The Hot Blog

Weekend Estimates by Klady Guys 2: Angry Birds Rising

Weekend Estimates 2016-05-22 at 9.26.53 AM

No significant variations from the Friday estimates. Angry Birds rule the roost. Neighbors 2 opens to about 45% of the original. And The Nice Guys finish last amongst the newcomers. Strong per-screen numbers in limited/exclusive runs by The Lobster, Love & Friendship, Weiner, Maggie’s Plan and Ma Ma.

6 Comments »

Friday Estimates by Klady: Bird Wars

Friday Estimates 2016-05-21 at 10.17.19 AM

The first summer weekend loaded with multiple movies is going to disappoint. It’s not a disaster, but it’s not a thriller.

The Angry Birds Movie will open as the #2 franchise for Sony Animation, between Cloudy and Transylvania. But not a big step closer to DreamWorks or any step at all towards Disney or Pixar. This movie will be a success. But there is a difference between succeeding and finding a spot at the cash trough.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is a tough beat. $8.7m opening day vs a $19.6m open just 2 years ago. What went wrong? I don’t think it was the movie. If you really liked the first one, you can be expected to like this sequel. Of course, opening weekend is about marketing. My take is that Universal didn’t sell the kink of the film. Broad strokes (no pun intended) only. You have a strong “girl power” theme in the film with the Moretz character leading the charge to change the way women are treated in Greek life. Not in the ads… not an appeal to women. (The first film also had an unsold feminist streak.) Then you have Zac Efron pushing back against type as he sees his value drop in the world in his post-frat life. Not in the marketing mix.

Now… Universal may well have tested these ideas and has them rejected or test less well than the pitch for the first film, which they kinda stuck to closely. So instead of a trio of diverse young women pushing back against the objectification culture of frats by starting their own in their own way, we get bikinied-boob-car-wash.

In some ways, this feels like the same misstep as Magic Mike XXL. It is not easy to look at a big hit and say, “The movie went a different direction… we should go there with the marketing too.” Much more the norm to stick with selling the same movie again with some added elements. If you, as a marketer, got this same result after changing up the marketing, no doubt that some bosses would then question your choice and say it was a mistake, where as rolling out the same campaign and the film dropping by more than half would surely seem to be the fault of whatever made the first movie blow up just falling out of the zeitgeist. I don’t think it would be true… but it is the safer play.

The Nice Guys is the heartbreaker of the weekend. WB went for it. All the way. More side marketing/publicity for this movie than you ever, ever see… maybe once every couple years, from the entire studio system. They threw everything and the kitchen sink at this one.

And to be fair, this one will do more business in the first 36 hours than Kiss Kiss Bang Bang did overall (a year ago). But… a $10m-ish opening weekend is not a great pay-off. As George S. Kaufman said, “Satire is what closes on Saturday night.” And really, this film is a 70s-style satire, in the spirit of Michael Ritchie, Altman, and Colin Higgins.

The Friday gross is just a bit lower than The Coens’ Hail, Caesar!, so they are in good company in their disappointment.

Honestly, as a film lover, it makes me angry at the audience. But it also makes me want to flip the bird at the “they could never make a film like this in 2016″ crowd too. They did make the film. A major released it. They released Hail, Caesar!. They released Money Monster and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which are imperfect films, but were not going to find a bigger audience either way.

Then you have a film like Where to Invade Next, which is, by far, Drafthouse’s biggest release…. by also, by far, Michael Moore’s lowest grosser with a release over 55 screens.

Very frustrating. But at the same time, it is too simplistic to simply blame comic book movies and studio greed for this. The studios are businesses and they do react to the market. And when films like The Good Guys, which got a hardworking release don’t take off at all, everyone notices. It’s easy to second guess the details of marketing campaigns for a lot of movies this year… but not this one. So…

31 Comments »

Weekend Estimates by Disney Hold Klady

Weekend Estimates2016-05-15 at 9.34.24 AM
What is remarkable about this weekend isn’t the grosses, but the Disney holds. 59% for Captain America: Civil War is exceptional. The Jungle Book dropping just 28% screams repeat viewing. And even Zootopia was off only 15%. On the arthouse side, The Lobster (from the hipsters at A24) and Love & Friendship (from that veteran distributor, Amazon Studios) were on four screens each and both managed over $30k per screen… not earth-shattering, but a solid sample for indie… now word of mouth…

CA:CW held, according to estimate, just 2% less than Deadpool, which was by all accounts loved by its audiences. The Jungle Book isn’t holding quite as well as Zootopia in Weekend 6, but still, that’s a comparison to one of the strongest surprise holders of recent years. By the way, Zootopia is now at $970 million worldwide. The downside, as though there is one for this kind of success, is that about a quarter of that gross is from China, cutting the rental dollars returned to Disney on that money at about 40% of what it gets from the rest of the world, making a $120 million return into just under $50 million. Maybe MPAA should hire Donald Trump to negotiate the exhibition agreement with China after he loses the run for the presidency.

In other news… Money Monster was a meh opener, but not a disaster in context. It is Jodie Foster’s first wide release movie as a director and did better per-screen than any of the other three films. It opened better than Clooney’s The American, which was considered a success (in part, because it was so unexpected). Another Clooney hit, Monuments Men, opened a bit better, but was an all-star romp. In other words, if this holds fairly well and does $50 million domestic… it will be fine. And it will be fascinating to see if it plays at all overseas.

For inexplicable reasons (taxes/avoiding obligations of the parent company?), small distributor, FilmDistrict, launched an arm called High-Top, which this weekend released its second horror film in two years (The Darkness) and… didn’t work out. The first film, The Green Inferno, had a lot of publicity from the media. Still only did only $7.2 million… so this is an improvement. Doesn’t feel like much of one.

On the indie side, it was all The Lobster and Love & Friendship. Big per-screen openings. And whatever these films do, it will be almost completely on marketing and word-of-mouth, as the talent hasn’t done a lot of promotion for either.

34 Comments »

Friday Estimates by Klady Monster

Friday Estimates 2016-05-14 at 9.11.04 AM

35 Comments »

BYOB

byobobamalincoln650

17 Comments »

Weekend Estimates by Disneyville Klady

Weekend Estimatest 2016-05-08 at 10.26.02 AM

The dichotomy of covering a movie like Captain America: Civil Wars is that it’s the #5 opening of all time… and the #4 opening of the last year, one of 8 $100m openings in the last 365 days (leaving out the 5/2 Avengers 2 opening).

History Lesson: Before 2005, there were two $100m openings in movie history. None before 2002. In 2005 & 2006, there were two each year. 2007, three. Back to two each in 2008 & 2009. Then, four in 2010 and 2012. Back to two in 2013 & 2014. Last year (2015)… SIX. This year? Four already.

Along with this movement, there was a movement to much more spending. $200 million – $300 million budgets have become the norm in this category. When films like Deadpool or Minions come along, they are the exception to the rule. This is also why Twilight and The Hunger Games were so valuable… because they could be done for much less than the CG events (although they also have a glass ceiling that doesn’t inhibit some of the other franchises).

I do not subscribe to the idea that these mega-movies replace space that would otherwise be used for smaller ($15m – $60m) films. I see them as a new category within the business. Two-thirds of studio releases are still in that “smaller” category. Disney is the only studio that is currently mega-movie dominant with its slate. And it’s going great right now. But look at the franchises they have… Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Disney Animation, and Disney Classics. Other studios can compete with Disney Classics and if Warner Bros could ever get out of its own way, DC could compete with Marvel. But there is no other Star Wars (we’ll see what Jim Cameron delivers with Avatar 2-5). Pixar is in a perfect position of having less pressure to deliver more than one film a year, which is how they built greatness. And Disney Animation, finally firing on all cylinders, has some competition in DreamWorks Animation, but also has the Pixar advantage of being able to stick to (or stop chasing more than) one film a year.

Keep in mind, the three outside franchises cost Disney about $13 billion. That is a huge investment, which has not been paid off in real dollars yet. But it’s going great. Comcast is the only other studio that has made a billion dollar-plus investment in its own growth. Paramount or Fox could have made the deal for Lucasfilm and it would have made sense, library-wise and moving forward. Didn’t. No one was really taking Marvel seriously when Disney made their deal.

Add to this the fact that Disney’s production group spends more than $2 billion a year on production. The norm used to be roughly half of that for an active studio. Very roughly estimated (and not accounting for financial partnerships), Fox and Warner Bros are each in for about $1.2 billion this year. Universal is just under $1 billion. Paramount is around $800 million. Sony is in for less than $700 million.

Picking winners is obviously important. And Disney has built a lot of can’t-miss into their system. But they have made the huge investments and taken the huge risks when no other studio has.

Finally, another big-picture point. Marketing costs have not subsided. The giant films with the giant budgets cost more to make than to sell, even with bigger spends. But a $10 million movie at a major costs – with a full wide release – as much to push out as a $50 million movie. (Genre is an exception, which is why you see so much of it and why Jason Blum is worth his weight in gold.)

Disney has nine franchise movies this year… and three “smaller” films. They already lost big money (relatively) on The Finest Hours. They have two more coming… both dumped into the “iffy zone” of September.

Disney can afford to get out of the middle movie business completely. The only reason for them to stay in is ego and self-amusement. No matter how successful by the standards of those films – and they have not been for years, even with some really good movies – they mean nothing to the bottom line of a company working with the investment numbers they are working with. On the other hand, they can’t be hurt much by these films either.

Everyone else though… they need to be in the same movie business that the industry has been seen the decline of DVD… with the occasional mega-movie landing. They really have no choice. Universal bought DWA and continues to try to figure out how to reboot their monster franchises. And they had success last year and will in the future. But things are not set up for that to be the whole pie. So calm down a little. The sky is still there.

As for the rest of the weekend… meh.

Marvel has the only wide opener. Jungle Book is holding well. The Huntsman is now a dead franchise. Etc.

On the other hand, the indie business, which has been whining a lot lately, has had a pretty good 2016 so far. Aside from the religious films (Miracles from Heaven leads all of them so far with $60 million), there are nine indies over $15 million so far. One is Divergent 3, which bombed domestically, one of five Lionsgate movies in this group. But STX, A24, OpenRoad and Bleecker Street all have solid successes. Neither IFC or Magnolia have had a $1m movie, much less a $15m one. They are in a third category now, thanks to short-window VOD. Searchlight and IFC are the per-screen limited release stars of the weekend. The question, as always, is what comes next.

13 Comments »

Friday Estimates by Duh! Klady

Ffriday Estimates 2016-05-07 at 9.23.00 AM

51 Comments »

BYOB – May The Fourth Be With You

byobhumpday

20 Comments »

Weekend Estimates by Almost Summer Klady

Weekend Estmates 2016-05-01 at 9.17.02 AM

The Jungle Book does 4x any other film in the market. The ball of green string toys with Keanu. Mother’s Day gets treated like Trump treats women. Ratchet & Clank clanks. And The Family Fang magically reports 4x their Friday number on 1 screen to push ahead of The Man Who Knew Infinity‘s 3.2x Friday on 4 screens to be the top per=screen film in limited release… which could be achieved with the purchase of about 100 tickets. Hmmm…

7 Comments »

Friday Estimates by Jungle Book 3 Klady

Friday Estimates 2016-04-30 at 10.01.54 AM

Welcome to pre-Capvengers weekend.

The Jungle Book jungle-cruises along, running ahead of Zootopia on domestic gross, but will likely be behind specifically on each film’s third weekend with intense competition coming next weekend (from the same company). I don’t expect TJB to catch up because of the dates, but $300m domestic is a pretty sure bet. Won’t catch up internationally. But 2016 is, so far, a Disney World… again. With at least three more films that are likely to crack $800m worldwide coming.

Keanu is one of those movies that… well, what the hell is it? Hard to sell a movie if you can’t answer that question, whether honestly or with a well-constructed lie. Is it a cult comedy with edge? Is it a stoner movie? Is it kid-friendly in any way? Almost a million people will find out the answer to these questions for themselves this weekend… or about half the Key & Peele audience. How did this end up at Warner Bros and not Drafthouse or IFC? After all, no studios would make a film like this in 2016 according to the Chicken Little crowd. It probably wouldn’t have opened to $10 million with one of those other outlets… but it would probably have been more profitable because of the reduced marketing spends. Hmmmm…

Mother’s Day takes the Garry Marshall movie-“Love Boat” formula to a new distributor after the second entry, New Year’s Eve, dropped to about 25% of the opening of Valentine’s Day for WB. So, a big hand for Open Road, as this third film will drop to about 60% of the opening of NYE. The bleeding slowed. And when Mr. Marshall – who truly deserves decades’ worth of respect for his contributions to happy comedy – makes his fourth film in this trilogy for YouTube, filled with YouTube stars being squeezed into the traditional Marshall style, he will have come full circle.

Ratchet & Clank is a huge video game franchise that will play well in Japan. Meanwhile, Pokemon remains the only animated film conversion from a video game to have done business in America. Historically, the video-game-to-movie idea (live action mostly) has created a number of the biggest bombs in movie history. The biggest such hit, Tomb Raider, dropped like a stone the second time around (which is explains why they are rushing to reboot… NOT). Titles like Prince of Persia, Doom, Need For Speed, Final Fantasy, and Super Mario Bros haunt the memory of film execs still. By far the most successful conversion franchise, Resident Evil, did it right… they mad it cheap, made it accessible to non-gamers, and loaded it with actresses than men were hot for and women could like.

The $10k per screen line will be crossed by one limited release, The Man Who Knew Infinity, from IFC. And as all theatrical hits from IFC… not doing close-to-release VOD (At least, if it is, I can find no evidence of it.) So amongst its six opening screens, they have (as a “for instance”) The Arclight and The Landmark in LA, which have strong audience relationships and will deliver even without big ad spends. This is the way to built the indie theatrical business. Moviegoing as a regular habit, supported by a top-notch experience at the theater. No one was aching to see this movie on opening weekend… but they were happy to go to the movies and the trailer that the ticket buyers likely saw in the very same theaters in the last 2 months probably converted them to ticket buyers this weekend, choosing it ahead of, say, Mother’s Day.

Universal has to be aching for Neighbors 2 to get here. The Huntsman: Winter’s War is really their only ugliness this year. But the modesty of their other films’ successes don’t make it comfy for last year’s highest-flying studio (pre-Star Wars). And the summer is no cakewalk. But I remind the members of the self-appointed jury that the same people who had the most profitable years for the studio for two years running are the same ones shoveling out this year’s product. It’s a cyclical business. Disney is doing a great job of mining its history and riding its purchased historic franchise companies. No one else has that kind of firepower that is also right in the mindset of the primary ticket buying groups of the moment. This too shall pass… but it may take a few years. Anyway… just saying… Universal didn’t become a lesser brain trust… cycles… they are still fighting the fight… and the Shrek reboot will be interesting.

27 Comments »

Weekend Estimates by Still Swingin’ Klady

Weekedn Estimates 2016-04-24 at 12.07.34 PM

The man-cub rules the roost by triple the next best weekend… which has nothing to do with competition and everything to do with The Huntsman: Winter’s War not finding a hook to interest big audiences after they had already seen people turn into metal and shatter. (Perhaps focusing a teensy-tiny bit on The Huntsman of the title or explaining why it was a Winter War might have helped.) Per-screen queen was The Meddler.

5 Comments »

Friday Estimates by The Kladyman: Spring’s Confused Sequel

Friday Estimates 2016-04-23 at 9.05.24 AM

By this time in 2015, we had just one film open that would go on to gross more than $202 million domestic (Furious 7). The $201 million domestic movie was Cinderella. But there were movies that grossed in the 100s that excited entertainment journalists (Fifty Shades, Home, Divergent 2, Spongebob, Kingsman).

This year, we have had just five films that will do over $100 million domestic openings so far… but there have been three that have exceeded $300 million domestic. There has never been more than one that opened in the first 4 months of the year before… ever.

So why does this all feel so… meh?

Studios have stopped pushing past the opening. Now and again, you see a film that has legitimate ad spends going into a third weekend… but it’s rare. The habit of getting the movie open and then just running out the clock until Home Entertainment 90 days later is costing studios money. It is true that not every film is appropriate for an additional expenditure of energy past opening. But why did it feel like the Deadpool conversation was over less than a month after it opened? Zootopia is a legitimate phenom that came virtually out of nowhere. Why are we obsessing on the one big grosser that is a relative flop within its genre?

One thing that too often gets forgotten in this business is that all things have their own time, their own rhythm. As much as the corporate culture (and Wall Street) prefers consistency to artisan efforts, the reality of the film business is that every one of these studio films that is being released is a product of, first, dozens in development, then hundreds in production, and then scores of people working to make the release work. The input of those individuals becomes a cumulative, shared product. None of them are widgets. But the faster the well-oiled machinery goes, the more anxious to get to the next huge grosser, the less craftsmanship is allowed for everything else.

And the premise that Hollywood will become an industry that makes only those giant machine films is, well, not to put too fine a point on it, idiotic.

Let’s assume that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the most profitable film released in 2015. Part of that was, for instance, opening on every major screen (or in all the biggest rooms in plexes) in cities like Los Angeles. In Hollywood alone, it screened at The Chinese, The El Capitan, the Arclight (including the Dome), and The Grove. Every first run house within two miles of Hollywood & Highland.

It is likely that no matter what the industry does, these four theaters will stay in business. The El Cap is co-owned by Disney. The Arclight and The Grove cater to a specific, committed clientele. Bet The Chinese? Probably safe now as the area’s only IMAX screen.

However, The Chinese was abandoned as a traditional first-run theater a few years ago, as it was not profitable enough, even with its weekly premieres and endless foot traffic. And in the last decade, four first-run theaters in the same area no longer show movies.

This is the business center of the film industry, so things evolve more aggressively than in the real world. Our big mall in Century City, for instance, is getting its third major movie theater make-over in 25 years. But like The Chinese or another struggling premiere location, the Village, or the already demolished National, we are seeing  clear proof that big movies alone are not enough to sustain the infrastructure of film distribution, the front line of which is exhibition.

The preferred exhibition conceit of the last decade plus—many screens of high quality with a significant screen size-to-seat count ratio that allow for a major expansion of the footprint of big openers, but can show a wide range of product when the heat is lowered—works great for distributors. We are seeing the biggest opening weekends ever, beyond previous comprehension, because the larger ecosystem works (mostly) in the service of those openings.

Entertainment journalism, by the way, does not cover this well. We still run theater counts as though they were screen counts, hiding the reality that exhibition still has mostly empty theaters most of the time. There are a ton of variables in the Jungle Book‘s 4028 theater count that is noted today. How many 3D showings… how many IMAX… how many vanilla 2D… how many seats… etc?

But “journalism” prefers aggregate numbers that have the least amount of insight given the range of stats. Studios parse out information that serves their purpose on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning, and the press runs it as the key data, when those details are very rarely questioned or reported… in great part because very few people writing on box office these days has the slightest idea what questions should be asked… how to follow up. As film criticism used to be just some assignment a newspaper gave to a city desk writer who seemed bored, so is box office writing now. No one wants to have to get up early on the weekend to file this stuff, weekend after weekend. But it gets a lot of page views, so the papers who mine these views now fight for position, speculating more and more, reporting in depth less and less.

As with the comic presumptions of VOD or The Screening Room being inevitable and/or inevitably successful, we have plenty of experiential proof otherwise… but in the pursuit of The New, people just don’t want to hear about it. Some of the richest people in the world want to have their selection of first-run movies available on opening day for $50 (getting the print driven over from the studio costs more than that!), so now we are all being sold this shtick that the world is waiting for this, it is the end of piracy, and that people who pay $100 a month for cable/satellite and going to pay $50 for one movie? Remember, at much lower price points, no movie has ever grossed as much as $50 million on VOD/PPV. Not one. But at 5x the price, it’s gonna be HUGE!

Of the Top 20 movies of 2016 to day, 13 are “middle” or small movies. But wait! Studios don’t make or release those movies anymore!

Brooklyn Bridge. Buy it now. Cheap.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War will open to slightly better than 1/3 of its predecessor.

Universal is having a profoundly mediocre 2016 so far. They saw it coming. They have hits to come. May 20 is Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. July has two legit shots at strong showings in Jason Bourne and The Secret Lives of Pets. (And they aren’t even changing its name to Petopia!) I hope that writers skip the opportunity to crap all over the studio and the industry for the studio not doing the kind of numbers it did last year… or even the year before. Donna Langley is not a moron this year any more than she was the greatest genius of all time last year. She is a whip-smart, politically-skilled executive who is going to ride the wave like every long-surviving exec has before her has done and every one after her will do. There is nothing easy or obvious about this job.

Zootopia, which is well ahead of Batman v Superman worldwide, should pass it domestically this weekend as well.

On the indie scene, the strongest newcomer is The Meddler, which should be a solid success, especially with the over-60 crowd.

46 Comments »

BYOB Prince

Prince_logo.svg

6 Comments »

Weekend Estimates by 3D Monkey Klady

Weekend Corr Est 2016-04-17 at 10.17.29 AM

So guesses on The Jungle Book were low, 20% low. This may be one of the rare occasions in which word of mouth helped, as the family audience showed over the weekend after hestitating on Friday.

So push the worldwide guess to as much as $650 million… which makes it more profitable, though still not in the likely Top 3 for Disney for the year. I know that my commentary about profit not always being a thrill for the studio sounds weird. But it’s the macro view, not the micro view. And Disney, still more than any other studio, is playing a high-stakes game, which demands a long view. If this all turns in 2020 or 2021, 2016’s stats won’t matter much.

In the meantime, the risk on The Jungle Book has paid off. Disney is off to a hot year, with Zootopia doing unexpectedly big numbers, Civil War on the way, and Dory coming soon. How will they sell Spielberg’s fairy tale, BFG, and Pete’s Dragon (which they like enough to hire the director for his next film), a couple dramas, then Doctor Strange before the first Star Wars spin-off arrives as the other tree holding up the hammock?

Right now, Disney has 7 titled films scheduled for 2017, all of which are franchise titles, though I don’t see a sequel to Beauty & The Beast coming. So things are still looking safe.

Barbershop: The Next Cut opened to about what the original did, which is a couple million less than the sequel. Stable audience. (Shrug.)

Batman v Superman… stuck between Zootopia and Deadpool. If you believe that WB is okay with their top two DC stars coming in behind a non-franchise Disney animation released off-season and barely beating out an R-rated, marginal Marvel character, I have a bridge for sale. They won’t lose money on the film… but this is not what they needed.

Green Room and Sing Street start strong on limited.

17 Comments »

Friday Estimates by Rudyard Klady

Friday Estimates 2016-04-16 at 8.46.26 AM

There is nothing bad about the opening day/likely weekend of The Jungle Book. I suspect that the $80m estimates floating around might be significantly low. But… there has been a $95m+ opening in each of the last two Aprils. So if it’s not that, do we see this as a massive success for a $175m+ film? This film is going to be profitable. Over $450m worldwide. Perhaps up in the $600ms because of international. But like the cheaper Cinderella, which did $543m worldwide, the standard for a win at Disney is different right now. They didn’t get into The Jungle Book to gross $600m worldwide. Yes, yes, merchandising, branding, etc… ya.

I like the movie. I think it’s a bit long and a bit lacking in emotion (because the story is so severe that they clearly avoided emotional impact greater than run and jump and basic action stuff so children could see it). I think the same people mocking Jim Cameron for expanding Avatar this week are somehow in awe of the next extension of what Cameron did 6 years ago. I think that the eyes of the animals never actually feel real enough to elicit human empathy. And I think that if they were going to do the songs, they should have really done them. The “reality” of the piece already is beyond actual credulity. But… I was fine with the movie. I will take the 6-year-old and he will love it.

No one wants to say anything bad about Disney, lest they lose their seat at the party, but the studio really doesn’t do very well with anything that isn’t sequeled, franchised, or branded. That’s not a failure of the films, necessarily, but a problem at a studio that has stopped functioning at more than one speed. Monkey Kingdom, Tomorrowland, Bridge of Spies, The Good Dinosaur, The Finest Hours… all soft or money losers. Ant-Man… mediocre return on spend, though the hope is that it will built an audience for the next film(s). Then 4 mega-movies that cover up the “limitations.” April 2014 – April 2015 was even worse: 7 misses, 4 mediocre performers, 3 mega-movies.

So this brings us to chicken and egg. Or as R&H’s Cinderella would have it, am I beautiful because you love me or do you love me because I’m beautiful? Is Disney making fewer films and focusing even more on franchise because everything else is unpopular or because the studio has so obsessed on mega-movies that it can’t really remember how to do anything else when they have to sell something smaller and that requires more than yet another EW cover?

Don’t get me wrong. There are people at Disney who have successfully sold “middle movies” in the past. They aren’t hacks. Likewise, marketing trouble at most studios. Trends shift and wear out. Very, very few professionals can exert most of their focus in one direction then brilliantly focus on something 180 degrees in the other direction. This is why Spielberg’s Jurassic Park/Schindler’s List year remains one of the epic moments in film history. Soderbegh’s 1-2 of Erin Brockovich and Traffic is similarly massively impressive, but the movies are a lot closer than Spielberg’s duo, making the magic trick just a little less impressive.

Anyway… The Jungle Book is as good a piece of big movie directing as Jon Favreau has done. (Elf still stands on top of his resume for invoking intimacy on a level not unlike his script for Swingers.) It will make money. The thrill ride will do it for kids (and apparently critics who have had their expectations systematically lowered). But what I tend to see after an opening like this is… hmmm… how will Disney respond to this as an organization?

(One last note: I think Disney saw this number coming and thought it soft, which is why they shifted the ad campaign late in the game. Studios know… and when they tell journalists about how shocked they were by a result, they are almost always lying.)

Barbershop: The Next Cut hasn’t suffered from 12 years away… nor grown as a result. This opening is right there between the first film and the sequel. Expect $70 million – right between the other two – as the reasonable, if not a little disappointing, result.

Batman v Superman keeps dropping steeply. It’s $60m behind Zootopia worldwide and I don’t expect it to catch up. You can’t lose money on an $800m worldwide grosser. That hasn’t changed. But as a launchpad, this is a massive disappointment for WB, no matter what they claim. If Suicide Squad opens to less than $85 million, people will be fired.

Big drop for The Boss, though it will be more like the low 50s by the end of the weekend. Still, the word-of-mouth doesn’t seem to be this one’s friend, even though Melissa McCarthy is undeniably box office.

Criminal. Lionsgate had 10 openings under $8 million last year… and 4 over. So far this year, it’s 4 under and 1 over… now 5 under.

There will be two English-language indies in limited doing over $10k per screen. The biggest will be Green Room, with about $30k per on 3. Sing Street will do about $17k per on 5.

18 Comments »

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Lars. He’s done a lot of drugs. Over the hill. The last time I saw Lars, he was telling my wife he wants to have sex with her. I told him to fuck off. So he found another slut.”
~ Nicolas Winding Refn On Lars Von Trier

“You know, if you’re actually an artist who wants to tell a story, it’s a compulsion; it’s not something that you do because you want to entertain people or you want to make a bunch of money. Most people want to entertain people and make a bunch of money. It’s not a bad thing, but if it also doesn’t hold hands with just genuine desire, if no one was looking, then yeah, that sucks.”
~ Kristen Stewart

Z Weekend Report