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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by The Last Klady (if we are lucky)

Friday Estimates 2017-06-24 at 9.51.42 AM copy

Again with the shrinking domestic IP franchise.

This will happen many, many more times in the next 5 years. And eventually, we will all have to act like grown ups and discuss worldwide box office and the post-theatrical market in a serious way from opening day of any movie that costs more than $40 million.

If anyone tries to tell you that Paramount didn’t know this was coming, domestically, they would be spinning you. Transformers 3 did $50 million less than Transformers 2 domestically. Four did $90 million less than Three. And now, Five will do $90m – $120m less than Four.

This is not a complicated trend line.

The Fast & The Furious, on the other hand, is a bit more complex. The original was surprisingly successful. #2 down. #3 further down. Then BLAM! #4 bigger than the original. At the same time, the international gross nearly doubled the previous best. Then the franchise hit the accelerator both domestically and internationally for 3 straight films. The most recent film, #8, was down for the first time since #4, in both categories. So is this the trend moving forward? Or was the rise so high with #7 ($1.5 billion) that it was an anomaly and the franchise will now settle in around the $1 billion mark for a few films?

But Transformers? Domestic is 100% clear. And international is the question. Will it keep growing and get past $950 million international this time? Or will it start to stall?

If you adjust China for limited return to the distributor on the Yuan spent at the box office, the international growth stalled on the last movie already, as China doubled its footprint. Transformers 3 did $165m in China as part of $771 million making the “real” international gross about $690 million. Tr4 did $320 million in China, $858m total… making the “real” number roughly $698 million. So about the same.

More importantly, while China box office expanded, the rest of the non-domestic world contributed $538 million on Tr4, down from $606 million on Tr3.

This time, China could go up to, say, $360 million, but to stay even internationally, the film still needs to do $510 million elsewhere… and the trend suggests that the rest of international will be under $500 million this time, regardless of quality.

And that is how you get a $900 million-plus worldwide grosser feeling like something is wrong.

If China drops instead of rises or the rest of international drops down below $400 million, Transformers 6 is coming right on schedule without a second thought.

Paramount only starts flinching in a real way when, given the China asterisk and the Spielberg cut, the worldwide gets down to $700 million or so, especially if nearly half of that is the Chinese box office. But no Bay Transformers movie has fallen that low. And this is quite unlikely to be the first.

2017. What a racket!

Wonder Woman passes $300 million. Looking good to pass Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice domestically in the next couple weeks as the top DC Extended Universe title. International is less likely. But could happen. As far as the summer goes, Guardians wins by way of the head start that being the summer launch movie gives a film.

On the indie side, The Big Sick is the big per-screen leader, with $26k per screen yesterday and date night ahead of it. Also looking well is The Beguiled, with just under $23k per screen on 4.

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32 Responses to “Friday Estimates by The Last Klady (if we are lucky)”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    No way this will be the last Transformers movie. But it’s very likely the next one will be less, ahem, extravagant.

  2. Doug R says:

    So Wonder Woman is ahead of Man of Steel’s total run and is ahead of BvS and Suicide Squad in this time on their runs. It’ll probably pass both in a week or so.
    I did my part, talked my wife into a flat showing, second viewing for her, third for my daughter and I. Color saturation wasn’t really much different from the 3D, goes with the World War 1 mud/earth tones I guess.
    Our local theater is in the middle of changing all their seats to those recliners-comfy.

  3. EtGuild2 says:

    They’ve already announced next year’s BUMBLEBEE spinoff will be more modestly scaled.

  4. djiggs says:

    I am waiting for the movie that will make less than $100 million in the USA but hit a worldwide boxoffice of $1 billion+. Steven Chow’s The Mermaid made $550 million+ with only $4.9 million coming from the US. Perhaps in 20 years, could we see the day where more Hollywood pictures are Chinese language than English language?

  5. djiggs says:

    Is anyone slightly surprised that GOTG2 that is only $70 million above the original in worldwide boxoffice? It is nitpicking, but I got used that the first/second MCU sequels usually were significantly above their predecessors. It is not always the case (Iron Man 2 & Ultron), but I thought the original GOTG was beloved that GOTG2 would had a CAP2/3 bounce to $900 to $950 million.

  6. EtGuild2 says:

    “Perhaps in 20 years, could we see the day where more Hollywood pictures are Chinese language than English language?”

    China doesn’t release all of its films in Mandarin (many are in Cantonese), few Americans speak Mandarin/Cantonese while a substantial number of those in Macau/Hong Kong speak English, and the second biggest market for explosive cinema growth, India, has more than 100 million English speakers. So I’d say doubtful.

    @djiggs, it’s very slightly disappointing to me, because again you have a 19% swing in the dollar from three summers ago. Of course that’s the same argument Disney will make on PIRATES and Paramount on TRANSFORMERS. The difference being though, the raw dollars are down 9-figures there.

  7. djiggs says:

    You may be calling the summer domestic box office champion early. It is Day 22 of Wonder Woman’s release with $300 million; day 22 of GOTG2 its total was $318 million. WW is having better holds with a more competitive marketplace than GOTG2. GOTG2 may have the higher total but WW will be close.

  8. Geoff says:

    djiggs, I think one thing is that everybody over-estimated just how beloved the first ‘Guardians was….it came out during the tail end of a weak summer with little competition and was also launched during the peak of “The Avengers effect” which was the height of the MCU brand.

    The other thing is that Disney kind of did this to themselves by having to do this yearly dick-waving exercise of launching a big pre-sold tentpole in early May then another one a few weeks later for Memorial Day both aimed at the SAME EXACT AUDIENCE and shocker, they both cannibalize each other at the overseas box office.

    GOTG2 will be fine and profitable…about as profitable as Batman V Superman and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

  9. djiggs says:

    FF7 will be the high water mark for the series, I believe. The tragedy of Paul Walker’s death focused more attention to FF7 production. Other than DiCaprio, I do not think that there are any box office stars left, so I am hesitant to say that Paul Walker’s last screen presence got the audiences in theatres. Like The Dark Knight, FF7 became a bigger event & then the movie especially the final coda took it from there. I do not know if there is anything else that could make any future FF film as big again.

  10. djiggs says:

    Geoff, I wondered why POC 5 Memorial Day release as well. August/early September is still underestimated where if the right movie is playing a lot of box office can be had due to lesser competition. Unforgiven, Clear & Present Danger, Suicide Squad, GOTG, Signs,etc. with probably the prime August release being the 6th Sense & one of my favorites The Fugitive, which I saw 5 times that August.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    Guardians 2 will be a LOT more profitable than BvS and DOFP. Even if you were to go with the “rumored” cost on only GOTG2 and go with the “stated cost” on those other two (both of which were rumored to be a lot, lot more), GOTG2 is a better return because BvS was still would cost $30 million more and DOFP had an absurdly low domestic %.

    Right now it’s on par in profitability with SUICIDE SQUAD (which remember had zero Chinese inflation due to lack of release there) and will be on par with the first GOTG.

    Biggest hits in 2017 profit through last weekend:

    9. Boss Baby
    8. Wonder Woman
    5-7. Universal’s Get Out/Fifty Shades/Split (too close to call)
    4. Logan
    3. GOTG2 (both the rumored costs of Logan and GOTG are 20-30 million higher so going with the stated budgets on both)
    2. Fast 8
    1. BATB by a yuuuuuuge margin

    Wonder Woman probably cracks the Top 5 this weekend and could catch GOTG2. Pirates, btw is nowhere close to Boss Baby yet though it has Japan coming.

  12. djiggs says:

    EtGuild2, is the margin for BATB so huge because of lack of big percentage participants and additional ancillary revenues (toys, soundtrack, possible Bway musical, revival of interest in the animated film)?

  13. EtGuild2 says:

    No ancillaries, but you can bet they’d only add to it. Just from a pure box office perspective, let’s take Disney and Universal at their word on budgets–Fast 8 cost $90 million more. Then you adjust for China by cutting the international there in half…so that’s -$195 million for Fast but less than -$50 million for BATB. Then add to that the fact the domestic haul for BATB was double that of Fast (studios take a higher domestic %) and you’re at a point where BATB is almost twice as profitable as Fast and way beyond that for everything else.

    And that’s without the toys, tie-ins and generally higher home market for family films.

  14. Js partisan says:

    Guardians increased here, and over there? They aren’t as enamored with science fiction, unless it’s blue cat people bullshit. This is why Star Wars isn’t going to touch Avatar, but will probably make close to eight billion combined. Guardians is a loved franchise, that may not translate well overseas.

    Now, Geoff, when Infinity War makes over two billion, is that the height of the MSCU? Seriously. Stop trying to force Greek salad down our throats :p!

  15. Geoff says:

    Ok I’ll grant you this JS: if your favorite studio head Alan Horn sucks in his ego and moves Baby Han Solo away from that May release date, if Fox decides to move Deadpool 2 off of its release date less than a month after ‘Infinity War, if Josh Brolin builds a reputation over the next 11 months as the sexiest man alive so that woman all over can’t hold themselves back from wanting to see him play a purple alien wearing a golden boxing glove with gemstones in it, and….if all American schools decide to have a two week holiday in early May to coincide with the release of ‘Infinity War then MAYBE your prediction of $2 billion worldwide will come true. I’m nothing if not fair. 😉

    Oh and stop trying to force GEEK salad down our throats while you’re at it…(see what I did there)

  16. leahnz says:

    i wasn’t sure where to put this but to Ray Pride:
    thank you for linking that ‘indian country today’ article about Eugene Brave Rock on the main MCN page, my gran called from michigan and said to make sure i saw WW, she was so thrilled to see a native character in the movie and he even spoke blackfoot and he was a hero and survived and everything, she shed a tear. representation matters (ETA my gran is lakota sioux, so that this makes sense)

  17. Geoff says:

    “Guardians increased here, and over there? They aren’t as enamored with science fiction, unless it’s blue cat people bullshit. ”

    I almost missed that one JS…really?? 🙂 That must be why Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian all made more than 60% of their worldwide gross overseas.

  18. Js partisan says:

    You mean… All three of those starring vehicles, featuring big movie stars? Yeah. You got to put that response, in the left column, buddy :D.

  19. Geoff says:

    Soooo Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, and Matthew McConaughey qualify as “big movie stars” but Chris Pratt doesn’t?

  20. Ray Pride says:

    It’s a fine thing.

  21. palmtree says:

    Wonder Woman may not catch up to GOTG2, but it also might do it too. It ain’t over till it’s over.

  22. jspartisan says:

    Geoff, internationally, it doesn’t seem that way, but those people? They have an international footprint. Especially fucking Damon. You also, are ignoring, that a SPACE movie is different from a SPACE OPERA! Those three movies, are somewhat straight SPACE movies. Star Wars and Guardians, are more space operas and you can clearly see, that Space Opera isn’t something that always translate abroad. Again, Guardians makes money, and the Last Jedi will make two billion dollars. Doesn’t change the fact, that non-straight space stories, seem to flail over there.

  23. David Poland says:

    ET… you trust too many numbers and make too many assumptions.

  24. David Poland says:

    There is extremely little chance that Infinity War will get to $2 billion and a real chance it won’t get to $1.5 billion.

    You can shove more into the bag, but it doesn’t change the size of the bag much.

  25. Doug R says:

    Speaking of space operas, I wonder how well Besson’s Valerian will translate to North America? I don’t think it will tear up our box office, but it should do Taken and Lucy type numbers.

  26. Pete B says:

    Matt Damon’s “international footprint” did little to save The Great Wall.

  27. EtGuild2 says:

    DP: Deadline had the identical order for their entire top 20 slate for box office profitability the last two years as I did with only two positions flipped. Available numbers and earnings reports aren’t definitive, but it’s the best information I can get and apparently no publication has any better profitability insight for public consumption on a macro level.

  28. Js partisan says:

    David, you thinking it’s not getting to 1.5, is interesting. It’s not throwing more into the bag. It’s just having the right people producing and directing that bag. 1.5 is base for this movie. Of course, if the dollar is as strong as it is now next year. Performing below 1.5 billion, would still mean making the same money that Civil War made last year. Woooooooooooooooo!

  29. hcat says:

    Just some Monday morning nitpicking. Universal movies that are partnered with Legendary don’t get the China Asterisk, Legendary is a Chinese company.

    And when you are calculating BvsS or Man of Steel are you taking Jon Peters astronomical cut for nothing into account?

    Damon’s international footprint DID save The Great Wall, from being an even bigger flop than it was.

    And am always remiss to admit that JS has a point but Gravity, Interstellar and Martian are not laser shooting Buck Rogers pulp. Though I don’t know how the whiz bang buzz pow stuff got to be labeled Space Opera (unless it is in reference to serial soaps as opposed to the stage). Gravity and Interstellar are a hell of a lot more operatic than Guardians of the Galaxy.

  30. EtGuild2 says:

    @hcat, on Legendary that’s why WARCRAFT and GREAT WALL shouldn’t be written off as flops, but as breakevenish. But those are the only two really affected so far, right?

    No way to fully calculate stuff like Peters, or say, Paramount’s cut of AVENGERS or how Paul Walker’s insurance writeoff affected FURIOUS 7. It gets to be too much.

  31. jspartisan says:


  32. hcat says:

    Rock Opera like a Styx Album 🙂

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