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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Pixelated Klady

Friday Estimates 2015-07-25 at 9.40.22 AM

Not a very exciting weekend.

Pixels is not a complete disaster, like That’s My Boy or Blended, but it does stink of Adam Sandler’s last gasp as the major box office star he has been for 17 years. And sorry haters, but his stardom and success is undeniable, even if you hate the man’s humor utterly. The difference with Pixels is that it is high concept and relatively high budget for recent Sandler and unless the videogame element generates $150 million in Asian countries, this one is going down… greatly because they relied so much on Sandler, not Columbus, to sell it. And the truth is, I have no idea what happened inside of Sony to have this sold the way it was. Did Columbus reject being front and center? Did Sandler control marketing? Did they test “Here’s a movie from the guy who brought you Harry Potter and Home Alone and guess what goofball came along for the ride?” and it didn’t test well? Don’t know. But like Hotel Transylvania, I feel like the movie needed to be sold without making it all about the actor, who brings a ton of baggage – much of it unfair, in terms of media – to his releases.

Anyway… will families show up with their kids today? Probably not much. And the film is perfectly safe for under 10s. But they didn’t sell that element either. They just hoped little kids would get jazzed by life-sized videogames. So the fear, for Sony, is that they got the core Sandler audience on Friday and that the film didn’t reach much beyond that and will sink on Saturday and Sunday, leaving either Minions or Ant-Man or both to pass it at the box office to great embarrassment.

As I have noted a million times, ranking means nothing in reality. It is a bad way to report box office and we all should stop doing it as a way of leading. However, taking what was meant to be a 4-quadrant movie and turning it into a half-quadrant movie is hugely embarrassing and when you “win” Friday by almost $2 million in a seven-digit “race” and have to worry about “losing” to not just one, but two movies… someone is shitting themselves at Sony this weekend. And it ain’t Tom Rothman. In fact, if it hasn’t already done so – via internal projections – this opening has got to empower Rothman even more with the corporate bosses, because honestly, Pixels is soooo Amy Pascal… so last regime. Further, Paramount would have found a way to open this thing to $50 million. But then again, Paramount’s computers are working and the studio hasn’t been under attack for 10 months. So, deep breaths.

Ant-Man‘s 68% opening-Friday-to-Friday drop is better than Cap 1 and worse than Thor 1… but not far off of either and the rest of the weekend will tell the story. Cap still ended up with $25.5m for the second weekend off a $7.9m Friday. That suggests Ant-Man should be somewhere around $23.5 million this weekend if it stays in step.

Minions is looking at $22 million and change, based on the 3-day arc of last weekend.

Paper Towns and Southpaw are nearly twins coming out of the gate. If I Stay would seem a good, if slightly generous, template for Paper Towns… meaning, it didn’t find the sweet spot that The Fault In Our Stars did. Back to the niche. $14m – $15m for the weekend and a domestic total in the mid-40s. And Southpaw, which surely plays more adult and more male. Tough to find a comp, but maybe Savages from a few years ago? However, that one had more sex appeal and was all edge. Southpaw, ironically, is really a story of family and redemption. $40 million domestic total looks like a happy number from the perspective of this opening day, especially given the underwhelming media support. But with Wanda as a funder, the Chinese market could prove critical to the bottom line on this one and make the movie profitable all on its own.

In terms of the first run, Jurassic World is already past Titanic ($600m first run, another $58m in re-release domestically) and could pass Marvel’s The Avengers for #2 all-time this weekend. Is Titanic‘s first-run $1.8 billion worldwide catchable? Honestly, I don’t know the layout of the what has played out internationally well enough to tell you. China’s been milked, so I am guessing “no.”

Mr. Holmes added 325 screens and 18% Friday-to-Friday, which is solid work at that level. Roadside is releasing the film at a slightly hotter clip than they did Mud, which is their top grosser ever, and Holmes seems up to the challenge. The film probably tops out at about $25 million with Roadside, whereas Searchlight or Weinstein or Sony Classics may well have ridden it to another $10 or $15 million on top of that. Still, an unquestionable success.

Samba, release by Broad Green, is the only $10k-per-screen art house movie this weekend that isn’t an ethnic play.

Chinese superhero parody Pancake Man is off to a strong U.S. start, as it has been in most countries it has played. Over $20k per-screen seems likely for the weekend on 13. And now I am anxious to find out if there is a subtitled version out there so I can see it too.

12 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Pixelated Klady”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    No on JW…unless it reaches FROZEN heights in Japan, which seems unlikely since it’s all that’s left.

    Nice mention on PANCAKE MAN! It’s time to bow to our new Chinese overlords.

    And I can’t help but be happy that MINIONS, against all evidence to the contrary, will end up short of INSIDE OUT domestically.

  2. movieman says:

    You liked “Minions,” Et?
    I mean really liked it?
    “Benignly boring” was the best I could muster (and I liked both “MW&C” and “Labor Day,” lol).

  3. EtGuild2 says:

    Noooo…I think you misread? I’m thrilled Minions is going to end up with less cashola than the far superior INSIDE OUT, which I don’t think anyone would have predicted.

  4. movieman says:

    OK, gotcha.
    You had me worried there for a minute, lol.

  5. cadavra says:

    Wait, isn’t JIANBING MAN (to give it its proper title) playing subtitled at the AMC 14 in Monterey Park?

  6. pat says:

    There’s still going to be a Minions 2 though, regardless of whether it comes in ahead or behind Inside Out.

  7. movieman says:

    As far as other “serious” Sandler movies go, “Spanglish” is pretty decent, too, if hardly the masterpiece Armond White claimed at the time.
    And “The Cobbler” deserved better than its (pretty much) straight-to-DVD fate.

  8. Ray Pride says:

    AMC plays the Chinese releases (as well as multiple Indian titles) across the country. I’ve never heard of them not being subtitled, but I’m not a regular.

  9. cadavra says:

    Right. I often go out there to see the new Tsui Hark or whatever and they’re always subtitled. I was just wondering how or where David saw it dubbed.

  10. Hcat says:

    I don’t think David suggested it was dubbed, just that it might be presented in its original language without subtitles.

  11. Hallick says:

    I only finished watching “Minions” five hours ago and it feels even more like a longish episode from a would-be Minions series on the Disney Channel than it did while I was watching it. I’d call it sigh inspiring.

    On the other hand, if anybody’s been waiting with bated breath for the major motion picture adaptation of that Time/Life 60’s CD collection infomercial, now’s your bloody chance.

  12. cadavra says:

    Ray: Ah, I see. But I can’t imagine anyone–especially MediaAsia, which is co-owned by Jackie Chan–placing a non-subtitled print in theatres owned by AMC or any other mainstream chain (they wouldn’t book it in any event). David can safely go and (presumably) enjoy.

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