Archive for the ‘The Box’ Category

Weekend Fix: Christmas Comes Early This Year! Or Does It?

November 9, 2009

Friday Estimates: A Christmas Carol Captures $9 Million Worth Of Christmas Cheer

November 7, 2009

Friday box office estimates are starting to roll in, and while we have a clear winner in Disney’s A Christmas Carol, the race for second place will be tight between The Men Who Stare At Goats, The Fourth Kind, and This Is It.  Here are Friday’s numbers, along with my early impressions on these results:

A Christmas Carol
With $9 million on Friday, a $30 million weekend seems likely, which is well below my $40 million prediction, yet in line with the starts of other Robert Zemeckis motion-capture films like The Polar Express ($23.3 million) and Beowulf ($27.5 million).  I’m kind of frustrated in myself.  I wanted to predict this closer to $30 million, but I just believed so much in Disney’s marketing prowess, and I upped my prediction considerably.  As I’ve said before, A Christmas Carol could have opened much higher if it had debuted two weeks from now, but the silver lining for Disney is that this Jim Carrey Christmas tale will plug along steadily for the next seven weeks, as the actual holiday of Christmas grows near.  If it’s lucky, A Christmas Carol will earn back its $175 million budget, but that will be a tough task.  Can’t wait to find out if it does!

The Fourth Kind

The alien abduction (non) thriller began with $5 million on Friday, which isn’t too shabby.  But between the terrible reviews, the crowded marketplace, and the way that fanboys rush out on opening day to see this sort of film, I wouldn’t expect much for the rest of the weekend.  By Sunday, The Fourth Kind will probably have abducted about $13 million out of American pockets.

The Men Who Stare At Goats

The George Clooney war satire earned $4.6 million on Friday.  I had this pegged at earning $2-3 million on Friday, since cynical movies about war don’t tend to sit well with audiences, but I guess the star power and the ambiguous ads were enough to coax people into the theaters.  Back in 2005, Jarhead started with $10.5 million on its way to a $27.7 million weekend, giving it an opening weekend multiplier of 2.6.   I would expect a similar degree of liberal frontloadedness for Goats, and a $12 million weekend seems likely.

The Box

I wanted this to really exceed my expectations, but unfortunately, it just met them.  With $2.85 million on Friday, the psychological suspense movie starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden seems destined for the Wal Mart bargain rack in a few years.  Give the thriller $8 million for the frame.

This Is It and Paranormal Activity

The Michael Jackson documentary, This Is It, held up well on Friday, earning another $4.2 million.  I’m seeing a solid $13 million over three days for this one, good for second place at the box office.  Meanwhile, the freight train that is Paranormal Activity is officially coming to a stop.  The horror film was down 53% from last Friday to just $2.85 million.  An $8.2 million weekend should result.

Friday Estimates for November 6, 2009
1. A Christmas Carol – $9 million
2. The Fourth Kind – $5 million
3. The Men Who Stare At Goats – $4.6 million
4. This Is It – $4.2 million
5. The Box – $2.85 million
6. Paranormal Activity – $2.85 million
7. Couples Retreat – $2 million
8. Law Abiding Citizen – $1.8 million
9. Where The Wild Things Are – $1.2 million
10. Saw VI – $700,000
11. Precious – $585,000

Weekend Preview: Scrooge, Aliens, Men, Goats, And A Magic Box

November 6, 2009

This weekend is the first full weekend in November, and as the weather’s getting colder, the box office is getting hotter.  Four new wide releases hit screens today, and the box office should see some solid depth over the next few days.  Disney, as part of its crusade to turn Christmas into a two-month-long event, is releasing A Christmas Carol, and it will certainly win the weekend.  I don’t talk about it too much in the video because I wrote a rather epic analysis of it yesterday.  Read it here.  Also entering theaters this weekend is Universal’s alien abduction film, The Fourth Kind, Overture’s war satire, The Men Who Stare At Goats, and Warner Brothers’ psychological mind-bender, The Box.  Watch the video above to get my take on their box office prospects, and then check the chart below for my full box office predictions.  Let me know what your predictions are in the comments!

Box Office Predictions for November 6-8, 2009
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 A Christmas Carol 3,683 $40 million
2 The Fourth Kind 2,529 $13 million
3 This Is It 3,481 $12 million
4 Paranormal Activity 2,558 $9.5 million
5 The Box 2,635 $9 million
6 The Men Who Stare At Goats 2,443 $7 million
7 Law Abiding Citizen 2,474 $4.5 million
8 Couples Retreat 2,846 $4 million
9 Where The Wild Things Are 2,756 $2.9 million
10 Saw VI 2,091 $2.5 million

The New And The News: The Box Office Is About To Get VERY Cluttered

November 2, 2009

Welcome to the new Monday column: The New And The News!  With the official introduction of this column, I now have exactly seven features: one for each day of the week.  I’ll try to put together an official schedule and place it in the sidebar.  Let me give you an idea of what The New And The News will look like.  Each Monday, I will quickly overview each of the week’s new releases, summarizing each film and giving some very early box office thoughts about them.  After that, I will post a few interesting links to news articles that caught my eye.  Let’s get started!

New This Week:

A Christmas Carol (Disney) – 3,500 theaters – Reviews
A few things bother me about this movie.  First, it’s a Christmas movie coming out on November 6th.  Not only is this just too early for my taste (do we really have to spend 1/6 of our year getting excited for one morning of presents?), but like Fred Claus last year, I think that releasing a Christmas feature this early is actually hurting its box office potential more than its helping it.  Second, Robert Zemeckis is using the same, creepy motion-capture technology that nobody liked in The Polar Express.  Third, it’s in 3D, which, in case you haven’t already gathered, I’m not a huge fan of.  Still, with Disney’s marketing and Jim Carrey’s drawing power, this will end up the biggest hit of all the releases this week.

The Box (Warner Brothers) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews
I don’t care what haters may say, I think this movie looks awesome!  I love james Marsden, I love Cameron Diaz, and I’m intrigued by the plot of this.  There’s a box that contains a button, which, if pushed, will simultaneously provide you with $1 million and kill someone you don’t know.  What would you do? It’s a psychological thriller with a creative plot, and I hope it can pull it off.  Early reviews aren’t half bad, and the ads have explained the story pretty well, so I’d love to see this succeed.

The Men Who Stare At Goats – 2,200 theaters – Reviews

Sometimes people accuse me of being a movie snob.  Now, if I were a movie snob, I would be sitting here gushing about how amazing this movie, which features George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, and Jeff Bridges, is going to be. I would praise it for having a quirky title and taking a critical stance toward our military.  I would say its clearly going to win Oscars.  But I’m not a film snob, and frankly, I’m not that excited.  This movie looks confusing, and the ads have given absolutely no clue as to what its about.  Not that the official description is much more helpful… ” A reporter (Ewan McGregor) delves into the world of psychic military regiments during the Iraq War in this adaptation of the Jon Ronson book THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS.”  Basically, I don’t think this is going to be a very successful endeavor.  It’s the Era Of Easy Entertainment… people don’t want to see a satire about war.

The Fourth Kind (Universal) – 2,450 theaters – Reviews
I don’t know how much new stuff there really is to say about this one… it’s got all the standard sci-fi motifs: alien abductions, creepy music, Milla Jovovich, etc.  Advertising has tried to make this one look exactly like Paranormal Activity, complete with the handheld video camera with a time lapse counter in the corner.  We’ll see how effective that strategy is, because in a cluttered weekend like this one, a film really needs to stand out, and I don’t know how unique and exciting this is looking.

Precious (Lionsgate) – Limited – Reviews
Mark my words, this is going to be a dark horse performer at the box office.  It might not be huge this weekend, due to its limited run,  but this has a lot going for it.  First off, it’s targeting black urban audiences, which is an under-represented group at the box office.  Second, some very influential people are supporting this.  Mo’nique stars in it, and Oprah and Tyler Perry have both been talking it up.  Third, reviews are fantastic so far, so word of mouth should be solid.  Fourth, this is based on a popular novel: Push by Sapphire.  This assures some sort of built-in audience.  Fifth and finally, this features a brand new, up-and-coming actress named Gabourey “Gabbie” Sidibe, and the media loves to dote upon a new star, especially if she’s playing the underdog and is a bit bigger than the other girls.  (Think Jennifer Hudson or Nikki Blonsky.)  If Precious succeeds this week, look for Lionsgate to roll it out into more and more theaters.  I could see this getting major Oscar attention and being huge.

News This Week:

Paranormal Activity’s Alternate Endings

EW talked to writer-director Oren Peli about Paranormal Activity’s three alternate endings that were considered for the movie.  It’s very interesting, but I’m glad they stuck with the one that played in theaters.

Knightley To Star In My Fair Lady Remake

According to The Times, Keira Knightley beat out Scarlett Johansson for the role of Eliza Doolittle the remake of My Fair Lady, which is being written by Emma Thompson.  No matter who gets the role, it’s going to be tough to break out of Audrey Hepburn’s shadow.  I mean, she’s just iconic in this part.

Run Your Own Theater With FlickPicks

Ok, so this isn’t really news, but it’s cool anyway.  FlickPicks is an online game that let’s you predict the box office and run your own theater.  It’s like fantasy football for movie buffs!  I love it!  I signed up, and if it’s something you’re interested in (which it probably is, since you’re reading this blog), then you should sign up too!

Trailer: Cameron Diaz In "The Box"

July 24, 2009

What would you do for a Klondike Bar? How about a million dollars? When a family is told they could get that, for only pushing a button, it seems like a great deal. The catch, somebody in the world, who they don’t know, will be killed. Throw in a sick son for some motivation, and you’ve got yourself a what-would-you-do thriller.

The Box is clearly based on a famous Twilight Zone episode, as well as the short story with the original idea, called “Button, Button.” If the movie has an ending similar to those, it could be a pretty tense, nail biting movie.

We’ll have to see, won’t we?