Box Office Archive for August, 2011

Weeeknd Estimate Leftovers by Klady

(Apologies… the chart that was up before 11:45a was a workbook draft that was posted in error. These estimates are now the correct ones. The last graph of my analysis column has also been adjusted. DP)

How bad were the four openings this weekend? Bad enough that they can barely be considered part of the summer. Only Glee 3D, Judy Moody, Monte Carlo and Winnie opened wide as pooh-ly as three of these films and One Day is, by estimate, the worst wide opening of the summer.

But we can’t just blame late August. The higher grossing trio of openers this weekend grossed, together, about $500k more than Inglorious Basterds grossed in the same slot two Augusts ago. The 2007 Halloween reboot opened to $26.4m. Even the unknown element that was The 40-Year-Old Virgin opened to $21.4m in 2005.

With four titles getting smushed, there is plenty of blame to be deflected.

On the other hand, there are two clear August winners. The Help is more than $20 million ahead of either of its “summer ladies pictures” predecessors, Eat Pray Love and Julie & Julia and the second weekend, specifically, is estimated at about 65% more than either of those two films.

Others may argue otherwise, but I would say that Unforgiven is the highest grossing drama ever released in August, with $101 million. There are 25 films that have grossed more, domestically, in August, including two Shyamalan films. But removing action/thrillers, kids movies, and comedies, I’d say it’s Unforgiven. But The Help is likely to pass both EPL and J&J by the end of next weekend and Unforgiven in the middle of the weekend after. And then the question is just how high the film can get. $115m? $120m? More?

Meanwhile, Apes are rising. Currently at #11 of all August openers, it will pass Rush Hour 3 and XxX to take the #9 slot during this week. Next weekend, it looks like it goes to #6, passing American Pie 2, Talladega Nights, and GI Joe. It may stall out in that slot. The next landmark is The Fugitive at $184m domestic and that might just be a rope swing too far. But at least $170m domestic seems quite likely.

That also would put it right behind Thor and ahead of Bridesmaids for this summer, three “first-films” (can’t call 2 of the 3 original, can we?), all behind the top 5 films of the summer… all sequels.

The Smurfs are still kicking along here. But even more so overseas. Over $200 million and counting. Looks like it will be Top 10 worldwide through the summer, behind only Thor in the comic book arena, when the numbers are all counted up.

Final D5 is about half way to the gross of the last film in the franchise and will given the sharply downward trajectory that these films have always taken (aside from the first of the series, which was leggy) end up being the lowest grossing of the lot ($47m is the low bar, domestically).

Senna was the arthouse star this weekend with a $11.6k per-screen on 14 screens. Decent per-screen of The Whistleblower too… $3350-per on 44. Also finding winners on a smaller scale, Neo Classics with The Hedgehog and Music Box with Mozart’s Sister.

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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