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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady Raccoon

friday estimates may 6 8a 651w


My instinct on movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 is to shut down the overanalysis. It is so easy, covering box office, to get stuck in the weeds.

It will be the 44th $100 million opening of all-time. There were EIGHT last year.

It will be the second $100 million opening of this year. There were three before the summer last year.

It will be the fifth biggest summer opener for the Marvel-Made MCU in the last 6 years. (The non-MCU opener was Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2, which launched to “only” $91 million in 2014.)

Gv2 cost about $50 million (25%) more than the first of the series (Disney copping to $30m), but will open to about 50% more domestically.

Guardians is very successful, but internationally, the first film was at the bottom of the list (next to Thor 2) of the post-Avengers MCU. Disney will be looking to smash the bar of 60% of total gross coming from international.

Kurt Russell is a great choice for his role in Gv2 for so many Disney-esque reasons, but Disney folks will be wondering if they should have spent the extra dollars on Kevin Costner about now.

Anyone who whines about a $140-$155m opening is a bit of an idiot. But is the measuring stick reality or the MCU? Marvel is launching into its most risky run of new characters (the re-tooled Thor franchise with Thor: Ragnarok followed by Black Panther) and starting next year, three movies a year – spring, summer, holiday – presumably for the rest of our natural lives.

That means a billion-dollar (plus) spend every year chasing theatrical of $2.5 billion and up for Marvel alone. Every studio would take that bet right now. But understand, the spend on just those three movies a year is about the same (a little more/a little less) than the other studios are risking on their entire 12+ slate of films.

But if the 2018 gross is more like $2 billion, fewer studios would line up for that honor, And if the trio grosses $1.8 billion, studios would remain interested, but look for partners to take on some of the risk. The fear would be that if the trio of films grossed $1.2 billion at some point, the slate would lose money, hard as that is to imagine.

Personally, I am excited for Marvel, more so than ever before. They are not standing pat. They are making bold creative choices on film after film (then getting a bit conservative about the Avengers machine). More and more I see them as a true indie studio that just happens to work with very expensive materials. With due respect to their directors, Marvel is unlikely to unleash the next Spielberg or Lucas or Fincher or even Brad Bird from that stable. That is not to say that the group of directors they have brought in – especially these days – won’t represent an important class of commercial filmmakers in Hollywood for decades to come. But the renegades in the group are made stronger by the boundaries and the conventional filmmakers in the group are made stronger by the expansive vision. Making all of this work is no small success.

As for the rest of the weekend, counterprogramming (which is really, in this case, just being in the path of the hurricane with product that works for younger kids and women) is showing solid holds. The only $10k release in limited/exclusive looks like The Lovers, which should play well into the summer if handled carefully as it becomes a big hit with the over-50 set.

10 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady Raccoon”

  1. Geoff says:

    It’s a good opening – all of these folks confidently predicting a $170 million plus domestic opening and $1 billion worldwide are part of the problem that has been discussed ad nauseum on this blog already.

    I am excited about Black Panther and REALLY curious as to how they pull it off – Ryan Coogler is one of my favorite young filmmakers and seeing what he did with Creed, he has already proven that he can bring his tools into an already created world and make a distinctive movie regardless.

    And Dave, is Kevin Costner THAT much more expensive than Kurt Russell at this point? 20 years ago…yes it wasn’t even close but they’re both pretty much well-known veteran character actors at this point. And even trying to insert Kevin Costner as a father figure to the main character this soon after Man of Steel would have been too distracting….and not contractually allowed.

    Although I’ve noticed there are some actors who have had roles in the different comic book universes:
    David Dastmalchian is probably one of my favorites. He was plucked out of obscurity to play one of the Joker’s mentally disabled henchmen in The Dark Knight….and had a couple of memorable scenes too. And since then, he played one of Scott Lang’s partners in crime in Ant-Man (yes the white one with the goody Eastern European accent), and has also had roles on Gotham and The Flash. Such a distinctive face – easy to spot him once you’ve seen him.

    Another more recent example is Callan Mulvey who was just BORN to play henchmen but is quite good at it – he was one of Crossbones main thugs in ‘Winter Soldier then apparently he was playing KGBeast in Batman V Superman…and I would never have guessed the dude was Australian!

    So I’m guessing and maybe Dave, you would know more about this than I, that only the more big time actors aren’t allowed to jump between the universes….which is probably why we’ll never get to see Idris Elba play Green Lantern John Stewart which would have been cool, because he was locked in by Marvel to play Heimdal years ago…

  2. Brett says:

    I’d like to know your reasoning for thinking that Kevin Costner would somehow be a bigger boost to box office than Kurt Russell. I doubt the presence of either would make much difference, really, but even if it did, Costner hasn’t been in anything particularly successful outside of Hidden Figures in years, doubly so if you look at international gross. Russell at least is in Fast 7 and 8, which can’t possibly hurt.

  3. Geoff says:

    LOL yeah I guess it was just a throwaway comment from Dave but it doesn’t make much sense does it? :) Costner has appeared in his share of hits recently like Man of Steel and Hidden Figures but so has Russell who’s coming off a big new Fast/Furious sequel and a Tarantino movie – they are both pretty much institutions at this point with similar value to audiences.

  4. Sideshow Bill says:

    Agree. No advantage to Costner over Russell. I say that as, admittedly, a genuine Kurt Russell fan, though. He sells tickets for me. Has since the 80s. I thought he was great in GOTG2, pretty commanding, and got a few good laughs.

  5. Triple Option says:

    Funny, watching Guardians 2 I was thinking of some of the Disney Kurt Russell films I saw as a kid. I wondered how they’d hold up for me. When I read the OP, I would’ve thought Costner as having been a bit more active acting wise than Russell but upon further review I guess that’s not the case. I do wonder if Costner might’ve gotten a few more Boomers out to the theaters. I think his name lends a bit more what’s the word I’m looking for, maybe sophistication, because of his roles behind the camera or the association of drama being more high art than action. IDK, just speculative musing.

    I heard Russell on some radio interview, not too terribly long ago, and he seems to just want to go out and have fun. I wondered if he’s always felt this way or at what point did he come to that. That’s often the case with veteran musicians or comedians, the focus is not about acceptance or end product but going out and having fun. Which, generally speaking, should result in a better viewing experience for the audience. I kinda got that feeling when seeing Johnny Depp in the new Pirates trailer. There may be just as many reasons not to do another for him but there must be something inherently fun or gratifying for him to do one more. Seriously, unless he’s looking to buy a sports franchise or fund a mission to mars, the money won’t change his quality of life.

    Speaking of money, David do you or anyone here know ball park figures for what the above the line players are getting on Guardians, Vol2?

  6. palmtree says:

    But even beyond the Disney connection, isn’t Kurt Russell more appropriate for the film’s retro chic style? I’m thinking of the John Carpenter films. Costner doesn’t conjure up fun and action the same Russell does on a cult level.

  7. Bulldog68 says:

    Think you nailed it Palmtree. Tell me that Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China isn’t Starlord’s father. Speaking of which, I’d love to see an update.

  8. poet67 says:

    GotG flashback scene makes a lot more sense with 1980s Kurt Russell than 1980s Kevin Costner.

  9. Geoff says:

    Yeah I’m not sure if the Kevin Costner from Fandango would fit in well within this universe…thought he was the bomb in American Flyers!

  10. LBB says:

    Even Costner’s arguably most fun performance- SILVERADO- isn’t the right match for what GotG goes for. Russell is such a perfect fit it’s ridiculous.

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