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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Sex & The Klady

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Sex & The Sequel is almost exactly where it was the first time around after Friday ended. This time took a full day on Thursday and midnight screenings Wednesday to do it. On the other hand, this time, their ebd of May opening is the holiday weekend and by the end of the weekend, the sequel should be up on the first film by about $10 million.
I am put in mind of Hellboy and Hellboy 2. As much as the core loved the first Hellboy and the audience was expanded by home viewing, the much bigger sequel grew marginally. The audience is the audience is the audience. In one case, both movies are apparently horrid (I can only couch for the first) and the other, both are very good. But both speak to a specific group with specific interests that reach beyond reviews and hype.
Still, it reminds us that there is a $150 million niche for women over 30 – and I would have to say, I’m pretty sure that women under 30 just look at the now-retro crew of S&TC and laugh, laugh, laugh… but not in a good way. They may not laugh so hard in a decade or so when they succumb to desperate hanging on, but as a 45-year-old man, I don’t find older actors wanting to make themselves look younger by standing next to younger women so funny anymore either. (I do still find it a bit pathetic.)
Prince of Persia doesn’t have Thursday to lean on… which should put the movie near $20 million behind Sext-ew by the end of its first holiday weekend. There really is no precedent for this number. It’s neither big nor small. You have to go all the way back to The Flintstones in 1994 to find a 4-day Memorial Day opening that is close to the projected number… and $37m back then was a lot more than it is now.
Thing is, even Terminator Salvation, which opened to $52m last Memorial Day, stopped at $125m domestic. It doubled that internationally, Mummy 3 – a truly horrible film – tripled their domestic overseas. Disney is going to have to do something like that to not lose money on this movie. (See: Old theory about loading the quarter with Alice DVD revenue.)
Shrek Forever After is running a little over $60 million behind S3 after 10 days and it looks like it’s going to get worse, not better. Should be around $140m by the end of the holiday. Madagascar doubled its gross from the end of its second weekend to the end… but it didn’t face a Pixar film landing about a month in (or at all, for that matter).
Iron Man 2 continues to ourpace the first film by about as much as the difference between the two opening weekends, though IM2 is starting to slide, day-by-day. Paramount will have to push hard to get it to $300m in a crowded June. Meanwhile, foreign remains ahead of the first film and the domestic gross, so you can count on IM2’s worldwide being bigger than the last one… though not by as much as anyone hoped for.

44 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Sex & The Klady”

  1. marychan says:

    How much had “Agora” grossed on yestearday?
    “Survival of the Dead” doesn’t open well, but this kind of horror film tends to do nothing in limited release. (“House of 1,000 Corpses” is an exception.) But this kind of horror film would also perform better on VOD and home video market, so this film would still be profitable for Magnolia.
    “Micmacs” opens OK. But we will have more insight about how it would do after the film opens in more cities on next Friday. Anyway, 2010 still looks for Sony Pictures Classics. Even the critically-panned “Chloe” has just crossed $3 million mark at US box office. “The Secret in Their Eyes” would also cross $3 million mark at US box office during this weekend. (Like what Variety indicates, ‘$3 million is the new $10 million’ for specialty box office in 2010) I’m disappointed with how “Mother and Child” is doing, though.

  2. gradystiles says:

    marychan, do you ever post anything that isn’t related to SPC or limited releases?

  3. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Presumably she works in arthouse distribution, so getting a limited “insider” view gives attention to this segment.
    It’s nice that not everything is about the 3000+ theatre opening of the week.

  4. marychan says:

    I doesn’t works in arthouse distribution; I have several friends who are working in arthouse distribution, though.
    I did write something about wide releases in the past.(ie. “Remember Me”) But yes, I’m very interested in many aspects about US specialty films market.

  5. movieman says:

    I’m also disappointed at how “Mother and Child” is (under)performing, Mary. It’s a wonderful film that should be doing much, much better. Not to beat a dead horse, but maybe it should have been released by a different Sony subdivision. SPC is “Micmacs” and “Secret in Their Eyes.” English-language films always seem like an awkward fit for them.
    Your “written accent” is charming. Are you French-Canadian by any chance?

  6. marychan says:

    I am an Asian. My “written accent” is because I always type and post quickly without doing any grammar check. Maybe I should be more careful and doing grammer check next time….
    English films like “The Last Station”, “An Education” and “Moon” are better fit for SPC. I even think that “Harry Brown” may be a better fit for SPC then Samuel Goldwyn. (Rumor is that SPC did make a low-ball offer to buy “Harry Brown”, but the film’s producers rejected SPC’s offer…. Finally, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group bought “Harry Brown” and team with Samuel Goldwyn to release this film.) But yes, “Mother and Child” may be a better fit for Samuel Goldwyn then SPC.

  7. CleanSteve says:

    SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD is terrible. Worse than the previous entry. Romero is an icon and personal hero, but he is out of touch. His ideas are antiquated. Charmingly so, but he isn’t able to bring them to full fruition anymore.
    I’m glad he still has things to say, and tries to do it. That is admirable. But it seems like he has lost the ability to filter it through a compelling and, sadly, competent lens.
    That being said, I hope he keeps on making movies until he’s a zombie himself. God bless him.
    Anyone who thought PRINCE OF PERSIA was the next PIRATES was a fool, anyway. I am an avid gamer, but video game movies are such a failed genre I am shocked when people keep making them. A KANE & LYNCH movie?? Really??
    As much a folks hate it I think the Resident Evil series is the best video game movie series. Not saying much, but WS Anderson is an underrated B movie hack. AVP was unforgivable (aside from the last 10 minutes). But DEATH RACE sort of kicks ass.

  8. movieman says:

    …I guess I should have been more specific. British-accented English-language films traditionally work nicely with SPC. “Moon” is a rare exception where SPC got the marketing exactly right (maybe because the director was British, lol: who knows?)
    I actually think “M&C” could have worked a tad better as a wide-ish Sony Pictures release. Although I wouldn’t have advised them to test the waters at the start of the silly summer (movie) season.
    Sorry to hear about Dennis Hopper’s passing.
    Even when his politics took a bizarre Dennis Miller/Ron Silver-
    ish turn, I never stopped digging the guy (unlike Miller and Silver who I couldn’t abide after their right-wring conversion). Hopper always seemed like a Keith Richards-style uber-survivor to me, which is very, very cool to a Baby Boomer like myself. Sorry that he never got around to directing more films, but his place in cinema history (as director and actor) is secure nonetheless.

  9. movieman says:

    P.S.= Despite the accents, “Harry Brown” is too grindhouse for SPC, Mary.
    Lionsgate might have been able to do something more with it, though.
    I

  10. LYT says:

    Surely the Resident Evil series is the ONLY video game adaptation that can properly be called a “series,” no? Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider yielded sequels, but RE is the only one to get to a cinematic 3 and 4.
    Unless you count the Mortal Kombat live-action TV series.
    Silent Hill is still the best videogame adaptation.

  11. Che sucks says:

    So I guess all who don’t parrot your political views are bizarre, Movieman?
    Enjoy the echo-chamber.

  12. indiemarketer says:

    Mary Chan…Asian?! How did Nikki Finke not have that as an exclusive?!
    Gary Coleman…Dennis Hopper…who will be the third by the end of the holiday weekend?

  13. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Videogame adaptations tend to suck balls because for some bizarre reason they chose properties based on gameplay – precisely the thing that DOESN’T translate to another medium. Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat, Dead or Alive, Street Fighter, Dungeon Siege – all threw in some random story loosely (sometimes VERY loosely) related to the gameplay and hoped the name recognition would sell it. That’s not how brand equity works.
    It’s possible to do it (the latest Batman movies are an excellent example of brand distillation without directly adapting an existing story), and there are some properties that lend themselves better to adaptation better than others. But Halo, World of Warcraft, Mass Effect and Kane & Lynch aren’t them. Heavy Rain could be, but I’m sure they’ll fuck it up.

  14. I just bought RED DEAD REDEMPTION and it’s pretty awesome. Extremely cinematic. Maybe they should start adapting more movies into video games?
    And “Survival of the Dead” has been on-demand for about a month here. It’s $10 though!

  15. a_loco says:

    Anyone else shocked at the politics of HARRY BROWN?
    I didn’t think too much of it, thinking it was just a genre piece, until I saw this interview with the director and realized that he (who comes across as an uber-douche) takes the whole thing way too seriously.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrRNmHAWtqU

  16. LYT says:

    For Resident Evil, I remember Anderson or one of the producers being very clear that they didn’t want to tell the same story as the game, because then everyone would know how it ends. They kept similar continuity, though…when Jill shows up in the second movie, it’s simply taken for granted that she knows all about the zombies because the game storyline, or one like it, happened in the same universe.
    I think perhaps they should have stuck to the game storyline, as that’s what the fans seemed to want. But I don’t know that they had the budget to do it right.
    “Maybe they should start adapting more movies into video games?”
    Those tend to be even worse than vice versa.

  17. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Wrestling fans rejoice! The Iron Sheik is back and he does a double suplex on “Prince of Persia”.
    (HT Sports by Brooks)

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, Dennis Hopper was an Obama supporter in the 2008 election. So it’s not like the guy was a hidebound Rightie. Still, it was amusing seeing the star and director of Easy Rider playing a heroic U.S. military officer on E Ring.

  19. marychan says:

    “Harry Brown” is a film that would appeal to older audience…. and SPC know how to get them. I even think that if “Harry Brown” get a 300-theaters opening, the film would gross higher than “Chloe”. (At lease, the premise of “Harry Brown” is much more marketable.)
    Dennis Hopper voted for Bush twice. He voted for Obama because he hated Palin. Anyway, it is sad to see he died, no matter what his politic view was.

  20. tfresca says:

    Many months ago on this very blog I said that nobody gives a fuck about the Prince of Persia video game so whatever cache people thought the name alone had was miniscule at best. Gaming changes so fast, the hot game one year could be in the trash heap next year, which doesn’t lend itself well to the studio development process. Nobody wants to see Jake in this movie. Hell 80 percent of the audience probably only knows him “from the gay cowboy movie” that only of fraction of the US has seen anyway. With little to fall back on as far as name recognition this movie had to succeed on its own merit. Unlike the first POTC, it just didn’t have the goods. Perhaps disney will rethink its stance on creating new properties.

  21. LexG says:

    PERSIA POWER, GYLLEHNHAAL DELIVERED, no matter what you think of the movie (which RULES). Gyllenhaal in this has HARRISON FORD AS HAN SOLO LEVEL CHARISMA and is DELIGHTFUL TOGETHER with Arterton, who passes the BONER TEST finally, after mixed results in Solace, Clash and Pirate Radio. It was the ORANGE SHEEN that made all the difference, plus she is introduced getting her feet painted, which was HIGHLY AROUSING and needed to go on longer.
    Seemed a little lame how much they fixate on “If you press the button on the dagger THIS way, you go back in time 1 minute… if you press it THIS WAY…” Like, LAME and I barely even knew what anyone was going for or where they were in relation to each other half the time, but who cares. Big, stupid, orange, LOUD, and nonstop chaos and destruction and ostriches and Gemma and bad wigs and KINGSLEY POWER and wanton silliness. Better than the Pirates sequels, at least.

  22. aris says:

    tfresca – I’ve said the exact same thing over and over again myself. The only reason video games get made into movies is precisely b/c the development process takes so long, which justifies the producers’ development deals. They just pitch the idea to their studio bosses really well. They know the property is hot for the moment (ie 3 weeks), and their bosses, like them, are perpetually worried they will lose their jobs, etc etc, so they greenlight this garbage… I cant tell you how many video games I pitched at MGM and Mosaic back in the day. These producers MUST know these movies will bomb, it’s so obvious. If they don’t they’re morons.

  23. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    “I cant tell you how many video games I pitched at MGM and Mosaic back in the day. These producers MUST know these movies will bomb, it’s so obvious. If they don’t they’re morons.”
    Let me see if I have this right.
    You’re a cynical hack who pitched them BURGER TIME : THE MOVIE, knowing its a piece of shit idea and then you rag on the producers who pay you for this soulless junk.
    If you convince a retarded child to eat your feces does it make you a better person?

  24. tfresca says:

    Perhaps he’s a cynical hack who likes to eat regularly and keep a roof over his head. He wouldn’t be the only one of those in the business.

  25. Actually, done as an R-rated ‘trapped in a madman’s magical slaughterhouse’ gorefest, Burger Time: The Movie would be kinda awesome.

  26. aris says:

    JBD – you failed to get it straight, sorry. I’m not a cynic – just talking facts. As far as me being a hack, wrong again. Never imagined myself a writer.
    tfresca – you’re right. But I was an assistant back then, and it was my producer bosses who needed to eat regularly, and keep their jobs. On my salary, eating was optional.

  27. Joe Leydon says:

    @Aris: “On my salary, eating was optional.” Wait, I thought you said you WEREN’T a writer!

  28. Krillian says:

    The famous die in three’s, and it seems like #3 is usually the biggest. This week it was Art Linklater, Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper.

  29. Joe Straat says:

    The main problem with video game movies is the plots are either something as simple as “The President has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?” or are 20-60 hour stories where it’s nearly impossible to cut down the story to make a good movie, or the joy is in all the little things. You COULD make a Mass Effect movie, but the main story is such a claptrap of Sci-Fi conventions and the real joy is in the aliens who spell out their mood before they utter a sentence, Carrie-Anne Moss as the fucking queen of Omega, or things like that.
    Silent Hill was probably the best candidate for adaptation. It’s a mix between Jacob’s Ladder and Twin Peaks in its influences, but its influences aren’t as obvious as, say, Alan Wake (I think Alan Wake is the best horror anything of the past five years, but you see it and immediately think Twin Peaks or Stephen King or John Carpainter’s “Stephen King’s more popular than me, so I have to bitch about it” …….. er, In the Mouth of Madness. Plus, the game had just the right amount of mixture between story and action to be ripe for the picking.
    The movie was only okay, though. It has its moments, like navigating through the hall of nurses and the monologue about “The Devil’s justice,” but the Dark Silent Hill being turned into a furnace-like place instead of the walls of bloody flesh, rusted phones not connected to anything that still receive phonecalls from the mentally insane, and dark, sardonic humor it was in the games takes away from the character, as does the cliche fundamentalist cult that turns the last half-an-hour into an annoyance.
    I imagine with Konami not really giving a crap about the franchise anymore (The core group that made the first four games are long gone, and the key inspiration, composer/producer Akira Yamaoka, has left Konami. After being tossed around by U.S. developers to mixed results, Silent Hill games are now being developed by a German development team), I imagine the movies themselves will be grinded down to cheapie direct-to-video flicks that fans know will suck, but can’t resist picking up. A shame, really.
    I still say my favorite video game movie is Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, preachy, mechanical script and all. When I was a projectionist, I had to watch a movie about 6 times during its run at the theater just by the nature of the job (Not all the way through, but enough), and it held up as a solid movie even after 6 times through. I was very depressed to have to sit through Tomb Raider that many times, however. Mortal Kombat’s good b-movie trash, I’ll watch Super Mario Bros. for shits and giggles (But I’ll probably stick to Apocalypse Now for my movie to watch in memory of Dennis Hopper). D.O.A. at least throws some decent energy into the whole enterprise (While things like Legend of Chun-Li simply look as bored as the audience).

  30. christian says:

    I’m with Joe. FINAL FANTASY: TSW is fairly underrated with some beautiful imagery and good voice work from Alec Baldwin and James Woods. A lovely message too about our planet.

  31. LexG says:

    Wow, “Survival of the Dead” was really, really bad. Like everyone else, I want to root for Romero and am glad he’s getting these made, and I even liked DIARY, but this one is a TOTAL LOSS.
    I couldn’t even follow half the plot or dialogue and couldn’t have cared less; It played like that godawful Charles Bronson Mormon movie “Messenger of Death” from the ’80s, only with zombies. At one point 45 minutes in, the leading lady is suddenly a zombie, then suddenly not, then explains it by revealing she has a dead twin sister. Like if Laurie Strode got killed 67 minutes into HALLOWEEN then showed up again five minutes later in the same wardrobe and told Bob and Lynda, “Oh, hey guys, just me, LONI Strode.”
    Must live reverse world, though, since the FANGO NATION at the Nuart matinee applauded at the end like they’d just seen STAR WARS on opening day.
    And not sure if the Nuart’s speakers just need a good once-over or Kenneth Walsh’s phony Irish accent swallowed all the exposition, but I literally couldn’t understand 40% of the dialogue.

  32. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    For me Romero is a director of note and an extremely influential one but over the years I have never been impressed by his directing chops. I’d go so far as to say that he’s never made a film that hasn’t had major flaws in terms of his direction. He’s delivered some great sequences but in terms of taste and tone he’s been all over the map.
    I grew up as a major fan of his work and Martin for all its problems, shines like his Mean Streets but his other films have aged pretty badly, NOTLD excepted. Stodgy is the word that comes to mind for most of his output. He’s directed all his films like an old man before he was old. For the most part they’re pedestrian affairs, even fan favourites like Creepshow work because of the EC gimmickry but the execution is pretty dire for the most part. Lets not even talk about Bruiser which I’m sure some claim to be a subversive masterpiece but to me is a profoundly dunderheaded movie from conception through to execution.
    Fans seem to put Carpenter and Romero on the same footing and sure in terms of influence you’d make a good argument but Romero has none of the inherent artistry that Carpenter has.
    He’s a gifted visual storyteller where Romero for the most part directs like the undead. In the end, I feel he’s made on certifiable classic (NOTLD), one great film (Martin) and one good film (Dawn).

  33. CleanSteve says:

    Carpenter craps all over Romero’s filmography, but I’m a notorious Carpenter apologist. I like every movie he’s made aside from VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED and MEMOIRS OF AN INVISIBLE MAN.
    But DAWN OF THE DEAD, while dated, remains a classic to me. A staple of my horror viewing. It is the most charming zombie movie ever made.
    Talking overrated horror directors, I also vote for Wes Craven. I hate LAST HOUSE. HILLS HAVE EYES is silly. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is the only movie I consider a classic, but that’s just me. SCREAM is good, and PEOPLE UNDER STAIRS is just bat-shit silly as fuck. Enjoyable, but like a retarded stab at an Spielbergian programmer.
    Anyway, someone mentioned RED DEAD REDEMPTION. It is awesome. More compelling than any film I’ve seen this year. The story is a solid revenge yarn, but I much prefer riding around hunting boars, playing poker and killing random fools wandering the wilderness.

  34. Joe Leydon says:

    Did anyone see the Fox TV 30-minute drama based on Red Dead Redemption Saturday night — from the director of The Road (sorry, Chucky).

  35. jeffmcm says:

    I think of Romero as more of an old-school studio director – his dialogue and style are more like somebody who would have cranked out poverty row quickies in two weeks in the 40s. But I liked Land of the Dead and I hope that the new one is weird enough to overcome Diary of the Dead’s weakness of execution.
    Craven is more irregular, when he has a good script he does well, but too often he rehashes the same stuff, or gets stuck with garbage material (like Cursed).
    Lex sucks.

  36. The Big Perm says:

    Romero does not have directing chops. He just points and shoots and gets coverage. He has made one brilliant trilogy of films which he has coasted on for his entire career. And I love Creepshow but who doesn’t. Besides that, does anyone ever want to kick back and watch Knightriders, really? The stuff he makes now is terrible, maybe Land could have been good if it had any character development and wasn’t based on stupid stuff like characters thinking money is important in a post-apocalyptic world. But what can you say, Night and Dawn are two of the greatest horror movies ever made, so whatever, he can coast if he wants.
    Carpeter pretty much craps on everyone when it comes to horror. I wish he’d pull out of his rut and make one last great movie. When the man was really rolling, he cranked out classic after classic. He is a real filmmaker with real chops.
    I agree with Jeff on Craven..the guy can be awesome (Last House, Scream)…but he’s also the guy who thought it was worth spending time making Deadly Friend and Shocker so obviously he has some serious quality control issues.

  37. Stella's Boy says:

    Sort of mixed on Romero and agree with those who state he’s lost it in recent years, but I remember being seriously creeped out by Martin. Haven’t seen it in years so I’m not sure how it holds up.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    Oh yeah, I think Martin is a 4-star masterpiece. Even if it is just point-and-shoot. I’d say there’s more to ‘directing’ than fancy camera movements and moody lighting.

  39. LexG says:

    HORACE PINKER POWER.
    Seriously, I know this is an extreeeeme minority opinion, one that I’d probably drop instantly if I rewatched it anew, but I always held SHOCKER as high as the original NIGHTMARE. Has that great late-’80s horror vibe (which the NOES sequels have, or the Blob remake) and tons of visual style, an awesome lead in Peter Berg, a killer soundtrack (though why anyone ever thought it was “scary” to have thrash metal and Alice Cooper jamming while the protagonist runs from a maniacal killer is a charmingly antiquated notion).
    And a pre-X FILES Pileggi really does kill it as Horace Pinker. Sure, it was a TOTAL Kruger ripoff, but still effective and that movie had tons of great imagery.
    You guys are selling Craven pretty short– yes, Hills Have Eyes Part 2 and Deadly Friend are pretty bad, but his recurring suburban hallmarks, deft handling of teenage anxieties, and socioeconomic concers are auteurial trademarks, and I’m sure everybody would agree. But I think his chops got increasingly polished over time, but even before the slickness of the later stuff, the (probably accidental) sloppy realism of LAST HOUSE is his most important work.
    There are all kinds of Romero movies to have a soft spot for outside the Dead movies– Indeed Martin for sure, but also The Crazies, Creepshow… and, yes, I liked Bruiser. Even Dark Half and Monkey Shines, even if they’re directed with no style and like everyone’s nailed to the sets, have their effective moments. Actually thought “Land” was a surprisingly well-directed movie– it really did seem like a 2005 movie that was directed with the kind of shots and filters Romero or Carpenter were using in 1983, and I appreciated it for that.
    Even liked Diary. But Survival is unforgivably sloppy through and through… He can even barely be bothered to work up his usual earnest political thesis, until the very last shot. Which, ironically, is the only good or memorable shot in the entire movie.

  40. The Big Perm says:

    There may be more to directing than fancy camera movements, and I would say one of those aspects would be making a movie that isn’t flat and boring, which Romero has failed at time after time (Dark Half, Bruiser, Land of the Dead, I’d say The Crazies even thought I sort of like it). At least now Romero’s movies are interesting in that they’re so awful.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    Obviously some of you will disagree (Lex), but I’d say that Romero is still a better director than Michael Bay or Ratner or Sommers or any number of other such guys. ‘Boring’ is one of those qualities that’s 100% subjective.

  42. jeffmcm says:

    My list:
    GREAT
    Night of the Living Dead
    Martin
    Dawn of the Dead
    GOOD
    The Crazies
    Creepshow
    Day of the Dead
    Land of the Dead
    DECENT
    Season of the Witch
    Knightriders
    Monkey Shines
    BAD
    The Dark Half
    Bruiser
    Diary of the Dead
    He’s batting over .500 anyway.

  43. chris says:

    …not if you include “Survival.”

  44. The Big Perm says:

    Boring is subjective…but then so is anything unless you’re arguing technical merits, but even then that’s subjective. You can say that a Bay movie is better shot than than a 70s exploitation movie, and be correct…but then say you prefer the asthetic qualities of that 70s exploitation movie and the bad lighting and cheap film is what makes it work.
    Although I’ve never seen all of Martin. Watched some of it once and couldn’t get into it, I should try it again some day.
    I’d mostly agree with that list except for the Good, where I’d push Day of the Dead into Great and the rest into Decent except for Land, which was bad.
    Regarding Land of the Dead, I don’t see how some people can give a movie like Resident Evil flak and enjoy Land of the Dead…you could tell me Anderson directed it and I’d believe it, with the lifeless flat boring shooting style, relentless pace that is still dull, and characters defined by a simple cartoonish characteristic (dumb but good with a gun, greedy businessman, fat guy).

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