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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates saw Klady

22. 20. 11.

aka The Last Three Fridays.

A cult series from which new content is rare, now in 3D, which seemed to fit. A sequel to a film that felt like an exciting discovery to audiences. And a dead franchise making a run at resurrection via 3D.

You can’t really blame Lionsgate marketing or any LGF management – though a frustrated Carl Icahn will – for this uninspired opening. The franchise was clearly body-bagged last year, with Saw VI managing about half, domestically, what any of the previous five Saws had done before. The fall-off was less severe overseas, but it was still the lowest international grosser of the series.

Did 3D matter? Yes. The first day was up about 50% from the last Saw. But still, both opening days for 6 & 7 are lower than any of the previous four sequels. 3D is not a savior. And film by film, everyone is figuring that out.

57% is a pretty good Friday-to-Friday hold – welcome to post-millennial box office – for Paranormal Activity 2. It’s hard to compare to the first film, since that one opened tiny and never ended up in as many theaters as this one opened in. But after a $20 million midnight/opening day launch, I think 57% off – which will make for a lower weekend drop – is solid.

Hereafter‘s 50% Friday-to-Friday drop is less encouraging.

Red‘s 25% drop is strong, leading a parade of 20somethings: Secretariat, the shocking Life As We Know It, and The Town.

The big limited opening is The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, which is opening better than the 100+ expansion of Dragon Tattoo, but not as strong as the mid-summer launch of Played With Fire.

13 Responses to “Friday Estimates saw Klady”

  1. mary says:

    Just a little info, the title of IFC’s new film is “Inspector Bellamy”, not “Bellamy”

    Maybe “Welcome to the Rileys” and “Wild Target” are killed by the bad reviews from major critics…. But Freestyle should have known that “Wild Target” would receive mostly negative reviews; I don’t know why Freestyle didn’t open “Wild Target” in more than 100 theaters.

  2. cadavra says:

    Again, RED, SECRETARIAT and THE TOWN drop 25% or less. Old people wanna go and will go to the movies, studios. Are you paying attention?

  3. Don Murphy says:

    Dyslexia on the SAW number, but if KINGO says there were only 5 films then I accept it!

  4. David Poland says:

    Hard to figure out a request for the correction of a typo in all that, but thanks, Don. Done.

  5. anghus says:

    We need a documentary about people who don’t care abotu “The Girl” series.

    Might i reccommend “The Guy Who Didn’t Give a Shit”

  6. Rob says:

    I was okay with Dragon Tattoo, but Played with Fire turned me off to the series. Just lifeless, bloated, and absurd – one of the worst of the year.

  7. EthanG says:

    Yeah the last film was aweful, as good as Rapace is. And from what I hear about most of this one, it should be called “The Girl Who Lays In Her Bed.”

  8. Joe Straatmann says:

    I actually like Fire a lot better. It was quick-moving, didn’t have the middle hour of montaging a mystery they forgot to set up suspects for except for the obvious red herring (Granted, I read the book beforehand, but it just had that “We’re making it SO obvious he’s the prime suspect that he can’t be” vibe), and it doesn’t have some of my problems I had with the book (The 100 pages or so of unnecessary table setting are gone, the movie has a clearer ending than seeming to be cut off mid-scene, and it doesn’t hammer on its obvious points as much as the book did). It’s more of an action/thriller than a mystery and some of it’s pretty silly, but I think they made most of the right moves in adapting the book as best as they could considering the stuff they’d changed from Tattoo.

  9. I watched it (part II) yesterday, and it was a shockingly boring, lifeless little would-be mystery. I bent over backwards to be fair to the first picture, and it certainly had a more engaging storyline. As long as we’re talking about alternate titles, how about ‘The Girl Who Isn’t Much More Entertaining Than Cleaning My Living Room Floor For Tomorrow’s Halloween Gathering’.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    Congrats to the Texas Rangers. Of course, this now means they’ve won one more World Series game than the Astros ever have. Damn.

  11. matt says:

    RE: 3D

    Wasn’t there something about how Resident Evil 3D saw a huge international boost (though not domestic)? Are 3D movies overall playing bigger overseas or was that film just a fluke?

  12. Tofu says:

    Hornet’s Nest was a total dog. The series devolved into a Law & Order filler.

  13. cadavra says:

    What made DRAGON TATTOO so special was the interaction between the two leads. They were separated for virtually all of FIRE and, from what I understand, ditto for HORNET. It’s like making a Tracy-Hepburn movie and keeping them separated for the entire picture.

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