By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Estimates by Lee Daniels’ The Klady
I can’t really estimate the final domestic number for Lee Daniels’ The Butler (LDTB). It’s not your traditional wide release. It isn’t playing like a phenom. But it has unique upside opportunity. The biggest question is where it will be in 10 days, after Labor Day Weekend. After that, it will start seeing much more aggressive competition in theaters. My guess on that would would about $70m-75m. $100m should be doable by the end of its (initial) run. This box office success – LDTB will pass the total domestic gross of Lee Daniels’ Precious this weekend – makes this the likely awards horse for The Weinstein Company in the “serious and ethnic” category that we all wish no longer existed in the mind of the industry or awards voters, but that we know does.
We’re The Millers is yet another raunchy comedy hit for Warner Bros/New Line (a genre Seth Gordon took to Universal this year for Identity Thief). Reviews aren’t good… audiences aren’t intensely enthusiastic… but the need for a big, loud comedy wins the day for millions of people. Do you know how many straight-out comedies there were this entire summer? Five. Do you know that every one of them will gross over $95 million domestic? They are the cheapest five films on the Top 18 for the season.
The World’s End is the third of three intended films from Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg and Nick Frost about guys in England faced with change in their lives and an overwhelming external force. With steady growth of interest in the first two films through Home Entertainment, each film has made more than the last and this one will easily be the biggest open of the trilogy (opening day is bigger than Shaun‘s total opening weekend). It is still niche material in the big picture, but a good example (and reminder) of a film that will be beloved by a lot of people and last forever while some much bigger comedies open to a multiple of this one and will rarely be thought of again by film lovers.
The Mortal Instruments is the latest non-starter franchise for tweens. The first Percy Jackson movie got a bailout by the international market. This film would need to get an even more help to not be a loss. The crazy thing is, they will keep trying and eventually, one of these non-Twilight/non-Hunger Games things will hit. But in the meanwhile, pain.
You’re Next seems to have been a happy collaboration between the filmmakers and distributor Lionsgate. But the number still ends up looking like The Devil’s Rejects. And maybe that is enough for this to feel like a success. I believe this is Adam Wingard’s first release from a top-end distributor as a stand-alone director. So it may be a very happy number for him, even if others write it off as irrelevant in the context of the big release universe.
Leading Indieville, it’s pretty close per-screen battle between The Grandmaster & Short Term 12… but I give the win to ST12, which had a small fraction of the marketing that the gorgeous, rich, layered Wong Kar-Wai ass kicker. Also, there is the expanding Blue Jasmine, which should have a $3m weekend. Sony Classics can’t be overly thrilled with a 1000 screen expansion leading to less than double last weekend’s gross. But still… pretty good.