MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Opera Man Klady

So Team Sandler strikes again. His best opening going into this weekend was The Longest Yard, with $47.6 million. Grownups will be in that vicinity, probably setting a new high for Sandler.
It’s no mystery. The ads have been goofy and sweet, found female appeal, and brought together five guys who each have fans. Somehow, even the guys staring at some girl’s bent-over ass -and utterly sexist moment and a truly remarkable rear end – is somehow sweetened by the age of the men and the desperate nature of children with their nose pressed up against candy store glass.
Team Cruise.. not so much. The 3-day will probably be a little better than Killers. The 5-day will put Knight & Day around Date Night after the first weekend. The hope, as I noted a couple of weeks ago, of expanding to a 5-day is to get a sampling in for a movie that Fox likes and with which they knew they were having a hard time getting women on board. I imagine they are hoping to get to a What Happens In Vegas result, with some more muscular numbers overseas. We’ll see.
Toy Story 3 hits $200m today, and it will be in the all-time top ten for gross-per-day for days 8, 9, and 10, surpassing anything this year, though not by a massive amount. The big showdown for the domestic outcome of the film will take place this week, when we will find out if The Last Airbender eats into TS3’s business much, both as a kid film-vs-kid film battle, but 3D vs 3D as well. I’m sure Paramount sees July 4 weekend as their private slot, with Trannys and War of the Worlds, but it seems that they would have been smarter to go out a weekend later with Airbender.
Shrek Forever After is done. Interestingly, it is less off of the Shrek 3 (about $90m) than 3 was off of S2 ($120m) at the domestic box office. Of course, the big Shrek money is overseas, where the last two films did an almost identical number, around $475m. Another waiting game.
The Karate Kid will pass Bad Boys II domestically in the next week and is also wary of Airbender… probably more so than TS3 is. Still, $170 million domestic is not a reach and closing in on the film going to profit on that alone. And the film is waiting for the answer from the rest of the world.

18 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Opera Man Klady”

  1. IOv2 says:

    56 percent for Toy Story? WHAT THE WHAT?

  2. Last Friday was a bit frontloaded for Toy Story 3, so no reason to panic. The weekday numbers have been astounding (we’re talking second only to Avatar, Dark Knight, and Pirates 2 over the first four non-opening weekdays), as it’s quickly inching its way up the fastest-grossing movies list. It may even hit $300 million by the end of next weekend’s holiday opus, providing that Last Airbender doesn’t absolutely explode.

  3. Stella's Boy says:

    Took my nearly three-year-old son to Toy Story 3 today for his first real movie-going experience. What a treasure, both the movie and the memory.

  4. Is there really that much interest for Airbender?

  5. IOv2 says:

    What planet have you people been living on? Avatar the Last Airbender not only did incredible ratings for Nick, it’s also an adult property. It has a lot of adult fans and ignoring that, is just ludicrous in any discussion of the film. Paramount did not green light a 280m dollar film based off of little kids alone. Seriously, you folks are just out there, man. OUT THERE!

  6. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Box office will take a hit tomorrow if your area has a large Latin American population. Why? Argentina vs. Mexico in the World Cup.

  7. Stella's Boy says:

    You’ll have to excuse those of us who had no idea Airbender has a huge adult fan base. That’s certainly news to me. Never heard anyone talk about it, much less someone over the age of 7.

  8. IOv2 says:

    Stella, just because you are surrounded by people who have no idea what’s going on, that does not mean everyone is in the same boat. Again, the show has a large fan base and has had one from the beginning. I may be off on this, but I could have sworn that Avatar… THE LAST AIRBENDER’s success with teens and adults, is one of the reasons why they decided to skew older with their programming.
    Oh yeah, you of all people on this blog, should never cast aspersions to someone. Why do you ask? Your name, Toby. Your name.

  9. Stella's Boy says:

    You may be right about its broad appeal IO, but just because some of us had no idea teens and adults love it doesn’t mean we’re out of touch morons.

  10. IOv2 says:

    SB, whose calling you a moron? I am not calling you a moron. I may be goofing on your nick a bit but you are not a moron, and neither is Ed. I just find it odd that people seem shocked that this property has a fan base that’s older than seven. Good lord, a seven year old watching Avatar… THE LAST AIRBENDER would barely get the darn thing, so you may want to loft a bit hife. Nevertheless, you are not a moron, but giving people crap who appreciate animation is just weird. Very very weird.

  11. Joe Straat says:

    I know plenty of adults who love Last Airbender, but then again, my friends and I tend to be of the dorkier set. I haven’t checked it out because-and I know this is stupid-the arrow on the main character’s head bugged the crap out of me. Yes, that’s the single reason I haven’t watched it. But I got the “First Book” DVD set in the mail today, so I’ll give it a shot.
    My box office radar is broken. I thought Eragon would be a complete flop and Avatar had a ceiling of $200 million domestic, so take this with enough salt to make your doctor have a long talk with you on your next checkup, but I think Last Airbender will be one of the biggest hits of the summer. Not THE biggest, but a good amount of cash. The fanbase was initially P.O.’d at the whitewashing of the characters, but warmed up when they caught the teasers. Adults will be less hesitant to take their kids because it looks like it might actually be a decent movie for them, and it has a certain level of intrigue for people completely unfamiliar with it. I mean, M. Night Shyamalan directing a $100+ million Summer tentpole that opens in the “Will Smith” slot based on a Nickelodeon series sounds interesting at the very least, and for the non Hollywood people, it at least looks like a well-crafted movie that could be some nice entertainment. We’ll see.

  12. Random thoughts – To be fair, the film ‘only’ cost $150 million. The $280 million figure accounts for $130 million worth of worldwide marketing. I’m of two minds about the box office potential. Yes, I’ve heard of the show and have heard good things about it. So it’s certainly possible that the film could break out (if Eragon can open to $23 million…). But, using myself as a barometer, I would have absolutely no interest in the film if not for the fact that M. Night Shyamalan is directing. I’m hopeful as I’m still a devout fan of M. Night, but I wonder if my own bias is coloring my optimistic box office predictions. Does anyone other than the movie geeks still care about the guy who made The Sixth Sense and Signs back in 1999 and 2002? On a final note, it’s one of the rare big summer films thus far (along with Karate Kid) that’s actually making the movie in question look like a good and entertaining piece of showmanship. Those money shots (like the mid-air icing bit) count for a lot. So in the end, it’s a big question mark that I think will largely depend on how the press treats it after the big unveiling Tuesday. If the reviews are solid, the casual moviegoers will check it out along with the fans. If the reviews are rancid, the general audiences will catch up with The Karate Kid and Toy Story 3.

  13. Kim Voynar says:

    I’m a big fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I can’t say that I would have gotten into it if it weren’t for having kids who were into it first. It’s an excellent story, and the trailer I saw looked good, so really, really hoping Shyamalan does the material justice. My 13Yo anime buff will be very pissed if he screws it up.

  14. IOv2 says:

    Welcome back Kim.

  15. I simply ask because, at my theatre, the ratio of ticket pre-sales for Eclipse compared to Airbender is about 250:1.

  16. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I’m slightly worried for Airbender since if household entertainment budgets are relatively flat, and the average cost of a family attending a movie has gone up (especially if they’re hitting mainly the 3D shows), then they’re not going to be attending as often and someone’s going to get it in the shorts.

  17. gradystiles says:

    “So Team Sandler strikes again. His best opening going into this weekend was The Longest Yard, with $47.6 million. Grownups will be in that vicinity, probably setting a new high for Sandler.”
    I think your math’s off there, David. Grownups won’t come close to TLY’s opening weekend.

  18. tfresca says:

    A lot of people have been crapping in Chris Rock on this and other blogs but honestly with the exception of his last two movies Chris has a decent track record. For movies he’s starring in.
    Head of State was the #1 movie the weekend it premiered and ended up with a $40 million domestic. It might have added another 10 on dvd. Before that his “Down To Earth” did $64,186,502 domestic and second place opening of $17 million.
    I’d argue I think I Love My Wife was a departure in that it wasn’t really a comedy. I believe “Death At a Funeral” was smily mis-marketed. I caught it recently at a discount theater and it slayed. I thought it was very funny and it was probably Rock’s most un-Chris Rock performance.

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