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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by Tre’ja Vu Klady

SWeekend Estimates 2016-09-18 at 9.53.01 AM

So September…

Not a pretty weekend. Always an odd month.

On “this weekend” of September, having three openings is not rare. But in the last five years, it has been rare to see three new films loaded into one weekend that have so little traditional firepower . It’s been 16 years since a Blair Witch sighting… 12 years between Bridget Jones quirkiness… and selling a political movie without a big, fat hook has always been a brutal task.

Compared to The Fifth Estate, Snowden had a massive opening ($1.7m vs $7.9m). Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an excellent, well-liked actor, as is Shailene Woodley. But neither is a full-stop box office opener. This is Oliver Stone’s worst opening in almost 20 years, though he’s made star-studded spectacles for the most part. The W opening is closest ($10.5m)… and that was a hyperreal comedy in the heat of an election year. Let’s not forget that one of Mike Nichols’ best films, Primary Colors, barely opened ($12m) despite a then-super-hot John Travolta and top-of-her-commercial-game Emma Thompson.

The Bridget Jones’ Baby opening is almost exactly the same as the Bridget Jones’ Sequel, which was only a couple million less than the original Bridget Jones’ Diary opening. So really, Universal has nothing to complain about here. I don’t expect that this film will achieve the 4.5x opening that sequel Edge of Reason did… but (shrug). Edge did 5.5x domestic at the international box office and that is the reason why this three-quel exists, not because of expectations of domestic success. Universal could have, in theory, pushed the film to Focus to save a little on marketing, but not really. The film comes with the long relationship with Working Title. All is well.

Blair Witch? Well… uh… straight IP greed play. Wingard & Barrett are legitimate horror guys. The movie was flint cheap. Crap horror opening under $10 million, but no one is going to lose money on this one. The wet dream on these kinds of investments is that there will be a magical surge of interest in a great old film (at least to Don’t Breathe numbers). But no.

So… weak-end. But nothing really sad here. Just meh.

Sully remains on top, doing solid September business. Clint Eastwood made a movie people like. He is a great filmmaker who can hit a clunker, but didn’t here. Nor did he change the world. Tom Hanks…kinda the same. The film will do slightly better domestic box office than other September hits The Equalizer and Eagle Eye. It will probably do less internationally than either of those films. But more than breakeven. I don’t mean to poo-poo a hit, but at this budget range, a drama with some action that plays domestic only is unlikely to be a cash cow. Just the math, folks.

Suicide Squad stands quietly as the reason why studios continue to chase comic book movies. $314m domestic. $719 million worldwide. New franchise. Slaughtered by critics and much of the word-of-mouth. Warners’ #3 DC movie all-time. Close to passing the well-loved Gravity to become the studio’s #14 film of all-time. And those 13 ahead of it, 8 are Potter films and 3 are Batman films, Inception and The Matrix Reloaded. They may be celebrating like Republicans in Hollywood, but no matter how much in may enrage you or the media, they are celebrating.

Look at the worldwide Top 10 to date in 2016, it’s four talking animal movies, five comic book movies, and The Mermaid, which is a bit of both. Take out The Mermaid, which had no impact in the U.S., and it’s dead-even between talking animals and comic book heroes. There are no comic book movies past #10/#11 worldwide… every single one of them did more than $543 million worldwide.

Can people who write about this stuff comprehend these numbers? Complain all you like, but there have only been five of these comic book things released this year… only one of them (Deadpool) was good. But none of them will lose money. Maybe this year is a canary in the coal mine? Maybe Dr. Strange will underperform the $543 million low bar. But if you are screaming “no!!!” and demanding an end to the madness, you are fighting math.

I agree and have written that I think there will be a point where the genre flattens and two or three comic book movies lose real money in the same year, then the machine will change direction. But this is as close to the dumb DVD money that is still so missed. You make it. You put out a trailer. You hope for a billion and are relieved when it hits $500 million. And it always seems to hit $500 million. For now.

By the way, Jason Bourne is the #2 grosser in the franchise, near $400 million. Not explosive, but successful.

The arthouse business doesn’t look a lot different at this point of the year than it did last year. Of course, a lot of the money is in undisclosed VOD, so no read on that. But theatrically, very similar. Amongst films never on as many as 1,000 screens at any given time, there are just over 60 million-dollar grossers both years as of this date.

Roadside Attractions is a heavyweight at the top of this category again, probably on the lookout of a film named “Love & (anything)” for next year after cracking $12.5 million with both Love & Mercy last year and Love & Friendship this year.

The Woody Allen film soft-ed its way into this category, never getting to 1,000 screens while A24 made lemonade out of The Lobster after it landed on its table late in the release game.

Hello, My Name is Doris is the queen of this category and Sally Field with it. Will be interesting to see of there is a legit award push… especially after they failed to get Mr. Holmes to the prom last year.

In fact, the under-1,000 category was fool’s gold last year. Ian McKellen, Paul Dano, Lily Tomlin, Blythe Danner, Jason Segel, Kristen Stewart, Sarah Silverman… all spent time as hopefuls last season… some deserved it for sure… none got in.

Anyway… boring September will bring an animated hit next weekend, as most Septembers now do. Onward…

23 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Tre’ja Vu Klady”

  1. Stella's Boy says:

    I know it’s been mentioned that kids these days don’t care about The Blair Witch Project, but after the strong of horror hits over the past few months and what seemed like a massive push from Lionsgate, I would have bet money on a (minimum) $15 million opening weekend for Blair Witch. Glad I didn’t. That seems like a terrible opening weekend even if it didn’t cost much to make. Based on anecdotal evidence the P&A spend was pretty significant.

  2. EtGuild2 says:

    DON’T BREATHE has to be a big factor here. It’s getting into range of INSIDIOUS 2, PA 2 and ANNABELLE, and it’s encroaching on Screen Gems’ most lucrative genre: the Channing Tatum weepie. There’s just not enough money to go around with five 50 million+ horror/horror-adjacent movies this summer, with three over 75 million. And RINGS owns the nostalgia factor I think.

  3. EtGuild2 says:

    Haha, I love the flippant dismissal of CAPTAIN AMERICA:CIVIL WAR, which was, aggregatively, the most critically acclaimed live-action wide release of the entire summer. You do you, DP.

  4. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah, Ethan. He and Man, should get together, and bitch about their hatred of Marvel Studio movies. My response to that comment… OUT OF HERE! OUT OF HERE! Another favorite from Broadcast News, “YOU GO TO HELL!”

    Oh yeah, Dave, if Strange gets to play in China. It’s 700 to 800 million easy. When will shit catch up to these movies? It already has, but guess what? Their audience is so big, so broad, that it can overcome people like you, who are worn out by them.

    Stella, I’d put money down, that The Woods would have opened that big. Rebranding it, “BLAIR WITCH,” did it no favors.

    One last thing about Blair Witch: it goes on the wall, of movies that were BIG AT COMIC CON, and no where else.

  5. Sideshow Bill says:

    Yea, a glut of horror, mostly good, might have hurt Blair Witch a little bit too. It’s my favorite genre and I’ve been pleased with the year mostly. I’d rank the horror films I’ve seen:

    The Witch
    Green Room (debatable but it felt pretty damn horrific)
    February (aka the Blackcoat’s Daughter)
    Light’s Out
    Blair Witch
    10 Cloverfield Lane
    Don’t Breathe
    The Purge 3
    the Neon Demon
    The Shallows
    The Conjuring 2
    Hush
    The Boy
    31

    Shifting genes: Gonna watch Hunt For the Wilderpeople tonight. Very excited. Wash the taste of another Dolphins loss from my mouth I hope.

  6. dinovelvet says:

    Joseph Gordon Levitt continues to be a Huge Rising Star that nobody actually goes to see.

  7. EtGuild2 says:

    Nice list Bill. I’m sad about the shifting release dates for BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER. What gives? The only add-ons I’d put on your list, since you’re including GREEN ROOM, would be THE INVITATION, and possibly SHELLY.

  8. Sideshow Bill says:

    The Invitation is on Netflix. I gotta watch that. I just Googled Shelly. Had not heard of it but I’ll track it down now. Thanks for the tip!

  9. Sideshow Bill says:

    One thing about Zombies 31 that is fair to mention: Richard Brake gives a really great performance. He has great presence and is finds the right note to play without going over the top like Bill Moseley can do. The movie needed more of him. Also nice to see Meg Foster. Otherwise I hated it.

  10. Christian says:

    Horror fans: What did you think of SPRING? That’s not from 2016, but I just caught up with it this weekend. I know I liked it, don’t think I loved it, but haven’t pondered it enough to know for sure. I loved some of the conversation and don’t care for graphic gore, but man, I did find SPRING a bit talky.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    SPRING was surprisingly divisive in that I don’t think anyone hated it, but there’s some people who swear by it. My ex thought it was a work of genius, which floored me given that he finds the BEFORE trilogy pretentious, and this could have been titled “Before Spring.” I thought it flagged as it went along, but it’s an ambitious piece of work and I applaud the effort. Between SPRING and RESOLUTION, these directors have a bright future.

  12. Sideshow Bill says:

    I just read a blog review on SPRING this morning. I went under my radar. I’ll check it out at some point.

  13. Kevin says:

    “only one of them (Deadpool) was good”

    CIVIL WAR is only one of the best films of the year, full stop.

  14. TheRougeBaron says:

    Kevin, absolutely. Ah, how long’s your list?

    I mean, if it’s long enough, you could say it’s one of the best of the decade! Of the century even! Lol.

  15. EtGuild2 says:

    So Clint Eastwood surpassed Tim Burton and Chris Columbus this weekend (and George Lucas last week) to become the 8th highest-grossing director of all-time, and may catch Christopher Nolan before SULLY’s run is over. That’s certainly not something I thought I’d ever see.

    And DP, I hope you meant “solid business in September,” not solid September business, given this is going to be the top live-action September release since 2002…possibly 1998 if it performs as well as CAPTAIN PHILLIPS from here on out. Internationally, it’s too soon to tell given that it has nearly all of Europe plus Korea and Japan left.

  16. TheRougeBaron says:

    @Et: domestic only. Not even close internationally.

  17. Geoff says:

    “So Clint Eastwood surpassed Tim Burton and Chris Columbus this weekend (and George Lucas last week) to become the 8th highest-grossing director of all-time, and may catch Christopher Nolan before SULLY’s run is over. That’s certainly not something I thought I’d ever see.”

    Interesting stats EtGuild but come on now…..Eastwood only had a THIRTY year head-start – he’s been directing since the ’70’s. Still a sterling track record don’t get me wrong because if you adjust for inflation, he had some blockbusters back then too.

  18. Geoff says:

    “Oh yeah, Dave, if Strange gets to play in China. It’s 700 to 800 million easy. When will shit catch up to these movies? It already has, but guess what? Their audience is so big, so broad, that it can overcome people like you, who are worn out by them.”

    JS, so Dr. Strange is going to out-gross the first two Iron Man movies, both Thor films, AND ‘Guardians?? Not seeing that at all and I am looking forward to it – great cast for sure! I’m predicting $600 million WW which I think Disney/Marvel would be happy with.

  19. Matt P. says:

    George Lucas made four movies as a director from 1997 to 2005. No matter how popular those movies are, a solid director like Eastwood cranking out a movie a year for the better part of the last decade should pass Lucas’ take.

  20. EtGuild2 says:

    To put it another way, prior to AS and SULLY, based on the pace he’d accumulated over the course of a 41 year directing career, Eastwood would reach Nolan’s current total by perhaps 2032, at the age of 102. He was coming off a nationally televised, politically-charged conversation with a chair, to boot. When Woody Allen directs AVENGERS: A VERY DIFFICULT DAY, as a centenarian, this won’t be unusual I suppose.

    (and yeah it’s domestic, and yes that’s why I put Lucas in parenthesis Matt P.).

  21. YancySkancy says:

    “Haha, I love the flippant dismissal of CAPTAIN AMERICA:CIVIL WAR, which was, aggregatively, the most critically acclaimed live-action wide release of the entire summer. You do you, DP.”

    Why should Dave’s opinion (or anyone else’s, for that matter) conform to the aggregate?

  22. EtGuild2 says:

    “only one of them (Deadpool) was good. But none of them will lose money”

    He was making a point that quality hasn’t really affected grosses as much as one might expect. That’s true of the DCEU, but given CIVIL WAR is well-loved, it makes no sense to inject personal opinion here. I didn’t love CIVIL WAR, aside from the airport throwdown, but it’s disingenuous to state as fact it wasn’t good in a box office analysis. The consensus was, it was good. I don’t like the APES reboots, but I’m not going to say it’s interesting they’re making money, despite the fact they “aren’t good.”

  23. YancySkancy says:

    Ah, gotcha.

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A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
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Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
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The Hate U Give 0.17 36
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Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
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Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
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The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4