Box Office Archive for February, 2011

Weekend Estimates by “And The Box Office Goes To” Klady

Last year on Oscar weekend, there were no Best Picture nominees in the Top 10 and the only movie with a major contender in the Top 1o was Crazy Heart, which Searchlight expanded that weekend to 1274 screens and rode all the talk about Bridges locked win for Best Actor.

This year, The King’s Speech and True Grit are still in the Top 10, heading to $300m domestic between them. If you eliminate the high end of these two 10-nominee years and Lord of the Rings from the equation, you have to go back to Gladiator and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to match this kind of domestic box office success in the race.

In that year, 2000, four of the five nominees were $100m domestic grossers. This year, there are five, but again, there are 10 nominees. So that 2000 year is still, in my eye, the most remarkable box office year ever for Oscar. And it even included one spring and one early summer release.

Drive Angry 3D is the box office story of most interest this weekend. The opening is in the bottom half of Summit’s 23 film history as a distributor, less than an estimated $100k better than Sorority Row… or as it will surely be known in Nic Cage’s world, “Sorority F***ing Row.” With the back-to-back vampire-free success of Letters to Juliet and Red, Summit seemed ready to move up the ladder. This is a setback.

Of course, WB can’t be too thrilled with Hall Pass either. The opening is right around where The Farrellys have been stuck with their last two films, neither of which is seen as a hit. It seems that much of the gross-out humor of the film was not advertised. A redband trailer – which is much better at establishing characters and would have made me consider seeing the film – went out Wednesday. Too late.

Paramount’s Justin Beiber “more footage”s stunt seemed to work and the film held unusually well.

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Friday Estimates by Drive Klady in 3D

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Klady’s 4-Day Estimates

Okay… let’s start with the stupid overreaction at the LA Times to the possible non-reoccurrence of an event that happened once in the history of the movie business, now being posited as a change in the overall movie business. (Can you hear my eyes rolling?)

In 2009, two January releases grossed over $100 million domestic. It has never happened before. It didn’t happen last year. In fact, in the entire history of movies, these were the ONLY two films ever to launch in January – there are a bunch of Oscar holdovers from the year before that went wide in January and went on to $100m grosses – that EVER grossed $100m… period. And The Green Hornet may join them as the 3rd such film EVER.

So the trend piece must be that box office is up this January, right? No. OF course not.

Perhaps we need to have a broader perspective. 2009 was one of four times in movie history when two films, released in either/or January or February grossed as much as $100m domestic. It looks like 2011 will be the fifth such occurrence with both The Green Hornet and Just Go With It heading to that mark, both from Sony btw. So things must be okay, right? No. Of course not. Oh… and Gnomeo & Juliet could well crack $100m too, which would be the first time in history we had three Jan/Feb releases hit that mark. Still, not good enough not to launch a negative trend piece.

The illogical of suggesting that comparing one film from by an actor and the next one and claiming it is even close to scientific is obvious. It’s like saying something is wrong with the box office because Sam Worthington did $760 million in Avatar and then just $164 million in Clash of the Titans. People must be sick of effects movies… right… WRONG.

Box office inspires some of the most moronic trend stories of all. Why did the box office look like it did this December? The movies, stupid. No blockbuster leaves a lot more room for mid-range films to do even better. Why didn’t The Dilemma do as well as Paul Blart: Mall Cop? The movies, stupid. To start with, Paul Blart was well positioned as a broad family comedy. The Dilemma was an adult comedy set around issues of cheating on your spouse. Obviously, with Ron Howard and Vince Vaughn, they were hoping for a lot more money. But people could tell you from the “gay” controversy on, the film never got real traction.

WB opens a Liam Neeson action movie in February that doesn’t quite match the opening of what was, by far, the best Liam Neeson opening or gross with him as the leading man and we’re supposed to be discussing what’s wrong with the box office? It’s the movie marketing, stupid. “I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Great sell.

Meanwhile, Justin Bieber’s concert film is already the #3 concert film of all time and may pass Miley Cyrus, given the surprising hold Par managed this weekend.

Trend stories suck.

Out.

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Friday Estimates by Unknown Klady #4

Well. They got that out of their system.

I am Number Four is the first release from DreamwWorks 3.0. (Or maybe, DW sees this as 4.0, thus the title of their first film… hmmmm…) Thirteen and a half years ago, DreamWorks SKG launched with The Peacemaker, grossing $4 million on opening day. This time, it’s a similarly mediocre, but not disastrous $6.1 million. The difference between this film’s open and Eagle Eye‘s $9.8m launch day may well be Shia LaBeouf. Both films were directed by DJ Caruso. Both films feature a lot of flashy-looking stuff. But Shia playing against type here might have been a home run instead of a single hoping to leg out a double.

Welcome back into the pool, DW.

Of course, if Number Five is alive and Number Four is a bore, it’s Liam Neeson looking for someone (himself) in the #1 slot for the day with Unknown. It’s Jaume Collet-Serra’s third picture for Warner Bros and Liam Neeson is doing for him what Paris Hilton (House of Wax) and a creepy girl (Orphan) couldn’t… breaking him out of the $12m opening weekend groove.

Warners smartly did a marketing campaign that felt as much like Taken as possible. They haven’t disappeared Diane Kruger and January Jones, but they aren’t emphasizing them either. Taken opened to $9.4m. All-in-all, WB did well for themselves here. Though $100m isn’t realistic here, there should be enough of a gross to make the movie fairly profitable.

Fox brings us the third new release this weekend, which is also the third in its Big Momma series… the one where Martin Lawrence hands the keys to the series over to a new kid. But you would never know it from the ads. Regardless, it hasn’t taken. The first film opened to $7.7m, the second to $8.4m… and now this one to an estimated $4.7m. Maybe Brendan T. Jackson isn’t very funny in drag. I don’t know. But you would think they would have a better shot at a young audience with some new energy. Instead, it’s Martin Lawrence getting caught naked in his fat suit… again. Sigh.

Sandler had a decent hold, Gnomeo had a good hold, and Justin Bieber dropped a spectacular 70% by Len’s Friday-to-Friday estimate.

The King’s Speech is the only Oscar Best Picture still in the Top 10, holding strong and on course to pass $100 million this weekend. TKS passed The Social Network on Thursday, as expected. That makes TSN the #6 grosser amongst BP nominees. The only good news for the film is that unless there is a major upset, it looks like the domestic gross for The Fighter will remain behind TSN in the battle of the two sides of the Massachusetts tracks.

Come Monday, this will be the second year in a row with five of the ten nominees grossing over $100 million domestic.

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Weekend Estimates by Klady

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Friday Estimates by Klady

$12 million was a significant mark for the Justin Bieber doc (maybe it should have appropriated the name of the Chris Rock doc, Good Hair), as that was the amount the Jonas Bros did in their entire first weekend and it’s about 50% more than the Hannah/Miley Concert doc did on its opening day. It’s hard to figure out just how frontloaded this film is. If you go by the Michael Jackson: This Is It numbers – which were cooled by a Wed launch – it will be a $36m weekend. If you go by Miley Montana, it could be in the low low 40s. If you go by the Jonas Bras, low 30s.

Sony is clearly looking at 50 First Dates when they tell their media mouthpiece, Nikki “4 Days & My Doorstep & You Won’t Get A Picture Of Me” Finke, “Justin Bieber Wins Friday With $12.5M; But Adam Sandler Should Finish Weekend #1.” (I’m pretty sure that the movie being marketed as “Adam Sandler ogles the swimsuit model” isn’t Date Movie #1 Of 2011.) Unbiased Magic 8 Ball says, “Unlikely.” And please note… I have been more bullish on Sandler’s box office power than most anyone out there. But Sony is putting up a $10m figure for Friday… Klady has it at $9.3m. And even Grown Ups, which is now Sandler’s all-time high grosser, didn’t do 3x opening day. Nor did Anger Management, his biggest out-of-summer opening.

There is no reason to believe that 3-Bieber will drop much on Saturday, given the history of the only 3 musical concert films that have ever opened to more than $4 million in a weekend. None of them dropped as much as 10% on Saturday. Look for Sandler to end up around $27m and for Bieber in at least the low 30s.

Disney did better opening an animated film from Starz Animation than Fox (Space Chimps) or Focus (9), even if Gnomeo & Juliet isn’t burning down the box office. The weekend number should end up in 2nd Tier Disney Land, near Meet The Robinsons.

And The Eagle is perplexing. Looks like an epic, released like a pick-up. Welcome to The Movie Business 2011. It’s no disrespect to Focus. They are doing a piece of business. The US is the only territory where Focus is involved, though UPI bought some of South America, the UK, Spain, and Mexico. The stakes are so low here that anything more than they have done is risking more than the apparent reward. And if it heated up, somehow, Focus could capitalize on it.

In Oscar news, The King’s Speech will pass $90m today and should be past The Social Network by next week at this time. True Grit passes $160m this weekend. Black Swan lost about half its screens and The Fighter about a third of its screens to the new films which ate almost 13,000 screens between them. Both now have almost identical screen counts around 1050. Fighter will end the weekend just over $85 million and Swannie will be just under $99 million, celebrating $100 million sometime this next week.

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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