Box Office Archive for October, 2009

Friday Estimates by Klady – These Is Them

Title – Distrib – Gross * – Theater – % Change

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Weekend Estimates by Klady – Oct 25

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Paranormal has clearly found normal, holding for what is estimated to be 3x Friday over the weekend… which is better than most horror genre films do. More congrats to Paramount marketing.
As for WTWTA, not sensational, but not deadly. You have to go back to July to find a movie other than Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs that opened to $30m or more and dropped less than 49% in the second weekend. My sense is that its still rather blurry about who the movie is for. But the door is closing on WB after this next weekend. $80m domestic is going to be a fight and foreign is going to define whether the film is profitable.
The most interesting number on the board, for me, is $1.3m for Aida Live… 1 screening… 4 hours long… in just 403 theaters. I have never been much of a believer in event programming satellited to theaters. But this is very interesting.
There is a certain amusement about An Education and AntiChrist having about the same per screen.

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Friday Estimates by Klady – pre-Halloween

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The Friday before Halloween is stunningly consistent for horror/kill movies… $14 million has been the magic number. It started before Saw ever happened.
2002 – The Ring (wknd 2) & Ghost Ship – $10.2m – interrupted a little by Jackass opening
2003 – Scary Movie 3 & Texas Chainsaw Massacre (wknd 2)- expanded by comedy
2004 – The Grudge (wknd 2) & Saw – $14.2m
2005 – Saw II & The Fog (wknd 3) – $13.1m
2006 – Saw III & Grudge 2 (wknd 3) – $15.6m
2007 – Saw IV & 30 Days Of Night (wknd 2)- $17m
2008 – Saw V – $14m
So… $14m for Paranormal Activity & Saw VI combined is not terribly surprising. The question was always how those dollars would be split up and whether the duo would expand the market.
Lionsgate can’t be happy. And really, Paramount may have cost both companies money by doing their big expansion directly against the Saw franchise… but not for sure. Paranormal is a created phenom and how the timing works on it is, honestly, a bit of a mystery. What works works… what doesn’t doesn’t. And this is already a win for Spielberg & Paramount Marketing.
Astroboy and Amelia should not be too surprising to anyone either. Astro is an improvement on the Fly Me To The Moon opening, but they also spent a load more on marketing and there is a known character, even if the young generation has no idea who he is. But it’s easier to sell Iron Man meets Pinocchio than astronaut insects.
But Universal’s flop with Cirque du Freak seems like a seriously missed opportunity. Yeah, the world is a bot vampired out. But the film never seemed to find a clear sell. And that’s always a bad thing.
And let’s not go crazy on the WTWTA drop. It is not a great hold. It will get better over the whole weekend. But it is also going right into the face of two new strong openings, plus Astro.

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Klady's Friday Estimates For Wild Things

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Where The Wild Things Are is still getting mixed reviews, from raves to anguish and a lot of “I liked it, but it lost me somewhere” in between. This number reflects, however, the DaVinci Code of it all… the book is one of the most important children’s books in history and the images in the advertising will make any child – especially boys – anxious to get the the theater even faster than GI Joe.
An apology of sorts to Paramount on Paranormal Activity. I still think the media has lost its collective mind in overhyping this thing. I guess we have nothing else better to do. But it looks like they are now heading towards a competition with Cloverfield in terms of box office and not Snakes On A Plane. Smart, focused effort… very Searchlight… very Megan Colligan (and her talented team)… wonder whether Sumner is now thinking about whether she should have Brad Grey’s job… Brad should be very happy that they notion that was floated repeatedly over the summer of blaming/firing marketing after he blamed/fired Lesher didn’t come to fruition… in classic style, the marketing department shows how much smarter it is than production, selling a nothing little gimmick film into profits while the monster films of the leadership return weakly on their massive investments.

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Sorry, Michael

Box office “actuals” have landed and the biggest overestimater… Capitalism: A Love Story. The studio estimate was $4.85m, the MCN estimate was $4.6m, and reality seems to be… $4.45m.
How significant is the weak Sunday?
Well, putting aside any Twitter Effect bullshit, the stat that’s key here is that the expansion to 962 screens actually did less business than Sicko‘s expansion to 441 screens. (The gross there was $4.5m.)
Again, great for a doc… not so great for a Michael Moore movie.
Sicko never had a better weekend than that expansion, even with two increases in theater count. And given that they are already at 962, I don’t expect the film to ever go any wider… and I expect the drops to be modest… but still, in the high 30s and low 40s from here in.
This is one of those cases in which the studio – Overture here – did their job. They bought the ads. They got Michael to do all the press he would do. There just is no proposition in this film that demands that people go out to the movie theater, no matter how much Michael Moore demands that people attend. it joins films like Funny People, The Soloist, The Informant!, and (500) Days of Summer and The Time Traveler’s Wife, which actually found the audience that really wanted to see them… but couldn’t entice anyone else to join in the enthusiasm. Sometimes, that’s just the answer. Sometimes, the niche can’t be expanded very much.
I look forward to Michael’s future films. I remind him, truth is funnier than fiction. My top suggestion would be to do a deal with HBO for a year, delivering one 1 hour Michael Moore film a quarter. Loosen it up. Gamble a bit. Stop trying to change the world and just think about changing one mind, making one person laugh hard, exposing one terrible truth. There is no one better to do it. But you have to stop being MICHAEL MOORE and get back to be Mike.

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Weekend Estimates by Klady – 10/04/09

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Not much to chew on here. Meatballs and the Toy Stories remind us all of why family films are the best business is Hollywood these days… making Disney’s move away from them ongoingly curious.
The Hangover got to $275 million… amazing… and its last 5/0 landmark.
Without anything else to do, Paramount’s gentle push-along of Paranormal Activity is both impressive and irrelevant at the same time. They are doing a really nice job of bringing out their niche core. But the notion that this film is going to turn into a bigger phenom seems less and less likely each week. People wanted to see Blair Witch because they didn’t know what it was. When they hear “it’s the next Blair Witch,” the response from many people is something to the effect of, “Really? Did they tape this one off of YouTube?”
The per-screen on A Serious Man is fine… tells us nothing… great film, but 6 theaters filled with Jews is not a telling achievement. (i was one of them yesterday)

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Friday Estimates by Klady – 1039

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The only real surprise here – and I mean in a gut check way, not a “the tracking was off” way – is Whip It not finding an audience. I mean… worse than The Invention of Lying… really?
This may well be a case of me being the Searchlight bubble on this. I saw the film in Toronto. I enjoyed it. (Interestingly to me, even Tony Scott’s iffy lead on his review in the NYT ended up pretty much were I am… acknowledging that the movie achieves its goals, even if they are not his faves.) And it seems to me to be a movie that women from 8 to 28 would really, really like… perhaps even the over 28s.
Oh well.
Screen Gems did its normal good job of pushing out genre to its core. Zombieland will open to almost double Shaun of the Dead‘s entire domestic gross, reminding us of Elvis’ Law: A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please.
Capitalism: A Love Story opened wider to slightly more than Sicko… on more than double the screens. To be fair, the exclusive shows – on 4 screens instead of Sicko‘s – put $400k more in the bank going into the expansion weekend. The core is there. The sample from this weekend will determine how broadly the film plays. My guess remains a domestic total in the high teens, which is massive for docs, but may well be the weakest Moore performance in the last decade.

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Box Office Hell – 10/2/09

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Box Office

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“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima

“They’re still talking about the ‘cathedral of cinema,’ the ‘communal experience,’ blah blah. The experiences I’ve had recently in the theatre have not been good. There’s commercials, noise, cellphones. I was watching Colette at the Varsity, and halfway through red flashes came up at the bottom of the frame. A woman came out and said, ‘We’re going to have to reboot, so take fifteen minutes and come back.’ Then they rebooted it from the beginning, and she had to ask the audience to tell her how far to go. You tell me, is that a great experience? I generally don’t watch movies in a cinema at all. Netflix is the future. It’s the present. But the whole paradigm of a series, binge-watching, it’s quite different. My first reaction is that it’s more novelistic, because if you have an eight-hour season, you can get into complex, intricate things. You can let it breathe and the audience expectations are such that they will let you, where before they wouldn’t have the patience. I think only the surface has been touched with experimenting with that.”
~ David Cronenberg