Box Office Archive for October, 2008

Weekend Estimates by Klady

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So now we know

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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Well, the dancing tykes will thrash the cutting psychs this weekend, guaranteed by the Friday win at the box office for HSM3 over Saw5.
That said, the Saw franchise remains a cash machine for Lionsgate. This opening will be right in line with Saw

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Sunday Estimates

As I expected, the dogs moved back up into the 2-spot, W. fell to fourth, though the number is about as good at Lionsgate could ever have expected, Fox had the 1 and 3 slots, and Body of Lies effectively half off… uh… Quarantine.
As you can see, this iPhone entry doesn’t allow for the chart, but it’s on the cover of MCN.

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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Good for W.. Glad Lionsgate was able to find a bigger than expected audience. Honestly, I was pretty sure that Letterman hit it on the nose when he said something last night to the effect of, “W… yeah… we want some more of that.”
That said, I would expect Beverly Hills Chihuahua to move up into the #2 slot by the end of the weekend.
Nice starts for The Secret Life of Bees, which should be leggy with a little word of mouth. It’s not for everyone, but adult women should be pleased by the rarely-theatrically-movied kind of tale with strong performances and a good heart.
Max Payne is clearly a yawn on the quality scale, but it’s a pretty decent number on the Screen Gems level, which is where is belongs. The question is what the budget was. At Screen Gems, that movie costs under $20m.
Let’s start the suicide watch for Patrick Goldstein as it lands at #1… but don’t worry too much… he’ll just pretend the moment of success didn’t happen and count the failures before and after. Perhaps Tom Rothman can arrange to finally have lunch with Punitive Pat, but secretly invite Drew McWeeny and Dr. Phil so the dyspeptic duo can work through their anger at the rough hewn studio chief.
Sex Drive is typical of Summit openings so far. The distributor-in-infancy is set up to have a true Newmarket/IFC moment with Twilight. According to Box Office Mojo charts, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the only IFC release to ever be on more than 300 screens and was their only grosser over $14m ever… and while Newmarket ended up having four $20m+ movies, only TPOTC ever did more than $35 million.
I suspect that Twilight will be their first $100 million-plus film. The questions are whether there will be a second and whether they will be able to collect on all the ticket sales without an equally muscular film coming in behind the vampires

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What About W. $s?

So, people are trying to figure out what kind of money W. will do this weekend.
My first thing was to look at the history of these films, actual presidential movies first, then politically-oriented movies that opened over $10 million, plus Swing Vote, Disney’s movie this summer.
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What this suggests is that $12 million is about the top for this opening. And some are already on record predicting around $10 million.
I like the movie and I still feel strongly that Josh Brolin should get a nomination for his work, but I say $6 million this weekend, maybe less.
I just don’t see who isn’t already overwhelmed with the political season. Combine that with less interest in Iraq right now, a population of potential ticket buyers who will actually read reviews that will be good but not sensational, and no Bushies in this current election, no matter that McCain voted with Bush over 90% of the time.
I was excited to see the film. I am looking forward to seeing it again. But while adult “civilians” are likely to make it their first choice this weekend, particularly in the big cities, are they anxious to leave their homes this weekend to see any movie?
I could be wrong and it could be $10m and it could be $15m… but I don’t think so.
What do you think?

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Weekend Estimates by Klady

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Not too exciting. The only question on Quarantine is whether it will end up at $30m or $35m… either way, it’s well into profit for Screen Gems. The only question on Beverly Hills Chihuahua is when Beverly Hills Chihuahua II will be released. Rachel Getting Married remains a strong, if not world-beating arthouse player, looking like the $10m – $15m range domestically is what’s possible.. Body of Lies opening behind Quarantine is a show of brutality and even if the film ends up doing three-to-one foreign-to-domestic, WB will take a financial hit… and unlike so many of their films, this is one where the studio didn’t split the funding. On the other hand, Universal may not eat anything on The Express, which was paid for mostly by Relativity Media.
You know, the story of the economic downturn is not so much the studio stock prices, but the economic model that the studios have been moving to in a hurry, which is to let someone else pay for the movie and for the studio to make their money on marketing and distribution only.
Ironically, this is why hiring someone like, say, uh, Terry Press at MGM is equally, if not more important to the studio’s future financing as hiring Mary Parent. For the last few years, MGM has sold producers on the distribution deal by dangling their Showtime pay-TV deal with a very thin team handling marketing, etc. This made for a lot of very soft releases. But with a top studio level; marketer in tow, the pitch will now be that companies like Relativity and Walden will get better and closer attention at MGM than with a distributor that has a bigger release schedule and little investment in working as hard on movies that others own as their own product.

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Friay Estimates by Klady

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Quarantine is about right for a Screen Gems movie. The openings – and thus, the final numbers, are not quite what they were in recent years past, so the question is whether there is some dip in what and how they are delivering or whether the market has simply softened for those kinds of genre pictures. (My guess is the latter.)
You know, it’s interesting that Sony and Disney are now the only two companies with strong niche plays… and I don’t mean specialty Dependents. I mean that Sony’s SPC is the only specialty arm that really focuses on foreign, doc, and lower expectation indies. And Screen Gems, with the narrowing of Rogue and the living death of Fox Atomic, is really the only studio arm so focused on raw genre, with Paramount claiming Vantage is going there and, of course, true indie Lionsgate still sawing.
Anyway…
Beverly Hills Chihuahua‘s drop is surprisingly small, Opening Fiday-to- Second Friday. INevnitably, the weekend drop will be smaller than the 45% estimated for yesterday.
Body of Lies will be Ridley Scott’s second worst opening of this millenium (the worst is A Good Year, which Fox couldn’t figure out how to sell), thought it will be in the top third of the opening histories of both Crowe and Dicaprio. The film, which Warners is telling people cost $70 million (ha ha), is headed to under $50 million total domestic. But with these actors, the internation will almost inevitably be north of $80 million and could well be over $100 million… which is why they were hired at these prices.
Universal’s shot at the uplifting feel-good sports drama, The Express, just never found any momentum. To be honest, I had no idea it was even coming until a couple of weeks ago. No screening that I was even invited to. Minimal advertising. Has Rob Brown done a single show? Oh well, I guess it’s better than The Babe, whihc was sold to within an inch of its life and found a similarly uninterested audience.
It’s hard to know what Pramount Vantage is trying to accomplish with The Duchess. They have taken the same release tack as Pride & Prejudice, but that release happened in November and went to 1299 screens over Thanksgiving weekend. The result looks like it was about triple what The Duchess will do on this Columbus Day weekend “holiday.” And with all the awards buzz around that film, it was still the best weekend they ever had.
City of Ember on 2022 screens… an unmitigated distribution car wreck. The film is heading to one of the very worst opening weekend per-screeens of this year (around #115 of 125 wide releases). The crew at Fox Walden seemed to be working without an ad budget and with a lot of energy… that didn’t take. The choice to launch the film at Fantastic Fest instead of prioritizing the national media ended up defining the experience.
And, one must say, that Jeffrey Godsick’s return to Fox just days ago tells us that “they” knew exactly what was about to happen, that Jeffrey was taken back onto the mother ship as the studio surely agreed to do if things didn’t work out, and that the end of Fox Walden as a production entity is unannounced but inevitable.

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Statistics Lie to Sell Stories

You know, I get tired of picking on the LA Times.
But there is this bizarre insistence of taking what I would call minor facts and turning them into misleading headlines.
Patrick Goldstein is previewing John Horn

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Weekend Estimates by Klady

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A really strong family play – and teh end of summer – meant a big bump for Disney on the weekend. Very impressive. And now, the opening is just behind Eddie Murphy’s Dr. Dolittle as the third best talking animale live action opening of all time. And it’e more than double the previous best non-summer, non-holiday opener in the category (Goiod Boy, $13m in the same slot in 2003).
Eagle Eye continues to keep a pace about 30% ahead of Disturbia. Is it genre or Shia orpeople just plain having more interest? Hard to say. But continuing at that rate, cracking $100m domestic is not out of the question.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist isn’t a great movie… it’s pure John Hughes with a 2008 sex & booze bent, but it is not quite as well conceived. Not ever painful. Pleasantly blase about sexuality, though very thin on ethnicity (aside from Asian). But the real life audiences I saw it with last night had a great time and I suspect that Sony’s genre 3.5x opening (nice legs) will occur here too… “deserving” not being an issue.
Appaloosa had a nice enough expansion that it suggests that WB should have opened the once-NL picture wide instead of the mess of The Women.
This is really the most interesting area of the chart this weekend:
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Fireproof has its own thing going with a strong play in a niche area. Congrats… it means nothing to the industry, as the industry learned the hard way chasing its god-loving tail after Gibson cashed in.
But when the whining about a weak, overloaded market starts again, as distributors try to make excuses for why they couldn’t make their movies work, remember this week. Five movies, 500 screens to 1700 screens… all pretty much D.O.A. You could argue that Religulous looking at $10 million domestic is a win… it’s the second best doc opening in history, though docs almost never open this wide… and it will be among the top ten docs of all times… assuming we consider it a doc… but it’s still half a Michael Moore. As for the rest, Blindness will makes its money back overseas and Miramax might take a small hit. But the others will lose money. So, did they go limited because “they knew” or do they now know because they went limited?

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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Len apparently adjusted the mutt spelling, but I kinda like it like this.
Is anyone really surprised that talking dogs for girls is opening strong? It’s such a strong commercial play that Box Office Mojo offers “FAMILY – TALKING ANIMAL (LIVE ACTION)” as a genre category. And along with WB’s much (unfairly) attacked Cats & Dogs, BHC will be amongst the rare talking animal movies to open this strong while not attached to a pre-existing franchise. Kids lve penguins. Kids love the Taco Bell dog.
It’s interesting to me that anyone would see Nick & Norah’s launch as “disappointing.” Yes, it’s not a Judd Apatow launch. But here is a movie with Kat Dennings, who is recognizable to the core, but not by name, and Michael Cera, who has never been proven to open a movie.
Seems to me that this film is an indie-style film that doesn

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Box Office

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“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