By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekend Estimates by Everything Is Still Legos Klady
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.
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.