Box Office Archive for March, 2009

Friday Estimates by Klady – 3/29

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Monsters vs Aliens is about a third off of the top non-summer/non-holiday animation opening day of all time (Ice Age: The Meltdown), which was on the same relative release date in 2006. The 3-day on that film turned out to be $68 million… a third off would make $46 million or so.
But his is based on Klady’s estimates of Friday, not what studios are telling people. One guesser has the day at $16m… two others at $16.7m. Len is all the way down at $14.6m.
Even the $16.7m has the opening off 23% of Ice Age 3, leading to a reasonable $52.4 estimate for MvA… so the game still may be about other studios trying to make this opening look less successful than it is come Sunday night. But if the final looks more like $49 million and it gets spun as a disappointment of some kind, you will know that it was bull before it was spun the last time. And if it really does get up past $55 million, you will know that it is actually an unusual success based against its Friday number.
Lionsgate improved on its My Bloody Valentine 3D opening with the 2D opening of The Haunting in Connecticut . Not exactly Saw V, but damned good – Screen Gems good – for junky (on the face of it… haven’t seen the film) horror with no names.
12 Rounds will be a pricey dump for Fox. $3 million weekends on 2331 screens hurt.
Race To Witch Mountain got slapped hard by MvA… but they must have seen that coming.
And Watchmen, just crossing the $100 million mark this week, is now looking at an eventual $106 million domestic total. Anything less than $117.6 million will make the film a piece of film history as the single worst performance by a movie opening at $50 million or higher, replacing Hulk and the rest of the current Bottom 5, Spider-Man 3, The Village, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and 8 Mile.

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Weekend Estimates by Klady – March 22

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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Summit did a great job of selling Knowing as a knock off of National Treasure.
The I Love You, Man estimate is $300,000 or so more than Forgetting Sarah Marshall last year. Good job of creating that deja vu.
And Duplicity starts with $2 million more than Charlie Wilson’s War or Closer and $600,000 more than Mona Lisa Smile. Aside from animation and Ocean’s drive-bys, these are her only 3 films since then. That would be 8 years. Idiots who wish to make this some “Julia doesn’t have it anymore” issue are either simply hateful or ignorant or both. She hasn’t had a $100 million movie since Erin Brockovich… but she hasn’t been in that business either. And with all due respect to a very good and charming actor, she’s making this return with Clive Owen, not Richard Gere. Calm down, people.
And, much crap as I might take for it, it must be said… the Watchmen thing is going from not-as-good-as-they-wanted to an unmitigated disaster… even by the most generous terms of budget estimation. Does anyone want to argue that the film will not lose money if it tops out at under $110 million domestic? Does anyone want to argue that a gross that low will even cover domestic P&A… or if you want to stick to untrue lowballs on P&A, that and Warners’ distribution charge… which puts not one dime towards the production budget?
Worse, the failure of the film to do as much as or more than 2x it’s opening weekend suggests that the film simply didn’t connect much beyond its core, which was mistaken for a bigger group than was ever real. In other words, word of mouth was not great and those who really wanted to see it saw it on Weekend One. Like it or not, Watchmen will have a lower opening weekend to domestic total ratio than Batman & Robin, Van Helsing, Hulk, The Village or even Speed Racer. It’s Cloverfield with 25% more box office and at least 5x the budget.

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Another Shoe Drops

The Hollywood ReporterDirector Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen” faded to second place with $13.5 million generated in 54 markets for an international total to date of $49.5 million. The adaptation of the comic-book series opened at No. 1 the previous weekend with a gross of $25.9 million.

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Weekend Estimates by Klady

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The stats on Watchmen are, simply, what they are. $43 million behind 300 after a second weekend, based on estimates. A smaller opening, but a 14% worse drop (54% vs 68%). $130 million domestic is, really, looking like a stretch at this point. Japan and Hong Kong are the only major international territories not yet open. Hard to be sure, but $150 million foreign seems possible. More seems a bit dubious, unless the reaction there is much stronger than it’s been here. It looks like my “ultimate” numbers from last week may turn out to have been too generous by as much as 10%.
And for the record, I didn’t like 300 any more than Watchmen… my position didn’t get dramatic, the push back from GeekLand did.
Race To Witch Mountain still looks like The Rock’s biggest star opening ever. (The Scorpion King was an extension of the Mummy franchise and Get Smart was a well-promoted, but supporting role.)
Slumdog Millionaire is now not only the #1 Oscar nominee from this last season, but is now chasing down the tough guys… Paul Blart and Clint Eastwood. In fact, if the DVD doesn’t kill it, Slummy has a real shot at becoming the #1 box office film to go wide later than November of last year. (Teen Vamp, Bond, and Mad2 are tops from November and since.)
This should remind us, again, of those Oscar Bump stories of six weeks or so ago… the winner got the bump… but even more so, the movie that asked for the bump got the bump. It’s not mythology. It’s math.
Have I mentioned Miss March? Has anyone?

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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So… Watchmen‘s 78% drop is exaggerated by the Thursday midnight screenings… I would guess that the number will come down to the mid-high-60s by the end of the 3-day, which is not thrilling, but isn’t horrible for a big opening either. “Nuff said,
Disney has to be very happy that The Witch Is Back. They have been cultivating a spring slot over the years and this number almost doubles the start of College Road Trip last year, is about 50% above The Shaggy Dog of three years ago, and is even an improvement on The Bridge to Terabithia. It’s even a better start than The Rock’s biggest hit as a lead, The Game Plan. So there is a real chance that if the kids like this one, it could be his first $100 million movie.
Last House On The Left is Rogue’s second best start ever, after last summer’s The Strangers. I have no idea who is paying for what at this point. It seems to be being released as a Universal movie. Is it a film they didn’t hand to Ryan Kavanaugh in the turnover? Don’t know. But it should be a nice bit of business for the studio.
Taken continues to hold remarkably well. Madea continues to push Tyler Perry further ahead of his previous films, cracking $80 million this weekend when none of the other have done as much as $65 million. Slumdog Millionaire passed Ben Button to become the highest grosser of the Oscar nominees this last Tuesday. And The Reader will pass Milk to be the #3 nominee gross either this weekend or sometime during the next week.
Overture is getting some nice response to Sunshine Cleaning on just 4 screens, but in a market where people older than 35 are looking for ANYTHING worth seeing.
(1:48p – Tera-title corrected)

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Who's Not Watching The….

Have we ever had a movie that has inspired such a load of whining from the fillmakers?
First, it was the completely disingenuous, absurd public letters from two of the producers. Then there was the “it didn’t do as much as expected, but it’s because it’s R rated and it’s long and yadda yadda yadda… blame the box office guessers” whine. Now, a public letter from David Hayter begging geeks to show up for weekend two. I mean…
I have kept my powder dry since Sunday, not wanting to throw reality on an open bonfire. Even on the G4 appearance, I felt no need to slice or dice. But wah wah wah wah wah… if they are going to keep whining publicly, I feel compelled to put them to be without supper.
You want to know how Watchmen is going to do next weekend?
As of day 6, Watchmen is $25 million behind 300. 300 dropped 54% in Weekend Two. If a similar drop occurs, Watchmen will be just $32 million behind 300 after Weekend Two. Of course, at this point, if Watchmen did $180 million domestic, WB would be thrilled.
Here are the weekdays. Watchmen has done better weekdays than any movie yet this year, so it seems terribly unfair to compare the weekdays to summer comic book movies. But here is 300 vs Watchmen, heads up.
You tell me.
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Weekend Estimates by Klady

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Okay

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Friday Estimates by Klady Watched

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$28.1 million.
Want to put the Watchmen opening into perspective? That’s your number.
It’s what 300 did on its opening Friday, two years ago.
Opening weekend, of course, has nothing to do with the quality of the movie. It

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The Hype, The Hype, The Hype Is On Fire

This year

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Weekend Estimates by Klady

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The box office carnies got caught with their hands in the jailbait jar again, as The Jonas Bros: 3D did very well, but was not half the phenom of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: 3D. This is yet another example of the buzzmeter getting ahead of reality. I shouldn’t wag my finger too much because I didn’t tell them so, but the Top Five openings for kids this year, so far, have been Blart, Dog Hostel, Coraline, JB3D, and Pinky-P 2. Blart was the only one with multi-generational family appeal (in its sell) and girls of all ages were dead center on Hotel Le Puppy and Animated Dakota 3D. However hot The Jonas Bros. are, they didn’t have the years of pent up demand that Miley Cyrus did and they are not grrrl icons… they are heartthrobs. Much more narrow niche.
Slumdog Millionaire came on strong from Friday’s estimate, one of only two films to even come close to 4x Friday. This makes sense, as it is a mature title, even if it is expanding wider now. $28 million to Juno.
The other 4xer is Coraline, which is close to 5x. The film is already the #2 all-time domestic stop motion grosser in initial release, behind only Chicken Run. Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas did $50 million in its initial run and has added $25m since. Wallace & Gromit and Corpse Bride both stopped in the 50s. And Selick’s Dahl adaptation did just $27m. Compared to other animated films, this might not seem that impressive. But given the genre, this is a really great success for Selick and for Focus.
Interestingly, The Reader, Milk, The Wrestler, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button all seem to be getting small Oscar bumps, even after winning very little of marketing consequence. Drops are small and Milk is actually up 24%, albeit for a $1.3 million weekend.
Gomorrah continues to be a surprsingly strong player for IFC. They expanded this weekend and have the the #5 per-screen of all films on over 2 screens. And the others are the top 2 grossers of the weekend, are on IMAX, and star Harrision Ford on just 9 screens. So far, the strongest show of foreign language box office muscle around this last awards season was I’ve Loved You So Long, which has done about $3 million domestic.

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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