By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Estimates By ZD Klady
Another strong opening expansion day for an award-chasing film. The template on this one, however, is more 2002′s Black Hawk Down than Lincoln. And by that standard, this opening day also has to be a little bit of a letdown. A little bit.
With due respect, the public has not spoken to Kathryn Bigelow not getting an Oscar nom… this number has to do—as almost every single opening does—to marketing and not media issues. Sony has done a decent job marketing this film to men and a mediocre one (at best) marketing it to women and Oscar voters. Bigelow not being nominated was a failure. I believe that voting issues were a big part of it, but also, the failure to make the case for her and the film is on the studio and its strategy & tactics.
And my guess is—guess—that there was another $5 million out there this weekend for this movie if some women—not all—felt this was a great choice for them as well as for their male counterparts. After all, this is a movie with a woman at the heart of it who stands up against the boys’ club and turns out to be right. It’s Norma Rae in the CIA… in part.
The most overstated box office story of the week has been the “Oscar bump” story. ZD30 is a massive expansion. Neither Django Unchained or Les Misérables is looking at a weekend bump. Lincoln will be up in the mid-teens, though there was a 7% theater expansion and the film’s numbers were slowing enough to feel even a fairly small bump. Silver Linings Playbook had a 9% theater expansion, but is looking at growth in the 30s, but like Lincoln, the actual dollars we’re talking about are low enough ($1.2m last Friday to $1.5m this Friday) that the idea of a bump gets exaggerated. Life of Pi is estimated to drop “only” 20%, which is better than a normal weekend, but hardly a news flash. Argo‘s impressive 48% leap from last Friday to this one is less exciting when you realize that WB doubled the screen count and the double is still only an estimated $335k yesterday.
In other words, the only real story here in terms of a bump is Lincoln and even that is so-so.
In non-awards box office, A Haunted House came up behind Gangster Squad to win Friday. There is a good chance that GS will regain the #2 slot by the end of the weekend as these spoof movies tend to weaken over even the first weekend. I’m not really shocked by the Gangster Squad start, as the young stars of the film—all of whom I really like and like to see work—have narrow box office powers and this film hasn’t played to those commercial strengths. The ads have gotten to be more and more about Gosling and Stone, which is smart, but not so much that it became the draw of the film. Sean Penn is a great actor and sometimes hits gold, but his stylized work here kinda works against what people like about Gosling. Brolin is a little lost in the marketing. They just never found that clear call to action for ticketbuyers. This isn’t a terrible opening, but it’s not a thriller by any means. It will be interesting to see how the film travels, as this group of actors includes some of the star power that Hollywood expects to rely on for the next couple of decades.