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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Boo Klady

Friday Estimates 2016-10-22 at 12.39.35 PM

Not an interesting weekend, all things considered. Lots of soft franchise openings and a failed launch of what could have become a comedy franchise.

Madea is back to her traditional level of business. A little behind, but the details of opening don’t seem to matter to the final domestic number with this franchise. But look for a $53m – $65m gross total, which is what Madea does (with only one outlier… Madea Goes To Jail). Madea has never once done more than $1.3m internationally.

Jack Reacher also returned this weekend, though the Paramount ads were so dark and off-center that I wasn’t quite sure who they were after. The teen boy hard-R audience, perhaps? In any case, they kicked the original opening’s ass by 74%, which is impressive. Still, the domestic launch looks to be around $25 million, which is good, but hardly breathtaking. The expectation, no doubt, is that most of the revenue will be international. And if international also reflects the level of domestic uptick, this movie would do $350 million-plus… which would make it a hot, rising franchise produced at a pretty reasonable budget.

Ouija: Origin of Evil appears to spell “mediocre,” but with cheap production, it’s hard to lose on these bets, Even falling well off the original (original knock-off of a board game, that is), this seems destined to be profitable, if not a new house in London for anyone.

What happened to Keeping Up With The Joneses? Nothing. They just didn’t sell the thing effectively. The movie was better than the ads… which is not a good thing. There is something missing from the formula to keep it from being the comedy Mr & Mrs Smith (perhaps movie stars?), but it’s not lacking entertainment value. If they had sold the third act turn, instead of the jokes that tested biggest, perhaps they would have been better off on opening weekend.

The arthouse is back to life. Moonlight is killing it for A24 with $32,500 per screen on Friday and over $60k per screen for the weekend. The Handmaiden did $4750 per screen on four and will be over $10k for the weekend. And Trumpland, the last-minute Michael Moore concert film (now available on iTunes) did a handsome $5,300 per on two on Friday.

12 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Boo Klady”

  1. Chiptopia Cardholder says:

    Hope Tyler Perry and others celebrate the successful return of Madea by visiting a local Chipotle in costume on Halloween and getting a burrito for only $3. It is crazy to think that TP has been wearing the dress on screen for over 12 years and is still drawing a crowd. I know placement at the weekend domestic box office is irrelevant but Madea was in Lionsgate’s first number one movie and she’s still on top.

  2. Hcat says:

    For all the shared universes that have been pitched I think lionsgate is missing an oppurtunity with Madea meets Saw. I know it would be the only way I would get near either franchise.

  3. Hcat says:

    And the bump for reacher is not out of nowhere, the finest one dropped in December which always suppresses opening weekends a bit, I don’t expect this one to do more than 15% over the firsts domestic total especially considering the reviews.

  4. EtGuild2 says:

    Given that BOO! MADEA!! is the result of a throwaway Chris Rock jock in TOP FIVE, I wouldn’t dismiss that possibility if Perry ever decides to stop moralizing and sleaze it up like he does when he’s in front of the camera in movies he doesn’t direct.

    Btw, Perry will reclaim his crown as the top grossing African American director, from Tim Story, with this one.

  5. Geoff says:

    “Btw, Perry will reclaim his crown as the top grossing African American director, from Tim Story, with this one.”

    Just curious Et, where is a stat like that available? And I would have thought that Antoine Fuqua or John Singleton might have that designation…they have both directed their share of hits.

  6. Bitplaya says:

    Does Chris Rock get a cut of this movie? I swear Tyler got the idea from his trailer in Top Five. When I saw it I thought it was a great idea.

  7. Triple Option says:

    Man, I saw Top Five and loved it but I can’t remember a Medea joke to save my life.

    Keeping up w/the Jones’ trailer made it seem like a very predictable movie. About at bad as Central Intelligence. I hate trailers that show too much or give away the entire plot line. What Lies Beneath for years I thought was the worst about it. Like, seriously, can you not tell that’s the entire film right there? That deserves to fail to stop your stupidity in mktg. Then about a decade later, Never Let Me Go decides to shows the actual friggin’ climax of the film in the trailer! You people who thought, or failed to think this through, go to a world where this is a good business decision and live there. You don’t belong on planet earth. Innocent people shouldn’t suffer your denseness.

  8. EtGuild2 says:

    “They linin up around the block for that Madea Halloween movie!”And thus, a hit was conceived.

    @Geoff, you have to go to Mojo’s “People” list and do a quick scroll-through. Perry out-grosses Fuqua by about $130 million at the moment, and Singleton by quite a bit. In terms of non-white directors overall, Shylaman still has the title over Wan, Lin, Saldahna etc….14 years and running I believe.

  9. palmtree says:

    Wow, thanks for point that list out.

    Did you know the highest grossing female directors are…Lilly and Lana Wachowski? Fascinating.

  10. Pete B. says:

    ^ Does that come with an asterisk for when they were brothers?

    (All 3 Matrix movies were before the transition.)

  11. JS Partisans says:

    Pete, they were always women, because that’s how it works. That’s a fascinating stat though.

  12. Geoff says:

    Cool statwork Et, I just checked it out myself on Box Office Mojo – but you know who could leapfrog right past Tyler Perry next year? F. Gary Gray if Furious 8 does near the business that the first one did.

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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