Archive for the ‘Defiance’ Category

Daniel Craig – Box Office Poison

January 28, 2009

Let’s keep this post short and sweet bitter. I was looking at the box office figures for Defiance, and I noticed how poorly it’s doing. Then I looked at the box office figures for Daniel Craig, the headlining star of Defiance, and I noticed something else: Daniel Craig is box office poison! Seriously, outside of the James Bond franchise, it’s not just that the guy doesn’t draw in audiences, he actually hurts the success of the movies he is in! It’s a shame, because he’s a great actor, but like Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts before him, nobody cares about Daniel Craig. Lets get into some numbers over the last few years:

2005
Craig broke out in 2005’s Layer Cake, a British caper film that garnered him enough attention to nab the coveted role of James Bond. Despite the loud buzz surrounding the film, though, it failed to break out in the U.S., earning a weak $2.3 million.

Later that year, Daniel moved on to a much higher profile film, Steven Spielberg’s Munich. Critics and audiences enjoyed the film, and it was even nominated for some Oscars, but it earned a very small, very un-Spielberg box office of $47 million.

2006
At this point, he’d been named as the new Bond, and his star was much higher than ever before, yet Craig’s next effort, the Truman Capote pic, Infamous, could only muster up $1 million in ticket sales. Sad.
Casino Royale debuted, and it was frickin’ awesome! It completely rejuvinated a tired franchise, and raked in a great $167 million. Craig was brilliant in the role, and everyeone fell in love with the new Bond. A star was born! Right?

2007
Wrong. After an $80 million budget, plus reshoots, plus built-in curiosity to see the remake, plus Nicole Kidman co-headlining, The Invasion grossed only $15 million in August 2007. It was like a perfect storm of box office poisons.

Then came a film that was all but assured to be a blockbuster on paper. His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, a hugely expensensive ($205 million production budget + $60 million in advertising) fantasy film based on the popular book series, debuted in December 2007. Also starring Nicole Kidman, the wannabe Narnia or LOTR film found just $70 million at the domestic box office. Yeah, that’s less than Eragon.

2008
Quantum Of Solace came out, and once again, people turned out in droves to see the new James Bond feature. While not as beloved as Casino Royale, it still managed to rake in a solid $169 million.

And then there’s Defiance, Craig’s most recent effort. The WWII film comes with a hefty $50 million price tag, but after four weekends, has earned just $18 million.

So what have we learned today? A few things. First and foremost, Daniel Craig is box office poison. If you want your movie to make money, find another actor. Second, it is the character of James Bond, not the actor playing him, that draws in the audiences. Third and finally, NEVER let Craig star with Nicole Kidman. It’s just a bad idea, and you are guaranteed to lose money.

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Weekend Fix: At The Box Office, Dogs May Be The New Penguins, But Fat Guys Are The New Will Smiths!

January 18, 2009

What a crazy world we live in! Even before we’ve gotten to the Monday of MLK weekend, the 3-day frame was one of the 10 biggest weekends in the history of the box office! The Top 12 films grossed a fantastic $170 million, increasing a whopping 29% over last year! This is shocking for January, but really cool! There’s so much to talk about! Here’s my rundown of each film:

Paul Blart: Mall Cop – Sony – $33.8 million – $10,751 per theater average
Fat Man #1. This opening is the second highest January opening of all time, behind 2008’s Cloverfield ($40 M). Maybe after Kevin James starred with Will Smith in 2005’s Hitch, and with Adam Sandler in 2007’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry, he’s garnered some of their box office drawing power, because this debut is just huge, and it still has MLK day tomorrow to rake in the big bucks! Mark this off as a huge success for both James as a leading actor and Sandler as a producer. Paul Blart: Mall Cop was benefited by its strong advertising campaign, and the relatively low comedic expectations of moviegoers. (Though I will confess that I sounded a bit pretentious in my Weekend Preview.) In these recessionary times, it looks like no one wants to think too hard when they go to the movies. Welcome to The Era Of Easy Entertainment! (EEE)

Gran Torino – Warner Brothers – $22.2 million – $7,481 PTA

Clint Eastwood continues to draw in audiences, who have really found a strong connection to the film. Due to the holiday on Monday, the film saw a very soft 24% decline, and with a $73 million total and a great venue average after two weekends in wide release, Gran Torino is headed for at least $130 million. A much needed return to profitability for the director, after Flags Of Our Fathers ($33 M), Letters From Iwo Jima ($13 M), and Changeling ($35 M).

My Bloody Valentine: 3D – Lionsgate – $21.9 million – $8,642 PTA
Shame on you, Supernatural fans! According to my calculations, there are still about 1.5 million of you who did not go see your beloved Jensen Ackles this weekend on the big screen! I thought you were the most dedicated fans of any TV show, like, EVER. Still, enough of you came out for the 3D slasher flick to have a pretty solid opening of $21.9 million, further proving that horror is back on the map and in perfectly good shape. Come 2010, audiences will probably be tired of it again, so studios, cash in while you can! MBV:3D has already revealed some of its frontloadedness, since its Friday numbers were higher than Saturday’s, but I expect that this will have slightly better legs than most other horror films, due to its good reviews.

Notorious – Fox Searchlight – $21.5 million – $13,126 PTA
Fat Man #2. This is truly the surprise of the weekend! Admittedly, I’m a former prep school kid from southern Virginia, who grew up more in the time of Eminem than B.I.G., so maybe I’m a bit out of touch with the hip hop legend’s drawing power, but I think even Fox Searchlight has to be unbelievably surprised with how well Notorious performed. It’s sizzling venue average is nothing short of amazing, and although it only played in 1,638 theaters, audiences turned out in huge crowds to see the biopic. Like most other films marketed to urban audiences, though, this one will be a victim of frontloadedness. Even with the holiday weekend effect, Notorious still came up with an internal multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) of 2.55, which is pretty low, so I’m expecting this to fall pretty quickly. Not that that matters, though! Notorious has already made its mark, and I’m sure it’s already covered its production budget, so it’s all gravy at this point. I bet somewhere, a Tupac movie just got the greenlight…

Hotel For Dogs – Paramount – $17.7 million – $5,413 PTA
This is the fourth successful dog release in the last four months. In October there was Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($94 M). In November there was Bolt ($105 M). And in December there was Marley And Me ($132 M so far). Emma Roberts has redeemed herself after the lackluster performance of last year’s Nancy Drew ($22 M), and even with a lower venue average, Hotel For Dogs will probably go further than both Notorious and My Bloody Valentine: 3D, due to its family friendly nature. But let me talk for just a second about dogs. I’m going to be honest: I’m a little put off by the rise of dogs in society lately. I mean, they’re cute and fluffy, and I love them as pets as much as anyone else, but I think that people are starting to think that dogs are humans. Between the rising numbers of clothing stores for canines, the onslaught of ASPCA commercials, the intensity of the anti-fur movement, their sudden box office viability, and the constant talks of “animal rights,” and I just have to wonder whether people realize that we are, in fact, people, and dogs are, in fact, animals. Call me once every human in the world has rights. Then, I’ll start to worry about whether the dogs do. Rant over.

Bride Wars – Fox – $11.8 million – $3,640 PTA
I still don’t feel like talking about this film, but I’ve got it to give it credit for its good box office run thus far. It’s the girl version of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and it’s probably headed for a $60-65 million finish. Like I said, welcome to EEE!

The Unborn – Universal – $9.8 million – $4,175
I know it was aided by the holiday weekend effect, but a 50% drop is pretty good for a horror film in its second weekend opening against another frightfest. With $33 million so far, this is a huge victory for Universal, who solidly advertised the film. You know, I’m seeing a trend here, Hollywood: If you believe in the films you put out and advertise them effectively, they do well at the box office! Weird, huh?

Defiance – Paramount Vantage – $9.2 million – $5,146
Okay, I’m saying it now. Outside of the Bond franchise, Daniel Craig is box office poison. The whole release kind of confuses me, actually. I heard almost nothing about this film, which cost a hefty $60 million, and after two weeks in very limited release, it failed to light up with moviegoers. Add in lackluster reviews, and you have a true misfire.

Slumdog Millionaire – Fox Searchlight – $5.9 million – $10,137 PTA
Seeing that my second-favorite film of 2008 just had an incredible 56% increase on the heels of its Golden Globes win erases any of the malice I was feeling towards Paul Blart and Bride Wars. There is hope for audiences yet! It really is quite amazing that in its tenth week of release, Slumdog Millionaire still has a per theater average of $10,137, the second highest in the Top 12. If this gets the Oscar for Best Picture (and it’s looking more and more like it will), we could be looking at a $100 million earner here!

The Rest Of ‘Em
You don’t really need to hear me talk about Marley And Me, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, and Bedtime Stories anymore, do you? It’s hard to believe that they came out just 25 days ago, because I feel like Ive been talking about them for forever! Suffice it to say, they were all solid performers of the Christmas season that kicked off what could be a historic winter at the box office. The full 3-day weekend numbers are below:

Top 12 For January 16-18
# Movie Title 3-Day Gross % Change AVG. Total
1 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $33,800,000 New $10,751 $33,800,000
2 Gran Torino $22,235,000 – 24.6% $7,481 $73,232,000
3 My Bloody Valentine 3D $21,900,000 New $8,642 $21,900,000
4 Notorious $21,500,000 New $13,126 $21,500,000
5 Hotel for Dogs $17,707,000 New $5,413 $17,707,000
6 Bride Wars $11,750,000 – 44.2% $3,640 $37,577,125
7 The Unborn $9,848,825 – 50.3% $4,175 $33,087,980
8 Defiance $9,206,000 +13401% $5,146 $9,547,000
9 Marley & Me $6,325,000 – 44.5% $2,143 $132,734,283
10 Slumdog Millionaire $5,900,000 + 56.0% $10,137 $42,737,205
11 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $5,599,000 – 39.2% $2,519 $102,624,000
12 Bedtime Stories $4,848,000 – 44.9% $1,851 $103,753,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

For the record, at the end of the day, I’m okay with Paul Blart: Mall Cop being on top of the charts. It isn’t going to kill me, and hey, I might even chuckle once or twice if I watched it. You know, my little sister, who’s six years old, loves slapstick comedy. She’s as sweet as a peach, but if I stub my toe or poke my eye or trip and fall, the girl can not contain her laughter! So who am I to say that Blart isn’t comedy?! It’s not comedy that I necessarily want to see, but I’m not about to totally discount the collective consciousness. Now let’s hear what you think about the weekend!

Friday Estimates: Really, America? Paul Blart?

January 17, 2009

What on Earth is going on with the box office lately? I feel like a navigator on a ship, who has used the stars to guide and direct him on his journeys for his whole life, only for the stars to just up and switch places, without warning. I mean, how else do you explain the inexplicably gigantic debuts of the top two films this weekend? Did anyone see this strong of a debut coming for Paul Blart: Mall Cop? And who thought that Notorious would open to these kinds of numbers? Box office gods, I surrender!

The number one film on Friday was Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which earned a disturbingly great $9.5 million on its first day. The Sandler-produced slapstick comedy starring Kevin James attraced droves of young males, who were apparently not scared away by the awful reviews. It’s like the male version of Bride Wars… Its looking at a possible 3-day gross of $27 million, with $32 million over the full MLK weekend. Maybe there’s just no use being bitter, though. You know what they say: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” I might actually go see this! Actually nevermind, I’d definitely rather be bitter.

As impressive as Blart‘s performance is, though, Notorious is undoubtedly the strongest debut of the weekend. Out in just 1,637 theaters, Notorious found $9 million on its first day, and it will have the strongest per theater average this weekend. Producer Sean “P Diddy” Combs has to be thrilled with this result right now, and I’m sure he’s already in the process of somehow pitching MTV a new reality show based on the success of this film. (Making The Band 5: Making The Movie!) The film chronicling the life of rap superstar, the Notorious B.I.G., will probably be a bit frontloaded, so a $25 million total over the 3-day seems right, with a stunning $30 million over four.

At least My Bloody Valentine: 3D and Hotel For Dogs were acting somewhat normal yesterday. The 3D horror flick took in a good $7.5 million, which should translate into a frontloaded $20 million weekend, with $24 million overall. Hotel For Dogs grabbed a solid $4.7 million on Friday, but its grosses should pump up over Saturday and Sunday. Totals of $18 million over the 3-day, and $22 million over the 4-day are probably in store for the kiddie comedy.

Other than the straight-out-of-left-field debuts of Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Notorious, things should pretty much match up with my predictions, which makes me feel a little less inadequate. But, hey- I’m not complaining! You know, it’s just one crazy weekend of box office after another, and I’m loving the ride! Here are the full Friday estimates:

Top 12 Friday Estimates for January 16th
1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $9.5 million
2. Notorious – $9 million
3. My Bloody Valentine 3D – $7.5 million
4. Gran Torino – $6.5 million
5. Hotel For Dogs – $4.7 million
6. Bride Wars – $3.5 million
7. Defiance – $2.9 million
8. Marley & Me – $2.3 million
9. The Unborn – $2.2 million
10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – $1.7 million
11. Bedtime Stories – $1.6 million
12. Slumdog Millionaire – $1.3 million

Weekend Preview: Can My Bloody Valentine: 3-D Win The 4-Day?

January 15, 2009

Though January has traditionally been a month where studios dump their very worst pictures of the year, it looks like times may be a’changin’. This year, during the Martin Luther King 4-day weekend, we have four new wide releases and two major expansions that don’t all look awful! As far as new films go, entering theaters this weekend is the horror film My Bloody Valentine: 3D, the kiddie flick Hotel For Dogs, the biopic Notorious, and the Sandler-produced comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Definace and Last Chance Harvey are each launching into 1,000+ theaters. Contrary to past Januaries, the respective studios seem to be very confident in these releases, and the advertising has been surprisingly strong. Gran Torino is still a force to be reckoned with, though, and it could stay on top for a second weekend. All in all, the variety of choices at the theater along with the extended weekend should provide the box office with some depth and lead to a solid weekend of receipts.

The number one film this weekend should be My Bloody Valentine: 3D. The strong debut of The Unborn last weekend confirmed a renewed interest in the horror genre, and Valentine has the 3D gimmick working in its favor as well. Lanuching on a record 1,033 3D screens, this savvy move by Lionsgate not only creates novelty and interest, but it pumps up ticket prices in these venues, which will lead to a higher total gross. There has been tons of advertising for this one, and it’s kind of nice to see a film that’s not hiding from it’s “R” rating. The ads sell violence, terror, sex, gore, lots of 3D action shots, and most of all, FUN! You see, the problem with the way so many films are marketed, is that the studio forgets to tell people that they will have fun if they go see the film. My Bloody Valentine: 3D has not forgotten this point, and with some surprisingly great reviews and a legion of Supernatural fans eagerly awaiting Jensen Ackles on the big screen, the horror movie should scare up a strong $23 million from 2,534 venues over the three day period.

The only other opener that could have a chance to take the top spot is Paramount’s Hotel For Dogs, a film that proves difficult to predict. On the one hand, it’s a movie about dogs, and between Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($94 million) and Marley And Me ($126 million so far), dogs are totally the new penguins at the box office. Also, it’s got the widest release of any film this week, checking in to 3,271 theaters, and the sheer accessibility will help it’s total. Advertising has been solid for Hotel for Dogs, and there aren’t any other new films vying for the family market. While all these things are positives for the film, we must not forget that Marley And Me opened huge just four weeks ago, and I have to wonder if audiences are ready for another dog movie so soon afterwards. Maybe they are, and Hotel For Dogs will garner its own massive opening, but I don’t think this is the most likely outcome. Still, the reviews are good enough, and parents and kids know Emma Roberts from her popular Nickelodeon show Unfabulous. When all is said and done, I think this could leash a pretty good $20 million, but $5 million more or less wouldn’t surprise me.

Notorious, a film chronicling the life and untimely death of rap legend Notorious B.I.G., opens into 1,637 theaters this weekend, and it should find a fair degree of success. Biggie’s iconic status in the rap community will absolutely help this Fox Searchlight effort, produced by Sean “P Diddy” Combs. Films marketed to an urban audience are often quite successful, and given that this is MLK weekend, Notorious should be able to capture success similar to the racially themed basketball film Glory Road, which opened to $13 million in 2006. For the 3-day weekend, Notorious might grab about $12.5 million.

The final new release of the weekend is Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a film that excites me about as much as Bride Wars. Ugh. This is a film from Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison, which has brought us such classics as Grandma’s Boy and The Benchwarmers. There’s been almost a shocking amount of promotion for this, and while I love Kevin James, I truly hope audiences can spot this as the stinker that it is. Reviews are, not suprisingly, bad. You know, I’ve learned over the years that it is a bad idea to mix my own personal feelings with box office prediction, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Even if it’s opening in a huge 3,144 theaters, I still see Paul Blart: Mall Cop coming in with just $10 million. (UPDATE: okay, okay- I see that I’m too much on my high horse. I think the commercials I have seen just really suck. I’ll bump my prediction up to $12 million instead.)

Last Chance Harvey and Defiance both have major expansions this weekend, moving into 1,054 and 1,789 theaters, respectively. Neither of these films has been blowing up in limited release, but Defiance, which stars Daniel Craig, has certainly has more promotion behind it. Still, with a $60 million pricetag, it won’t make back its budget in theaters, and it will probably earn about $7.5 million this weekend. Last Chance Harvey, the quirky comedy starring Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, has achieved a little bit of awards attention, but it will probably only earn about $3 million over the weekend.

Among holdovers, drops should be soft, as Sunday numbers will be stronger than usual, due to the holiday on Monday. Gran Torino is not going to go down quietly. The Clint Eastwood film has struck a chord with audiences, and it’s looking at another weekend of solid bank, and a possible second weekend at number one. For the 3-day weekend, a 27% drop should give it $21 million. Wedding “comedy” Bride Wars should also see a small drop, earning about $13 million. Finally The Unborn, which opened well last week, will erode quickly for two reasons. First, that’s just the nature of the horror genre, and second, My Bloody Valentine: 3D is coming out. A 65% plunge will give it $7 million for the weekend. Here the full weekend predictions:

Predicted Top 12 for January 16-18

1. My Bloody Valentine: 3-D – $23 million
2. Gran Torino – $21 million
3. Hotel For Dogs – $20 million
4. Bride Wars – $13 million
5. Notorious – $12.5 million
6. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $12 million
7. Defiance – $7.5 million
8. The Unborn – $7 million
9. Marley And Me – $7 million
10. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – $6 million
11. Slumdog Millionaire – $5 million
12. Bedtime Stories – $5 million

Do I have this right, or am I way off? What do you predict these movies will make?