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David Poland

By David Poland

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.

22 Responses to “Friday Estimates by The Freakin’ Vamps Again Klady”

  1. greg says:

    This weekend is one of the few times I would like to be living in the States (New York, Im guessing). Would love to be able to see The Collection, Silent Night and Universal Soldier: DOR. Im sure The Collection will make it to Cineplex Yonge/Dundas in Toronto at some point but Silent Night and Universal Soldier will be VOD or BluRay.

    Went to the first matinee of A Late Quartet at the Varisty yesterday and was surprised to find it quite full. Got my money back so I could try again later in the week. Seeing Anna Karenina tomorrow.

  2. sanj says:

    hey DP – if your having such a hard time figuring out . The Rise of The Guardians – then it should get a dp/30 – let the people who made it try to clear things out – get David Lindsay-Abaire who’s done a dp/30 before. also it’s a kids movie – how about interviewing some kids for once ? maybe they have the same problems as you did … maybe they just like the stuff disney puts out better …

    the Django Unchained billboards are out – Leo’s closeup face is everywhere.

  3. etguild2 says:

    Adjusted for inflation, SKYFALL is on pace to be the biggest domestic “straight” action movie (aka no fantasy/sci fi elements or superheros) since RUSH HOUR 2. Crazy.

  4. Big G says:

    I can’t figure out that with the exception of some Gerard Butler/Jessica Biel movie, there are no major wide relesases next weekend? That weekend seems there for the taking for This Is 40 or The Guilt Trip or even Jack Reacher, but they are all bunched together on December 21. Ocean’s Eleven opened huge on December 7, 2001 and The Last Samuri did the same when it opened on December 5, 2003.

  5. etguild2 says:

    Yes, no major studio releases for 22 days, and then six withing a week is an interesting schedule.

  6. Lex says:

    Yeah, if a Cruise movie in early December was good enough in 2003, no idea why they’re clinging to Dec 21st. I am the world’s NUMBER ONE Cruise worshipper, but two years now, it’s like Cruise and Paramount are trying to make CHRISTMAS THE DAY OF CRUISE, but MI4 is a huge tentpole, and JACK REACHER is coming off like the seventh-interest “counterprogramming” minor movie a la some Dimension slasher movie circa 2004. It’s like THE SPIRIT of this Christmas season. They should budge.

    Again, I’m Captain Cruise, but with ZERO DARK THIRTY and DJANGO and ON THE ROAD all out at the same time, JACK REACHER seems like a February movie.

    If you throw in the prestige and limited must-sees, what, is a non-critic schmo like me supposed to go to TWELVE fucking movies between Dec 19th and Christmas Day? It’s just too much… Last year it was too much, too.

  7. eric mayher says:

    Lex I can see what you are saying about the weak marketing on Reacher but I would say with Cruise’s post MI:GP bump and only the Hobbit the week before it should be a solid number two on the weekend of the 21st unless Guilt Trip, This is 40, or Monsters Inc overperform after that word of mouth which should be good if the early buzz is true, and then you have the christmas money train so to speak. Also Zero Dark Thirty doesn’t go wide until Jan 11. In fact the only wide release that might compete for the same audience in that period is Django and that is a hard R and Reacher is a typical cruise gritty Pg-13

  8. Lex says:

    All true… Good points. Plus I kinda forgot pre-MI4 Valkyrie came out on a busy Christmas week and did well as a less pretentious, more mainstreamy option.

    I don’t know, it’s just CRUISE, like BOND, I sort of associate with summers growing up. TOP GUN was summer, DAYS OF THUNDER was summer, most of the Moores and the two Dalton Bonds, all WARM WEATHER, SUNNY DAY, SCHOOL’S OUT good times.

    I just don’t enjoy popcorn action as much when it’s cold and rainy and Christmasy and it gets dark at 4pm. I realize that’s a personal issue, and Bond’s been a winter thing since the Brosnan… but all that kind of stuff feels like summer to me. Christmas is like for BENJAMIN BUTTON and TINTIN and that kind of thing.

  9. eric mayher says:

    And to add to my previous post the budget of Reacher is a reported 60 million much cheaper than MI:GP so it does not need to be as big a moneymaker. Anything above 85 would probably be fine with Paramount and with his always strong overseas pull a franchise might be born.

  10. eric mayher says:

    Yeah I hear you but the summers are already too crowded and the studios are starting to figure that out and spread the wealth so to speak.

  11. Actionman says:

    I live in CT. Why the FUCK haven’t Silver Linings and Anna Karenina opened here yet?! What are they waiting for, esp with SLP?!

  12. Js Partisan says:

    “Rise of the Guardians” will hopefully become a holiday classic for years to come. It is a wonderful movie and deserved better. May the people find it on cable/BD or may the Chinese really love it. “Lincoln” is also a quality film and thank goodness people are going out to see it. Both of these movies received applause from the audiences I saw them with, and that’s such a cool thing.

    That aside, we all need to remember that the second weekend in December is usually ignored for a reason: it’s a transitional week. People are getting ready for the holidays and they are not exactly ready to see all of these big tent pole/Oscar movies. You put them closer to Xmas and people will come.

    I will once again point out, even if it’s the minority opinion, that all of those films are being placed after “The Hobbit” for a reason. Those studios see money to be made there and they are going for it, and that’s why it will be interesting to see how “The Hobbit” weathers that storm.

  13. McRaj says:

    How did TWC manage to screw up Killing Them Softly THIS bad? I understand the film itself doesn’t play very commercially but it’s a BRAD PITT GANGSTER MOVIE. Surely you could open that to $15m plus. Focus successfully duped the US public into forking out $13m on opening weekend for a GEORGE CLOONEY ASSASSIN MOVIE that I believe was less commercial than KTS. I wonder if Harvey has something against Dominik; I remember reading an interview around the release of My Week with Marilyn where Harvey said Dominik was difficult. Didn’t TWC commit $20m P&A as part of their deal to acquire the film? What a sham.

  14. etguild2 says:

    Screenings were probably brutal given the F Cinemascore, so Harvey decided to cut and run.

  15. Gus says:

    Someone explain this word of mouth fail on KTS. I saw it tonight and thought it was hot shit. F cinema score? My Fandango app has a similar rating for it. Why?

  16. Ohnotheydid says:

    Why does KTS have an F Cinemascore? Because it was marketed as a fastpaced shoot em up crime thriller, when in actuality it was a slow moving, dialogue heavy film that used sledghammer subtlety to make its point about American capitalism. People felt lied to and ripped off. The movie the audience went to see wasn’t the one they were expecting.

  17. movieman says:

    I described “KTS” as possibly the artiest movie to ever receive a 2,000+
    screen break on a recent BYOB blog.
    That “F” Cinemascore rating didn’t shock me.
    The audience I saw it with violently hated the film.
    “What the f**k was that?!?,” I heard some middle-aged guy grumble to his wife as they hastily exited the auditorium.
    Very cool movie, though.
    Is Dominik the first director to use Ketty Lester’s “Love Letters” since “Blue Velvet”? That sequence is one of my favorite movie scenes all year: it literally gave me shivers.
    On an unrelated note: why hasn’t anyone made the comparison between “SLP” and “Moonstruck” yet? They’re both smartly written, expertly played, feel-great romantic comedies about boisterous (and highly eccentric) Italian-American families.

  18. Geoff says:

    Egtguild2, that’s a really interesting stat about Skyfall that I would not have thought of – however honestly, is Skyfall truly any more of a “straight” action movie than The Dark Knight at this point? This is not to diminish its achievement at all (and I actually liked it better than TDK) but the villain characters of Silva and the Joker are kind of the same wheelhouse – even though this version of Bond is pretty grounded with some extreme elements (Bond is still a dude who could live through that opening fall and get a guy killed being eaten by a dragon), I would the recent Daniel Craig movies in almost the same genre as the Nolan Bond movies which is not a bad thing.

    Along those lines, I gotta think that MGM is gonna find a way to try to squeak this over $300 million domestic which is AMAZING – the lack of direct competition until Jack Reacher is only going to help over the next three weeks. And I’m HOPING this thing surpasses Twilight which is looking very possible – after this weekend, they should be less than $10 million apart and that film’s audience is definitely burning off faster.

  19. I guess I’m showing my relative youth, because I tend to think of Cruise as a Spielberg-style ‘one in summer, one in winter’ guy. He had Far & Away and A Few Good Men in 1992, Mission: Impossible and Jerry McGuire in 1996, Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia in 1999, Tropic Thunder and Valkyrie in 2008, and now Rock of Ages and Jack Reacher in 2012. While I was old enough to see the Dalton 007 films in theaters, I’m young enough to consider 007 a strictly winter sport at this point, same with the Star Trek films, reboot franchise aside.

    To add to Egtguild2’s observation, I’m pretty sure that when not adjusted for inflation that Skyfall is now the biggest-grossing ‘straight’ action movie ever (it’s higher on the adjusted list if we count the likes of Beverly Hills Cop and Rush Hour 2 as action-comedy hybrids). In terms of spy-action films, it’s still a bit below the first two M:I films, the Austin Powers sequels (ironic, I know), and True Lies and it’s still below the likes of Lethal Weapon 2/3, Rambo 2, and yes Rush Hour 2 and Beverly Hills Cop 1/2. I would argue between Skyfall, M:I 4, and Fast Five that we’ve hopefully seen a potential reemergence of the old-school real-world action picture, but we’ll see…

  20. cadavra says:

    Lex, you live in L.A. Christmas Day will be 88 and sunny.

  21. hcat says:

    Scott, you missed the third Bourne, and the second would probably bump up if you adjusted.

    But agree totally, would much rather see cops and cowboys than superheros and am glad while the pendelum is not going to swing all the way back, we will still get a couple real world action movies a year (and that are all not produced by Luc Besson).

  22. Oh I wasn’t being comprehensive, just major action films that arguably made more than Skyfall when adjusted for inflation (it will pass Bourne 2 and Bourne 3 by around $275m, give or take). I’ll wait to see where Skyfall ends up before running those numbers (purely for unscientific fun, natch), but if it gets to $300 million it’s in the top ten such films even when adjusted for inflation.

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