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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office Hell goes Up

Based on east coast matinees, C. Nikki Finke and her keepers have already projected ‘Up’ For $17M Friday, $55M Weekend; ‘Drag Me To Hell’ $7M/$18M.
Perhaps I should not point out that, even if we assumed that the Friday guess should be taken seriously after so small a sample, that the opening non-summer weekend for Monsters vs Aliens was $16.8m and the weekend was $59.3m (3.5x Friday), aka Up is a a guess of a bigger Friday and smaller weekend.
I have no idea what standard whoever gave these guesses to La Finke is using, as it doesn’t correlate to Madagascar (3.4x Friday), Cars (3.1x Friday), Ratatouille (2.8x Friday), Kung Fu Panda (3x Friday) or the aforementioned mva.
3.2x Friday… interesting…
(EDIT, 6:42p – first chart posted did not include Drag Me To Hell… fixed now.)

21 Responses to “Box Office Hell goes Up”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    Finke’s numbers on Up are accurate. The only wild-card is how much the 3D upcharge most theaters are charging will affect the final weekend gross.

  2. David Poland says:

    Can’t be accurate… the numbers haven’t happened yet… even to be estimated.
    But could end up being an accurate guess.

  3. messiahcomplexio says:

    no predictions for “Drag me to Hell” from the “Road to box office Hell?”

  4. David Poland says:

    Oy. Sorry… just assumed that whatever had been gathered had been well gathered… fixing…

  5. anghus says:

    Remember when Ellen Page was supposed to do Drag Me To Hell?
    She’s kind of vanished after the massive amount of goodwill she got for Juno.
    I think an 18 million dollar opening would have served her well right about now.

  6. Wrecktum says:

    “Can’t be accurate… the numbers haven’t happened yet… even to be estimated.”
    Sorry, Mr. Pedantic, I meant that Finke’s numbers accurately reflect studio estimates based on Friday matinee EDI grosses.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    Excuse me, Wrecktum, but I am Mr. Pendantic… aka, Mr. CF. David is, at best, Mr. Persnickety.

  8. the keoki says:

    That “estimate” looks waaaaay too small. My wife and son went at 4:30 and said they were, sold out for the evening. Add to that a HUGE Sat jump and good word of mouth. Finke is wrongo!

  9. anghus says:

    I can’t remember if Finke hates Pixar or Dreamworks Animation.
    Or does she hate both?

  10. Blackcloud says:

    Ken Loach, leftwing moron. Who’d have guessed?

  11. chris says:

    Didn’t Page bail on “Drag Me” to do the Drew Barrymore roller derby film instead? And she’s in the next Christopher Nolan and an interesting-sounding indie thriller. I think she might be OK.

  12. Whip It features Juliette bloody Lewis! Hence, was a better choice than Drag Me to Hell. Man, I miss Juliette Lewis so much.
    Salvation‘s drop? than Wolverine?

  13. mutinyco says:

    Seems her predicted numbers were wrong. Her Friday PM stats upped up to $19M for 1st day and $60M for the weekend.

  14. What? Finke’s insanely early estimates were inaccurate? No!
    I’m guessing they will be revised upwards at least once more before the official estimates come out.

  15. Chucky in Jersey says:

    If “Up” is selling out it’s most likely in a 3D hall. Disney is pushing the 3D version bigtime — newspaper ads in NYC tell where the 3D version is playing.

  16. mutinyco says:

    Just to note. But, the 3D version IS the movie. Up was created in 3D to be projected in 3D. The 2D version only exists because there aren’t enough theaters equipped to project it properly.

  17. martin says:

    It’s aimed at 10 year olds. It could be in holographic 3D with smellovision and you’d still have to pay me to see it.

  18. matro says:

    Isn’t that normally going to be the case for 3D movies though? At least ones that were shot specifically for 3D? I caught a bit of Journey to the Center of the Earth on cable the other day and couldn’t believe how cheap it looked; you could’ve told me it was a Sci-Fi original and I wouldn’t have been surprised, despite an alleged 60 million dollar budget.

  19. mutinyco says:

    And now it’s a $21.4M Friday for a $65M weekend…

  20. NickF says:

    That’s a good number for Up. Drag Me To Hell’s number is disappointing, but if the movie is as good as reviewers state, it should have a nice little run with some decent WOM.

  21. David Poland says:

    It completely slipped my mind that one of the DWAers is one of town’s top Nikki Handlers. The early Friday numbers surely came from her.
    And funny, Mut… I didn’t see the later Friday updates… both entries are GONE now.

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