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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Insatiably Hungry Klady

As expected, The Three Stooges looks to open in the high teens, though Saturday could be a surprise if Fox has gotten the message that the film is kid-friendly across to parents. This is a solid success for Fox, yet Blogger Nikki Mengele has managed to put Fox in the position of appearing to apologize for their Friday number, even though it was actually in line with their projections. Event the idea that the film could crack $20m – still possible – was just enthusiastic, not wrong headed. But when you indulge stooges, you get poked in the eyes a lot.

The Hunger Games continues in the #1 slot, though obsessing on slotting remains the sign of box office ignorance. The THG numbers are more than the sum of four weekends at #1. The film has been neck & neck in the speed grossing department with Star Wars: Sith, but will start to separate as the weekend continues. The question is whether THG can maintain the legs to get to Sith’s $380m domestic number or, for more recent comparison, last year’s #1 movie, Potter 7a ($381 million). The summer could stop the film’s momentum before that happens. But still, the film is already past Twilight and looks to end up at least 15% ahead of Twilight’s best. And foreign will be better than the first Twilight for sure… whether it will be as big as some of the others, we shall see.

The Cabin In The Woods is Joss Whedon’s latest underperformer… though Joss Whedon didn’t direct the film. Drew Goddard did. And for Drew Goddard and Lionsgate, a pretty good opening. The standard for horror is $20m, set by Screen Gems, and it won’t be there. But it will be in Lionsgate’s top 10 openers of the last 3 years. Given that half of that list is Tyler Perry & Hunger Games, no excuses need be made for this number… unless you thought they should do a better job selling a movie starring Thor and produced by the director of the upcoming The Avengers.

Lockout leaked out. I don’t know what the hell happened there. Open Road jumped in after FilmDistrict, which is still pretending to be in business, looked for a life boat. But it was a half-hearted effort and the number is surprising large considering that. Now if they can come up with a similar number for the no-budget charmer Safety Not Guaranteed, it will actually be pretty good. But… sigh…

Intouchables is only in Canada right now. The Weinsteins have it opening here in May. This is the biggest non-English-language worldwide grosser in history with over $310 million. Kind of mind-boggling. Unsurprisingly, US critics reviewing out of Tokyo or France have panned the film for many of the same reasons some critics got sniffy about The Help. TWC has been so focused on Bully that they really haven’t focused on this film yet, though it seems to deserve their full efforts. It will be interesting.

29 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Insatiably Hungry Klady”

  1. LexG says:

    DETENTION POWER.

    Liked it better than Cabin in the Woods.

  2. movieman says:

    I’d assumed “Safety…” would be opening on a handful of upscale screens and platforming (or not) accordingly.
    Are they really giving it a 2000+ print break like “Lockout”?
    If so, that’s pretty frigging awesome.

  3. The Pope says:

    Lockout is pretty good fun. Popcorn with extra cheese. Pity it was, as you say, ‘leaked out.’

  4. movieman says:

    …considering the shitty trailer/TV spots, bar code-generic title, lack of “marquee” names, etc., “Lockout” did…okay.
    by all rights, that Friday figure should have been its entire weekend gross with all of those (see above) strikes against it. (the same fate has befallen many better movies.)
    you’re right, though, Pope: it’s a fun little throwaway.
    truth be told, i actually enjoyed it more than “Cabin in the Woods.”
    again, a case of diminished versus (grossly) exaggerated expectations…

  5. movieman says:

    p.s.= has Armond White’s “Lockout” rave appeared online yet?
    Armond loves Besson nearly as much as he does Neveldine/Taylor.
    he’ll probably use it as an opportunity to bash “Ghost Protocol,” “Drive” and any/every critically and/or financially successful action pic of the past few years…

  6. Ray Pride says:

    Don’t know about LOCKOUT, but “3xChair”‘s frottage toward DETENTION is online, and sampled in the Quote/Unquote box.

  7. DiscoNap says:

    Don’t ever get into the box office stuff, but is there some reason CABIN wasn’t sold with Hemsworth’s face/name? Just to try it? Could have been worth a few more bucks.

  8. movieman says:

    Yeah, that did seem peculiar, Disco, although Hemsworth really doesn’t have the biggest role (he’s second-billed for good reason).
    I mentioned this in an earlier thread (can’t remember which), but the pre-”Thor”/”Cabin” Hemsworth–minus the Nordic god’s blondness/beard–is a dead ringer for Matthew Davis.
    Davis costarred with Colin Farrell in Joel Schumacher’s great “Tigerland,” and did nice work in “Legally Blonde” and “Blue Crush” before effectively disappearing. (I seem to recall Davis doing some guest spots on
    “Damages” a few seasons back, but otherwise haven’t seen him in eons.)
    And to think that I actually thought he might have a career comparable to Farrell’s at one point…

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    Isn’t Matthew Davis a regular on Vampire Diaries?

  10. movieman says:

    Couldn’t prove it by me, Joe; I’ve never watched the show.

  11. Bennett says:

    Since it was sitting on the shelf for years, then why did Lionsgate just wait and release Cabin in a late June or Early July slot. Granted it will face the tentpoles, but post-Avengers…teenagers out of school…it might have added a few million to the bottom line.

    I plan on seeing Cabin later in the week, but I thought that the marketing was horrible. I respect the need to be spoiler free, but the review raves I am seeing and the B level horror trailers, just don’t gel.

  12. Bennett says:

    I wonder if Lionsgate will try to secure IMAX screens for the end of April for a two week Hunger Games run before Avengers monolpolize the IMAX screens.

  13. The Big Perm says:

    The standard for horror is $20m? Like you just make a horror movie and expect that kind of opening every time? I don’t know, is Cabin really an underperformer, I haven’t really seen a lot of good marketing for it. Say it opens to ten million, is that bad especially since it’s horror without even being a specific type that’s sellable…like is it a ghost movie, a slasher, a monster movie, or all of the above? Who knows?

  14. Paul D/Stella says:

    An opening in the low teens for The Cabin in the Woods seems pretty good to me. The advertising probably left a lot of the target audience scratching their heads. I saw a late show last night and of about 20-25 people, 4 (2 couples) walked out about halfway through.

    The movie itself is OK. Not that they’re that much different than any other genre aficionados, but I stopped trusting horror geeks years ago. They hyperventilate about too many shitty movies. They definitely went overboard with this one. Whedon/Goddard worship? Most new ones are junk?

    Whatever the reason(s), it’s got its moments but I’ll take Scream over it any day. It tries to cram an awful lot into 100 minutes and feels a little overstuffed. The pacing is out of whack too, and as much as I was like a kid in a candy store when everything gets out near the end, I was also getting a little bored and felt like it was dragging. Jenkins and Whitford are fun, and Hemsworth (I haven’t seen Thor) has a strong, easy screen presence. I laughed a lot but it’s never very scary or suspenseful. The comedy works better than the horror. OK, but certainly not spectacular.

  15. Chucky says:

    @Bennett: Why would Lionsgate want an Imax run now? The movie has already made its money back and then some.

  16. David Poland says:

    Perm… the standard set by Screen Gems is 20. Obviously, most films don’t make it.

    I probably should not have specified horror. The niche is wider than horror and Cabin wasn’t really sold as “horror,” but a play on horror.

    But yes, the inability to get a Joss Whedon product off the ground to a bigger number, weeks before The Avengers has a 9-figure launch is underperforming for a marketing department. As I always note, opening weekend is not about the film itself.

  17. Paul D/Stella says:

    Did Lionsgate fail to really leverage the “starring Thor” and “from the writer/director of The Avengers” angles? I saw some TV spots but avoided the overall marketing campaign as much as possible to remain as in the dark as possible before seeing it.

  18. Don R. Lewis says:

    I liked CABIN much more than you, Paul but I think your accurate in your respoonse…although I think you might be pushing back against the buzz rather than the movie. Then again, your horror roots run deeper than anything Whedon/Goddard could manage so that’s a point too.

    I’ll be interested to see if it doesn’t drop much next weekend. everyone I’ve talked to is raving about it and I’m wondering if once people realize it REALLY isn’t about what it seems, if it doesn’t drop much.

    In any case, I’m kinda bummed it didn’t do better but have a certain level of schadenfreude about how the geeky bloggeratti does NOTHING for genre films that are a tough sell except overhype them to the point where people go in looking to poke holes in a film.

  19. Paul D/Stella says:

    I didn’t go in looking to poke holes or for problems. I read no reviews and went in as blind as possible. I wanted to love and adore it. I’m used to the horror geeks overhyping movies. I avoid it as much as possible.

    And I don’t agree that I’m pushing back against the buzz. Even though it’s a decent horror movie, it’s very flawed, and I wonder if some overpraise simply because it’s a little more ambitious than the norm. Or I’m just in the minority and the genre fan consensus is that it’s awesome and a new horror classic. Either way I have legit beefs with the movie and I’m not inventing problems to strike back against the buzz.

    I see a steep drop. Ardent horror fans might love it but it doesn’t seem like anyone else is. It got a C from Cinemascore. That’s pretty bad.

  20. Amblynman says:

    I liked Cabin a great deal more than most of you (it seems). I think the film’s greatest failing isn’t that it doesn’t live up to the hype, I find it every bit as clever as many claim it is, I think it fails to be a good example of the genre it’s sending up. It’s just not scary at all. Scream was a genre-bender that also worked on the level of a slasher movie. Cabin is all about being clever, and it almost feels like the filmmakers couldn’t wait to rush through the “standard” portion of the movie to get to the good stuff.

  21. Don R. Lewis says:

    ***POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD******

    After seeing it I did agree the “issue” with the film, as a horror film, is that it isn’t scary. BUT, and I point readers to Devin Faraci’s read on the film at Badass Digest as a launching point for my point of view (the post where he invites those who have seen it to discuss it) which is that the film is ABOUT horror films or better, humans need for terrifying stories. CABIN seeks to explain why we love horror and why horror works. If you (or, me) don’t find it “scary” then we’re complicit in what the film is talking about. We’re also complicit in the “coldness” of how the characters are treated and the “nihilism” which are two other big complaints.

    It’s not “sending up” horror like SCREAM did, it’s using cinema to explain WHY we love horror.

    Another case in point in terms of that is the choice of the main horror act in the cabin. (I’m trying to be non-spoilery) There were way, way better items to choose from and the one that’s chosen is disappointing to *everyone* including me as an audience member. That too is the point, I think. We want more and we *want* to be scared, taken for that ride. These are reasons why I disagree the movie “isn’t as clever as it thinks it is” and would counter that it’s EVERY bit as clever as it knows it is. It’s the smartest film in a genre not previously known for alot of intelligence.

  22. Paul D/Stella says:

    SPOILERS

    As much as I can’t stand Faraci, those are some good points. And the movie is often very funny and clever. My problem is more with pacing/structure. I enjoyed the first half a lot more (outside of seeing all the creatures/ghouls/beasts and the brief battle royale). Trying to figure out the exact nature of the secret organization and why it does what it does was more interesting and entertaining than the reveals. And after it’s revealed that the stoner is still alive, I feel like it takes too long to get the to end. More than once I thought it was over and was halfway out of my seat. It’s good, for the most part I had fun, but I still say Scream is better.

  23. Amblynman says:

    @Don

    I like the hypothesis but I think it’s a little more intellectual than the filmmakers were going for. We weren’t scared because the filmmakers didn’t do a good enough job of scaring us. The moment when the elevator is slowly traveling in between monsters, teasing the reveal, was meant to scare us. I think the filmmakers did want the movie to be scary, and the “disappointment” with the selection of killer wasn’t due to what they were but rather their execution (no pun intended). . That’s a filmmaking issue, not a reflection on us as the audience or any grand comment about us as an audience the filmmakers were going for.

    I think the movie kinda carries an air of “We’ll show ya how this is supposed to be done” without backing that up.

  24. Don R. Lewis says:

    I don’t think it was too intellectual. Did anyone else think the machinations underground when the blood poured in looked EXACTLY like the Lionsgate clockworks thing, that plays before the Lionsgate logo comes up?

  25. Ray Pride says:

    Which would be a quirky coincidence, Don… since the film was produced by some edition of MGM.

  26. storymark says:

    I agree Cabin wasn’t scary – and for those counting on an adrenaline rush, that could be a detriment. But I personally had a great friggin’ time. Loved it.

    And if there are smarter horror films, I can’t really think of ‘em.

  27. Don R. Lewis says:

    I coulda sworn I saw a Lionsgate thingymabob at the start….ah well.

  28. storymark says:

    …you did, Don…. the point you’re missing is that they didn’t *make* the movie. They just picked it up for distributiuon. From, that’s right – MGM.

  29. Ray Pride says:

    Lionsgate’s crushing gears do open the movie, Don: they bought the film out of MGM Jail.

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