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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Super Klady’s Bowls

friday estimates 2417 8-39a

 

The Ring, which was a DreamWorks property converted from the Asian horror films, embodies the entire cycle of too much of current box office. The first film was an underdog that opened decently, but then grew very long legs, grossing $1m or more for 9 weeks. As a comparison, last year’s only horror film to gross $100m domestic, The Conjuring 2, had five such weeks. The Ring launched a craze on the film world, as Asian remakes appealing in particular to young women, and then domestic horror appealing to young women was a huge trend for a number of years.

The Ring 2 opened huge ($35m) by 2005 standards, #15 for the year. Then, unlike its predecessor’s 8.6 times opening weekend, it did 2.2X opening. And with that (and The Grudge 2), the heat was off and no Asian horror remake has since grossed more than $40 million domestic.

And now, Rings is a reboot of a dormant franchise, 12 years from its last incarnation, riding the tide of studios mining ancient IP. This one will do okay, having kept its budget in line with the market, though one wonders why they didn’t cut this budget in half and give it the Jason Blum treatment. If you look at the list of high-end producers on the film, that may explain the problem… they may have made it for something like Jason Blum money and still ended up with a $25m reported budget. That is a given cost of rebooting successful, older IP. Paramount particularly carries this weight with DreamWorks rights.

Anyway… Rings will probably make a little money when all is said and done. Not a flop. Not a smash. Grist for the mill.

Split, which will end up being #2 for the weekend, is more than that. Original production. Cheap. Big grosses. Cash cow. Looking forward to Splitter. (Just kidding… haven’t even seen this one… in no rush… but McAvoy looks like he is having great fun.)

Hidden Figures remains muscular, as I suspected it would be back in September, when at the Toronto event. It will pass the Oscar Best Picture frontrunner, La La Land, either this weekend (Super Bowl sluggish) or during the week. Arrival, the third Best Picture nominee which will likely gross $100m domestic, dropped its screen count in half this weekend, slowing the process. But it’s only $2 million away… hard to imagine Par not pushing it over.

The Space Between Us is barely made any room for itself in the market, looking at a weekend under $3.5m as Super counterprograming.

I Am Not Your Negro is riding great, well-earned reviews to a $10k+ 3-day per-screen. It will be the only one in that category this weekend.

12 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Super Klady’s Bowls”

  1. Stella's Boy says:

    SPOILERS Caught up with Split. I was pretty bored for the most part. Found much of the final stretch unintentionally funny. I also wonder how many people who haven’t seen Unbreakable are puzzled by the closing scene. Do viewers under 20 even know who Bruce Willis is? The trailer for Get Out is more creepy and unsettling and frightening than anything that happens in Split. I didn’t like The Visit either. Shyamalan isn’t doing it for me with these low-budget thrillers. They’re dull and lack thrills. Split is way too long. The midsection really drags.

    I think yesterday was Ring’s fifth release date? Is that a record?

  2. EtGuild2 says:

    Holy Moly, this was a depressing weekend to fill-in as a local critic. I should have gotten hammered. I expected RINGS to be terrible, and didn’t have a good feeling about THE COMEDIAN, but I did not expect SPACE BETWEEN US and YOUTH IN OREGON to be so terrible. Borderline unwatchable in fact. A weekend to forget if there ever was one!

    Anyone seen THE LURE or WE ARE THE FLESH? Interested.

  3. Movieman says:

    Wide releases have gotten off to an even bleaker start than usual in 2017. At least we had “Hail, Caesar!” by this date last year.
    Unwanted sequels (“Rings,” “XXX,” “Underworld,” “Resident Evil”) to movies time forgot; crap “originals” like “Space Between Us,” “Sleepless,” “Monster Trucks” and “Bye Bye Man;” a Shyamalan everyone seems to like more than I did; and “A Dog’s Purpose” (which I didn’t hate or love).
    While “The Founder,” “Gold” and even “The Comedian” are infinitely superior to any of the other 2017 movies in wide-ish release, they don’t seem quite “new” to me since I saw them last year.
    Glad that “Negro” opened so well. Watched it a second time last night and now think it’s even better than “13th.”

  4. Nick Rogers says:

    Stella’s: I saw Split opening weekend and absolutely no one within several rows of me knew what the hell was happening in that final scene. They recognized Bruce Willis perhaps but had zero inkling that Split was now a stealth sequel to a 17-year-old film that they probably forgot they even saw. And yes, Split is a puzzler both in popularity and praise. It is Shyamalan’s longest movie and feels almost every second of it. Tremendous amounts of boring exposition (delivered by a character who contradicts her entire professional argument when confronted with ultimate proof of it, BTW) and a rather disgusting exploitation of molestation that doesn’t even culminate in the usual “She knows a monster so she can outwit one” conclusion. (What they arrive at is far more offensive.) McAvoy is fine but it’s in service of utter junk that is only better than “The Visit” because of his committed effort.

    Movieman: “Sleepless” is a remake of a pretty good action film called “Sleepless Night” that’s worth checking out.

  5. Movieman says:

    Nick- Mea culpa for labeling “Sleepless” an “original.”
    I actually saw (and liked!) “Sleepless Night” which makes my above faux pas inexcusable.
    While watching “Sleepless,” I kept experiencing what felt like deja vu. Not until checking out IMDB afterwards did I realize why, lol.
    Execution truly is everything.

  6. Nick Rogers says:

    Indeed on execution. And my only intent in mentioning it was to recommend something (better) you may not have caught in its initial go-round.

  7. Stella's Boy says:

    I could not agree with you more about Split, Nick. Exactly how I feel about it. So pervy. So much boring exposition. A stupid last-second reveal. Utter junk it is.

  8. EtGuild2 says:

    I’ll third that on SPLIT. Junk, and I find it amusing that it’s raised Dave Eckstein’s hackles more than any flick I can remember.

  9. Movieman says:

    So I’m not in such a minority re: not loving “Split”?
    Good to know.

  10. Pete B. says:

    Did you mean Dave Edelstein?

    Dave Eckstein was an infielder for the Cardinals.

    Or is there more than one?

  11. Stella's Boy says:

    Edelstein’s review is great and pretty much represents how I feel about Split.

  12. EtGuild2 says:

    Haha yes Edelstein. Too many Cards games when I was little :)

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What do you make of the criticism directed at the film that the biopic genre or format is intrinsically bourgeois? That’s the most crazy criticism. That’s an excuse for not engaging with the content of the movie. Film critics sometimes, you know, can be very lazy.

Come on, formal criticism is valuable too. But I’m amazed when this is the thing they put in front of the discourse. My situation is that I’m dealing with a highly explosive subject, a taboo subject that nobody wants to deal with.

Karl Marx? Yes, this is the first film ever in the Western world about Marx. And I managed to make an almost mainstream film out of it. You want me at the same time to play the artist and do a risky film about the way my camera moves and the way I edit? No, it’s complicated enough! The artistic challenge — and it took me ten years with Pascal to write this story — was the writing. That was the most difficult part. We were making a film about the evolution of an idea, which is impossible. To be able to have political discourse in a scene, and you can follow it, and it’s not simplified, and it’s historically true. This is the accomplishment. So when someone criticizes the formal aspects without seeing that first, for me, it’s laziness or ignorance. There’s an incapacity to deal with what’s on the table. I make political films about today, I’m not making a biopic to make a biopic. I don’t believe in being an artist just to be an artist. And by the way, this film cost $9 million. I dare anyone in the United States to make this film for $9 million.
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“The Motion Picture Academy, at considerable expense and with great efficiency, runs all the nominated pictures at its own theater, showing each picture twice, once in the afternoon, once in the evening. A nominated picture is one in connection with which any kind of work is nominated for an award, not necessarily acting, directing, or writing; it may be a purely technical matter such as set-dressing or sound work. This running of pictures has the object of permitting the voters to look at films which they may happen to have missed or to have partly forgotten. It is an attempt to make them realize that pictures released early in the year, and since overlaid with several thicknesses of battered celluloid, are still in the running and that consideration of only those released a short time before the end of the year is not quite just.

“The effort is largely a waste. The people with votes don’t go to these showings. They send their relatives, friends, or servants. They have had enough of looking at pictures, and the voices of destiny are by no means inaudible in the Hollywood air. They have a brassy tone, but they are more than distinct.”All this is good democracy of a sort. We elect Congressmen and Presidents in much the same way, so why not actors, cameramen, writers, and all rest of the people who have to do with the making of pictures? If we permit noise, ballyhoo, and theater to influence us in the selection of the people who are to run the country, why should we object to the same methods in the selection of meritorious achievements in the film business? If we can huckster a President into the White House, why cannot we huckster the agonized Miss Joan Crawford or the hard and beautiful Miss Olivia de Havilland into possession of one of those golden statuettes which express the motion picture industry’s frantic desire to kiss itself on the back of its neck? The only answer I can think of is that the motion picture is an art. I say this with a very small voice. It is an inconsiderable statement and has a hard time not sounding a little ludicrous. Nevertheless it is a fact, not in the least diminished by the further facts that its ethos is so far pretty low and that its techniques are dominated by some pretty awful people.

“If you think most motion pictures are bad, which they are (including the foreign), find out from some initiate how they are made, and you will be astonished that any of them could be good. Making a fine motion picture is like painting “The Laughing Cavalier” in Macy’s basement, with a floorwalker to mix your colors for you. Of course most motion pictures are bad. Why wouldn’t they be?”
~ Raymond Chandler, “Oscar Night In Hollywood,” 1948