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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Lego Klady Dark w/ Almonds

Friday Estimates 651 2017-02-11 at 8.37.31 AM copy

-30%. -16%. +100%.

This would be as good a weekend as any to see the future of the IP-obsessed trend in Hollywood. Those who want to believe things are great with remaking everything will point out that all three of these movies will make money in the end. And that is true. Those who are more circumspect will note that even with down opening days, it is unlikely that either of the first two sequels will enjoy a 3-day multiple as good as the original and that the third cost at least double what the original cost. And someone who hates the IP trend will note that… well, they will stew, as 2 of the 3 got great reviews and the third will make up for domestic losses overseas.

The bigger question is… will studios burn their own houses down relying on ever-weakening over-used IP before the trend ends and they move back into a more moderate posture? Or will they get so desperate to make the trend work that they day-n-date their own industry beyond the point of recovery?

In some ways, just being off 30% should be a relief to Universal and Team 50 Shades. Tracking, at one point, had the second of three (so far) dropping 50% or more. I expect this launch to get worse today, not better. Still, if $55m is the 3-day, Universal would have taken that the first time and they won’t die from it this time. This is also one of those cases where international is dominant, having done 2.4x what domestic did the first time around. So even if this one drops hard and ends up at $110m domestic, international is sure to be $250m at a minimum. Even with an increased budget, $360m is a success for everyone involved… just not as much of a success. And it could well be higher than that. And if the third film drops to $250m worldwide… still making money… not a ton at that point… but making money. It is a truly hideous movie. Everyone involved should be embarrassed. But everyone also gets a new house or two or five.

The Lego Batman Movie is not an underdog. So the drop in the opening, which I think WB anticipated in recent weeks based on how hard the push got, is disappointing. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Batman is the King of IP Cash. Iron Man may seem to be kind of the hill right now, but when Downey stops wearing the suit, whoever follows will fall back in line behind Batman. And when WB decided to make a Batman Lego film the next in what they hope will be an annual series from now until forever, they were clearly intending to boost the franchise into its future, not to stay just below even from the phenom of the original. But it didn’t.

Lego Batman is going to make a lot of money (gross and profit). $300m worldwide is pretty much guaranteed. But it is also going to bring the fantasy of the Lego cash cow back down to earth. Even with great reviews, the “you have to see this… I know you think it’s for kids, but it’s for everyone” phenomenon of the first film is not going to keep getting extended to a bunch of Lego movies. Sorry. Just not. I suspect that this film will be the peak of the Lego franchise, aside from the first theatrical Lego movie. (Worth noting that there is a metric ton of Lego “movies” on streaming, cable, and in video games, so the novelty of active Lego characters isn’t really there for kids either.) Assuming the September Ninjago movie is terrific, I would expect it to do half of whatever Batman Lego does… and then, some panic will set in, as it has on Fantastic Beasts.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a sequel to a modest hit that has become a cult-y favorite since the original’s release 2.3 years ago. This opening doubles the opening of the original, which is great for them. It still leads to a modest success, well under $200m worldwide, unless it really takes off overseas in some unexpected way. And it might.

Paramount looks like it will have a solid year to come, but the winter campaign has been surprisingly disastrous. They may actually lose money on Rings, though they might also break even sometime late this year in post-theatrical… but just barely. They will be upside down on xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. They already took the writedown on Monster Trucks. Silence is barely on their spread sheets, but will still lose a little for the studio. And Allied will bleed red. Fences looks like breakeven will be a happy ending. Arrival is the one financial bright spot… but it is not quite as bright as expected.

They have Ghost in the Shell (aka Scarlett Painted White & Rendered Even More Flawless), Baywatch, and Transformers V… 3 purely commercial vehicles coming down the pike. The whole line-up until next fall. I truly hope they hit them out of the park. I worry that there isn’t a single middle movie for 10 months, which could be a surprise hit. All 3 of these films need to be major hits to get credit for being hits at all. And that is a heavy burden to carry.

Compare this to Sony, which is also fighting uphill right now. 8 releases before next fall, only 1 of which, Spider-Man Homecoming, needs to gross huge numbers to be seen as a success. They are still swinging for the fences with Life and The Dark Tower, but not on insane budgets. And the hopefuls include a Scarlett Johansson comedy, an Edgar Wright comedy, and Danny Boyle’s return to Trainspotting with the full crew intact, plus two Sony Animation films, which won’t be expected to do Disney numbers. It could be that nothing surprises joyfully. But if Spidey does great – which I think it will – and 1 or 2 of the others breaks out, Sony is back on its feet.

On the other hand, if Paramount runs the table with 3 movies and does over $2 billion worldwide with them, they too are going to be seen as being back on their feet.

Nice roll-out on 4 for A United Kingdom, with $4500 per screen on Friday. Duckweed, a $90m comedy hit in China arrives on 27 screens here and is performing modestly.

oscarb bp list ww feb 11

20 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Lego Klady Dark w/ Almonds”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    You really nailed it will HIDDEN FIGURES DP. It’ll top SISTER ACT to become the biggest movie fronted by a woman of color (Emma Stone leads THE HELP) next weekend (or President’s Day). Hopefully that record won’t stand for another 25 years, but unless Zoe Saldana gets a solo Gamora movie or gets lead billing on AVATAR sequels it’ll be tough to top. Which is depressing.

  2. PTA Fluffer says:

    A $40m opening for Lego Batman must surely be seen as a disappointment around the WB exec suites.

  3. captain celluloid says:

    Interesting info . . . . what is your usage of “IP” here
    Internet markets, internet tracking / trending / buzz, interpositive film element [ kidding ]

  4. Geoff says:

    EtGuild2 – how was Viola Davis not the star of The Help? She was nominated for “Best Actress” for that movie and let’s be fair, Emma Stone hasn’t really been an above-the-title draw either….though that might change with La La Land and the Battle of the Sexes coming out.

  5. EtGuild2 says:

    I don’t work for Dreamworks, so I have no idea, but the movie either wasn’t led by anyone (Poster and title card end-credits: alphabetical order starting with Jessica Chastain) or was led by Stone (scrolling end-credits lead, prime spot in main poster with Davis/Spencer/Howard, and also nominated as lead for minor awards), but it certainly wasn’t on Davis’ shoulders.

  6. Geoff says:

    “A $40m opening for Lego Batman must surely be seen as a disappointment around the WB exec suites.”

    Lego Batman is a bit of a disappointment but $40 million is a low estimate – this only opened at $2 million less than the previous one did opening day, I’m guessing it does around $55 million opening weekend. STILL considering this is a Batman property that actually got GOOD reviews, that is a disappointment.

    Part of it has to be the competition – The Lego Movie only had a middling Monuments Men to open up against while this had two proven properties as competition. Neither was a strong overlap but I’m sure a good amount of the hard-core action audience usually drawn to anything Batman went to see John Wick while let’s face it…..REAL stereotyping coming up……most of the suburban house fraus who would usually devote their weekend movie choice towards taking the kids to see Lego probably said “Fuck that….I’m going out with the ladies tonight, YOU stay with the kids!” instead to see Fifty-One Shades. :)

    And yes JS, you’re going to argue otherwise but there is NO stronger comic book IP than Batman and it’s not even close – when the day comes that FIVE different actors with ages ranging from 13 to 89 can make a nice paycheck and get good exposure from ALL playing Tony Stark/Iron Man within a year of each other, THEN we can say that Iron Man is the strongest IP. Absolutely crazy when you think about it that folks will pay cash to just HEAR Will Arnett, Kevin Conroy, and Adam West (yeah couldn’t believe he’s actually 89, dude’s hanging in there nicely) play different versions of the same character! And walking to the local mall, I’ll see a decent amount of folks wearing Captain America, Spider-Man, and Superman gear but nowhere close to the number of bat symbols out there. That said, overexposure MIGHT also be part of the problem….

    Gotham is drawing about 3.5 million viewers on a weekly basis (though dropping in its third season), you have animated films featuring Batman selling about 3 to 4 million units on a early basis, PLUS you have the live action films…..NOT to mention the comic books of course and honestly ANYBODY out there who is a devoted Bat-fan is probably already getting their fix. And I’m guessing that hurt Lego Batman as much as anything else.

    Warners/DC has to be careful not to stretch this property too thin. I honestly don’t think it’s a bad idea for them to wait a few years for another stand-alone Batman movie and I’ll GLADLY take Matt Reeves over Ben Affleck directing it too – Affleck’s a good director but in all likelihood BEST case scenario directing a Batman film would have been like Rogue One …..gobs of fan service overwhelming everything else to the point of distraction. Dude has been OBSESSED with Batman, had a Bat-cave built in his home years ago! :)

    Which makes it disappointing that they seem to be pushing The Flash movie back further in lieu of Gotham City Sirens – The Flash is SUCH a cool character and potentially marketable on the level of Spider-man in the right hands.

  7. Geoff says:

    Etguild, I would actually see both Hidden Figures and The Help within the same category marketing-wise: both are ensemble historical dramas with casts that are majority African American and both were pretty much sold that way. I’m also guessing that Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons were no less draws to their film as Emma Stone was to hers.

  8. EtGuild2 says:

    I guess we can quibble, and the fact that THE HELP is a terrible movie that falls into the “white people solve racism” science fiction genre never does it any favors for me, but I notice a substantial difference in marketing (watch the trailers for a refresher. Stone front and center–Costner and Dunst aren’t) and casting presentation, not to mention the fact that Costner and Dunst weren’t submitted as leads and Stone was.

    http://s3.foxmovies.com/foxmovies/production/films/123/images/posters/514-asset-page.jpg

    This movie is about the quiet power of black women, with black women front and center. The other is a didactic fable with a clearly mixed lead ensemble.

  9. Ray Pride says:

    “Intellectual Property”

  10. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah… No. This was a cluster fuck of a weekend. If all three of these fucking movies, had a weekend to their own. Shit, would be different.

    There is only so much audience this time of year, and these three movies need some space, to not exceed it. Why they fucking do this shit, is still a fucking mystery. Warners, should fucking know better.

    Geoff… No. Great ip, but the best ip, starts with star, and ends with wars, or starts with James, and ends with Bond. Marvel, exist in their own universe. If it were truly the king. It would have overcome this weekend, and it clearly didnt. And I have a feeling, ninjago does better.

  11. Geoff says:

    I said COMIC BOOK-based IP JSP but we’ve argued this before – across ANY entertainment platform, no other comic book character even comes close. That explains the difference between why a show like Gotham can last three seasons while Agent Carter….Doesn’t. Or why Disney had to shut down Infinity even after showcasing the Avengers while the next Arkham game will be guaranteed at least a quarter billion in sales.

    But yes movie-wisw, Star Wars stands above all.

  12. Lynch Van Sant says:

    Fifty Shades Darker also has the benefit of Valentine’s Day next Tuesday…which some couples will be holding out for instead of going this weekend. Last year, Valentine’s fell on Sunday.

    I think Lego Batman will rebound Saturday and Sunday, as guys wanted to see John Wick and girls went to Fifty Shades on Friday. Competition hurt, they should have released it the prior week like the first Lego Movie. It might reach $65mil over the weekend with $60mil the low bar.

  13. EtGuild2 says:

    Scheduling is all kinds of weird this year so far. There have been too many titles. The President’s Day movies feel out of place. Universal is on a distribution rampage, dropping 5 movies in 6 weeks while Fox and Disney have one release between them in the first two months of the year. And suddenly, everyone has decided that March is July, with LOGAN, KONG, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, POWER RANGERS, GHOST IN THE SHELL, LIFE and a Dreamworks Animated movie all coming out.

  14. poet67 says:

    Maybe a lot of moviegoers were nervous about this time having to watch Thomas and Martha Wayne collapse into a pile of tiny bricks.

  15. Christian says:

    Would’ve guessed the Oscar-nominated shorts were doing stronger than $1,000/screen yesterday (am I doing the math correctly?) based on the packed screenings today for the live-action and animated shorts in D.C.

  16. Bulldog68 says:

    But was this really a Batman movie? Or a Lego Movie 1.5, akin to Rogue One or Fantastic Beasts? Genuine question.

    Should we be treating this like part of the Batman movie universe and thus have the same expectations, or treat it like Star Wars: The Clone Wars which did all of $35m?

  17. Geoff says:

    Not sure Bulldog – just saw it this afternoon and enjoyed the hell out of it! The thing is it is clearly a “Lego” movie but it also references all things Batman moreso than anything in the previous The Lego Movie.

    From a box office standpoint considering the release date and how it was marketed, it should probably be judged as Lego 1.25 which makes it a BIT disappointing but right in the wheelhouse of what WB was expecting – for some reason, The Lego Movie sort of underperformed overseas which have had as much to do with it opening smack in the middle of Frozen-fever internationally so this will probably do better overseas.

  18. Pete B. says:

    Not all girls went to see 50 Shades. John Wick 2 has been #1 on my wife’s must see list as she’s a big Keanu fan.

    I don’t think this falls under SPOILER, but…
    *
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    How cool was it to see Franco Nero pop up on the big screen?

  19. JS Partisan says:

    Bd, everyone seems to be treating it like a worthy Batman film, so Will Arnett is now a part of Batman oeuvre!

  20. Triple Option says:

    I’m not too knowledgeable in the field but is Batman really that much bigger an IP than Superman?

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