Box Office Archive for February, 2010

Weekend Box Office by Klady – Shuttwo-er



Friday Estimates by Klady – A Very Special Episode Of 227

Not much to say. Shutter has a nice hold off of a big opening, no matter what critics wrote. Somehow, it’s not surprising to people when big dumb movies survive the critics because audiences want to have fun. But when Scorsese has to be attacked for making an entertainment that also happens to blow the roof off of the craft in ways obvious and subtle… oh well.
Bruce Willis can still open a movie.
Horror-thrillers still open.
Avatar likely hits $700m domestic today… and $2.5b worldwide by the end of the weekend.
Nice and well-deserved opening for A Prophet (Un Prophet)… let’s hope it’s contagious.


Weekend Box Office by Klady… Is It What Is Seems On The Surface?

The scary ting for Shutter Island is that only three movies have opened to $40m or more and grossed exactly 2x opening or less in modern box office history… and all three were First Quarter genre releases in the last two years… Friday The 13th (2009 Version), Watchmen, and Cloverfield. The question to be answered is, “Is this one of those movies, where fans and thrill seekers piled in on opening weekend and represented virtually the entire audience for the film, or is it something else?”
I am a fan of the movie, so I like to think it’s something else. But word of mouth will tell that tale, not my hopes.
And by the by… there is a good chance that Valentine’s Day may join that group of 2x and under films. After a 60% drop this weekend, another $25m in the bank is not assured. It will probably get there, but just by the hair of its chinny chin chin.
Avatar is the smallest dropper of all films on over 1000 screens… again. $700m domestic should happen this week and $2.5b worldwide will happen before the end of next weekend.
Summit opened The Ghost Writer on the same number of screens they opened The Hurt Locker on last June and actually opened a little stronger… about $25,000. And amusingly enough, Hurt Locker is out on 120 screens and outgrossed the Ghost opening by about $100k.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Oscar parade that is still on screens all seem to be getting some Oscar bump, but dropped in the 25% to 35% range pretty much across the board, except with the modest expansion of The Last Station, which went up in gross.
As it turned out, the 10 Best Picture nominees are split evenly between five $100m+ grossers and five under-$100m grossers. The Hurt Locker is not the lowest grosser of the ten and perhaps the reason for the limited re-release was to keep ahead of the film right behind it, An Education, which is earning well enough in its context, but has a $1.5m gap to close. Bringing up the rear is A Serious Man, the only nominee under $10m domestic, with $9.3m.
I am always pleased to see the Oscars Shorts package doing some business. It may not be a lot, but if they can get to half a million with shorts on just 54 screens – and they likely will – it says good things about people being willing to come out for an aesthetic experience in the movie theater.


Friday Estimates from Klady Island

If it gets to $30 million for the weekend, Shutter Island would be the sixth $30m+ opening in the first quarter of a year, a new record. Five has been done three times before. When people talk about inflation as an issue with the box office, this stat may be one that really is affected by that kind of incremental change. On the other hand, this year may be an early indicator of a box office sea change, with a lot more movies opening strongly, but having shorter and shorter legs… something we’ve seen more as a summer phenomenon in past.
What’s been missing from Q1 this year to date is the big family movie. It’s usually animation. And this year, we had Percy Jackson try to be that film. It may fight its way to $100m domestic, but is no threat to get to $200m. “That” movie may be Alice in Wonderland, which is pretty sure to be a seventh $30m+ opener. And there is still How To Train Your Dragon coming at the tail end (get it?!?!) of the quarter. Threatening to make is ten Q1 films opening to $30m domestic are Green Zone and The Bounty Hunter. (I think Hot Tub Time Machine, if it flies, will be more of a build-up movie, gaining momentum from word of mouth.)
In the end, it is always about the movies and their marketing. Q1 is no longer the weak sister of the year. January, February, March have become prime time (March returning to prime time) , leaving very little time in the year as naturally “soft.” April… a bit of September… early October… but even those can be programmed carefully and if you put a movie people wanted to see in those periods, there is no reason why they could not be as productive as any months outside of the “hot” six months of the year.
ADD, 11:40a – Paramount marketing did the job for Shutter Island. Make no mistake. But let’s not buy into the lie that the move to 2010 was “strategic” in any way that spoke to improving the gross of this movie. It was a fiscal decision by the studio to shut down spending in the fall… period. Shutter was not the only movie affected, though it was the high profile move of the moment when it happened. Major spending was all but frozen until Dec 1, allowing revenues from the big Home Ent titles and, as it turned out, Paranormal Activities, to reload the cash bladder.
This is all just a footnote in industry history, but the idea that Paramount made a brilliant choice to shift the movie from October – where they could easily have had the same opening – to February and that this made the movie stronger at the box office is a big load of… bunk. The move was under duress. And the good people who work at Paramount made it work in spite of the choice, not because of it.
(EDIT – 12:10a – numerical typo in first graph.)


Box Office Hell Says No Shutter Is An Island



4-Day Weekend Estimates by Klady – Dead Presidents Of Love

The domestic 4-day on Valentine’s Day is impressive, but to me, the estimated $34.4m overseas for the film is a much more important number. Comedy doesn’t generally travel well. But this one has. Stars, stars, stars, stars, stars. It’s fascinating how things cycle… we’re back to Irwin Allen territory here.
The market for this kind of Valentine’s film is clearly strong, from Hitch to 50 First Dates to He’s Just Not That Into You. Interestingly, WB opened the NL star fest last year a weekend before the holiday and by the end of V-Day weekend, they had almost the same exact domestic gross as V-Day’s opening 4 ($57.8m). The film only did another $36m domestically. How will this one play out over the weeks to come? It will be interesting to see.
Do kids love Percy Jackson? That will be the question in weeks to come on that Fox release. A $39m domestic 4-day doesn’t suck,,, but it’s no Harry Potter. But then again, no one should have expected Harry Potter. The proof of the pudding will be in the target market’s word of mouth. if this leads to a $150m+ domestic gross, it could be the start of something real. If not, not.
The car wreck that people assumed to be The Wolfman was not either. And the release date was no on their side. Between Avatar hang and both a big kid picture and a chick flick, they really had to thread the needle. Historically, even good versions of this kind of film lose steam quickly. But people – not critics – seem to be having some fun at the movies with this one. So again… we’ll see.
Good to see The Hurt Locker get a re-release of some kind… though once again, too timid. 125 screens seems more like a screening program than a re-release. Summit seems determined to half-ass this movie all the way to Oscar. And it may happen, in spite of Summit.


The Conservative Final WW BO Figure On Avatar Now Is…

$2.7 billion
And Fox’s fantasy figure? $2.963b. That would be the #2 film, Titanic, and the #3 all-time, Lord of the Rings: Return Of The King, combined.
I know… it’s still just 300 million tickets or so (based on half-educated guesses)… and in 1939 dollars, that’s only $69m… or 3 times what Gone With The Wind grossed WORLDWIDE in it’s first run, which was a year and a half long (at least, according to Time Magazine in 1940, updated – and upped by $3m – by the NY Times in 1941.)


Box Office Hell – Avatar at #5?



Do We Really Believe In What "Adjusted Grosses" Mean?


Weekend Estimate by Klady – Dear Na'vi

Is there more to say?
Hannah Montana The Movie sold more tickets on opening weekend than Dear John.
To Paris With Love‘s opening reminds us just how good Fox’s approach on Taken was. And isn’t it ironic that the sequel to Morel’s first film behind the camera, District B13, also opened this weekend… with a thud? (Magnolia made it nearly impossible to see the film… so I guess they thought it had it coming.)
Decent expansion for Crazy Heart. Sherlock crossed $200m. Ajami and The Last Station showed a little nomination bump on an arthouse scale. An Education and Precious also got small bumps, though they can’t be thrilled with their per-screens.


BO Friday

I will eventually post Klady’s chart, but the headline for the weekend will be that Avatar got beat by a girl, as Dear John will likely roll out to business in the low 30s. (Yes, Super Bowl is hard on chick flicks too.)
The more significant storyline will actually be that in Weekend Eight, Avatar may fall back to Titanic‘s weekend numbers for the first time. The “official” Titanic Weekend Eight was $23,027,838. If Avatar drops only 25% , it will still have the Weekend Eight record. But 30% – Super Bowl! – would drop it just below. And Titanic actually went back up the weekend after Super Bowl… to $28.2m… which will surely beat Avatar next weekend, if the Na’vi are not vanquished this weekend.
$262 million of Titanic‘s gross came after Weekend Eight. We shouldn’t expect that of Avatar. But with the legs it’s shown, another $170m to get to $800m domestic, should not shock.
Meanwhile, with over $1.5m in the international bank already, Avatar should pass Titanic‘s worldwide gross of $1.8b in international gross alone, ending up with over #2.6b at the box office. A 45% bump from the previous record and well over double any other film’s worldwide gross. Those who wish to shoot this down as being just about 3D or hype, please start your adjusting/rationalizing engines and know that you should red in the face with embarrassment, not fury.
And if you are looking for Dear John precedent, look no farther than the “same weekend” two years ago… Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour… $31.1m opening… and that was without a lot of women over 20. Simple marketing… give ’em what they want and get out of the way. Smart. Successful.


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