By David Poland email@example.com
Weekend Estimates by Real Loose Klady
So, two big stories this weekend. First, Real Steel reaffirms that it is a family-choice movie and could end up holding a lot stronger domestically than expected from opening. Still, the film’s real profit potential is overseas.
Second, executives who couldn’t get a handle on selling their movies this weekend need not be worried for the industry… there wasn’t a veteran release in the Top 10 that dropped by more than 41%… and 4 of the 6 were between 25% and 31%. This is extraordinary.
Don’t get me wrong… unless Real Steel toughs it out, there still will not have been a film released since The Help, 2 months and a week ago, that has done or will do $100m domestic. (Whatever pressure Dreamworks may be feeling, right now they have the high bookends of the last 2 months, with War Horse next into battle… which they should be comforted by.) Puss in Boots and Tower Heist have a shot at cracking $100m, but we may have to wait almost another month, until Jack and Jill… or even Twilight-est : Episode One/Happy Feet 2 to get there again.
Is this cause for worry? No. Because most of the product in the last couple of months has been dumped. Contagion overcame. Warrior did not. Fox threw out two comedies as though they had a contagious disease and both were unsurprising flops. Footloose will be fine, like The Ides of March, Moneyball, and 50/50. A bit better than “fine” are (probably) Real Steel, Dolphin Tale, and Drive, in spite of the media wish that it had done better.
The biggest winner of the last two months was The Lion King 3D. Count on Titanic 3D doing great business as well, another mega-hit from over a decade ago. This will not save ubiquitous 3D… so stop writing headlines. (Tintin and Hugo can also be big 3D hits and not “save” thirty-five 3D releases a year.)
The only big bombs in this period, financially, were Dream House, Warrior, Bucky Larson, Sex & The Shitty, and the two Fox comedies. Not terribly unusual run of (fiscal) stiffs.
It’s lovely that Nikki Finke’s “been reporting how younger males — which used to be Hollywood’s target audience — have been no longer consistently (and indiscriminately) going to the movies since August.” But this is the same lie that comes out every single year after and right before the summer. It’s simply idiotic. Young males and females are still Hollywood’s target audience. They have never been indiscriminate. They may have crap taste, but they make clear choices. Or have we already forgotten the first quarter of 2011?
Apparently, some people think there is a switch on a satellite somewhere that makes teen boys stop and start going to bad movies. It’s not that there is a massive difference between the pitch on Hall Pass and the pitch on Horrible Bosses. It’s A Change In The Industry!!! You see, they were indiscriminate when they chose Captain America and Rise of the Apes, but forgot to be so in the week in the middle, when Cowboys & Aliens launched.
And if you want to point at a single movie that really works for this audience since Apes, be my guest.
What was this, the biggest, most consistent audience supposed to go see? Couldn’t sell them 30 Minutes or Less. Okay, what else ya got? Retreads. Conan, FD5, Fright Night… a shock-thriller-sell remake of a movie no one under 40 knows in Straw Dogs (which would have done better sold as a thinking man’s thriller). Did anyone really expect bigger numbers for a cancer dramedy… even a good one? Statham’s numbers are about right, given a new distributor. $25m on ABduction is a miracle and over $30m on Drive is a downright hit. As noted earlier, Real Steel went younger and succeeded in that goal.
So what exactly was supposed to bring out those young ticket buyers? In all of that mess, was the a single film that targeted young women well? Was there a single real hit for young men in the offing?
Show me the movies.
I am sick to death of people who have no interest in box office pretending to have insight, fed mush by people who clearly know better but spend every weekend of a failure erasing their tracks and every weekend of a hit taking too much credit.
In any case, thanks to Box Office Mojo for launching the Pedro Almodovar page, so we can see that The Skin I Live In is having a very solid opening for an Almodovar film. Because of screen counts and ticket pricing, it can be like comparing apples and oranges, but this looks like his best start aside from Volver, which came to market with months of Oscar-nom inevitability attached to star Penelope Cruz.