Box Office Archive for September, 2009

Friday Estimates by Klady – Meatballs With A Side Of Surrogates

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Fugly.
No one can hide behind September this week. Just look at this weekend as it rolled out last year…
Eagle Eye – $9.8m Fri – $29.2m
Nights in Rodanthe – $4.7m Fri – $13.4m
Fireproof -$2.3m – $6.8m
Miracle at St. Anna -$967k – $3.5m
Choke – $477k – $1.3m
Those were the five newbies. $18.2m in new product on Friday. $54.2m over 3 days.
The top three new movies this year this weekend are slightly ahead of Eagle Eye‘s opening Friday alone.
Proud moments.
Love the folks at MGM… but with nothing to sell but Fame for month after month after month, it looks like they’ll be lucky to get a $10m opening out of it.
Surrogates is like the post-Avatar knock-off that came out months before Avatar instead of months after. But it has Bruce Willis being grizzled, which there is still an audience for. But the outdoor campaign looked like vodka ads… literally… like a recent vodka campaign mixed with Calvin Klein. And the result is better than Hostage or Perfect Stranger or 16 Blocks…. but not by much.
And the sickest part of this weekend… it could actually provide cover for more bloodshed at both MGM and Disney next week.
The story in limited releases is Capitalism: A Love Story, which is looking at a $45k-ish per screen over the 3-day weekend. Sicko did $69k on 1 screen in its first weekend. F9/11 did $39k per screen on 2 on a Wednesday and a Thursday before going to 868 screens on that first Friday (where it did $28k per-screen).
In other words… this number will be inconclusive… in Michael Moore dollars. Any other doc would be dancing a jig just grossing over $100k in a weekend, much less in the limited before going wide.

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Weekend Estimates by Klady – September 20

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Cloudy With A Side Of Meatballs is a next step for Sony’s animation division. Their fourth animated film of the current era (since 2003), this is the best opening by more than 20% and looks to be the first $100 million domestic grosser as Sony keeps pushing to join the big leagues of the animation producer/distributors. It is – with little competition – the biggest September opening for an animated film.
About 2/3 of the opening was in Real D or IMAX, which represents around $7 million in extra dollars because of 3D premium pricing…. which is almost exactly the difference between what Sony opened Open Season to vs Cloudy. Hmmm…
So the the good news for Sony is that the number is up substantially. The bad news is that they aren’t expanding their audience for animation much, if at all. Their movies are well liked, but somehow, they are not finding the broader appeal that Disney/Pixar and DreamWorks have mastered and which Fox has found in the Ice Age series and even oddballs like Simpsons. It has to be a little frustrating on a corporate level.
The Informant!‘s opening number is also a bit of a mixed bag. The number is pretty good – especially given the low cost of the film – but not breathtaking. The movie is an oddball, easily one of the year’s best comedies, but not in a conventional way. It reminds me a bit of Syriana, which also had a well-known star in an unusual role. Warners did a couple of word-of-mouth exclusive weeks (5 and 9 screens) which led to an $11.7m wide break. They probably should have tried that here too. It might have added a few million to opening weekend. But Syriana’s $51m domestic total seems like a total that Informant would be satisfied with. Damon and Scott Burns are still right in the Oscar nomination hammock, but $35m – $40m is probably where this one is headed.
Jennifer’s Body coming in behind the Universal dumper, Love Happens, is a bit of a shock. The big misstep here probably started with handing the Fox Atomic movie to Big Fox and not forcing it on Searchlight, where they would have worked it longer and harder. Bottom line, an Amanda Seyfried movie that no one knows Amanda Seyfried is in because the media is all Paris Hilton on Megan Fox – something she honestly seems to be trying to avoid – is a movie that is going to get you Paris Hilton results (and really, $12 million for the May release of House of Wax is about the same, in spirit, as $6.7m in September.)
I think the movie is a mess, in spite of good performances by almost everyone, including Ms Fox, who shows actual promise as an actual actress. Still, that doesn’t mean that it should have been able to be sold to the unknowing masses. They buy shite all the time.
The answer, I think, might have been a much more sophisticated publicity effort with Fox herself. Yes, she can be a challenge to the studio. But the reinvention of her brand, as opposed to “you might see her b-cups, horny boys!” is what she is clearly after and might have helped the movie. It seems to me that the audience they missed – and was key to this film’s success – was teen girls. They ID with Seyfried more than Fox and if the film was publicized as a horror film made by women, starring women, for women – the old Screen Gems stalking horse – they may well have doubled this number. Watch Fox Searchlight pull that together for Whip It, which also has the advantage of being a much better movie. But look for a lot of Drew Flower Power – including a wide range of female voices and types in the cast – to make the film the biggest hit with grrrrrrls since, well, Juno.
ADD, 11:18a – TWC just sent along the news that based on this weekend’s estimates, Inglorious Basterds just passed Pulp Fiction as Tarantino’s top domestic grosser.
Ironic that Matt Damon is opening a Soderbergh movie on the same weekend that Brad Pitt leads the way for QT’s biggest movie ever. Hmmm… I wonder what studio would like to have a Brad Pitt movie for next March that won’t be making them MONEY because they took their eye off the BALL… hmmm…

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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4-Day Weekend Estimates by Klady

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3-Day Estimates By Klady That Made The Clown Cry

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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What’s there to say about this ugly mutt of a box office weekend?
Of the three films nearly tied at the top, I expect All About Steve to pull it out because it is, in theory, a rom-com, and thus might have a more committed 4-day audience… unless they read reviews.
Amazingly this year’s Labor Day weekend has had a stronger box office kick-off, at least at the top of the chart, than last year. Still, zzzzzz…
I wouldn’t be shocked if Inglourious Basterds actually ends up passing the newcomers and FD4D and taking the top slot. It’s about 500k behind, but there may be a more consistent flow of ticket buyers who are wanting to catch up with it by weekend’s end.
The 8/9/10 films from Friday hit landmarks and are looking to hit the next landmark by the end of the weekend.

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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