| June 4, 2021
I haven’t been writing much (besides on Twitter) in a while.
I just don’t want to contribute to the endless churn of writers pretending to know what they do not, suggesting that every event is defining, and basically acting like gossips.
What can I add to the conversation?
How about a domestic chart of the pandemic box office? These are reported releases on over 100 screens which opened after March 15, 2020 and ending with the May 14 weekend, 2021.
As you can see, the history will be that thirteen films will have grossed $20 million or more domestic through these fourteen pandemic months. Spiral got there last weekend.
There is no way to make any of this pretty. Four titles over $50 million and none cracked $100 million. All with good reason. None of it having to do with people not wanting to go to the movies, no matter how many times people want to project this onto an exhibition industry that was shutdown for safety.
For perspective, A Quiet Place II, which is still clearly running with limitations, grossed more this Tuesday than all but 33 releases grossed in total in the prior fourteen months.
As for Kilar’s Folly: The Warner Bros. Experiment, the seven films that have dropped into day-n-date so far have grossed just over $1 billion worldwide and cost around $750 million total, plus about $500 million in marketing. That’s roughly a $750 million price tag for this experiment. Probably more.
Three million new subs at $15 a pop, twelve times a year is $540 million.
How many new subs will the Friends reunion bring? How long will they stay? Will HBO Max try to claim that Those Who Wish Me Dead and Hacks did all the heavy lifting and not Friends: The One Where We Are Amazed How Old The Guys Got? How will their biggest marketing investment since Godzilla, In The Heights, actually play, in theatrical and as a sub draw?
Moving forward… The Hitman’s Bodyguard did $75 million domestic and another $100 million international. What will the sequel do?
Peter Rabbit did $115 million domestic and another $235 million internationally.
Will F9 being the tipping point? The last five Furiouses did $155 million, $210 million $239 million, $353 million, and $226 million domestically. So what is the reasonable target for success? I’d say $150 million is okay… $200 million is really good news.
Universal is flooding the zone a week later with The Forever Purge and The Boss Baby 2, with Baby 2 free on Peacock for paying subscribers.
And that brings us to Black Widow, which Disney will make available on Disney+ for $30 for those who really love staying home. Tipping Point Two.
From there, three weeks to Jungle Cruise, also Disney, which not yet been aggressively marketed. But it’s pricey and Rocky and Em-my, so one imagine the wave of “go” is coming.
Between Widow and Cruise, Space Jam 2, Hotel Transylvania 3, Old, and the G.I. Joe spin-off (without Nic Cage), Snake Eyes. Will there be solid business, disappointments, or the first surprise break-out of 2021?
August looks amazingly like August, with a refreshed Suicide Squad (also free for HBO Max subs) and Free Guy as the only big muscle, with a few next tier titles hoping to find audiences in the relative void.
In other words… those claiming that there are too many movies being released too quickly are utterly full of shit… or just wrong. Summer has some big movies. But there is plenty of spacing and a normal summer, there would be a lot more density. It looks like two or three titles that can crack $100 million domestic this summer. In 2019, there were eleven $100 million summer titles… take May away and it’s still eight.
Really, if five titles got to $100 million domestic this summer, it would be a miracle that should have the industry sacrificing whoever is currently dating Florence Pugh to the gods of Midsommar.
How about a rundown of the theatrical distribution models used right now? Having a variety of models confusing consumers is almost worse for exhibition than a pandemic, by the way. One crappy one would be better than a smorgasbord as exhibitors try to get back to some sort of norm, like everyone else.
The list of the many systems currently being used and experimented with in the next column…
| June 4, 2021
| May 4, 2021
| April 26, 2021
"In one effort, the company invalidated the passwords of the 75,000 subscribers who used the service most often, while falsely claiming 'we have detected suspicious activity or potential fraud' on their accounts. Many of the people who tried to reset their passwords were unable to because of technical problems; the app would not accept their email address, they would not receive a password-reset email, or the email would link to a nonworking website. When an executive warned that the practice would catch the attention of federal regulators and state attorneys general, Mr. Lowe responded in writing 'OK I get it,; suggesting the company try it with '2 percent of our highest volume users.'"
Imagine That: The MoviePass Deception Was Worse Than Anyone Knew
| June 8, 2021
Gleiberman Makes Sweet Love To Cruella in The Sunday Column: “It may be the best movie of the year so far. That sounds like a provocation or maybe hype, but I’ll throw down the gauntlet: Name a better one. Cruella is a high-kitsch rock-opera psychodrama staged with seductive style and a vicious kind of glee. It tells the story of Estella, an ambitious young British nobody played by the incomparable Emma Stone, who gets her freak on by metamorphosing into Cruella, a radically mod ’70s London fashion designer with schizoid hair and a defiant loose screw. The thrill of the odyssey is how twisty and emotionally vibrant it is.”
| June 6, 2021
Cannes, July 6-17: Nanni Moretti, Tre Piani; François Ozon, Tout S’Est Bien Passé; Asghar Farhadi, Un Héros; Jacques Audiard, Paris 13th District; Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Memoria; Ildikó Enyedi, The Story of My Wife; Sean Baker, Red Rocket; Justin Kurzel, Nitram; Bruno Dumont, France
| June 3, 2021
| February 15, 2021
| December 13, 2019
| December 4, 2019
| December 4, 2019