By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Estimates by Caper Klady
I’m going to start with smashing Nikki Finke’s bullshit in the mush. I know. Not all that unusual. But it’s getting more important as the mouthpiece for the studios – she’s gotten her wish and truly become a trade magazine, circa 1985 – continues to push The Lie Of The Theatrical Slump 2011 Edition. Honestly, I think she just doesn’t have the slightest idea what she’s writing about and isn’t much interested in doing any legwork at all except to pick up the phone and to be told what to write… as usual. She’s a victim. But when you write crap like, “North American box office is still unsettlingly weak just as it’s been since the beginning of August. This weekend’s total gross is running a bad -25% behind last year’s,” you can’t get a pass.
First… she’s listening to someone who is telling her about the aggregated weekend gross for this weekend based on Friday matinees. Stupid.
Second… yes, it’s likely Ron Meyer and/or his people who is/are spinning her on this, as he’s got the perceived weak launch this weekend.
Here is a (CORRECTED) list of all the first-weekend-of-November films that will have opened better than Tower Heist seems likely to this weekend..
Notice… 3 non-animated comedies total. One, Borat, was a phenom. One, The Waterboy, was the next movie after Sandler’s first big hit and was, at the time, the biggest November opening of all-time. That’s all of November, all-time. Does any of this sound like Tower Heist to you yet?
The third comedy to open to more than $15m was Due Date. $33m last November 5. That was probably what Universal was counting on. But have they looked at Ben Stiller’s career in the last five years? School for Scoundrels, $8.6m opening. The Heartbreak Kid, $14m opening. Tropic Thunder, $25.8m opening. Everything else has been for kids and/or a sequel.
And what is Tower Heist going to open to? Probably a little less than Tropic Thunder, which btw, opened in the summer and had Downey 3 months after Iron Man.
Must be a slump!
Want to know the reality of the last three months? August was up $20m from 2010. We had the biggest September in history, the first ever over $600m, and up $58m from 2010. And October was down $79m from 2010. All-in-all, business is off by $1m in the last 3 months. SLUMP!!!
You want to know where the big difference was between Oct 2010 and Oct 2011? Simple. Jackass 3D. The only film to earn $100 in either month, there was no similar event this year. Paranormal 2 actually brought $20m less in the month of October than Paranormal 3 did this year. The other big factor? The Social Network vs The Ides of March.
It’s the movies, stupid!
Here’s what we got in August… the first time in history that two august films grossed over $150m domestic in one year.
Here’s what we got in September… four releases that grossed over $60 million… when there have never been more than two before.
Here’s what we got in October… the biggest opening in October history and the 2nd biggest animated opening in October history.
SLUMP!!!! It must be the industry and not the movies…. right?!?!?!?
The thing is, I now think this crap is being pumped to ignoramuses like Nikki so that the studios that control some media can try to get an upper hand – read: complete control – over the theatrical window vs VOD issue. And while they all refuse to openly admit their weak-ass VOD numbers (indie is an exception), they continue to whine about theatrical, willing to knock down what’s working in order to make way for a change on which they have no real numbers.
And i keep saying to the exhibitors… let then have that day-n-date window on Tower Heist… the only stipulation being that the studio publicly admits the real VOD number.
Why is the simple truth so very painful for some people?