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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Still Lego’d Len

Friday Estimats 218 9a

Slow-fading IP and soft originals define this box office weekend. The Lego Batman Movie will be a modest success, degree depending on international. But it’s already 20% or so off of The Lego Movie and that is with Batman, a character that almost always wins. Estimates of what The Ninjago Movie might do should probably be revised well below $100 million. That may cause a push at WB to push the recently pushed back Lego Movie sequel to a closer date again.

Fifty Shades Darker is not a disaster, financially. But domestically, it is a gray shadow of the original and the promise of the franchise. Some Big international markets seem sure to be off by significant percentages as well. Film #3 is already shot and really, there is nothing to be done to fix what is wrong here. So expect lower numbers the third time, but again, not to the point of not being profitable.

The Great Wall didn’t die… but is not strong. Matt Damon’s brand gets a boost from this opening at all.

Ice Cube is looking at his worst opening in over a decade with Fist Fight. The only one nearly as soft was Lottery Ticket, which was a non-spin-off spin-off of the Barbershop brand, but at WB, where selling to the “urban” audience is not generally a strength. I have to say, I was the target audience for this movie… but I’m not sure anyone selling it knew that.

A Cure For Wellness openly sickly. Fox spent on it. But you didn’t really get the sense they were all in on this one. Perhaps they should have pushed it into August, after Valerian, hoping that release established a commercial branding of Dane DeHaan, which it might. (He’s great… but not an opener.)

No $10k per-screen openers on the limited/exclusive scene this weekend.

18 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Still Lego’d Len”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    LEGO is running very similar to SPONGEBOB, so expect $165. FIFTY SHADES is running very similar to THE VOW (which dropped the last V-day Tuesday before President’s Day weekend), so expect $120.

    Can’t cry that much for Universal, with three early 2016 hits more than offsetting GREAT WALL (which isn’t a disaster like HUNTSMAN was for them). This is the weekend where SPLIT, credit due, crushes the high-end comps. It is guaranteed to surpass LAST AIRBENDER’s domestic gross to become Shylaman’s biggest domestic grosser since SIGNS, WANTED to become McAvoy’s biggest non-XMEN, and early-year Universal genre highs like SAFE HOUSE, RIDE ALONG and IDENTITY THIEF.

  2. Movieman says:

    It still boggles my mind that “The Last Airbender” could have done over $100-million domestically.
    One of the absolute worst studio films of the decade.

  3. EtGuild2 says:

    Yeah…credit to the series I guess, which I had barely any awareness of before.

    I count myself as a Gore Verbinski fan. He’s long been a mainstream director with outsized ambition, even if that ambition works (The Ring, Pirates 1, Rango most of all) less than half the time (Pirates sequels, Cure for Wellness, Lone Ranger). So this hurts.

  4. Movieman says:

    I’ve always liked Verbinski dating back to “Mouse Hunt.”
    Curiously, the only Verbinski movies I haven’t care for were his “Pirates” trilogy.
    Yep, I’m a–lone, lol?–“Lone Ranger” fan.

  5. Sideshow Bill says:

    I liked The Lone Ranger. And I liked the first 2 Pirates movies. His third one was unwieldy for me. I’ll see CFW on vid but reaction is too mixed to venture out.

  6. That Guy says:

    The Lone Ranger was a fun 110 minute movie that ran 150 minutes.

    Fist Fight was mis-marketed. The early commercials and trailers all kept saying “Teacher Fight!” which was a better title. I think people might have been confused that this was even the same movie, despite a late change to the advertising where they started actually mentioning the title.

    Maybe it wouldn’t have had made much more but I think ‘Teacher Fight’ out-opens ‘Fist Fight’.

    Totally confused by The Cure For Wellness’ opening, unless people really don’t like Dane DeHaan. I thought it looked fascinating from the get go.

  7. Geoff says:

    Am I the only one starting to sense that La La Land is NOT going to win Best Picture? Just seems as if momentum against it is accelerating on all fronts fair or not fair – Hidden Figures has now blown past it at the box office, Fences is now looking likely it could take two acting awards, and Arrival is looking like a stronger contender for many of the technical awards. And the thing is the movie is still doing very well but there’s SUCH a strong backlash and the mood out there just doesn’t seem as strong for a lighter “escape” to take the top award as seemed the case after Trump won in November.

    Sorry to politicize things but there is no way you can take politics out of this….especially not when it comes to an industry award that is almost always affected by political considerations. The mood out there seems more “Let’s resist!” than “Let’s escape” and I could see Hidden Figures possibly taking it or even Moonlight now since those films have much stronger messages and are headlined by African Americans….

    Who knows though? It’s still a fantastic movie and is probably performing better than the higher-ups at Lions gate were expecting just six months ago – folks forget that with all of the hype surrounding this being the follow-up to Whiplash, that film really didn’t do anything at the box office and it has seemed for years now that every film headlining Ryan Gosling had a definitive ceiling…especially after The Nice Guys under-performed earlier in the year. So $140 million domestic, $400 million worldwide for an original musical is STILL quite the win for them.

  8. That Guy says:

    Hidden Figures isn’t a “Let’s Resist!” movie, it’s a “remember how great we USED to be at resisting?” movie. Moonlight is the anti-Trump nominee, but nobody saw it.

  9. EtGuild2 says:

    The highest grossing Best Picture nominee hasn’t won the Oscar since 2006. Money means nothing, at both ends though given HURT LOCKER was less seen than MOONLIGHT. MOONLIGHT has a strong case since it’s the critical favorite, but it’s fallen by the wayside to FENCES awards-wise, with FENCES a non-contender at the top (but it will siphon votes from the other two).

    I’m not sure I really care though TBH. This was the weakest year for nominees in memory for me….it’s LA LA LAND by default, and I suspect even those who didn’t love it (like me) admit it, because they struggle to offer up a consensus alternative. For me only LA LA, MANCHESTER and ARRIVAL are really worthy of noms, though I suspect more think similarly of MOONLIGHT (which I think was done better in Britain with MY BROTHER THE DEVIL…though every niche global ethnicity is different). There isn’t a “singular alternative,” and that should split the vote enough for LA LA LAND to hold on. If HIDDEN FIGURES/MOONLIGHT/FENCES weren’t splitting the vote, and there was more of a movement for MANCHESTER or ARRIVAL I’d disagree.

    TWC is claiming a late surge for LION (which even though I really disliked LION, I’m all for given their apparently empty coffers). Maybe Dev Patel can pull an upset. Will it steal votes from LA LA specifically though? I could see LION stealing votes from everyone or no one.

  10. Sideshow Bill says:

    I’m rooting for Arrival or Moonlight. They both affected me far more than La La Land, which I didn’t outright dislike but haven’t thought about since seeing it.

    Best Actress is the biggest award for me. Huppert > Stone, by a lot.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    Agreed Sideshow Bill. Actress is the only race that matters to me.

  12. Heather says:

    I’m actually impressed by the Fifty Shades hold. Looks like it will do 80-85% of the original which is a huge win. Most thought it would do 55-60%. For a $55million budgeted film to make 135-140 domestic is a noting to cry about.

  13. Geoff says:

    Etguild I’m not saying that the nominee with the largest box office always wins, it’s actually quite the contrary…..but at this point in their runs, crowd-pleasing Best Picture winners like Chicago and The King’s Speech were JUST hitting their strides at the box office and weren’t being overshadowed at the box office by other nominees that were holding better.

  14. Movieman says:

    Yeah, the fact that “Darker” didn’t completely drop dead after its opening weekend is pretty remarkable considering how abysmal it is.
    It’s so bad it makes “Grey” seem like “Last Tango” in comparison.
    Sad that James Foley would follow his previous career worst (2007’s “Perfect Stranger”) with an even worse film.
    I was a big Foley fan back in the day (“At Close Range,” “Glengarry;” all-time guilty pleasure faves like “Fear” and “Who’s That Girl”), too.

  15. Christian says:

    Good to see so many Verbinski fans here. I don’t know why I root for the guy – I’m not a huge fan of any of his films, although “Pirates 2″ had a zany, Chuck Jones-like section in its middle that almost, *almost*, made me like that movie.
    Oddly enough, the movie I think of first when I hear Verbinski’s name, and which no one ever talks about, is “The Weatherman,” which I kind of liked upon release but haven’t revisited since. Still, something about it stuck.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    The Weatherman is brilliant. Have watched it many times. Cage is so good, as are Hope Davis and Michael Caine. It is so weird and dark and hilarious. Despite seeing it at least a handful of times for some reason I never think of it as a Verbinski film. But it’s so, so good. What’s the Spritz nipper?

  17. pat says:

    Fifty Shades Darker has outgrossed LegoBatman? There really is a V-day boost.

    Has Best Picture EVER been influenced by current politics? Casablanca maybe, but not in the last quarter-century. Academy members are going to make their protest vote in best Foreign Film…and maybe give an award to that Syrian White Hats documentary too.

  18. Christian says:

    Stella’s Boy: I’m glad I’m not alone on “The Weatherman”! But I need to watch it again. I can’t remember anything beyond Nick Cage being good in it (that was pretty much the end of his “good” run).

    Also, “A Cure for Wellness” is … well, I realize it’s probably too long and derivative in some obvious and some not so obvious ways, but the word I want to use to describe the film, despite all that, is … great.

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