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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by More-Complex-Than-Expected Klady

Friday Estimates 2013-09-21 at 9.07.24 AM

Prisoners is one of the more interesting releases of the month. It’s being sold pretty simply as a thriller. Two names, both of whom give their very best to the film, lead the way, but don’t guarantee box office success. And a movie that, once seen, is more than meets the eye (or is that “beats the eye”?). Personally I am rooting for it, though I fear for most movies that demand more of the audience than the audience was expecting. Once in a while, audiences are surprised and delighted by it. But WB has had some success with this, releasing The Town and Contagion in September.

We’ll see what the fate of Prisoners is. And that will start with how it plays today (Saturday).

Also opening is Battle of the Year, for which I don’t recall seeing a single ad. I’m sure some have been out there… but not in my conscious life. Pretty underwhelming number, especially for Screen Gems. This is looking like the third or fourth-lowest grossing wide release in the history of the division.

Personally, I don’t get Rush going out on 5 screens. It’s a big ol’ movie and it kicks ass. But women are an issue. And a per-screen of under $40k per on 5 for a movie getting a big studio push is not a home run. So maybe they just have trouble in River City on this one. Snow White was catnip for women and Thor’s hottie-ness. F1 isn’t… unless the women are very hot, very rich, and a little slutty (per the story). And for guys, is anything less than Thor kicking ass going to bring them in? I am rooting for this movie big time as well. It’s is certainly in the Top 3 of studio movies released this year to date. But September may have been a giant release date mistake. At least in summer the Nascar crowd is milling about. Finding the audience this one deserves is rough.

Also in limited is Enough Said, which, being a Nicole Holofcener movie, is a much better candidate to build word-of-mouth on the coasts. And amazingly, it is doing better per-screen than Rush on just one less screen. Holofcener is a brand at the art house and the NYT rave helps and the casting of both Julia Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in his final role. But Holofcener first. A much happier story than Rush right now.

24 Responses to “Friday Estimates by More-Complex-Than-Expected Klady”

  1. Etguild2 says:

    What a number for “Enough Said,” especially considering it was released on Wednesday! I’m surprised there hasn’t been more Gandolfini awards talk outside of a handful of critics. I think, for once, it speaks to the number of strong performances this year rather than the quality of his performance.

    Btw this isn’t Gandolfini’s final role…

    Wayyyyy too many limited releases this week. “Thanks for Sharing,” which is decent, unsurprisingly got lost in the shuffle, as did “After Tiller” and “Haute Cuisine.”

  2. Bulldog68 says:

    Man that We’re the Millers has got some legs on it. Who would have thought that the summer movies with the best legs would eventually be two R rated comedies, Millers and This is the End.

  3. movieman says:

    Yeah, I was disappointed in those opening day numbers for “Sharing,” too, Et. I liked that movie a lot; surprised the reviews (which probably delivered the k.o. punch) weren’t better. Sometimes it’s lonely being a one-man band, lol.
    “Enough” looks like it could (finally!) be Holofcener’s commercial breakthrough. It’s been a long time coming. Considering the jubilant tenor of the reviews (even Armond White liked it!) and its commercial success, I wouldn’t be surprised if Holofcener’s screenplay and Gandolfini get Oscar nominations.
    “Haute Cuisine” looks like another Gallic non-starter for Weinstein after “Populaire” stiffed earlier this month.

  4. movieman says:

    You are correct re: Gandolfini, Et.
    “Animal Rescue” comes out next year.
    If Gandolfini gets a supporting nod for “ES,” it would be the first posthumous actor nod since….?

  5. Etguild2 says:

    Since Ledger.

    The trajectory for “Millers” is remarkably similar to “Knocked Up.” Domestically, it is going to be Warner Bros’ biggest non-sequel/prequel/reboot since “Inception,” which is pretty insane, not to mention the biggest live action movie released in the 3rd quarter this year, which is equally insane.

  6. PcChongor says:

    That Insidious 2 drop is insane. Still going to make a massive profit, but I guess that’s why they need 6-7 of these kind of low budget horror cash grabs to equal one tentpole.

  7. movieman says:

    “Instructions Not Included” finally opened in my neck of the woods this weekend, and I naturally felt duty-bound to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.
    What godawful tripe!
    Nothing works in this thing: not the cretinous “comedy;” not the cringe-inducing sentimentality. The script and performances are strictly amateur hour.
    How sad that Spanish-speaking U.S. audiences are so starved for a Spanish language film that they turned this swill into a “grassroots phenomenon.”
    They deserve better. Hell, anybody buying a ticket deserves better.

  8. Chris says:

    “The Heat” is another R-rated comedy that had amazing holds, fyi.

  9. LexG says:

    Saw RUSH yesterday and a) yeah, it’s awesome and all, but it b) was one of the weirder audience make-up movies in a while; It was fairly full but was 95% male, and to the extent you can divine these things from demeanor and age, the crowd seemed to be the type of guys who don’t go to movies very often. Lots of distracting solo weirdos with backpacks sneaking in burgers and burritos (this is was at “upscale” theater where this is usually rare), crusty middle-aged men in pairs, the occasional film geek. The audience was so bad and annoying I had to move seats twice during the movie. Only mentioning that because even in LIMITED, it seemed to be playing to WEIRD MIDDLE-AGED MAN rather than hipsters or date-night couples or women who like Hemsworth.

    I’ve been wondering for a while if its tracking was low, since it HAS to be the most-trailed Uni movie in forever– they’ve cut like four or five different trailers trying every approach, NONSTOP TV ads, Ron Howard doing a media blitz on par with the Twilight kids… It’s a great movie and clearly they want it to catch on, but everyone I’ve evangelized it to before and since seeing it has said something like “Eh, racing, boring.” Uphill climb I guess but strong movie.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    Movieman: You should check out the comments generated by my Variety review of Instructions Not Included. I remain immune to the movie’s charms, but it obvious hit the sweet spot for a lot of people.

  11. LexG says:

    I wonder, re: PRISONERS, and what DP alludes to (I have not seen it yet, be mindful there’s an actual spoiler thread instead….)

    Are most people going in expecting it to be 160 MINUTES long? When I saw that, I couldn’t believe it. The trailer (which I’ve seen over 50 times, it seems) suggests like a 1992 WB potboiler from their drab Trial by Jury/Murder in the First “blue-dust” era. It looks like MURDER BY NUMBERS, some lazy-night 107-minute in-and-out deal. Can’t even conceive what the movie IS then if it’s not some little potboiler and it’s an HOUR LONGER than I’d have expected.

    I want to see it at the Arclight JUST to hear the audience groan when the introducer kid says “it has a runtime of 2 hours and 45 minutes with trailers.”

  12. movieman says:

    Lex-I enjoyed “Prisoners.”
    It’s a well-made, beautifully acted MAINSTREAM thriller, not the rarefied art flick the early reviews and cushy Telluride berth might have suggested.
    At heart, it felt like a solid 3-part HBO miniseries (akin to the BBC mini that aired on PBS this spring about the post-WW II British serial killer) where the director and writer weren’t impeded by time constraints and had the luxury of telling their story in a leisurely, as long-as-it-takes fashion.
    Really, the ultra-luxurious 153-minute running time is the only thing about “Prisoners” that felt remotely “arthouse” to me.
    “Zodiac” fans like myself will miss the purposeful ambiguity. But multiplex auds should eat it up. I predict long legs but negligible awards traction.

    Hey, Joe- It was your “mixed” Variety review that made me think I needed to see “INI,” lol. (Still can’t believe the NYT hasn’t reviewed the film yet: a shocking oversight for the “newspaper of record.”)
    Gawd; what a waste of a perfectly good Saturday afternoon.

  13. Etguild2 says:

    @Joe, I just saw “Wuss” and noticed you gave it a very positive review. Interesting film…the changes in tone were a bit too jarring for me, but I laughed more than I have for most movies this year. The director is clearly very talented.

    Re: “Instructions Not Included,” it’s embarrassing that this thing will probably dethrone “Pan’s Labyrinth” for the all-time Spanish-language gross.

    “The Heat” had good holds, but nothing like this. It was already out of the Top 12 by now, and “Millers” may finish in the Top 5 for the 7th straight weekend. (yeah there is less competition).

  14. Chris says:

    I know it’s a cliche but it happens to be true in this case: “Prisoners” does not feel as long as the clock says it is. I’d call it “brisk.”

  15. Botner says:

    Prisoners was anything but a generic throwback potboiler. Felt more like a Fincher movie to me. Beautifully shot (in a drab sorta way) too.

  16. movieman says:

    Joe- What are the “butterfly vaginas” one of your, er, critics was talking about?
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie like that before, lol.

  17. movieman says:

    Can somebody tell me why “The Wizard of Oz” had to re-released in “Imax 3-D”?
    Are there really kids out there who would only deign to watch “Oz” if it’s in either/or hi-tech format?
    That’s freaking ridiculous.

  18. Chucky says:

    “Rush” will crash and burn when it goes into wide release. Motorsports movies are box office poison even when they’re carried by corporate synergy. (NBC has the US rights to Formula One.)

    The premise for “Prisoners”? Academy Award Nominee … Academy Award Nominee … Academy Award Nominee … Academy Award Nominee … Academy Award Nominee … with Academy Award Winner. That, my friends, is Movie Promotion for the Terminally Stupid.

  19. Etguild2 says:

    If it gets even a few people to check out INCENDIES, I’m all for it. That movie’s a masterpiece.

  20. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    “Motorsports movies are box office poison ”

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the stupid.
    Chuck does it again.

  21. LexG says:

    I stand corrected on Prisoners. Loved it.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Movieman: Yeah, I wondered about that “butterfly vaginas” thing myself. I don’t want to make a lame joke about something getting lost in the translation, but…

  23. movieman says:

    Well, you know what Edward Albert said (or more precisely sang) in 1972, Joe:
    “Butterflies are free….they’re free for you and me.”
    (At least I think that’s the lyric, lol.)
    Btw, whatever happened to Albert? “Butterflies” was a major hit back then, but it seemed to have done absolutely nothing for his nascent screen career. (His dad’s performance in “The Heartbreak Kid” later that year produced more traction for the Senior Albert.)
    Even Tim Bottoms had better luck landing a few choice roles (e.g., “The Paper Chase”) after “TLPS.”

  24. cadavra says:

    Sadly, he died of lung cancer in 2006. He was only 55.

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