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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by Everything Is Still Legos Klady

Weekend Estimates 2014-02-16 at 11.39.26 AM

The Lego Movie had the best 2nd domestic weekend of the last year, aside from Iron Man 3 and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (aka the #1 an #2 films of 2012), outdoing both Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University and their summer berths. Now… we need to show some restraint on that stat, as both of last summer’s animated smashes were well ahead of Lego at the end of the 2nd weekend, as both opened bigger and had the summer advantage on the weekdays. But still, quite impressive for a February animated release. Lego will likely be the #2 February release of all time (current #2, Hitch, with $179.5m) by this time next week… maybe a couple days after… with only The Passion of The Christ‘s $370 million looking at it in its rearview mirror.

Play the theme song!

Though About Last Night came up short of $30m for the 3-day, it is still part of a remarkable run by Kevin Hart. He’s worked his way into that space where Eddie Murphy once was, Jim Carrey once was, and where Will Ferrell still lives sometimes… a comedy star who makes movies that do not cost a lot to make, so there is a ton of profit. The next step is making cheap movies where the star comedian is by far the most expensive commodity in play. That still tends to make a ton of profit. The phase after that (aka, the career destroyer) is when the star comedian wants to make more expensive films or dramas that don’t fit the expected role of comedian.

It will be interesting to see what the next couple of deals for Hart are in this economic climate. I don’t know that I believe it, but with Jennifer Lawrence allegedly getting under $20 million for each of these last three Hunger Games movies, that suggests that the door is not as wide open as it once was. Honestly, I don’t know how J-Law isn’t getting $30m or $40m a movie for all three of the last three films in the series. At that price, she would literally still be a bargain. The old-school expectation of $20 million deals for Kevin Hart’s next couple movies probably won’t be quite that big, even if the production costs are under $20, making the price tag on the films $40 million or less. Current movie economics weigh international as a heavy part of the equation and “black movies” still don’t do much business overseas. (Eddie Murphy kinda leaped over that issue. Beverly Hills Cop did $85m international back in 1985… and before that, Eddie was always teamed with a white star.) If Hart is considered a sure bet to do $80m domestic, that’s $44m in rentals, maybe another $5m in international rentals as his star rises, post-theatrical markets, and a minimum $15m in marketing against the revenues. So $40m is a pretty good bet… with the potential of a lot of upside. If Hart can ever crack the international market, $50m productions become cash cows.

RoboCop is estimated at $20.5m, which may be a touch high, but it will also benefit from the holiday a bit. Hard to say how one should see this number. Decent. Not thrilling. The international has it nearing $100m already, so there’s that. Legs, both foreign and domestic, will tell the story in the end.

Endless Love and Winter’s Tale tried to ride the Valentine’s Day thing to modest results, the one that no one really could comprehend from the marketing getting the more modest results. Endless is exactly the kind of movie that would have been helped exponentially by having stars that the potential audience had some kind of relationship with. Beautiful images in ads, female director with some chops, familiar title… but no real heat. And I know that Colin Farrell is in Winter’s Tale. Aside from that, a complete blank. The book on these movies is not terribly unfamiliar. You need a clear pitch and some actors that audiences want to see fall in love. Easier said than accomplished, I guess.

The Oscar chart for the weekend looks like this…
Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 3.02.15 PM

February ain’t doing any Oscar movie too many favors. Philomena passes $30 million. 12 Years A Slave can’t quite get to $50 million domestic.

31 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Everything Is Still Legos Klady”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    Monuments Men already has grossed more than Nebraska and Dallas Buyers Club combined. Not trying to compare apples to oranges, and I certainly don’t mean to ding the two Oscar nominees (which I like a lot — in fact, watched Dallas again just last night). I was just a bit… well, surprised by the numbers.

  2. matt says:

    Nice per screen average for Beijing Love Story!

  3. movieman says:

    The surprise (in most quarters) success of “MM” proves that the AARP crowd disregards bad reviews the same way as youngsters who routinely flock to the latest “B”-horror flavor of the week (or the African-American demographic who helped make Tyler Perry a multi-millionaire) if it’s something they really want to see.
    As someone who admires the hell out of George Clooney (and who found “MM” a not unpleasant two hours of my life), I’m not displeased.

  4. EtGuild2 says:

    That’s a good point movieman. In the case of MM, it also helped, I’m sure, that the trailer was playing in theaters for like 5 months, long enough that most older moviegoers saw it at least 2 or 3 times (I saw it upwards of 8), so the combination of “That cast, Nazis, art, That Handsome Mr. Clooney!” was able to essentially beat them into submission with endless repetition. ;)

  5. SamLowry says:

    So were there a gazillion blood squibs in the ROBOCOP remake? Real ones, not that digital crap.

    I liked how the guys at Screen Junkies said in October that this movie might work if it satirized shitty studio remakes by being a shitty studio remake:

    How to Fix ROBOCOP.

    Oh, and a 3rd place, $20M opening for an action movie is HORRIBLE. It’s death, and yet the studios are so thoroughly prostrated before the altar of international sales that they’re still willing to say “All is well”?

  6. Amblinman says:

    Robocop is actually a *good* movie, just a shame it isn’t a fun movie. I appreciate Padilla actually investing the film with more than I’m sure the studio wanted, I just wish he has let the audience have a little fun in the process. Every single standoff with the main villains is anti-climactic. Maybe that’s the point…which just makes it a poor choice vs poor filmmaking.

    But DAMN if this movie isn’t a testament to the fact that Hollywood needs to forgive Michael Keaton whatever imagined sins he’s committed and give this guy better/bigger roles in more stuff. His leading man days are over but if ever an actor deserved a second act, it’s Keaton. (Or is this his third act with everything post-Returns being the second?)

  7. EtGuild2 says:

    Esquire’s recent profile of Keaton is excellent (http://www.esquire.com/features/michael-keaton-interview-0214) –I’m hopeful that Iñárritu’s “Birdman” will serve as a sort of comeback.

    It’s been a tough last couple years for more traditional, tough guy action fare. Both flicks coming out this weekend–Costner with a gun and Pompeii–smell like misfires, and the stylized “300″ prequel reeks. Thank god for Liam Neeson.

  8. movieman says:

    The Esquire piece was a fun read, but “Birdman” worries the crap out of me.
    “Master of Portentous Gloom” Inarritu doing comedy sounds as implausible–and as much of a recipe for disaster–as Tarantino directing a rom-com.

  9. Eric says:

    The WTF podcast episode with Keaton was great too. He seems like a good guy.

  10. Hcat says:

    I like that one of the films Keaton wanted him to check out was Multiplicity, which like every Ramis movie post groundhog is a mess of great ideas sloppily executed. Keaton was great in it, and though the article makes it sound like he seems to have a been there done that attitude towards comedic roles, the guy is one of the most natural comediNs of the last few decades.

    It’s weird to recall that most of the older people I knew couldn’t tell him and Hanks apart until big and batman.

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    Not so weird. I recall Keaton being on some talk show back in the day — Oprah, maybe — where someone in the audience asked if he’d ever co-star with Tom Hanks in a movie. And he only half-jokingly replied that he didn’t think so, because they were too often competing for the same roles.

  12. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Yeah, it’s kind of weird how Keaton and Hanks kind of had dovetailing careers and then their paths wildly diverged the deeper into the nineties we got. I can imagine Hanks in Mr Mom, The Dream Team or even Beetlejuice funnily enough. It’s not a stretch to imagine Keaton in The Burbs, A League Of Their Own or Dragnet either. On that note, I seem to be one of the few who really enjoyed Larry Crowne from Hanks recently. Maybe just because we’ve become too used to seeing him in more lofty fare, but I appreciated the effort he made to recreate the light touch and self-deprecating charm he seemed to have in his early eighties roles and then waylaid.

  13. hcat says:

    Hanks had such an odd trajectory, first he’s in a bunch of comedies with Jerry Lewis plots, gently morphing into a suburban Cary Grant until Apollo when all of a sudden he’s Gregory Peck.

  14. chris says:

    Not sure where “Bonfire of the Vanities,” “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump” fit into that scenario, hcat.

  15. hcat says:

    Well they sort of overlap there, Bonfire is Grant just as Joe and Punchline would be. Gump’s simple guy in a big world would fit in with Lewis (not that Hanks ever approached the broadness of Lewis’s delivery), and Philadelphia’s man against the injustice of the time would fit the mode of something like Peck’s Gentleman’s Agreement.

    These are of course not exact correlations, Hanks wasn’t as baggypants as Lewis, or as fancypants as Grant but I could if the films were made during different eras, they would be fine vehicles for the stars mentioned.

    Another odd thing about Hanks is that they weren’t heckeled for attempting more dramatic roles. Yes they caught a lot of heat for Bonfire and Batman casting, but these had rabid fanbases that would have cursed the heavens whomever was chosen. But after the reaction to Steve Martin in Pennies From Heaven or the way Murray was practically crucified for Razor’s Edge, Hanks turn in Nothing in Common and Keaton in Clean and Sober were practically unmentioned.

  16. EtGuild2 says:

    Just got back from a screening of POMPEII…it could have been a lot worse. The effects were uneven, some awful, but some actually gave me a rush. I couldn’t understand how Roman Polanski was once attached to direct this though, and then discovered Polanski’s version was based on a well respected novel. I was sitting there thinking, well, I understand that Paul W.S. Anderson took some pretty big liberties with it, but…uhhhh…

    This isn’t going to play well here, as it has a very Euro feel, although it was a Canadian shoot. In fact, I’m not sure they’re going to cover marketing costs with another epic right on its sandals…err heels…in 2 weeks (300 Part 2). With releases like this, sometimes I wonder if it’s not better just to limited dump it here and go for broke on international…China eats this stuff up.

  17. chris says:

    Oh, hcat, but “Philadelphia” comes before “Apollo,” so is that when he suddenly becomes Peck?

  18. Glamourboy says:

    The role that really got away, as far as I’m concerned, for Michael Keaton is the lead in American Beauty. I think he would have knocked that one over the fence. Kevin Spacey was great, but Michael Keaton would have been monumental.

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    I don’t think Hanks was ever comfortable with the Cary Grant comparisons. I vividly remember a moment on the Big junket when someone brought up that subject, and Hanks did everything but stick his finger in his mouth and make a gagging noise to indicate his disapproval.

  20. scooterzz says:

    “The role that really got away, as far as I’m concerned, for Michael Keaton is the lead in American Beauty. I think he would have knocked that one over the fence. Kevin Spacey was great, but Michael Keaton would have been monumental”

    at the junket for ‘snow day’ chevy chase said he turned down the spacey role in ‘american beauty’…now, THAT would have been monumental (but not necessarily in a good way)…

  21. christian says:

    I think Chase has a great performance in him with the right director. Carpenter got some good stuff from him in MEMOIRS OF AN INVISIBLE MAN.

  22. leahnz says:

    “at the junket for ‘snow day’ chevy chase said he turned down the spacey role in ‘american beauty’…”

    this is like the funniest thing ever (was he actually serious? or just being dry) – in any case for some reason it reminds me of gene Hackman having the rights to ‘silence of the lambs’ wanting to play lecter for so long, the thought of gene Hackman playing Hannibal lector also strikes me funny (and i love me some popeye so not disparaging gene just the idea of a hackman/hannibal the cannibal merger i find hilarious)

  23. movieman says:

    …and don’t forget, Et: Polanski’s “Pompeii” was supposed to be a reunion
    w/ his “Chinatown” scribe, Robert Towne.

  24. EtGuild2 says:

    Pretty stunning that WOWS is now on track to sail past GATSBY worldwide. It’s going to end up as Scorsese’s biggest ever worldwide by a country mile, and DiCaprio’s 4th (Titanic, Inception, Django). Remarkable given that it was banned in many countries or severely edited. And to think Marty was going to make WOWS before “Shutter Island,” but things didn’t come together, and when they finally did it was made outside the studio system. Huzzah.

    Also, Dreamworks has been very quiet on PEABODY AND SHERMAN, which is having a pretty mediocre rollout so far in Europe. On track for less than half of what CROODS made in the UK and France last year. Yikes.

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    Leah: I had always heard that Hackman wanted to direct Silence of the Lambs. Never heard he wanted to play Hannibal as well. Yikes.

  26. cadavra says:

    Was ROCKY & BULLWINKLE popular in Europe? If not, that might partly explain the indifferent reception.

  27. EtGuild2 says:

    BYOB?

  28. leahnz says:

    joe: yeah according the pretty bitchin’ ‘making of tSotL’ doc, Hackman had the rights and was attached to play lecter through much of the development/casting process before it fell apart for him (it’s one of the best ‘making of’ feature docs i’ve seen, just for the sheer amount of fascinating detail and insights provided into all aspects of the production, with demme, jodi, hopkins, tally, tak, zea and all the gang on board talking about the experience, way cool)

  29. movieman says:

    …which might explain why DreamWorks/Foz has been promoting the hell out of “P&S.”
    Nat’l TV spots have been running in heavy rotation before “LEGO” (which, more than unfamiliarity w/ the source material, will hurt it the most) even opened.

  30. movieman says:

    Uh, that should have been “Fox,” lol.

  31. YancySkancy says:

    I would’ve sworn I left this comment before, but anyone remember when Whoopi Goldberg lobbied to play the Will Graham character in Mann’s MANHUNTER? That actually happened.

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