The Hot Blog Archive for March, 2017
Be our ticket buyers, be out ticket buyers, put our movie to the test. Buy 15 million tickets plus, and Disney does the rest. Potter girl, CG beast, why, the song count has increased! Set some records, mock the shouters, don’t believe them, ask bean counters!
And most interesting of all, the big number for Beauty & The Beast didn’t get in the way of pretty decent holds for the big, more adult action stuff that was already doing business, suggesting (however unintentionally) that some balance in the market can actually work.
The biggest opening of all time without a Marvel character or a dinosaur. It’s pretty amazing.
You can’t really qualify it as an original, as it uses the materials of a hit film. In an odd way, it shares commercial DNA with Jurassic World, which used none of the original characters… except for the one “classic” dino. (SPOILER ALERT TOO LATE!) You know, there were more than 5 Disney-made Beauty & The Beast psuedo-sequels featuring the voices of Paige O’Hara and Robby Benson that were released on video (not to mention a Broadway musical) over the 26 years between the original and now. Unless you have kids the right age, you probably heard of none of them. But they kept the heartbeat alive, much as the Jurassic sequels did. And of course, there have been many other versions of the classic public domain story over the same 26 years.
Still, studios bet on IP that seems to have staying power all the time and rarely does anything hit the way this film is hitting. It begs the Frozen 2 issue… can the next set of songs be as compelling as the first set of songs? Jim Cameron’s challenge on Avatar 2-4 isn’t just continuing the story effectively, but capturing the sense of the new that the first film did for more than a hundred million people.
Of course, this opening weekend is (wait for it) not… about… the… movie. Never is. It is about what people are anticipating about the movie based on ads and publicity. Audiences clearly wanted this “revival” to happen and animation set in live action is really the variation on the original that makes it safe to revisit. Bill Condon has also taken the film to places that are uniquely in his skill set and brought some new twists. Most difficult, I think, was trying to infuse the literal nature of live action cinema with the magic that existing in the animated version. Mostly, he succeeded… not by imitating, but by finding a paradigm that fit his film first and then paid homage to the original.
So… $172 million domestic. The worst performance by a $150m+ opener (there are only 10) was $330m by Batman v Superman. But $400m domestic seems like the absolute bottom for B&TB. The film did $180m internationally this week, in 44 markets, including China. $500 million seems like the bottom there. So, a billion is well within range. Topping Alice in Wonderland‘s $1.03b record for Disney adaptations is a distinct possibility, if not a probability.
Kong: Skull Island, a terrible piece of junk, didn’t die an ignoble 2nd weekend death. 54% is pretty respectable, given a strong launch and the genre element. Warner Bros. should be happy with this result, though the film is still in danger of being a money loser for Legendary.
Logan, the hard-R X-Men movie that probably signals the end of the current generation of X-actors, is still hanging tight, heading past the $200m domestic mark next weekend, already past $500m worldwide. Big victory for people who like good movies, even when they are genre.
Likewise, Get Out had a 36% hold in weekend 4. Wow. Should pass Split on Thursday as Jason Blum’s biggest film ever domestically, though it has a lot of work to do overseas to catch up with Split‘s $120m or so.
I guess we are supposed to be talking about how theatrical needs to transform in 2017… not good enough anymore… no one wants to go to the movies…
The “Oscar bump” for Moonlight is pretty much over. A24 has the film on 280 screens and those screens averaged less than 10 people per screening this weekend. The Best Picture winner has been on DVD and streaming for 3 weeks already, so there is no shame or surprise in this. If you haven’t seen it on a big screen, go.
La La Land is now over $425m worldwide. Hidden Figures is at $215m. Arrival, $198m. Hacksaw Ridge, $175m. Lion, $122m. So for everyone who thought this was a weak year commercially for Oscar movies.. surprise.
The Salesman, the Oscar-winner for Foreign Language, added another $100k to get to $2.2 million. I Am Not Your Negro, which didn’t win Best Documentary, is winning in the theatrical release category, now at an amazing $6.4 million. It’s not quite as big as last year’s Amy, but outside of Disney Nature, IMAX, and Democrat-bashing, it is at the very top of the charts over these last 5 years.Successful doc releases like the Ron Howard Beatles doc, Michael Moore’s 2016 film, and The Eagle Huntress just didn’t come close.
T2: Trainspotting manages $29,500 per screen on 6… which will earn it some more screens… but don’t expect too much. Sony doesn’t seem to want to spend too much to get this one on its feet.
Song To Song, the latest from Malick, manages $13k per on 4, which is not going to get it much of an expansion. This may be one of his best films to watch on your big screen at home in a while.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Furious 7. The Hunger Games. Beauty & The Beast.
These are the four biggest openings outside of the Summer or Holiday periods. Ever.
Which of these things doesn’t go with the others?
Why, that would be the family movie that plays to both young and old. Of course, the traditional box office modeling for a family film gets twisted by the big opening day. So 3x+ opening day, with a massive Saturday compared to Friday, seems unlikely. But we still have to account for that possibility. on the other side of the coin, there was a clear niche for Hunger Games and an age bottom for the other two, so using them as comps seems wrong.
Even using Bill Condon’s biggest opening before this, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, is futile, as that franchise was so intensely niched out. The opening day was actually larger than Beauty‘s… but the weekend couldn’t even double it, much less triple it, as family films often do.
In other words, B&TB will set its own standard as a box office placeholder on opening weekend. Could be $140m… could be $175m. No one knows (although someone at Disney is looking hard at matinees on the east coast right now, wondering if the snow helps or hurts).
Meanwhile, critic schizophrenia is showing up earlier in the year, as many critics gave a pass to the shambolic Kong: Skull Island, which is nothing more than a rancid smorgasbord of action movie cliches held together with indifference, while ripping into Beauty & The Beast for not being original enough and being part of a financial strategy at Disney.
1. Review the movie, not the studio. 2. Be a little consistent. That is all I ask. (And to those of you critics who were… thank you. I didn’t mean you.)
It’s interesting. Beauty will be the seventh different #1 at the box office in the 11 weeks since the first of the year. And critics have been able to feel like they matter, with all six of the other top dogs being “Fresh” with over 75% at RT, including Split and Kong: Skull Island, but also happy surprises like Get Out and Logan. Beauty looks like it will be the lowest ranked among the 7, almost like critics got to the saturation point of being comfortable with being in sync with the public. To be fair, Logan and Get Out were (and are) films that knock the chip off a critic’s shoulder. And Beauty & The Beast is not perfect by any means. It certainly is not loaded with the wildly unexpected. But reading some reviews in major papers, they felt written before even seeing the movie. The Disney machine is a trigger. And I fear that Ghost in the Shell, if it isn’t a delightful surprise, will be slaughtered in a dramatic bloodbath. (Of course, it could deserve a bloody death. The more of the movie that is shown in the ads, the more troubled it looks.) Who knows what’s in store for The Fate of the Furious? (I’m betting it will get a pass.)
Back to box office… I suspect that not only will Beauty be #1 again next weekend, but that the three wide releases will all have the crap kicked out of them, business-wise. “It’s a trap!” I’d be happy to be wrong, especially for Life. But I have a feeling that all three movies are in harms way and that no one is really excited for any of them to arrive (no matter how many billboards Power Rangers has in L.A.).
Kong: Skull Island had a reasonable 1st-Friday-to-2nd-Friday drop and will squeak by $100m this weekend.
Logan is showing signs of age, but will pass the domestic on X-Men Origins: Wolverine this weekend.
Get Out is now chasing only this year’s Split for the top grossing domestic slot in Jason Blum’s career. It will pass Split next weekend.
The Belko Experiment opened.
John Wick 2 hasn’t quite doubled John Wick yet, but it’s coming… as is John Wick 3.
T2: Trainspotting was dumped by Sony and now they will rationalize the choice with this opening of their creation. About $30k per-screen for the weekend, but on just 6 screens. This will get the film to 80+something screens, probably… but not further. Unfortunate.
The new Malick, Song to Song, will do about $11k per screen over the weekend, despite massive star power. Oddly, the film will play better on TV, where you will be able to get distracted for a bit and not really mind, as you will come back to some wonderful moment of art and acting before you get distracted again for a bit. There is so much to love in this film… and so much of this film…
I’m interested in 1974 this weekend. Here are the top grossers that year (according to Box Office Mojo).
Blazing Saddles, the #1 movie that year, opened on February 7. And only 3 of the 12 Top grossers on this chart opened in the summer that Nixon resigned. None of the Top 6 opened in the summer (#6 was The Longest Yard, which opened Labor Day Weekend.) Benji was the top summer movie, grossing just under $40 million.
Death Wish was the #1 movie in America the weekend before Nixon’s resignation and the weekend after Nixon’s resignation. The film owned the second highest grossing weekend of the year (just under $7 million) behind only The Godfather, Part II (just over $7m). There was no noticeable box office drop (or rise) caused by the resignation of the president.
For the record, I doubt the reported total domestic gross of $22 million, given that the four weekends for which there are reporting add up to $20.6 million in four weekends, the last of which grossed $3.9m… and given the longer runs of the period, hard to see how the film grossed less than $30m domestic. Another note on the suspicion with which we should be looking at old box office stats.
Blazing Saddles was in its third weekend at #1 on this weekend in 1974. And Nixon was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an indictment against seven former presidential aides.
Now… as for this weekend…
Moonlight didn’t get a big Oscar bump with a $2.4m gross, but this will be its biggest grossing weekend, adding more than 20% to the film’s overall domestic gross.
Logan did great. The estimate is kinda funny, as it slides right in between X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X2: X-Men United. It’s probably above or below them both. But that is the magic of Sunday.
Get Out doesn’t quite get to the teens for its second weekend drop, but close. It will become the #4 Jason Blum movie ever (domestically) and will surely be the #2… or even #1, as it chases Blum’s current career best, this year’s Split. I am particularly impressed by the current run by Blum at Universal. It’s an amazing story which seemed to be losing steam. But this year, he and his team and filmmakers have found the zeitgeist and exploded (in a good way) again.
The Shack outdid all of the “Christian movies” of the last couple years with this opening. This is Lionsgate’s first shot at one of these and it did well in context. God bless.
Open Road couldn’t find the teen girls to follow Zoey Deutsch into its quirky romantic thriller. The difficulty I had coming up with a way to describe it in that sentence explains why.
Searchlight excreted Table 19… they were clearly happy to see it go. Wilson is coming next and is quirky and challenging and may not do much box office, but everyone will be proud to be associated with that one.
Not much to get excited about in the limited/exclusive market.
A $47 million Friday last February for Fox’s biggest Marvel opening ever. $33 million yesterday for what will be Fox’s #3 or #4 best Marvel opening ever and probably Wolverine’s best.
Apologies if that offended your eyes, but that is what these two openings have in common. That and a lot of blood. Hard-R movies.
This is the side of Marvel that Disney is not likely to ever embrace. If Disney does, that will be a huge story, not just about Marvel, but about the Disney company. But if things start to slide at Marvel as the current leaders of the franchises – read: Downey – finally age out and stop doing these characters and/or Feige leaves and numbers drop, all bets are off.
In many ways, this is the tack that Warner Bros has taken with Zack Snyder and the DC films… but like The Wolverine (the lowest grossing X-Men movie), they have tried to do it at a PG-13 level. Could that change at WB?
The numbers suggest that the Avengers films and Nolan’s Batman films are the exception to the rule in the comic book adaptation world. There are six billion-dollar-worldwide comic book movies to date. Four Iron Man/Avengers and two Batman. After that, there are only three $800m ww comic book movies, two Spider-Man and Batman v Superman.
The question is whether there is a strategy that will make the rest of the pack stronger… or for that matter, weaker. In the last 4 years and 3 months, there have been 19 big comic book movies. There are 6 above $800 million. Among the other 13, the low has been The Wolverine ($415m) and the high has been Deadpool with $784m. Within that range of grosses, there are movies like Ant-Man ($519m) that are considered hits and movies like The Amazing Spider-Man ($758m) that are considered misses.
As usual, it is impossible to make broad statements about what measure success has in the movie business, aside from the broadest (“$0 box office sucks, over $1 billion is a hit”). Would any of the dark-hearted Zack Snyder DC Extended Universe films have done more business as hard-Rs? Or would they have lost enough family business to make it a net loss? Suicide Squad? Is the “answer” to The Fantastic Four to make a hard-R version where we could learn how Ben Grimm and Alicia get down to “it,” and brings to life a Marvel version of the old DC joke about Superman and Wonder Woman’s invisible plane?
I don’t see any benefit to Ant-Man or Doctor Strange or Spider-Man or even Guardians of the Galaxy going hard-R. The Avengers too. But it is really easy to imagine a nasty, brutal, sexual Batman spin-off project. Would it hurt the brand? That is what will keep it from happening. Anyway… more questions than answers.
Excellent drop for Get Out, the must-see word-of-mouth holdover. Could be in the teens for the weekend.
The Shack is a religious movie, apparently. Likely budgeted for direct-to-DVD/streaming, so a nice number.
Before I Fall found a few teen girls, but not a great start.
The Oscar BP contenders remain Hidden Figures, La La Land, Moonlight, though Moonlight is getting a bump of a few million dollars and a load of new screens after the win.