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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Captain Klady 2

Friday Estimates 2014-04-05 at 9.45.17 AM

Another big April opening with Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. The film did about 5% better on Friday than Fast Five did a few years ago, though it cost about 40% more. International will have a hard time matching Fast Five‘s $400 million. But all this is a negative take on what will be a profitable film in the Marvel Universe. But that is the hard part of the route Marvel and Disney are traveling. If Cap 2 was a $300m worldwide grosser instead of a $400m+ one, they’d be looking at taking a loss on the film. On the other hand, Thor 2 did double overseas what it did domestically… that is the model at which Marvel is aiming its mighty hammer.

Not much else out there to talk about. 62% off for Noah is no surprise, especially with a new superhero in town. Nice hold for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Mr Peabody & Sherman will hit a disappointing $100m domestic today or tomorrow.

And in limited release, a strong start for the challenging but beautiful Under The Skin for A24. The number lands right in the middle of A24’s release history, behind Spring Breakers, The Spectacular Now, and The Bling Ring, but ahead of Ginger & Rosa, Enemy, and Charles Swan III. I’m not sure that opening on top of another Scarlett movie was the smartest movie… maybe could have waited a week.

20 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Captain Klady 2”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    So I caught “God’s Not Dead.” Probably the strangest experience I’ve ever had at the movies. I guess I can see, from my experience, why it’s going to be the biggest grossing Christian indie ever by a country mile ($50 million seems doable), based on the audience reaction.

    There was cheering over a generic Powerpoint Presentation. There were boos and catcalls directed at the villainous Kevin Sorbo, and his Luciferian facial hair. One woman began weeping uncontrollably, to the point that it seemed as though she was having a complete emotional breakdown, and her husband escorted her from the theater. Most disturbing, a man called out “Terrorist!” during the portrayal of a Middle Eastern man who threatens to beat his young daughter if she reads the bible and the theater burst into applause.

    This movie was full of hate and a pervasive sense of Christian victimhood that plays up the worst evangelical stereotypes. The liberal blogger (Christopher Hitchens?) whose atheism crumbles in the face of cancer. The liberal college professor maniacally cackling “In this classroom, I AM GOD!”

    I get how stuff like Kirk Cameron’s “Fireproof,” “Courageous” and even Rick Santorum’s “Christmas Candle” is appealing–they have an uplifting message, even if it’s sometimes ham-fistedly delivered. “God’s Not Dead” seems designed to whip the flock into a frothing frenzy. Anyone else see it?

  2. Geoff says:

    Oy Etguild where did you see it?? Look every one’s entitled to see their rabble-rousing cinema of choice….I can remember almost ten years ago (wow has it been that long???) seeing Fahrenheit 9/11 opening weekend at the Century in Lakeview (Chicago) – lines wrapping around many levels and a truly juiced crowd that laughed, cheered, and cried in all of the right parts. It was a truly memorable movie-going experience that had me liking the film much more….until I saw it again at home six months later, eh. But that’s what cinema can do sometimes whether we agree with it or not.

    Also reminds of a more light-hearted story when I saw “The Passion of the Christ” earlier that year in a crowded matinee at the River East in Chicago. I was also “eh” on that movie, but could not deny the craft involved, but that audience experience… could hear a pin drop for the first hour, no sound at all. Wow very haunting stuff and yet there was a moment of levity that I will not forget: right at the shot when they pull up Jesus after being scourged and you see how bloodied he has been, some one in the audience screamed out “Jesus Christ!!!” in bemusement…..and everybody in the audience broke out in laughter, it was stupid but hysterical. You needed a tension breaker for that movie. :)

  3. Curious says:

    These CAPTAIN numbers are insane and higher than anyone’s most optimistic estimates.

    Weird how you’re just blowing that off.

  4. EtGuild2 says:

    That’s a very good point, Geoff. I remember seeing F9/11 at the Lincoln Center Loews, and the crowd was somewhat raucous. I had a similar experience when seeing “Expelled,” the intelligent design doc. Funny story about “Passion.”

    But this is a fictional movie, and uncontrollable weeping during what pretty much became a full-fledged concert in the movie by the Christian-rock back “Newsboys,” is a first, at least for me. The bellowing at Sorbo’s character and the Muslim parent had an edge to it that felt different from your typical Tyler Perry adulterer, though maybe I’m overreacting based on my worldview :)

    Btw, the theater was the Fairfax Corner 14 in Northern Virginia, a multiplex in a liberal area known for its Bollywood selection. Saturday morning matinee though…

  5. Geoff says:

    He’s blowing it off because it’s Marvel Studios what do you expect?? :)

    It’s a fantastic number for sure and it shows how they have really been able to build and maintain the brand….the real test will be in August with Guardians of the Galaxy, but worst case scenario now I see that doing Tron/Pacific Rim numbers ($400 million worldwide) and just breaking even, so they’ll probably be fine.

    I really think the bigger story to watch will be to see how the two non-Marvel Studios Marvel films will open next month: both Amazing Spiderman 2 and X Men have to blow these numbers away to be considered true successes and their studios are not fucking around when it comes to marketing both films. I can see Spidey 2 being the number one film of the summer actually probably doing $350 million domestic/ $1 billion worldwide while X Men probably getting saved by international doing $270 million domestic/ $700 million worldwide though I’m not sure it will make much profit. Cap 2 could end up doing $550 million worldwide easily though I wonder how much its international legs will get chopped by Spidey opening overseas in two weeks….still an unqualified smash, it will end up being the biggest April release ever.

    One thing I gotta ask though….even though this is probably feeding into Dave’s cynicism towards the Disney/Marvel plan….is why they can’t get the costs down for these superhero movies, well at the least the Marvel Studios ones?? Why did Thor, Cap, and Iron Man sequels all cost almost $200 million to make? I’m just wondering why with so many overlapping production schedules and contracted players, they can’t get these down a bit like they did for the Star Wars prequels or the LOTR trilogy. I mean I know that superhero movies for the most part are the most expensive….look at the $250 million costs for Dark Knight Rises, Days of Future Past, and Green Lantern…..but those were not part of twice-a-year franchises planned out years in advance. Dave MIGHT be on to something, but the lack of cost control on these Marvel films might eventually catch up to them….when even an 3rd-tier superhero like Ant-Man next summer(which I’m guessing will run in the same ballpark as the others when it comes to budget) has to now bust through $600 million worldwide to see real profit, you gotta wonder.

    Of course, you can go to any Disney Store in a nearby mall right now (where all of the Frozen toys have been sold out for months – my youngest turned 7 last month and we had to search for stuff online) and see growing sections of Marvel product, which might be part of the solution. But… they’re clearing shelf space for Star Wars product too now…..and by the way, when the hell did ONE Star Wars action figure start costing more than $27???

  6. EtGuild2 says:

    You wonder what the ancillary figures are–perhaps they are so high that capping the budgets at $150 million is irrelevant. Dave’s been warning about it for awhile, but looking ahead, you really can see how Disney is abandoning original content. In the next 18 months, there’s really only 5 movies that have a shot at $100 million worldwide that don’t involve Marvel/Pixar….PLANES 2, “re-imaginings” of “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty,” “Tomorrowland,” and Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” Following “Tomorrowland,” there isn’t an original Disney feature on the schedule for another 10 months.

  7. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Did Green Lantern really cost $250 million? If so …… yeeesh.

  8. RRA says:

    “If Cap 2 was a $300m worldwide grosser instead of a $400m+ one, they’d be looking at taking a loss on the film.”

    Hey Mr. Poland, I love this analysis which goes along the lines of “if my grandma had balls, she would be a man!” analysis. Bravo good sir.

    I think TWS will finish at the very least half a billion global. More money for coke and whores at Marvel!

    Dr. Wally – Yup and no, I don’t understand where the money went either.

  9. Martin S says:

    These CAPTAIN numbers are insane and higher than anyone’s most optimistic estimates.

    Weird how you’re just blowing that off.

    Because of 3D/Imax and zero competition I pegged 95+ after Dark World opened. Consensus has been 85+ for at least three months. If it sails past 110 than we’re off the charts.

    Poland’s point is early April has established itself as unclaimed land if you have the right sequel/remake/adaptation.

  10. Mike says:

    EtGuild, that Fairfax theater is also a stone’s throw from the corporate headquarters of the NRA, so Fairfax isn’t exactly the liberal bastion much of the rest of the DC-metro area is. Still, you’d have to think anyone going to see that movie probably has a built-in expectation anyway.

  11. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Geoff – both the Marvel and Star Wars toy licenses are currently controlled by Hasbro. In their February conference call, there was a comment that they were actually losing money on the Marvel deal due to poorer-than-expected sales.

  12. RRA says:

    Foamy – really? Wow. I did not know that.

  13. doug r says:

    You’d think with all those interlocked franchises, they could start saving on sets, costume design, rendering at least.

  14. Foamy Squirrel says:

    From the transcript:

    “Despite growth in Nerf in the Boys category and in Transformers during a non-movie year, the declines in entertainment-backed properties Beyblade and Marvel were not offset by growth in our two Franchise Brands”

    “You would have seen an accrued liability as accrued royalties last year, certainly to Disney and Marvel and Lucas as well. So while we’ve prepaid we do expect to earn those out over the period and there was a portion in our prepaid current assets and we’ve got a bit in long-term asset, since we have until 2020 to earn those out.”

    “Overall we cited the two brands that contributed to the decline in Boys were Beyblade, which had more to do with TV support and the cycle around that brand and then the Marvel business”

    So it sounds like they overpaid upfront in the guarantees and the sales were lower than expected, but they’re hoping the Phase 2 and 3 successes will pick it back up so the deal is overall profitable by 2020.

  15. brack says:

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier has already made $95m internationally. It came out a week earlier in a lot of markets.

  16. djiggs says:

    According to boxofficemojo and the Hollywood reporter, the Winter Soldier has taken $207.1 million internationally in only 10 days. It will pass $400 million dollars internationally without too much trouble.

    Now, Mr. Poland, if this type of factual error had been done by the New York Times/Nikki Finke/any other journalist, you would be jumping up and down about false narratives (e.g. movie slump) & shoddy reporting. Granted, this entry is just a blog post but still the statement “International will have a hard time matching Fast Five $400 million” is really bad analysis.

    I have and continue to enjoy your writing for 15+ years, but it has always troubled me that you have this self righteousness with the journalism of others but not the self-critical eye for yourself. I believe that the 2007? article referred you as the “Rabbi” of the Oscar bloggers, the school marm rapping rhetorically everyone else’s knuckles while for their sins being nonplussed about new developments (never surprised about new events e.g. The sage Nostradamus of Oscar bloggers).

    With one year anniversary of Roger Ebert’s death, I have thought about many of the attributes that I loved Ebert as a reader. One of the foremost reasons was the number of times that Roger would admit that he was wrong. The most famous example was his second review of Eastwood’s Unforgiven where he declared it a great film and talked about his nuptials interfered with his critical eye the first time viewing the film. YouTube the 1992 siskel & ebert best of the year show and see Siskel giving him sass over changing his opinion. A more recent example was his including Speiberg/Kubrick’s great A.I.: Artificial Intelligence in his Great Movies after giving it a 3 star review when it opened in 2001. There are good and great critics who have never done that such as Gleiberman, Kael, Scott, White, etc. It is the willingness to say that I made a mistake and I am owning up to it…to reevaluate an opinion…to grow and acknowledge blind spots…it is lacking in this world of instant opinions, twitter, and know-it-alls.

    I know this reply is making a mountain out of a molehill, and I should say that you do fine work especially DP/30 series and with your columns. It is just disappointment as a reader in this age of quickness rather than facts.

  17. EtGuild2 says:

    David definitely has a penchant for under-estimating Marvel worldwide totals (see: THOR 2, IM3, AVENGERS). But to be fair, I don’t think even Marvel expected $112 million in their 2nd weekend overseas in their wildest dreams.

    To put that in perspective, it was 20% ahead of THOR 2’s 2nd weekend, and THOR was out in more markets at that point. Phenomenal.

  18. christian says:

    DP’s bean counting is almost always wrong and he never acknowledges it. Chinatown, etc.

  19. Chris S. says:


    He was talking about overseas box office, not worldwide. Fast Five made $416 million overseas. Will Cap 2 match that? Maybe, but it will have to more than double the first Cap film’s overseas take.

  20. Sam says:

    It was not that long ago — a year, maybe? — that I remember David getting called out in this blog for never admitting he was wrong. The irony was that that comment was posted in response to an article that began with the words “I was wrong….”

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