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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by Still Apely Klady

Weekend Estimates 2014-07-20 at 9.19.18 AM

In light of a relatively soft summer, the wrongheaded trend of obsessing on year-to-year weekend-vs-weekend is back. But this weekend is unattractive on more reasonable measures.

Simply, what are studio expectations of sequels or a returning combination of talent? Trends have changed over time in this regard. And I don’t think this particular sampling should define much of anything. But on opening weekend…

The Purge – $34.1m
The Purge: Anarchy – (est) $28.3m

Plane – $22.2m
Planes: Fire & Rescue – (est) $17.9m

Diaz/Segal/Kasdan’s Bad Teacher – $31.6m
Diaz/Segal/Kasdan’s Sex Tape – (est) $14.9m

Off 17%, 19%, and 53%.

Here’s a little more history. Paranormal Activity, a historic piece of marketing by Paramount, did $19.6m on 760 screens, then $21.1m 1945 screens. Paranormal 2 opened to a much more conventional release on 3239 screens and $40.7 million. Paranormal 3 opened to $52.6m. Also on the Jason Blum tip, Insidious opened to $13.3 million. Insidious 2 opened to $40.3 million.

So… what do you think studio expectations were for Purge 2? Doesn’t take a genius.

There is a lot less history for a movie like Planes 2. Disney has theatrically released multiple, not very high grossing Pooh-related films. Famously, The Weinstein Company had a (relative) hit in Hoodwinked and Hoodwinked 2 did 20% of the business domestically and just 15% worldwide. But that is a much more severe drop than this.

This is, however, one of those situations where a lot of the value in this franchise for Disney- as with Pooh – is in merchandising, more so than in the movies themselves. And even if Planes 2 ends up at “just” $70m domestic, the first film did $130m outside of North America and even if that number drops too, the film itself will still likely be profitable. But again… the profit would probably not be worth the opportunity costs for the company were it not for that merchandising. But it is. So Planes 3 seems a good bet.

Sex Tape is not a direct sequel. And that may be one of the problems.

The Other Woman opens to $24.8 million, directed pretty clearly at a female audience. Sex Tape is, in spite of the word “sex,” a bit straighter… a husband and wife in trouble trying to get out of trouble. It’s a classic trope, pushed into 2014 by The Cloud and sex. But is that what audiences want from Cameron Diaz? It seems that the audience like Cameron “sassy.” The anomaly, commercially, being The Sweetest Thing. But that, like Sex Tape, suggested that it had overtly sexual themes. I wonder whether the number would have been bigger for this film had Columbia sold more of what the movie is… disconnected modern couple rediscovers their passion less from the sex in the tape than in doing something together with a shared goal. It is less sexy than wacky sex thing they sold… Cameron spread eagle in her panties and all. But that may have turned off the audience that drives Cameron Diaz movies. In Bad Teacher, the threat of sex was there (much more in the film than in the ads), but they sold that title hard… it was a modern Bad News Bears with Diaz as a modern take on Buttermaker.

To be honest, I am actually surprised that this campaign didn’t work. It felt like it would to me. But I was wrong. And much more importantly, so was Sony marketing. The business of selling movies is not for the faint of heart. And there are many legitimate stops of the wheel of blame.

Tammy passed $70 million this weekend and seems sure to end up in the high 80s domestically. Will any of the “Melissa McCarthy is over” writers be back to correct?

Transformers 4 is the #1 movie of 2014 by $150 million and growing. Get over it. (And keep in mind that this will be the first summer without a billion dollar worldwide movie since 2009. Tr4 numbers are nothing to mock, but there is also no other uber-movie out there this summer.)

Boyhood had an exception $1.2 million on 34 screens. These are Oscar season and top IMAX kinds of numbers. And part of the “Oscar numbers” thing is wide-release marketing budgets driving limited openings… something IFC cannot afford. They are being very aggressive “for IFC,” in terms of marketing dollars, but in Oscar season, you’re looking at $10 – $15 million on TV for a couple weeks that will push an expanded opening after the limited. Critics and film writers actually should feel some responsibility for this. It’s very rare when that is true, but I think it is here.

Edge of Tomorrow is crawling to a $100m domestic gross and Godzilla is doing the same for $200m domestic.

37 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Still Apely Klady”

  1. YancySkancy says:

    I assumed BAD TEACHER was selling its title based on BAD SANTA more than THE BAD NEWS BEARS, especially considering the remake of the latter didn’t do much business, and the original came out in 1976.

    I think maybe the PURGE 2 was hurt by all the people who came out of the first PURGE saying, “That’s the stupidest freakin’ premise I’ve seen in a while.” I know that CinemaScore has to be taken with a grain of salt, but the first one got a lowly “C” rating, suggesting word of mouth might not be the best, leading to little anticipation for a sequel.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    I went to see Chef again last night — and was pleasantly surprised by the size of the audience. But wait, there’s more: While at the megaplex, my wife spotted one of her co-workers — and he was there with his wife to see Jersey Boys. I know that it’s risky to extrapolate too much from first-hand observation, but: It’s obvious that, as David often notes, some movies have long legs because older audience don’t necessarily rush out on opening weekend. Having said that: Do you think that might also explain the numbers for Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla — and, yes, Tammy?

  3. jesse says:

    Joe, Godzilla doesn’t particularly have long legs so much as it is doing SLIGHTLY better in its later weeks than you might have expected after a couple of high drops on its second and third weekends. This is true of a lot of the big titles of May and June. I know there was some talk about Spider-Man not reaching 200, but it did; and X-Men not matching Last Stand’s final number, which it probably will. Even something like 22 Jump Street that did well and was expected to hold well seems to be inching a little higher than most would have predicted after the first weekend or two — it probably won’t quite make 200 but it will come pretty damn close.

    The lack of HUGE smashes seems to help (in a minor way) spread some of those fourth weekend/weekday/etc. dollars around. Edge of Tomorrow and Tammy might also be benefiting from an older crowd not rushing out, though. It seems like Maleficent has hung on by becoming the de facto kid movie of the summer — and not losing as many screens as I’d assume it would after almost two months of play.

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    I am have no doubt you’re right: The lack of other, more alluring big-ticket items in the marketplace might help explain why some of these movies are doing better than many predicted after their “disappointing” opening and 2nd weekends. Still, I wonder how many people in their 50s and 60s simply wait for the lines to diminish, the crowds to thin, etc.

  5. Unfinishe says:

    Re: EoT crawl toward $100m
    David- I saw someone on a messageboard make the off-handed comment that studios try to earn 100m domestic because they get more money based on the already-sold TV rights.

    Is that true? Are there clauses for payouts if a movie’s sold to TV before it finishes its theatrical run?

    I’ve wondered why studios leave films in to get to the psychologically satisfying 100m mark. I’ve noticed this specifically with other Tom Cruise movies, namely COLLATERAL and VANILLA SKY, both of which just barely made it to 100m.

  6. EtGuild2 says:

    “And keep in mind that this will be the first summer without a billion dollar worldwide movie since 2009.”

    Good grief, for the 100th time, you are really bad at charting worldwide gross trajectories DP. TRANS4MERS has yet to open in Japan or Spain, where the 3rd film did $65 million combined, and the 4th has outdone the 3rd in virtually every overseas territory. So that’s $950 million right there. At this point, $1.1 billion is more likely than missing $1 billion.

    And how can PURGE 2 be anything but a huge win? The first film is REALLY not well liked. And that doesn’t touch on the fact that we are in a major horror slump here, and the sequel to a disliked movie is the biggest horror opening in 10 months. “Purge 2″ will be the biggest horror movie of the year by Tuesday. Big. Win.

  7. jesse says:

    Yeah, I really doubt that the studio sincerely thought that Purge 2 was going to blow up to a $45 million debut. I’m sure they hoped it would match the original’s surprisingly strong number, but I’m not sure they’d *expect* that considering how fast that movie collapsed (versus something like Paranormal or Insidious that held on well for a horror movie). I’d argue that they got exactly what they wanted from the PURGE “brand” — a much bigger opening on a $9 million horror movie than they might have gotten otherwise. And the “good” news is that that first Purge fell so hard so fast that it would be difficult for this one to total much worse. It ends up with, what, $50 million? That movie doesn’t need merchandising for it to become profitable.

  8. brack says:

    Like someone else already mentioned, The Purge 2’s opening has got to be seen as a win considering how quickly the first movie disappeared after a strong opening. It wasn’t the premise that didn’t work, but the fact that there wasn’t much purging in a movie called The Purge. The movie itself wasn’t any worse than a lot of horror movies, though it wasn’t really scary at all.

  9. movieman says:

    “Anarchy” is a far better movie than its predecessor, but I have a hard time categorizing either as “horror.”
    The new “Purge” reminded me more of Walter Hill (“Trespass,” “The Warriors”), and John Carpenter (“Assault on Precinct 13,” “Escape from New York/L.A.”) than a “Saw” or “Paranormal” entry.
    P.S.= Why isn’t Frank Grillo a (film or cable TV) star? He seems like the whole package to me.

    “Sex Tape” should be lucky it grossed $15-million considering what a stinker it is. (“ST” makes the lightly likable “Bad Teacher” seem like “There’s Something About Mary” by comparison.)
    I’m wondering how much the title is responsible for its lukewarm opening.
    Could it be that puritanical Americans are simply rejecting any movie w/ the word “sex” in its title?

  10. Amblinman says:

    Movieman hit it on the head with Anarchy. It is not a horror movie at all. And I thought it was better than the original as well. I just wish the director had the filmmaking chops of Hill or Carpenter because I honestly think this had the makings of a classic. I would have preferred he not bother try to broaden the mythology and just stuck with a survive-the-night type genre movie. Grillo’s low key Punisher character should have been a little less low key because the set up of a vigilante striking back at Purgers is awesome (I get that wasn’t the character’s original intention, but that’s what we got all the same.)

    I am hoping for a 3rd film. I like this concept a lot, I find it legitimately creepy and fucked up.

    About Sex Tape:

    “Could it be that puritanical Americans are simply rejecting any movie w/ the word “sex” in its title?”

    That movie looked like dog shit from the first second of the trailer. Not a single laugh to be had.

  11. HWK says:

    Like others have stated, the first Purge wasn’t well-received and the idea of “The Purge” was really just an excuse for another home invasion movie in the vein of “The Strangers.” Purge: Anarchy was really the film the first one should have been and more. I personally loved it; Grillo is fantastic. Echoing sentiments, why isn’t he a star? I hope we see a third film with characters returning from this film striking back at purgers in revenge mode.

  12. brack says:

    “Why isn’t Frank Grillo a (film or cable TV) star? He seems like the whole package to me.”

    He has been getting steady work for years, usually on a TV, but rarely as a regular (he was on Guiding Light for a couple of years in the 90s according to IMDB). I remember liking him during the first season of Prison Break. I thought he was good in End of Watch as well. Glad he gets to finally to be the star of a wide release (he had a small role in Captain America 2).

  13. Tom says:

    In predicting horror sequels, you need to look at the reception for the previous entry. Insidious’ final gross was 4 times its opening, which is an ENORMOUS multiplier for a horror film. The last Purge didn’t deliver on its marketing, which explains the drop in opening. I think this entry will be much better received and next year’s version will open similar to the first. The audience I saw it with actually clapped at the end, which surprised me.

  14. Gus says:

    “Tammy passed $70 million this weekend and seems sure to end up in the high 80s domestically. Will any of the “Melissa McCarthy is over” writers be back to correct?”

    YOU ARE THAT WRITER. YOU WROTE THAT. Read your post for the Sunday of Tammy’s opening!

    I’ll also echo the earlier commenter who said your projections are often baffling, but it’s true for the domestic projections too. Just do this:

    – If the drop is over 50%, then take the current weekend number, multiply by less than 3, add that to the current BO take, adjusted proportionally for how far below 50%.

    – If the drop is 50%, then take the current weekend number, multiply by less than 3, add that to the current BO take.

    – If the drop is less than 50%, then take the current weekend number, multiply by more than 3, add that to the current BO take, adjusted proportionally for how far above 50%.

    So if Tammy drops at 40%, current performance will put it a hair under $100M for the run. If the drop is in the 35-39% range, as Mojo claims, then it’ll crack $100M.

  15. leahnz says:

    i like frank grillo too, he was the sealteam6 commander dude in zerodarkthirty, i didn’t realise it was him until i saw it again the other night (paid close attention to the torture stuff after getting into a debate with someone about it and wanting to make sure i wasn’t talking out of my ass with how i remembered it). he was also good as the meano in ‘the grey’ who kinda redeems himself

    (DP has selective amnesia re m mcarthy and ‘tammy’, making loads of cash)

  16. David Poland says:

    Actually, Gus, I didn’t say that Melissa McCarthy was over at all. I said that this was her free kick and that she didn’t score. And though the situation has improved, it’s still not the home run that her other big hits were. I have said from the start that the film would likely be profitable. Now, a little more profitable than expected from the opening.

    And ET always finds me baffling… I’m always wrong in some way with him…

    Thanks for the stat tips.

  17. jesse says:

    More important, I think, is the initially-presented idea that this movie sends McCarthy back to doing “sidekick roles” for a few years. It seems like, at worst, McCarthy might wind up doing some comedies with stronger costasr, like Bullock… but what comic actor in 2014 does many movies where he or she is the sole draw? That was an Eddie Murphy thing and a Jim Carrey thing; it’s not really the same deal with Ferrell or Kevin Hart or Seth Rogen or other comic stars. I don’t know that this alters her trajectory at all, really. I can’t imagine anyone looking at these grosses and saying “I don’t know how much audience there is for Melissa McCarthy… some other name could’ve powered Tammy to $150 million.”

    That’s really what I found surprising about your initial Tammy analysis, not that she didn’t score on a free kick (though yeah, I would say an offbeat, not very good passion project doing $85 million is pretty close to a score).

  18. EtGuild2 says:

    I don’t find you baffling David. You do so much right in your box office analysis that it irks me when you can’t get these worldwide trajectories down for franchise films (like Thor and Xmen). To be fair, analysts don’t in general, but since international grosses are so important nowadays, it’s taken on heightened significance. You can usually just check to see what markets are left to open and the previous films’ results in those markets, and the general downward trend in markets where it’s already playing. Not rocket science.

    But instead of “6th biggest film of all time overseas” the story for Trans4mers in the media will be “lowest domestic gross by far of the series.” So most casual moviegoers will scratch their head when another film pops out in probably just 2 years time.

  19. leahnz says:

    DP the amount i care about box office stuff can fit on the head of a pin, but this is what you said about mccarthy: “this was her free kick, like it or not, and she blew it. Now it’s back to being the scene-stealing sidekick for 5 years or so until she gets another shot.”

    not even. the reality is, tammy is going to be bonza profitable at the cinema, relatively low production budget and add marketing and incidentals it’s still going to make, what, 40 million dollars profit? maybe more? for a small, weird, r-rated comedy that’s damn fine. so i gather you (and perhaps others) for some bizarre reason living in your little prognostication bubble thought little low-budg ‘tammy’ was going to be like some ‘bridesmaids’ or ‘the heat’-style smash blockbuster (ensemble/buddy comedies), which is entirely YOUR expectations that were silly and askew, nothing to do with reality and the movie, you get that right?

  20. Casey says:

    “So… what do you think studio expectations were for Purge 2? Doesn’t take a genius.”

    You clearly know nothing about Universal’s expectations for this movie, or you wouldn’t say something stupid like that.

    “To be honest, I am actually surprised that this campaign didn’t work. It felt like it would to me.”

    Why? In all seriousness: why? The campaign has been mocked around town as one of the worst in recent memory.

  21. holy shit says:

    SEX TAPE has been dead since they released the first trailer. Dead. Dead. Dead.

    I’m really impressed with the numbers for PURGE 2. It’s so rare that people come back for a genre sequel after they hated the previous movie. SAW VI is the best in the series but SAW V killed it. People flaked on the new PARANORMAL because 4 was shit etc. The ads have been great and seemed to promise it would be the movie people expected the first time around. Major props to Universal marketing.

  22. Triple Option says:

    Unfinishe – License fees for films in ancillary markets can increase according to how it performs at the boxoffice. A Tom Cruise sci-fi film though will already be priced in a manner where $100M will be expected or at least I doubt its threshold would likely change at that point. Most likely, it won’t be a single film TV contract but a package. Edge of Tomorrow won’t need to stay in the theaters a few extra week to hit $100M to make an added payday. $92M would be fine because it’s really assuring some $19M romcom see the light of a 2nd and 3rd cycle of sales.

    Studios and networks can and will negotiate after the fact. This can happen w/film distribution as well. They grab a summer tent pole they expect to air in 2 years that really only scrapes out $50M total at the bo. They’ll likely reduce the rate or have other make-good offers so instead of getting 18 runs in 12 months they’ll get 24 runs. Likewise, a li’l $10M budget film that goes gangbusters at the bo can demand a higher payout than initially designated when the deal points were made.

  23. movielocke says:

    I know all the oscar pundits will do their usual collusion and will refuse to include Boyhood in any charts or predictions cause its ‘not an oscar movie,’ or because “the grip I know in the academy had never heard of it,’ but despite their presumed efforts to suppress the film, I expect it will still do well in awards season.

    ***
    box office wise, has there been a movie like 22 Jump St since the Beverly Hills Cop sequel?

  24. Nick says:

    Domestically, there is nothing “uber” about TF4. It won’t get close to $300 mill here, it was a horrendous “movie,” word of mouth is clearly poor. Nobody at Paramount made another TF movie to not make at least $300 mill domestic.

  25. YancySkancy says:

    Ditto all the Frank Grillo love (he was awesome in THE GREY and WARRIOR). Knowing he’s in the second PURGE may get me to give it a go when it hits Netflix or cable.

  26. EtGuild2 says:

    “Nobody at Paramount made another TF movie to not make at least $300 mill domestic.”

    It’ll reach $300 mil in its domestic market this week…China.

    (Cue the “but you only get half!” complaints about Chinese market, and cue response that $150 mil is still greater than all but four single market performances for a Hollywood movie in history.)

  27. KrazyEyes says:

    I really don’t understand your analysis on PURGE 2.

    PURGE 2 is very similar situation to TOMB RAIDER 2. It’s a classic case of a sequel that nobody wanted after seeing the first film. The first PURGE was a huge (but very profitable) stinker and everyone at Universal had to know PURGE 2 was going to take a box office hit because of that. They managed to make a good, low-budget sequel — something that completely eluded the makes of TOMB RAIDER 2 — and now they’re going to make a nice chunk of change.

    In that respect, I don’t see how anyone can see this film as anything other than a huge hit.

  28. Spassky says:

    I was under the impression that china is closer to 25% return… Can somebody clarify or find stats?

  29. Gus says:

    Yeah, ET is a bit off here. “Half” is about standard for theatrical releases in America. When you see the gross number, something like 45% of that number is going to the theater anyway. In China you’re talking like a quarter of the gross number.

    At the end of the day, though, I find discussing these numbers to be mostly a fool’s errand because theatrical is only a piece of the whole revenue for a film. We don’t know what the video numbers are, and they’re not proportional for each film – some do better on home video than others by several multiples.

    But weirdly, TF4 is not exactly wildly profitable in theatrical alone. If the worldwide number ends up at a billion, the take for the studio will be a bit over $400M. Total expenses probably don’t exceed $350M for production, prints, and advertising. But that’s probably less than a 25% return for theatrical itself. The numbers are perhaps worse after you account for profit participants like Spielberg and Bay. But then again since Paramount is in a strong position they may have negotiated much stronger shares for the first couple of weekends in America. Hard to imagine that’s true worldwide though.

    But the many other streams probably make this thing enormous. Toys, rides, ancillary deals for TV and video. Insane.

  30. Etguild2 says:

    I was comparing China to other overseas markets, not domestic theatrical. So I was saying “half” of, say, the % take in Japan.

  31. SamLowry says:

    5 reasons ‘Sex Tape’ couldn’t get it up at the box office.

    Yuk, yuk, yuk…those Canadians, so funny.

    I do like the term “raunch fatigue”, though.

  32. Hcat says:

    Gus, toys t-shirts sleeping bags etc…they probably do make money but none of it goes to paramount. It’s unlikely the even share revenue from the television cartoons that are launched in coordination with the franchise

  33. SamLowry says:

    Forbes predicts that HERCULES may be the first, perhaps only, “big-budget studio flop” this summer (perhaps because unpaid, uncredited, and deceased comic-writer Steve Moore said “it sounds like it’s going to be idiotic shit”).

    Plenty of disappointing returns are mentioned, but none, so far, have been horrible failures this year (LEGENDS OF OZ goes without comment due to the lawsuit-happy producers) like LONE RANGER or RIPD.

    (Other great comments from Alan Moore on behalf of his friend: “Steve was having to say, “No, the Thracian War actually happened”. Which was painful to Steve, just that degree of ignorance. And I know exactly what he means. I’ve dealt with comic book industry lawyers asking if Queen Elizabeth I’s alchemist was still alive today. Anyway, Steve was saying that this film sounded like it was going to be a complete abortion, that they’d dumped characters such as Hylas. That’s understandable in that Hylas was Hercules’ boyfriend. And that’s perhaps not what The Rock wants to bring to his tale of his Hercules.”)

  34. cadavra says:

    Doesn’t Alan Moore have a history of dumping on any film based on a graphic novel, both his and others’?

  35. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Yeah, Moore’s rights were all sold off in the 80’s when he was still regarded as a “talented newcomer” (along with Gaiman) rather than his current stature. He had a number of bad experiences and now he pre-emptively dismisses any adaptation of his works no matter what overtures the directors throw his way (and for all its failings, Watchmen was one of the closest adherents to the original source of any comic adaptation).

    He’s certainly the grumpiest old man of the current comic book movie renaissance – at least Gaiman has actively been shopping around Hollywood to find people with whom he actually likes working.

  36. Unfinishe says:

    Triple Option — thanks for the reply.

  37. SamLowry says:

    But then Gaiman was one of the first comic-book insiders to spill the beans about just how stupid most Hollywood types really are.

    Over 20 years ago, he mentioned one particularly dim producer who bought the rights to the Hernandez Bros’ “Love and Rockets” and immediately asked “Do they have to be Hispanic? Do they have to be lesbians?”…ignoring the fact that if you remove those two elements then you might as well be making DUCKTALES.

    He told many other similar stories and perhaps that could be why “Sandman” is still stuck in development hell 25 years later.

    (BTW, if anyone had bothered to read that article I linked to, you would have seen that the late Steven Moore’s complaints about HERCULES were justified; not only were the producers jackasses if they couldn’t be bothered to spend 5 seconds on Google to see if he made up the Thracian War, but the bosses of the comic company that published his story screwed him over completely and utterly by sending him contract draft after contract draft that each promised him at least $15k if a HERCULES move was ever made based on his story, then when they sent the final contract for him to sign they forgot to mention they had excised that provision. Thus Alan Moore’s boycott.)

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