Box Office Archive for November, 2010

Weekend Estimates by Klady 7

I don’t know that there is anything much more to say about the full 3-day or 5-day than has already been said.

The King’s Speech did great numbers for The Weinsteins on 4 screens… not too much of a surprise and neither will their Oscar nomination be a surprise to anyone. What will be most interesting is whether critics groups support the performances in the film or if they look to others who are less obvious candidates to be celebrated.

127 Hours continues to be less commercial than I expected, even on 293 screens. It’s rolling out faster than Slumdog or Wrestler, but to smaller numbers. Searchlight had a bit of a problem with too much strong product, with Black Swan starting its roll out next weekend. Add King’s Speech to the mix – which serves a narrower audience than the other two films – and you have a lot of jostling for position with three films that should be successful and Oscar nominated. Challenging.

Last year, there was nothing like this group until Dec 18, with The Young Victoria, Nine, and Crazy Heart. The year before, on the first weekend of Dec, it was Frost/Nixon debuting and Slumdog Millionaire and MIlk still under 100 screens. Of the six titles I just mentioned, 3 never got past $20m and only 1 ever got past $40m. The economics of Oscar 2010.

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Friday Estimates by Hairy Klady

As of yesterday, Potter 7 was still behind Hp6, day for 9 days… but that will change today, when HP7 will become the biggest Potter ever… for at least a few days. But I am just repeating myself.

Tangled is the best opening for a non-Pixar Disney animated film ever… though the rules of box office have changed rather dramatically since Disney was in the mega-hit animation business. But the last two Thanksgivings, Disney has been under Lasseter and the results were Bolt, even launching the Friday before Thanksgiving, doing just $66.8 by the end of Thanksgiving weekend (a 10-day) and The Princess & The Frog shoved to a wide opening on Dec 11 to give room to A Christmas Carol and opening to a $24.2m 3-day on a non-holiday. The domestic result, $114m and $104m. Tangled should be at around $80m on the 5-day opening… aka A DreamWorks Animation kinda number. DWA has stuck to that first weekend in November strategy, but $46m in a non-holiday 3-day for Megamind and $63m for Madagascar 2 feels analogous to the $60something holiday 3-day for Tangled.

In any case, some will say that MT Carney bought an opening… but that’s kinda missing the point. Credit where credit is due. “Best Disney Animated Opening Ever” may be a somewhat specious claim, but she opened the movie to numbers that should get it somewhere around the $200m mark, which Disney hasn’t seen in Burbank animation since the heyday of Aladdin and The Lion King. Yeah, this $217m ain’t Aladdin‘s $217 million. And for me, the last two films were both better than this one. But ring one up for MT. Next, a much bigger challenge in Tron Legacy, which is fortunate that Narnia seems to be the only real competition for families with kids over 8, as Yogi Bear and Gulliver’s Travel are rumbled to be car wrecks. ( I think Yogi will do well with the little ones, but can’t imagine what teen will be dragged in to see it and wonder how many of us who are nostalgic about Yogi see the spirit of the original in the ads and not just a CG 3D mess.)

I noted that Fox saw Burlesque coming to thin their audience for Love & Other Drugs. Why didn’t they move? Because they saw it coming in tracking, aka too late. I think Love will hold well. And it looks like Burlesque is working better than I expected this weekend and may have campy legs longer than I would have imagined. Those who love it, love it.

Someone sent some trash in The Rock’s direction in the earlier b.o. thread. Well, it’s all about scoreboard for me. I don’t care what we think of him and his films. I don’t think I have seen one in a theater since The Rundown and a couple of the cameos. But he is an opener until he’s not an opener. He’s out-opening Russell Crowe, Harrison Ford, and Sean Penn. Some may say that’s not a big deal. And each actor carries specific baggage. The Rock will be right behind J-Lo’s ass as the #2 opener for CBS Films so far. It’s not a great day for the new studio or for The Rock… but it’s not a career landmark either… not at this point.

The King’s Speech is opening in fine indie fashion, looking like Brokeback Mountain and There Will Be Blood… but with a lot less money being spent by The Weinsteins than was spent by those distributors at this point. (It’s also comparable to Dreamgirls and Memoirs of a Geisha… to be fair. But TKS carries none of the baggage – black or bad – that those two did.) This one could easily be The Weinstein Co’s third biggest domestic hit, behind only Inglorious Basterds and Scary Movie 4.

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Box Office Peek

It occurred to me… how is Harry Potter 7 really doing, now that we are a week in?

The answer, of course, is great. Big consistent series. However, the excitement around the massive Friday number last week? It does seem to be falling back into the Potter pack. The gross for HP7 has been behind HP6, on a daily basis, since Day 3 and remains so after Thanksgiving Thursday. HP7 will probably push ahead over the rest of the holiday weekend, as HP6 opened on a Wednesday in summer, meaning days 8-10 were Wed, Thurs, Fri. Regardless, Potter 6, which was way out ahead of the previous films going into the second weekend, scored the weakest 2nd weekend in the franchise’s history. Second worst 3rd weekend… worst 4th, 5th, and 6th. By then, you’re looking at weekend under $3m… not big scoreboard changers.

The point is, front-loading is getting greater for the series. No reason, yet, to think that 7 will be exceptionally big.

I am amused by the spin on Burlesque, which would have to do unusual numbers indeed to get to Sony’s $17.8m prayer. Rent started with $2.3m more over the first two days (if you buy Sony’s Thursday estimate, which is likely high) and ended up with $17.1m for the 5-day and $29m total domestic. Perhaps that drop-off is more extreme than Burlesque will experience, but $16m seems like a more realistic 5-day goal and $40m domestic does seem to be about the max we could see from this title.

Fox kind of expected to split the Love & Other Drugs weekend with Burlesque, in terms of the core audience for these film, women. And that’s where it seems to be going. It will be interesting to see if the less showy romantic melodramedy will catch up with Cher’s narrow lead before the five days is over… and where the legs are.

Faster is a career-worst start for The Rock. Perhaps even the great Terry Press – and I mean it, she is great – can’t turn the CBS Films train around. Perhaps The Movie Gods have just decided that Sumner Redstone allowing his two sides of Viacom compete directly as though they were random strangers is just stupid and self-destructive. If you can’t open a violent Rock movie to much more than Summit opened a star-free Never Back Down to -and really, Faster will open to less without the 5-day advantage – something is wrong. This ain’t Harrison Ford in a surgical gown looking as confused as the audience. This is The Rock Kicks Ass. Come on.

Hard to be sure where Tangled is going, but at the least, it looks like the best non-Pixar Disney animation opening in many years.

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Weekend Magic Estimates by Klady

No real surprises on Potter. The same question I posed yesterday will linger as we go through the next few weeks… how much of the domestic audience showed up for the opening 24 hours and will the domestic total be in significant way larger than the rest of the series?

It’d actually a shame that C. Nikki Finke disappears her earlier content, even if incorrect, because as the unfiltered mouthpiece for many studios, she tells us all what they really were thinking, in this case on Friday afternoon. I don’t mind Nikki’s spin today that this is what WB was after because, in a sane world, it is. These numbers are right on target and probably a little more frontloaded than in past, as happens with most franchises these days. It may end up being the biggest Potter and then topped by the final finale, but low-mid 300s and possibly breaking the tape on $1 billion worldwide is not out of line with the rest of the franchise, one of the greatest of all time without having to see a $145m opening, for instance.

And I am impressed with Fandango’s press release that they sold 17% or about $21 million worth of tickets to Potter this weekend. We forget when talking about the 3D bump that a significant percentage of people are willing to pay a pre-sale bump of 10% or more.

The drops, as expected, flattened out as Potter did over the weekend, still carrying what I guesstimate to be an extra 5% or more from the Friday onslaught, meaning I think that #2, #3, and #4 would have all dropped nicely in the 30s if it weren’t for the elephant in the room on Friday.

The Next Three Days would still probably have come up short of $10m with the campaign it had and without Mr Potter it its way. LGF was probably after counterprogramming, but adults had little interest in going to the theaters with hordes of Potterites on Friday and were likely wary on Saturday too.

127 Hours‘ expansion was good, but not as good as the movie. And Made in Dagenham showed some potential with a nice 3 screen weekend.

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Friday Estimates by Harry Klady

So Klady is $600,000 lower than most estimates. It’s a bit more interesting that WB told Nikki to estimate $4 million over what everyone else has this morning. No doubt that number will disappear. But it speaks to the odd nature of numbers like these. Massive MIdnights, mega-Friday… but still, 8% less than the studio thought at 9p last night. This, Harry Potter’s best launch, may lead to his best gross… or maybe it’s just all the more frontloaded. No way to know until we get down the road a bit. Regardless, another giant Potter, even without 3D. Good for WB.

The Potter Effect is pretty clear on the chart. When 48% is your strong hold for the wide releases on your Top Ten, you can’t really put that on the movies. Actually, I would say that the Unstoppable hold is quite strong in the face of Potter, but it will be clearer as the weekend progresses. The film faces new films between now and Tron Legacy, but every one of them skews either young, or more so, female, unless The Tourist turns out to be tougher than it looks from here. So they could play strong into mid-December.

Megamind hist $100m today. It’s DWA’s 9th such film with Paramount, where they have never missed the $100m domestic mark together. The animation side of DW had 4 $100m domestic hits before Paramount… and 5 under $100m. You has to give Paramount a lot of credit for the growth of DWA, though Katzenberg has also, clearly, found a template that works, even if they are still not doing PIxar numbers. Given all the excellent marketers around town who have not proven that they can be as consistently successful in animation as the DWA/Paramount combo, one wonders whether leaving is in DWA’s best interest, whatever the feelings between the two management teams.

The Next Three Days smelled of flop in the marketing, or lack thereof. And so it came to pass.

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Weekend Estimates by MegaUnstoppbale Klady

Not sure if there’s much to add to the Friday conversation…

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Friday Estimates by Unstoppable Klady

I guess the November opening comparison that Fox would like for Unstoppable is Mrs. Doubtfire, which opened to $20.5m domestic and ended up at $220 million. Not likely. However, easy to imagine this weekend ending up as high at $25m – which would be Denzel’s 4th highest opening with 15 $15m+ openings – and like the train in the movie, speeding up. That may mean low-teen drops. $131 million would be Denzel’s top domestic gross… and that might be doable with this film, exactly because people who haven’t seen the film and are reading this and all the other raves and saying, “Seriously? A movie about a train going fast? I have to see that?” But the word of mouth should be pretty consistent… it’s a great ride… a movie movie… calorie content through the roof, nutritional value almost nothing… it’s the Cap’n Crunch w/ Crunch Berries & Chocolate Sauce of movies.

Skyline proves that you can blow up some of the people, some of the time, but not all of the people, all of the time. Still, $11.5 million is less disastrous than some might have expected. (It’s also less than many predicted.)

Morning Glory will be fortunate to open to Leap Year numbers. It’s hard to be sure just where Paramount went wrong on this one, but here are a few guesses. 1. Horrible Outdoor. “What’s the story, Morning Glory” is cute, but if you’re going there, you need to do the TV spots with the song from Bye, Bye Birdie and make something out of the phrase. Catchy is not enough. It was memorable, but told us nothing about the movie, except who was in it. 2. The Story Kept Changing In The Materials. What is it? Gruff Older Talent vs Up-N-Comer or classic rom-com? Pick! 3. The Movie Couldn’t Decide Either. As I wrote in my review, I think Diane Keaton confused the issue, having nothing to do with her talent or star power. She is a major actor in a minor role and I think that both overshadowed the core of the film, McAdams + Ford, and also felt unclear in the marketing.

Or maybe it was something else…

Red is having its first normal drop… but will still flirt with $80m by the end of the weekend and will be Summit’s #1 non-Twilight film, if not on Sunday, before mid-week.

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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