“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
~ James Gray
By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Estimates by Kladvergent
Not a very interesting weekend. Divergent is looking like $50m minimum, but likely more like $60m. Feels like old news already.
Muppets Most Wanted, after a lot of publicity and a good amount of marketing $s spent, starts flat with every girl over 7 having other plans this weekend. Not only is a weak Friday, but if you look back at The Muppets, which opened on a Wednesday ($6.5m), dipped a little on Thursday ($5.8m), before a strong Friday ($12.1m)… all of which are better days that this new film’s opening day. And keep in mind, in the end, The Muppets only did $88.6 million domestic.
Why on God’s green earth did Disney open a movie looking for a family audience against Divergent, which was guaranteed to take out a significant segment of their demo? Moreover, why didn’t Open Road open the David Ayers movie (read: hard R) against the youth-skewing, female skewing, mega-movie, giving the testosteroned members of the family somewhere to hide at the multiplex?
None of the holdovers had a happy Friday against the new champ, with a drop off 42% being the best they could muster in the Top 10… except for The Grand Budapest Hotel, which expanded by 460% screens and added 70% at the box office. Actually, those stats are quite good. They represent a different strategy by Steve Gilula on this Wes Anderson release, faster than Moonrise Kingdom (4 weeks before expanding to 385 screens), but not as fast as Fantastic Mr. Fox (from 4 screens to over 2,000 in the 3rd week)… and has Grand Budapest running stronger than either film. It will be another month or so before we really know where Budapest will land amongst the Anderson titles. There is a big chasm in Wes Anderson films between $25 million and $45 million (two above 45, the rest below 25). It took 10 full weeks for Moonrise to get to $40 million. It looks like Budapest will be in the higher group, but only time will really tell.
Meanwhile, for all the hand (it is hand, right?) wringing by critics over Nymphomaniac Volume 1, the film is opening on more screens than Melancholia and threatens to do half the opening weekend gross, pretty much guaranteed to do less than half by per-screen measure. Two factors in my view here. First, the VOD Ceiling continues to neuter indie theatrical. Second, it’s a dirty movie and those films rarely do strong theatrical business here. All that said, Nymph1 will open stronger than Blue Is The Warmest Color, which was widely regarded with great esteem, except in the New York Times, which campaigned against the film with multiple stories before the actual rave review by AO Scott that ran on opening weekend. Nymph1 has not been attacked or as strongly praised, by the New York Times or anywhere else. It has gotten a few raves and a few attacks, but mostly soft slightly-positive shrugs. But even if the film doubles Blue Is The Warmest Color‘s numbers, still meh… though that would still be better than Melancholia‘s eventual domestic total of $3 million.