MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Still Solo Despite The Media Han On Its Head Shoving Down

friday estimates 051218

Deadpool 2‘s second Friday off 77% from its f1rst Friday
Avengers: Infinity War off 70%.
Guardians 2 off 70%.
Spider-Man: Homecoming off 73%.
Pirates last Memorial Day off 73%.
X-Men: Apocalypse the Memorial Day opener in 2016, off 75%.

Solo off 77%… THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!

Tthis is an annual occurrence. Every summer, in the last couple decades, there has been a summer movie or two that has gotten overpraised and anointed falsely and a movie or two that has gotten slaughtered by the media for no apparent objective reason. It’s never the movies that are truly the most loved or the most disliked. It’s usually the step down in both categories.

I would love to tell you that there is now a formula for killing a franchise. But no. Look to the more traditional answers on Solo and you will find the much more likely culprit(s).

The Marvel, Zach Snyder DC films, and X-Men films are instructive… because you can’t build a consistent trend line on them. There are some simple consistencies, but they all get crushed by reality in various ways. For instance, the standalone Wolverine movies undergrossed the X-Men films… until Logan outgrossed X-Men: Apocalypse. Or Wonder Woman nearly doubled the domestic gross of Justice League. Or Black Panther, the fourth Marvel movie in less than a year, almost doubled the domestic gross of any of the other three and then Avengers: Infinity War did similar business just 2 months later.

Just because you don’t understand what happened doesn’t make it magic.

I am not suggesting that there are easy answers. Except for this one: look at the movie and how it was sold. And look at the movie and what story LucasFilm decided to make and whether it had any real connective tissue to the trilogies from which it was spun.

Deadpool 2 is not going to do Deadpool business. However, it will be an R-rated comic book movie that does $600 million worldwide. Fox marketed the crap out of it and it probably niche’d itself a little more and suffered the tyranny of the not new. Deal.

Adrift will be well into the top half of STX openings. Could it have been more? Probably. But Woodley seemed someone M.I.A. in the process of pushing the film and the quirks of the movie kept STX from going, as it probably should have anyway, the full “this is woman, hear her roar” on the marketing. Here’s a hint… men were never going to go.

The disaster of the summer to date, for me, is the sub-$3 million opening of Action Point. How do you kill a Johnny Knoxville movie about, essentially, Camp Jackass? Paramount found a way. I will pay to see this movie, because even though I find the “smash Johnny in the balls” thing obnoxiously childish, the movies have always made me laugh. They are low-rent crap and they know it and they don’t care because they are honest and having fun being idiot boys. And it may be the worst of all the Jackass-y movies… doesn’t mean that you need to signal it to the audience with bull fight marketing. There are 23 Rotten Tomato reviews of the major studio release on 1,682 screens… 57 for American Animals… 31 for Breath, which as best I can tell is only playing at the Angelika in NY. Someone chose not to do their job here.

Speaking of American Animals, nice number per screen. Should be a $25k per screen for the weekend on four, around $110k for the weekend (aka 10,000 people seeing the film). For MoviePass, which was hoping to spark off of this film which they bought partial rights to, the gross is unhelpful and even if every one of the ticket buyers was inspired to see the film and pay by MoviePass, that’s less than half a percent of MoviePass subscribers seeing the film and the loss on every ticket almost equal to the film rental being paid back to to the company as an owner. They were always going to lose money on this title, but the low tipping point where this adventure might have gotten interesting for the investors/stock market was somewhere around a $2.5 million gross (10% of subs)… but really $5 million for it to be at all impressive, representing 20% of subs (assuming 100% of viewers are MoviePass subs) being driven to a movie because of being a MoviePass subscriber.

47 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Still Solo Despite The Media Han On Its Head Shoving Down”

  1. JS Partisan says:

    Yikes. Poor Solo.

  2. BO Sock Puppet says:

    A Star Wars movie will have to scratch and strive and leg out against all odds to get to $200m. Whoa.

  3. dinovelvet says:

    Never tell me the…

  4. Doug R says:

    X Men Apocalypse had less than $101 million and Ready Player One had less than $78 million by its second Friday

  5. Pete B says:

    Love that Upgrade made more Friday on fewer screens than Action Point. If I had to see the AP trailer one more time I’d scream.

    Upgrade was okay, but I was hoping for more conflict ala Hardcore Henry.

  6. Yair says:

    You have to pay the theaters for showing the movie. The theater has bills to pay.

    When accounting for this, Solo will lose HUNDREDS of millions of dollars.

  7. Monco says:

    Both Apocalypse and Ready Player One did not come close to grossing 200 million.

  8. sdp says:

    I thought Solo was looking kind of weak, but now that I know it’s outpacing notorious box office juggernaut READY PLAYER ONE…

  9. JS Partisan says:

    Dave. Dave. Dave. It’s perception, and you can get that reality out of here. Solo is a failure, and that is indeed that.

  10. Hcat says:

    looks like Action Point saved the biggest OUCH for opening weekend.

  11. Bulldog68 says:

    Solo is a failure. No one expected it to do IW numbers but it won’t even do Justice League numbers, which was still helped a bit by international which Solo will not even come near to. This failure makes me now more interested in seeing what vision from the fired directors was refused.

  12. Doug R says:

    Solo should have never expected to be a juggernaut. It should be making the kind of numbers RPO made. Trouble with getting lightning in a bottle like Iron Man and Rogue One, it’s expected you’ll hit those numbers all the time. It’s the Ant Man of the Star Wars universe, and that picture made less than $89 million by its second Friday.

  13. YancySkancy says:

    The Jackass pictures were fun, and I loved Bad Grandpa. Action Point looks like more of the same, which is fine by me. David Edelstein gave it a surprisingly positive review at vulture.com, while acknowledging its flaws. I like Knoxville and company’s shtick for the same reasons Dave states.

  14. Heather says:

    I don’t think Dave is suggesting Solo didn’t fail..I think he’s saying today’s round of stories about how much it dropped was the entertainment media double dipping. This weekend wasn’t a surprise after last week’s opening. Although budgets aside, I do wonder why all Star wars films are seemingly held to a single standard(i.e anything below 500 million domestic is a disappointment) while the marvel films have a wide range of grosses and nobody freaks out that antman isn’t doing Avenger numbers(and they shouldn’t freak out)

  15. leahnz says:

    “This failure makes me now more interested in seeing what vision from the fired directors was refused.”

    i’ve seen this sentiment a few times in a few places online now and while i understand the curiosity, the underlying assumption appears to be that it was because the director(s) ‘vision’ was somehow ‘refused’ rather than due to incompetence in executing that vision being the reason they got the sack, which is bizarre.

    making live-action movies is a carefully calibrated technical operation that relies on the relatively smooth operation of a zillion different components. the script was the script and the production design stands (otherwise the entire movie would’ve had to be re-shot and this is not the case, at least not according to what’s come out about the production).
    given that there have been numerous accounts and complaints from within the sizable ‘solo’ production about L&M including actors accounts that: the shoot was hugely behind schedule with far too many takes, poor direction to the actors including massive reliance on improv and vague, inept handling of the characters and lack of communication on set, and inept handling of the massive technical requirements of making a sci-fi action heist flick causing delays and frustration, etc, the real question is why L&M, who had previously made exactly two sub-50mil modestly-budgeted silly live-action comedies — 21 and 22 jump street, neither of which required any experience with sizable effects and for example in the first one weakest when it devolved into a fuckarow of shoot-out action tropes and mundane car chases/gags done with no particular action pinache at all — were hired in the first place to helm a massive $250+mil sci-fi action production (according to some here who seem pretty accurate sourcing budget stuff – and before anyone OMGS you didn’t include ‘meatballs’ and lego, the skill-sets required for making animated vs live-action flicks are so different as to render the two mostly unrelated in this instance).
    my guess is that L&M bullshitted their way into the directing gig and were then shown to be completely unsuited to actually producing it. the assumption that they were hard done by is…weird

  16. JS Partisan says:

    Brad Bird and Stranger Things Season 2’s strongest director, Andrew Stanton, would like to have a word with you about Animation and Live Action. The same goes for the next Martin “Score sees,” Tim Burton. Oh yeah. Walt fucking Disney.

    Lord and Miller are talented, and they got the job because they were hot. That’s KK’s MO, and it’s why she hired Mangold. She loves hiring the hot, it, male director. She’s a weird executive. Also, Solo wasn’t that expensive, then they reshot 85 percent of a finished movie. That’s what makes it a massive failure, and that’s what Dave is missing.

    You cannot spend 300 million, before marketing, and not get the burlap sack treatment. Dave is looking at a small slice of a big pie, and the bigger piece is a lot more… Weird. Everything with LFL since the Disney merger, is fucking weird.

    Why do the Marvel Studio films get to make different amounts of money? Consistency.

  17. leahnz says:

    js, do i really have to retort that citing some animation directors who were/became competent with live action does not therefore mean that every animation director is therefore going to be a good live action director in every instance

    “Also, Solo wasn’t that expensive,”
    oh really? that’s not what the replies were here before, with people putting it at 250mil before reshoots, or do you know something special

    (also, mangold directed a previous worlverine movie
    before logan so not exactly an ingénue)

    also, who gives a shit if lord & miller are ‘talented’ (debatable)

  18. palmtree says:

    Ready Player One did $200m… In China.

  19. Dr Wally Rises says:

    I think the best analog for Solo, honestly, is The Good Dinosaur. A production that got in deep shit, with the director and some cast members replaced halfway through. Costs go through the roof. A studio that many thought impregnable has to deal with plugging a leaky boat for once. They follow it up by hitting the safe-o-meter and only making sure things for a while.

    Whatever, we still have the movie. Ron Howard pulled off a miracle in making Solo as entertaining and overall as coherent as it is. Like Edge of Tomorrow, The Nice Guys and Tomorrowland it’s just a damn excellent Summer movie that, for whatever reason, just didn’t take the way that it should have. Too bad.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    My friends have said the same about Solo. It’s a fun summer movie, nothing more and nothing less. My wife is taking our 10-year-old today. I’m sure he’ll love it.

    Granted I don’t like Knoxville at all, but the Action Point trailer is one of the worst two minutes of my life. It feels like an eternity. Can’t imagine many people wanting to pay $11 to see that. Just a horrible, horrible trailer.

    Adrift was not on my radar at all for some reason, and I feel like I’m usually pretty on top of wide releases. I thought it was a different boat survival movie at first. I think Colin Firth is in that one? Seems like a pretty respectable opening.

  21. palmtree says:

    I’m still going with fans not liking TLJ and basically boycotting Solo. Because without their support, this movie is basically earning decent summer box office numbers that you would expect from a hit movie based on an original idea. Unfortunately, we can’t apply those standards onto Solo for obvious reasons.

    But if there is a lesson we should learn from Tomorrowland and Edge of Tomorrow, it’s that you should not put “tomorrow” in the title of your movie. :)

  22. Pj says:

    Why are you comparing sequels to whatever Solo is supposed to be? And some of those movies like Pirates and X Men were flops in their own right. All this “I’m so much smarter then everyone else” only highlights the lack of basic knowledge in the opening sentences of the blog.

  23. palmtree says:

    Aren’t those Friday to Friday drops so huge simply because those opening Fridays now include the preceding Thursday numbers???

    That second Friday doesn’t have the benefit of Thursday’s numbers, so that’s why it’s dropping in the 70s.

  24. Bulldog68 says:

    The Day After Tomorrow and Tomorrow Never Dies did ok :-)

  25. palmtree says:

    Haha…thanks BD. In truth I can’t be mad at tomorrow.

    Better Luck Tomorrow launched Justin Lin’s career.

    A Better Tomorrow is a great John Woo movie.

  26. JS Partisan says:

    Leah… Maybe, and they reshot 85 percent of the movie. This made the movie 300 million plus. Solo, probably fell into the 150 and up range, then it went nuts.

    Action Point should have premiered on Netflix. It’s just had that look to it.

    And Solo is the best things those giblet heads have put out, but it is suffering the sins of it’s predecessors. It sucks, but Disney should have seen this coming, and maybe should have started to sell the film last year.

  27. Mean Dean says:

    Han Solo isn’t Ant-Man!! He’s arguably the most popular character in the Star Wars universe. They didn’t make a Wedge Antilles movie.

    Still, I think the only things we can consider to be proven at this point are a) China isn’t too nuts about Star Wars, and b) American viewers weren’t enticed by what they knew about this particular stab at a Han Solo spinoff movie.

  28. leahnz says:

    in order to ‘re-shoot’ something it has to be shot in the first place, so while i myself used the term above (as a lazy matter of convenience) the question is: how far through the actual production schedule did L&M get before the plug was pulled, and then how much of what they did shoot was re-shot as opposed to RH simply finishing out the prod.
    where does this 85% figure come from? is it just out of your ass JS because it implies that most of the photography was complete when howard took over and this isn’t my impression from what i heard, but it would be interesting to know simply from a film-making perspective and how history will look back on this particular episode in troubled productions/outcomes.

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    Solo is the sort of movie that makes me more than a little envious of moviegoers in that bygone era when people buying tickets had little or no idea about the production history of what they were about to see. In other words, they simply judged what was on screen. I mean, really: Do you think anyone back in the 1930s cared how many directors had a hand in Gone with the Wind?

  30. leahnz says:

    yeah this makes me kind of curious:
    how much is the ‘general public’ (meaning just casual movie-goers who still hit the cinema with friends/family on the weekend but don’t have any particular interest in film industry peccadillos, they see trailers before movies and probably get some WOM input from their peeps on what’s been seen and liked and go accordingly) even really aware of the troubled ‘solo’ production or paid much attention to it if they happened to see it mentioned in passing somewhere. lots of people really don’t care about this kind of stuff, and in such cases i’d think the not-that-enticing trailers may have had far more of an impact on box office than film industry poop

    (ETA i know when i saw ‘solo’ i couldn’t help trying to pointlessly suss out what bits were L&M and what was RH — but then again i did something similar when i saw ‘AI’ for the first time, trying to guess which concepts originated with kubrick and which were SS, and then learning about the production afterwards as stuff came out realising that lots of my assumptions were totally off)

  31. Joe Leydon says:

    Good question, Leah. It’s my theory/belief that the masses started to become aware of the stories behind the stories when mainstream media began to cover the troubled production of Apocalypse Now. But I think the turning point really came with Heaven’s Gate. There’s a great clip in the documentary Final Cut that shows Tom Brokaw reporting the debacle as a major news story on the NBC Nightly News back in the day. Jump ahead to 1993: I’m driving my car in Dallas on a Sunday afternoon, on my way to have dinner with a filmmaker who’s on a promotional tour, when I hear for the first time a radio newscast that includes a report on weekend boxoffice estimates. I remember thinking at the time that a line had been crossed.

    And now? The production info is everywhere, inescapable. I can’t say that advance negative buzz is the main reason for the “failure” of Solo. But I’m sure it didn’t help.

    Speaking of A.I. — I, too, had misconceptions until somebody set me straight. http://www.movingpictureshow.com/dialogues/mpsSpielbergCruise.html

  32. Poet says:

    Media coverage and public awareness of doomed productions goes back at least as far as Cleopatra. Tell-all books about the making of Cleopatra were released before the film was.

  33. leahnz says:

    “I can’t say that advance negative buzz is the main reason for the “failure” of Solo. But I’m sure it didn’t help.”

    i think this is a very solid position, joe

    ta for posting that awesome link with SS’ anecdotes re AI (and the rest is also fascinating as a fan of ‘minority report’, excellent sci-fi; i wish there was more of its ilk made, seems like we should be in the golden age of sci-fi, i don’t understand it) — exactly what i was referring to above, and i’m glad spielberg chose to open up about the production and dispel these clearly widely-held misconceptions about Kubrick’s and his contributions to the concept/narrative.
    (as someone for whom the final 20 actually sours me on the movie i wish SS had completely embraced the darkness, ended deep in the black of the sea and eschewed the maudlin but it is what it is)

  34. Joe Leydon says:

    Poet: You might be amused to know that a play about the production of Cleopatra — titled, aptly enough, Cleo — recently had its world premiere at the Alley Theater here in Houston. https://www.alleytheatre.org/plays/production-detail/cleo

  35. Doug R says:

    Yeah, it was Bicenntenial Man with “Death to robots” until that ending. One interpretation I saw on Youtube is these are future robots around after we’re extinct and they give him one last wish before they deactivate him. Makes a kind of sense that way.

  36. palmtree says:

    “i’d think the not-that-enticing trailers may have had far more of an impact on box office than film industry poop”

    I totally agree. The worst part for me was the bastardized Star Wars theme that came at the end. You can’t sell me on a cool noir-ish SW movie and then end it with a cheesy substance-free rendition.

  37. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Joe,you are absolutely bang on the money. These days, we just know way too much. One of my favorite movies as a kid, and even now, was War Games. I still consider it to be a seamless movie. I never would have guessed, and was stunned to find out when the anniversary DVD was done 25 years later, that most of the movie was not John Badham’s doing, and that Martin Brest was the actual director for most of the movie before he got fired. And to be honest, it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of War Games at all. The Godfather and Jaws? Two of the best movies of all time were made with the axe hanging over Coppola and Spielberg the whole way. These days, that would translate into negative baggage that an audience couldn’t help but take with them into the viewing experience. Just recently, James Cameron admitted that he redid the ending of T2 in a blind panic just days before the prints had to off to the lab. At the time no one would have had any clue, today it would be all over social media.

    Movies should be magic, and we’re only eroding it for ourselves at the moment.

  38. Hcat says:

    Ha, has Badham ever been the original director on any of his projects? I know that is of course the case with a lot of them, but he seems to be a closer more than any other notable director.

  39. JS Partisan says:

    Two things that have yet to materialize, and that bug me. 1) The extremely long take of Cleopatra, or the all of that footage they shot. It’s processed and ready to go. According to one of the home video releases. 2) The super extended Lord of the Rings films.

  40. Hcat says:

    If we are making wish lists, I would like the first cut of Thin Red Line please.

  41. movieman says:

    Does anyone know whether the 19 minutes Kubrick cut from “2001” after its April 1968 NYC premiere still exist?
    Considering what an obsessive-compulsive control freak Kubrick was, I can’t believe he allowed them to be destroyed. Or would have destroyed them himself.
    Are they sitting in a vault somewhere?

  42. YancySkancy says:

    “One interpretation I saw on Youtube is these are future robots around after we’re extinct and they give him one last wish before they deactivate him. Makes a kind of sense that way.”

    I’d say that’s not “one interpretation;” it’s what actually happens. A.I. SPOILERS>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>They’re mecha “descendants” of David (Osment’s character). Anyone who thinks they’re aliens is just wrong, though it’s been a common misconception from the beginning. At the end of the film, humans no longer exist. Which is why I always chafe a bit at charges of sentimentality directed toward it. Sure, it’s a somewhat “maudlin” turn of events, as leah put it, but human beings are freakin’ extinct. Kinda dark.

  43. Hcat says:

    I never get why they deactivate him, he is like reviving a Cro-Magnon man stuck in a glacier, they seem so reverential at first and then are like ‘well that was interesting lets pull the plug’

  44. leahnz says:

    yes i think what you describe is the accepted correct interpretation yancy, at least i thought so.
    in theory the final act, with humans as a species long dead, is pretty fucked up but the movie does a nice job (ymmv) of eliciting the viewers’ empathy/allegiance not with the humans but with the artificial beings they created and abuse, so the revelation of humanity’s demise isn’t much of a kick to the gut, more like karma. fuck them.

    (and as hcat points out the whole final movement kinda makes little sense when it comes down to it and feels to me tacked on for some bittersweet/happy ending tear-jerker points, though clearly it was always part of Kubrick’s narrative, according to SS. the way it’s directed probably has something to do with it, it doesn’t work for me and i find it so frustrating because after the fade to black with david and teddy stuck ‘buried alive’ down in the depths, it’s so dreadful and yet the imagination goes into overdrive wondering what would be their ultimate fate, and it feels like a fitting end to such a desperate, hopeless journey. i’ve really tried to appreciate the ending for what it is but i just can’t do it, it annoys the crap out of me, so now when i watch AI every few years i just stop it at the point when it should have ended haha, my fan edit)

  45. hcat says:

    Your not the only one who does that with Spielberg, I have a fan edit of Hook where I just watch The Rocketeer instead.

  46. YancySkancy says:

    Hcat: I always thought it was a “respect for our ancestor” sort of thing. Give him a special day, then give him peace, finally. They have perhaps evolved beyond the human enough to disdain “studying” him or putting him on display.

    leah, yeah, I wouldn’t say the revelation is a ‘kick to the gut’ either, in the way you say. I don’t think the film is asking us to mourn humanity; if anything, it seems to admire the compassion of the mechas, as if they’ve ‘evolved’ into something ‘better.’

    Anyway, fascinating movie.

  47. Mike says:

    I’m going to try that next time I’m watching Lincoln. Turn it off right after he walks out and leaves the gloves. That’ll be my Spielberg fan edit.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch