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By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by Klady On The Blue Crystals

Weekend Estimates 2014-07-27 at 8.56.59 AM

There’s a $14m gap between Lucy‘s opening number and the next one on the summer chart (The Purge: Anarchy), $44 million to $30 million. I’m always interested in gaps like that.

There have been 30 films this summer so far that have been on 1,000 screens or more (not all opening… but eventually 1.000+ at some point in their release). Eleven have been at that $44 million or better. Twelve opened at $15m or below (some via limiteds). The seven in the middle have all gotten media hum that they are soft (The Purge: Anarchy, Think Like A Man Too, Hercules, Edge of Tomorrow, Tammy, Planes: Fire & Rescue, A Million Ways To Die In The West).

This is your studio middle class right now. Three sequels, two wannabe franchise funny people, and two movie star movies with male leads who are more popular internationally than domestically. Anyway… more food for thought than a fully formed argument at this point.

Lucy opened on the low end of the high end. But as we take each film individually, it was a sweet success. And audience reaction in testing before this opening suggests strong legs. In fact, according to Luc Besson (as seen in the DP/30 interview), Universal decided to go out 2 weeks earlier than originally planned to take advantage of how much audiences liked the movie. As it turned out, many critics, including some of the arty ones, went head-over-heels for the film, too. So a good feeling is being had by all (except those who don’t like the film… sorry, mates).

Brett Ratner’s followup to Tower Heist, Hercules… okay… stopping myself there. I haven’t seen this film and making assumptions about how mediocre it is would be unfair. On paper, it’s about the opening you would expect from The Rock… even a bit on the high end. Did Paramount’s normally brilliant marketing team get a damned thing out of the idea of it being a Hercules movie? Not really. It’s a 100% Rock sell. Even the lion attack that tags seemingly every piece of video on the film is without context. $29m is fine. The money will be overseas, if it’s there. This one is what they used to call “programmers.” These day, a $100m movie is a programmer… ha.

Woody Allen’s Midnight in the Moonlight was the per-screen king on 17 screens.

A nice start for Roadside Attractions and A Most Wanted Man, though it also reflects the solid, if not massive, hard core art house audience that is hungry for quality product that doesn’t stink of “direct-to,” especially during the summer.

Boyhood passed Snowpiercer this weekend, as the great big screen action movie should hit $4 million (the VOD ceiling) in theatrical next weekend and out while the intimate Linklater film successfully continues its expansion. The 300% screen expansion netting a 47% gross expansion clarifies the ultimate limitations of the 12 year production, but $10m theatrical seems completely possible.

18 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady On The Blue Crystals”

  1. Christian says:

    ‘Ida’ lost 30 of its 75 screens from last week and dropped 5%. I ask again: Is this not a major story that deserves some further comment or analysis? Maybe such a percentage drop in relation to that percentage of screen drop this late in an arthouse movie’s run is considered normal, “nothing to see here” box-office business. But I continue to find the movie’s performance extraordinary. It’s not an easy film for arthouse audiences. I don’t know what explains the pull for the film, which I liked quite a bit on an artistic level but in ways that broader audiences don’t usually respond to. I’m pleasantly puzzled by the movie’s continued draw.

  2. chris says:

    One thing in “Lucy”‘s favor — even in the age where there’s no such ting as “sold out” — is its brevity. I imagine theaters could have done seven showings a day if they wanted to.

  3. Bulldog68 says:

    Oh my Tammy, what good legs you have grown, particularly after people proclaimed you a failure.

  4. Tom Q says:

    I think you’re WAY undercalling Boyhood’s potential box-office, much as you did with Midnight in Paris a few years back.

    A decent rule of thumb on final gross is, 3 times the current weekend added to the cumulative gross (it can be better for a film with exceptional legs, but this works on average). Thus, Boyhood would be on pace for over $9 million if it never went beyond 107 theatres. But a film with those kind of weekend averages is most assuredly going to expand further, possibly substantially further. (Especially with testmonials like Jon Stewart’s almost teary reaction the other night) And keep in mind: the three-hour run time is limiting shows per night in a fair number of places. Sellouts are still common.

    And that “300% screen expansion” vs. “47% gross expansion” is a bit of playing with numbers. The 34 theatres from last weekend were all biggest-city, highest per-screen venues. It’s totally typical for per-screen averages to fall in this range when moving out further from there. It’s not comparable to 500 theatres expanding to 1500.

    I’m not saying Boyhood is going to show up in the top three at any point, but I think its upward-limit gross is far beyond $10 million. I’d be surprised if IFC didn’t feel the same.

  5. Casey says:

    “In fact, according to Luc Besson (as seen in the DP/30 interview), Universal decided to go out 2 weeks earlier than originally planned to take advantage of how much audiences liked the movie.”

    Nice spin by Besson, but not really true. Ask someone at Universal why it got moved up 2 weeks.

    “Even the lion attack that tags seemingly every piece of video on the film is without context.”

    Because there is no context for it in the movie. It’s in the opening sequence, which is just a quick sequence showing brief shots of some of his Labors. That’s it.

  6. SamLowry says:

    Sounds like a confirmation of Lindy West’s takedown: all of the trailer’s action is in the first ten seconds, then the rest of the movie sucks ass.

    Marketing drew people into LUCY, but next weekend will reveal if word-of-mouth destroys LUCY; Orr dismissed it as a thoroughly idiotic, nonsensical assault on your brain cells…but then people keep going to TRANSFORMERS, so it probably won’t be long before ASS takes over your local multiplex.

  7. leahnz says:

    people will always like ASS

    maybe scarjo is a bit of a moviestar with some drawing power now, even doing a nonsensical assault on their eyeballs (maybe especially doing one). i don’t know i kind of missed the first part of this debate

  8. EtGuild2 says:

    TRANS4MERS knocking “LOTR 3″ outside of the overseas top 10 of all time means that of the ten biggest movies of all-time internationally, all but two (TITANIC and AVATAR) have been released in just the last three years.

  9. Chris S. says:

    “Oh my Tammy, what good legs you have grown, particularly after people proclaimed you a failure.”

    I don’t know about failure, but the people appear to have proclaimed the film a turkey. It’s got a miserable 4.7 rating on IMDB.

  10. YancySkancy says:

    I haven’t seen TAMMY, but can we really say that 7,187 imdb users are “the people”? Especially since only about half of them rated the film lower than a 6 out of 10. I guess it does prove that the film didn’t generally appeal to people who: 1) saw the movie; 2) are imdb users; 3) voted.

  11. Chris S. says:

    They may not be perfect, but IMDB user ratings are usually a decent guide to ballpark estimates of film quality. For example: Apes 8.3, Transformers 6.3, Maleficent 7.4. I haven’t seen any of them yet, but that sounds about right.

    Occasionally the ratings do get skewed by people with agendas though. Maybe disgruntled Susan Sarandon fans are up in arms.

  12. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    DP can you explain that indiewire article about Snowpiercer and its groundbreaking early VOD run and the math supplied. The way I read it, which is the opposite of what the author thought, was that the old traditional model would have returned more money Radius than the new model. Yes it’s been a big VOD hit but the math they laid out had the returns higher from theatrical and normal ancillaries.

  13. sdp says:

    “They may not be perfect, but IMDB user ratings are usually a decent guide to ballpark estimates of film quality. For example: Apes 8.3, Transformers 6.3, Maleficent 7.4. I haven’t seen any of them yet, but that sounds about right.”

    …..what?

    IMDB ratings are great, if you’re a young-ish white male with tastes that skew slightly meatheaded.

  14. YancySkancy says:

    Yeah, all due respect, Chris S., I don’t think anything exists that offers a “decent guide to ballpark estimates of film quality.” Film quality is subjective, of course, so there’s the first problem. Imdb, RT, MetaCritic, et al, reflect the opinions of those who vote or write reviews. CinemaScore reflects the opinions of people coming out of screenings. Most everything else falls under word-of-mouth, which is anecdotal evidence. Taken all together you can definitely get a sense of the “general opinion” about a film — we probably don’t need nationwide polling to know that Battlefield Earth isn’t well-loved — but I’m sure we all have favorite films that have low or middling imdb scores.

  15. EtGuild2 says:

    Re: IMDB ratings, they eventually settle…mostly…but they are highly subject to trends and trolls. There was a time where a bunch of people on 4Chan decided to get together and send “My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade” into the top 40 movies of all time (it’s since self-corrected, though the user review write-ups are still there and are golden….”A staggering masterpiece” etc).

    I prefer Metacritic user ratings, because the site also gauges TV shows and Music (and occasionally and formerly Books) and therefore, to me, they indicate a wider breadth of interest among scorers.

  16. David Poland says:

    Yes. The math did say they would have made more money with a real theatrical. Of course, there numbers are guesses – though I would say they favored the VOD model – but the headline didn’t quite match the math they did. And I thought I wrote a piece about how ridiculous the whole argument that they didn’t F-up the film’s release… but I guess it was all on Twitter.

    I believe strongly that VOD creates a theatrical cap. People just get demotivated when the film is available at home… immediately. You could see it in the drop-off in weekend 2 of Snowpiercer.

    I think VOD has real value for small indies. But the bigger the movie, the worse the delivery system is at maximizing revenues. It does cover the distributors ass, though… lower risk… lower reward in many cases

  17. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Thanks. I thought so. The only issue with their whole analysis was that it depended on Snowpiercer doing $50m boxoffice which I think was a pipedream anyway. I do think the route they did was the correct one based on the films history and what was required but not based on the articles math or analysis. The VOD figures are right, they actually left off one of the biggest recent VOD hits – it’s a small indie. Day and date will come across the board. It’s inevitable. Those windows are getting pretty grubby and the pirates are now wearing Gap.

  18. Chris S. says:

    @sdp “IMDB ratings are great, if you’re a young-ish white male with tastes that skew slightly meatheaded.”

    That isn’t really true. Oscar hopefuls, foreign films, and documentaries usually earn high scores on IMDB. For example: Boyhood (9.0), Grand Budapest (8.2), The Great Beauty (7.7).

    As for meathead films, they often get middling or poor scores: Transformers 4 (6.3), I, Frankenstein (5.2), Grown Ups 2 (5.4).

    @ YancySkancy “…but I’m sure we all have favorite films that have low or middling imdb scores.”

    That’s fair enough. Which films do you think have grossly inaccurate IMDB scores? I notice the occasional headscratcher, but not that many.

    @ EtGuild2 “Re: IMDB ratings, they eventually settle…mostly…but they are highly subject to trends and trolls. There was a time where a bunch of people on 4Chan decided to get together and send “My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade” into the top 40 movies of all time (it’s since self-corrected, though the user review write-ups are still there and are golden….”A staggering masterpiece” etc).”

    There are certain genres for which the ratings have to be taken with a large grain of salt, especially any genre where many viewers are cultish devotees. Some kinds of animation fall under this category, In general the TV and video game ratings are significantly inflated compared to the movie ratings, I suspect because most reviewers are dedicated fans rather than casual viewers.

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