By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Estimates by The Freakin’ Vamps Again Klady
Twilight keeps rolling along. I don’t know that is much to say about it. It’s is already past the point of being any kind of disappointment and whether it reaches the top of the franchise is a ways off. So… onward.
By the end of the weekend, Skyfall will be the top domestic Bond ever by about $75 million and the international champ of the franchise by about $150 million. I would still argue a Batman Begins effect… well-loved and attended franchise… one great movie… and in spite of Quantum (which was the franchise top when released), people were anxious for a film as good at Casino Royale. And when the buzz —professional and civilian—was that they got one, you couldn’t keep them away. Also, the screening of international territories has some influence. But this is a level-raiser domestically as well, unlike some films that get a mega-burst of international interest, but lessening interest at home.
Lincoln is just a damned solid player. People are looking for a movie of weight and quality amidst all the fun, apparently, and this is their choice. It’s still performing about 20%-25% ahead of Argo, which is poised to pass $100 million today and was the “serious” movie of choice through October. It’s been a decade since Spielberg delivered a $100m drama and this weekend, Lincoln will pass domestic on (most recent release first), War Horse, Tintin, The Terminal, and A.I.. It’s already blown past Munich and Amistad. It will surely pass The Color Purple and Schindler’s List, leaving only Catch Me If You Can as a non-action Spielberg film with bigger raw numbers domestically. (Yes, those last two movies, released in 1985 and 1993 would be closer to $200 million if adjusted for inflation… fair enough. The shocker, really, is how huge The Color Purple was, given the respect it is not given as an important piece of cinema.)
Life of Pi is doing business, but not anything close to what is needed for it to be considered a hit vs cost. Fox may be able to pull it out internationally. But domestically, $80m seems like the end of the rainbow… which won’t—with P&A considered—eat much (if at all) into the production costs.
DreamWorks is leaving Paramount with a whimper, not a bang. The Rise of The Guardians, aka The Wreck-It-Ralph of fairy tale heroes, is going to the weakest or maybe 2nd weakest domestic grosser since Paramount started distributing for DWA. Only 7 of DWA’s 25 titles so far have come in under $100m domestic and only Flushed Away, an Aardman project, is in that group with Paramount distributing. The thing is… Par seemed to work their butts off on this one, in spite of DWA having one foot out the door. Of course, Par is in as distributor on every theatrical dollar the film makes, so even if there is a divorce, they win if this movie wins. Personally, I was never really turned on by the film, though I thought the look was quite beautiful. But if you can’t call Santa “Santa” and your other characters are The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy and our new hero, Jack Frost (really?) vs the, uh, uh, what? Dark guy with no remotely recognizable name… you have a problem. I get the idea and I like the idea of a muscled-up bunny and a super-powered fairy and even a Santa from a Russian jail… but hard to find the hook. (Fox has its first DWA event this week. Should be interesting as the baton is handed off.)
The Weinstein Company never seemed quite at peace with Killing Them Softly, a movie I really, really like, that got slammed by some at Cannes for wearing its subtext too openly on its sleeve. Between trying to turn the corner on Silver Linings and with Django‘s birth not being as easy as expected (and that one is their moneymaker that keeps the trains going), this was a small fish in a very busy pond.
Wreck-It-Ralph isn’t Tangled, but it’s the current era of Disney Animation’s next best thing. $160m domestic is sure. And there may be more than that. It also trumps Sony Animation’s biggest domestic hit, Hotel Transylvania, though the two entities are more directly competitive than ever.