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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Cups 2 Klady


So… <b>Pitch Perfect 2</b> will outgross the original’s entire domestic gross on opening weekend. Mind you, it is a sequel, the original was a post-theatrical phenom, and a May berth isn’t the end of September. But however you cut it, an achievement for Elizabeth Banks and crew, not so much as a director (quality is a non-issue on opening weekend), but as a producer, Banks should now have a lot of elbow room to push out moderately-priced films for the next couple of years. She is now where Paul Feig was after <b>Bridesmaids</b> or should be. The only restraint will be that she is a one-hit wonder. But she should have a number of well-funded chances to change that. 

How should you feel about <b>Mad Max: Fury Road</b> opening? Well, it may still be a Top Ten opening for an R-rated film. And historically, the biggest R-rated opening ever is still $92 million. So don’t get too depressed. The pitch for the film was more one-note than the reviews or the film itself. I’ll be shocked if a dearth of women isn’t a part of the story by Sunday. 

27 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Cups 2 Klady”

  1. Geoff says:

    In that context of its budget, the hype, and the raves, Mad Max’ opening night is a bit disappointing – no doubt Pitch Perfect siphoned off a lot of women and that’s the differences maker. Best Warners can probably hope for is to a bit above break-even at $400 to $450 million, which puts in right in the predictable ballpark of Tron Legacy/Pacific Rim/Prometheus. Still you can’t fault the Warners marketing dept – they marketed the shit out of this to women, had Charlize front and center for everything.

  2. Amblinman says:

    I’d buy the “women stayed away” angle more if the Fast and Furious movies hadn’t been opening to huge numbers. I just think this is more of the same: American movie goers won’t go near anything “weird” anymore.

    I’m so grateful I grew up in the era I did. The notion of only having Marvel dreck as my only source of popcorn entertainment is depressing as shit.

  3. eric says:

    Once again we are seeing the overreaction to perceived dissapointing box office numbers. The last two weeks it’s been all about AOU’S underwhelming domestic numbers, only compared to one other MCU movie so far. Now it is Fury Roads’s turn. It looks like it is going to have a 3 day opening about the same as the four day opening of Kingsman in Feb. The difference is the much higher budget for Fury Road. That is WB’s problem , nobody elses. The movie was made,now people can see it and judge it. That is the achievement.

  4. doug r says:

    Friday’s too early to judge. Wait for the WOM to spread.

  5. Big G says:

    Have we forgotten that the third Mad Max film only grossed $36 million in 1985 ($82 million adjusted)? It will have already grossed more in one weekend then the first three films combined.

  6. Jerryishere says:

    Maybe the fight affected MM:FR…
    When everyone was watching PPV there was no chance for promotion.
    And when they were not at Avengers 2, they couldn’t see the MM:FR trailer… Less awareness = less box office.
    Women were NOT watching the fight… And look at PP2.

  7. EtGuild2 says:

    One of those weekends where a film meeting or even exceeding expectations/tracking gets unfairly maligned because another movie blew up and for budgetary reasons.

    Agree with doug. Could be reminiscent of the breathless “New Moon Shatters Records” headlines back in 2009, when it opened next to a little flick called “The Blind Side” that exploded on WOM. Probably not, but too early to tell.

  8. dinovelvet says:

    Hard to tell how word of mouth will go. Of two recent critically positive R-rated action movies, Kingsman appears to have gotten it, John Wick did not (and that had the better critical score of the two). Cinemascore is B+ on Mad Max apparently, which while good, doesn’t suggest out and out audience raves that some people are hoping for.

  9. Geoff says:

    Amblinman, the Furious 7 comparisons really don’t work – folks like Duane Johnson, Tyrese, and Vin have HUGE social media followings and very well-liked by the women. Tom Hardy…not so much, fair or not. And yeah Big G, this was always a niche franchise even going back 30 years….people forget that Mel Gibson didn’t really become a full-fledged star until a few years after ‘Thunderdome when Lethal Weapon broke out. Comparisons to relaunches for long-dead franchises like Prometheus and Tron Legacy are the most apt – just like with those, they’ll make some good bank worldwide but probably not enough to justify the cost.

    And I don’t care how it’s being spun, but it’s clearly obvious that ‘Ultron is getting mediocre WOM – it opened much bigger than both, but is tracking just ahead (but losing ground fast with the daily comparisons) and still likely to finish behind both Catching Fire and TDKR domestically.

  10. eric says:

    Seriously, Cinema Score has got to stop being used as an indicator of anything.I think IMBD ratings and rotten tomatoes user scores are probably more reliable. I am a frequent moviegoer and I have never been approached coming out of a movie what my opinion was and neither has anybody else I know.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    Geoff, IRON MAN 3 did $25 million on Memorial Day Weekend against the most competitive summer environment ever and continues to be behind AoU on a daily basis (FAST 6, HANGOVER 3 and EPIC opened to a combined $210 million). Given that TOMORROWLAND and POLTERGEIST are tracking for less than $80 million together, and AoU would already be near $405 million by next Monday even if it were to hold up like FAST 6 and HANGOVER were opening, I can’t comprehend how these projections fly out.

    And yeah, the only time CinemaScore means anything is if it’s an A+, or below a C.

  12. Geoff says:

    Etguild, people actually ENJOYED Iron Man 3 for the most part….except for a small (but vocal) group of fanboys who hated what they did to The Mandarin. And Tomorrowland is a Disney tentpole which they’ll pushing all resources behind, considering what that movie cost….Catching Fire had a Christmas-week second wind to help it while TDKR had an unusually weak August to help it.

  13. JS Partisan says:

    Marvel dreck? Oy to the vey, and I grew up in the same damn era. Some of us are glad, that we don’t have to deal with Cannon films and fucking stupid ass horror films, and all the other nonsense from that time.

    Geoff, the moment the geeks freaked out about Fury Road. I had a David Poland like “GEEK” premonition, that the movie wouldn’t beat Perfect Pitch. This is just how these things work, but Perfect Pitch is a movie, that has been re-released on BLU-RAY fucking two times already. The CUPS song didn’t go away. There was no movie world, where a movie that has endured this much, would have a sequel that failed to win this weekend. If Warners sold them movie as being what it is… the most feminist action film ever, then things might have been different.

    Also, Age of Ultron is a billion dollar movie already, and that’s about it. Really.

    If you think Tomorrowland is going to make money, then that’s some bravery. Seriously. It’s a movie, shrouded in the fucking mystery box, and it doesn’t look cool enough for people to go see it. If Disney actually SOLD WHAT THE MOVIE IS ABOUT (go read it over on io9), then things would be different.

    Right now? That movie is lucky, if kids give enough of a shit about to get their parents to take them to it.

  14. Geoff says:

    JS, Transformers 4 is a $1 Billion movie as are the last Pirates and the first Hobbit….and your point is?? 😉

  15. Bulldog68 says:

    Mad Max opening below Pitch Perfect surprised no one. I saw not one prognostication that had it otherwise, not even after the glowing reviews.

    Here’s a thought. These movies aren’t actually competing against one another. They are competing for the dollars of their respective target audience, and PP2’S pool was always going to be bigger. Add to that it comes from a recent well loved prequel, and is getting decent reviews, and it’s a win for them.

    Max always had an uphill battle and how got it is actually caught a lot of people by surprise, so much so they tthought it’s quality would make it explode at the box office. That didn’t happen, but one weekend does not tell the story.

    JS you said the Max trailer looked awful. You need to get your head examined. This movie is hands down the best summer movie of the past few years and beats every Marvel movie I have seen. It’s a breathtaking film. It was never going to earn Marvel money. But God is it good.

  16. JS Partisan says:

    The trailers were terrible (“Let’s sell to men, and ignore that this movie is incredibly feminist!”), and the movie is alright. Also, who are you arguing with? I never claimed it would make Marvel money. WB’s Geoff, is the one who was shocked. Not I. Nevertheless, it’s called Boyhood, and Fury Road is not better than BOYHOOD! It’s just not. It’s an alright movie though, that doesn’t use Tom Hardy enough. Here’s to sequels.

    WB’s Geoff, the point is, that AoU isn’t finished making money. It’s a billion dollar movie now, and it will make more millions with the weeks to come. Also WB’s Geoff, worry more about your precious Dawn of Justice making Captain America money, than about a Marvel movie making MARVEL MONEY.

  17. Hcat says:

    I figured pitch 2 would be big, but nowhere near this massive. I don’t think it siphoned off anything from Max though. No matter how feminist the action, the gonzo ultra violence is going to keep a swath of women away. F&F is a much easier sell.

  18. Pete B. says:

    “…Fury Road is not better than BOYHOOD!”

    Yeah, cause that’s the movie everyone is comparing it to. ???

  19. Geoff says:

    Who said I worked for WB??? :) For the record, I think The Dark Knight is pretty overrated and have seen pretty much most of the recent Marvel movies leading up to Thor 2 twice in theaters….they HAD been pure fun for a while, but now they’re starting to feel like episodic TV in the worst way.

  20. leahnz says:

    geeze it’s only been like 1 day, maybe wait just a tad – like 3 days – before getting out the slide rules and bean counters and brass knuckles

    (so is Max bigger than mel? weirdly i feel like what i’ve been saying all along about a reboot fits: should have just pretty much left Max out of this new incarnation, had furiosa – whose movie it is, hands down – as Max’s daughter perhaps? had a Gibson cameo in flashback or somesuch, tied up his fate and introduced furiosa even with the same basic backstory, filling her dad’s shoes to make her own way in the wasteland, perhaps even keeping the basic bones of the hardy role but as a NEW character to buddy up with (a la max and the gyrocaptain).
    hardy is ok but he ain’t no young, smouldering gibson with those eyes and that light streak in his hair and glint of compassion and humour buried deep under a thick, hard layer of numbness and pain, allowed to ferment and form with a great deal more character moments)

  21. Geoff says:

    And JS, I can remember just a few years ago on this same blog when you were vigorously defending Green Lantern and the big plans WB/DC had for Sinestro in future films, so when did you start hating on WB? :)

  22. JS Partisan says:

    WB’s Geoff, they still have those plans, but that fucking movie failing brought about this GRIM DARK BULLSHIT. Not like that movie is great or anything, but it at least tried something. Ryan Reynolds, was just not up to it.

    Also, I don’t hate DC. I just strongly dislike what they’ve done with the comics, the way they treat their female characters, and the execs wanting shitty as Zack Snyder over Geoff Johns. I love the fucking Arrowverse, and I am so glad there is something DC in the world, that isn’t grim dark bullshit.

    Yes. The Zack Snyder ship for me has sailed, and it’s color corrected ass, can fuck right off.

  23. Bulldog68 says:

    I don’t think it was commonly perceived that it was Ryan’s fault that Green Lantern failed. It failed because the big bad guy was a fucking cloud.

  24. Pete B. says:

    Not only was he a cloud, he was a turd brown cloud. Not very visually appealing.

  25. movielocke says:

    I was telling people at work that pitch perfect would be like Austin Powers 2 and massively out gross the original. Looks like the comparison was very apt.

  26. palmtree says:

    Batman Begins opened $48m on its way to $206m in 2005.

    I have a feeling this is kind of like that long game, especially since it’s an R. They’re just trying to re-establish the character, and, much like a triumphant Pitch2, come in with some much bigger sequels. Let’s hope George Miller has enough gas in the tank to get it done.

  27. Bulldog68 says:

    Nice hold for Max on it’s first Monday. It’s #1 placement is marketing more than anything else, as PP2 is a runaway success, but as a fan of PP1 and will be going to see PP2 sometime soon, I gotta say, seeing Mad Max at #1 was nice. Both movies deserve success, with Max having the bigger hill to climb due to it’s budget. It’s all on the screen though and I hope this as an early sign that it will have a good hold this Memorial weekend.

    I’m hoping it at least gets past $150m. The also R rated Neighbors opened to $49m and had a bigger first Monday drop, so there’s hope.

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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