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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by More Hobbitses Klady

Trying to analyze a day like yesterday is nor just hard, it’s a bit foolish. This time of year is subject to many odd angles. For instance, Christmas Eve can be a bad day, Christmas Day tends to be great. But this year, Christmas Eve is on a Monday, so this weekend should be relatively normal… but is it? “People are out shopping” is the mantra when a film seems to do less than wished for.

When Tom Cruise opened to a number like this Jack Reacher number with A Few Good Men or Jerry Maguire, we were all 15 years or more younger… as was the nature of the domestic box office. This number is not a car wreck… nor is it very good. Girl With The Dragon Tattoo opened to $5.1 million on December 21 last year, which led to $50m by the end of the year and another $52 added to its domestic total in early 2012. So $100m is still quite achievable for this film. Or $80m. Time will tell.

This is 40has even less clear precedent. Little Fockers opened on a Wednesday and its first Friday was Christmas Eve. Yes Man opened a full week before Christmas to a $6.5m Friday, but still came in just short of $100m. It’s just hard to know where to place this number. If I was forced to guess at gunpoint, I’d say $60m – $80m domestic. Big range. And still not so sure. The one big advantage is that besides The Guilt Trip, the only impending competition is Parental Guidance on Christmas Day/Tuesday. So 40 is the likely first choice of people over 30 looking for a laugh while the other two will fight for “everyone can go” business.

Speaking of Guilt, $1.5m is a rough start.

On the exclusive release/awards chasing side, Zero Dark Thirty is looking at $90k per-screen on 5, The Impossible around $7k per-screen on 15, Amour around $19k per on 3, and Not Fade Away around $5400 per on 3. The history of the big per-screen is all over the place. Yes, this will be a better weekend for ZD30 than Lincoln had last month. On the other hand, it is right on line with The Tree of Life, There Will Be Blood, and The King’s Speech. So which movie does it line up with? Being Oscar nominated doesn’t seem to be a question mark. So we’re all looking at positioning now for the post-nomination argument.

36 Responses to “Friday Estimates by More Hobbitses Klady”

  1. movieman says:

    I seriously don’t get why “Guilt Trip” is flopping so badly.
    It seemed like an easy to market high concept comedy.
    Apparently Streisand’s fans won’t leave the house to see a movie anymore.
    And Rogen’s younger fanbase was clearly underwhelmed by the premise.
    Yet still.
    I really don’t think the meh reviews factored into it that much since reviews traditionally have little bearing w/ wide release studio comedies.
    (If that were really true, the “Fockers” sequels would have both stiffed.)
    Very strange.
    Speaking of strange, is Paramount’s bizarre release strategy for “Worlds Away” the craziest thing ever?
    2 showings a day (and only in 3-D) followed–after four days–by full performance slates (including 2-D showings)?
    Berserk.

  2. Actionman says:

    Here’s an idea why The Guilt Trip is tanking — it SUCKS! i mean, i haven’t seen it, but it looks like complete and utter dog excrement, matched only by this rancid looking Parental Guidance…

  3. christian says:

    Who is GUILT TRIP for? Streisand fans don’t want to see shit and “oh that’s your girlfriend” gags and Rogen fans won’t care about a mother-son bonding film. It’s a lose-lose situation. It should have been a quiet indie…

  4. movieman says:

    It’s not dog excrement by any means, Action.
    Not saying it’s a comedy classic or anything, but I found it relatively inoffensive and even mildly amusing (emphasis on “mildly:” there really aren’t any big laughs here) at times.
    Streisand and Rogen both do good work here. It’s not an embarrassment.
    It doesn’t deserve such an ignominious fate at the b.o., especially when so many worse comedies (e.g., the recent, wildly overrated “Pitch Perfect”) have raked in big bucks.

  5. movieman says:

    I feel in a weird position defending a movie I thought was marginal at best.
    But I can definitely see why Paramount would have greenlighted a $40-million (if that’s what it really cost) high concept comedy starring Streisand and Rogen, directed by Anne Fletcher whose previous films all made back their production costs (and a lot more w/ “The Proposition”).
    Bad marketing, a bad release date…not sure why it’s turning into the “First Family” of Xmas 2012.

  6. christian says:

    Wow, nice reference. I saw FIRST FAMILY when it opened — one of my favorite tasteless films ever. Whatta cast.

  7. Big G says:

    What’s with Paramount opening three films within two days of each other? The David Chase movie is only in three theatres, but still …

  8. movieman says:

    It’s four actually-if you’re counting the (very) limited release for the Chase film.

  9. berg says:

    The Guilt Trip has two really good scenes – the film’s penultimate moment and the closing scene …. but it’s like they built the film around those two moments and everything that leads up to that is hackneyed and lame

  10. movieman says:

    Berg- That (“two really good scenes…built the film around;” “hackneyed and lame”) sounds like 9 out of 10 studio comedies, lol.
    …many of which have done immeasurably better at the b.o. than “GT” is presently doing.

  11. etguild2 says:

    Yeah Paramount is employing a bizarre release pattern for sure this weekend.

    Disappointed with “The Impossible’s” opening. I am one of the few, it seems, who still thought it had real mainstream Oscar potential.

  12. Prettok says:

    Guilt Trip is not a “high concept” comedy. It’s a run of the mill road movie, this time with a mother and son, and no Zach Galifinakis!

    ‘High concept’ is movies with actual HIGH concepts…like a guy living the same Groundhog Day over and over again, or a guy turning into a hot teenage chick, or a guy being forced to always tell the truth or say yes to everything. Hilarity ensues.

  13. movieman says:

    The “high concept” of “GT” is pairing screen legend Streisand w/ Generation Y icon Rogen as mother and son.
    Apparently somebody thought hilarity would automatically ensue–and sure to be a box office bonanza.
    The film’s benign mediocrity has nothing to do with its inability to post a decent opening.
    Sometimes factors completely separate from a movie’s true value (or intrinsic worthlessness) dictate its b.o. fate.
    I’m still trying to figure out what went so dismally wrong in this case since it wasn’t the perfectly workable central premise, its two iconic stars or a director with a record for successfully helming lightweight big screen sitcoms.

  14. cadavra says:

    No, Christian’s right. Streisand and Rogen have two completely distinct fanbases, and each loathes the other star. It sounded good on paper, but mebbe less so in execution (haven’t seen it yet). Still, older-skewing movies like this tend to pick way up after Christmas, so let’s not slam the coffin lid just yet. (At least PARENTAL GUIDANCE has a generationally-equal star pairing, which oughta make it a better bet for the boomers.)

  15. Z says:

    ” Yes, this will be a better weekend for ZD30 than Lincoln had last month.”

    Silly argument. Lincoln had eleven screens to ZDT’s five. That makes a different on this type of scale. Lincoln also had the second best per theater average gross across all films on 10+ screens.

  16. Z says:

    And Lincoln at some point held a higher position over every single film that opened against it for five weeks. This is likely to extend.

  17. waterbucket says:

    Where is Silver Linings? Worst opening strategy ever.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    Many years ago. folks wondered why Doubleday paid so much for paperback rights to E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime So some Doubleday exec explained: Looking long term, we figure we’ll get our money back because the book will be assigned reading in so many college courses. I wonder if the folks who green-lit Guilt Trip (which, I admit, I have not yet seen) did so because they figure that, long-term, it will be a fave on DVD, VOD, pay-cable, etc.

  19. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Joe – based on what though? Do Steisand and Rogen have an abnormally large ancillary market following?

  20. palmtree says:

    So did the Doubleday deal work out for them? I don’t see Ragtime on too many reading lists, but I would think the musical probably gave them the selling point they needed?

  21. christian says:

    Joe, that’s a long-term strategy that is pretty much gone from today’s bottom-line mentality media .

  22. movieman says:

    Nobody else thinks Paramount’s “limited” opening (w/ just 2 showings a day) for that 90-minute Cique de Soleil commercial is batshit?

  23. a says:

    And ZDT’s estimated opening on five screens is $82k per theater which is below Lincoln’s on 11 screens.

  24. Joe Leydon says:

    Palmtree: Ragtime was published in 1975, so I think it’s safe to say Doubleday got at least two decades of relatively steady sales. I still see it occasionally on sale in college bookstores, but I don’t know if that means many professors still assign it as required reading.

    Foamy: This is just a guess on my part, but I wonder if somebody figured Guilt Trip might have the legs of something like The Holiday ($205 million worldwide gross) or The Lake House ($114 million worldwide gross) — movies that seem to be in near-constant rotation on cable. Again, just a guess.

  25. movieman says:

    Love “Ragtime:” the book and the Milos Forman adaptation. (The musical’s not bad either.)
    Does anybody remember when Robert Altman was slated to direct “Ragtime”? It seemed like such a perfect marriage of director and material.
    But after “Buffalo Bill and the Indians” tanked, Dino De Laurentiis canned Altman and replaced him w/ Forman who was the flavor du jour in H’wood after “Cuckoo’s Nest” won the Oscar.
    Being a huge Altman fan–and in the minority who thought “CN” was overrated–I was super pissed at the time.
    But Forman’s “Ragtime” turned out to be one of my favorite Forman films. In fact, I’ve always preferred underrated Forman movies like “Ragtime” and “Hair” to the Oscar winning “Amadeus” and “CK.”

  26. christian says:

    Cagney deserved an oscar for his return to the screen in RAGTIME.

    But the naked Elizabeth McGovern scene is embarrassing. Like Otto Preminger took over…

  27. Lynch Van Sant says:

    I’d say ZDT’s opening is more impressive than Lincoln’s considering this pre-Christmas was one of the biggest shopping weekends. If tons of adults weren’t occupied, think how much better it would have done.

  28. cadavra says:

    “Do Steisand and Rogen have an abnormally large ancillary market following?”

    Can’t speak to Rogen, but Babs’ fanbase is as devoted and obsessed as they come. Yeah, they’ll buy it, watch it, then buy and watch it again.

  29. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Source? ;)

    (I’m not denying that it may be true, I’m just saying if you’re spending $40mil on a movie with 2 target bases who hate each other, on the premise that at least one of those is going to make up for the shortfall in ancillary markets, then you need a better business case than “I think they’re pretty devoted”)

  30. cadavra says:

    In today’s studio universe, $40 million is practically a B-picture–it’s undoubtedly Streisand’s cheapest film (adjusted for inflation) in decades. And the let’s-throw-in-something-for-everybody-and-they’ll-all-turn-out mentality is hardly new–remember Warren Beatty and Halle Berry in BULWORTH? (And that was a pretty good picture.)

  31. scooterzz says:

    movieman — my other half is sag/aftra…. between the bfca, sag and tca screeners/swag there is no more guest room….

  32. scooterzz says:

    opps…wrong thread…my bad

  33. movieman says:

    Gotcha, Scooter.

  34. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Even at B-picture “throw-everything-at-the-wall”, there’s surely a range of options of what you can do with $40mil – why pick that project amongst all the other projects clamoring for funding?

  35. cadavra says:

    Wild guess: 1) Getting Streisand back into a picture in a leading role, and 2) she liked the script.

  36. cadavra says:

    And at the risk of sounding immodest, I should like to point out that PARENTAL GUIDANCE opened yesterday to $6.4 million–cf. GUILT TRIP’s $5.3 million weekend–which would seem to confirm my belief that the boomers respond much better when both leads are the same (and their own) generation.

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