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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Klady: Origin of Evil

weekend estimate oct 23 2016

The newcomers land in the same order as they did Friday, Madea leading, but there are some “funny” estimates for the 3-day, which may shift when Sunday numbers are counted. The only change in order might be Ouija 2, which could fall behind The Accountant for #4. Also accelerating, after an excellent four-screen launch on Friday, is Moonlight, with an estimate that is even more stellar than expected, leading the exclusives by a distance.

BooMadea’s estimate seems a mill or two high… but still #1. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back gives an honest estimate, which could actually go up a little, a 51% improvement on the first in the series. Ouija: Origin of Evil also estimates high, fighting off The Accountant for the #3 spot. Ouija 2 may well fall to #4 tomorrow, but will still likely be equally profitable or more profitable than the Affleck thriller. Keeping Up With The Joneses couldn’t keep up with six other movies and is better than that, but probably not good enough to get a word-of-mouth surge that would alter its trajectory. A trio – aside from the Wonder Woman to come – of actors who are well-liked, but don’t  to inspire people to buy tickets.

Suicide Squad is holding to hit $325m domestic… which made me look at the year and the massive disparity between the top 8 titles so far and the rest. Jason Bourne is the #9 movie of the domestic year to date and it is almost exactly HALF the box office of #8, Suicide Squad.

The are NO titles between $175 million and $320 million. NONE. That hasn’t happened in the domestic box office since 1988, when Rainman was the #1 movie of the year with just under $175 million. Almost 30 years and a whole different box office universe, pre-DVD.

The disparity is not evident at the international box office, though there is a near-$200 million hole in the worldwide box office between $553 million for The Mermaid and Suicide Squad‘s $744 million. The worldwide target for “the big movies” (budgeted over $175 million) to be safely into profit is…. perhaps not coincidentally… $600 million.

I’m not saying that all the bigger budget films that don’t do $600 million are money losers. There are many variables in budgets and in post-theatrical revenues. $500 million is the edge of danger (though there could still be black ink, in reality, if not on the studio books). And not every $600 million grosser will be profitable… but the vast majority will.

I don’t know exactly what this means or the root causes. Each film is its own universe. One can hardly say that Jason Bourne‘s $401 million worldwide makes it a “have not.”

For all the complaining in the media, there are only five bigger budget money losers this year so far: The Huntsman: Winter’s War, The BFG, Alice Through The Looking Glass, Star Trek Beyond, and Independence Day: Resurgence. Others that seemed like big trouble were saved internationally (from Warcraft to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows). And Ben Hur wasn’t that expensive (but it will lose money).

And unlike the constant refrain in much of the media, caused by the very same media’s misreporting of the industry, there were about 20 movies released by studios this year that were just around or over $150 million in production costs. That is a quarter of the releases. And I am not including Dependents (Searchlight/Focus/SPC) or any of the indies. Just major studios, where I include Tri-Star, Screen Gems, and New Line.

The BIG movies with the BIG budgets and the BIG grosses or the DISAPPOINTING grosses are like a shiny object to press. And while 20 such movies is a lot and a higher percentage than in the past, the illusion that this is all that major studios now do is false.

And I hate to break it to the media (wait, that’s me), but The Secret Life of Pets and Deadpool, both massive hits, may stink of IP, but were relatively cheap. They lead 21 $75-million-or-less homegrown studio releases that have grossed over $100 million worldwide.

Did I mention that Moonlight had a great 4-screen opening? It did.

Also a strong start for The Handmaiden on 4… but not close to Moonlight.

I suspect that 90%+ of audience members going to either film will come out buzzing with movie joy.

And the superstunt for the election is Michael Moore in Trumpland, a spoken-word concert event by Moore talking to, as I gather, a crowd of Ohio Trump supporters. $20,850 per on two screens before its immediate iTunes bow.

13 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Klady: Origin of Evil”

  1. JoeLeydon says:

    It looks like Middle School may end up out-grossing Birth of a Nation. Who would have predicted that? Of course, Nation might bounce back if it’s re-released after Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. But on the other hand…

  2. EtGuild2 says:

    MOONLIGHT’s opening is on par with BIRDMAN. I guess A24 picked a winner for its first production! It may stall a bit over $10 million like TREE OF LIFE or LLEWYN DAVIS, but given the subject matter, that’s a win…or it could go higher.

    BOO! is Lionsgate’s 4th biggest non-YA opening of the decade behind the first two EXPENDABLES and NYSM1….and is the #2 non-major studio opening of the year. Given that YA seems dead for now, it’s a sign Lionsgate should go back to their original business model.

  3. EtGuild2 says:

    “For all the complaining in the media, there are only 5 bigger budget money losers this year so far:”

    GODS OF EGYPT is the biggest money loser of 2016.

  4. Movieman says:

    My fantasy is that “Moonlight” can match “Precious” ($47-million), but it’s just a fantasy, albeit one I’m sure A24 probably shares in their wildest dreams.
    Can’t share Dave’s (mild) enthusiasm for “Joneses.” Even if it had opened better, WOM would have surely sunk it post opening weekend. What happened to Greg Mottola anyway?
    Thought “Reacher 2″ was a pleasant surprise. Not great, but certainly good enough. And it was nice seeing an Ed Zwick directing credit again.

  5. I thought ‘Ghostbusters’ was among the biggest money losers of 2016. Columbia ruled out a sequel.

  6. MarkVH says:

    Finally got around to watching 13th this weekend and wow, what a huge disappointment. Reasonably convincing (though overly simplistic and deceptively incomplete) framing of America’s mass incarceration problem that settles for easy targets and offers no solutions beyond hashtag activism before turning into a Hillary Clinton campaign ad. Frustrating.

  7. Sevenmack says:

    Why would the estimate for Madea seem too high? Lots of black and white people love this minstrelry — and I say this as a black man.

  8. CG says:

    Amazing to me that after its much larger opening, Suicide Squad is likely to (just) trail Guardiand of the Galaxy by the time it ends its theatrical run (based on Box Office Mojo’s figures).

  9. EtGuild2 says:

    “I thought ‘Ghostbusters’ was among the biggest money losers of 2016. Columbia ruled out a sequel.”

    You can’t count GHOSTBUSTERS, if you’re going to discount BEN-HUR, which lost at least twice as much money. In reality there’s a lot of movies which probably had low 8-figure writeoffs this year…GHOSTBUSTERS, FINEST HOURS, TARZAN, BFG, WARCRAFT, TMNT, SNOWDEN, ZOOLANDER 2, NICE GUYS, 13 HOURS, DIVERGENT, DEEPWATER HORIZON….

  10. John E. says:

    If the rule of thumb is that a movie must make triple its production budget to be profitable, then the movies that have lost more than $100 million are (not in order) BFG, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Ghostbusters, Tarzan, Independence Day 2, Star Trek Beyond, TMNT 2, Allegiant, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Gods of Egypt, Ben-Hur, Free State of Jones, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and it’s not looking good for Deepwater Horizon and Kubo & the Two Strings to not be among this group.

  11. Yaya Sinister says:

    Isn’t Tarzan on track to break even? WW theatrical is over 2x reported budget (incl China). What’s the typical expected return for a tentpoler on home video these days? 10-20% of theatrical?

  12. EtGuild2 says:

    You can’t make that a “rule of thumb” though, because 1. It isn’t true 2. China 3. All releases on the home market aren’t equal. Kiddie movies do much better…TANGLED would go down as a total disaster if it hadn’t pulled in a quarter billion on domestic video sales alone (yes, that was early streaming days, but younger titles still do better).

    Alice will not lose a tremendous deal of money, most likely, because it skews younger. TARZAN will be relatvely fine because its gross isn’t predicated on China. Not sure where you got the idea that a movie like JONES, KUBO or WHISKEY can lose that much money with their budgets.

    Something like GODS OF EGYPT hits the disaster sweet spot because 1. 25% of the gross, which barely matches the production budget as things stand, is Chinese 2. The total gross is almost 80% international 3. It has a weak home distributor.

    Btw, MADEA made $1 million more than estimates. She comin for u, DP!

  13. That Guy says:

    Lionsgate said they didn’t lose very much on Gods of Egypt because of foreign presales and tax incentives covering all but $10mil of the budget.

    Ghostbusters and Ben-Hur are the biggest flops of the year(so far), and I’d give the edge to Ghostbusters as the result of opportunity cost. They’re going to lose out on the fruits of a potential franchise because of the lukewarm reaction to their film.

    Tarzan is on the edge of profitability and has shown sufficient legs that a lower-budgeted sequel with the same cast might be financially remunerative.

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