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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Holdover Harry Klady

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The Martian continues to hold well and will pass Gone Girl, last year’s big adult drama from Fox some time this week. It’s still not catching up with Gravity, the big adult drama of two years ago, but it seems sure to crack $200 million.

Goosebumps had a decent hold, given that Friday isn’t a big family day and that we are still a week from what should be a pre-Halloween bump.

The Last Witch Hunter is an oddball, as Vin Diesel has so little recent history in anything but Furious films. This one is just behind Riddick, although that was a sequel. And it is ahead of Babylon A.D., which totaled $22 million. The guy is a big star… when driving a car or mocking himself. That’s more than many actors ever get.

Bridge of Spies has a solid second Friday hold… nothing great, nothing upsetting. Modest success, box office-wise.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is part of a short-window experiment by Paramount. It’s been set up as a no-can-lose proposition. If it gets to $16m total domestic, it will be in line with the drops the series has taken as it hits the sixth film. It will get close enough to blame the screen count. And we’ll soon hear about how it did in VOD… or not, if it doesn’t do significantly increased numbers from a normal post-theatrical VOD release.

Steve Jobs is a disappointment. But the journey to that fact has been a trip down the rabbit hole this weekend. The bad but now standard choice to project grosses based on tracking offered by studio sources who have a vested interest started the guessing at $19 million for the weekend. That was drawn down to $11 million when Friday east coast estimates – another now standard and utterly unreliable journalistic tool to project box office – got reported on Friday afternoon and the “Disappointment” shrieking started… more to cover butts than to accurately relate what was happening on the film. And now, pretty-much-actual Friday numbers that show that $7.5 million for the weekend will be a happy number relative to Friday at this point… so yes, an actual disappointment. Can the film recover? We’ll see. But the very strong numbers in exclusive suggest, comparatively, that this is a film with strong support in a few major cities and that Universal marketing just didn’t find the audience that was not anxious to see a Steve Jobs movie or a Danny Boyle movie or an Aaron Sorkin movie or a Michael Fassbender movie.

17 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Holdover Harry Klady”

  1. PTA Fluffer says:

    Painful per screen number on the Levinson. Murray emerged from his 90s fallow period seeming like one of the more discerning big-time movie stars, but now back to putting his face as either lead or key support on a string of half-baked, manipulative cinematic dogs. Rushmore and Lost in Translation seem like a long time ago indeed. Hell, if Rock the Kasbah is what he’s choosing, why not take a serious paycheck by top lining Ghostbusters 3? Who gives a crap?

  2. EtGuild2 says:

    Wow I was sure wrong about JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS. I need to stick to my demographic.

    Also, do you think the cerebral nature of THE MARTIAN is the reason why it seems like it’ll finish far behind GRAVITY and INTERSTELLAR internationally?

    Also, I haven’t seen PA4….but they didn’t bring back Katie Featherston? Seems like they really mailed it in, moreso than SAW at the end.

  3. dinovelvet says:

    Although I’m sure awards buzz will push it over, there’s still an embarrassing possibility of Steve Jobs grossing less than the Ashton Kutcher version ($16.1 mil)

  4. alynch says:

    I remain convinced that the general public has no idea who Michael Fassbender is.

  5. Molly's Dad says:

    Agree with alynch. It seems that very few people actually know who Fassbender is. To many of the ones who do know him, he’s more famlous for the size of his junk than any of his movie roles, 12 YEARS and X MEN reboots included. As for the film itself, which I loved, someone at Universal marketing blew it. I recently posted a rave review and a stirring recommendation on FB, asking people to support the film and see it. Many of my friends, most of whom are in the entertainment industry, remarked that with the “bad” reviews and the already worked over subject matter, they had no intention of seeing it. When I replied it had received raves from the NY and LA Times (and had a high rating from Rotten Tomato), a few said they would try to see it. A couple of friends asked why I was posting about an old movie with Ashton Kutcher. Then there is the seemingly problematic presence of Seth Rogen in the film. Despite his truly excellent performance, he could be scaring away moviegoers as well. (Remember THE GUILT TRIP? Even devoted Streisand fans did not want to see Rogen in a serious film.) STEVE JOBS is a great film which deserves an audience. Not sure it’ll happen.

  6. Chucky says:

    And it won’t happen because “Steve Jobs” received the Peter Travers Seal of Approval.

    Earth to Hollywood: if you want to make money, avoid using Peter Travers pull quotes.

  7. chris says:

    …or a lot of people thought, “I’ve already seen an Aaron Sorkin walk-and-talk about an on-the-spectrum tech genius with no personal skills.”

  8. John E. says:

    True on Fassbender. When we saw the Steve Jobs trailer last week, my wife asked me to remind her who he was. The answer that usually works fastest is “young Magneto.”

  9. JubbJubb says:

    I thought that Ashton Kutcher was Steve Jobs? Is this a reboot? What is going on??

  10. Breedlove says:

    It’s always fascinating to me…plenty of movies get bad reviews but maybe, what, once or twice a year something pretty high profile with respected talent involved will come out and the reviews are so astonishingly bad it’s kind of entertaining to read them…Rock The Kasbah, wow, any critics hate that film at all? Like, do Levinson and Murray have a sort of awkward phone call after the reviews come out? “Ummm, yeah, this didn’t go so well…”

  11. Hallick says:

    “Remember THE GUILT TRIP? Even devoted Streisand fans did not want to see Rogen in a serious film.”

    Where on god’s green earth was “The Guilt Trip” sold as a serious film?!?

  12. eric says:

    Nobody seems to be pointing out that Fassbender does not resemble Jobs at all. That could be a bigger reason for it’s failure than fassbenders lack of heat with jo blo moviegoer. Or it is a combo of both. Or it could be that people just did not care period and Christian Bale would not have brought much to the box office either. I guess we will never know

  13. palmtree says:

    Steve Jobs just seems like one of those movies I can catch later. Has a TV movie feel. Yes, the crappiness of the Ashton Kutcher movie combined with the self-importance of both the subject Steve Jobs and writer Aaron Sorkin is also a little off-putting. I’m still gonna see it, but it didn’t scream must-see this weekend.

  14. Tracker Backer says:

    “Nobody seems to be pointing out that Fassbender does not resemble Jobs at all. That could be a bigger reason for it’s failure than fassbenders lack of heat with jo blo moviegoer.”

    I highly doubt anyone decided not to go to the movie because he doesn’t look like Jobs.

  15. Ray Pride says:

    I stopped going to Tim Burton films because Helena Bonham Carter looks nothing like Steve Jobs.

  16. Pete B says:

    She looks more like Steve than Fassbender does.

  17. Bulldog68 says:

    At Etguild: “Also, do you think the cerebral nature of THE MARTIAN is the reason why it seems like it’ll finish far behind GRAVITY and INTERSTELLAR internationally? ”

    Honest question, is this sarcasm? I really can’t tell, because I thought that Interstellar was as cerebral as you can get, and sometimes too much for it’s own good.

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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