatrical double-dip since The Lord of the Rings. The reason my wife is tagging along? Her words – quoted verbatim – “Robert Downey Jr. is sex on a stick.” Not sure what that means but she had a dreamy look in her eyes when she said it.

  25. Krazy Eyes says:

    GTA IV has my $9 this weekend. I picked it up last night but won’t have time to start playing until this weekend. Normally, going to the opening of Iron Man would have been a no-brainer — but not this weekend.

  26. Chucky in Jersey says:

    The studio knows that their audience is somewhat limited. You can see it in every single ad.
    Trailer, too. “Iron Man” looks a lot like pro-war propaganda camouflaged in a comic book movie.
    Par has interlocking ties to CBS, one of the TV networks where retired generals serve as Pentagon pimps. Not surprisingly CBS has refused to comment on the NY Times’ expose.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, I’m not saying you’re wrong about your facts, but you are nonetheless full of crap.

  28. TuckPendleton says:

    I don’t know if this has been covered elsewhere, but I think one reason this film will open strong is that women love Downey like they love Depp… that same raffish-scoundrel-but-really-sweetheart persona both actors have. Many women I know will see Iron Man for Downey, much like Depp for Pirates. They will tell their female friends that it’s safe to go with their boyfriends, etc. etc.
    In my experience (NYC women), the female love for Downey exceeds that of Jackman, (though not by much), which I think will help lead to that bigger weekend DP has been talking about. I’m not sure that the movie will get to 100, but over the long run, women will give this movie legs. Pun intended. Also, amongst my gay friends, Downey also has a big following.
    I also think that once the first wave of females see this movie and tell their friends, there will also be a wave of those who appreciate Terrence Howard (maybe filling the Orlando Bloom slot here?) and Jeff Bridges…in other words, plenty of eye candy in this movie for everyone…be it explosions and jets and lasers or pretty faces.

  29. TuckPendleton says:

    In other words, to sum up some my awkward phrasing above, this movie, and specifically Downey, hits a lot of demos that the typical actioner does not.

  30. jasonbruen says:

    I agree with everyone thinking Iron Man will do better than expected (if expected right now is defined as $65-75M). Women do seem to be excited about this movie, and certainly more so than they were transformers. I also think having Iron Man as the first big summer movie will help. I would think Iron Man will do $75-95, and though $100M is not impossible, it would be a surprise if it reached that realm.
    Regardless, at any of these numbers, Iron Man would be considered a succesful opening. I think the question about Iron Man’s success comes with the second weekend, as anything less than $25M would limit this from being a $165+ movie.

  31. Cadavra says:

    FWIW, Hollywood Stock Exchange has the over/under at $80 million, which sounds about right to me.

  32. Blackcloud says:

    We should all commend Chucky for keeping us clued in to what’s going on in the precincts of left-wing paranoia.

  33. Tofu says:

    I actually find the idea that Iron Man is pro-war propaganda intriguing, whether it be the filmmaker’s intentions or not. There looks to be anti-war sentiments in the movie, but then it simply hypocritically turns around and goes all out for warfare.
    BUT I’ll hold my tongue further until this weekend, and anticipate it is trying to simply have it both ways, and not even intentionally.

  34. Scott Mendelson says:

    With all of the hub-bub over Grand Theft Auto IV, that’s not the game that has the potential to keep me home all weekend. Me? I’ll be spending my weekend hopped up on Red Bull, wearing a diaper, having my eyes pried open Clockwork Orange style. Yup, it’ll be a Mario Kart Wii weekend for me!
    Ok, in all seriousness, it’s a shame that Mario Kart didn’t come out next week (who are the idiots that released both of these highly anticipated games on the same day?). Had it come out next week, WB could blame Nintendo if Speed Racer underperforms.
    Scott Mendelson
    http://scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com/
    (new blog, work in progress, feel free to comment, but be gentle).

  35. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Blackcloud, jeffmcm: The NY Times is pro-war and has been since 9/11. It also had to sue the (increasingly authoritarian) Bush government to get the documents that showed the US military feeding talking points to those ex-generals.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    Even if I agreed with you, I’d still have to say that you’re a lunatic.

  37. Scott, here’s a tip. When you upload imagine as aligning left or right make sure you start the text (that will appear next to it) on the same line as the last > in the image HTML. That way you won’t have that annoying empty line at the start of each paragraph, like I’ve noticed you have at the top of your Iron Man, Comebacks and Justice League posts
    So instead of:
    To quote Futurama
    make it:
    To quote Futurama.
    Trust me, it looks better.
    (sorry, I couldn’t find an email to contact you with so I figured here is good enough)

  38. Scott Mendelson says:

    Thanks for the tip. Google does all of the simple stuff for me, so anything more complicated that write, copy and paste finds me looking it up (alas, that includes figuring out how to place a picture around the text, newspaper style.
    Scott Mendelson
    http://scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com/
    (new blog, work in progress, feel free to comment, but be gentle).

  39. RudyV says:

    The movie is about a dude wearing a suit of armor jam-packed with weaponry–of course he’s going to blow shit up! Tanks, planes…what else is there?
    My only gripe with Marvel’s movies is that the third act seems idiotically similar–the hero vs. a mirror-image villain. Yawn. Now if it was Iron Man vs. Superman, THAT would be something.
    And does anyone seriously think Captain America is more popular with folks than Iron Man? Talk about a walkin’, talkin’, recruitin’ poster–he’s THE super-soldier, for crap sakes. So if anyone thinks IRON MAN seems pro-war, just you wait….

  40. jeffmcm says:

    Captain America in the Vietnam-and-since-era has been a lot more complicated than that precisely to get around that problem that you address, quitting the identity multiple times to protest politically troublesome things.

  41. Blackcloud says:

    I think we can put this one to bed now.

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