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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Kladybumps

Friday Esitmates 2015-10-17 at 7.46.16 AM

Hard to say where Goosebumps will end up for the weekend, as it has the box office upside of being a family film but with the box office downside of being a “horror” film on some level. Which side of the film will win the “how the weekend turns” derby? We’ll see today. Family is generally up on Saturday and horror drops.

The Martian is also a wild card. In its first week, it did a pretty normal 3x Friday for the weekend. Last week, it had a big Saturday bump and ended up doing just under 3.5x Friday for the weekend. So which will it be? $22 million, $19 million or something in between… or above or below?

Bridge of Spies is also a complex film to find comps for. Spielberg’s action romps all have opened better. But of his dramas, only Lincoln has opened better in the last decade (and that after a week in exclusive). When Lincoln expanded from 11 screens, it went to only 1775 screens (why not 1776?) and it did $6.4 million on that first wide-ish Friday. Bridge is on 2811, estimated at $5.3 million. And when Lincoln then went to 2018 in its second wide weekend, it had a $10m Friday… which is remarkable, as was the box office run of that film, stem to stern. I don’t think anyone was counting on Bridge being that kind of phenom.

That said, when you go back to 2004 and The Terminal, you see Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg opening in the same exact number of venues as Bridge (2811) and opening to $6.1 million, $800k more than Bridge. Ont he other hand, just look at Spielberg’s last six openings and Bridge will be the second best, behind only Indiana Jones 4… third best if you just make it a flat 10 years, 7 films, and include War of the Worlds.

Here’s another interesting stat… Schindler’s List was never on as many as 14oo screens, never had a weekend of $6 million or more, and still did $96 million domestically.

If I had to guess, Bridge of Spies ends up somewhere around $60m domestic, which is likely to be enough to get it to profitability given the budget, and when you include international.

Crimson Peak is a hard sell. Is it a horror film, a film noir or as its creator says, a Gothic romance the scale of which the movies have not seen in 50 years? With a $5.3 million opening day and a bunch of box office-projecting yahoos who have convinced themselves that when they read the tea leaves wrong, it means the film did something “disappointing,” knives are sharpened for this film.

Truth is, Guillermo del Toro hasn’t had a wide release of a film that is not CG or established-character-driven in his career except for 1997’s Mimic, which was considered a problem child of a release then and now. Universal, having a great year, seemed to mimic the genre confusion in its marketing… are those character posters in the outdoor ghosts, horror, 3D… ??? If you are hip to the Guillermo groove, there was nothing really surprising about the tone of this film. He has never made an actual horror film as a director. He has made giant spectacle action films and he had made intimate, heartfelt dramas with big genre elements… Crimson Peak is the first film he’s had that really lingers between the two things. And based on this opening, a modest part of each of the genre audiences showed up, but none of those groups (the horror fans, the tweener grrrl romance fans, the spectacle crowd) committed fully.

Crimson puts me in the mind of Ghost Story, a 1981 film with a parade of near-death movie stars (Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Melvin Douglas, John Houseman) in a haunted house movie of memories and revenge. It was a very unusual combination of things… and it did okay at the box office for 1981, though it got its butt kicked by other December movies like On Golden Pond, Reds, and even Sharky’s Machine. I like that movie. I would love to see that movie again today. There’s really been nothing like it in the 30+ years since. It may be that long before we see another film like Crimson Peak. If we do, it will probably be from Guillermo and it will probably cost $20m or less, forcing it to be a bit more intimate and a bit less effects-y… which in turn will probably make it clearer to the potential ticket-buying audience and a big “surprise” hit. Hollywood is scarier (and sometimes surprisingly happy) than any movie.

Woodlawn is, it seems, a biopic about the high school experience of 1980s Miami Dolphins running back Tony Nathan, who, it seems, went to a primarily white high school and became their Jackie Robinson, embracing his faith in the process. Not a huge hit, but generating $4 million more than anyone should have expected on opening weekend, this seems to be another strong reminder that there is money in niche audiences.

Room is looking at $30k per screen for the weekend on four. Truth under $9k per on 6six Beasts of No Nation at an anemic $1600 per on 31… which is not a good sign for Netflix as a theatrical distributor. It’s not just a Netflix issue… there is a ton of evidence that there is a glass ceiling on movies with a short or nonexistent theatrical-to-online window. There just is.

And as we see Paramount try to destroy domestic theatrical with their experiment next week – supported by Chinese-owned AMC – there may be some bump for their specific titles because of the pre-sold nature of the material they are pushing out and the novelty of the new, but undercutting theatrical for online is fine if the target for profitability is low… for anything greater, it is a disaster waiting to happen. And indeed, Paramount may not actually be after day-n-date for wide release movies, so much as breaking ground for studios using day-n-date for their lower end titles, which could benefit from a stronger non-theatrical play without going 100% direct to digital.

4 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Kladybumps”

  1. Kevin says:

    So BEASTS OF NO NATION is a flop in theaters, but is there any way to know how many people watched it on Netflix?

  2. PJ says:

    60M would be Spielberg’s lowest grossing film since Munich and before that Amistad. Definitely not what they bargained for considering reviews.

  3. Tracker Backer says:

    “So BEASTS OF NO NATION is a flop in theaters, but is there any way to know how many people watched it on Netflix?”

    No. Netflix never releases viewership numbers, and they likely never will. There is no “opening weekend” for them.

  4. Kevin says:

    I did read online today that they are “happy” about how many subscribers watched it, but you’re right, no numbers…

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