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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates


Three new movies, but the only one anyone will remember being in theaters is Blade Runner 2049… and it will struggle to get to $40 million. With It shattering The a September record with an over $100m opening, it seems disappointing. It shouldn’t be. It is about what was expected. Thing is, Blade Runner, people forget, was a bit of a flop. Fourteenth best opening in 1982… not a great box office hold… a classic that wasn’t a hit 35 years – 2 generations – ago.

$35m-$40m is plenty to create a sample for word of mouth. And o e hopes for BR2049 that this is the beginning, not the traditional launch and steady drop.

I’m not a huge fan of the campaign for this film, but I don’t think there was a lot more opening weekend money as the result of a better campaign. Expect to see more of the women in 2nd weekend spots, focusing on what is in this movie instead of just the iconography plus Gosling.

In worse movies… Mountains Between Us is a bad movie, sadly. Great talent involved, in front of and behind the camera. But that script! And filmmakers forget, the harsh reality of making a movie in real weather only matters to audiences after they are fully engaged. It is not special in and of itself. Winslet and Elba are both cast against type, which would have been more interesting if they flipped characters. But instead, you get two actors you love who manage to be boring and generally sexless in what is, ultimately, a love story. Not easy to take the heat out of those two on camera. The whole crew really killed themselves to make this film on location. Could have been on a stage for all it matters in the end product. Only the dog will be well remembered. $9 million and out.

My Little Pony probably comes in at #2. The value of the franchise will out, even with a kinda dump.

In limited, The Florida Project will do over $30k per on 4. Strong. Not world beating. But it would be great to see the film build effectively on that. A24 will have to count on young people finding the film outside of the biggest markets.

13 Responses to “Friday Estimates”

  1. Night Owl says:

    Annnd now its struggling to stay above $30 million. That’s not enough to get word of mouth going to where it needs. At All. Damn. And Gosling remains not a draw or opener in the least. That sucks but doesn’t surprise. As always, concept is king.

    I knew I would love it and it would do poorly. I hoped I was wrong…but here we are.

  2. alynch says:

    Yeah, I’m not at all optimistic. Each new data point so far has resulted in the estimate being adjusted further down. Not a good sign.

  3. Greg says:

    Anyone who saw Wind River will now know that the plot of TMBU is impossible. They could never walk in that cold weather without dying, freezing their lungs.
    I really don’t know ’cause its been a while for me…but do people really have sex just because they’re alone together. I mean, they’ve been hiking for days…no shower, no toilet paper, no soap and they NEED TO F’CK?!?
    It was baaaaaaaad…and I can like most anything (even Friend Request).

  4. Doug R says:

    Spend days in a close space, and it happens Greg.

  5. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Whatever the case, props to Warner for letting Villeneuve do what he wanted to do on such a grandly impressive scale. I appreciate that they still back their directors, it means that we get a Gravity, Inception, BR 2049, Fury Road, Dunkirk etc. every now and then. And yes, occasionally we get a Live By Night or King Arthur, but that’s what happens when you keep swinging for the fences.

  6. JS Partisan says:

    Greg, if you dying, and can muster the strength? Why the fuck not? I mean, it’s Kate Winslet. Who the fuck is turning down Kate Winslet in this situation?

    Now, 2049, was sold like shit. Who was selling it? I wonder… THOSE ASSHOLE AT SONY! Sony… can’t sell a god damn thing, because they sold ATMOSPHERE instead of story. An atmosphere, that only people who love BLADE RUNNER fucking get. People will find this movie, like they found Blade Runner, because it’s an amazing piece of filmmaking. Here’s hoping, that the Academy decides to give it, at the very least, technical award nominations. It deserves them.

  7. Hcat says:

    From what I have read Warners is responsible for marketing, Sony is an investor and has international rights, so if it doesn’t sell in Malasia, its Sony’s fault, not Warner’s fault.

    And it is Alcon who trusted Villeneuve, they had creative control though Dr. Wally’s point is still valid with the hands off approach and open checkbook to the others mentioned.

  8. Geoff says:

    I think Warners marketed the shit out of this thing the best way they could (nostalgia, visuals, Gosling looking cool) and yes it’s a disappointing opening and they’ll probably lose money but…..35 years ago they couldn’t open the original movie even though it had Harrison Ford hot off of ‘Empire and Raiders with Ridley directing hot off of Alien, so why would this turn out much better?

    The release date couldn’t have better timed – it’s the same launching pad for The Martian and Gravity, so those numbers MIGHT have been attainable…if it wasn’t R-rated and NOT the clear audience-pleaser that both of those films were. It was clearly a calculated risk – they were probably hoping that lightning would strike twice after what happened with ‘Fury Road a couple of years back. But of course, ‘Fury Road was a full hour shorter and just a relentlessly entertaining chase picture at its core.

    I thought Tron Legacy numbers ($400m WW) might be in the cards, but I doubt it will do even 2/3 of that now – oh well, Villanueva’s rep is still growing (just limit his budgets) as is Gosling’s and Ford was even better in this than he was in ‘Force Awakens so most folks involved still probably benefit.

    Except Sir Ridley of course….he backed off of this property in the manner he SHOULD have with Alien but the result is still a money-loser. Though to be fair to Ridley, the damage to the Alien IP was being done without him 20 years ago already.

    Great fucking movie though!

  9. Warren says:

    I hope this doesn’t scuttle Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    Can’t say I am entirely surprised by the grosses (so far) for Blade Runner 2049. Went to an 8 pm Thursday screening, and by the time the movie actually started, there were only 10-12 other people in the theater. And there were a few walkouts midway through. It reminded me just a bit of the Blade Runner sneak I attended in Dallas back in 1982. The reception was so frosty, it most assuredly was not a shock for me when I learned Warners opted to tack on a narration track and a happy ending to make it more audience-friendly.

    My reaction? I greatly admired BR 2049, but I cannot say I actually enjoyed it. Truth to tell, I had a lot more fun watching The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One, an indie sci-fi action flick that opened in limited release Friday.

  11. JS Partisan says:

    Joe, going with that well-made, home made Sci-fi. Nice shout there, Joe.

  12. Christian says:

    There’s great stuff in “Blade Runner 2049,” but man, it’s *long.* I don’t usually fault films for length – there are much worse cinematic sins – and I’m all for luxuriating in beautifully shot mood pieces. I’m just not sure the length is entirely justified here.

    Honestly, given the choice of rewatching “Blade Runner 2049″ or this year’s imaginative, entertaining Hampton Fancher doc, “Escapes,” I’d choose … well, I’d choose to rewatch both. But I’d rewatch “Escapes” first.

  13. Movieman says:

    What Christian said.

    The fact that “2049” is closer to Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” than your average 21st century studio tentpole could be why general audiences are dazed, confused and (apparently) spreading poisonous WOM.
    (Btw, there were just four people–including me–at my 7:00 P.M. 3-D screening Thursday night.)
    Speaking of which: 3-D is a huge mistake considering the film’s already plenty dark color palette.

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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.

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