So what to make of Mars? It ain’t The Lorax.
Whether the weekend number on John Carter sinks to $27m or rises to $31 million, the macro view of the film’s finances are the same. No more than $120m domestic. So you’re looking at a need to for at least 3.5x the domestic internationally (before anticipated post-theatrical revenues) to get to breakeven, by the least harsh estimates of the price tag on this one.
And as I have said for a looooong, time, opening weekend is NOT about the movie itself. It’s about the marketing. Trying to shove this one over to Dick Cook’s column is a hack move… but if that’s what they want to do, they should also put Alice and Pirates 4 in his column and he’s still way up over the current regime. And the move of pushing the Avengers trailer onto the front of JC and promoting it… very 2004 of them. I was one of those who went to theaters to see trailers in the past… in the era of 1080p trailers, available 24/7, that gambit is over.
Truth is, an opening at double the number probably still wouldn’t be enough for this film to be profitable. But the size of the loss would have been that much less.
Open Road, which just had it’s first real hit with The Grey, though that film’s box office hit a wall quickly (something to watch for this AMC-owned distributor) is launching the “one-shot” Lizzie Olsen thriller Silent House. With a light TV spend and a very modest purchase price, a $7m opening will probably make the company very happy, albeit popping beer cans and not champagne bottles.
And the Eddie Murphy vehicle, A Thousand Words, was thrown out into the cold after being scheduled 4 or 5 times for release by Paramount. The studio spent a few bucks releasing it. It’s not like there was no push. Let’s just say, they are pushing the 3-year-old unreleased thriller that is going to SXSW for Insurge harder than Eddie’s latest.
Decent hold for The Lorax as that film crosses the $100m threshold today. Safe House will become Denzel’s #2 domestic grosser, passing Remember The Titans sometime this next week. Tyler Perry’s dragless, selling TP as a star, Good Deeds, will be his lowest grossing film ever.
Reasonable drops for Project X and Act of Valor, both films heading to the low 50s. These are programmers – albeit hoping for a breakout – and they are hitting the 50s. Can’t really paint this kind of thing as anything less than success and the signs of a healthy industry… whether media wants to sell that story or not.