By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Estimates by Klady With A Chance Of Saturday Bumps
Cloudy 2, which is great giddy fun, is looking to be on the Epic track. Low 30s opening, low 100s domestic total. Will there be growth in international, which pretty much mirrored domestic on the first film? Who knows?
Rush went wide to results as mediocre as last week’s exclusive runs suggested. Universal had reason to be afraid. Problem is… it’s a great little movie and it deserves better. The last time Ron Howard went through “one of these” was for The Missing, which got unfairly beat up by critics for being to Ford-like (or Ford-lite,a s they might have suggested) and he kinda went back to more traditional Ron Howard fare. I hope that won’t be the case here. The good news is that he is already shooting a period (1820s) whale hunt movie with a great cast and a lot of challenges. I would love for this movie to do more than $30 million and be in the awards race… but that’s looking less and less likely.
Don Jon is a movie about a guy who has a porn problem and the question of whether true intimacy can overcome it. Baggage Claim is a movie about a girl with a ticking clock problem and the question of whether she can find true intimacy with a bunch of fantasy men or if the answer is a bit more humble (albeit quite hunky by real people standards). $3.3 million worth of ticket buyers wanted to join in seeking those answers, for each film, on Friday.
These two films represent two classic niches in the domestic film business these days. Joseph Gordon Levitt (and the Hip Factory) is very cool, very talented, and is being treated like the flavor of the month… even though I expect him to navigate these waters and last a long time. He is currently the “Breaking Bad” of movie actors… highly talented, with all the buzz and nowhere near the numbers of major openers.
Baggage Claim is a likeable enough urban comedy… meaning, it’s FUBU… released by Searchlight. The movie would be equally likable for white people. (Some people just won’t like any silly romantic comedy.) But let’s not be coy. As fantastic and crossover as Paula Patton and Jill Scott and Derek Luke and Taye Diggs and the rest of the cast are, it’s hard to draw a white audience to a movie with a nearly-exclusively Black cast (even with Adam Brody). Not a lot of historic comparisons to make. This kind of film is not being made much anymore. The Kevin Hart concert film opened a little better. The Tyler Perry movie Temptation opened to almost triple this number.
You know what the Baggage Claim number looks a lot like? Brown Sugar and Just Wright, two other black rom-coms the studio released. It’s kind of fascinating to look at the “romantic comedy” category that Box Office Mojo lays out as regards Searchlight. There are only 15 listed since 1996… less than one a year. The #1 (in domestic gross) is (500) Days of Summer… which never had a screen count of over 1048, a little less than half of the count to which Baggage Claim opened. #2 is Brown Sugar. #3 is Just Wright. Not a single Caucasian rom-com ever got to more than 1200 screens. All three of the “urban” rom-coms started with more than that.
Overall, no Fox Searchlight rom-com has ever grossed over $33 million domestic. So that is why Searchlight is not known as “the rom-com studio.” (Even if you include Marigold Hotel as a rom-com, the glass ceiling is $46m domestic, though that film did double that internationally.) But their success with Black rom-coms is pretty consistent (sample of 3). And that is why movies like Baggage Claim still find a home at Searchlight… and an audience to go with it. They are a nice piece of business.
There is an interesting little cluster of Warner Bros titles between $135 million and $145 million domestic right now. The Conjuring, the still in-release We’re The Millers, and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. These are the #2 – #5 films for WB domestically this year. (Internationally, Hangover 3 is #2 with Gatsby right behind it and the others well off the pace at this point.) This actually makes WB the owner of the most (4) movies in the Top 13 Domestic 2013 to date. (If that’s too clever/specific for your tastes, they also have a leading 5 of the Top 20.) WB has only 1 in the Top 10 Domestic… so that offers a different perspective. But still, interesting. Millers has been very leggy, with more than 5x opening weekend.
it’s a bit of a flat weekend for indie newcomers. There are a couple exclusive runs looking at around $10k per for the weekend. The biggest indie is the Metallica film, released by The Berneys at Picturehouse, which is on 309 IMAX screens and will do over $2m, but per-screen is likely around $7k for the 3-day, which is not overwhelming. (Movie is really good, by the way… assuming you enjoy metal.)