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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by Klady Most Estimated

Weekend Estimates 2014-03-23 at 9.22.32 AM

Divergent is fine. Will its stars build a much bigger audience than there seems to be for this first film? That is the question Summitsgate is asking itself this weekend. The answer is, “probably not.” So look for tight spending on the 2nd film and a wait & see attitude. But there is plenty of gas in this tank to make all three movies… maybe not enough to stretch #3 in to #3 and #4.

Muppets Most Wanted is the kind of product you tend to get from a studio that is no longer in the business of making movies or selling anything that isn’t a franchise picture. And Disney isn’t. Wrong cast for the purpose of selling a movie, wrong marketing, wrong publicity, really wrong date. A mess. I don’t know whether the movie is good or not… didn’t go. (And being a big Muppets fan, that choice by this individual was probably a bad sign for the film’s opening.) But the perceived quality of the film isn’t relevant to opening weekend box office. And I haven’t heard anything to suggest that it was a “must avoid” on any level.

Disney had a modest success with The Muppets and decided to go another direction this time out. I get that. Jason Segal singing is nothing something that sells Gonzo dolls at the theme park. But they cast the movie with two incredibly talented former hosts of The Golden Globes who are TV stars and not movie openers (to date) and the incredibly talented Ty Burell, adult star of Modern Family… which continued some of the Segal movie tone. But they made a more traditional Muppet movie, the design of which was to mix the biggest stars with Muppets, creating a built-in irony and a great twist when the combination brought real emotion. Orson Welles was the shocker in The Muppet Movie. But they also had Bob Hope, Milton Berle, James Coburn, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Madeline Kahn… a murderer’s row of hot and venerated talent from that time (1979). The current version would have Charlize Theron and Sandra Bullock (both mothers of young kids) fighting over the frog, Matthew McConaughey hanging with the band, Lena Dunham talking Piggy’s ear off, and Robert Downey Jr as the bad guy. That movie this was clearly not.

Anyway… throwing this film up against Divergent, knocking most of the girls out of considering buying a ticket this weekend, and publicity like Ms. Piggy mixing cocktails on that Bravo talk show… I mean, really funny idea, but not good publicity for the film they made.

God’s Not Dead. Well, he certainly can draw a crowd. Remember a few of weekends ago when a $25.6 million opening for Son of God was “disappointing?” No one was paying attention to GND this weekend, so its a positive surprise at 1/3 of SoG’s opening gross. And so it goes…

The Grand Budapest Hotel and Bad Words are the two strong screen expanders this weekend. With $22.2k per on 304 screens, Budapest is pretty much going according to best hopes. With $5747 on each of 87 screens, Bad Words is likely in a fight to get to $10m domestic. The hope is always in word-of-mouth in these expansion plays… so time will tell.

The Monuments Men was not an Oscar movie… but it is not only Clooney’s biggest success as a director, it looks to nearly double both the domestic and international gross of any other film he has directed. Notably, it will outgross 12 Years A Slave domestically… which says something about something. (It will do significantly less than 12 Years internationally, which, especially given the not-so-keen-on-Blacks-in-cinema realities of international box office, says something else about something else.)

Speaking of 12 Years A Slave, it is having, by far, the biggest post-Oscar “bump,” but the bump will only be about $6 million domestically. The number is similar to Argo… but Argo was already on DVD when it won Best Picture. The King’s Speech, The Artist, Slumdog Milionaire, and non-winner Silver Linings Playbook all had significant post-Oscar bumps in recent years. Notably, three of those were Weinstein movies and the release patterns were designed to accelerate off of Oscar. Slumdog was a great entertainment that seems to have needed to be legitimized by Oscar (including one of the most memorable and infectious music appearances on the Oscar telecast in years) to find a more mainstream audience. 12 Years grossed more than Artist and less than King’s Speech… so make of all of this what you will. I take the perspective that Americans treated 12 Years almost like a foreign film and certainly not as an entertainment with which they wanted to go out and celebrate. And that is probably as it should be, really.

Veronica Mars off 77%. Not a surprise. $3.5 million in theatrical (which they’ll probably get to) is about what you would expect from a VOD movie of this ilk.. a success, really.

Lars von Trier showed you his balls and no one much cared. Modest response to endless media hype for Nymphomaniac. The sad part of the indie weekend is that the completely enchanting, commercially viable The Lunchbox is doing well, but really hasn’t gotten the kind of media love it deserves, helping push it along to even higher numbers.

15 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady Most Estimated”

  1. berg says:

    Blood Lines was an excellent afternoon at the movies … great cast especially Caan and Owens …. great period recreation, superb ending … glad I saw it on the big screen

  2. EtGuild2 says:

    The thing is…Disney IS back in the business of making movies, at least temporarily before Marvel expands to 3 a year, Pixar kicks back into gear and LucasFilm is brought into the fold. They have 3 more live-action “non-franchise” movies to sell between now and December, though they are right in their wheelhouse (sports dramas and a fantasy). They are also taking a big risk with “Big Hero 6″ which might be the “least Disney” animated movied ever released by the company (it’s a Marvel product, but is being produced in-house). But yeah, if you look back at everything non-Marvel/Pixar since 2012…it doesn’t look particularly good.

    What’s with the love for “Monuments Men?” It’s neither a good movie, or likely much of a profitable one with that huge budget, and the fact they shifted dates after marketing had already begun in earnest.

    “God’s Not Dead” is really a shock, because the Freestyle model (they don’t pay for P&A…at all) just hasn’t taken. This is the biggest Freestyle opening ever by a whopping 50%, and nothing released by the banner has cracked $3 million TOTAL in 5 years.

    The “Divergent” opening pattern is more “Hunger Games” than “Twilight” (aka, it didn’t do 50% of its business on Friday), more male, and older so it may end up surpassing Edward and Bella. Lionsgate reaction will be interesting to watch this week. Will investors irrationally continue to punish it for not having a higher debut?

    Re: “Blood Ties,” I’m such a fan of “Tell No One,” it’s good to hear a good reaction. Maybe I’ll run out to see it now:)

  3. JS Partisan says:

    Ethan, “Divergent” still doesn’t come across as a win like “Twilight” did. It’s not the opening they would have wanted, but it is enough of an opening to get another damn movie. Which is a win, when it comes to fucking YA trilogies.

    Oh yeah, Disney views The Muppets as a franchise, so they just made a bad franchise decision. Again, this shit happens, but Segal will be available for the next film. It will hopefully make more money, an there you go.

    One last thing about the stupidly titled, “GOD IS NOT DEAD.” Duck Dynasty. It made this kind of money, because of the Duck Dynasty people.

  4. movieman says:

    The only non-American who really aces their Yank accent in “Blood Ties” is the fantastic Matthias Schoenaerts,
    The rest? Not so much.
    I’m a Clive Owens fan, but have no idea what he was even doing in this movie.
    (At least Cotillard makes a smidgeon of sense since her husband directed it, lol.)
    The James Gray connection (he cowrote the script w/ Canet) is the most meaningful since–more often than not–it has a similar feel to Gray films like “We Own the Night” and “The Yards.”
    Not entirely sure why it’s set in the 1970s (or mostly uses music from the ’60s, lol). Possibly because “Ties” is a deliberate (even over deliberate) homage to Sidney Lumet’s ’70s New York films.
    But (as I stated in an earlier thread) flaws and all, I wound up liking it quite a bit. The Roadside/Lionsgate dump is both mystifying and depressing.

  5. movieman says:

    “God’s Not Dead and He Still Hates Fags.”

    Sadly, that monicker would’ve probably helped sell even more tickets to “The Faithful” and/or “DD” fans.

  6. EtGuild2 says:

    I actually think the Divergent/Twilight comparison looks favorable to “Divergent” on the opening weekend. Remember, the series has sold half as many books as “Twilight” had when released, and the opening weekend audience is more diverse. We’ll see.

    Duck Dynasty and Newsboys (the Christian rock band in the movie) or not, i’d be curious to know how something called “Pure Flix Entertainment” went about marketing this, considering its entire previous filmography (20+ films) made less than “God’s Not Dead” did on opening day.

    International box office had a lot of interesting stories this weekend: “Budapest” is already Anderson’s top film overseas, “Noah’s” debut was gangbusters, and “Need For Speed” is getting totally bailed out overseas…one suspects Disney wants to keep that story under wraps so it can dump Dreamworks :) On the upside they can focus on “Frozen” becoming the biggest Disney movie (non-Marvel) and biggest animated movie of all-time worldwide.

  7. matt says:

    Does anyone know why Nymphomaniac 2 got a small release by a different distributor a few weeks ahead of its scheduled release date?

  8. Chucky says:

    “Nymphomanic: Vol. 2″ was released in Canada this week. Magnolia Pictures has both parts in the States.

  9. jesse says:

    Kind of interested in the oft-repeated idea that Tina Fey isn’t a movie opener/star/whatever. She’s probably done too few movies to really tell, but I dunno: Mean Girls, Baby Mama, Date Night, Admission… didn’t three out of those four open? And if you’re going to say Date Night was all Carell, well, he’s had at least one leading-role movie open lower than Admission, and if you’re playing that game then Rudd has to be on the hook for Admission’s flop, too.

    I’m not saying she’s a huge movie star. But — possibly by virtue of not making a big play for movie stardom — her track record is actually pretty strong. Even if you say Mean Girls was a Lohan/subject/etc. phenom (and I’d argue Fey got the non-teens to take it seriously rather than catching up with it on video), Baby Mama and Date Night both opened BETTER than this Muppets movie.

  10. Hcat says:

    I never understood why Admissions was held to the same box office standard as her earlier comedies. Doesn’t the fact that it is being released by focus indicate that it was trying for a more selective niche audience than the film that was sold with the image if poehler peeing in the sink?

  11. cadavra says:

    Don’t you people read Breitbart? MUPPETS flopped because Real Americans are tired of having those leftist pieces of felt brainwashing our chillun with their Commie propaganda! (And also: Tina Fey, the bitch who kept the Goddess Palin out of the White House.)

  12. Chucky says:

    Sounds like a Sean Hannity wannabe!

    Back to real life: “The Lunchbox” may be “commercially viable” and from India, yet Sony Pictures Classics is willing to bury it in the arthouse ghetto. There are 3 megaplexes in my area that play Bollywood fare alongside the mainstream movies. All 3 are picking up a Bollywood title from a Bollywood distributor rather than “The Lunchbox”.

  13. leahnz says:

    chucky, are you still in Jersey, diving head-first into your frozen above-ground swimming pool and threatening hapless projectionists with your packed heat? (i know the second one is less likely given actual projectionists are going the way of the dodo in the digital age, but the mental image of you living in copland with your above-ground pool, seething over quote-whores and the legion of doom gives me the warm fuzzies)

  14. chris says:

    “Lunchbox” does not have much in common with the Bollywood films I have seen. In any case, it is a shame that SPC does not seem to be fully behind it anymore. When they screened it last December, they seemed to be but then I guess the non-Oscar nomination happened.

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