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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady The Gray

Not a lot of time to write this morning… off to cookie decorating… that time of year.

But I want to note that the Hobbit opening is a December record, passing Return of The King. It is also fair to note that this film has a 3D advantage in pricing. And I think it’s also important to note, before the knives are sharpened out there, that once ROTK opening to its $34.5m record day, it never did as much as $28m on any subsequent day. That still led to $377m domestic. But it suggests that Hobbit may not make it to $100m this weekend… and to suggest that this is a problem would be idiotic, at best… either ignorant or malicious.

The best 3-day December opening in history is $77.2m for I Am Legend. This opening will be a huge leap ahead of that. (ROTK opened on a Wednesday and the 3-day was $72.6m. The highest grossing movie in history, by over $1b, opened to $77m.)

This is all WB or MGM or The Jacksons could have asked for…. and at this point, the 48fps is a discussion point, not a box office issue.

More on the rest later, but I would expect Rise of The Guardians to end up at #2 for the weekend, given the weekend arc of kids movies vs adult movies.

27 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady The Gray”

  1. A says:

    Lincoln has very good “weekend arcs”. Which is why it will likely be #2 for the weekend. Really though it has so much fewer screens that comparing the two doesn’t make sense.

  2. bulldog68 says:

    Guardians is holding on for dear life isn’t it. It’s still a disappointment domestically, but initially it looked like it wouldn’t clear $75m, but it will surely get past $85 when Christmas is all tucked away. It will be interesting to see if Monsters Inc has any impact on it.

    Seems also the public response will drown out the critical response for The Hobbit. Audiences seem to be lapping it up while critics nitpick the hell out of it. That’s their job I guess.

    When discussing The Hobbit’s trajectory however, let’s not forget those remarkable December legs. Of the top ten December openings, only two, I Am Legend and Sherlock Holmes 1, failed to gross more than 4 times their opening weekend number. And all of the LotR’s grossed more than 5 times their opening weekend number. So with a $100m or near to it opening, we could be looking at a $400m gross when all the dwarves are counted.

    Each LotR could have theoretically had a bigger opening weekend if they did not open on Wednesday, so we’ll see how that evens out in the days to come, but all told it’s a phenomenal number.

  3. BoulderKid says:

    What are the Weinsteins doing with Silver Linings Playbook? I think they are really missing an opportunity to get out in front of “This is 40″ as the go to adult comedy. Whatever base level word of mouth that is needed to facilitate a decent opening and legs on 2,000 screens is either out there or not by now. The film is beginning to drop off and I don’t think Oscar nominations are really going to be a game changer for a movie like this.

    Personally, I’m not a fan, but the twenty year old girls who were tearing up in the last ten minutes were not swayed by critics awards and all that jazz in to seeing the movie. The Weinsteins have a chance at a big mainstream Eloi hit here and I think they’re botching it.

  4. Breedlove says:

    Dave, hope you keep the reviews coming on some of the big holiday stuff. Curious what you think of the 48 fps too. Seems like most critics are hating it.

  5. Smith says:

    It really pays to launch a big ass blockbuster the week before the holiday craziness. Hobbit will be at, what, $250m at least by New Years day?

    I’m also a little confused by the roll out with Silver Linings Playbook. Last week seemed like a natural choice to go wider, but I figured they were waiting for the Golden Globes nominations. But now what? Did not expect them to slow walk this one Artist-style.

  6. Lex says:

    I still think SLP’s a contender, and it’s certainly not thrown to the wolves like TWC did with Killing Them Softly… But since it’s not really catching fire, getting the sense that Weinsteins are throwing all their weight behind DJANGO instead as “the one.”

  7. BoulderKid says:

    Yea, they really effed up “Killing Them Softly.” I’m not saying it was ever going to be a huge hit, but there’s at least 30m out there if you cut a trailer highlighting the action beats and Pitt as the star. Call it the “Drive 30″ or whatever you want. “Lawless” which I didn’t see and could be more commercial than I’m giving it credit for did what TWC could have done with “Killing Them Softly.”

  8. Lex says:

    Maybe, but that Cinemascore F is pretty damning. And that’s almost always from mismarketing, people expecting “The Departed” or whatever, and that’s just based on the existing trailer, which I thought was fairly representative of the film. The hip-hop music’d TV spots were another story.

    Honestly, I didn’t think KTS was THAT avant-garde or off-kilter, wasn’t like it was “Tree of Life” where “regular” people had no context for what it is. I thought it was a fairly straightforward, edgy gangster movie with a couple arty touches, but nothing MYSTIFYING. But anecdotally, the few people I know who took the plunge, it was like they got suckered into watching the 8-hour Andy Warhol EMPIRE STATE BUILDING movie. So, who knows.

  9. Lex says:

    900th person to ask this I’m sure, but were the fears really justified that NOBODY wanted to open last week except the Butler romcom, and nothing big went counterprogramming yesterday?

    Honestly, is PARENTAL GUIDANCE or THIS IS 40 gonna make so much more opening against Django, Les Mis, Reacher, Guilt Trip, etc, than they would have made last week?

    Why didn’t PROMISED LAND just open wide on the 7th last week? Just seems like an ego thing, everyone wanting to pack in 20 movies between the 19th and 28th, and in the end only four or five will really catch on. I know Uni and Apatow have probably deluded themselves that THIS IS 40 is some big holiday event, but I can’t imagine anything less suited than a cynical “aging sucks, couple drifting apart” movie on Christmas day.

    I’m sure Poland has pie charts on why they choose certain dates, but THIS IS 40 could’ve made 15 or 20 last weekend and maybe 7 or 8 this weekend.

    Instead, it’s gonna open at like number 9 in a week and be lucky to hit 20 total domestic.

  10. movieman says:

    As exasperating as it’s been to watch, Weinstein’s torturously slow roll-out of “SLP” isn’t all that different from how F-S handled “The Descendants” a year ago.
    And, much to my surprise, that actually seemed to work.
    Since “SLP” is, arguably, even more accessible and audience-friendly than the Payne/Clooney film, I see no reason why lightning can’t strike twice.
    But maybe I’m just being cautiously optimistic because I love “SLP,” and dearly want it to find the (wide) audience it so richly deserves.
    But Lex is right about the tea leaves: it really does look like Weinstein has shifted all of their promotional/awards marketing ammunition over to “Django” as their new anointed one.

  11. movieman says:

    I do, however, take exception to Lex’s lowballing of “This is 40.”
    “20 total domestic”? Seriously???
    While I’m kind of thinking the film may wind up underperforming (i.e., closer to “Funny People” than “Knocked Up” business), even the biggest holiday turkeys routinely do in excess of a $20-million total domestic cume. (Remember that Jim Brooks Xmas flop w/ Reese Witherspoon from a few years back? It was a complete non-starter, yet still managed to gross between $25-$30 million. And that was with middling-at-best reviews.
    “40” is already faring a lot better w/ crix.)

  12. Krillian says:

    2011 – First week of Dec – New Year’s Eve gets $13 mil, The Sitter gets $9.
    2011 – Christmas week of Dec – We Bought a Zoo gets $9, The Darkest Hour gets $3.

    2010 – First week of Dec – The Warrior’s Way gets $3 mil.
    2010 – Christmas week of Dec – Gulliver’s Travels gets $6 mil

  13. David Poland says:

    Lex – First weekend of Dec is the most avoided weekend of the year, especially now that they have started being more aggressive about Labor Day Weekend.

    It’s very expensive – December is the most expensive month in which to market movies – and the biggest opening gross in history for the first weekend (not including movies whose opening Sat is Dec 1) is $24.3m for The Last Samurai. #2 is Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country with $18.2m. #3 is Beverly Hills Cop with $15.2m. Those are the only ones over $15m and there are only 6 others over $10m.

    The theory is that people shot their moviegoing wads on Thanksgiving week. If the movie could open huge, it would open the week before Thanksgiving… open strong could open on Thanksgiving… and if you are hoping for any legs over the very fat holiday week, you need to be closer to Christmas.

    If you opened Avatar 2 on the first weekend of Dec, it would be a non-issue… but then again, they would either open before Thanksgiving or close to X-Mas, hoping for January to keep playing strong, more cheaply and with less competition than in Dec.

  14. bulldog68 says:

    And your point is Krillian?

  15. sanj says:

    i have no desire at all to watch Hobbit movie – i just can’t get into that world …watchec the first rings movies and it was okay and then i was done with it .
    good luck everybody sitting through a 3 hour movie.

    today i saw 6 subway billboards for this is 40 … which is more than most of the bigger movies out there .

    hey LexG – did you catch K-Stew on the daily show ?

    also DP – J.R.R. Tolkien needs a dp/30 . maybe he can explain what that golumm freaky thing is.

  16. Lex says:

    HOW DO YOU KNOW is fantastic. (Huge Witherspoon fan…)

    But THIS IS 40, just seems like such a downer theme for the holidays– getting old sucks! Husband and wife drifting apart! Plus I don’t know why anyone would expect it to make much more than either WANDERLUST (Rudd, same squabbling-couple angle) or FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT (Apatow factory, similar downer as romcoms go.)

    I’ll see it, I like Apatow, but I can’t imagine THIS IS 40 being ANYONE’S first choice next week; Its entire potential audience would rather be at LES MIS or THE GUILT TRIP, and any guys still left onboard the Apatow Train aren’t gonna see an Apatow comedy before they see a Tarantino movie or Jack Reacher.

  17. Lex says:

    DP, I guess I kinda forgot LAST weekend was the dreaded “first week” since I assumed this year, technically Nov 30th counted as that post-Thanksgiving weekend that usually falls on the 2nd or 3rd or 4th, etc. I figured that sadsack weekend of dumping KILLING THEM SOFTLY was the weekend of which you speak. So this year we had two?

    So the 30th, 7th, and, minus THE HOBBIT, the 14th were all AVOIDED BY LITERALLY EVERYBODY, and now in the next ten days, a workaday, non-critic, non-screenings regular jamoke like me has to make THIS many trips to a theater:

    Zero Dark Thirty, On the Road, Jack Reacher, The Impossible, This is 40, The Guilt Trip, Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Promised Land, Not Fade Away, and Parental Guidance.

    That’s more movies than most people see in a year. How would anyone except a completist mental patient be expected to find time for 11 SEPARATE TRIPS TO A THEATER on Christmas week?

    Mania aside, all of those are gonna make more on Christmas-New Year’s than they would have had that dropped on December 7?

  18. BoulderKid says:


    Are you really going to see Parental Guidance? I know you see everything but there has to be exceptions outside of animation for stuff like PG and Joyful Noise?

  19. sanj says:

    LexG – nobody is forcing you to go to all these films ….if your going 11 times then you should make a video out of it and put up some new reviews. are you really going to spend like 100 bucks to watch these films ?

  20. Lex says:


  21. Breedlove says:

    Lex – you ever crush a doubleheader? I almost always see two movies back to back when I go to the theater. I even did a triple a couple weeks ago.

  22. movieman says:

    Bless you for remembering the title of Brooks’ Reese movie, Lex.
    I think you and Armond White may be the only two people who’ve admitted to liking it, lol.
    But seriously.
    I’m not expecting “This is 40″ to be a commercial blockbuster. (The downer elements you referred to–which definitely exist in the film, but are barely alluded to in the light-hearted trailers–could make for some seriously muted wom.) I do, however, think it’ll handily outgross “How Do You Know,” “Wanderlust” and “The Five Year Engagement.”

  23. dinovelvet says:

    Holy shit I just saw a Parental Guidance spot where Billy Crystal was rapping. FACE THE GUIDANCE!

  24. Pat says:

    How can there be THREE first weekends of December? Skyfall, Twilight, Life of Pi have all been doing some decent business the past three weeks. Why were all the studios frightened away?

  25. Lex says:

    Dino, see? Between that and the hits to the junk, it is an absolute MUST-SEE.

  26. Actionman says:

    To quote John Leguizamo in Tony Scott’s masterpiece The Fan, “I’d rather staple my penis to a burning building…” then watch Parental Guidance.

  27. Gus says:

    Lex, I know you claim to be incapable for whatever reason of writing anything anywhere except for message boards, but I genuinely would read your reviews daily if you just put together a simple blog with an out-of-the-box template. You see every single thing and are a great writer. I remember your Melancholia review. Just do it.

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