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Weekend Estimates by Happy Harvey Exit Day Klady

Weekend Estimates 2017-10-15 at 10.41.51 AM

The Story of this weekend will not be box office, but the end of a box office master falling under the weight of his own cruelty. Happy Death Day indeed. Blumhouse’s remarkable 2017 run of originals continues. Jackie Chan’s first live-action wide release in seven years does reasonably well. Neither Marshall nor Professor Marston find a big crowd. But The Florida Project (expanding to 33 screens) and Human Flow (opening on three screens) each deliver more than $12k per screen.

It felt good to be chewing on some box office this morning. Normal work. But then I followed a link on the MCN front page to another Weinstein story… and another… and now I am back down the rabbit hole.

I don’t have much to add since yesterday. The expansion of The Florida Project went nicely. Victoria & Abdul is having a nice run. Tom of Finland opened well one for Kino. Goodbye Christopher Robin seems to be ready to say goodbye before anyone says hello.

Three of the five wide releases next weekend are strong niche plays that could surprise and Geostorm is just the kind of crap that occasionally (usually directed by Roland Emmerich) breaks out to the shock of everyone. Or maybe it will be four movies opening in the teens (although only one Madea has ever opened under $20m).

See you next Saturday.

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Friday Estimates by Happy Klady Day

Friday Estimates 2017-10-14 at 9.55.34 AM

Happy Death Day will open better than any film did last October (as BR49 did) and marks the third Blumhouse original to open well in 2017. It’s the best horror opening in October since 2014’s Annabelle (via Team Wan). Their only sequel is an Amityville at Dimension… we’ll see what the opening there looks like.

It’s worth pointing out that Universal has had a relatively low-key, but kick-ass 2017. The only loser was The Mummy, which did just over $400 million worldwide, making it a huge disappointment, stalling the Universal Monsters effort indefinitely, but still not losing a lot of money for the studio. The three Blumhouse pictures have performed better than anyone could have imagined. The two franchise movies, FF and Despicable, each passed $1 billion worldwide. And the “middle movies,” like Girl Trip, Fifty Shades Darker and A Dog’s Life were all money makers. The only other mark on the studio’s year was the release of The Great Wall, which was for all intents and purposes an output deal.

The Foreigner will be Jackie Chan’s best domestic opening on-camera since 2010’s The Karate Kid. It also has a good chance of being STX’s #3 all-time launch, though the company expects to beat this number twice as this year goes on, with Bad Moms 2 and Molly’s Game. Some might say I am looking at the glass half full, bit I would say the glass here is three-quarters full and people shouldn’t obsess on the empty quarter.

Marshall didn’t find a lot of takers,  heading to around $3,500 per screen for the weekend on 821 screens. Movies about history may be a bigger challenge than anyone expects in the exhausting Trump era, with endless fresh meat thrown into the news cycle.

Even weaker was the launch of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, a title that can only be described as uninspiring. Bad titles are becoming an Annapurna distribution thing. I haven’t seen the movie. Would have. Fan of the director. Never happened. Nor did the interview that was pitched to me with the director. (Shrug) No idea what they were thinking with this date. Really odd screen count for a non-specialty movie. Feels like a dump, but would Annapurna be dumping its second release as a distributor? (shrug)

The 140-minute Ai Weiwei doc, Human Flow, was Friday’s box office winner in exclusive release, on three screens. Heading to $15k per for the weekend. Great, powerful movie. Just heart and truth and humanity.

Blade Runner 2049 didn’t fall off a cliff… but didn’t hang on the edge like it’s going pull itself back up, either.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle slowed faster after opening than expected. While I found Eggsy’s relationship charming, the lack of a love story probably hurt audience reaction. And the loss of Channing Tatum from the co-star level slot made the movie more complicated, and the lack of Tatum’s goofy charm was evident. Still, $300 million worldwide probably makes a threequel, with Tatum, inevitable.

American Made is another Tom Cruise movie that audiences seem to like more than they liked the ad campaign (aka opening day).

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BYO Legacy

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 3.31.07 PMWhat will Harvey Weinstein be remembered for?

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Weekend Estimates

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BYO Blade Runner 2049 Spoiler Space

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Conversation after the jump… for the protection of those who haven’t seen it…
Read the full article »

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Friday Estimates

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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.

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Trailering Steven Soderbergh’s MOSAIC

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Weekend Estimates: American IT

Weekend Estimates 2017-10-01 at 9.57.57 AM copy

Tom Cruise opened his movie, but It and Kingsman 2 apparently held too well for him to win the weekend in a tight three-way race, all three films estimating within $200k of one another. Only one film managed over $6000 per screen in the Top 25 for the weekend (Victoria & Abdul). Not pretty. All eyes now move to Blade Runner 2049, with solid tracking, but not at blockbuster level. Can that change with rave reviews?

And the ship keeps tossing in the bay.

Last year’s last-weekend-of-September openings, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Deepwater Horizon, wildly outpaced the American Made and Flatliners launches, $49 million to $24 million. The three big holdovers outpaced the ones last year, but not by a margin even close to the disparity in new opens.

Next weekend will slide the other way, with Blade Runner 2019 outdoing all three openers from last year and holdovers improving their position some.

But this constant measuring of one year vs the next is irrelevant. Yes, studios would love for everything to be up, Up, UP! But the endless hum of negativity is a load of crap. (If it bleeds, it leads.) But making the case for death and danger in the third weekend of a film that is already the biggest September grosser ever, but which will soon double the previous record, seems petulant.

There is nothing surprising about the mediocre openings for either American Made or Flatliners. Both were oddballs. Both a marketing hook that anyone, now or 5 years ago, might have found compelling. Miscasting in one. Working against type (Cruise in a wacky comedy that his character seems not to drive) in the other.

It’s pretty remarkable how much Kingsman 2 is moving like Kingsman, about a million off after two weekends. It should be about halfway to the original’s international result at the end of this weekend.

Lego Ninjago is as quiet a flop as it was an entry into the box office. But make no mistake, it is one of the most significant flops of the year… not because of how much it will lose, but because it continues and accelerates the franchise spiral.

Flipside… American Assassin may only gross $40m domestic, but that is a Top 5 film for CBS Films and the movie should be a moneymaker, all revenue streams considered.

Victoria & Abdul is the strongest player in limited right now and the only film on the entire chart to get over $10k per screen on more than a single screen. They are building a romance with a demo that means awards.

Battle of the Sexes is fading, with a nice weekend, but not a growth weekend.

Brad’s Status deserves better than it’s gotten. Not for everyone, but for more people than it’s found. Ben Stiller is having a career year as an actor, but now it’s up to the team behind The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) to make sure someone sees either performance.

Dunkirk may be gone from the chart next week… $187 million domestic is a sensational number for that film.

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Friday Estimates by Slow-Cruising Flatliner Klady

Friiday Estimates 2017-09-30 at 10.33.27 AM

Tom Cruise Opens Movie

That should be the headline.

American Made isn’t having a great opening. But it opened. And there was little on offer other than Tom Cruise smiling. Not even Tom Cruise running. Certainly not enough story. The ads almost told us that it was Tom Cruise making a Burt Reynolds comedy, albeit without Dom DeLuise, Paul Williams, Pat McCormick and Charles Nelson Reilly.

I missed the screenings, but I am curious… mostly because Doug Liman is capable of true genius (and real crap). The film, I assume from the ads, was meant to look like a 70s film and will have that vibe. The choice interests me. And whatever made this story interesting to both Cruise and Liman interests me.

But from Universal, which is usually really, really good at telling you what is coming… it feels like a dump… like they are still upset about The Mummy or something. And I have zero inside info on this. Haven’t asked. Haven’t squeezed. Really, haven’t thought about it much until this very moment. But if I actually pay to see this movie this weekend, I am sure to be surprised, because all I know is that Cruise plays a pilot, smiles a lots, and transports drugs, eventually getting in over his head. “A pilot lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s.” At least if you watch the trailer, you know there is a hot blonde wife and Domhnall Gleeson, who you know will probably end up being the bad guy.

Oy.

But Cruise opened it. And for all of the downs in the last 11 years, starting with Mission: Impossible III, which lost enough money for Paramount that it broke their since-mended relationship, the guy still opens movies. $17 million ain’t $20 million, but still… if I was Universal, given what they sold – and maybe they maximized what they had, haven’t seen the movie and I don’t trust Rotten Tomatoes scores to tell me otherwise – they should be celebrating on Lankershim this weekend.

(Side Note: There is actually a Lankershim family (Bavarian, jewish) and Toluca used to be called “Lankershim.” The paterfamilias arrived in California in 1854 and by 1870 had massive land holdings from San Francisco to San Diego. He also converted to Baptist. When you are that wealthy, you could afford a better name. But I guess when you are that rich, you can impose your odd name on the entire valley. The Lankershims’ daughter, Susanna, married Isaac Newton Van Nuys… no relation to the genius… but many still live on his farm.)

Less fortunate than UniCruise was Rothman’s Flatliners, which seems to have forgotten why the original was a modest hit in 1990. Julia Roberts was in Pretty Woman a few months before it opened. She was engaging and disengaging in sexual relations with Kiefer Sutherland. Kevin Bacon was still in line to be the next leading man of Hollywood, in spite of setbacks. Oliver Platt was funny and identifiable. Even Billy Baldwin was maintaining the illusion that he could be a major movie star, the hotter younger brother of Alec, the star of that year’s The Hunt For Red October.

The first Flatliners opened to $10 million in 1990.

Put Chris Pratt and Dakota Johnson and Lupita Nyong’o and Tom Holland in Flatliners 2017 and you have a movie that cost 1/2 of what Passengers cost and does 5x what this Flatliners ever had any chance of doing. (I don’t expect anyone to be able to have seen Tiffany Haddish coming and cast her as the Oliver Platt 18 months ago.)

I love Ellen Page, as an actress and a human being. But she doesn’t open movies. Nor does Diego Luna. Nor does anyone fantasize about them having sex. Nor did they make the movie about Ellen’s lead character being gay and having a hot girlfriend. Nor do we know anything about Nina Dobrev as a star other than she is pretty. And Kiersey Clemons is buried by the rest of the cast (while she might be a real opener someday.)

The story of Flatliners remains fool’s gold for movies, since you can’t explain it without giving it away. It is the kind of piece that would be great as a $5 million Blumhouse movie that sells itself on the shock beats then overdelivers. But as a $20 million studio movie without stars that open… just an exercise in masturbation. Movie cold break even somewhere around $50 million worldwide. But every movie takes a lot of personpower at a studio. And… sigh…

Battle of the Sexes found its limitations yesterday in its first expansion. $3 million weekend. $2,500 per screen on 1,213. Not a flop. Can’t find a great comp. Hell or High Water may be the closest in the last couple of years, but it did $3.6m on 909 screens for a $3,908 per-screen. Battle is behind that. $20 million domestic total seems like the max.

Lucky, the last Harry Dean Stanton starrer, doing nicely for Magnolia on one screen.

Why is Mark Felt: Man Who Brought Down the White House called Mark Felt: Man Who Brought Down the White House??? Feels like you are going to watch a filmstrip, not a movie. Was every iteration of Deep Throat taken already? I guess Deep Throat/Big Schlong would be disrespectful to everyone… except maybe Liam Neeson. But silliness aside, this goes right on the shelf next to the Valerie Plame movie (from Doug Liman) as impossible-to-market, overly literal historical dramas.

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Review-ish, Blade Runner 2049 (no spoilers)

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This will be brief (for me, at least).

I don’t want to ruin a single surprise in this remarkable film.

Villeneuve, Scott, Deakins, Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, and a big parade of filmmakers of every shape, size, gender and race have delivered a true sequel, which is also not a sequel as they tend to work with movies.

It is Aliens to Alien… or, ironically, Blade 2 to Blade.

Many of the old pieces are there, albeit in this story they have aged 30 years. But this is not, as Blade Runner was, a film noir set in a dystopian future. There is some dystopia. But the opening crawl gives us some positive news as well. And unless you really like Las Vegas, the world is not as grim as the first time around. And it is definitively not a film noir. Denis Villeneuve, as he has before, finds a more current reflection of well-established genre and takes it somewhere new, both saluting what we love and putting it in the rear view.

At the center of this film is, as expected, Ryan Gosling, who is perfect and not overly solicitous (which tends to leave some ignoring the deft care he puts into his work). But unlike the original, which had literally strong women who were somewhat objectified, our lead is surrounded by women of power… and in some cases, physical power. Each of the three women is complex and an important part of the emotional puzzle of the film. (Technically, I don’t think the film passes the Bechdel test… which is a limit of the Bechdel test in defining films in which women have a strong place.)

And as you know, the film brings back Harrison Ford’s Deckard as well. It turns out to be one of his most layered and rangy performances.

And oh, the setpieces.

The muthaf***ing setpieces!!!

There is a parade of wildly imaginative, beautifully rendered, quite different setpieces. I have my favorites (just gonna say… broken projector… you will understand later) and you will have your favorites. What seems easy becomes complex and what is complex may seem easy.

Villeneuve, Deakins and Dennis Gassner make sets and light and atmosphere into characters a number of times in this film… and it is glorious. It’s not Kubrickian… but it has some of that texture of hyper-reality that Kubrick brought to so many of his scenes.

In the cutting room, Joe Walker brought it all together in spite of serious challenges, especially super long beats that are not “how long a shot can I do” stunts, but need their space. You can feel that the freedom of CG must have made many things harder, leaving to many choices in post. Hard to explain what I mean without getting into specific scenes. But when the edit of what is shot in camera gets matched to a created CG element, it takes a special skill to cut subtly on emotion. And Walker, with Villeneuve nearby, does amazing work here.

Acting is pretty much great, top to bottom. Ana de Armas has a tough role to not allow to become frivolous and gets it just right. Jared Leto also has a really tough line to walk and with the help of some beautiful concept work, brings richness to a cipher. Sylvia Hoeks is like a young Marcia Gay Harden who can also be very physically dangerous. I don’t want to tell you who gives the film’s first unexpected acting turn because you deserve to be happily surprised by the subtly and skill of the performance as I was. Avoid the imdb page if you want to stay pure.

This movie grew on me and continues to grow on me.

One thing that really sticks: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” That title is embodied in this film. That isn’t really what Blade Runner was. There were elements of it, but it was busy with other ideas. BR2049 feels almost like Villeneuve and Ridley Scott had a four-day conversation and figured out what moved Denis about the source material, about the original film, and about 2017… and then brought the greatest film artists in the world together to breathe life into it.

Don’t think about it too much. Try not to read reviews or articles about the film. And while you watch… and just after you watch… deep breaths. Let it bloom in your mind and your heart.

We’ll talk about it again…

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Trailering Annihilation And The Killing of a Sacred Deer


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BYOFuture

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The first wave of the very cautiously-embargoed Blade Runner 2049 are out. What are your expectations for Denis Villeneuve’s 164-minute sequel?

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Weekend Estimates by The Klady Circle of It

Wknd Estimates 2017-09-24 at 10.24.28 AM

Kingsman: The Golden Circle comes up with the lower end of expectations, still scoring the fifth best September opening of all time as this month stands to break most every September record. It continues to hold well, given the big numbers, as it positions Itself to pass $300 million domestic next weekend. Lego Ninjago fights to just over $20 million, which is a small genre franchise kind of number, not the machine WB was counting on. Friend Request, conservatively marketed by Entertainment Studios, won’t make back that small marketing number, much less acquisition costs. And Stronger gets a fighter’s chance with some audience sampling, but the future for the film is blurry at best.

Not only is this September going to be the highest-grossing September of all time by 15% or more (we’ll see how next weekend goes), but it is already the highest-grossing September-for-September releases by 6%, the first time September releases have ever generated $400 million during the month.

And mind you, this will be the biggest September ever in spite of the worst holdover numbers from the summer in more than a decade (I stopped checking with 2006). In those previous 11 years, there was no holdover from the summer of less than $230 million in September. We’re at $186 million as of this weekend. Holdovers added between $10m and $13m this weekend.

Will September make up for August? No.

But if, hypothetically, It had opened in August and done similar business, that single title would have made 2017 the third-best August ever. And September, depending on next weekend’s openers, would, in theory, have been down, but not dramatically. This doesn’t make 2017 a barn-burner at the box office. But it might offer perspective.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle didn’t get the hoped-for bump from two years of post-theatrical excitement around the original, but the sequel did open better than the original. I enjoyed the sequel, but not as much as the original. The reviews deserve their own place in memory, reading like a parade of reviewers exhausted by overpraising It and defending mother!, looking for something to unload on. Negative is one thing. But reading through those reviews is like being at a divorce proceeding. Machinegun briefcases, men in meat grinders, characters brought back from the dead… that needs a whuppin’! Lots of whining about too many star actors… but the surprise to me was the key role given to Pedro Pascal, who was great in “Narcos” and “Game of Thrones,” but felt out of his star range here.

Most film criticism is straight. Good, bad or indifferent, opinions seem direct and to the point. I write this two or three times a year. And a couple times a year, a couple movies get too much love and blowback on some film is as inevitable as the sun rising. I don’t think it is a conspiracy or that anyone talks about the reflex. It just happens… like the seasons.

The next instance will be in the heat of award season.

Regardless, Kingsman 2 will land amongst the Top 10 September grossers ever.

The Lego Ninjago Movie, not so much. A $21 million opening for a major studio animated family movie is weak. The titles considered “misses” in animation recently all opened to more. As the father of a 7-year-old, I know that Ninjago is a niche in the Lego universe. My son wants to see the movie, but he’s not rabid. And a lot of his friends, especially girls, have no interest. Since Ninjago has zero footprint with anyone who was a Lego fan five years or more ago and no footprint as anything else besides as a Lego brand, I’m not sure why they made the movie. As a direct-to-streaming title or for Cartoon Network, okay. But this title was never going to do anything good for the Lego movie brand… unless it was as special as Lord & Miller’s The Lego Movie. Making the Ninjago movie was kinda like making the next Justice League spin-off about Cyborg.

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, getting a rep around town for being persnickety, tried another low-budget assault on the majors with Friend Request and missed badly. $840 per screen for any opening leaves people sleepless. Back to the drawing board.

Lionsgate took Stronger to an odd number of screens (574) and got an odd number per screen ($2.990). Neither fish nor fowl, the distributor will look hard at every metric to decide how much farther they want to chase this film.

Searchlight took Battle of the Sexes out on a more traditional 21 screens, looking to build an audience. $25k per is a strong open. The relevant comps from last year are Hidden Figures and Hell or High Water. And that is the question that will be bouncing around for the next couple of weekends at Searchlight. It was the question coming out of the festivals. Which is it?

The other awards season launch this weekend was Focus’ Victoria & Abdul. Four screens. $38k per. Lion or Loving? Judi Dench is getting a Best Actress nod. The film has a serious shot at Best Picture nods and more.

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Friday Estimates by Kladyman: The Golden Excel Chart

Friday Estimates 2017-09-23 at 9.19.56A

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner

“Our business is complicated because intimacy is part and parcel of our profession; as actors we are paid to do very intimate things in public. That’s why someone can have the audacity to invite you to their home or hotel and you show up. Precisely because of this we must stay vigilant and ensure that the professional intimacy is not abused. I hope we are in a pivotal moment where a sisterhood — and brotherhood of allies — is being formed in our industry. I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness. Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now. Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”
Lupita Nyong’o