Box Office Archive for April, 2008

Again With The Videogames Vs Theatrical BS???

I don’t want to belabor the idiocy of all this… but Financial Times, of all places, is selling this junk about the release of Grand Theft Auto IV damaging Iron Man‘s opening. (Variety added this goof.)
Last September, when Halo 3 was going to destroy the box office, Peter Berg’s The Kingdom opened to $1.4 million less than Peter Berg’s The Rundown did on the same date four years earlier. It is possible that Halo 3 geeks staying home and playing all weekend had some minor effect on that opening. But it’s a lot more likely that the $23 million opening for The Game Plan was a lot more significant. In the end, the total domestic grosses for the two films were almost identical (under $200k).
Could there be a million dollar hit on the Iron Man opening because GTA4 players stay home all weekend and don’t go to see IM until the second weekend? Sure. But with an opening that is likely between $60m and $75m, that million bucks is minor.
And Paramount should be lowering expectations, which have run way out of control based on geek love. The studio knows that their audience is somewhat limited. You can see it in every single ad. That doesn’t mean that they won’t have a huge number by any fair standard. But this idea that it’s a $100 million weekend or bust is just dumb.
I repeat… the best opening for a non-sequel and non-Spider-Man in that slot is still Van Helsing‘s $52 million. Four years later and much better buzz, one can imagine a 50% increase. But a 100% increase?
Anything is possible. But if it does, it will be a shock, not something you should be expecting.

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BYOBox Office

Can’t get a chart posted on the iPhone, but Klady’s estimates should be on the MCN front page… have at it.
My short response is that Harold & Kumar 3, which is terrible (especially compared to the glorious original), opened off its DVD love and the number is about right. And a strong campaign by Universal for a not very good movie worked on Baby Mama.

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Weekend Estimates by Klady – April 19

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The big story of the weekend is not The Wizards Of Kick Oz or Trying To Forget Segel’s Penis, but Expelled being the widest doc opening ever, leading to being the third biggest doc opening ever. Ever.
Yes, all the Michael Moore movies will overshadow whatever the final number on this film is, but they all went into theaters in exclusives or, with Sicko, under 900 screens.
Expelled is pretty much assured of being amongst the Top Ten doc grossers of all-time before it’s done… and passing Super Size Me and Winged Migration is not out of the question. Just this weekend’s number makes it the #5 doc of the last two years, with Shine A Light and Grizzly Man both likely to be passed this week.
Is this the “Christian Movie” that Hollywood has stumbled chasing since The Passion Of The Christ… meaning more that audience than anything like those numbers? A good question, I think.
Meanwhile, on the Top Two front, neither film had a particularly strong Saturday upturn. Some would argue that Forgetting will outleg Kingdom, but I see no evidence of that, especially with Tribeca opener (snark, snark) Baby Mama and Harold & Kumar 2 landing next weekend, offering comedy options for both women and men. The best shot Sarah Marshall has is to be the date choice somewhere between the two new comedies. Meanwhile, Kingdom has a pretty-much open week until The Man of Iron lands a week later.

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Friday Estimates by Klady – 4/19

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Well… the good news for Judd Apatow is that Forgetting Sarah Marshall will gross more in its opening week than Walk Hard did in its entire run. The bad news is that aside from that one film, it is his worst opening as a producer since The Cable Guy.
Truth is, seems to me, that people are still ready to buy the Apatow franchises… but without a familiar name in the lead(s) or a clear idea (Universal did a good job of simplifying the film’s narrative for the advertising campaign), the potential for misses increases each time out.
With Klady’s $1.6 million split, the odds are less… but with the thinner separation in some people’s Friday numbers, there is a chance that FSM will pass The Forbidden Kingdom by Sunday night because of a stronger Saturday night market for the romantic comedy vs the notoriously first-nighting action/martial arts crowds. On the other hand, if families decide Forbidden Kingdom is a safe bet for matinees, teh spread will be greater the other way.
The Forbidden Kingdom opening is on the high end of the Jet Li films and looks like it will beat The One to be his best ever start… of course, Jackie Chan ain’t cicken feed. Still, this will be by far is biggest chop socky opening in this country, never having cracked a $10m opening without a pairing gimmick (The Tuxedo is on the borderline, but DreamWorks sold that as a family comedy and teamed him strongly with Love.)
This opening also happens to double what Lionsgate mustered for their first Jet Li effort, War. But even more importantly, it will be the company’s third best non-Saw, non-Tyler Perry opening ever, behind only Fahrenheit 9/11 and the first Hostel…. and Hostel‘s $19.6 million is well in shooting range.
I must admit, I didn’t see this coming for this film… but I am pleased for all involved.
88 Minutes is opening below even the lowest expectations… which goes to show ‘ya that even the best marketing machine can plop out a dud when expectations are so low… aka The MGM Syndrome (pre-new- regime).
And it’s hard to read the tea leaves on Where In The World Is Osama bin Laden?. A $1200 or so per-screen for opening weekend isn’t a disaster. But it isn’t very good under the weight of expectations. Morgan Spurlock clearly carries enough goodwill to get this kind of start, but the per-screen average for Super Size Me didn’t dip this low until weekend 5 with twice as many screens. And the SSM opening weekend cracked $500k on just 42 screens.
The door on theatrical for docs has been closing, slowing lately after a swift shut, leaving only a crack open, after last summer. Between this and Young @ Heart, we could see an even tight squeeze to come…

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Box Office Hell – April 18, 2008

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Klady's Weekend Estimates – Pre Tax '08

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The number that really struck me this morning was for La Misma Luna/Under The Same Moon, which has quietly grossed over $10 million now and should settle in to the box office neighborhood of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Volver.
For some reason, The Weinstein Co, which was a partner in the buy of the film, keeps getting credit for releasing the film… but the film is, in fact, being released by Fox Searchlight domestically. This is a rare foreign language release for the studio, having got their collective hand slammed in the money door three times in 2003 with Lucia, Lucia, L’Auberge Espagnole, and The Dancer Upstairs, which collectively earned $5.5 million… not to mention the Night Watch/Day Watch combo, a record-breaker in Russia and good for less than $2m domestically.
So congratulations are in order for Searchlight.
The news is not quite as cheerful with Young @ Heart, the studio’s first doc release under Peter Rice.
There were only three $1 million-plus docs last year, including Sicko… the other two did $1.4m and $1.1m. And there were only four more that did over $500,000. The Oscar winner, Taxi to The Darkside? Under $250k.
This year, you might include the Stones concert film as a doc…but really, should we? Is the Vince Vaughn comedy tour really a doc? Because no other docs this year have hit $250k.
Young @ Heart may pass that number. So is that a hit? Or a miss?
Tough sledding.

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Speed Reading

As for Speed Racer, IO is right to say that The Second Weekend of the Summer looks crappy on paper.
What is unique about it, however, is that there is a limited history of major releases on that date.
The Matrix Reloaded – which opened to $92 million and is still in the Top Ten All-Time for May, with $282 million at the box office

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Iron Money

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Friday Estimates by Klady – 3/12/08

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So what happened on Prom Night?
1. The best marketing materials for girls in this genre since The Ring.
2. Tracking doesn’t get teens… just doesn’t… why do people still get surprised?
3. Did I mention the marketing materials?
Street Kings will also do better than its best estimate for the weekend. See answer #2 above… and add penises.
Smart People will also be on the high side of estimates… and this is when star power does matter… when a $3.5 million opening looks good.
And those people who are going to Smart People? Many of the same adults who went to go see Leatherheads… and told their friends that they could wait until DVD.

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Box Office Hell – 4/11

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Prom Night reference
The Messengers – $14.7m – 2/2/07
When a Stranger Calls – $21.6m -2/3/06

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Friday Estimates by Klady – March Fifth, Two Thousand Eight

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What’s there to say?
Fox has a hard time getting a handle on live-action family fare… nothing new. But they keep trying.
Paramount had nothing but crap to try to sell from in-house and tried to off-load it to the geeks as best they could… nothing new. But they keep trying.
And Universal had a near impossible sell, a male lead who is beloved but doesn’t open to huge numbers and a female lead with an Oscar an no box office following at all. Usually, with projects like this they at least find a strong urban hook. But there won’t be a Black or Hispanic man admitting they saw Leatherheads in this century… teens and kids have no interest in ye olde stuff… older women hate football… and that leaves… people who will go see Clooney in anything. And really, a $13 million opening is quite positive for this one. There was no more in the pot. But they keep trying.
Horton Hears A Who has fallen behind the pace of all the other Fox CG animated hits… except Robots, whose ass it is kicking. Look for a landing around $150m, which is enough to put it in the Top 20 CG Animated features of all time… but there are only about 50. Still, it keeps in it the right neighborhood.
And congrats to 21, for selling what looks to end up being about $60 million worth of tickets domestically for something that is not Shinola.
1:45p – Correction With Apologies – I just saw The New York Times and an ad for The Ruins, which is a DreamWorks movie and amazingly, did not have a single mention of Paramount in its entire display ad… not in the credits, not on the ad. Wow! That is a story in and of itself. If someone doesn’t get an answer as to how and why that happened before I get back to L.A. next week, I will pursue, because it must be an interesting story. In any case, apologies to Paramount for the extra kick.

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Box Office

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The word I have fallen in love with lately is ‘Hellenic.’ Greek in its mythology. So while everyone is skewing towards the YouTube generation, here we are making two-and-a-half-hour movies and trying to buck the system. It’s become clear to me that we are never going to be a perfect fit with Hollywood; we will always be the renegade Texans running around trying to stir the pot. Really it’s not provocation for the sake of being provocative, but trying to make something that people fall in love with and has staying power. I think people are going to remember Dragged Across Concrete and these other movies decades from now. I do not believe that they will remember some of the stuff that big Hollywood has put out in the last couple of years. You’ve got to look at the independent space to find the movies that have been really special recently. Even though I don’t share the same world-view as some of my colleagues, I certainly respect the hell out of their movies which are way more fascinating than the stuff coming out of the studio system.”
~ Dallas Sonnier

“My first objective relationship in life was with the camera. I didn’t understand anything but then I realized the camera is my friend. It doesn’t lie to me. It doesn’t manipulate me. It only reports what I’m doing. And therefore, for me to work with a camera and the camera to be directed by an artist, a craftsman, someone who knows what he or she wants, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
~ Elliot Gould