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Friday Estimates by So Low Klady

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

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So yeah… not the expected number for Solo.

What does it mean?  It means you can’t let the brand sell itself.

The reaction from veteran marketers is fearful, but you that doesn’t really account for the fact that brands are being sold in much greater quantity, at a much greater pace, than ever before.

And people have short memories.

Remember when DreamWorks Animation went to three films a year? It lasted one year. Ancient history? 2014.

And you have to wonder, why would Disney break their own rhythm by putting a Star Wars film in summer and none at Christmas until 2019?

With this question, the question about Solo… why did Kathy Kennedy take the idea of breaking from the trilogies as well as scuttle it by firing the filmmakers who were hired to break from tradition? Will she ever admit that this was a mistake? Because what she got was neither fish nor fowl… and it shows in every bit of marketing.

The greatest irony is that Disney is the home of Marvel, where this code has been cracked to greater success than anywhere else. The lesson in how well Thor built to Infinity War and how Ant-Man and Doctor Strange were pure standalones that brought their own value before the characters were integrated into the bigger structure is very significant.

When I see a Larry Kasdan interview taking about Solo being off the traditional Star Wars timeline, first I say, “bullshit.” Then I ask, “If it’s off the timeline, how come it’s so boring?”

Rogue One should have been be,used as a one-off, but instead, LucasFilm took a terrible lesson from it.

(Spoilers for Solo coming!!!)

You don’t have to kill off everyone who doesn’t land in the trilogy timeline!!! The gag works once. Then move along!

Spoilers Over

If they wanted to do Young Han Solo, we should have seen the relationship whe these two were kids. If you wanted to make what the audience wanted, where were Jabba and Boba Fett?

Solo is no disaster, artistically or commercially. But it is an example of fear-based filmmaking at the highest level. And those wrong choices have met strong (come on, people… don’t lose your mind over expectations), but underwhelming box office.

And Deadpool 2, which was 100% committed to its foundation, should have moved up a week when Avengers did. Solo is making this weekend sad.

Weekend Estimates by Deadklad 2

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

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Deadpool 2 is the biggest not-first-weekend-of-May May opening. Ever.

The previous top in this category was Shrek 3, which was part of the Triple Trilogy summer of 2007, which also owns the Memorial Day record with Pirates 3 at $115 million, which gives Solo a target for next weekend.

That summer, 11 years ago, inspired a lot of the Chicken Little-ing we’re getting about theatrical these days. It turned out that 2007 was the first $4 billion summer, which has led to $4 billion every summer since (except last summer). Similarly, 2007 came the year after 2006 failed to match the then all-time high summer of 2004… thus, the falling sky.

And even if Solo is soft next weekend, it will surely best $100m, making this only the second summer in history to have three $100m+ openings by the end of May. (Yes, I am counting Avengers.)

But keep obsessing on Netflix’s claim of 80 “movies” this year. That must be the important story in film this year. Now quick… name a Netflix movie that came out this year.

Did it take you 5 seconds? 10 seconds? Have you come up with a title?

I love Netflix. I am happy they are spending. I am glad to watch their films. But they are not important to the current or future theatrical business at this time. They have raised some of the prices for films at festivals, which makes festival buying less attractive for indies, but that’s a blip. Five years ago, there were other market forces. Remember, Hamlet 2 happened without streaming.

Anyway… Deadpool 2 is fine. Paramount has to be underwhelmed by Book Club’s launch. I think it and Life of the Party suffered from being back-to-back and seeming so niched as being about older women getting their grooves back. Both needed another marketing gear. And nice per-screen on 4 for First Reformed.

Friday Estimates by The Royal Wedded Klady

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

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BYOB: Solo Spoiler

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

byob solo spoilers 651

BYOB: Solo Non-Spoiler

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

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Weekend Estimates by 3-Weekend Klady

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

Weekend Estimates 2018-05-13 at 11.48.57 AM

I still don’t have much to say about the weekend.

Avengers: Infinity War is a big, fat hit… as it must be.

Opening the second weekend of May is, as it has long been, fraught. Last year, it was $19.5m and $15.4m million for Snatched and King Arthur, respectively… almost exactly what the 2 new wide openers launched to this weekend.

There have been bigger openings in this slot. Neighbors opened to $49 million. The Great Gatsby opened to $50 million. Dark Shadows to $30 million. Bridesmaids to $26m. Robin Hood to $36m. And the first Star Trek reboot opened to $75 million a decade ago.

Who knew, when Tammy got slapped for opening to $21.6 million in the summer of 2014, that it would be on the high end of WB comedy opens from then on. Only Get Hard and Central Intelligence, out of 19 comedy releases by WB since Tammy, opened better. Those films were 3 and 2 years ago. And specifically, Life of the Party is the best WB comedy opening since Central Intelligence since June 2016.

None of this makes this opening look heroic. But context matters. And somehow, one gets the feeling that this same film opened by Universal would have launched in the high 20s. WB still opens certain films well. But comedy is hit or miss.

Warners has opened 23 movies to $30 million or more in the last 4 years (out of 92 total releases). The 3 Conjuring Universe movies were the cheapest. As mentioned before, 2 comedies. 5 were DC movies. 8 were reboots or existing franchise sequels (It, Godzilla, Kong, Hobbit, Fantastic Beasts, Mad Max, Tarzan, Blade Runner) 2 were The Rock (San Andreas/Rampage). Plus The Veteran 3: Sully, Ready Player One, and Dunkirk.

This is out of 92 WB releases in these last 4 years. For perspective, Universal has has 25 $30m launches out of 69 total releases in the same 4 years. Fox hit $30m opens on 22 of 63 releases. Sony has gone 11 of 81 in the last 4 years, which is the real reason Amy Pascal lost her job, no matter how many stolen e-mails Ben Fritz wants to analyze. (If you think I am blaming Ms. Pascal for what Tom Rothman has done, she was 6 of 34 in this category when you go back another 2 years, to 2012. So, Summer 2014 – 2018, 14%. 2012 – 2014, 18%. And now that you are playing with that stat, the Summer 2014 – Summer 2018 stat for WB is 25% and U is 36%. Of course, Disney is at a stoopid 64%. And Paramount comes in at a round 20%.)

The opening, in context, for Life of the Party is okay. McCarthy/Falcone is, when budget is in check, still a good bet. If I were them, I would set a deal at one studio where they feel great about a specific marketer who gets them and give up a few bucks to make a permanent home work. Their next film together is scheduled for WB in late 2019. The entire studio may be flipped by then.

Breaking In is from Universal’s new second favorite producer, Will Packer, who delivered this on a #1 Son (Blumhouse) budget. As such, good opening. Packer flipped between thrillers and comedies for Sony/Screen Gems for years. This was a start on the Universal future. Not the brightest launch… but okay. The studio has two films a year with him for the next while.

Holds, overall, were good. RBG expanded from 34 theaters to 180 and did $6,060 per screen and $1.1 million for the weekend. The per-screen king of indie was Magnolia’s brilliant doc, Sara Driver’s Boom for Real, charting the rise of Basquiat with great footage from the era and real insight not only in the artist, but the New York art scene of the 80s. It’s only on 1 screen and that would be in downtown New York City. So this makes sense. But the movie is a treat for anyone interested in the last great art scene.

Close by is Roadside’s Beast, a modern, non-singing version of the classic Beauty tale. Right on its per-screen heels is a period location-heavy version of The Seqgull, starring Saoirse Ronan and Annette Bening, which by some count would be a better opening, given that it is on 50% more screens (even if that’s just two in this case).

Friday Estimates by Klady of the Party

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

Friday Estimates 2018-05-12 at 10.27.37 AM

Not a lot to say… and my wife has us going on a long drive to see family in a few minutes…

Anyone sad that Avengers: Infinity War got to $500m domestic faster than Black Panther is, well, an idiot.

The Black Panther number is more impressive and will remain so no matter what any Avengers movies do. I don’t think it proved anything about people seeing movies starring and directed by people of color; I never believed this was an issue anyway. But the whole media narrative about young people (who tend to consider color an issue a lot less than we old folks) not going to see movies and white people not seeing people of color in movies and international being more racist than America at the box office—and still is, though year by year will become less so—turns a true phenom of a movie into a simplified talking point.

Meanwhile, we are waiting for a “woman with a gun and a R rating” movie to become a big hit. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Jennifer Garner’s film blows up). None of this means that I don’t think people of color and women get the shitty end of the Hollywood lollipop, yesterday, today and tomorrows to come. When big object lessons come, the way to progress is to use them to make small objects move in an aggressive way, because all hype shall pass. That, and enjoy the wins fully and don’t get tied to the parts on which you don’t have a factual handle.

Moonlight‘s $37 million international is as big a milestone as Black Panther… probably bigger. The people who move the bar are the people who just do their work. And if Barry Jenkins and Jordan Peele and Ryan Coogler take a commercial step backwards on their next films, celebrate that too… because that is what white men have done forever. And then wait for the film after that. Or the one after that. And embrace and support the success of that work because it will come because of their skills and hard work, not because of or in spite of the color of their skin. And also support choices like Coogler handing Creed 2 to another generation of filmmakers of color. Success begets success. Celebrate opportunity, not just the best results.

In counterprogramming, Melissa McCarthy should not be in the second weekend of May. Bad date. Life of the Party isn’t Bridesmaids and WB doesn’t open comedies the way Universal does. WB opens many successfully… just differently. And a big-head-poster kind of movie needs more space that this. Still, Melissa is a 3.5x – 4x opening kind of star, so WB may survive the misstep.

Breaking In is the kind of movie that makes many people wonder where the ads were. I’m sure Universal worked the traditional windows. But the studio has also not opened a black-facing “Screen Gems” movie in a long time. And this one is under-opening that market by a bit. Unlike Melissa McCarthy comedies, the vast majority of films like this, thrillers that market to the audience of color above all else, don’t tend to have long legs. Universal has had enormous success with the Blumhouse movies, which often lean into race… but ultimately, they are more horror than thriller (even the thrillers, like The Purge series). And one wonders if there was more left to be mined, in this case, in the Gabrielle Union lean towards women than the market of color. It also sucked for this film that Melissa McCarthy was also on the date because women who might well have tried this film out this weekend are off laughing with McCarthy.

Movie marketing is a broad science… and a narrow art form. Still fascinating after all these years. And never forget – all together, folks – opening weekend has nothing to do with the movie. It’s all about the marketing and publicity in 95% of cases. It’s not about what you sell, it’s about how you sell it. It will be about the movie itself soon enough.

Weekend Estimates by OverKlady

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Weekend Estimates 2018-05-06 at 11.04.36 AM

What can one say?

Avengers: Infinity War isn’t the biggest anything.

The media has become sick with its endless need for everything to be a horse race. Ten days into its run, Infinity War is the fifteenth highest grossing film ever, both domestically and worldwide. It’s a massive success, supported by many other massive successes. We are now in the stage of the film’s theatrical life that will be driven by consumer word-of-mouth and as the best of the three or four Avengers films (I count Civil War), it should be strong for at least the next month.

Another sickness is “reporting” on box office from the perspective of an inflexible agenda.

Have you read any stories about how IP has taken over Hollywood? (Rhetorical question… these stories are unavoidable and relentless.)

And have you read any stories this year about the uptick in successful originals? No?!?! Really?!?! Surprise.

Analysis of this gets sticky. But if one is to be fair, the changes are obvious. (I hate year-vs-year comparisons seeking to make broad comments about how the industry is changing. Four years is about the minimum for me. But I am speaking to how media is covering all this and it is, at its conceptual core, stupid.)

These stats are all based on the year to May 5 and with domestic grosses over $40 million.

2017 Sequels – 9
2018 Sequels – 5

2017 Non-Sequel IP Films (inc Blumhouse & Tyler Perry) – 5
2018 Non-Sequel IP Films – 6

2017 Originals (inc Blumhouse/TP) – 5
2018 Originals – 9

2017 Productions Over $100m – 10
2018 Productions Over $100m – 6 (with Tomb Raider claiming under… make it 7 if you don’t buy that)

2017 Gross As Of May 5 (roughly) – $2.45b
2018 Gross As Of May 5 – $2.54b

That’s about a 4% bump from this time last year. The overall year, according to Mojo, is 5.5%. So there must be some uptick below my $40m domestic Mendoza line as well.

So where are the news stories about how this year is kicking ass and doing it with fewer sequels and less IP? Brooks? Pam? Brent? Anthony? Ben?

There is a real chance that 2018 will be the first $12 billion year at the domestic box office.

How will the media explain that theatrical is dead at the end of this year?

Yes, the tide towards a majority of big films being all-IP, all-the-time is coming. It’s summer. This summer offers 12 sequels and 4 reboots/spin-offs/whatever, plus Teen Titans Go. But there are more than 22 (I don’t believe everything saying it will open wide will open) originals opening wide this summer.

The biggest titles are going to be the sequels. No question. But the majority – even in the summer – will be originals. And of those, only Skyscraper is a big-budget, franchise-launching effort.

Next weekend, two major studios release two non-IP movies wide, Breaking in and Life of the Party. Avengers will win for the third weekend in a row. But both newcomers should open in the 20s, based on the history of the talent. I understand that this isn’t what film writers are looking for… they want shiny objects that draw lazy “wow” hits. But these writers are creating a falsehood when they minimize mid-range movie success in favor of endless coverage of the mega-movies (rarely mentioning their mega-price tags) while claiming that there is no mid-range business anymore. Just because they refuse to cover the profitable middle does not mean that it doesn’t exist and that it is not a key part of the annual profitability of every studio except Disney.

And I will tell you what… when the Disney backlash comes – and it will – that will be bullshit too.

Theatrical is a mature business. It isn’t an ocean. It is a lake. Lakes have waves, too. But they tend to be a lot less volatile. And I know, volatile is where the fun is.

We are in stupid times.

Netflix’s market cap is $140 billion. Paramount (aka Viacom B) is $12.5 billion.

Objectively, in the long view, Paramount’s assets today are worth more than Netflix’s actual assets. But the stock market values Netflix at more than ten times what it values Paramount.

Why? Because Netflix has a stable revenue stream and the market fantasizes growth in the future. Paramount has been treading water as a studio for a decade-plus and has been unsuccessful in creating a path to its own future.

If you value a major studio’s library (inc Paramount TV. Nickelodeon, etc.) at $400 million a year for a streaming company to lease, Paramount’s current stock value is just over 30 years of leasing.

Why aren’t Netflix or Sony fighting to purchase bargain-basement Paramount before it reunites with CBS, where it will become viable competition? Because they are missing the value.

Netflix is not actually in the film business and reiterated this through its CEO this week, who signaled that they were getting out of the Cannes business forever. They don’t need Paramount. They don’t need the headache of owning and operating an actual movie studio. At least, they don’t need it right now. They are focused on creating their own content. And what no one wants to say out loud is that the further down that path they go, the more they are susceptible to the slings and arrows of every other content-driven business in the market… and the more easily the current library-heavy companies will be able to compete.

Sony? They want to sell their entertainment side and might be shy about potential regulatory limitations created by the gonzo Trump administration that would embarrass them and limit their ability to compete freely in the U.S. market.

By the way, the Fox film and TV market cap is half of Netflix’s. Insane. But Disney is not getting ripped off, buying most of Fox. This deal works for both sides (aside from the laid-off workers).

CBS/Paramount’s market cap will be in the low 30s when they are finally put back together. But I would expect Les Moonves to double that in less than five years by mining the value that exist, ignoring the ones that have lost their weight, and going hard after Netflix and DisneyOTT (and Hulu and Amazon) immediately. Moonves has already learned lessons from the mediocrity that CBS’s OTT is. He knows that you can’t sell people what they already have for free and ask for them to pay for it.

Theatrical is a healthy business that should be supported and upgraded wherever and whenever possible.

OTT is a business in its infancy and will be the norm for home entertainment for decades to come.

There is nothing incompatible about these ideas.

Everyone is obsessed by Disney, which has an amazing situation that no one can recreate.

But Universal is the studio that should be examined.

Universal has released 71 films in the last four years and all four of those years have been among the five most profitable years in the studio’s history.

Here is how the domestic grosses break down by category…

IP/Non-Animated Sequels (15) – $2.42 billion
Animation (4) – $1.2 billion
Horror (18) – $1.14 billion
Comedy (18) – $1.2 billion
Drama (16) – $680 million

So, the obvious questions:

1. Why doesn’t Universal make more animation when they can’t seem to miss?

Answer: Because the limited output has something to do with the success. Only 19 animated films have ever topped $260 million domestic. Universal’s last four Illumination films are four of them and Despicable 2 is their fifth. Pixar has seven. Disney has four. And DreamWorks has three. Universal acquired DreamWorks Animation (now, just “DreamWorks”) and so they have eight titles and Disney has 11.

History has shown that Pixar at one film a year is optimal. Same for every other animation studio. Expansion undeniably thins the quality of the output and in animation, which is the leggiest of the genres and thus, most reliant on word-of-mouth and repeat business, quality (as defined by the audience, not critics) matters a lot.

2. Why not make more IP-driven product and sequels, though the track record is not nearly as strong as animation?

Answer: Because it is also a unique challenge.

2 Fast & Furiouses
5 Curtain Droppers: 2 Pitch Perfects, 3 Fifty Shades
2 Sequels That Probably Dead-Ended: Ted, Snow White
2 Sequels On Life Support: Jason Bourne, Pacific Rim
1 Smash Hit Relaunch: Jurassic World
1 Disastrous Relaunch: The Mummy
1 Output Deal: The Great Wall
1 International-Only Hit: Warcraft

So where to go from here with these films?

Fast & Furious and Jurassic are on the high shelf with animation.

The Universal Monster re-launch ends… again… the second failure to launch in the last 15 years. When will they try again?

There will be some kind of 50 Shades spin-off. Jason Bourne might be over… maybe they will try again. Pac Rim is an issue of Legendary, where they have a lot of issues.

Not a lot there. If you look at the current upcoming schedule for the studio, it’s a F&F film for three years straight (2019-21), four animated sequels in 2020, an attempt to launch a Pokemon franchise next year, and lots and lots of comedy and horror (at least five a year from Blumhouse and on the comedy side, Will Packer, in 2019 and 2020). There are FOUR untitled Universal event films in 2020.

3. Will they ever make a drama again?

Answer: I’m sure.

Yes, dramas make less money for the studio than more “marketable” movies and the biggest worldwide grossing drama in these last three years (Straight Outta Compton) “only” grossed $202 million. But that film was also a lot more profitable for Universal than Jason Bourne, which grossed twice as much.

If you want to make $70 million dramas, you are kinda screwed… even at Netflix. There is no one in that business right now.

Then again… no idea what the budget on First Man is. But I bet it is too high to make Universal execs comfortable. They may end up with a win anyway, but the 23 years since Apollo 13 did $355 million worldwide is a long time. And Universal is also betting on Bob Zemeckis for a drama based on 2010 documentary Marwencol, which is a great thing to do, but no lock at the box office. Those are on the slate for this year. What they mean for years moving forward…?

Everything is off the central examination of the weekend’s box office. But there wasn’t much worth saying about it. Overboard did better than should have been expected… still, meh. Focus couldn’t figure out how to sell Tully, even though they really liked the film. Just not a very interesting weekend.

Happy Seis de Mayo!!!

Friday Estimates by Thanos Jr Klady

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

Friday Estimatres 2018-05-05 at 8.58.08 AM

Weekend Estimates by An Avenger In Every Pot Klady

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Friday Estimates 2018-04-29 at 11.15.19 AM

Nice opening. Klady still has Avengers a million behind Force Awakens. Mojo is pushing a flat $250 million.

All of this is marketing now.

The worldwide number is more impressive, up $90 million from the previous leader, with China kicking in the next couple weekends.

Boo-birds will find another way to say that this is not good for the theatrical box office. Too concentrated or whatever excrement they can pull out. Zzzzzz

What can I tell people who don’t want to hear? There will be six $100 million openings before July. The record for a full year is eight. And then, there will be a massive wave of “middle class” openings between $50-$80 million with Ant-Man and the Wasp, Skyscraper, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Mission: Impossible: Fallout, and two possible cartoon openings getting to $50m+ with Hotel Transylvania 3 and Teen Titans Go To The Movies.

But that doesn’t include al the programmers than will open between $20-$50 million: Life of The Party, Book Club, Action Point, Ocean’s 8 (which could blow up even larger), The First Purge, Equalizer 2, The Meg and Crazy Rich Asians.

That’s 19 solid-to-sensational openings in three months, playing to all fields… but wah wah wah, no one wants to go to the movie theater anymore. Someone forgot to tell movie lovers. And this is just the domestic box office. There is a momentary downside to this. No film without an Avenger on more than 40 screens did more than $5,000 per screen for the weekend. And only three did more than $3,000 with any screen count.

Nice number for Disobedience on 5five managing $47K per. Those are well-attended screenings. Will be interesting to learn how many Orthodox Jews attended.

A Quiet Place, the opposite of Infinity War, crosses $150 million on Tuesday or Wednesday. It will be Paramount’s first $150 million domestic movie in the last 21 months, the first $150 million original in 29 months, and one of only eight $150m domestic grossers for the studio in the last five years (five of those being franchise sequels).

And Black Panther dropped only 10%, as Disney tries (likely in vain) to get the film to $700m domestic and to pass Star Wars: The Last Jedi on worldwide gross (that happens this coming week).

Friday Estimates by Kladyos

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

friday estimates 651 2018-04-28 at 10.21.10 AM

There isn’t a lot to say. Number is huge. Number was expected. Presales indicated it would be short of Force Awakens. Which it is. Still, why would anyone quibble about a $200 million opening? (Here’s your daily reminder that theatrical is dying… not.)

A Quiet Place didn’t officially lose screens… but they lost theaters, as Avengers ate most of the multiples at ‘plexes. The Avengers claim of 4474 theaters likely means 15,000 actual screens this opening weekend, if not more. This means fewer options for seeing other movies like A Quiet Place. A 49% Friday drop for the film is actually good news. And it will improve over the weekend.

Black Panther, losing theaters, got a bump out of the Avengers arrival. Impressive.

Everyone else lost more than 50% of last week’s number. Welcome to the summer.

In limited release, Disobedience worked as counterprogramming. Orthodox Judaism, hot chicks (who are also two of our best actresses), and self-empowerment deliver over $40k per screen for the weekend.

Implications Of The Academy Rule Changes By David Poland

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

The Immediate Future Of Subscription Moviegoing

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Weekend Estimates by Super Pooper Klady

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Weekend Estimates 2018-04-22 at 10.32.09 AM copy

A Quiet Place continues to overperform even itself, Super Troopers 2 couldn’t double its Friday haul (although it’s still $4 million from the total of the original, so why would anyone complain?), I Feel Pretty failed to do 3x opening (ugly), and IFC’s Ghost Stories is the only $10,000 per screen of the weekend, albeit on only one screen.

A Quiet Place continues to be the date movie of the year, getting a 45% Saturday bump in its third weekend in theaters. That’s not a Black Panther pattern, but it’s pretty great. The movie is well ahead of Split and Get Out, the thrillers of early last year, after three weekends. The biggest question now is the dating, which may feel like it wasn’t given room before the summer movies launch, made worse by Avengers 3 coming out a week before the normal summer start. Paramount may get lucky and find that AQP plays to the audience that waits a few weeks to act on word-of-mouth and are also not interested in comic-book movies. The only head-to-head competition through May is Breaking In, for which Universal has not put on the full court press. So maybe $200 million domestic is possible.

Paramount’s next question mark will be why they put Book Club the week after a Melissa McCarthy movie with a theme about a mature woman acting like a kid. Obviously, Ms. McCarthy is 30 years younger than the Book Club crew… but she is a current, undeniable box office star and the Book Club crew is not, even though it looks like it should be a hit property. (Not saying it will be… not saying it won’t.)

As much as the hit movie calendar has expanded in the last couple of years, finding the right date is still critical. And you have to wonder, why is the Johnny Knoxville movie so early in the summer (October is his money slot and wouldn’t his schtick play better in summer after the mega-movies?) and why is a Tyler Perry movie pushed into November for the first time in his career?

I Feel Pretty was in trouble when it launched on Friday and it managed to get worse. Many female critics rejected it and men weren’t in a rush from the start. Whatever the flaws of the film, making the campaign all Schumer all the time was a big mistake. There is plenty of material to work with that was dropped in favor of Schumer hitting her head and acting goofy. You can’t sell it as a movie about finding your strength when the ads are telling us that the lead is delusional about being powerful.

Super Troopers 2 did great… just not as great as the opening day suggested could be possible. Still, the original did $18.5 million. The sequel is already at $14.8m. Even if it gets to just $25 million domestic, Searchlight spent carefully and only put it on 2,038 screens and will make money with this title.

Hard to say what Lionsgate was chasing with Traffik. Maybe I just never saw anything because I’m in the wrong market. But it was soft.

Friday Estimates by The Klady Sequel We Didn’t Know Was Wanted

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Friday Estimates 2018-04-21 at 9.54.30 AM

Another weekend, another question about the effectiveness of tracking for estimating opening weekends.

Tracking is not designed to be an accurate reflector of the weekend box office to come, I will say for the millionth time.. When it is used that way, either by the trackers and the distributors, it is abuse, not the intended purpose.

You can learn from looking at the numbers that come to pass and the tracking numbers that came before them. But as a tool to estimate opening weekends, there are more circumstances in which tracking cannot be counted on for that specific thing than there are those in which the numbers align.

I was about to write, “This weekend,” when the fact is that we still  know only the Friday numbers. This is what I am talking about: terrible, lazy habits of stating guesses as fact.

With two new films in the Top 3, here is what we know about the weekend number on those three films after Friday. A Quiet Place should end up between $16.8-$17.5 million. This is after two weekends of information: we know it bumps on Saturday (couples are going) and drops consistently on Sunday.

Super Troopers 2 is a happy surprise. Sixteen years ago, Searchlight was wide-eyed about the original and it looked like a franchise launch. But although it was profitable, the gross was not spectacular and small issues got in the way of a sequel. Instead we got Club Dread, which flopped and deeply wounded the Broken Lizard brand. Then Jay Chandrasekhar was taken on by Warner Bros and a Dukes of Hazzard and a Beerfest later, he was a television director and Broken Lizard was comatose.

But in the spirit of Blumhouse, Broken Lizard crowdfunded a chunk of a low budget and got back together with Searchlight. They have a low-end success, but a true one. Even if the bottom drops out – and everyone is only guessing whether it might – a $15 million opening is a surprise and a win, even more so with a smartly cautious 2038 theater count.

And what if (gulp!) it catches on and finds a bigger audience than the BL Cult?

There is another lesson. If Searchlight didn’t own and then exercise their rights to this sequel, it would have wound up on Netflix. You can bet Netflix spent last night trying to find out what the Broken Lizard commitments are going forward. They would be a cheap and proper complement to their Sandler franchise. And you can bet that Disney wants them on their OTT in a couple of years. But instead, with very low risk, Searchlight adds more than $10 million to the profit column of their spreadsheet, which is not nothing.

As for I Feel Pretty… STX got sucked into the Amy Schumer-is-not-really-a-movie star trendline and didn’t fight to overcome it. Of the dozens I have told about Michelle Williams’ brilliant performance in the film, one even knew she was in the movie. Looking at the trailer again (Williams has two quick shots and a “wow”), I was struck by how the pitch, like the film, missed the opportunity completely. The film makes fun of Schumer until she has some level of comeback at the end. But their idea of the movie was a universality of how women who are anything less than model perfect are overly self-critical… and how even those who are model-perfect do the same. Even in the trailer, other women mock Schumer for feeling good about herself. This movie has the same problems that I anticipated when I saw that Schumer had become connected to the wannabe Barbie movie franchise.

(I just erased multiple paragraphs because of a surety that I would be attacked for mansplaining… just not worth it. But it is dead wrong that I should be self-censoring. My silence is not your progress.)

Rampage is, as expected, all about the international. But even as it passes $200m worldwide this weekend, there is a danger of red ink. Ready Player One, which has 200 of its $500 million coming from China is only just into the black (depending on what Spielberg is getting and from what pot).

A reminder: Chinese dollars are worth half of what other theatrical dollars are worth to the distributor. So the true China adjusted gross for Ready Player One is about $400 million worldwide. And even with some big markets to open, Rampage is “really” at $175 million.

The arthouse opener of the weekend is IFC’s Ghost Stories, with over $10,000 in a single haunting.

Cameron Bailey Now “Co-Head” Of Toronto International Film Festival

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Cameron Bailey Named Artistic Director And “Co-Head” Of Toronto International Film Festival

On Bill Mechanic’s Break with the Academy

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Weekend Estimates by Tax Day Klady

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

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A Quiet Place was not #1 this weekend, but even if it had been #1, it’s irrelevant. It is easily the bigger box office story of the weekend. A 35% drop in a second weekend that, 1) comes after a $30m+ opening weekend, 2) is not influenced by a holiday weekend, and 3) is not an animated film is extremely rare.

A Quiet Place is #1500 on the big chart of great holds at Box Office Mojo. But there are only 84 movies ever that opened over $30 million and held 65% of the number the next weekend. Twenty-seven of those are animated films, which are stronger holders than any other genre. Twenty-three had second weekend on Christmas, New Year’s or Thanksgiving. That brings us down to 37 titles. Fifteen more are summer releases.

Of the 19 films still on the list, only seven had openings over $40 million and only four launching with over $50 million. They are American Sniper, Gravity, The Martian and now, A Quiet Place.

You may argue that I am being too generous to this film’s numbers, but every standard I have used has been pretty broad and reasonable. Holding better over a holiday weekend is to be expected. Animated films have a unique place. And the bigger the opening, the more challenging a 35% hold becomes.

There are amazing holds like Star Wars VII, Jurassic WorldBlack Panther and the nine other films with $100 million openings that held 50% or better the second weekend. But it is easy to undervalue the performance of A Quiet Place too. When I guessed that it would be a $150 million movie, others thought I was being too ambitious… turns out I was being too conservative. It is $20 million+ ahead of last year’s biggest thrillers, Get Out and Split, after two weekends, suggesting that $200 million domestic is a legit possibility.

Now… Rampage. Meh. But take away the films in which Dwayne was not a lead (aka, not on the one-sheet) and was not animated and is not a sequel and this is his third best opening. Now, adjust with Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle and GI Joe: Retaliation, which were both really reboots based heavily on The Rock’s star power… so Top 5. But, Top 5.

Yes, WB was aiming at San Andreas, not Central Intelligence. But anyone foolish enough to expect F&F numbers deserves to be beaten about the head and shoulders. And of course, the film is already right at $150 million worldwide in its first weekend… which is why Dwayne is one of the few worth the money these days.

Truth or Dare is another Blumhouse win, albeit a small one. Cost nothing. Universal spent a ton on outdoor and modestly on very targeted TV and an aggressive online campaign. Smelled of direct-to-Netflix. But much better than that, financially.

Fox Searchlight is managing Isle of Dogs carefully, but successfully. The expansion from 554 to 1939 screens was more abrupt than Grand Budapest, but less so than Fantastic Mr. Fox, which went from four to 2,033. Dogs should land right between the two previous Searchlight forays with Wes domestically. There is no sign that the strained complaints about cultural appropriation have taken a toll (aside from the ads losing their Asian flair).

Blockers will be (unfairly) used as a cautionary tale over lunches for the next month. It’s done fine. But it hasn’t gotten a second wind. It could easily do 3x opening. But it has not become America’s obsession… especially with young women, where it was expected to explode by many. One wonders whether A Quiet Place, albeit in a very different genre, took its wind.

Amazingly, Sony Animation has its sixth $100 million domestic grosser with Peter Rabbit. Done now, but $300 million worldwide is nothing to hop at. Expect a sequel.

Kino has a hit with Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. Maybe it could have been bigger. I am surprised that I was never invited to see the film before release (or get a link). I am a slave to the rhythm and it would have been high on my watch list.

And Sony Classics has another quiet cashflow film with The Leisure Seeker, very low profile, but also very low-priced for the domestic release and already over $2.3 million.

Friday Estimates by Giant White Monkey Klady

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

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Friday Estimates By Len Klady COMMENTS CLOSED

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

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