The Hot Blog Archive for October, 2017

Weekend Estimates by Toothless Saw Klady

Weekend Estimates 2017-10-29 at 11.12.30 AM

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Friday Estimates by Is October Over Klady

Foiday Estimates 2017-10-28 at 10.32.35 AM

Jigsaw will not be the lowest opening by a Saw movie, but it will be right there at the bottom where the franchise died out.

What made this Saw movie a Saw for now instead of a Saw for then? I never learned that from the ads, trailers and outdoor. As a non-fan of the series, I didn’t make the leap to realizing this was even a Saw movie until late in the game. Don’t get me wrong… I love some of the imagery of the campaign. But I didn’t get any sense of why I. or anyone needed to see it.

In the passion of youth, the energy and excitement we bring to our work seems natural and as we get older, we feel like we are putting out the same levels of energy and excitement, but really, we’re not. As mature people in our fields, we carry the weight of the past, in positive and negative ways. When the generation of 45+ year-old marketers talk about how “you can’t just throw this stuff in the market and expect it to open” anymore, they have forgotten that they didn’t just throw this stuff into the market back when… it felt like a natural, effortless event. I’m not suggesting that an aging marketer is a weaker marketer, but rather that we all need to keep a check on ourselves as we mature to make sure that we are still finding the raw enthusiasm and hunger for variety that we had as “kids.” Decade after decade, how movies have been sold has changed. And the best marketers have changed as well. But when we think we are going into our old bag of tricks… well, there has never been a generation that couldn’t smell that a mile away.

Thank You For Your Service should have been released in January or February. The most successful movie targeting the stars & stripes audience in October was Flags of Our Fathers, which had the power of Spielberg and Eastwood behind it and opened to $10m and grossed $34m domestic. This film started with Spielberg, who gave the book to Jason Hall when they were working on American Sniper, but he was not there in the end and the film – which isn’t a light romp or a star vehicle – could have opened in October if there was sme big expenditure of energy by the studio… but it feels like it was not expected to do business.

Suburbicon has the earmarks of a movie that a studio could have gotten excited about selling… if the movie had only turned out well. But it didn’t. Another Coens script that wasn’t a Coens movie. And so, the old dump-a-roo. Another problem is that Matt Damon, for most of the movie, gives a performance not so different in tone from his performance in the vastly superior Downsizing, which is from director Alexander Payne, who gave Clooney his last great leading role in The Descendants (meaning most recent, not last ever). This seems to be just timing and coincidence, as Damon has greater range than this. It’s unfortunate for Paramount to have two films with the same lead within two months and for them not to be wildly distinct from one another. It’s better for Downsizing that Suburbicon just disappears quickly… not that anyone intended that to be the case.

As for the marketing… it was murky. Trying not to give away the turn to darkness in the film meant not really exploiting in the schizophrenia of the tones in the movie. This also was true, unfortunately, of the movie.

Nice open for The Square on four.

Bring on the God of Thunder.

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Trailering PHANTOM THREAD

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Weekend Estimate By Boo Klady

Weekend Estimates 2017-10-22 at 10.18.57 AMy

A Weakend, with Madea delivering 25% less for her sequel one year after the Halloween original. Perhaps this is what happens when you take the novelty out of the novelty act. Geostorm is yet another example of what you get when you take Roland Emmerich out of a Roland Emmerich movie. The fire and ice duo of Only The Brave and The Snowman was widely ignored. No wide releases managed $10k per screen, but on 4 each, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Wonderstruck did, as did Jane on 3.

In two weekends, expect a new record for the first half of November (aka non-holiday). But the boo birds will still be out, whining on about the end of theatrical. People prefer the negative story. Not new. This too shall pass.

Still… another crap weekend.

And… not a surprise.

As usual, it’s the movies.

Marketers are in a space where they say, “it’s so much harder to sell this stuff these days.” But when did Geostorm, Only The Brave, and The Snowman sell?

Geostorm opened a little worse than Into The Storm… but that film focused on tornadoes, which we haven’t seen on big screens in a while (or without sharks).

Only The Brave, on the quality of the film, should have done a bit better. But Everest. I don’t blame Josh Brolin, who is quite good in both films. But two films in nature… with unhappy endings. And on this one, they tried to figure out a title that they could sell, but however this one tested, it is terrible. Almost anytime you need a subtitle to tell people what the movie is, you are screwed. Same as ever.

And The Snowman… we had such high hopes for you. I missed the movie, which I quite wanted to see. But if you ask critics, it sucked. Still, no excuse for not opening the movie better than $3.4 million.

It’s kinda interesting… the serial killer movie has, essentially, did not exist for almost 5 years until Split exploded last January. The last studio release before that was Alex Cross, an attempt to revive the James Patterson/Kiss The Girls franchise. Opened to $11m, which is a lot better than this. But it was seen as a flop and the genre moved to TV to great success.

In theaters, horror/thrillers didn’t go away. They were just reinvented by Blumhouse, first by adding supernatural elements in Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring, then reviving mass paranoia with The Purge.

This year, Blumhouse did 3 originals, 2 of which were revivals of older genres – serial killer (Split) and teen friends marked for death (Happy Death Day) – and one really singular film, a socially-conscious thriller-comedy (Get Out).

Next weekend, another serial killer revival attempt arrives in Jigsaw. The Saw franchise took a 7 year break after weak launches from the 6th and 7th films didn’t pop. Now a Saw fan, I didn’t realize until after TV spots started running that it was a Saw film. But I am not the audience. Will “the kids” make the connection… or care?

My bigger point… the movies, the movies, the movies… it’s always what they are selling and how they are selling it. The domestic theatrical market loses about 3% a year, which given the many forms of competition, it remarkable. The international market keeps growing at about 5% a year. Theatrical is the #1 revenue stream in the film business. And there is no realistic hope of replacing it. So stop whining and stop pushing the mythology of dying theatrical. Being middle aged isn’t that much fun… but stop blaming the movies.

A24 rides their newest star, Yorgos Lanthimos, to a strong per-screen on 4 for The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Solid numbers for Wonderstruck and Jane as well.

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Friday Estimates by Boo! 42: A Box Office Horror Week

Friday Estimates 2017-10-21 at 10.03.52 AM

Well… this is a shit weekend.

There is no other way to describe it. None of the five openers is a great movie underperforming. Only The Brave, which is probably the best of the lot, found the most innocuous, bland, generic title possible for a movie about a real-life event with an ending guaranteed to keep audiences away. Everest at least had a mountain. Josh Brolin was very good in both… but seems drawn to this kind of box-office danger.

Geostorm is Dean Devlin trying to do Roland Emmerich from the director’s chair… to no great effect. Jerry Bruckheimer Films managed to be involved without getting Bruckheimer’s name dragged into it. The greatest lesson of Emmerich disaster films is to have a great commercial, if little else. Geostorm didn’t have that. Dean had one job. And a $120 million budget… that they are admitting to.

The Snowman looked like a thriller that might be good enough to be an awards contender. Universal hinted that it wasn’t by not doing anything to suggest that it was (festivals, etc). As noted before, 9% on Rotten Tomatoes is not an influencer, it is the sign of a movie that audiences can smell from a block away. Thing is, critics are often wrong and 9% suggests overkill. But I haven’t seen the film. Still, when the gentle Pete Howell of the Toronto Star writes, “what we get on the screen is like a snowcone made with horse urine.” it gives me pause (on so many levels).

There is nothing about Same Kind of Different as Me that would get me into a theater… but as many people as went to The Snowman went to the theater to see this Pure Flix release… which opened on almost half as many screens. So they failed better. But the economics of what might have been a direct-to-DVD/VOD movie doing $10 million or so in theaters, covering a small ad budget and up-valuing post-theatrical could actually be a win. But not by much.

Happy Death Day had the normal horror drop. Blade Runner 2049 won’t get to $90 million domestic.

Four is the magic number this weekend for The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Wonderstruck and Jane, all of which will top $10k per screen. The top grosser of the three is only for adults. The other two are great arthouse movies that you should take your kids to see.

Next weekend should have a $20 million launch in Jigsaw… at least, Lionsgate hopes. And the weekend after, Thor and the Bad Moms arrive to save the day.

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BYOB Let’s Just Talk About Movies

Geostorm32

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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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The Hot Blog

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“Would I like to see Wormwood in a theater on a big screen? You betcha. I’d be disingenuous to argue otherwise. But we’re all part of, like it or not, an industry, and what Netflix offers is an opportunity to do different kinds of films in different ways. Maybe part of what is being sacrificed is that they no longer go into theaters. If the choice is between not doing it at all and having it not go to theaters, it’s an easy choice to make.”
~ Errol Morris

“As these stories continue to break, in the weeks since women have said they were harassed and abused by Harvey Weinstein, which was not the birth of a movement but an easy and highly visible shorthand for decades of organizing against sexual harassment that preceded this moment, I hope to gain back my time, my work. Lately, though, I have noticed a drift in the discourse from violated rights to violated feelings: the swelled number of reporters on the beat, the burden on each woman’s story to concern a man “important” enough to report on, the detailed accounting of hotel robes and incriminating texts along with a careful description of what was grabbed, who exposed what, and how many times. What I remember most, from “my story” is how small the sex talk felt, almost dull. I did not feel hurt. I had no pain to confess in public. As more stories come out, I like to think that we would also believe a woman who said, for example, that the sight of the penis of the man who promised her work did not wound her, and that the loss she felt was not some loss of herself but of her time, energy, power.”
~ “The Unsexy Truth About Harassment,” by Melissa Gira Grant