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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by Act of Klady

So there are two modest surprises at the top of the chart this weekend. First, you have Act of Valor, which certainly outperformed expectations, but not to any insane level. If it weren’t Oscar, the story would probably be very well deconstructed by the media, though with all eyes pointed at the No-Dak, it probably won’t. Did Relativity find The Military Niche or The Right Wing niche with their film that laid so heavily on having real Navy SEALS in the cast? Presumably, this is the same crowd that was part of the success of The Expendables and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, amongst others.

The other surprise was the weak reception for Tyler Perry, his worst launch ever, for Good Deeds, which was sold with a visual of Perry out of drag, and not a bevy of Black super-starlettes in support. Be clear… bitching about a $15m+ opening based on one guy’s face for a film being marketed primarily to one niche is not a failure and should not, on its face, be considered any kind of disappointment. But again… his weakest opening ever. This is a guy who came virtually out of nowhere, in movie biz terms, and opened his first film to $21.9 million. Should this number concern the producers of I, Alex Cross? Yeah. But hopefully, they will have more to sell than Perry as a movie star.

Wanderlust & Gone are reminders of how stardom is not a given, even after a few big successes. This is Paul Rudd’s third under-$8m opening in a row, two of which had him as the clear lead of the film. A few years in the lead of a big sitcom could make Rudd into a Steve Carrell-sized movie draw. But even Carrell opened Dan in Real Life to $12m a few years ago. Rudd works with interesting, rising filmmakers… smart, interesting actors… and have a wonderful career. He’s just not likely to ever be a box office draw of any major weight. You could do a lot worse than to be comedy’s Liev Schreiber.

Amanda Seyfried has had a rough couple of weeks. Her old Mean Girls co-star, McA, once again stole her thunder, pushing her Scream Gems sappy to over $100, setting a new bar for that division of Sony Pictures. And now, she is out in her very best twist on Liam Neeson’s Taken turn (“What if the kidnapped girl had a sister who kicked ass? Hmmmm…”) and it opens to single digits. Seyfried has had 7 wide releases in the last 5 years. Propelled by Mamma Mia!, she was not derailed by the Megan-Fox-focused Jennifer’s Body and home-runned the opening of Scream Gems’ Dear John. Letters to Juliet opening to $14m was “good for Summit.” Then Red Riding Hood, her first real test at a major, opened to about the same number… and that was ok, but nothing close to great. And then In Time, which was hung on Justn Timberlake and had Seyfried in dark, stylized hair that made her almost unrecognizable and therefore not a very viable commodity, opened to a couple million less. And now, this.

Every indication is that Seyfried is a limited starlet and that she better find herself a movie for teen girls while she is still young enough to draw them. Her next film is an ensemble rom-com… though it’s being release by LionsMit, so who knows?

In landmarks news, the aforementioned The Vow cracked $100m, a Screen Gems first. The Artist cracks $30m. The Descendants is on the cusp of $80m. Hugo is on the cusp of $80m. And Safe House is on the cusp of $100m.

In a final thought… Fox’s Chronicle, which all in cost less to get to screen then the 3D conversion of Star Wars: Episode 1, will outgross the remarkably unexciting 3D relaunch of Jar Jar Binks.

25 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Act of Klady”

  1. Hallick says:

    “This is Paul Rudd’s third under-$8m opening in a row, two of which had him as the clear lead of the film. A few years in the lead of a big sitcom could make Rudd into a Steve Carrell-sized movie draw.”

    Maybe, but Carrell wasn’t already leading a lot of movies before “The Office”, and even then his film career had a lot more to do with “The 40 Year Old Virgin” than the TV series. Rudd’s been around for over 15 years already. If his career were to take a real decline, I think he’d be better off as a regularly employed character actor that steals scenes and occasionally does a lead in small films now and then.

  2. EthanG says:

    “Daddy’s Little Girls” is actually Perry’s worst launch ever…

    As far as Rudd, David Wain is hard to market outside of “Role Models.” I’m interested to see how “Wanderlust” compares to “Wet Hot American Summer.”

  3. Hallick says:

    “In a final thought… Fox’s Chronicle, which all in cost less to get to screen then the 3D conversion of Star Wars: Episode 1, will outgross the remarkably unexciting 3D relaunch of Jar Jar Binks.”

    This is what you get when you take DARTH VADER and turn him into an annoying little moppet nicknamed “Annie”.

  4. lazarus says:

    Ho ho, brilliant one, Hallick!

    Have you been working on that since 1999?

  5. actionman says:

    I could be wrong, but other than Mama Mia, isn’t In Time the biggest world wide grosser for Big Eyes?

    Nice to see The Grey leg its way to $50 million. $65 mill would have been better but I bet they are very happy with the result.

  6. EthanG says:

    You’re right actionman….btw, nothing says as much about how little $100m means nowadays than the fact “The Vow” would end up as Julia Robert’s 15th highest grossing film adjusted for inflation.Yikes.

  7. leahnz says:

    this just in:

    a spokesperson for the rebel alliance agrees with hallick’s indictment of ‘annie’ and declares the sun will NOT, in fact, come out tomorrow

  8. movieman says:

    Surprisingly, “Act of Valor” wasn’t terrible.
    It’s not incompetently made (and is even extremely well lensed), the action sequences are indisputably first-rate, it’s easier to follow plot-wise than your average videogame and there’s a refreshing lack of preachiness. Yeah, the acting is terrible, but certainly no worse than in, say, your average Cannon Chuck Norris movie from back in the ’80s.
    I’m a little skeptical about the whole “played by real Navy Seals” thing, though. Not putting their names in the credits feels a tad disingenuous, no?
    I mean, wouldn’t it be a lot more dangerous to show your face (if that was really something you were worried about) than having your name (which can easily be changed) affixed to the end credits?
    A clever marketing hook, but I’ve got a feeling the cast was just a bunch of non-pros the casting director found at their local Gold’s Gym.

  9. bulldog68 says:

    Also, the Rock is now two for two with his successful infusion into two sequels and propelling them to improved numbers. Journey 2 is ahead of Journey 1 by about $16m and I think momentum will carry it beyond Journey 1′s $101m. GI Joe makers must be saying that this has to be a good omen.

  10. movieman says:

    …and ironically, Ethan, “Daddy’s LG” is Perry’s best movie, mostly due to Idris Elba’s dependably strong perf (and the fact that, at 95 minutes, it’s his shortest film to date).

  11. movieman says:

    …and, uh, “Hugo” is closing on 70 (not 80) million, Dave.
    Since it’s being released on dvd this Tuesday, the best it can reasonably hope to add to its current cume is another $2-mill (from bargain houses and the few big city megaplexes still showing it in 3-D as a courtesy to the geek squad).

  12. Krillian says:

    Huh. BOMojo doesn’t list Daddy’s Little Girls under the Tyler Perry list. If that’s how Dave fact-checked, it’s an understandable oversight.

    UPDATE: Never mind, I was under Perry’s Actor tab. It’s there under his Director tab. But yeah, second-worst opening ever for him.

  13. ChanningTatumRules says:

    Umm, David Poland, what have you got against Channing Tatum? Each time you mention the box office success of “The Vow,” you attribute it SOLELY to Rachel McAdams! I don’t think so! I believe it is all Channing, just like the success of “Dear John” was really his, not Amanda Seyfried. Look at Rachel’s track record. Aside from “The Notebook” ($81M), which is more due to Nicholas Sparks than anything else, and “The Time Traveller’s Wife” ($63M – again based on another best-selling novel), what other movies has she carried to major success, without it being an ensemble and solely just based on her name being above the title? “Morning Glory”? $31M US. “Red Eye”? $57M and even then it is questionable if it was her at all. I think it was more of the concept/thriller aspect of that movie, and it would have worked with any competent actress. She had nothing much to do with the success of “The Wedding Crashers” or “Sherlock Holmes”. I don’t think people go out to see a Rachel McAdams movie, but I betcha tons of people (especially girls) go specifically for a Channing Tatum movie. In my humble opinion, I think the scene where his gloriously naked ass made a cinematic appearance drove the movie over $100M! Female nudity seems less and less acceptable in movies, but I am all for the tables being turned on the guys.

    I don’t begrudge Rachel and her success, but to so blatantly disregard Channing! Give Channing Tatum his due. I have seen “21 Jump Street” and I think that one is gonna be a HUGE hit! Channing Tatum Rules!

  14. movieman says:

    I think that (“21 Jump Street”) one is gonna be a HUGE hit!

    You’re probably right, Channing fan.
    I’m pretty sure there must be a Sony-mandated law demanding the trailer be shown before every single movie at each of my hometown ‘plexes.
    I could swear that I’ve seen it a minimum of 50 times over the past several months.
    At this point, I feel like I’ve already seen not only “21 Jump Street,” but
    “21 Jump Street 2.”

  15. anghus says:

    i thought it was Tanning Chatum.

  16. Bitplayer says:

    There are so few good comedies out that Jumpstreet might win by default.

  17. Desslar says:

    Channing Tatum’s lifeless monotone was easily the biggest liability of the first GIJoe film, and, showing much better audience awareness than (for example) George Lucas, Paramount wisely opted to write him out of the second film.

  18. cadavra says:

    “As far as Rudd, David Wain is hard to market outside of ‘Role Models.’”

    Seriously, does anybody go to any movie like “Role Models” based on who the director is?

  19. Yancy Skancy says:

    cad: I would guess that there is absolutely a certain number of folks who would see something like ‘Role Models’ solely because they’re fans of Wain from THE STATE or STELLA or WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER.

  20. Triple Option says:

    I thought it was Stockard Channing. (Have I used that joke before??)

    From what I remember of the trailer, I didn’t get the sense that Seyfield was going to be going around all Chuck Norris in Gone. That’d be more interested in seeing. Gone looked like an ABC pilot that’d be axed w/in the first four episodes.

    And speaking of crappy movies I wonder how anyone could find appealing, WunderWTFust looked like all the best laughs were in the trailer and that was trouble since I barely even giggled. Does Paul Rudd need more of a signature, so to speak? Trademark, something where if he plays a particular part or roll he’d really knock it out of the park. Like, remember before they cast Catwoman, how we all had people in mind we thought would be perfect for it. Does Rudd have that? I could be wrong, and this isn’t a totally bad thing, but he’s like the free agent QB you sign to manage the game for you while you’ve got compentent talent in key positions around him but not the 1st round franchise player you draft to build your whole team around.

    What did the 3-D’ing of Star Wars cost? They really couldn’t be expecting that much on any secondary market sales. Like, no one’s gonna buy this thing on 3D bd, are they? Is anyone buying those 3D TVs? You can get 40″, 1080p, 120 hz for like $500 but I’ve not seen much of a reference to the 3D TVs anymore.

  21. cadavra says:

    Yancy: If you say so, but I’ll bet if you went up to people at the Grove and asked the first 25 who’d seen BRIDESMAIDS at least twice who directed it, you’d get a big fat zero. Ditto HANGOVER. And both of those sold more tickets in their first four hours than WANDERLUST will do lifetime.

  22. Yancy Skancy says:

    cad: You asked if “anybody” would go to ROLE MODELS based on who directed it. Phrased that way, the answer seems a clear ‘yes’ to me. WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, which I haven’t seen, has a cult following, the members of which may very well be on the lookout for other Wain efforts. And while I probably would have seen BRIDESMAIDS because of the cast and premise regardless of who directed it, having Paul Feig, the creator of my beloved FREAKS AND GEEKS, at the helm was definitely a plus.

    As for people in line at the Grove not knowing who directed what, I have no doubt you’re right. But that’s probably true of most ticket-buyers, regardless of the film (with a handful of exceptions: Spielberg, Cameron, Woody, etc.). Almost no one among the general public is buying a ticket because of the director — storyline, stars, buzz, genre and any number of other things are more important to them. I don’t think my comment about Wain suggested otherwise.

    BRIDESMAIDS and HANGOVER had more commercial premises than WANDERLUST and did a much better job of selling them in ads.

  23. cadavra says:

    Well, almost every director has some kind of following–Larry Blamire is treated like a rock star wherever he goes, even though 99.99% of the public has never heard of him or his movies. I wouldn’t have thought Wain had any sizable following, given his slender filmography, which contains only one mainstream hit, but again: if you say so.

  24. Yancy Skancy says:

    I didn’t say he had a sizable following. But I think it’s safe to assume he has a following of some sort. That’s all I’ve been suggesting.

  25. cadavra says:

    Well, your exact words were “a certain number of folks,” which in order to affect the box office in any meaningful way would be, to my way of thinking, “sizable.” But that’s just me. :-)

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