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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Kladious 7

Friday Estimates 2015-04-04 at 8.39.48 AM

What can you give a movie that’s got it all?

After 7 movies, in which quality seems to be a minor detail, the Fast & Furious franchise is making its next great leap, it seems. The first film was a hit back when DVD drove the business and international was increasing… but the film wasn’t a big hit overseas. Tokyo Drift was an attempt at reaching out… and was the commercial low point of the series. But when they returned to the well, BOOM, 2009’s Fast & Furious not only had the highest domestic gross of the series, but it nearly doubled the previous best international gross. International doubled again for Fast Five. And it grew another 25% for Fast & Furious 6. Meanwhile, domestic crept up too. But based on this opening, Furious 7 should take at least a 30% leap over the last film here at home alone. That’s big. And if international follows, massive, threatening the billion dollar mark.

Now, it may turn out that this is just a massive front-loaded opening day. But… well… we’ll see…

Pretty much everyone else avoided this date. Harvey Weinstein grabbed a counter-programming slot to okay-ish results with Woman in Gold.

Home is holding well, more good news for Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Cinderella is holding even better, though Disney is probably a little less than thrilled that this one isn’t stronger, cash cow though it may be.

Insurgent continues to fall ever-so-slightly farther behind Divergent.

It Follows expands by 437 screens, but drops 35% from last Friday. It’s great that the hardcore showed up for the hardly-advertised film, but it’s difficlut to change course from a day-n-date opening. This is a success compared to what the numbers would have been with d-n-d, but a disappointment when you realize how this film might have done in a straight theatrical.

25 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Kladious 7”

  1. Tracker Backer says:

    Your assessment of Disney’s take on Cinderella’s performance isn’t accurate, as is typically the case in matters like this. They are completely thrilled at how it’s performing.

  2. EtGuild2 says:

    You know what’s interesting about F7 is the theater count. I know Universal is touting it as its widest release ever, but it doesn’t crack even the Top 50 overall. If the estimates keep climbing over $150m, you have to wonder if they regret not pushing into another 200-300 theaters, as it could have made a play for biggest non-Summer movie ever ($158) or even biggest 2D movie ever ($160). On the other hand, even falling just short would push it into the Top 5 all-time for wide release per theater average.

    Of course, as you say, it could still push that high, or fall well short….

  3. movieman says:

    I find it inordinately depressing that more people are apparently excited about “F/F7″ than the return of “Mad Men” tomorrow night.

    Am I the only one who actually preferred “Insurgent” to “Divergent”?
    (Is the next one “Resurgent”? I haven’t read any of the books.)
    Minus the original’s backbreaking exposition (and add’l 20 minutes), it felt a lot tighter and was considerably more entertaining…at least for me.

  4. Ray Pride says:

    You can buy a ticket to FURIOUS 7, but to get cable, have cable, subscribe to AMC, takes more planned-out effort. Two of the biggest MAD MEN aficionados I know are frustrated, but will wait for Netflix, whenever the hell that drops, while rewatching the series from the start.

  5. PcChongor says:

    At least in interviews the director of F7 has been honest about what the initial pitch meeting for the film was like:

    “The first thing they told me was, ‘James, we know we’re going to have cars parachuting out of the back of a plane, and we know they’re going to land somewhere. Now we need you to figure out the rest.’”

    My own real beef with the “Fast and Furious” series is that the first three films are probably responsible for more senseless deaths on the motorways than both GM and Toyota’s engineers combined.

  6. J says:

    I find myself able to be excited for both apples AND oranges.

  7. Panopticon says:

    I also like bananas.

  8. movieman says:

    They sound like urban hipster types too cool to own a TV set, Ray.
    I can’t understand how some people would rather watch television (or movies) on a laptop or phone.
    But maybe it’s a Millennial phenomenon that old-timers like me aren’t supposed to understand, lol.

    The “FF” franchise are to action movies what fist-fucking is to sex: for those who need cartoonishly souped-up CGI (or a fist) to get off because the old-fashioned way (stuntmen or a penis) simply won’t do.
    I sometimes think the series exists solely to provide paychecks for otherwise unemployable “actors” like Jordana Brewster, Vin Diesel and Michele Rodriguez.
    But hey, that’s just me.

  9. holy shit says:

    This movie is going to make a billion dollars. Those “otherwise unemployable” actors deserve and receive big paydays.

  10. David Poland says:

    Nice to meet you, Tracker Backer.

    As I noted, it will be a cash cow. But given that Oz was a disaster and this got raves and they are coming off epic heat with Frozen and even Into The Woods doing a crazy $128m domestic, sorry if I am pretty sure the hope was for $600m+, not $450m.

    I assume you have some reason to be overly sensitive about my comment, which I get. Running down a success sucks. And that isn’t my intention. But there are layers of “completely thrilled” and this has to be one of the lower ones.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    @movieman, Virtually all the millennials I know, myself included, don’t have more than basic cable, but do own a TV either capable of streaming Netflix/Amazon or use HDMI to plug it into their laptop and phone and simulcast it.

    Rodriguez is a perfectly serviceable actress (I refuse to believe “Girlfight” and her work on “Lost” were flukes), but has a deserved reputation as a loose cannon.

    Diesel showed he’s capable of putting on a performance in “Find Me Guilty.” He just isn’t even remotely interested in more serious fare. His only Fast/Marvel/Riddick work since then is equally ridiculous-“Babylon AD” and something coming out this year, the delightfully titled “The Last Witch Hunter.” The man knows what he likes.

  12. movieman says:

    “Guilty” was a long, long time ago, Et.
    I’m assuming that you’re saying Diesel simply stopped caring about acting, or doing anything remotely interesting with his career besides make money.
    OK, I get it. (I thought he was perfectly fine in the Lumet movie, too.)
    Granted, Rodriguez came across as an exciting live wire in “Girlfight” (a gazillion years ago), but nothing she’s done since (including her work on “Lost”) has impressed me in the slightest.
    That whole “butch Latina spitfire with a chip on her shoulder” act from “Girlhood” is apparently the extent of her thesping range.
    P.S.= If I could get Amazon streamed onto my TV (the way I do w/ Netflix), I’d be paying for a lot more of their online movies–e.g., Lumet’s 1974 “Lovin’ Molly” which I’ve wanted to see for decades. And if Netflix didn’t punish you for watching too many “Instant Play” movies by screwing with your DVDS-in-the-mail service, I’d watch lots more via their streaming service.
    Despite the fact that I pay a separate charge for streaming movies and “3-DVDS-at-a-time-via-USPS” movies, I’ve definitely noticed a disconcerting trend.
    If I watch, say, more than one streaming movie a week, they monkey around with my queue the following Monday morning (or, even worse, pretend they didn’t receive my returned DVDS), thereby wrecking my chance of getting any new releases I might be interested in.

  13. R.A. Bartlett says:

    “They sound like urban hipster types too cool to own a TV set, Ray.”

    That is to say, “Mad Men’s” target audience.

  14. EtGuild2 says:

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that Diesel only cares about making money…his singular devotion to getting “Riddick” back on screen wasn’t the most profitable venture in the world considering he spent 5+ years getting the financing for it, but yeah, his priorities are pretty narrow.

    With Rodriguez, there’s the chicken and egg question, as she’s claimed repeatedly over the years she basically gets offered two roles: fiery Latina slut or butch, ass-kicking anti-heroine who is somehow connected to the drug trade. Admittedly, I wasn’t impressed with her role as one of the Mirabal sisters, but she was better than virtually every other aspect of that hot mess of a movie.

    That’s interesting re: Netflix. I haven’t noticed that but I only have one-at-a-time.

  15. PcChongor says:

    I just heard through the grapevine that apparently Universal did in fact try booking CGI Paul Walker for another three “Furious” films, but his reps said no so that he could take a year off to go touring around the world with hologram Tupac.

    Unfortunately, it’s vanity projects like these that give semi-autonomous pixelated beings a bad rap in the entertainment industry. #EqualRightsForEqualSprites

  16. movieman says:

    Et- The funny/ironic thing is that I didn’t experience that Netflix problem when streaming was included in my “dvds-in-the-mail” plan.
    But since I began paying separately for both services, it happens every time I try to squeeze in a couple of streaming movies between mail deliveries.
    It’s gotten so bad that the only time I’m willing to bite the bullet and watch one is when it’s something that’s being dropped I absolutely, positively have to see.
    …and always wind up paying the cost the following Monday, sigh.

    P.S.= What did you think of “The Salvation,” Et?
    I just watched it and thought it was pretty terrific.
    Felt like (or maybe “exactly like”) the sort of movie Mel Gibson used to make 25 years ago, but better–unless George Miller or, maybe, Gillian Armstrong had been directing.
    My only complaint was that it seemed edited to the bone, and a few plot niceties fell to the wayside in the third act.
    But it left me humming Ennio Morricone’s “Goood, Bad & Ugly” theme during the closing credits, which is always the mark of a satisfying western (or revisionist Danish/South African western) for me.

    “That is to say, ‘Mad Men’’s target audience.”

    Spoken like a true urban hipster, lol.

  17. EtGuild2 says:

    I got a screener of it, started it, and realized the subs didn’t work. Are they not supposed to? Or is the Danish very brief? Because If that’s the case I’m excited to watch it (more so now), but I wasn’t sure so I figured I’d just wait for the DVD drop.

  18. Tracker Backer says:

    David, you’re still wrong on Cinderella. Try doing a little digging. You’ll be surprised by what the internal financial models had it at. I assure you, they’re thrilled.

  19. JS Partisan says:

    Chongor, street racing has existed long before there was ever a FAST AND FURIOUS. This includes the original FAST AND FURIOUS. No. Not the movie from 2001. The other movie from like the 50s, that’s even more ridiculous than anything else.

    Movie, it’s called CASTING/AIRPLAY. If you have a computer and internet worth a damn, then that’s the way you watch things. I am looking forward to the Apple TV service, because that way I can be truly done with cable forever. All of the companies in this country are just ridiculous, and fuck dealing with them.

    Also, movie, we used to watch TV on 13″ TVs. Watching them on a laptop or phone, is no different. Hell. I used to have a Sony Watchman, and it never even came close to looking as good as an iPhone screen.

  20. Bulldog68 says:

    “Also, movie, we used to watch TV on 13″ TVs. Watching them on a laptop or phone, is no different. Hell. I used to have a Sony Watchman, and it never even came close to looking as good as an iPhone screen.”

    JS, you really yanked a memory from me that was totally gone man. At my first stint of living life on my own and with a shitty job, I bought a 13″ B&W. Then I got what I think was like a 9″ combo deal. Those portable Panasonic TV’s with a radio and cassette player.

    Now I got a 60″ in the living room and a 55″ in the basement. I can count on one hand the amount of movies I’ve watched on my laptop. Save when I’m out on excursions, usually when my kids have activities and I have up to 60 minutes to kill, my laptop viewing choices are usually Netflix TV fare, like Archer or Stand Up Comedy. Part of my brain still feels robbed watching a major motion picture on my laptop.

    Maybe it is a generational thing, but I would never want my first experience with GotG or Interstellar, or Selma to be on a portable device. I know my view is in the minority these days. I accept that.

  21. Bulldog68 says:

    Also, I honestly don’t know how Disney is feeling, but Oz was a disaster because it cost $215m. Cinderella cost $95m.

    Looks like some studio learned it’s lesson and did what everyone, including you on many occasions keep saying, keep an eye on the budget, and your movie does not have to $500m just to break even.

    Also it’s currently at $383m with lots of foreign territories left to open in. You frequently underestimate in your foreign predictions, but here’s a fun fact, Maleficient, huge success, made $47m in it’s entire run in China. Cinderella is already at $65m. I see no reason why, based on it’s current trajectory, if it makes close to $200m domestic, that it doesn’t shoot well past $500m worldwide. I think Disney would be thrilled.

  22. movieman says:

    95% of “The Salvation” is in English, Et.
    The (fairly minimal) subtitled dialogue pretty much ends 15 minutes into the film.
    I know the horror of discovering that a screener doesn’t have a subtitle option, though.
    Last summer I was thrilled to get my hands on a screener of Bertolucci’s “Me and You,” only to realize that I couldn’t access the subtitles.
    I was heartbroken.
    And the movie still hasn’t been released on DVD in the U.S.

  23. EtGuild2 says:

    If “Cinderella” does half as well as “Maleficent” in Japan, $500 million is a lock. If it performs in relation to “Maleficent” the way “Cinderella” did in China (unlikely, but not impossible), it will hit $600 million. Japan is such a wildcard with princess themed movies that it’s a mistake to make any worldwide projections before it opens there. Remember, FROZEN made $249 million. Assuming they attach FROZEN FEVER over there, god knows what it could make.

    Ugh, the sub-thing also happened with “Winter Sleep” last year for me. Though to be fair, probably more than 2 hours of that movie don’t require them.

  24. YancySkancy says:

    MAD MEN freaks who can’t get AMC but aren’t on a tight budget can access episodes on iTunes or amazon for I think $2.99 per episode in HD, or get a season pass for about $20. We recently cut the cable cord, and will soon add Hulu Plus and probably HBO Now to our current Netflix Streaming, then supplement with a few season passes, meaning we’ll be able to watch everything we like (though sometimes a bit later than broadcast date) while drastically cutting our monthly outlay for TV. I know this isn’t an option for sports nuts or those who watch EVERYTHING, but it should be ideal for us. We’ll see.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin