By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Estimates by Len of the Doldrums
Okay… so it looks like 500,000 to 750,000 extremists are going to see 2012: Obama’s America this weekend. It was advertised and promoted relentlessly—like every single commercial break—on rightie talk radio this last week and so they found people to come see the film. Why would anyone be shocked?
Only your basic “this is why I got it wrong… it wasn’t because I was using completely unreliable metric so I have to make excuses every Saturday morning” idiot is really surprised. This is the crowd that doesn’t tend to go to the movies a lot… the group that had The Passion of The Christ averaging about $25m a day for its first five days. It’s also the same kind of political hysteria that drove Fahrenheit 9/11—a movie I have always said was so extreme and unfair that it may have helped Bush win reelection—to a $24 million 3-day opening on 868 screens.
Fiscally, it’s an almost identical opening to Big Miracle, this year’s Free The Whales flick that was distributed by Universal and hailed as a forgettable flop commercially. But put those same numbers on an extremist right-wing rant and it’s NEWS! (Especially if you to give Matt Drudge a reacharound for driving 40% of the traffic your site gets to you.)
Personally, I wish more people—especially Independents—would see this film so they could more clearly understand the difference between the reality of Obama and the fantasy that the loudest right-sellers project upon him. Seriously, if they could tie him to Jews sucking the blood out of babies, they would… only that would interrupt the consistency of the lie that he hates Israel and is out to sell out the country to Iran.
I said in 2004 and I say today, if Michael Moore used that giant brain of his—and he is a brilliant guy, seriously —to seriously create change instead of mocking guys like Bush, he could change some things. But when the level of discourse is about raging at the guy for how he reacted while reading a book to kids at a school on 9/11, you are only preaching to the long-converted. Ha ha. Big laugh. But there were so many real things to be angry at Bush about and none were “My Pet Goat” or his family’s relationship with Saudi Arabia or how someone combs their hair with spit. We NEED Michael Moore out there… but we need a Michael Moore who hasn’t lost his shit.
And The Right could use some leadership that doesn’t want to sew women’s vaginas shut or to give corporations the rights of individual human citizens or who want to take The White House at any price just to service the richest 1% of the country until we become a revolutionary culture again.
But I digress from box office boredom…
No real surprises in the weak tea this weekend. Expendables 1 was off 63% on the second Friday. The rest are about average, though it’s clear that Bourne 4 isn’t getting very excited word of mouth. The new movies are all about where they should be. The two studio movies are dumps. It’s a bit shocking to see a Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie being thrown out like old meat, but Sony did just that. There were some TV ads, but they were confusing and hyperactive. And Open Road didn’t have much budget for their Dax Shepard comedy. Apparently, The Apparition isn’t a movie about a ghost who wants to finger Ashley Greene’s nose and feel up her breasts… but you wouldn’t know from the ad campaign. (Maybe there will be a surprise, but right now, it looks like a Summer 2013 Playboy spread followed by stints on Survivor and Go Daddy ads.)
The funny thing is that if you look at last August, you can hear the recording of the meetings where these release decisions were made. Premium Rush for the Colombiana slot ($10.8m opening) Open Road’s Hit & Run in for TWC’s Our Idiot Brother ($7m). And The Apparition in for FilmDistrict’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark ($8.5m). Repeating mediocre is not a great business model.
And by the way… WB is dumping TWO movies this weekend. Very aggressive. Not only is Apparition disappearing, but Thunderstruck is getting the ‘ol 245-screen heave ho.
Not a lot of excitement on the indie side. Samsara opened to $12,300 per screen, easily the best of the day.