| September 22, 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…
| September 22, 2021
| September 20, 2021
| September 5, 2021
"With Toronto, Telluride, Venice, New York and other key fests opening amid an overcrowded field that includes films postponed from 2020, the acclaim, buzz and distinction festivals bestow on award contenders is more important than ever — especially for spectacles such as Dune, which lose impact on the small screen in hybrid streaming/theatrical releases. Yet the surging Delta variant now threatens to derail premieres, star appearances, in-person screenings and the press, the public’s and Oscar voters’ willingness to attend them.
"On August 27, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences postponed all screenings and in-person events for 2021. And on August 30, despite the U.S. having around 60 times as many COVID-19 cases as Canada and a much lower vaccination rate over the previous four weeks, per Johns Hopkins University data, the U.S. State Dept. advised Americans to “reconsider travel to Canada due to [a high level of] COVID-19” there.
“There’s nothing conclusive right now, and everyone is not quite sure how to proceed because of the nature of the COVID pandemic,” says Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard. “Telluride and Toronto have changed what they are going to do dramatically in the last few weeks, putting in a lot more protocols. The New York Film Festival is to be determined—what are they and AFI Fest going to do? Running a festival is like trying to [control] an oil tanker. You can’t just stop it, [and most events] don’t have festival insurance where you can say, ‘COVID shut us down, we gotta get paid.’ It brings up a lot of questions that are really difficult to answer.”
| September 9, 2021
| August 3, 2021
| February 15, 2021
| December 13, 2019
| December 4, 2019
| December 4, 2019