Box Office Archive for January, 2010

Weekend Box Office by Klady A7/Darkness 17

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Not a whole lot more to say about this weekend.
A stat that I find a bit surprising is that Avatar is still running, in Weekend 7, a few million for the weekend ahead of Titanic domestically, which is the long legs king of the world. Titanic‘s Weekend 8 was $23 million and change… so… we’ll see…
The re-release of The Hurt Locker is… not happening. Another mistake. I will be the first one to cheer if the movie wins Best Picture, but it’s a shame that Summit found so many different ways for audiences not to experience this movie on a big screen. And of course, it’s not just Summit’s fault. The rest of the industry gave the film a collective pass when distribution rights were on the line. Searchlight could be up to win their second Best Picture in a row… and Fox overall would be in a virtual can’t-lose situation.
The real story, when all is said and done, will be that two movies that really chose NOT to compete for Best Picture in an aggressive way are the two front-runners at this point. Yes, both companies have bought ads and will buy more. But for the most part, both Summit and Fox have let the movies themselves do almost all the heavy lifting.
But I digress…

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Friday Estimates by Klady – A7

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We’re getting closer to a #2 weekend for Avatar domestically. Taken opened to over $24 million. Will the director’s follow-up, with bald John Travolta a a cherry on top, open to the same or more? If A’ drops 155 this weekend and 15% again next weekend, we’re looking at a $25.2m 3-day. Vulnerable.
Of course, Avatar looks to pass Titanic as top domestic grosser, all-time, in real dollars, before mid-week. And if it doesn’t cross the $2 billion worldwide tape today, it will do so tomorrow.
Mel Gibson’s return in Edge of Darkness should end up opening in the mid-teens. Though the points of comparison start and end here, the last time he opened a movie to this little was Braveheart in 1995. Still, considering the ugliness of the last number of years, there seems to be some forgiveness in this number and room for a return to bigger openings… if studios will have him.
When in Rome is not a disastrous number… nothing to celebrate… except for those who thought the film would never get a real release.
In clean-up, Sherlock continues to roll slowly to $200 million domestic… Complicated passed $100 million yesterday…

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Actual Research Brings Asterisk To GWTW Numbers

I have pointed out repeatedly that the assumptions we make about old numbers can be very iffy. Box Office Mojo, in particular, is operating with a very narrow set of numbers from before its opening a few years ago, none of which it compiled on its own.
Some guy from Australia did some research – what a concept! – and found some issues with Mojo’s much repeated Adjusted Gross chart. He use the NY Times search and found news stories from each time Gone With The Wind was in release and found that the estimates of ticket sales were iffy. You can read that here
Me being me, I am researching his research. And he’s a little off base in some areas. But not all.
Still, if you want to understand why adjusted gross games and ticket sales guessing is a fool’s errand, read the thread. And I’ll offer more when I have gotten closer to real numbers.
You might also want to read this Time Magazine piece from 1940. While Mojo is estimating tickets sold at 23

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Box Office Hell – Avatar To Hit $2 Billion This Weekend

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Avatar = Titanic x The Dark Knight

Up until now, box office analysts have had three kinds of mega-movies to figure out. There are the speed demons, there are – and there are only a couple of examples – the Christmas plodders (which only seem like plodders because we haven’t seen any $100m openings in December yet), and there are the films that are either majority-domestic or majority-foreign.
The highest form of the third group is Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. $885m worldwide, $688 of it from overseas… a remarkable 78% of the gross. We will see more of this. 2012 and The Da Vinci Code were also in the 70s internationally.
Avatar is hovering right under 70%, a few percent more domestic than Titanic. Avatar will likely end up in the low 70s, a reflection of the expansion of markets internationally since Titanic… and all the more impressive since pumped-up 3D revenues represent less than half the international tickets sold.
But what is fascinating about Avatar is that it is doing both what The Dark Knight did domestically (and The Potters and Pirates 2 and Spidey 3, etc did worldwide) AND what Titanic did. It didn’t open as huge or speed to $300 million as fast… and it won’t hold as long as high as Titanic.
But as a hybrid of the mega-wide-release, the international phenom, and supermuscular legs, it is a new breed. (And the 3D money doesn’t hurt either.)
We are six weekends – 38 days – into this ride. Titanic‘s ride was 38 weeks.
And in spite of being the #2 all-time domestic grosser and #1 international grosser already, we’re looking at another Avatar drop of under 20% domestically. It’s insane. If the film keeps holding at 20% a week, we’re looking at another $200 million at the domestic box office BEFORE Alice In Wonderland takes over a large chunk of the 3D screens. (And don’t be surprised if Avatar makes a significant 3D-only return in April.)
That would be more than $750m domestic. $800m is not unlikely.
Internationally, it is already the #1 film of all time… and that is with a much smaller percentage of 3D tickets being sold overseas. And it had a $107 million weekend overseas this weekend. So are we looking at another $250 million… $300 million… $400 million? More?
By the way, the reason the Chinese thing is remotely significant is that China – about 90% 2D screens – has been one of the top six international markets for the film so far and Avatar is the highest grossing film ever in China.
The first $2 billion movie is now inevitable. But will Avatar raise the bar as high as Titanic did a dozen years ago? $2.5 billion is not unthinkable, given this run.
That would be a $650 million improvement on the Titanic gross.
For a little perspective, only 42 films in movie history have earned $650 million worldwide… period.
Of course, even at $2.5 billion, there will be whiners out there trying to diminish the achievement by slurring on about ticket pricing and inflation adjustment. Infantile. Or in the case of competing studios, business jealousy.
As far as the inflation bores go, as far as i can tell, the only $2 billion worldwide grossers, even adjuster are Titanic ($2.8b) and Star Wars ($2.2b).
And those ticket counters? 203 million tickets allegedly sold for Gone With The Wind (based on estimated pulled out of educated, but thin air). So let’s take the inaccurate $7.35 ticket price average of today. 203 million tickets sold would be $1.492 billion. Add $3.50 to 80% of tickets sold (all overly generous) for another $568m. So… $2.06 billion, broadly, would be equal to Gone With The Wind. Fair enough? When it happens, will you please shut the f**k up about the 3D bump?
Seriously, folks. A movie that more than DOUBLES the worldwide take of all but one film in movie history. You have to have big ol’ blinders on or be the world’s greatest contortionist to bend that into “just another big grosser.”
People make excuses for all kinds of movies, all the time. Avatar needs no excuses.

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Weekend Box Office by Klady – Avaseis

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What was most striking about the weekend numbers, aside from Avatar’s ongoing worldwide rampage, was what seems to be an actual Globes bump. Yeah… gross. But estimated holds of 29% for Holmes, 25% for Complicated, 20% for Blind Side, 23% for George In the Air, and even small-count holds from Young Victoria, Single Man, Broken Embraces and Crazy Heart seem to be getting a sweep of people going down the list and checking out what they haven’t yet seen before Oscar nominations.
Holmes, which was down 40% last weekend in 3 days, even with the holiday, is down just 29% this week, even while losing screens. I don’t see any other explanation other than Downey winning an unexpected (and ridiculous) Globe last Sunday. And while Meryl Streep has won stuff for Julie & Julia, the only Streep performance in the marketplace is It’s Complicated. Bullock & Clooney are less surprising.
Legion did okay… it hurt Book of Eli a little, though Eli’s hold is pretty good. The Tooth Fairy has to be a bit disappointing for a hot-streaking Fox, though if the kids who did see it liked it, word of mouth could do them quite well. We’ll see.
Extraordinary Measures, like all openers, is a failure of marketing more than anything else. Yes, the footage in the ads and trailer looked horrible visually. (There is some debate over whether the movie itself looks as bad… I haven’t seen it, so I can’t tell you.) But it was everything feeling low-end, from outdoor to ads. I am a fan of Debbie Miller, who is there from Fox and WB, but you have to have a team of the highest level to take a movie like this beyond what it is… a heavy-casted TV movie. Universal dumped Lorenzo’s Oil, a movie I love, never going as wide as 500 screens, probably finding the same problem with targeting a market that wants to see parents fighting for sick kids.
Avatar. Well. Time for a new entry…

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Friday Estimates by Klady – Avatar vs The Wing Men

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Legion is, typically, a Sony Screen Gems piece that got dragged around for a bit… and the marketing dept. opened the thing to the mid-20s anyway.
Not so much luck for CBS Films’ Extraordinary Measures, which is going to struggle to see a cume of $20 million domestically. (It may actually improve overseas, with the value of Fraser & Ford increasing.) Terrible campaign and a movie whose clips all suggest that it was made on sets from ER on the weekends.
For me, the biggest surprise is the poor opening of The Tooth Fairy. Yes, the Friday number will have a nice multiple for the weekend with as much as $12 million. But after a $23m start for The Game Plan and $18.6m for Are We There Yet?, this number kinda sucks. From my perspective – and it may be limited – Fox didn’t sell the entire story arc, just certain gags… and none of them were that great. The Rock in a tutu was just not enough.
Oh… and that little Avatar thing. Another weekend record – for Weekend 6 – though it’s about to start falling behind Titanic in this stat, probably next weekend. It’s been running ahead of Dark Knight domestically for about a week as the fastest grosser ever, right now about $45 million ahead for 36 days. $1.75 billion worldwide will be passed this weekend… which means it will have doubled the gross of any movie not in the Top 20 all-time, including Spider-Man and Trannys 2. It also puts the film less than $100m away from Titanic. In fact, it may pass Titanic’s international record this weekend… and that record was a full $500 million more than any other movie before, putting it well past adjusted gross and 3D bump range, especially since international grosses for the older movies were tiny by percentage of total gross in comparison to the post-70s era.

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Box Office Hell – A6

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4 Day Estimates By Klady – A5

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(my analysis after 1p)
8.5 hours after 1p – A 15% drop isn’t all that impressive. After all, Titanic was up actually up on MLK weekend… 4.5% on the 3-day. Of course, Titanic’s domestic gross was at $275m after that 4-day. Fact is, there are a parade of late December openers that held better on this weekend, even before MLK Day was made into a national holiday.
That said, Top MLK Grosser is kind of the least significant milestone for the film this weekend. The previous record for 5th weekend 3-day gross was Titanic‘s $30 million. So let’s do the adjusted gross thing… that takes Titanic to about $45m. And a 25% 3D bump makes that $56.25. So forget what I just wrote. A $43 million 3-day SUCKS! It’s nothing. Forget it. No one will ever see this movie. Even the Chinese government hates the story.
Ahem.
Everytime I think it’s time to put Avatar on a more traditional trajectory, it blows right past expectations.
Of course, the question of whether it is a cultural phenomenon is more than gross dollars. I agree. But this speaks to my sense that neither The Dark Knight or Shrek 2 nor Pirates 2 were true social phenomena. A month out. there is more discussion of Avatar than of any of those three recent record-breakers. But have any of these films really had a major cultural impact? Not so much. Popularity no longer signals that kind of weight. Certainly, the media has limited interest in perpetuating what is popular and prefers “off brands,” like Twilight, which was the #6 film of last year and #36 all-time worldwide… and for those of you who love an argument, probably the #5 film in profit last year… but plays as a surprise.
Anyway…
Avatar also may be creating opportunity for some other films. As much as it ate the box office this weekend, this is also the first time in history that six films have been over $10m for the 4-day MLK weekend (or on the same weekend before the holiday existed). The only times there have been as many as five eight-figure movies over this weekend was 2002 and 2003. To put that in perspective, the top three grossers on that four-day in 2002 totaled $73m… this weekend, $113m. The Book of Eli would have been the #3 grosser over the MLK weekend were it not for Avatar, so that opening is quite impressive as well.
I can’t see anything else on the estimates chart that hasn’t been discussed in the last week,

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BYO Box Office

Klady is going to do a 4-day tomorrow.
Nothing really surprising since yesterday from my perspective.
The Lovely Bones, by studio estimate, had a nice 10% bump on Saturday… which probably means that a younger audience is finding the film, as was the marketing intent.
One thing that has caught my eye is that Brothers has quietly grossed over $28 million, which puts Oscar chasers An Education, Nine, A Serious Man, and The Messenger in the financial rear view. I am pretty well convinced that had Lionsgate treated this movie as an equal to Precious instead of as an afterthought (I finally got a screener… 4 days ago… and not from Lionsgate, but from Relativity Media), it would have outgrossed Precious and would have had a real shot at a nomination… and Tobey Maguire would have been a lock for a Best Actor nod.

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Friday Estimates by Klady – Eli vs The Na'vi

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Another strong start for a Joel Silver production after a bit of a rough run. This start is running a bit hotter than Denzel’s previous #2 opener, Inside Man, though while this reminds us that Denzel is a true movie star (meaning, he can open movies on his own), it is a concept piece that has the strongest action appeal since Avatar and then Sherlock Holmes opened last month.
it seems like that we’ll see a Cloverfield-like trajectory on the film… maybe a little less harsh. Look for a 3-day of just under $30 million… a 4-day of $33m – $35m.
Avatar will lose a day for the third time in its run (opening days for Sherlock and Chippys 2 were the other two), but like the last two times, it looks like a one day long event. Saturday rises have been erratic, in part because of the film playing through the holidays. Last weekend, it went up a crazy 60%, Fri-Sat. Let’s say it ends up off 25% for the 3-day… $37.5m for the 3-day… $43m for the 4-day, crossing the $500m domestic threshold on Monday, in 32 days, passing TDK’s 45 days to becomes the fastest film to ever hit $500m.
I am personally stunned to say, it now looks like Avatar will pass The Dark Knight‘s domestic #2 position by the end of next weekend. The film is already over $1 billion overseas. With over $1.5 billion by the end of this weekend, Avatar will be the #2 box office grosser of all time with or without the “3D bump.” Sorry haters… another scoreboard to suffer.
Paramount’s marketing reboot of The Lovely Bones will show itself more today, as teen girls are the target. Will the movie go up to $7m or $8m today, ending up with a $20m+ 4-day or will it roll with a more traditional trajectory and end up with $17m or so? We shall see.
The Spy Next Door felt a bit dumped… which won’t look so good when Sony’s The Karate Kid becomes a significant hit this summer. This is one of those cases when the studio should have just waited for another movie to rebrand their star. Jackie Chan and kids will be a real draw after “jacket on… jacket off.”
Who would have expected The Blind Side to outgross both Sherlock Holmes and The Squeakquel domestically? It looks like Sherlock will come up just short of $200m and Chippys 2 will just pass the mark.
Up In The Air is a bit confounding. $70m domestic is quite good for a dramedy with a message. But it’s, somehow, not exciting. Odd.

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Avatar Will Go On

All this TV drama has distracted from the ongoing drama of Avatar‘s box office.
Today was Day 28. And domestically, it passed $450 million today. It is doing better, day-to-day, than The Dark Knight at this point… and is now only about $4 million behind TDK’s record grossing pace of $454.7m in 28 days.
TDK did $16.4m in its fifth weekend. Given that his is a holiday weekend and Avatar‘s biggest weekend drop has been 33% weekend-to-weekend so far, I’d be estimating a drop in the high 20s and a 3-day total of no less than $35 million. By the end of the 4-day, Avatar will be the fastest grossing domestic film over the first 32 days by more than $15 million. And it will likely hit $500 million domestic before the start of next weekend.
So it is now clear that Avatar will pass The Dark Knight domestically. (It’s already more than doubled TDK’s international take.) And with more than $1.5 billion in the till by this time next week, Titanic‘s seemingly insurmountable $1.8b gross is looking surmountable.
It is fair, in this moment, to talk about adjusted gross. (Any way you slice it, Titanic is #1 with $2.8 billion in real dollars and $2.8 billion adjusted, worldwide.) it is fair, in this moment, to talk about the 3D bump in normal current ticket prices. (Avatar would have to gross at least $2.2 billion worldwide to match Titanic, taking a 25% bump into account.)
But it is not fair, in my opinion, in this moment, to downplay how massive a box office phenomenon any movie that comes close to the real-dollar Titanic number is. Prior to this, no other film in history has come within 2/3rds of the way to the number.
The next big question is whether this will all convert to a slowed DVD sell-thru market. Titanic was late to the DVD party. And Avatar could be too late to be a record breaker.

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Weekend Box Office by Klady – AvaFour

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What more is there to say about Avatar? It’s the #2 film all-time internationally by a good amount… but still $340m behind Titanic… which is a lot at this stage. Domestically, it’s $174m behind Titanic… which is still a lot.
The estimated 32% drop is the best of all the wide releases… which is the most remarkable thing in a week of record-breaking weekday numbers. At a weekly 40% drop the rest of the way, ‘Tar is looking about $140m more at the domestic box office. Plenty enough to pass The Dark Knight, but still almost $40m short of Titanic‘s domestic number. But the big question is what the international numbers will be… that is the engine of mega-numbers in this era.
Only 6 of the 23 films to earn $800 million or more worldwide earned less than 60% of their revenue internationally and only one earned more at home than overseas, The Dark Knight. And TDK’s success if all the more incredible for it. (And there is good news for the next Nolan Batman film, as the first two Spider-Man movies were under the 54% mark overseas and #3 leapt up to 63%, as the domestic gross fell, but foreign continued to grow.) Conversely, 10 of those 23 films grossed more than 65% of box office revenue overseas.
The $217.3m domestic gross of the first Jason Lee Chipmunks movie is probably out of reach for Chippys 2, but $200 million is looking reachable… and whether it gets there or not, look for Chipmunks 3 for Christmas 2011. (Also, the first film did $143m internationally. The Squeakquel is at $105m as of last weekend. So that will be a process to watch as well.)
I have no real precedent to which I can compare Sherlock Holmes‘ performance. It’s a good number, but not a great one. It’s an expensive film, but not a problematically expensive one. And it’s overseas numbers are still not fully crunchable. It looks like a slightly better than breakeven movie. WB partnered with Village Roadshow on this one. I would expect a carefully budgeted sequel with the reasonable hopes that the pairing of Downey and Law, which seemed to be the major draw here, will become even more attractive. Personally, I would cut the budget by a third and ask Guy Ritchie to forget big effects and to focus on character. This could still be a terrific franchise.
Daybreakers did well, especially considering the delays in its arrival. It is not a dump. On the other hand, if it were a Screen Gems movie, they would consider this an underperformance, with $20m the target for these kinds of movies over there. (At least, it used to be.)
The disappearance of It’s Complicated from higher up on the leader board is kind of a surprise. It has a good amount of entertainment value, at least for over-50s and at least for an act and a half. But it is apparent that the Nancy Meyers franchise relies heavily on its stars to generate more than the $60 million or so that the “older” base offers. In this case, Streep was a good center figure, but Steve Martin isn’t playing a “Steve Martin character,” undermining his ability to draw. And Alec Baldwin is beloved and brilliant, but not box office. The reverse analysis of the film is that with this cast, a real duel for Streep between these two men, with Baldwin as the surprising good guy and Martin as the unexpected scumbag would have been a much bigger hit. But then again, that would be a Frank Oz film, not a Nancy Meyers.
On Up In The Air, I am wondering whether a shift to a more accurate marketing push might help at this point. Clooney fires people. Kendrick wants to fire them better and more efficiently. People are people, not machines. You would never know that this is a socially conscious dramedy from the ads. I would love to see the spot with Kendrick as the kid villain. I understand not starting there, but the audience who is coming out for the Gentle George rom-com is almost played out and the movie is still behind It’s Complicated.
$7m for Youth In Revolt is not thrilling, but someone needs to look at Michael Cera’s track record. Nick & Nora was kinda brilliantly sold to the music crowd… and still only opened to $11.3m. They were on the right track with Cera doing MTV interstitials with the cast of Jersey Shore, but it was too late in the cycle to become something bigger. A few more weeks… a fake publicized romance between Cera and Snooki… a lot more push on Portia Doubleday as a sex object for boys and a woman in sexual control for girls… that kind of thing. The pressure at Weinstein/Dimension is too intense for finesse these days. But Searchlight, I am convinced, could have opened this movie in the high teens, in no small part by being able to afford to take its time.
Nine is crushing to The Weinsteins. I’m sure they are still hoping they can revive it if it gets an Oscar nod for Best Picture. And I have to say, I still feel better about their chances than I did about Cold Mountain. But this is one of those cases where less than $20m at the box office is going to be deadly with awards voters… on top of people just not loving the movie.
The Weinsteins are an asset that someone should take hold of. Amazingly, one of the best fits would be Bob Iger’s Disney. Dimension fits like a glove. And Harvey’s side, with clear financial boundaries (which is to say, unlimited budgets if funded outside of Disney, very limited budgets if funded in any part by Disney), could be great for Disney. These guys are still brilliant salesmen and with the backbone of a studio, it would open them up to being creative first and financial worriers second again. If I were Paramount, I would be having that meeting too. Par’s marketing muscle and discipline could really help push Weinstein product out there. I don’t really see the other studios as good fits.

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How The Avatar 3D Premium Should Be Estimated

After weeks of discussing Avatar and reading dozens of different notions of how the 3D premium fits into the overall grosses for the film, I decided to try to get some more objective information. So I decided to do a random look at the pricing across the country.
I looked at 10 markets:
Baton Rouge, LA
Chicago, IL
Denver, CO
Los Angeles, CA
Madison, WI
Miami, FL
New York, NY
Oklahoma City, OK
Seattle, WA
Tuscon, AZ
I used Fandango and MovieTickets.com to find out pricing. There were anomalies. For instance, the IMAX opportunity in Chicago is Navy Pier, which is only an IMAX. You might suspect that the premium for IMAX over 2D would be higher because it’s a standalone IMAX, but it’s the opposite. It was the lowest IMAX premium over 2D, at 36.4%. The highest IMAX premium over 2D was 66.7% in Madison Wisconsin.
IMAX 3D prices were between $4 and $6 over 2D
Non-IMAX 3D was priced at premiums between $2.50 and $4 over 2D.
2/3 of the sites that have the movie playing have 3D, but on opening weekend, fewer than half the screens were showing 3D (roughly 3200 against 7000, according to BO Mojo). Of course, 3D was more popular, and about 59% of the gross was for those non-IMAX 3D screens.
IMAX premiums are higher, but in all but one of the markets I looked at, the premium on top of 3D is only $1 or $2 over the other 3D option. IMAX clearly has had and still has the highest percentage of seats sold. But we’re only talking about 178 sites. In the first weekend, IMAX was about 12% of the overall take and the per-screen was almost $55,000 per. About 40% of that is the premium over 2D.
So… in the US, over opening weekend, about 71% of the overall gross was for some form of 3D… or about $55m of the gross. About $14.5 million extra was earned on the non-IMAX 3D premium. About $3.8m extra was earned on the IMAX premium. So $18.3 million in 3D premiums or about 24%.
That percentage may have gone up a bit in the weeks after, as the urge to see the movie in 3D became such a part of the legend. But as you look around the markets, there are a lot of places where there is no IMAX available and the numbers of 2D screenings being offered right now are about 25% fewer than the 3D. In markets like Los Angeles, the 2D availability is less because exhibitors are adjusting to less demand. But that’s definitely not the case everywhere. Someone is out there watching the movie in 2D… a lot of someones.
Internationally, where 2/3 of the gross revenues are coming from, the percentage is a bit lower still. So if we agreed, roughly, that the US number is 30% on the premiums and internationally, it’s about 20% (which I think is very, very fair to the naysayers on both counts), the adjusted gross of Avatar would be about $895 million after 22 days, still about #15 all-time. #2 all-time, using this adjustment, would be about $1.4 billion.

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Friday Estimates by Klady – A4

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I know… this Avatar Domination is getting boring. Another day, another record. It will easily be the biggest Fourth Weekend in history. As far as I can tell, the best Fourth Friday in domestic history before this was Narnia’s $9.7m, which was on December 30, 2005. #2 on the chart seems to be The Dark Knight with $7.6 million, on which The ‘Tar makes a 78% improvement. Still, TDK remains in the day-by-day lead as of Day 22 by $29 million.
Avatar is already #2 only to Titanic internationally and is still playing strong. Even if it “just” does $1 billion international, it will be a remarkable number. Asterisk all you like, but the $1.8 billion Titanic number seemed insurmountable and here comes a film – an original – that will be the first to get as close a 2/3 of the way… and looks like it will get within a few hundred million… a much smaller bridge to cross. The leap from #1s to #2s can be huge, Dark Knight being the most extreme example ever. But it’s not hard to imagine Avatwo being the first $200 million domestic opening (assuming a summer release), with many more 3D screens available by 2013, and a $400 million opening weekend worldwide.
On the Domestic track, ‘Tard passed Trannys 2 yesterday… it is now past Spider-Man on East Coast matinees… by the end of the weekend, it should be past Pirates 2 and Phantom Menace to be the #6 domestic grosser of all time. Before next weekend, it will pass ET to become #5. Over next weekend, it will pass Shrek 2 and close in on Star Wars (which has an inflated gross by way of re-release). That will leave only TDK and Titanic in the way.
I expect next weekend – keep in mind that it’s a holiday – to be a tight race with The Book of Eli. The drops for movies in the range of “Tar are in the mid-20s to low 30s for the 3-day of the 4-day holiday. Titanic actually went up 5%. So put Avatar at about $30 million for the 3-day. Only Cloverfield, the Star Wars re-release, Paul Blart, and Gran Torino‘s expansion are at that number for a January opening/expansion. And Denzel has only one $30m launch on his resume’… American Gangster with Russell Crowe co-starring, not Gary Oldman.
Really, the date kinda sucks for Eli, but February is already chock full of testosterone (The Wolfman, Shutter Island, and the ew-this-could-be-ugly Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. And WB has Clash of the Titans to open in March. If the movie sucks, the should be moving forward. If not, it seems like a very good late summer kind of movie. Of course, Warners has the Chris Nolan movie, which is also a complex sell, in late July already. With 20 movies already on the schedule for 2010, WB remains the most prolific distributor in town… and sometimes, that leaves movies like Eli in an iffy slot. Or maybe they are happy with us all thinking the film is Mad Max Goes On The Road.
Nice number for Daybreakers, the movie they didn’t really want to release. Cloverfield, Paul Blart, and Taken dwarf this number, but paying attention to the economies of scale, this is a strong result for Lionsgate.
Sherlock, ‘Munks2, Complicated, Princess Frog and surprisingly, the unending fountain of green, The Blind Side, are all on the low side of expectations for the weekend.
Oscar contender Up In The Air had a 17% screen expansion and is still down and estimated 51% Friday-to-Friday. $70m – $80m domestic for a modestly budgeted movie is certainly a success. But it’s not a wildfire. After all, it’s likely to be outgrossed by It’s Complicated when all is said and done. You can kinda feel Paramount’s muscled up marketing department straining a little on this one. It is a terrific movie. But it’s not a straight rom-com, which is how they keep trying to sell it in tv ad revision after revision, now completely disregarding the real story of the film and using the third act wedding to pump up the rom-com cred.
Leap Year is, under the circumstances, not an outright disaster. But it’s kind of a disaster. It’s a major leap forward for Amy Adams, whose only other real “It’s Amy!!!’ opening was Miss Pettigrew, which opened to about a quarter of what the Leapy number will be. But it’s half of what Fox opened Bride Wars to last year on the same weekend… and Bride Wars was a bit of a bust domestically, considering the cast. And in the Leap case, I don’t see international coming to the rescue.

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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