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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by Klady Games

Big news this weekend… the box office is 79% up over last year… put ALL of your money into domestic theatrical NOW!!!

Oh… wait…

With all due respect, there have been twenty $100m openings in the history of the movies. Every one of them has been in the last 10 years. Nine of them have been in the last 3 years.

Is $153.6m (or slightly more) for the opening of The Hunger Games an amazing feat, the #3 opening ever no matter what the standard? Absolutely. But without getting into the “adjusted numbers,” which I think are bullshit rhetorically, this specific number is a product not only of the massive popularity of the books, but of the front-loading and accordioning of theatrical.

The first $50m opening weekend was in 1995. The movie was Batman Forever. This set a new standard and between 1995 and 2001, there were 17 films with opening grosses of over $50m… or 2.8 films a year.

The next big landmark was another sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which scored a $72m opening in 1997. But that was an outlier, The closest any film got to it in those six years was $68.5m for the Planet of the Apes reboot.

And then, the next big leap… 2001… Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone… from the $72m record to a $90.3m record for the first Harry Potter movie. Just a year later, another massive leap… the first Spider-Man… $114.8m.

Spider-Man was a combination of huge demand and the largest number of actual screens – not theater count – in history. Accordioning. Multiplexes, which spurred the increase in opening weekend grosses through the 90s, were now willing to expand the number of screens playing a film on opening weekend to numbers heretofore thought impossible. There might be a deal, for movies like Batman or Jurassic, where in, say, a 14 screen complex, the films would run on 4 or even 5 screens for the first couple of weekends. With Potter and Spider-Man, you might see as many as 8 or 9 screens out of 14 running these films- not necessarily during all the day’s time periods – on opening weekend.

Of course, it would be 2 years before the next $100m+ opening. Shrek 2 became not only the 2nd biggest opening of all time with $108m, but it ended up being the 2nd highest grossing domestic film ever, behind only the uber-leggy Titanic of the previous era.

A year later, 2005: Year Of The False Slump, it was the sixth Star Wars movie and for the 1st time, a second $100m opening in the same year… Potter 4.

In 2006, there were, again, two $100m openings, this time both in the same season (summer). There was also a new step up… Pirates 2 bested Spider-Man’s still-record opening of $114m by just over $21 million.

Then, in 2007, we saw the utter mastery of accordioning. The Triple Tri-quel Summer. THREE $100m+ openings in four weekends. This included Spider-Man 3 setting a new opening record with $151m… a $15m leap over Pirates 2, just the summer before. (Shrek The Third was at $121m and Pirates 3 at $115m.)

There’s never been anything quite like the Triple Tri-quel Summer before or since. Perhaps one reason for that is that none of the three films was able to parlay those openings into more than $336m domestic… which ain’t chicken feed… but a step backwards in gross for 2 of the 3 franchises. This suggested that there was a glass ceiling… not on openings, but on legs when so much franchise power was placed in one short month.

In 2008, The Dark Knight set a new record for opening… but not a shocking opening. $7m ahead of the previous summer’s Shrek 3, this was the fourth of six Batman films to open by breaking the previous record for opening weekend. The numbers seem antiquated now, 23 years after the first film broke the $40m record, truly crushing the record set just a weekend earlier by Ghostbusters II of $29.5m. Spider-Man‘s $24m leap would be of a similar proportion 13 years later.

Prior to The Dark Knight‘s massive record-breaking opening, two films in history had opened to more than $125m. In the 44 months since, there have been six… three in the last 8.5 months alone.

Thing is… none of this is easy or a gimme. I’m not saying that at all. The Hunger Games is only the third non-sequel in history to open to over $100 million. Spider-Man and Alice in Wonderland, two storied literary franchises. That’s it. Not Avatar, not Potter, not Batman, not Shrek, not Star Wars, not Transformers. So this is not a small thing.

But tribute (pun unintended) must be paid not only to the novels that spawned this craze and perhaps not at all to the movie which will find its legs in the weeks to come, but to the business practices of distributors and exhibitors that make a $150m weekend realistically possible. Personally, I don’t think front-loading is a great practice for the overall business of making and distributing and making profits on movies. But I respect the conceit that now allows for so many franchises to ring up these massive opening weekends.

I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see The Dark Knight Rises out-open THG. No matter what, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which TDKR doesn’t open to at least $135m, Joker or not. And Twilight: The End also seems to be in the sure over-$135m category, I don’t see any others at this level.

However, 2010 is the current record-holder for $100m openings, with four. Well, the count above is already at three. I like Amazing Spider-Man to turn that corner as well. And it is easy to forget that the last Lord of The Rings film came at a time when the highest opening number ever was still Spider-Man’s $114m. That number has now increased by a 50%. If The Hobbit can improve on Return of the King’s opening by that same 50%, that’s an $108m opening. There has never been a $100m opening in December before. But there had never been a $100m opening in November before 7 years ago. There have been 4 in those 7 years.

Again… being the third biggest domestic opening of all-time and one of just ten $120m+ domestic openings of all-time cannot and should not be an achievement that is diminished or discounted by anyone. But I believe in perspective. And giant numbers sometimes take one’s breath away. For me, a leap of 20% over the previous record – whatever that record – is breathtaking. Anything less than that, just great.

Might I also point out before I go that of the twenty $100m+ domestic openers, only THREE are in 3D. This might seem like an unfair thing to point out, as the 3D crazy is only a couple of years old. But seven openings over $100m since Avatar… and again, only three were in 3D, only Potter’s finale scoring with an open of over $117m.

70 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady Games”

  1. JS Partisan says:

    153? Wow, that’s freaking impressive. This leaves me with two questions: how big is the drop-off next week and how long does it take TDK-R to gross the same amount of money? I am going to go with a day and a half.

    Also let me just state right here and now, I don’t see Avengers getting 153m in a weekend, but I do see it outgrossing Hunger Games when it’s all said and done, but probably not by much.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    Is Leonard boycotting October Baby for some reason?

  3. kbx says:

    I would think a 55-60% drop–I just don’t see the HG audience as a exact copy of twilight/potter which would mean a bigger drop

    Wrath of the Titans though is completely screwed

  4. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah I totally agree with you on Wrath, which could be another example of “THE SEQUEL IS BETTER BUT NO ONE CAME TO WATCH IT”, and that’s never good.

    I also agree that the HG audience is not the same as Twilight or Potter, but you would think that they are, right? I mean, they are all literary properties that have strong female fan contingencies, and they all seem front-loaded. Could be very wrong on this with HG, but we shall see in a week.

  5. kbx says:

    have no comparison to twilight/potter but this is the audience breakdown according to THR for HG

    39% audience under 18
    39% of audience was male
    44 (or 49%) of audience under 25

    seems a bit less female and young audience heavy than twilight/potter

  6. JS Partisan says:

    Twilight definitely has more of a female audience, but this weekend still seems a bit top heavy. I do not doubt for a minute, that Wrath will be lucky to make a third of what Hunger Games makes next weekend.

    It seems like with these three properties that it’s all about seeing the movies as soon as possible and then, it trails off. Here’s hoping HG can break up that trend just to break it up. It’s not like any studio is going to turn down this sort of… HOLD ON! Why the fuck is The Hunger Games at LIONSGATE? Any studio head that passed on that property should be sent home on unpaid leave tomorrow.

  7. movieman says:

    Any studio head that passed on that property should be sent home on unpaid leave tomorrow.

    LOL.
    I think the same thing every time a “Twilight” movie hits, JS.
    Makes you wonder, though.
    Why/how did a, say, Paramount or Universal pass on the opportunity to greenlight a brand new YA franchise (whether “HG” or “Twilight”)?
    Isn’t every major clamoring for/salivating over franchise/tentpole action these days?

  8. JS Partisan says:

    Movieman, it has to come down to all of those Potter clones that came out in the mid-oughties. They didn’t take off and ever since, the majors have seemingly been way too timid on these properties. It should also put out there that Twilight and Hunger Games feature female protagonist and as we all know, the studios have a hard time with female leads anchoring their big tent pole pictures.

  9. SamLowry says:

    “the HG audience is not the same as Twilight or Potter, but you would think that they are, right?”

    a) Look back at Friday’s twitter feed about the midnight screening audience that laughed uproariously at the Twilight trailer

    b) there’s definitely a feeling in the middle schools that Twilight is over and anyone who is still a fan might as well be sporting parachute pants and a mullet.

    I was telling some students Thursday that Katniss dies at the end while protecting her baby girl from the wolf boy who wants to marry her. When one girl said “I think you’re thinking about Twilight,” another girl disdainfully shot back “And YOU would know.”

  10. JS Partisan says:

    A) I enjoy those damn Twilight movies and even I laughed at that BDpt2 teaser. Seriously, it’s ridiculous.

    B) They are in middle schools. Middle school kids are known for two things: 1) finding something they love for their entire lives and sticking with it no matter what and 2) being fickle. Those kids, are fickle.

    C) That’s funny Sam. Very funny.

  11. SamLowry says:

    I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone carrying a copy of Harry Potter or Twilight.

  12. JS Partisan says:

    Sam, because you work in middle school. Work in high school or college, that’s where you would probably see those books. Remember though: Hunger Games will be replaced by something sooner than later. This is just the way of things except in comics. Where it’s still, DECADES LATER, all about Supes, Bats, Spidey, and Wolvie!

  13. christian says:

    I know Cornell English professors who devour Harry Potter and Twilight books like they were crack.

  14. Chucky says:

    Mojo lists “October Baby” as a new picture; Deadline.com says it’s a re-release as it opened in the South last fall. Pic brought in $1.7M from 390 theaters (avg $4,405).

  15. Yancy Skancy says:

    What’s with the left margin? Or is it just me?

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    Yancy: Maybe that’s where October Baby is hiding? LOL.

  17. Krillian says:

    It’s a conspiracy cuz Klady doesn’t like the plot.

  18. René says:

    I saw the Hunger Games tonight here in Germany. Many girls in the audience. I haven’t read the book, so I can only comment on the movie.
    After 90 minutes or so I thought: Why didn’t the writer and director concentrate on the power games behind the curtains of such a TV-Show in a fascist country? This would be something I would like to see, and you could skip many of the aspects already told in films like Battle Royale.
    I found The Hunger Games disappointing and unoriginal. But some of the girls in the audience seemed to like it.

  19. Tofu says:

    No comment, David?

    Saw THG. Loved THG.

    That this happened in March without 3D just makes the business story all the more interesting. Lionsgate is now the 7th major studio, officially. They had to get through their years as New Line 1.5, but now with the Summit acquisition, they are bigger than Universal. Not seeing a buyout here.

  20. movieman says:

    Whenever I read the title, “October Baby,” I want to sing a made-up theme song–basically Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” with “Santa” replaced by “October.”
    “October Baby, hurry down the chimney tonite, etc.”

    I’m surprised that an anti-choice tract did as relatively well as it did this weekend considering abortion foe Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign is currently blowing in the wind.

  21. Joe Leydon says:

    Movieman: I’m a tad confused by your comment. Didn’t Santorum score a victory just this weekend — in, I am ashamed but not altogether surprised to say, my beloved home state of Louisiana?

  22. Not Bob Shaye says:

    Then again, Tofu, this could further cement Lionsgate’s place as New Line 1.5, creating unrealistic expectations for a studio that doesn’t have much in the cupboard except for a waning Tyler Perry, the end of Twilight and the inevitably short-lived franchises of The Expendables and Red. Of course, they have a valuable library, but if they chase Hunger Games success in the way New Line did after Lord of the Rings, a Golden Compass money pit may not be far behind. Hope that’s not the case.

  23. Jason B says:

    Huge opening for Hunger Games. Even if this doesn’t hold well this movie has to be a ton in the black.

    Agree on Wrath. There were too many sequels last year that were expected to do well only to fall short. Thinking Wrath does the same.

    I would be surprised for Dark Knight Rises opening to reach TDK. TDK was a phenomenon. I am hopefull on Rises, but withou Joker or Ledger I would think expectations should be $400-450M for DM.

  24. LYT says:

    “Movieman, it has to come down to all of those Potter clones that came out in the mid-oughties.”

    Heh. Does anyone even REMEMBER “Cirque du Freak”?

  25. Rob says:

    Or The Seeker? :(

  26. movieman says:

    Louisiana or not, Joe, I think everyone–except maybe the frighteningly delusional Santorum–knows his candidacy is kaput at this point.

    Does anyone even REMEMBER “Cirque du Freak”?
    Or The Seeker?

    Or “Eragon”?

  27. Ace says:

    or Spiderwick Chronicles?

  28. jesse says:

    Yeah, usually the follow-up to a movie as huge and beloved as The Dark Knight can be counted on to surpass it in the opening weekend (if not necessarily — though sometimes — total gross), but Dark Knight was kinda already pulling that by capitalizing on Batman Begins being a hit but not a MASSIVE hit. It’s harder to do that twice in a row; in this case I’m just not sure there’s that much more room left to climb. I mean, there presumably wasn’t a massive audience that didn’t see Dark Knight in theaters, and then LOVED it when they caught it on DVD. Some, but not enough to power it past DK in terms of opening or final. I’m sure it’ll open massive, but there were certain things about the last one, like Ledger/Joker, that will be impossible to replicate. Of course it’ll get in that Potter/Twilight range, but may not hit close to $160 million again (although: four years of inflation will help a little). And unlikely it makes over $500 million, either. It’ll probably do “only” 350-400.

    I doubt Avengers will open to Hunger Games numbers, either, and may not outgross it for the sheer fact that even a frontloaded Hunger Games is likely finishing around $300 million. Avengers could beat that; it could also do “only” $275 million. On one hand, it feels like Iron Man 3: Now With Bonus Heroes! But it could also feel to some audiences like Iron Man 3: Now With Somewhat Less Iron Man!

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    Bite your tongue, Movieman. I’m looking for Mitt and Rick to be locked in a War of the Gargantuas style death match all the way up to the GOP convention. That’s entertainment.

  30. LYT says:

    I’ll stand up for Spiderwick Chronicles – thought it was a pretty good evocation of what children imagine when they play in a big garden. And it was complete enough in itself that it doesn’t require a sequel or leave us hanging for one.

    Legend of the Seeker was such a shame – the books it’s loosely based on are great, but they ignored them. It’d work better as a BBC miniseries anyway.

  31. hcat says:

    Given this opening and the return of Mad Men tonight, there is going to be a huge smiles all through the Lionsgate’s fiefdom tomorrow.

  32. christian says:

    InSanitorum will be done before then. I expect that hilarious hypocritical blowhard Gingrich to keep up his windmill dreams. The guy who called Obama “the most dangerous president in modern history” calls him out for “dividing the nation.” Republicans are FUCKING INSANE.

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    In other news: Luck ended on such a high note, I am all the more unhappy about its demise.

  34. waterbucket says:

    The Republican candidates this year all need more gay sex in their lives because they’re all going crazy from the sexual frustration.

    Anyway, am I the only one not impressed by these big openings? So the marketing was good enough to drive people into a frenzy. So what? To me, the leggy films like Titanic and Lord of the Rings are the truly amazing ones.

  35. Monco says:

    The Dark Knight Rises will crush Harry Potter 7 part 2’s record nevermind TDK and HG’s opening weekend. I’m thinking TDKR will best the current record by that 20% DP mentioned. Doesn’t matter about Ledger or no Ledger this movie will be absolutely huge. However it’s overall domestic haul won’t reach the 570 million that TDK got. The Joker was responsible for the legs of that movie which this movie won’t have. For this one the greatness of TDK plus it being the end of a trilogy will no doubt have it break the current record by a comfortable margin. I havent spoken to anyone who has seen TDK to have anything negative to say about it. It truly is a classic now. TDKR will probably get very close to a 200 million opening weekend. We should all get ready for that. But I think it will ultimately finish domestically in the 480 million range.

    There will be easily five 100 million openings this year: Hunger Games, Avengers, Amazing Spiderman, Dark Knight Rises and the Hobbit. This is gonna be a fun year box office wise and all of the stories about slumps from last year should have stopped and considered what was coming this year before publishing those stories because it will make them all look like fools.

  36. kbx says:

    Monco, 2 small corrections–TDK took in 533 domestic, not 570

    and as for 100m openers, don’t forget the last Twilight movie in November

  37. JS Partisan says:

    This is what you folks have to think about with TDK-R. Nolan’s last two movies combined made as much as Avatar. Think about that for a second. It took him two movies but they still made as much as AVATAR. That’s the realm we are in with Nolan in this country and ignoring it with your thoughts about the Joker or anything else, ignores that Nolan drives this ship, and people go to Nolan films in droves.

    This is why TDK-R is most likely going to do 200m in a weekend. It will probably be quickest movie to 300m, 400m, and even 500m. If any film, especially if it’s good, has even an outside shot to get close to Titanic, it’s this film.

    TDK-R box office is going to be crazy. Doubting it at any point, is really weird considering what Nolan did with Inception alone.

    Monco, don’t forget Breaking Dawn, and I would replace it with the Hobbit. The Hobbit will open big, but it’s hard to open that big during Xmas because Avatar didn’t even do it.

    Jesse, Hunger Games made 59 million internationally. The Avengers will do more than that in it’s first day internationally. Which is where it will out gross it. We also do not know if HG has another 150 million in it.

    Also, with Lionsgate, they just had a movie make them a ton of money. Now, like Summit did with Twilight and New Line with LOTR, they can start branching out. That’s what these tentpole movies let you do.

    Finally, leggy films are usually more fun, but there is a difference between something like My Greek Wedding and Titanic. One had to deal with competition. The other didn’t, and that’s forever irksome.

  38. SamLowry says:

    “[The Dark Is Rising] just didn’t seem like the right project for the man who wrote the screenplay for Trainspotting, a gritty film about heroin addiction. Hodge didn’t like fantasy anyway.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14783609

    The article is a truly sad account of an author screwed over by a studio willing to trash the original book while trying to cash in on Pottermania. No wonder “This film adaptation drew strong negative reaction from fans of the book series for its disregard for the source material.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seeker_%28film%29 )

    And yet…the screenwriter for Trainspotting doesn’t like fantasy? WTF?

  39. jesse says:

    JS, I love Nolan. Huge fan. I do think he’s one of a handful of directors who might have some kind of significant box-office cache/name recognition: Spielberg, Scorsese, Tim Burton, Cameron, Nolan. (Not necessarily in that order.) But arguing that Dark Knight Rises is going to do more than Dark Knight because Inception did $280 million is kind of bizarre. $280 million is a solid $250 million LESS than Dark Knight. Not that it was supposed to make Dark Knight money, but I don’t think you can argue that Nolan’s upcoming movie will certainly equal the gross of his last two put together!

    It’s a GREAT gross for that movie, huge hit, no arguments. But I’m simply saying that The Dark Knight happens to be in such a commercial stratosphere that few movies, even sequels to that movie, have a great chance of reaching it.

    And you’re right that Avengers will probably outgross Hunger Games internationally, sure. I thought we had been talking about domestic. But “we don’t know” if Hunger Games has another 150 in it? Making 150 more after opening to 150+ isn’t some huge mountain to climb. It’s pretty much the minimum at this level of opening. The LOW END for movies that open to $125 million-plus has been just under $300 million, for some of the more frontloaded Potters and Twilights. So even if Hunger Games collapses, it’s pretty likely to get to 275… and if it has any kind of decent staying power, it can probably get to 300.

    Think of it this way: a SEVENTY PERCENT COLLAPSE next weekend (which seems incredibly unlikely) gives it a $46 million weekend.

  40. Martin S says:

    The one element missing from TDK was large-scale visual effects. Between No Man’s Land, Bane and a Batcopter, I think TDKR will make up for the lack of Joker. It’s going to be the biggest film of the year. I don’t see 550M as a problem.

    What’s Avengers praying for? 125M? What’s its fizzle? Under 100M?

    If I’m Iger, and I can’t get a 125 opening with the biggest stable of characters I have direct control over, I seriously have to question what I just bought for 4Bil.

  41. hcat says:

    Titanic had the usual spring competition. If you look at the films released the next spring none of the opening weekends top what Titanic made the year earlier. Its not that it was a weak spring or films moved out of its way, Titanic was just a juggernaut. Trying to diminish it by saying it had no competition or that it was just young women seeing it over and over again (which I never see being used for an arguement against the Twilights) is just sour grapes.

  42. brack says:

    Think you meant Spiderman 3, not Shrek the 3rd, with the $151m record in ’07.

  43. JS Partisan says:

    No HC, it’s my opinion, and I am going to stick to it. The studios didn’t plan two years in row. Good for them. I just hope they’ve learned their lesson and if there is an Avatar 2, that they throw every single thing at it.

    MS, you know what they bought for 4 billion: licensing fees. They bought toys, they bought t-shirts, and they bought everything else you can get a marvel face on. Hell, Marvel probably comes close to generating at least a billion a year on merchandising. That makes the purchase worth it.

    What the Avenger is hoping for is probably 125. It can probably do it because HG people are not exactly male movie goers that are excited for the first big comic book movie of the Summer.

    That aside, Jesse, your arguments keep fixating on the Joker. My argument is that Nolan films make big box office, the last Batman film is huge, and doubting this one would be as huge is f’in bizarre.

  44. David Poland says:

    Thanks, Brack… Excel blindness… fixed now.

  45. cadavra says:

    I not only remember CIRQUE DU FREAK, I have a sneaking suspicion I’m the only one who liked it. Kinda nice to see a teen vampire movie with a sense of humor and self-awareness. Too bad we won’t get the sequel.

  46. David Poland says:

    For the record, the last two Nolan films combined cost more than Avatar and made almost a billion dollars less than Avatar at the box office.

    Just the facts, Ma’am.

  47. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “Hell, Marvel probably comes close to generating at least a billion a year on merchandising. That makes the purchase worth it.”

    You’d be wrong – their fiscal year 2008 filing says they bring in just under $300mil on licensing.

  48. JS Partisan says:

    Sorry Dave, I gave Bats more money, and who cares how much it cost? Seriously, you keep bringing that up as if Warners didn’t give Nolan even more money for TDK-R after Inception. When you don’t get a return on the investment, then bring it up. Bring it up with John Carter but please, for the love of god, stop acting as if execs at Warners were performing seppuku over Inception grossing as much as it did.

    FS: 4 years ago? That’s probably gone up a tad and even if it’s half a billion, that’s a half a billion dollars of stuff to sell in theme parks and in Disney stores.

  49. Foamy Squirrel says:

    3 years ago, and it was on a downwards trend when Disney purchased it.

    Looking indirectly at Hasbro’s financial reports (who make and sell almost all of Marvel’s merchandise) the “Boys” category has been pretty much flat if you remove the “Transformer years bump” (which Hasbro execs have attributed to the GFC), so there’s no reason to believe that there’s been any significant increase in that number.

    The entire Marvel company was making $200mil profit when Disney acquired it. Which isn’t anything to sneeze at, but is dubious as to whether it’s worth $4bil.

    ETA – “Seriously, you keep bringing that up as if Warners didn’t give Nolan even more money for TDK-R after Inception. ” I can back this up – was talking to one of the consumer products execs, and he said that if anyone makes suggestions for changes to Nolan’s films so they can sell more toys, they’re told to get lost (my words, not his).

  50. David Poland says:

    JSP – I didn’t say anything like “WB is unhappy with the numbers on Inception.” Never have.

    YOU brought up the comparison, not me.

    And who cares how much it cost? Anyone who actually has a relationship with the money involved.

    Nolan is a great director and writer and has had a great run. But there is no legit comparison to Cameron, whose film before last grossed 50% more than any film ever and whose most recent film grossed about 50% more than that. In other words, Avatar’s gross is more than double any non-Cameron film. And Titanic is still way ahead of #3.

    I don’t need to drag down Nolan to be objective about Cameron. Can you say the same?

    PS – Warners made Inception because of Dark Knight and the amount of money for TDKR is still about THAT, not Inception’s gross.

  51. Lynch Van Sant says:

    We’ve also got to take into account the ever-growing rise of one or two wide release weekends adding to record openings. If you’re the only new thing out there then of course it will do better. Studios seem to be in cahoots with not releasing competing product. I remember when Disney used to re-release their classic animated movies at same time as another studio attempted a major animated movie of their own. Now they just kiss each other’s asses – I leave your tentpole alone and you leave mine.

  52. JS Partisan says:

    David, the people with the money seem to be fine with giving Nolan whatever it takes to make his vision happen. Why it should matter to anyone outside of the people making the investment is beyond me, but you will do anything to deride Nolan.

    When he pretty much gets TDK-R’s budget back domestically in a weekend, then what are you going to do to insult him and his picture? You going to keep going on about MAMMA MIA’s profitability? You going to keep going on and on about how much the film cost and thus a liability for any other studio to make it? Seriously, let it go, you can’t beat Nolan. You can only wish to contain him!

    ETA: FS, okay it’s not worth 4 billion (neither is the god forsaken BCS!), but it can be worth more as a property in the right hands. Does anyone in here really deny the profitability of what all of that intellectual property can make them? God forbid they actually get PIXAR involved with Marvel, that right there could be money!

  53. movieman says:

    …or “Percy Jackson,” or…does “Lemony Snicket” count?

    Don’t get me wrong, Joe.
    My sincerest wish is a brokered (Rep) convention with Almighty Palin flying in to the rescue.
    (My Repub dream ticket? Santorum/Bachman (or Palin, although we know Sarah would never settle for the VP slot).
    Now THAT would make for one hellaciously entertaining fall, LOL!

  54. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I’m not sure if Pixar wants anything to do with Marvel – they’re set up outside the main Hollywood hub for a reason, and they already tried a “Direct to DVD” division within Pixar and abandoned it because their teams couldn’t stand the product.

  55. Tofu says:

    Meh, the Nolan / Cameron comparison was weak, JSP. Way off on your numbers there.

    But David, making a post about $100+ million openers to put Hunger Games into perspective seems… Off. I’d wager that Hunger Games is a charter member of the now normalized $150+ million opener club, which is far, far more exclusive at this time, but will become more commonplace over the years as you illustrated with the Batman Forever $50+ million shoutout.

  56. Jason B. says:

    I’m glad everyone is bonkers for TDKR; I hope I am underestimating it. I just remember TDK was a HUGE phenomenon and a cultural event and that it might be hard to duplicate that. But hey, Cameron did it twice. Also, am I misremembering that the geeks were nonplussed about the TDKR trailer? I thought there were people doubting that it would be in TDK’s realm?

    Also, some think a $200M DM opening might be in play for TDKR… I think we are a bit off from that and see $175M as the number more in play to be acheived in the coming future. Though I am curious when we think the $200M number will be reached. Are we 5 years away? 10? I seem to remember silly arguments back in the day that Pearl Harbor (of all movies) was projected to be a $200M opener. I thought I remember an article in EW discussing this… Seemed silly then, but it does not seem too silly now that we could be nearing the time when a movie reaches that threshold.

  57. JS Partisan says:

    Tofu, it’s possible this year, there will be another filmmaker to have two billion dollar movies, and that would be Chris Nolan.

    Jason B, the trailer didn’t go over like a lead balloon because of how insane it was, and adding only 20m to TDK opening weekend is pretty weak sauce. If any film has the possibility for a 200m weekend. It’s TDK-R. If any film has a shot at 175 million, then I would go with the last Twilight film. Seriously, the box office on that one could be stupid.

  58. David Poland says:

    I’m not sure what part of what you think makes my analysis… Off, Tofu.

    It was the second box office piece of the weekend on the same situation and it seemed to me, for a moment, that discussing how that number has risen and risen is worth discussing. If I said that it wasn’t meant to diminish THG, I’d be running an ad.

  59. David Poland says:

    “you will do anything to deride Nolan.”

    I can only assume you are doing schtick here, JSP. Either that or you are one of those idiots who starts a fight and then whines when the other guy clocks you after you whiff.

  60. LYT says:

    “This included Spider-Man 3 setting a new opening record with $151m… a $15m leap over Pirates 4, just the summer before.”

    Wasn’t Pirates 4 last year?

  61. JS Partisan says:

    David, I don’t do schtick. Again search your own site for how you always give Nolan shit. It’s fine that you once again ignore things that you do and give people shit when you do them, but hey, we are only people :D.

  62. Tofu says:

    The Rundown was accurate, absolutely. Just felt like the 100 million marker wasn’t as an important subject for THG. It did make me want to search for a listing of top opening weekends with inflation adjusted. Batman Forever would seem a little less important then, I’m certain.

  63. David Poland says:

    Firstly, JSP, allow me a moment to stop laughing in your face. May take a few minutes.

    Second, anyone can make an accusation with no basis and then demand that the victim of the lie prove the negative. It’s an asshole move. Truly.

    You and I have had our moments and I don’t care that much about this, as your credibility is zilch. So I will just keep on moving. But don’t delude yourself.

    As for Nolan, I don’t always give him shit. I thought TDK was overrated because the third act falls apart, but also felt that much of the filmmaking was masterful and said so dozens of times. I also pointed out that there were some third act problems with Inception and dared to point out that the film was very, very expensive and was sold on effects, not genius storytelling.

    And by the way… was a big supporter of Insomnia when many were not. And certainly praised Batman Begins a lot (again, third act problems with action that didn’t really work and a weak relationship with Mrs Cruise). And was there lining up for Momento at the very start of that wave.

    You need to grow up and realize that criticism is not personal and not black & white in most cases. Nolan is certainly one of the top directors working today. It doesn’t make him infallible. Nor does it diminish your passion for his work. And money is money, not criticism. Deal.

  64. David Poland says:

    Death by a thousand sequel numbers… sorry… fixed

  65. hcat says:

    It was clear Carter wasn’t going to perform up to expectations, but for it to be neck and neck with $12 million Act of Valor has to be extra frustrating.

    After a real weak start Relativity seems to be hitting some real solid doubles out there.

  66. Pat says:

    Poland… What do you think a film like Carter will do to its main star? Is Taylor Kitsch dead now? I haven’t seen much spin blaming it on him, at least. What about previous flops and what they did to their stars’ careers… could make for an interesting article…

  67. David Poland says:

    Kitsch has Battleship in the can. If that tanks, he’s over If not, it will define him more than JC, which is being blamed on others.

  68. hcat says:

    For all the talk of us being past the age of the superstar, and that major celebrities are not worth the investment, I wonder if Carter would have benifitted from having an above the title star (though there really is no future action star in that age group) to boost interest instead of relying on the Disney name, special effects shots and a series of books that were popular a century ago.

  69. chris says:

    I’d say Channing Tatum might be a future action star in that age group, although he’d have been too busy starring in every other movie this year to do “John Carter.” Maybe Tom Hardy, too.

  70. JS Partisan says:

    David, that’s all you got? You’ve had your credibility disputed by everyone from producers of some of the biggest films in Hollywood to your colleagues. Me or anyone else giving you shit on here, pales in comparison to how your own colleagues treat you. Excuse me for a moment as I laugh at your inability to see the board and not the pieces. Actually I can’t laugh at you, that would be mean, and an asshole move.

    The real problem with you is your SHEER INABILITY to grasp that this is a blog with a search engine, and a guy brought up how you were wrong about The Simpsons. You have entire memes based around your foibles. Dreamgirls, Phantom of the Opera, anything involving Peter Berg, and you even have a positive meme when it comes to Avatar.

    You acting as if me calling you out makes you a victim of a crime (Did you notice Luke started this? Did you? Of course not) is so fucking FANBOY that you and Devin fucking Farci must have switched bodies when you to wrote it!

    David, you need to grow up and realize that criticism is not personal and not black & white in most cases. Cameron, when he feels like it, is certainly one of the top directors working today. It doesn’t make him infallible. Nor does it diminish your passion for his work. And money is money, except when it’s NOT YOUR OR MINE OR ANYONE ELSE’S HERE MONEY.

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