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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Wrinkled Klady

Friday Estimates 2018-03-10 at 9.05.36 AM

A Wrinkle in Time opens soft against expectations. But in the Disney category of off-brand brand movies (Pete’s Dragon, The BFG), it is doing well. The comp that fits best is the Alice sequel, which opened to a $9.7m Friday in 2016 and had a $27 million weekend.

What elements have gone into this opening? Weak reviews versus The Oprah. Black identity angle versus the Black Panther wave, which could have exhausted the filmgoing interests of infrequent black moviegoers for a few months. A limited amount of quality family film content versus a second trip to Panther, which has found a strong place with family audiences, including little kids.

My sense going into this month was that Disney was going to ride the Black Panther wake with this film, knowing they had a not-good movie that had some beautiful images to use in the sell, as well as a sense of the moment. But that may have backfired by Panther being so big that it consumed the entire moment. Or maybe we would see the same result or worse at another time. More of a history with Wrinkle will offer a clearer guess… but like so many things in this magical business, it will be only an educated guess. (First person who mentions Rotten Tomatoes gets a kick.)

Black Panther will likely win the weekend. After an explosive launch, the big story of this film domestically is the power it has shown on Saturdays versus Friday numbers. A 65% bump in weekend 2 and 85% last weekend. Split the difference and Panther will do $17.5m today and $11m on Sunday for a $37.5m 3-day and a $558.5m domestic cume.

Disney kicked in with the international cume early this weekend, with a $20m China launch to announce reaching the $1 billion mark. That Chinese open seems to be close to Thor: Ragnarok. But Panther may still s come up short of domestic in international numbers.

Aviron is one of the new distributors trying to find its thing. Its second release is a sequel to the 2008 Rogue release, The Strangers. Turns out no one was waiting breathlessly for the sequel and will show up only modestly for this weekend’s horror entry.

Red Sparrow is not a pretty picture. It’s running about double the mother! gross, but it cost about 2.5x as much. International is stronger, but it seems clear that if Jennifer Lawrence wants to the audience to follow her to new parts of her personality as an actor, she is going to have to find ideal vehicles or slow it down and work smaller roles in bigger movies. It has to be a very odd thing to have the kind of power she has and to have to seriously consider how she walks through this very delicate moment in her career at the age of 27. But that is a champagne problem. I am rooting for her.

Whatever the magic trick to opening Gringo (STX), which is a fun action comedy that is maybe too complicated to easily sell, or The Hurricane Heist (Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures), which sounds like an early 1980s HBO movie, the young distribution companies making the effort couldn’t find the answer.

I would bet good money that Tully will be one of my favorite movies of 2018. But Focus has to be conscious of how they play it,  and Gringo‘s failure to launch should make them nervous. Charlize off-key – which I love and still think Young Adult is one of the great films of the decade – is a hard sell.

Also hard to sell was Thoroughbreds, which should have been laid off to A24 somehow, because Focus has struggled to get traction for a movie they seem to like a lot. A 549-screen release screams, “We give up.” You know what Focus film last opened to a count like this? Book of Henry. Focus also dumped The Zookeeper’s Wife, the most successful grossing opening in the 500-plus screen range last year, taking $17.6 million domestic. Universal seemed to lose the thread on Everest in 2015 and a 545-screen opening, but then expanded to over 3000 screens the following weekend and wound up with a $43 million domestic cume (but likely making a profit, thanks to international). And going back to 2010, Focus opened the international doc, Babies, to 534 screens, doing $7.3 million which is very strong for a doc. Those are all the positive stories. Mostly dumps and re-releases in the 500 range in the last decade.

The Death of Stalin will be the per-screen champ of the weekend, a film that would be more loudly championed before we knew Armando Iannucci so well. It’s a Marx Brothers movie set in the political hysteria upon the death of a real life monster. I don’t know where this will sit with me in the big picture of 2018, but something woudl be missing from my year if I didn’t see it. You will laugh hard. Some jokes will miss. Some will go over your head. There will be nothing else like it this year.

49 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Wrinkled Klady”

  1. Doug R says:

    Whatever business A Wrinkle In Time does, it’s no Hurricane Heist.

  2. JSPartisan says:

    I hope Disney doesn’t freak out again, that they spent a lot of money on a movie that didn’t connect with people. I also hope it doesn’t slow Ava Duvernay down, because she’s a hell of a talent. Those books seem insane, and screaming about needing, “Warriors,” is cheesy as hell. All of it bums me the hell out, but Black Panther could easily get that TLJ money… so it sort of evens out.

  3. palmtree says:

    Even if it opens soft, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wrinkle will have legs the same way WW did, and possibly for the same reason. Sure it’s still disappointing, but it will be less disappointing and still means that Ava can get back on the horse for another big studio.

  4. movieman says:

    Palm- Why does DuVernay need to make “big studio” movies? Her best work to date has been smaller-scaled/budgeted films like “Selma” and “Middle of Nowhere.” I’d be thrilled if she made one of those every year rather than more gaudy, overproduced Disney tentpole clunkers.

    Re: “Tully.” Really looking forward to that, too, but I find it worrisome that it’s now opening the same day as Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty” (which got moved up a week when “Avengers” switched dates). There are so few femme-driven movies that it seems cruel to pit them against each other. It’s almost like they’re being set up to fail.

  5. JSPartisan says:

    The Death of Stalin, is a very weird movie. The whole ending, is just… it’s off putting.

    A Wrinkle in Time isn’t the most iconic female superhero. I hope it finds legs, because we really need more fantasy movies with black female leads.

    On BP, those infrequent African American moviegoers, have a sequel to BP coming in April. This is why the opening to Avengers, is going to be nuts. I am still not sure how nuts, but seriously nuts seems really possible right now. Maybe, just maybe, they are waiting with another Avengers trailer, because they are working out the best way to sell people on there being a lot more BP in it? It seems logical at this point.

    Finally, Jennifer Lawrence is in a weird position. She doesn’t seem like she fits right now, like she did four or five or six years ago. It seems like she mattered to millennial women, but women younger than her just don’t seem to care about her. It’s really weird, but what do we even know about her? She’s just out there, we are supposed to care, but why should we care? If that makes sense to anyone else, then let me know :D!

  6. Sideshow Bill says:

    I saw THE STRANGERS 2 last night. We turned out. Why? I’m still asking myself that. It was an empty, empty 80 minutes of stalk and slash. Admirable in it’s focus, kinda, but I’ll forget I ever saw it by next week.

    It’s less money I’ll have to spend at the Screaming Females concert tonight, too. We all make mistakes.

  7. Sandy says:

    All I can say about JLaw is don’t get so worked up about this box office: she’s young and has so many more years to grow in her career. Too much too soon maybe. I hope she has a better attitude towards her fans.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    80 minutes of stalk and slash is a bad thing? That’s about all I would expect from a Strangers sequel. If it’s done well sounds good to me.

    Saw Death Wish. It’s biggest sin isn’t that it’s offensive. The problem is that it’s painfully dull and plays it way too safe. Also Willis isn’t even trying. Hope Carnahan makes his version someday.

  9. JSPartisan says:

    J Law just fits into the narrative, that what was big at the beginning of this decade, isn’t exactly as big at the end of the decade. She should do a cool TV, or a play. She should totally try to get an E and a T.

  10. movieman says:

    Lawrence needs to make another movie with David O. Russell.
    She was fantastic in “Silver Linings,” “American Hustle” and the underloved-by-everyone-except-me “Joy.”
    Russell needs to make another movie. Period. Got distracted by that Amazon series that never happened.

  11. Stella's Boy says:

    Also a Joy fan. Movie is very entertaining and she is fantastic.

  12. Glamourboy says:

    Does Jennifer Lawrence have fans? As in, fans that will go see her in whatever she does? I sort of doubt it. She has either been smart enough or lucky enough to be in some good movies that people wanted to see. I will see a movie she is in that sounds great, but I definitely won’t go see her in trash like Red Sparrow. She should be careful…actors and actresses only get so many passes before they are considered ‘over’….

  13. Stella's Boy says:

    Yes. I want to see Red Sparrow because of her.

  14. Bulldog68 says:

    With regard to the “too much too soon” comment on JLaw, there may be something to that. When you compare her to other female powerhouses back in the day, and even male ones, by 26 she had two mega franchises under her belt, between 2011-2016 won an Oscar and nominated for three others, won three GG and nominated for one more. In total she has 115 Award wins of various kinds out of 175 nominations. Julia Roberts total b.o. to date is $2.9b. JLaws is $2.5b already. Sandra Bullock is at $2.4b. JLaw has bigger b.o. and more awards that most if not all of her male co-stars.

    Chris Pratt is at $2b. He may overtake her with his next two films as he’s in Infinity War and Jurassic Kingdom, but JLaw IMO seems more responsible for the success of Hunger Games than Pratt is for GotG and Jurassic, as both Pratt’s movies are part of a bigger and more established universe than HG was.

    All of that is just to muse at where does an actor go from here? That’s a lot of success almost straight out the gate. Can one expect to be at that pinnacle all the time?

    I for one hopes she keeps taking chances with unconventional movies, hopefully with visionary directors, and once mixed in with the occasional studio fare, she’ll be alright for a long time, or at least until she turns 40 and is too old to play Tom Hanks love interest. #sarcasm.

  15. Sideshow Bill says:

    Oh, it’s lean and focused and satisfying in it’s own way, Stella. But I thought the first one had more of an emotional hook with drama between the estranged couple. The characters were very bare bones here. It has some satisfying moments too. I probably liked it more than I am saying I just wish I’d waited for dvd. But the girls all had fun.

  16. Heather says:

    The idea of red sparrow.jennifer Lawrence in an action-spy film sounded like a great idea..but the final product looked dull and reviews seem to confirm it. I love her but as fun as she is on talk shows she doesn’t really sell the movie when she appears..her attitude is whatever yeah there’s a movie but lets just goof around. Which might work if she was selling a comedy.
    -wrinkle in time also looked kind of ho hum..and using the 3 adults to promote didn’t really allow the marketing to actually focus on the story. The book was always around but I don’t know a single person who’s actually read it.

  17. Stella's Boy says:

    I think The Strangers is overrated. Ils is far superior.

  18. YancySkancy says:

    I also enjoyed JOY, especially for Lawrence’s performance.

  19. movieman says:

    Nancy and SB: Glad to see some fellow “Joy” fans.
    Always considered it a ridiculously underrated movie.

  20. Night Owl says:

    Movieman, there’s no nice way to say this but David O. Russell is a problem for a studio in this current climate. His next film gets greenlit and the story about how he groped his transgender niece is back on page one. And let’s face it, arrogant bullies who verbally abuse their cast and crew are a liability right now. Honestly? Not a great place for JLaw to place her bets.

    JLaw should grab a juicy supporting part or two to show off and not have everything on her shoulders. Maybe? I don’t know. The reality is the movie star is basically dead. The audience doesn’t like the concept; they don’t show up. It doesn’t matter who you are. Every star is facing this. Pratt doesnt do any better without dinosaurs or raccoons.

  21. Christian says:

    I was hoping some of y’all would give me your take on “Thoroughbreds,” which I think I might see if I can use my Angelika pass. I’m worried, though. The 17-year-old me that loved “Heathers” is different from the 47-year-old father of four I am today. I don’t know that I have a taste for nihilism. Or *how much* of a taste I have for it.

  22. CG says:

    For what it’s worth,I enjoyed JOY as well.

  23. movieman says:

    Would have loved to seen “Thoroughbreds” this weekend, Christian.
    But naturally it didn’t open anywhere near me.
    Hell, we never played “Phantom Thread” or (gulp) “The Shape of Water’ (among others).

    I knew about Russell’s bad boy behavior during the shooting of “Huckabees,” Owl, but assumed he’d made amends and that all was forgiven (hence the existence of “The Fighter,” “SLP,” “Hustle” and “Joy”).
    Never heard the transgender niece story which is just plain f***ing weird.
    Still wish he’d make another film, though.

  24. leahnz says:

    “The book was always around but I don’t know a single person who’s actually read it”

    uh, can’t really let this just sail by without comment because l’engle’s ‘a wrinkle in time’ is one of the most beloved books for children of all-time, everywhere, and i don’t know a single kid who didn’t read it – particularly beloved by girls who have far fewer iconic literary protags to relate to, especially in sci-fi (having said that AWIT, along with ‘watership down’, was my son’s all-time fave book as a tyke)

    ETA also hasn’t it been common knowledge DOR is a serious dick since ‘three kings’ when clooney decked him for his terrible treatment of people on set

    ETA 2 – there’s another ‘halloween’ remake in the offing? for the love of god remake the movies that had good concepts but shitty execution rather than the classics, i will never understand this

  25. Bender says:

    If you read any of the horror sites, you would know Halloween 2018 is not a remake. Laurie Strode is in her 50’s with a grown daughter played by Judy Greer.

  26. movieman says:

    Speaking of remakes/reboots, I can’t believe they’re actually doing yet another “Terminator.”
    How many failed “Terminator” reboots/remakes/whatever do we need in one lifetime?
    I love Mackenzie Davis, but I’d rather see her starring in a “Halt and Catch Fire” spin-off than yet another g**damn “Terminator” retread.
    Enough already!

    P.S. to Leah- The new “Halloween” sounds pretty groovy. David Gordon Green and Danny McBride? I’m totally in!
    And P.P.S.= I was surprised to learn that the “Wrinkle” book is nearly as old as me since I’ve never read it. And I was an even more voracious reader in my childhood than I am today. Have no idea how I could have missed it back then. Of course, I was already into “Portnoy’s Complaint” and “Myra Breckinridge” by the time I hit puberty, lol.

  27. leahnz says:

    so it’s another sequel? yay

    ETA movieman: gordon green and danny McBride? haha i don’t what to think now, ‘serious’ DmCB ala ‘alien:cov’ is surprisingly dull but hey, you never know

  28. Doug R says:

    I know we did A Wrinkle in Time in I think grade 6. Got me warmed up to Sci Fi enough that I read Have Space Suit Will Travel in grade 8 and I was hooked.
    So much trouble adapting good sci-fi, even the Heinlein stories always seem to end up on anthology shows.

  29. leahnz says:

    yes i could have sworn ‘AWIT’ was a mainstay of the grade school curriculum in the US (it’s taught in primary school here, at least some places). what are 6th graders like 10-ll yrs old? sounds about right

  30. JSPartisan says:

    No, it’s not another sequel. The new Halloween, is the official third movie. Everything else? Flushed down the potty.

    I am not a fan of JOY. It’s fine enough for what it is, but if you know anything about the actual Joy, and her age. It is glaring that Lawrence is straining to play an older woman, and it’s not like their aren’t older actresses. It does feature a great wrap up scene.

    Lawrence, should just disappear for a while, or become a part of something cool and different. Something that would be scene as a stretch for her, but something she could excel at doing. Whatever that is, that’s not my department.

  31. Hcat says:

    Wrinkle in time was the Wonder of its era.

    I would think the same generation that all had a copy of It or The Firm first started on Wrinkle and Cleary and the mixed up files of what’s er name.

    I’m on team Joy as well though I did find him hitting that dysfunctional family dynamic again a little tiresome. But Lawrence was magnetic and am excited to see what she does next, she just needs some good roles to inhibit. Ironically now that she’s old enough to believably play the roles she did in SLP and Hustle there doesn’t appear to be any on the horizon. She needs to maybe find the next arrrival or annihalation, passengers didn’t seem to cut it (though star power did carry it to a small profit).

  32. Pete B says:

    I feel your pain Movieman. Thoroughbreds didn’t open anywhere near me either. Really sucks as Anya Taylor-Joy is a star on the rise.

  33. leahnz says:

    “No, it’s not another sequel. The new Halloween, is the official third movie. Everything else? Flushed down the potty.”

    wait, wut?
    this is so silly, can anyone just leave well enough alone anymore ffs (i see it was written by DGG and McBride so i guess ‘serious’ McB the actor is not a concern anyway)

  34. Stella's Boy says:

    The new Halloween is actually the second movie. They are ignoring everything but the first one. Can’t wait. Thoroughbreds looks fantastic. Really want to see it and it’s playing near me.

  35. leahnz says:

    “The new Halloween is actually the second movie. They are ignoring everything but the first one.”

    huh. this makes more sense, at least – and the possibility for a decent story arc given the conclusion of the OG flick is there.
    in the spirit of good faith i shall revise my previous pooh-pooh-age to one of cautious curiosity

  36. JSPartisan says:

    Oh. They are getting rid of HW2? The last I read. It was four onward. Getting rid of HW2 is seriously weird. I am looking forward to it. No matter what.

  37. Triple Option says:

    I’d give Joy a meh/meh-. Red Sparrow seems like exactly the kind of movie that JLaw should be signing up for. Russian spy thriller? Count me in. But then it doesn’t take long for me to wonder ‘why did she take this one?’ Gratuitous would be an overstatement but it was like mid 90s Sharon Stone fair. I can’t say I was bored but the pacing and time devoted to certain scenes or story elements made it sputter. Then maybe with idk 30 mins left comes a reveal that made me think, ‘OK, I get it.’ This is what she saw in the script that kept if from falling down a few rungs. But the twists and turns weren’t enough erase the growing realization you just wasted two+ hours, cost of tickets, parking and popcorn on a dud of a movie.

    I don’t know what I’d have JLaw do next. What would 27 yr old, post Accused Oscar, Jodie Foster make?

  38. movieman says:

    So I’m the only one who thinks that another “Terminator” reboot is a stupid idea?

  39. Stella's Boy says:

    Oh no I agree movieman. It’s not even on my radar and that won’t change. I barely knew the last one existed. Can’t remember exactly when it came out. Don’t think it did all that well. I paid zero attention. It’s not a series I care about at all at this point.

  40. Doug R says:

    Cameron’s got to “fix it”. Considering T2’s original ending, T3 is a real letdown. Genysis had some of the Universal ride elements, but that Connor twist was ridiculous.
    Canon T3 is the ride at Universal, is that thing still going?
    I see Hollywood shut it down in 2012, Floriduh kept theirs until 2017.

  41. Jules says:

    Regarding Jennifer Lawrence and the comment made upthread about not being as big a deal later in the decade than at the begining?-I don’t agree…Lawrence is every bit as big a deal in 2018 as she was in 2011/12, 13, etc.,…it has more to do, I believe, with her feeling the need to take risks as an actress.

    I think Lawrence realizes not all her fans will take this journey with her-that’s a risk actors take…if she does indeed make that film with Russell (I hope she does), her canvases will follow her-ditto if she takes a supporting role in a big film (where she will no doubt steal the whole goddamned movie).

    I just can’t wait to see what she does next, and root for her as well.

  42. Jules says:

    *fanbase* not *canvases*

  43. movieman says:

    Doug- I’d prefer if they just put their “Terminator” energies into rebooting the theme park attraction.
    Enough w/ the movies, at least for another 50 years.

  44. palmtree says:

    “Palm- Why does DuVernay need to make “big studio” movies? Her best work to date has been smaller-scaled/budgeted films like “Selma” and “Middle of Nowhere.” I’d be thrilled if she made one of those every year rather than more gaudy, overproduced Disney tentpole clunkers.”

    mm, geez, I said “big studio.” That’s it. Just a quick glance at the Best Picture noms, the big studio movies included Dunkirk, The Post, and Get Out. You wouldn’t want to see Ava do something like that? Not every big studio movie is a “tentpole clunker.”

    It would be a real shame if Wrinkle marked a retreat for Ava from big studio money. Instead, I hope she goes the route of Ang Lee of doing The Hulk, it sort of tanking (EDIT: or at least underperforming…still a fan of the movie), and then being able to take that experience and come back with Brokeback and Life of Pi.

  45. movieman says:

    That list also included “Shape of Water,” “Call Me..,” “Lady Bird,” “Darkest Hour,” “Phantom Thread” and “Three Billboards,” Palm. (“Get Out” and even “The Post” to a degree were studio outliers in the 21st century: modestly budgeted films specifically geared for adult audiences.)
    “Selma,” which DuVernay directed and received a BP nomination, is far more in league with the movies I cited than, say, “A Wrinkle in Time.”
    I didn’t say that I wanted DuVernay to refuse studio money. Or that she should be denied studio support because “Wrinkle” bombed. Just to continue making the type of films she clearly excels in rather than some unwieldy tentpole that clearly suffered from the too-many-cooks syndrome.

  46. palmtree says:

    MM, dude, we agree. Ava should do Ava. Just wanted to point out that when I said “big studio” I wasn’t just talking about tentpoles, which was what you were criticizing me for.

    And I thought JLaw was not well-cast in American Hustle. She does fine, but I could’ve imagined other actresses that would have been better in that role. Basically, what JS said about her in Joy.

  47. Night Owl says:

    Not surprised you hadn’t heard the story about Russell’s niece, movieman. It was about a year ago and mostly slid under the radar. These days we know full well that won’t happen. It would be a media focus from day one. That has to make a studio nervous and again just not a great spot for JLaw right now:

    Oh and you’re not alone in thinking another Terminator is a terrible idea. Borderline pathetic idea honestly. Does Schwarzenegger need money or something?

  48. xoa hinh xam says:

    So I’m the only one who thinks that another “Terminator” reboot is a stupid idea?

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The Atlantic: You saw that the Academy Awards recently held up your 2001 acceptance speech as the Platonic ideal of an Oscar speech. Did you have a reaction?

Soderbergh: Shock and dismay. When that popped up and people started texting me about it, I said, “Oh, it’s too bad I’m not there to tell the story of how that took place.” Well. I was not sober at the time. And I had nothing prepared because I knew I wasn’t going to win [Best Director for Traffic]. I figured Ridley, Ang or Daldry would win. So I was hitting the bar pretty hard, having a great night, feeling super-relaxed because I don’t have to get up there. So the combination of a 0.4 blood alcohol level and lack of preparation resulted in me, in my state of drunkenness crossed with adrenaline surge. I was coherent enough to know that [if I tried to thank everyone], that way lies destruction. So I went the other way. There were some people who appreciated that, and there were some people who really wanted to hear their names said, and I had to apologize to them.
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