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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Harry Klady, Part 2

What can one say about an opening day like that?

One can say that “If you make a good movie, they will come” is a notion stupid enough to go to the movie executive hall of fame… but is forgivable in an excited puppy peeing on the floor kinda way. That said, “If you make a movie franchise that is truly beloved over a decade by a committed base of fans and they know that the last movie is the strong pay-off of the story, they will show up in a front-loaded theatrical exhibition world in massive numbers on opening day and would even if the reviews were brutally bad,” you would have the part of the equation that speaks, somewhat, to quality as an issue in this opening.

This represents a 25% leap over the previous record-holder in this category… the last two Twilight movies… which, for the record, had brutally bad reviews and a seriously committed base of fans.

The odd part of all of this, I think, is that we really don’t know how a number like this plays out in the run of a film anymore. The frontloading and shortened window for theatrical has just turned it all pear-shaped. For instance, $710m is still the top for the Twilight franchise, in spite of those record-setting (at the time) openings. Those are great numbers, but Alice in Wonderland and Pirates 4 did a billion each, right? The Dark Knight just barely cracked a billion, the lowest grossing member of the 10-figure club. And Trannies 2 stopped at $837 million.

I think, as I and many others thought months ago, that Potter 7b will be the first Potter film to hit $1b worldwide. And hyping up opening day is part of the push for that to happen. It’s worthy of hype. But it’s also a short-term tactic.

What interests me about the mega-openings is the mythology of theatrical sell-outs and the expansion of the market to fit some of these movies. I would estimate, roughly, that there were 18 to 21 million seats available to see Potter in the domestic market yesterday. Say 15,000 actual theaters at 4375 venues… 200 seats per… 6 shows a day on an expanded event schedule? That’s 18 million. Probably a little low. Average ticket price? Say $9.50, balancing matinees, kids prices, and the 3D bump. That’s $171 million in inventory. It’s probably closer to $200 million.

Regardless, selling 50% of all available ticket inventory to a movie on more than a dozen screens on any day is a mammoth achievement. Don’t think I am undercutting the success of the film by rolling out these numbers. I’m just trying to offer up something that might not be the same 3 paragraphs on this that everyone is writing this morning. A different angle. But 50% is HUGE. Especially now.

Over the years, I have developed the habit of checking in with busy urban theaters to see how many shows the big openers are selling out. You rarely see those sell-outs more than an hour in advance of anything but the 1 or 2 prime-time Fri/Sat screenings anymore, even in the most popular theaters. It used to happen all the time. But the availability of seats has expanded to meet the demand. It was an industry goal to give everyone who wants to see a movie on opening weekend the opportunity to see it and not to send them scurrying away, afraid they’d never get in, because they might not come back on the second or third weekend… especially with shorter Home Entertainment windows.

So now, huge as Potter 7b is, it will be a bit of a challenge to quadruple opening day or to double opening weekend domestically. The Dark Knight, which played very leggy, didn’t do 3.4 times opening weekend domestically. In fact, Of the Top 10 domestic grossers of the last 5 years only Avatar got to 4x the gross at the end of their opening weekend. (Transformers got to 4x their first 3-day weekend, but only because it was doing big numbers for 4 days before it got to its first weekend.) And one, Alice in Wonderland, came up short of 3x opening.

That doesn’t diminish the success, but it is instructive about how the numbers bounce around now. The top summer movie in each of the five years from 1995-1999 did 6-6-4.9-7-6 times opening. All the openings were between $30m and $65m.

2002 was the first $100m opening. 2001 was the first $90m opening. 1997 was the first $70m opening. 1995 was the first $50m opening.

Maybe it was that 1997 mega-opening that signaled change. The Lost World: Jurassic Park was the film. It opened to a record $72 million. And grossed “only” $229m domestic. Men in Black opened with $51 million and did $251 million.


Winnie pooed.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon passed The Hangover: Part II for the seasonal domestic lead last Sunday and may get to enjoy it for less than 2 weeks. Tr3 should pass $300 million this weekend domestically and has already taken the series lead from Tr2 internationally and can expect at least $100 million coming in from 4 international markets where the film hasn’t opened yet. Can it get to a billion? Hard to be sure. But it is still on track to be the highest grosser in the series.

Horrible Bosses is running pretty close to the Bad Teacher target.

Bridesmaids hits $160m. And Woody Allen passed Hannah & Her Sisters yesterday domestically, making Midnight in Paris his highest home grosser ever.

A bit of an underwhelming launch for Undefeated, the Sarah Palin campaign ad that averaged $2870 per screen yesterday or about 287 people a day per screen or about 60 people per screening. Other better indies did worse… but none had the marketing might of FoxNews behind them.

80 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Harry Klady, Part 2”

  1. Chris says:

    How is that even possible? that’s an ass load of money.

    (and ain’t it Deathly Hallows? What are Deadly Hollows? Are those like black holes?)

  2. SamLowry says:

    Be prepared for a massive Potter drop-off on week 2–everyone who wants to see it will see it this weekend.

    And WTF–Bridesmaids and Super 8 had the same take on Potter Day as MiP? Holey moley!

    Meanwhile, Pooh got pooed on. Guess Disney thought there were kids out there who weren’t Potter fans. (Sadly, Pooh is the poster-child of “Ignorance is bliss”: the story loses all its fun once you read about the life of Christopher Milne and follow-up with Disney’s ravenous appetite for the property.)

  3. chris says:

    I’m sure “Pooh” was not expensive. And I’m sure most of the people who are seeing it this weekend are not a Friday-night crowd. Geez. Are you paying attention to how any movie’s box office works OTHER than “MiP?”

  4. Luke says:

    Haha. I can’t believe 2 of the first 3 comments (now 4) reference MiP against an opening like this. Ridiculous. The poor horse is already at the glue factory. You can stop now.

    The big question is what will be the drop Friday to Saturday and does everyone think this will take down Dark Knight? If so, anyone out there think this could be the first $200M weekend ever?

  5. JS Partisan says:

    Luke, yeah it’s going to get to 200 million in a WEEKEND.

    Sam, really, who cares about a drop off when you make close to a half a billion total in under a week? Hell, I’ll put some sheckles down and state that it will hold better than expected. Do not doubt the Potter. This is one of the best films to be released all year. It will get out to the people, the casual fans, and they will go see it. Doubting Potter now is just… nonsensical.

    It is indeed the Deathly Hallows.

  6. Joe Leydon says:

    Gee, the Sarah Palin doc had a higher per screen average than MiP.

  7. JS Partisan says:

    BLASPHEMER! (Yes, I am making an Uncle Buck reference to Joe’s statement)

  8. Bob Burns says:

    this is the HP that will get lots of multiple viewings

    of course there will be a big drop off, but it’s gonna be to a higher number than the second weekends of the earlier films.

    People love HP and they love this film.

  9. Tofu says:

    My brain is finally comprehending, but I still feel my eyes are deceiving. $170 million is in play for the weekend.

  10. LexG says:

    Aw. Sad about Pooh.

    Anybody else see this coming re: Zookeeper? Thought that would be around 70, 80 by now.

  11. Krillian says:

    Pooh’s Heffalump Movie opened in 2005 to $5.8 million. Piglet’s Big Movie opened in 2003 to $6.1 million. So Winnie the Pooh getting $10 million on the same weekend as HP seems like an improvement.

    Saw TF3 a second time for free with some of my older kids. Really noticed the product placement more the second time around (Lenovo must’ve paid a ton for all the plugs they got). I also watched for any camera shot where the camera stayed still. There were three that I caught, and none of them lasted more than three seconds.

  12. chris says:

    I’d go further on the “Undefeated” numbers. I bet they’re inflated by the Palin non-campaign purchasing blocks of tickets at the few theaters where it was playing. Say, $28,000 worth of tickets?

  13. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    I can only imagine what watching Potter must be like for those who have grown up with it. It’s actually the only time I’ve ever felt a twinge of jealousy for a younger generation when it comes to film. For those who didn’t waver and stuck with the series and inhabited the world for all that time, it must be such a tremendous feeling to finally sit and watch the whole enterprise wind down. I went and saw this final installment without having seen any of the others out of curiosity. Interestingly I managed to follow pretty much everything that was going on and the rest was somewhat obvious in terms of what was going on. There was a lot of A to B type of plotting with characters running somewhere to get something. The battle scenes were imaginatively staged (not very watchable in 3D) but it felt that some well known characters were being offed without much screen respect. The ending left me with more questions than anything else in the movie. Anyway, I have a grudging respect for the series now, I still have no interest in seeing the other films or read any of the books but I will never again take away the joy from others who find pleasure in it.

  14. JS Partisan says:

    Spirit, there’s not a lot of magic in the world but those books and those movies are just that… magic. Don’t deny yourself the privilege of watching a series that gets better with each installment and truly and utterly ends on a complete high (Yeah I know you saw part 2 but I like the way that sentence reads).

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I have to fess up: I actually paid for two tickets to The Undefeated. Bought them in advance weeks ago, when I thought there wouldn’t be a chance to see it before opening day, and I’d have to catch the first Friday screening. So, hey, they got my $10.50.

  16. JKill says:

    Considering the hype and publicity that is a TERRIBLE opening day for THE UNDEFEATED. For example, THE US VS JOHN LENNON, which while basically well reviewed wasn’t endlessly written about and discussed on television like TU, grossed 26,000 on its initial Friday on two less screens. Considering the movie’s alleged lack of quality and the niche audience it naturally appeals to, I don’t think it’s going to be close to crack a million dollars. I don’t know what this cost to produce but considering marketing, I think it could actually be a money loser, at least until DVD and VOD kicks in.

  17. Joe Leydon says:

    JKill: Have you seen this? Yeah, I know: It’s been done dozens of times already, But I have to admit: This version had me laughing out loud.

  18. JKill says:

    Might as well chime in that I found HORRIBLE BOSSES very funny and likeable. The three leads have a nice chemistry together, their individual comedic voices represented but also clashing and complimenting each other’s effectively. The screenplay is nimble and effective, and the all-star supporting cast is a blast (Foxx, Spacey, Aniston, Farrell). For me, Aniston was a standout, so game and so funny in a role that goes against type. It’s also a rebound from the funny but inept FOUR CHRISTMASES for its director, recalling the championing of the underdog of his doc debut KING OF KONG. Very enjoyable.

    Also checked out MEEK’S CUTOFF, which had to be incredible since I was so blown away by it despite seeing it in literally the worst facility I have ever paid and seen a feature film in. (Basically an auditorium with tinny speakers and a dark, murky digital projection that I think was off some kind of a screener. They also incorrectly projected it, stretching it to 1:85 when it was clearly intended for the Academy ratio of 1:33.) I think it’s KR’s strongest film, features some great ensamble acting (I loved that Williams almost has a Ripley arc with her quiet strength, and Greenwood could not be more awesome), and, in terms of style, is quite bold and different. The ending is one that will be discussed until the end of days, and I look forward to seeing this possible masterpiece in more optimal conditions.

  19. JKill says:

    Joe, maybe it’s because I’ve never watched one of those before but I found that hilarious too. I particularly liked when they clear out of the room, or the line about “80 million of my friends in line with our wands”.

    Maybe they should re-edit THE UNDEFEATED to include that clip since apparently a big chunk of it is devoted to people picking on Ms. Palin (who apparently she, um, undefeats…)

  20. movieman says:

    I’ll chime in that I found the “Hitler on Palin/Potter” clip hilarious, too.
    My only disappointment was that it didn’t really have an ending.
    Otherwise, a total hoot.

  21. sanj says:

    1 out of 18 films on the list had a DP/30 .

    just kinda sucks.

  22. LexG says:

    JKill: Week late on this, but it’s weird how I laughed pretty much nonstop and really enjoyed Horrible Bosses… without believing for even a single second those guys would ever go through with it, or even work up the edge to get rolling on their “plan.” I liked almost every gag and scene and performance, but it was almost supernatural in its disconnect from reality, down to little things like Farrell or Spacey NOT having burglar alarms for their giant houses that the gang kept sneaking into. And the last act all pretty much hinges on Spacey being a cartoon psycho to such a degree it’s practically science-fiction by then.

    And HOLY BONER at Aniston in this; Fiancee or not, CANNOT relate to Charlie Day’s plight in this, especially since Lindsay Sloane is always sort of irritating in movies and TV. Starting to think Aniston’s kind of awesome, actually.

  23. Kev S says:

    “A bit of an underwhelming launch for Undefeated, the Sarah Palin campaign ad that averaged $2870 per screen yesterday or about 287 people a day per screen or about 60 people per screening. ”
    And Transformers did $1608 per screen. That must be REALLY underwhelming!
    Why don’t you do honest reporting and forget projecting your personal issues into the article?

  24. JKill says:



    Yeah, my favorite moment of the alternate universe quality was CF having a hookers and coke party in the middle of the day in his office. I think it’s this sort of disconnect that allows the movie to have a sort of sweet, good natured tone instead of something like SHALLOW GRAVE or VERY BAD THINGS.

    Aniston is both UNGODLY HOT and FUNNY in the movie. Her scene where she wears “appropriate” clothing is INSANE. I’m hoping the Wain movie WANDERLUST later on in the year continues to give her fun, good stuff to do.


    Kev S, but THE UNDEFEATED is on so few screens, whereas TF is on thousands. If a limited release movie is a hit, it usually has a very high per screen average. THE UNDEFEATED’s per screen is mediocre.

  25. Lou Katz says:

    Someone really needs to do some math and/or hide their political bias because from what I see, Undefeated, defeated EVERY movie in dollars per screen except Potter. Contrary to what Poland says, there has been little to no publicity for it, certainly on TV, Fox News included. No one bought blocks of tickets to give away, either.

    If Undefeated performed poorly, what term would be used to accurately describe the movies, all but Potter, that did worse than it? Dismal? Horrendous? ????

    Contrary to the bias in the article, The Undefeated performed quite well on it’s opening day.

  26. Melquiades says:

    I think David misread the $28,700 as $2,870. He even wrote it that way. His math wouldn’t make any sense given the actual numbers.

    I’m not surprised that a woman with such a passionate (though limited) audience would draw some big numbers in limited release. She’s like the tea-bagger superhero, and she’ll have a similar drop-off at the box office.

    I’m still chuckling at the title ‘The Undefeated’ for a movie about a woman who is known for losing a presidential election and quitting her job as governor.

  27. Timothy says:

    “but none had the marketing might of FoxNews behind them.”

    Underwhelming….huhhh???? What FoxNews marketing??? It’s only ten theaters and the media has been rather sparse from what I’ve seen.

  28. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Limited release movies (especially ones as targeted as Undefeated) are supposed to have higher per-screen averages than wide releases. That’s because the 10 screens are chosen to be accessible to the target audience, unlike 500 or so screens for Harry Potter which are located in Nowhere, West Dakota (pop. 307).

    For a film based on probably the highest profile woman currently living in the US (thanks to FoxNews), that it gained a marginally higher per-screen average than Atlas Shrugged ($2,254 per screen Friday opening) despite being distributed presumably right next to her power base doesn’t bode well.

    It’s certainly not a BAD opening – it’s actually pretty good – it’s just with that pedigree you’d expect better.

  29. Steven Kaye says:

    So now Midnight in Paris – from just 706 theatres – is beating garbage like Green Lantern, Popper’s Penguins and Monte Carlo, and tying with Bridesmaids and Super 8.


  30. anghus says:

    and it was then that Steven Kaye realized that he not only loved the box office for Midnight in Paris… he also loved Woody. That night he would make a difficult phone call to his wife…..

  31. Joe Leydon says:

    I wouldn’t say The Undefeated hasn’t been publicized. I mean, I realize Newsweek isn’t quite as well-read as it used to be, but when you’re on its cover a few days before your movie opens, people tend to notice.

    And I agree with Foamy: That’s not a shabby opening at all for a movie that’s basically, as I said in my July 8 Variety review, a very long version of one of those rah-rah biographical shorts usually screened at political conventions before a presidential or vice-presidential candidate’s acceptance speech. (BTW: I’m amused to see how many other critics have since made the same comparison. Either great minds think alike, or a lot of folks are still reading Variety. LOL.)

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: Anghus — that is one hilarious post, my man.

  33. Nicole says:

    Yeah, I’m sure that movie about Mitt Romney would do better. LOL

  34. Joe Leydon says:

    All kidding aside: I actually do hope The Undefeated does get a wider release, because I’d be curious to see what folks on this blog and others — Lefties and Righties — would write about it. Some of you, regardless of your political persuasion, might be surprised.

    On a similar subject: Am I the only one who still enjoys the irony that the most sympathetic doc ever made about George W. Bush was one directed by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter?

  35. film fanatic says:

    Steven Kaye: Please just sate my curiosity without having to reveal your identity: are you tangibly connected to Woody Allen in a professional capacity, or are you just a big fan spreading the gospel?

  36. JKill says:

    THE UNDEFEATED just beat out SALVATION BLVD., LUCKY, and LIFE ABOVE ALL in its very first weekend.


  37. Joe Leydon says:

    And, hell, Salvation Boulevard had James Bond in it.

  38. JKill says:

    Anghus, I too found that to be an awesome post.

  39. TheTotalConservative says:

    So let me get this, ONLY Harry Potter had a Higher Per Screen Theatre Aveage than the Undefeated. $2,870 per theatre is pretty strong. Adjusted to 4,000 Theatres that is roughly $11.5 Million in day and likely would be a $30 million weekend at that pace. $30 Million is about what Transformers and Horrible Bosses did last week on about 4,000 Screen. Pretty Solid Numbers for a Documentary which Palin was not interviewed for and had no involvement in outside of going its Iowa premiere. Fox News hardly gave The Undefeated any attention and in fact in News Corps’ Stooge Critic at the NY Post Attacked the Movie. Fox News did almost no active promotion of the movie outside of a couple interviews with the filmaker.

  40. yancyskancy says:

    Yeah, I’m sure the team behind THE UNDEFEATED are kicking themselves for not going with a 4,000-screen opening. They’re really leaving money on the table.

    I don’t remember what MIDNIGHT IN PARIS made in its first week of limited release, but if they’d gone with a 4,000-screen opening, could they have matched the new Potter record?

    To quote Dave, “Oy.”

  41. Foamy Squirrel says:

    You can’t just scale like that, for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

    If HP7.2 were only on 10 screens you could easily get $5k per showing, let alone per day. Steve Kaye’s beloved Midnight in Paris opened to $28,492 per screen on Friday, but I doubt anyone would argue it would take in $100mil per day if expanded to 4000 screens.

    Edit: Oh look, I answered Yancy’s question.

  42. SamLowry says:

    So does it mean I might have a touch of dyslexia if I glanced at “Deiva Thirumagan” and saw “Uma Thurman”?

  43. I wrote about this back in May, but for me the ‘mega opener’ that was a sign of things to come was The Mummy Returns. I still remember the absolute shock I felt when I read (from Showbizdata… that’ll take you back) that the second Mummy movie had broken the opening Friday record with $24 million. Here was a not particularly craved, not all-that anticipated sequel to a liked but not loved film from two years ago, and it came within $4 million ($68m) of overtaking The Lost World’s $72 million opening weekend record. Same thing with Planet of the Apes ($69m) and Rush Hour 2 ($66m). It was one thing for Batman, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars to be breaking records on opening weekend. It was another thing for films that were not insanely hyped or breathlessly anticipated to reach into the upper echelon of weekend box office. 2001 was the year that signaled that massive opening weekends were available for any major film, not just the top franchises on the block. In just a year we went from two films with $60m+ opening weekends to films opening with $59m Fri-Sun being called disappointing (Pearl Harbor), films opening above $100m (Spider-Man), and films being called underwhelming for pulling in $80m from Fri-Sun (Attack of the Clones).

    For those who care –

  44. SamLowry says:

    Oh, and chris, most theaters do actually open their doors before sunset and allow people inside to watch screenings they call “matinees”. Since it’s the middle of the day there tend to be a lot of younger viewers (called “children” in the vernacular) who tend to watch movies aimed at their age level.

  45. chris says:

    If you’re talking to this Chris, SamLowry, that was exactly my point.

  46. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, the folks promoting The Undefeated are using a grassroots approach very similar to that used by people who promote faith-based movies. I’m on their e-mail list because I freely gave it at a preview screening — no coercion on their part, no dissembling on mine — but you can learn more about it yourself by going to the movie’s website.

  47. SamLowry says:

    Chris, I get that the middle sentence of that message does make that point, but the ones before and after muddy it somewhat, perhaps turning the whole message into a rather confusing insult.

  48. Joe Straatmann says:

    The people who tried to make use believe Atlas Shrugged Part 1 was a big success are now trying to sell this like it’s anything more than a decent number. Not bad. If it gets to even half of what Fireproof made, then we’ll talk about the successful conservative grass roots effort or whatever. For now, it’s preaching to a limited choir.

    And David, Klady, WHOEVER, STOP. MISSPELLING. HALLOWS! Seriously, you did this for weeks and weeks and weeks when the first part was released and you’re doing it again. It’s a little thing, but it’s a very big little thing.

  49. SamLowry says:

    I have a hard time believing party regulars aren’t buying blocks of tickets to plump the numbers.

    It’s reminiscent of the CoS cooking Hubbard’s sales figures by telling the flock to buy Hubbard’s golden tomes from local bookstores, which they could mail in for a refund. No one might have caught on if some retailers hadn’t opened cases of “new” books only to discover the names of other stores stamped inside a few front covers.

  50. PhilipJames says:

    FOX didn’t promote The Undefeated. You expose that you are a little ignorant pf the facts when you say that… FOX has mentioned the film, but has not mentioned where and when it would be showing.
    Its hard for a liberal dolt like you to admit that the numbers are great for a documentary. Second only to Harry Potter movie. Too bad, jerk off.
    Unlike the left wing drivel that comes out and is backed by multi-millions of dollars of promotion, this movie has been promoted only on thru social media. FOX has never pushed this movie as you say and to state that they did is a lie. Of course, I understand it is in your interest as a liberal dolt that this movie not do well because it exposes what low lifes and useless pieces of crap the liberal media is…. but it is too late… the majority of Americans have finally realized what low lifes and generally useless wastes of space you and your liberal hatefilled friends really are.

  51. SamLowry says:

    I’m actually a socialist, not a liberal, and I never once mentioned Fox in this thread. (Oh, wait, are you talking about David? Maybe you should address who you’re attacking.)

    Also, you might want to reread your message if you think that feeling hate is a bad thing. (Here’s a link to help you out: )

  52. Foamy Squirrel says:

    All right – who linked to Drudge?

    For the conservatives who are coming on here claiming that the Undefeated numbers are “great for a documentary. Second only to Harry Potter movie”, consider that last weekend “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” DESTROYED Undefeated’s numbers getting $28k per screen over 3 days (that’s about 3x Undefeated’s daily average).

    Undefeated’s numbers aren’t bad, but “Beats, Rhymes & Life”? THOSE are great numbers for a limited release doc, and they were achieved without being featured on Fox or NewsWeek, nor was the subject featured on an almost daily basis in the media.

  53. David Poland says:

    Well, Kev… thing is, there is a difference between a movie on 3900 screens and a movie on 10 screens. That’s honest reporting.

    If a major indie opened to an audience of about 2870 on a 10-screen opening day, that too would be a disappointment. And I write about that kind of thing all the time.

    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan’s opening was similarly tame… but even though it’s a Fox Searchlight movie, it wasn’t marketed very intensely, so less surprising than the Palin film.

    Expelled: No Intelligence Required, another right wing polemic, opened with a per-screes of $1149 on its first day. But that was on 1,052 screens and the film had grossed over $1 million on that one day. If the Palin film had shown anything like that yesterday, it would not have been a disappointment at all. On 10 screens, had it done, say, $10k a screen… or about a quarter of what Brokeback Mountain opened to on 5 screens, it would have been impressive.

  54. JS Partisan says:

    Possibly the biggest opening weekend in the history of film, but let’s discuss the UNDEFEATED! You folks are a hoot!

  55. David Poland says:

    PhillipJames… how does one respond to all of that drama?

    I do hate some of what has happened to the Republicans… just as I hated, as Democrat, some of the extreme rhetoric around Bush… just as I would fight with friends over the lie of the “vast right wing conspiracy.”

    But the facts is the facts. The film got a LOT of attention on FoxNews. No, they didn’t prompt people to go buy tickets now. Duh. But there was a lot of heat created around this thing and FoxNews – and other News Corp news outlets – was a part of it.

    The number is okay. And I don’t think it necessarily has to be all tickets bought by the tea party under some assumed name. But it is not exceptional.

    This schtick about per screen averages is pretty classic. You don’t seem to have any factual context for what I have written. So you attack on emotion. If you knew anything about box office, you would know that my comment was fairly gentle. And if you knew anything about how I cover this stuff, you would know that I am usually the one in the room saying, “that was an okay opening” while others are hyping 10 screen openings with better per-screens as massive successes, even when the story really isn’t told at that level.

    Me and my “liberal hatefilled friends” would be a lot less hatefilled if right wingers weren’t so busy screaming about how government should be out of people’s lives, except when those people don’t look, act, or feel like them. Then they can be stopped and asked for their papers, disallowed from marriage, and gerrymandered out of the political way.

    I okay being on my team, thanks. Doesn’t make the numbers for that film any better.

    In the last month, Buck opened to $68k on 4 screens… Beats, Rhymes & Life opened to 112k on 4 screens… and Jig opened to $70k on 5. Again… that was just in the last month! Without any bus tours or Newsweek covers. You want Palin’s ass kissed for maybe $75k on 10? Sorry. That not rational.

  56. David Poland says:

    JSP – I think they have every right to discuss whatever movie they want. Man is not sustained by blockbusters alone.

    But rational conversation would be nice.

  57. SamLowry says:

    It’s hard not to, JS Partisan, since there seem to be an awful lot of new voices here intent on doing just that. Peculiar, eh?

  58. Iceland's Finest says:


    The problem with your argument is that you cite nothing to support your assertion “got a LOT of attention on FoxNews.” The problem that some of us have with your interpretation is that you didn’t provide any evidence to support your case that the Undefeated got more attention than other political documentaries that are released.

    As for Newsweek, the article really was less about the movie than about Palin and whether she will run. The movie was discussed as a secondary issue as to Palin’s plans. It wasn’t as if Newsweek featured the Palin movie on the cover but rather, Palin’s political plans.

    Your argument seems to be that the Undefeated should have done better because it was shown in fewer theaters. But I’d argue that the Undefeated is the type of movie that is more likely to sustain its average when it gets shown in more theaters. Once it gets extended to around 100 or perhaps more, then you may have a point on the gross per average isseu. However, it could very well still run at a decent gross per theater average given the type of movie it is.

  59. yancyskancy says:

    I don’t watch the news channels much, but I would imagine that ALL of them, including Fox, would make frequent mention of an upcoming documentary about one of the most recognized political figures of our time. It’s a legit news story, and one side effect is that it gets the word out about the film. Same thing with the Newsweek story. This leads to certain commercial expectations, but the results in this case seem to be on the okay but not exceptional side. Yet pointing this out makes Dave a “hate-filled” “liberal dolt”?

    Dave, that little “you want Palin’s ass killed” typo may haunt you, with your new “fans” here calling it a Freudian slip. :)

  60. Joe Leydon says:

    Some of you might be interested in reading the comments here. Evidently, not all Palin fans are big fans of Fox News.

  61. SamLowry says:

    Yikes, a bunch of crazed hate over there. And notice they all keep calling her “Governor Palin”, a job she ran away from two years ago just so she wouldn’t lose her book deal?

    “They can ignore 10 theaters, but within a couple of weeks, it will go to 1000 theaters, and those they cannot ignore.”

    It’ll be hard to ignore the laughter of mainstream Americans when they’re finally exposed to this flick.

    And yet, after acting like this is the greatest piece of cinema since “Birth of a Nation”: “A shorter version of the documentary will keep the interest of voters who will not seat through the whole thing at its present length.” Uhh, so is it amazingly great or boring as heck? Pick a position and stick to it, people.

    More details to come from the Christian Science Monitor, aka “that Soviet Style Propaganda Rag”.

    (I’m bookmarking C4P–that is some good shit.)

  62. David Poland says:

    Thanks, Yancy… fixed that now

  63. David Poland says:

    Iceland – My argument is, simply, that this is a very targeted film with a passionate demographic and fewer turned out that might turn out for a Palin rally.

    As I wrote, underwhelming. Not horrible, but hardly exciting.

  64. David Poland says:

    Again… misstated facts…

    “The argument that the numbers are skewed in Palin’s favor because her movie was shown in fewer theaters doesn’t apply either as it outperformed every other “indie” movie on this list.”

    Firstly, per screen doesn’t stop meaning something based on the competition at that moment. As noted previously, there have been 3 doc openings in the last month stronger than Undefeated on their opening days on fewer screens.

    Second, this list reflects indie openings, not all indies in the market this weekend.

    Third, the Palin movie will likely be #5 amongst “indies” this weekend.

    Of course, the joke of this is that my claim that this is a modest opening is hardly worth fighting over. Comparing Ubdefeated’s per screen to Potter’s is just plain ignorant.

  65. Joe Leydon says:

    Sam: You always need to keep tabs on those with whom you disagree. Years ago, many folks were shocked when The Omega Code posted humongous opening-weekend numbers. I wasn’t — because a friend who used to monitor the Evangelical cable networks and Internet sites had tipped me off that, beneath the mainstream media radar, grassroots promotions for the film were immense. In a similar vein — though I can’t day I “disagree” with Tyler Perry — unlike many of my colleagues, I was not surprised by the opening weekend of Diary of a Mad Black Woman because I knew Perry’s plays had been touring successfully through Houston and other markets for years.

    Of course, if I really were so damn smart, I guess I should have predicted that Bridesmaids would be a monster hit, and Office Space wouldn’t.

  66. movieman says:

    Why no opening day figure for “Tabloid”?
    Now that’s a doc I’m really interested in.

  67. Joe Leydon says:

    You know, Casey Anthony was released from prison yesterday evening, and sent to an unknown location. Could that be why we didn’t hear from LexG last night?

  68. Nova Star says:

    “SanLowry”s reply is really the reason for this movie to exist. He’s of the type that just buys opinions on someone (Palin) based on nothing but msm and hate-blog propaganda.

    Nothing of what he said has anything todo with reality but it satisfies himself in his limited world-view so he goes with it as if it was true.

    That (in my view) reflect what many on the “left” and “right” do every day.

    “a job she ran away from two years ago just so she wouldn’t lose her book deal?”

    When you think about it, to resign early is a very rare thing in politics. Normally they will hang onto their juicy salaries with tooth and nails until their weiner-pants drop so to speak. So why would Palin do something like that just a year before the end of her governor-period, and give the left this meme to “spite” her with?

    Could it be that she was rendered incapable to govern due to being bankrupt by frivilous ethics-complaints from DNC operatives? Could it be that her office had to use millions to reply to such FOIAs and complaints coming in? Could it actually for once in a blue political scene, be a person that put the benefit of “The People” ahead of her own resume or political career, you know that dusty old thing “a servants heart”?

    Is that what both the left and right political machine fear from her? Finally someone that is actually the peoples representative 100%, not just some pol just saying the right things to be elected?

    So if you as a “mainstream” American wonder what is all this about anyway, and prefer to research your own information from many sides, this movie as Bannon the filmaker notes; “might not make you vote for her, but atleast give you an understanding for where she is coming from and why she is nothing like what the media has tried to despict her as”..

    Go see it, and then talk about why you won’t vote for her. Atleast then you will have true reasons for your objections, not untrue media-memes that your informed opponent-friend can beat you around with.


  69. Alison says:

    Nova – talk about someone being brainwashed by the contant repeating of conservative talking points. Please look at the actual facts of the ethics complaints filed against Palin. You will find that more than 50% of them were filed by Republicans, not by “DNC operatives.” You will also find that the majority of the money Alaska spent on ethics complaints was spent on the Troopergate investigation, which is the complaint Palin filed on herself. So basically, you are stating that Palin quit the governorship because she was bankrupting herself?

  70. JKill says:

    I don’t know about you guys/gals but quitting your public office during a time of state by state fiscal crisis to spend your days tweeting and talking for short bursts of time on cable news, flying around the country to raise money for yourself and your very own PAC instead of cashing that fat check “juicy” government salary, throwing potshots from the sidelines while having zero real responsiblity, and starring in a reality TV show is my definition of “a servant’s heart”.

    Her selflesness knows no bounds.

  71. bulldog68 says:

    Nova: “When you think about it, to resign early is a very rare thing in politics.”

    Yes it is Nova. Sarah Palin joins the very rare and distinguished company of other fine politicians with a “servant’s heart” like Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon, Elliot Spitzer, James McGreevey, Tom DeLay and Trent Lott.

    Now with a true “servant’s heart” she has time to do more for her country, like post bullseyes on democratic politicians and endorse the idea of them being taken out.

  72. anghus says:

    binary theory.

    it’s a society when only people like Obama and Palin can exist in. Do you think it’s a big shock that the Republican Party can only muster energy for Sarah Palin’s and Michelle Bachmanns? Normal, middle of the road candidates cant survive in a climate where you have to illicit strong passion or fervent hatred.

    It’s interesting when you take a step back and look at Obama. From the other side, the conservative side, they see Obama like we see Palin or Bachmann. The embodiment of all the liberal values, unqualified to lead, beholden to impractical ideologies….

    We’re living on the far end of the spectrum where facts don’t matter. Palin can put out a documentary called UNDEFEATED even though she lost and election and quit the one position she rightfully won. And people will jump up to defend her, even when you have no facts to back up anything. Everything is perception now (maybe it always has been).

    On paper, would you elect a half-term Governor/Pundit to lead our Country at a time when our country is in desperate need or leadership?

    A lot of people would. That should frighten you to the core.

    Bachmann has more experience in Government, but she says stuff like “i didn’t want to be a tax lawyer but my husband told me to and by my religion i do what my husband tells me”. That’s just batshit crazy. In someone’s personal life, it’s fine. Whatever they want to do is fine by me. But how can you step up to be THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD if you openly admit you do whatever your husband tells you to do. Politically that’s just odd.

    And Mitt Romney, the guy who has led, who has made tough calls, who has made decisions that have not always fallen into party lines is basically set up as a frontrunner who is doomed to be sucker punched by an underdog without experience. Just because he is too practical, or God forbid ‘a moderate’.

    The news media handed everything over to the nuts. Our news cycles are filled with murderes, obese babies, and people who talk a lot but say very little. If the fourth estate exists in the fringe, how can we expect our candidates to not conform to this lunacy? If you have to be part of the 24 hours news cycle to exist as a candidate, you have to “wow” them. Obama was able to “wow” them with youth, race, and by playing on people’s affinity for a time when principled people took a stand. And to his credit he has done stuff. He’s double downed on our foreign wars and our debt. He passed health care. These aren’t judgments, just statements.

    We live in a society where the Palin’s of the world are celebrated not because of their acheivements but for their Q rating. Usually the election cycle ends up weeding out some of the crazy. Practicality eventually rears it’s head. 18 month election cycles will always bring out the crazy. But there’s a part of me that sees a Palin or a Bachmann one day getting a tap on the shoulder to run. And it’s on that day the we should genuinely be afraid.

    There has to be more than 1 or 0.

  73. SamLowry says:

    “But how can you step up to be THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD if you openly admit you do whatever your husband tells you to do.”

    Ohh, sweet Stepford wife, you are so nasty….

  74. The Big Perm says:

    Stuff like this drives me a little crazy:

    “As for Newsweek, the article really was less about the movie than about Palin and whether she will run. The movie was discussed as a secondary issue as to Palin’s plans. It wasn’t as if Newsweek featured the Palin movie on the cover but rather, Palin’s political plans.”

    So because the movie was run as secondary in the article and wasn’t actually pictured on the front page, that what…Newsweek didn’t cover the movie or mention it AT ALL? Why does it have to be either/or? If they did an article about Palin and talked about the documentary, that’s still creating awareness for it, and if someone reading that article didn’t know about the movie and it interested them, they would have looked it up.

    Seriously, that’s some weird thinking there. If there was some article about Palin and as a secondary to it they mentioned some of MY movies, I’d suck a few dicks over at Newsweek.

  75. Iceland's Finest says:

    The Undefeated grossed $5K per screening according to the producers. National release is coming later this month. I’m going to guess around 1,000 theaters. They did hit $10,000 per screening in some of their larger markets.

  76. anghus says:

    the weird thing about all the sarah palin people is that basically they are doing all this work for her to earn a check. Usually the kind of grass roots, populist push is for people who are trying to serve their country, not their pocketbook.

  77. SamLowry says:

    Just as most of them are die-hard Wal-Mart shoppers, even though many lost decent jobs when the retailer forced their former employers to move manufacturing to China if they want to keep their products on Wal-Mart’s shelves.

  78. Crazy Pelosi has had to end up being one of the particular the majority of liberal people in politics in the land. It’s arduous with regard to me personally to believe how people can easily reelect her in their appropriate mind.

  79. Perfume Store says:

    Great site. Did you do it yourself or did you hire someone? I´m looking for someone to redesign my homepage.

  80. Tana Robertello says:

    I really loved the first two books- it is definitely a story worth reading! I have heard that a lot of loose ends will be “tied” in the last installment, and I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Ky and Cassia.

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