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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady – H2FD

Halloween 2 is down a few million on opening day from the last one… The Final Destination in 3D is up a few million from the opening day of the last one. Combined, they are about a million off of the horror opening high of the year, Friday The 13th, which started with $19.3 million in February.
Questions –
Why would you put both of these films out on the same day? M.A.D.
Is this a better indication of what the 3D thing can do commercially for a movie? This looks like the best FD opening day by about 25%… so how did that break down with the 3D, which charges a premium of about 25%.? Did the audience increase or was it just the same audience as in the past paying 3D prices?
Did FD shoot its 3D load in one night? We’ll see.
Based on these numbers, H2 should be looking at about $40m domestic and TFD at about $65m domestic. But history is not always kind to these films at this time of year.
Inglourious Basterds dropping 59% is not a big deal. The weekend should end up with more like a 50% drop, which is about normal these days for a strong opener with a niche appeal… and though more women went than expected – according to TWC’s claims about exit polls – it is still a niche film. And yes, niche films can do $100 million now.
District 9 is holding fine, but is not growing… even though Sony threw some new ads at Weekend Three this week. The drop is normal. Anyone who uses the words “Best Picture Nomination” in the same sentence as the title, “District 9″ needs a trip to the optometrist to have their to have their August perspective checked… quickly.
Interestingly, Inglourious and D9 are traveling in near-lockstep at the box office. D9 was about $500k ahead of where IB is after the second Friday. The two movies, compared day by day, have split “top spot” almost evenly. And on Friday 2, Inglourious is up. Will it hit D9’s $7.2m second Saturday? We’ll know tomorrow. But it looks like the two films will run neck-n-neck to the end, each ending with between $110m and $125m domestic.
GI Joe looks like it is heading to a $300m worldwide final. 6 years after Hulk did $245m worldwide, you’re looking at a similar financial situation. GI Joe will be trying to get out of the red ink for years to come – a couple of million DVD units will make the difference between a loss and a breakeven film – but is not an unmitigated financial disaster. Then the question of the sequel… and if you think an announcement is the same as a film getting made, you are too green to live. Marvel lost money on The Incredible Hulk, even though it did a better job of giving the core audience what it wanted. It grossed slightly more than the first Hulk film… but cost more – which says so much, given that when Universal made the first film in 2002/3, it was their priciest effort ever – and it lost money.
So do you make a GI Joe sequel? Do you try to rein in the budget? Didn’t the kids come to see stuff blow up real big? It’s not like they spent the budget they had on actors. I don’t know. Does this studio want to be dragged through a sequel? Remember the public apologies that came out of Charlie’s Angels; Full Frontal. Remember all the drama around M:I3? Could they mistake $300m from GI Joe for $700m from the first Transformers? And dare we invoke Superman Returns and its $391,081,192 worldwide gross? (No sequel for YOU, Bryan!)
Taking Woodstock opened with a splat. A pity. Mr. Martin was fine in the lead, but Jake Gyllenhaal would have given them a better shot. So would Emile Hirsch. But we’d be talking about the $2.8m Friday instead of the $1.2m Friday. Shia LeBouf… maybe then you’d be looking at a $6m Friday and a $15m opening weekend.
Nice number for The September Issue. Valentino: The Last Emperor announced its upcoming, self-distributed release on DVD and Blu-ray this week. Which film will be more popular in the end… and in history? I would say that they belong together in a double box… perhaps with Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags , a movie I haven’t seen yet, but which is heading to Toronto and seems like a good fit.

17 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady – H2FD”

  1. I have to wonder how much of this weekend’s GI Joe take will be from kids buying tickets for Cobra and then sneaking into one of the four major R-rated films.
    Halloween II seems to be playing identical to Texas Chainsaw: The Beginning ($18m opening, $39m finish). I still cannot believe that Warner and Weinstein Company let their two horror sequels on the same day. Each film would have had their numbers increased by $5-10 million this weekend had they not cannibalized each other.

  2. Chucky in Jersey says:

    New Line locked in 8/28 for “The Final Destination” in order to get 3D bookings. Dimension had little wiggle room — if “H2″ got pushed back and the Weinstein Co. went under the movie never gets released.
    “Taking Woodstock” was wounded by its Academy Award references and will be killed by “Julie & Julia”. I saw “J&J” last night in a nearly-full hall, always a heartening sign for a film in its 4th weekend. It’s a pic any foodie, cat lover or movie watcher will take to.
    As for auditorium-hopping? Theaters have cracked down and for cause. The last thing an AMC or Regal wants is to have a theater raided because children were seeing an R-rated title by themselves. Should that ever happen you’re gonna see all theaters targeted by censorship advocates and police vigilantes. Besides “Taking Woodstock” was released upmarket/arthouse.

  3. martin says:

    “New Line locked in 8/28 for “The Final Destination” in order to get 3D bookings. Dimension had little wiggle room — if “H2″ got pushed back and the Weinstein Co. went under the movie never gets released.”
    Yep, that’s what I figured as well.

  4. Joseph says:

    I just figured TWC wanted “Halloween 2″ to ride on the coattails of “Inglourious Basterds,” having the trailer attached to the prints of IB last weekend in hopes that those folks will turn out for H2 this weekend. These back-to-back dates were set late last year. And TWC has done it before. Last year they released “Zack and Miri” and “Soul Men” a week apart, with trailers for “Soul Men” attached to the much hyped “Zack and Miri.” My fault with this strategy is that they’re pretty much splitting marketing dollars and focus between the two films when they should be milking all the money they can out of each film.

  5. Stella's Boy says:

    They couldn’t have waited until October 30 to release H2? The competition: second weekend of Saw VI, Youth in Revolt and the Michael Jackson movie. I imagine they could have found another suitable date for Youth in Revolt.

  6. PastePotPete says:

    Don’t forget that the GI Joe movie has generated several hundred million in toy sales for Hasbro. So there will be a sequel, probably lower budgeted and without Sommers.

  7. SJRubinstein says:

    “Combined, they are about a million off of the horror opening high of the year, Friday The 13th, which started with $19.3 million in February.”
    True, but the Friday-to-Sunday drop on that (19.2 on Friday down to 6.9 on the Sunday with the Saturday’s 14.2 helped by Friday midnight showings) due to the fact that “Friday the 13th” was released on a Friday the 13th really skews that number in a way.

  8. LYT says:

    There will be another G.I. Joe movie, I bet, even if it’s just a direct-to-DVD prequel with different actors playing young Duke and Ripcord.

  9. IOIOIOI says:

    David, I still hold to the point, that both GI JOE and Transformers could be made much cheaply. If they held to the general aesthetics of the original cartoons/comics. If they just mirrored them. The fucking films would be so much cheaper, that’s it’s not even funny. Seriously, all Paramount and Hasbro have to do, is look to the past. If they can look to the the past, and embrace it. Both series will be better off for it.

  10. Nicol D says:

    “The last thing an AMC or Regal wants is to have a theater raided because children were seeing an R-rated title by themselves. Should that ever happen you’re gonna see all theaters targeted by censorship advocates and police vigilantes.”
    Has this ever happened? Can you give an example?
    I only ask because I worked as an usher in a theatre in Ontario for three summers; 89, 90, 91. Best job I ever had. Those years we had many R rated films that had teen/kid appeal like Total Recall, Jason Takes Manhattan, Thelma and Louise, Casualties of War (when Fox had a big teen base), Ford Fairlane and so forth. My manager (a really nice woman) told me to always watch underagers for the same reason. They could be raided and lose their license. For three summers I had to use that line on so many adults trying to take kids to innapproriate films it became a joke. Total Recall and Jason were particulary bad. I did my job well and no one went in.
    I have to say, in three summers not once were we inspected and I have never in my life heard even anecdotally of a theatre losing their license for having under age teens or kids in an R rated film. While it may be theoretically possible I have to conclude that in reality, it is just not plausible.
    I think of that line in Sunny in Philadelphia where Mac says “Most kids are bangin’ and doing crystal meth before they hit grade school.” No one cares about them seeing R-rated films so the paranoia you show in this post is unwarranted.
    Can anyone link to a single instance where this has happened? Not trying to be a prick, but just like the “Blockbuster edits all their R rated films for Christians” meme, the theatres will be raided meme seems like an urban myth.

  11. Stella's Boy says:

    I have heard of Clean Flicks, but not once (until now) have I heard the rumor that Blockbuster edits their R-rated movies for Christians.

  12. Nicol D says:

    Then you must travel in different circles than me. Yay you! Can I have your friends?

  13. mutinyco says:

    I wasn’t aware that MPAA ratings carried the force of law. They’re just a trade organization standard. No?…

  14. Cadavra says:

    Right. Theatres don’t have licenses the way bars do (unless, of course, they serve alcohol). What happens in the case of a violation would be a hefty fine.

  15. tfresca says:

    It’s not a criminal act. Only if the movie was X rated could you somehow claim a criminal act. If it was criminal a lot of parents would b e going to jail after Friday night raids. I agree that a dirty dozen style GI Joe with some fun popcorn stuff thrown in would have been a real blast. I hope something like that is still on the table. As to why Hollywood doesn’t respect source material. Thy always think the source material sucks and they need to do something to justify their own salaries. Why not change the material.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    Oh Nicol. Your cleverness and general sense of, well, just plain cheerfulness is always a delight. You’re the only reason I even bother with this place.

  17. Foamy Squirrel says:

    My gut instinct regarding the 3D is not to look at opening weekend numbers, but but at 2nd/3rd weekend droppoffs. I think there are far too many factors influencing opening weekend to isolate the effect without an inordinately large sample size. I think once it gets into 2nd and 3rd weekend though a lot of those variables have normalized and other factors such as “quality” (in all its myriad forms) have a much larger effect.
    If this theory is true, my feeling is that 3D movies will see much better repeat business – provided that the source material is reasonable. That is, if moviegoers enjoy a regular screening they are more likely to upgrade their next ticket to 3D if they decide to watch a second time. Similarly, it is unlikely that people who see it the first time around in 3D will downgrade to regular.

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