The Hot Blog Archive for March, 2018

Friday Estimates by Tomb Panther Klady

Friday Estimates 2018-03-17 at 8.17.54 AM

Tomb Raider takes the top slot. Will it hold through Saturday, where Black Panther has been extraordinarily muscular?

Panther will pass $600 million domestic this weekend, whichever slot it lands in. Tomb Raider is on course for $85 – $100 million domestic and will rely on international to make it a financial hit or failure, regardless of whether it is the #1 movie in America this weekend. (I am on record saying that Tomb Raider will get a sequel either way… and it should. Hard to open, but a movie franchise with a lot of potential with a very human female lead. It’s an imperfect movie with strong bone structure.)

The surprise of the weekend is I Can Only Imagine, based on an inspirational Christian song, rolled out by Roadside for Lionsgate, and on its first day outgrossed any opening 3-day weekend in Roadside history. Last year, Lionsgate released Christian entry The Shack to $16.2 million. Imagine‘s opening day is 13% better, leading to the projection of an opening 3-day of $18.1 million… which would be the seventh highest open in this niche, on just 1629 screens, which is less than half the count of any of the films ranked #1-#5 and well being #6 (3048 screens).

Roadside’s highest grosser is Manchester By The Sea at $48 million domestic. I Can Only Imagine is likely to top that.

Love, Simon – or at least the pitch – seems anachronistic in the year after Call My By Your Name and even the return of “Will & Grace.” But I am told that I am being too much of a sheltered straight guy and that the world needed a basic rom-com.

A Wrinkle in Time has a modest Friday 2 drop… but no recovery in sight.

Peter Rabbit will pass $100 million this weekend. Red Sparrow will check out with less than Game Night. (Ouch)

And in the per-screen fight, The Orchard’s Zoey Deutch-starrer, Flower, smashes the $10k per barrier and will be somewhere around $25k per on 3.


Weekend Estimates

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Friday Estimates by Wrinkled Klady

Friday Estimates 2018-03-10 at 9.05.36 AM

A Wrinkle in Time opens soft against expectations. But in the Disney category of off-brand brand movies (Pete’s Dragon, The BFG), it is doing well. The comp that fits best is the Alice sequel, which opened to a $9.7m Friday in 2016 and had a $27 million weekend.

What elements have gone into this opening? Weak reviews versus The Oprah. Black identity angle versus the Black Panther wave, which could have exhausted the filmgoing interests of infrequent black moviegoers for a few months. A limited amount of quality family film content versus a second trip to Panther, which has found a strong place with family audiences, including little kids.

My sense going into this month was that Disney was going to ride the Black Panther wake with this film, knowing they had a not-good movie that had some beautiful images to use in the sell, as well as a sense of the moment. But that may have backfired by Panther being so big that it consumed the entire moment. Or maybe we would see the same result or worse at another time. More of a history with Wrinkle will offer a clearer guess… but like so many things in this magical business, it will be only an educated guess. (First person who mentions Rotten Tomatoes gets a kick.)

Black Panther will likely win the weekend. After an explosive launch, the big story of this film domestically is the power it has shown on Saturdays versus Friday numbers. A 65% bump in weekend 2 and 85% last weekend. Split the difference and Panther will do $17.5m today and $11m on Sunday for a $37.5m 3-day and a $558.5m domestic cume.

Disney kicked in with the international cume early this weekend, with a $20m China launch to announce reaching the $1 billion mark. That Chinese open seems to be close to Thor: Ragnarok. But Panther may still s come up short of domestic in international numbers.

Aviron is one of the new distributors trying to find its thing. Its second release is a sequel to the 2008 Rogue release, The Strangers. Turns out no one was waiting breathlessly for the sequel and will show up only modestly for this weekend’s horror entry.

Red Sparrow is not a pretty picture. It’s running about double the mother! gross, but it cost about 2.5x as much. International is stronger, but it seems clear that if Jennifer Lawrence wants to the audience to follow her to new parts of her personality as an actor, she is going to have to find ideal vehicles or slow it down and work smaller roles in bigger movies. It has to be a very odd thing to have the kind of power she has and to have to seriously consider how she walks through this very delicate moment in her career at the age of 27. But that is a champagne problem. I am rooting for her.

Whatever the magic trick to opening Gringo (STX), which is a fun action comedy that is maybe too complicated to easily sell, or The Hurricane Heist (Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures), which sounds like an early 1980s HBO movie, the young distribution companies making the effort couldn’t find the answer.

I would bet good money that Tully will be one of my favorite movies of 2018. But Focus has to be conscious of how they play it,  and Gringo‘s failure to launch should make them nervous. Charlize off-key – which I love and still think Young Adult is one of the great films of the decade – is a hard sell.

Also hard to sell was Thoroughbreds, which should have been laid off to A24 somehow, because Focus has struggled to get traction for a movie they seem to like a lot. A 549-screen release screams, “We give up.” You know what Focus film last opened to a count like this? Book of Henry. Focus also dumped The Zookeeper’s Wife, the most successful grossing opening in the 500-plus screen range last year, taking $17.6 million domestic. Universal seemed to lose the thread on Everest in 2015 and a 545-screen opening, but then expanded to over 3000 screens the following weekend and wound up with a $43 million domestic cume (but likely making a profit, thanks to international). And going back to 2010, Focus opened the international doc, Babies, to 534 screens, doing $7.3 million which is very strong for a doc. Those are all the positive stories. Mostly dumps and re-releases in the 500 range in the last decade.

The Death of Stalin will be the per-screen champ of the weekend, a film that would be more loudly championed before we knew Armando Iannucci so well. It’s a Marx Brothers movie set in the political hysteria upon the death of a real life monster. I don’t know where this will sit with me in the big picture of 2018, but something woudl be missing from my year if I didn’t see it. You will laugh hard. Some jokes will miss. Some will go over your head. There will be nothing else like it this year.


BYOB Oscar 2018



Weekend Estimates by Oscar Boy Klady

Weekend Esitmates 2018-03-04 at 9.10.07 AM

Black Panther pounces on $500 million domestic. Red Sparrow estimates a $16.8m launch, which is #7 among seventeen 2,000-screen openings this year. It’s a weak J-Law open in that the other two in this range were Christmas releases, giving them a big advantage over the first weeks. Death Wish is a bad movie that manages not only to poke at open wounds in America, but to do it in a way so generic as to make it insulting to those being killed on America’s streets.


Saw Death Wish. It was so bland that I watched a few minutes of a movie I utterly despise – Hostel II – to remind myself of Eli Roth having had ambition as a misogynist prick at one point. Now, he is… unbleached paper.

I don’t know the history of the script, but I know that Joe Carnahan is not Mr Bland. Even if they felt compelled to avoid a lazy use of race, the film might have been better had our antihero been mistaken about race and turned in the process (while slaughtering people) or if he had a chip on his shoulder about being rich or something… anything… ANYTHING.

I don’t like hateful movies. But boring non-committal movies are even worse.

Boring weekend at the box office. Seven of the nine Best Picture nominees are still in theaters. Here’s how they looked this weekend.

OScars bo 2018-03-04 at 9.34.48 AM

The real story here is that “small” movies did a strong amount of business. This is the legacy of the expanded field (5+). The field is laid out almost exactly as the noms would probably have been had we been in a year with only five nominees. Dunkirk and Get Out, plus Shape and 3 Billboards, and either Lady Bird or Darkest Hour. Would that have made anyone feel better? Would anyone have been happier with Call Me By Your Name and Phantom Thread left out?

Of course, in a five-film race, maybe Universal would not have gone wild selling Get Out. A24 might not have had nominees three years in a row… or any… and likely no win for Moonlight. The Spielberg of The Post may have been more aggressively positioned. Et cetera. Lots of moving parts.

It’s endlessly fascinating that many of the people who are most passionate about The Academy picking “better” films are also into going back to 5 BP nominees, which would retard their interests more than anything else they could do.

I am going to watch E! for the first time in years, just to see how people deal with Seacrest. It reminds me of the moment after Fallon messed up Trump’s hair so adorably. “Are we still doing Fallon?” was a popular question. Tonight, will they do Seacrest or will they go to the anorexia queen or skip E! completely?

Have fun…



BYOB OScar preshow


Friday Estimates by Red Spare Ol’ Klady

Friday Estimates 2018-03-03 at 10.38.21 AM

Black Panther… still cruising. Floating with the other five phenomena that have done similar numbers (four, really, as The Force Awakens dwarfs them all). There have been six $600-million domestic grossers. Avatar and SW:TFA are the only two that have a 7 or better in the front of their ultimate number. Will Panther beat Avengers? Who cares? #1 or #2 all-time Marvel movie is an indistinct distinction. The success is profound either way.

Jennifer Lawrence is a true movie star. She is a lovable figure with an undeniable kind of power who draws a crowd to watch. The question is, how does she navigate what has undeniably become her Eddie Murphy problem? Which is to say, she is a powerful underdog figure who now has power. How many times can characters in movies underestimate her? Yet it is that underestimation and her ability to overcome that draws us to her. You can drink too much and fall up the stairs and say outrageous things in real life and be charming, but in a movie, that feels contrived. And at $20 million a movie, it’s hard to hide in plain sight.

The problem with Red Sparrow is not that Jennifer Lawrence isn’t good in the movie. And Francis Lawrence did a great job behind the camera. The problem is that 90 minutes of Jennifer Lawrence being abused and passive is not the $20 million Jennifer Lawrence. And really, neither was the one in Passengers. Nor the one in mother! (for which she didn’t get paid the big bucks, but you get my drift). It’s almost as though, in making choices, Ms. Lawrence is digging deeper and deeper to be vulnerable enough that she can come back.

She is 27 years old.

She is rich beyond a lifetime of need.

I believe in this actress. I believe in that person. And I look forward to seeing new work from her for the rest of my life. Taking a year to get a breath and consider what she really wants to do moving forward is the smartest move possible. No one is going to forget her. And no one is going to pay her $20 million for her next film. (Don’t weep to much for her. $10 million-$15 million is still likely.)

Bruce Willis has insight into the problem of becoming a huge movie star and no one really wanting to see anything but the same trick as you get older. I haven’t see Death Wish, but I guarantee that Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan – on Netflix – is a better version. But only Wes Anderson has been insightful enough to find the other Bruce Willis, around whom there is no mayhem, these days.

Game Night is not being resurrected by word of mouth. The bottom line, in this could-be-a-remake-of-the-failed-Rough-Night, is that while you can see many wonderful ideas in this film, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are not competent film directors. They can become competent. And they have the other esthetic skills to be better than that. But until they can stage a scene around a table, none of the trick shots are going to matter and the amazing cast they had will not get all the comic wins they earned on the soundstage.


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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield