Archive for the ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ Category

Weekend Fix: This Is It Takes #1 At The Box Office; Paranormal Activity Continues Its Rampage

November 2, 2009

Friday Estimates: Michael Jackson’s This Is It Doesn’t Live Up To Hype

October 31, 2009

Michael Jackson’s concert film, This Is It, earned $7.4 million on its opening Wednesday, and then followed that up with a steep 50% drop to $3.7 million on Thursday.  Obviously, this is going to be a very frontloaded film, and it will certainly undercut most everyone’s expectations, which had This Is It pegged at earning about $50 million in its first five days.  Now, a five day total of about $30 million seems more likely. 

UPDATE: Friday box office results are now in, and This Is It earned $7.5 million.  Just as the Wednesday/Thursday figures were frontloaded, so should the weekend figures be.  A $20 million weekend seems likely for Jackson’s posthumous documentary, which is far below what Sony was hoping for. Perhaps the film was hurt by the fact that Jackson lacked a large fanbase among young people. Perhaps the film will hold up better than expected over the rest of the weekend. We’ll have to wait and wee, but I wouldn’t count on it.  Paranormal Activity found another solid $6 million on Friday, and it should do very well on Halloween. Its performance will be good for second place, and the horror film that can’t be stopped should find $17 million over the weekend frame.  Meanwhile, Paranormal‘s main victim, Saw VI, could only manage $2 million on Friday, and it’s looking at an awful $6 million second weekend. Keep reading for the very early Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates for October 30, 2009
1. This Is It – $7.5 million
2. Paranormal Activity – $6 million
3. Couples Retreat – $2.4 million
4. Law Abiding Citizen – $2.4 million
5. Where The Wild Things Are – $2.2 million
6. Saw VI – $2 million

Weekend Preview: This Is It For Michael Jackson’s This Is It

October 30, 2009

Only one new release this weekend, and that is Sony’s Michael Jackson’s This Is It, the documentary about Michael Jackson’s final hours as he prepared for his latest tour.  Watch the video above (you’ll see me getting musical!) to get my prediction for This Is It‘s box office potential.  The rest of the chart should largely look the same as last week.  Paranormal Activity will see a soft drop, as Paramount is adding 457 theaters to its count.  $100 million is all but assured for Paranormal at this point.  Law Abiding Citizen and Couples Retreat will continue their impressive runs with small decreases, while Where The Wild Things Are and (to a greater extent) Saw VI will fall hard.  Read on for my full predictions for this Halloween weekend…

Box Office Predictions for October 30 – November 1, 2009
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 Michael Jackson’s This Is It 3,481 $35 million
2 Paranormal Activity 2,402 $15 million
3 Law Abiding Citizen 2,764 $8 million
4 Where The Wild Things Are 2,754 $7 million
5 Couples Retreat 3,027 $6.7 million
6 Saw VI 3,036 $5.8 million
7 Astro Boy 3,020 $4 million
8 The Stepfather 2,346 $3.8 million
9 The Vampire’s Assistant 2,754 $3.2 million
10 Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2,322 $3.2 million

Friday Estimates: Paranormal Activity Kills The Saw Franchise?

October 24, 2009

This is not good news for the Saw franchise.  Saw VI could only open to $7 million on Friday.  Considering how frontloaded this franchise historically is, this mean were looking at an $18 million weekend.  That’s WAY down from the standard $30 million openings of the Saw franchise.  There’s not great news for The Vampire’s Assistant ($2.3 million), Astro Boy ($2 million), or Amelia ($1.3 million) either.  Paranormal Activity looks like it will take the top spot after a $7.5 million Friday, and it should earn pretty much exactly what I predicted with $21.5 million over the weekend.  In other news, Where The Wild Things Are dropped a huge 63% from last Friday to $4.4 million, and it should pull in $13-14 million over the weekend.  That’s a huge drop for a movie that targeted kids and families… Law Abiding Citizen, meanwhile, fell just 45% to $4.2 million, and it should find $12.5 million over the weekend.  Here are the very early Friday Estimates:

Early Friday Estimates for October 23, 2009
1. Paranormal Activity – $7.5 million
2. Saw VI – $7 million
3. Where The Wild Things Are – $4.4 million
4. Law Abiding Citizen – $4.2 million
5. Couples Retreat – $3.7 million
6. The Vampire’s Assistant – $2.3 million
7. The Stepfather – $2.1 million
8. Astro Boy – $2 million
9. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs – $1.5 million
10. Zombieland – $1.3 million
11. Amelia – $1.3 million

Weekend Preview: Can Paranormal Activity Scare Away Saw VI’s Audience?

October 23, 2009

Sorry this post is a few hours late, but between Blogger shutting down, a dentist appointment, my internet router crashing, and being generally sick and stuffy, this really is the fastest I could’ve gotten this posted!  Anyway, it’s going to be another busy weekend at the box office in what’s shaping up to be a very healthy October.  New releases include Saw VI, Astro Boy, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, and Amelia, and Paranormal Activity is getting a major national expansion.  Watch the video above for my box office predictions for these movies, and then check below for my full prediction chart.  It should be a busy, fun weekend at the movies!

Box Office Predictions for October 23-25, 2009
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 Saw VI 3,036 $25 million
2 Paranormal Activity 1,945 $21.5 million
3 Where The Wild Things Are 3,735 $16 million
4 The Vampire’s Assistant 2,754 $12 million
5 Law Abiding Citizen 2,890 $11 million
6 Astro Boy 3,014 $10 million
7 Couples Rereat 3,074 $9 million
8 The Stepfather 2,734 $5.2 million
9 Amelia 818 $5 million
10 Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2,741 $4.8 million

Weekend Fix: Wild Things Ain’t That Wild, Law Abiding Citizen Does Well, Paranormal Activity AMAZES

October 18, 2009

Friday Estimates: Where The Wild Things Are On Top; Law Abiding Citizen Actually Does Well!

October 17, 2009

Some very early Friday Estimates are starting to roll in, and as predicted, Where The Wild Things Are topped the Friday box office with an estimated $11.9 million.  This should guide the Warner Brothers feature to a solid $35 million weekend.  Keep reading to find out how the rest of the box office looked…

Law Abiding Citizen, the critically ravaged prison drama starringJamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, found a surprisingly great $7.7 million on Friday.  I predicted it to earn just $9.5 million, so this is definitely a break out hit. It could be headed to a $20 million weekend.

Paranormal Activity grossed a very good $6.7 million out of 760 theaters on Friday, so it should finish the weekend with an unbelievable $17 million.

Couples Retreat fell 50% from last Friday to $5.8 million, but it should recover over the rest of the weekend and finish with about $19 million.

The Stepfather also exceeded my expectations, finding $4.3 million on Friday, which is far from spectacular, but pretty good when you consider the poor reviews, the weak advertising, and the lack of proven star power.  It might grab $10.5 million over the weekend frame.

It should also be said that the box office is exhibiting a tremendous amount of depth this weekend, as five films are headed to $10+ million weekends! This abundance of ticket sales and great business is kind of random, considering this weekend really only had one high profile release, but hey, in this recession, every economic win is a reason to rejoice!

Box Office Estimates For October 16, 2009
1. Where The Wild Things Are – $11.9 million
2. Law Abiding Citizen – $7.7 million
3. Paranormal Activity – $6.7 million
4. Couples Retreat – $5.8 million
5. The Stepfather – $4.3 million
6. Zombieland – $2.4 million
7. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs – $2.1 million
8. Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D) – $825,000
9. The Invention Of Lying – $605,000
10. Surrogates – $585,000

Weekend Preview: Will Where The Wild Things Are Be The Blockbuster Everyone’s Hoping It Will Be?

October 16, 2009

Okay guys, there have been a couple requests for a traditional Weekend Preview, so this week I decided to do one.  The video above is asking for some feedback on which format you like the best, so please chime in with your opinion in the comments!  This week, three new films hit theaters, but based on buzz,  it almost seems like there’s just one new release.  On the docket we have the very low profile Law-Abiding Citizen and The Stepfather, and the very high profile Where The Wild Things Are.  Keep reading to see my predictions of how each of these movies will perform this weekend.

Where The Wild Things Are – 3,735 theaters – $31.5 million

1. Sorry popular media, but I still say this Warner Brothers movie is too hipster and weird to be a huge mainstream success. 
2. Between the built in fans of the book, the strong advertising campaign, and the ultra-wide release into 3,735 theaters, a solid opening weekend is guaranteed.
3. Reviews are fairly good, but that’s from snobby critics who actually appreciate artistic themes and dour characters (think Donnie Darko).  This film will have masses of teenage fans who say it is the best piece of art they have ever seen, but for the common middle American family, I’m not so sure this plotless dreamscape will be beloved.

Law Abiding Citizen – 2,889 theaters – $9.5 million
1. This film stars Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, two movie stars who aren’t exactly box office draws.
2. Unlike the above release, I have seen almost no advertising for this drama, which is about a tyrannical prisoner and a harsh district attorney.
3. The wide release will garner at least some attention, but abysmal reviews will keep the target audience of this (adults) away.

The Stepfather – 2,734 theaters – $6 million

1. I feel like some Screen Gems producers were sitting in a room and said, “Hey, lets make a cheap horror remake and just throw a good looking Gossip Girl star in it!  It’s almost no work on our part!”
2. Unfortunately for the above producers, these poorly reviewed, cheap retreads only do well when supported by a major advertising campaign, which this has not had.
3. The good news for Screen Gems is that I’m sure this movie was inexpensive to make, so even if it fails financially, I’m sure it was a small investment.

Paranormal Activity – 760 theaters – $17 million

1. The little horror film that could expands into 600 more theaters this weekend, and I’d expect a full wide release from Paramount next weekend.
2. Because of the expansion, the blazing $49,000 per theater average of last week is going to come down a bit, but a $21,000 average would still give this an amazing $17 million for the weekend.
3. Based on Paranormal Activity‘s shockingly effective “Demand It” campaign, I’d expect a slew of films to begin trying to use Eventful to make their movies break out.  This seems like a rather unique case, though, and I don’t expect lightning to strike twice.

Among holdovers, Couples Retreat, since it is a widely accessible comedy, should see a friendly second weekend drop of about 45% to $18 million. Zombieland and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs should keep riding the wave of fantastic word-of-mouth to small drops of 40% and 30%, respectively. My full predictions are below:

Box Office Predictions for October 16-18, 2009
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 Where The Wild Things Are 3,735 $31.5 million
2 Couples Retreat 3,009 $18 million
3 Paranormal Activity 760 $17 million
4 Law Abiding Citizen 2,889 $9.5 million
5 Zombieland 3,171 $9 million
6 Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 3,037 $8 million
7 The Stepfather 2,734 $7 million
8 Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D) 1,467 $5 million
9 Surrogates 2,326 $2.7 million
10 The Invention Of Lying 1,624 $2 million

5 Children’s Books I’d Love To See Made Into Movies

October 14, 2009

It’s List Wednesday again, and with the release of the hotly anticipated Where The Wild Things Are happening in just two short days, I thought it might be fun to count down my Top 5 children’s books that I’d like get their own film adaptations.  But don’t just sit there and let me tell you my opinion; I want to hear what books from your childhood you want to see on the silver screen in the comments!  Let’s get started.

5. The Red Carpet

This is definitely my weakest choice of the whole bunch because I think the plot is probably too narrow for an entire film.  Basically, the story revolves around a hotel that rolls out the red carpet for an important guest.  However, the red carpet never stops unrolling, and it never stops either, so before long, every sidewalk and road in the entire city is covered in red carpet.  The bulk of the story revolves around the chase to stop the carpet, but the book ends by showing how everyone gets to feel like royalty for one day.  I think that mentality could make for an interesting film.

4. Heckedy Peg

I’m not going to lie: this book is creepy and weird and kind of disturbing, but I loved it when I was a kid.   After a poor widowed mother goes to the market to buy each of her seven children one special treat, an old witch named Heckedy Peg tricks the unattended children into letting her into the house, where she then turns them each into one of her favorite foods.  Upon returning, the mother must figure out where her children have been taken, and how to get them back before Heckedy Peg literally feasts upon them.  This is a children’s book that I do not want to see made into a children’s movie, but perhaps a stylish horror film, instead.  Has anyone else ever read this?

3. Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch

This absolutely delightful story about a painfully boring man named Mr. Hatch is one that I remember fondly from my childhood.  Mr. Hatch works in a shoelace factory, where he eats a single prune and a sandwich for lunch each day.  He lives alone and has no friends and no excitement in his drab life.  All this changes when he finds a small box of chocolates at his front door that says, “Somebody Loves You.”  Suddenly, Mr. Hatch has a little pep in his step, and soon he receives a bigger box of chocolates, then another, and then another!  Each time, Mr. Hatch begins to come out of his shell more and more, and in the end his entire town decides to show him how much they love him with a surprise party in his backyard.  It gets me happy just thinking about it!

2. The Little Red Caboose

Without a doubt, this was my favorite book when I was little.  I loved trains, and I loved getting to make the train noises (Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack) that were written in this book.  The story is completely endearing, though.  Wherever the train goes, children cheer for the tank engine, the boxcars, the flatcars, and the coalcars, but everyone just walks away when the little red caboose passes by.  Caboose is lonely and tired of being forgotten, so he does something heroic to get everyone’s attention.  I think an animated movie that explored life at the train station, maybe in the same vein as Cars, could be really fun to see.  And a landscape of train tracks on rolling, forested hills could be visually stunning as well.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This book is a classic.  I think pretty much every person I know (with the notable exception of my roommate) read this when they were little.  The story is pretty simple: a caterpillar eats and eats and eats until he is so huge that he just builds a cocoon and turns into a butterfly.  That’s pretty much it.  Still, the story has such huge audience recognition, that I think it would be a pretty much guaranteed hit if a studio wrote a good script and released it to a very wide family audience.

What do you all think?  Would you see any of my proposed adaptations?  What books would you like to see made into movies?  Let me know in the comments!

Is "Where The Wild Things Are" Too Hipster To Be Successful?

September 17, 2009

For the past few weeks, everyone and their great aunt seems to be fawning over the trailer for Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are, the much-buzzed-about film adaptation of the beloved children’s book.  With synthy hipster music pumping, the trailer shows an extended montage of a boy in the famous pajama suit surrounded by whimsically wonky monsters galore.  The film-buff community is telling me I must like this.  My inner pretentious film critic is salivating.  But still, I’m just not that excited.  Here’s why:

I’m a box office analyst.  I look at a film, and I say, “Is this film going to do well?  Is it going to make money?”  Oftentimes, I decide that a movie is going to be a financial disaster, and so I should therefore ignore it completely.  Take a movie like Stranger Than Fiction, a 2006 release starring Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson.  I thought it looked witty.  I thought it looked funny.  I thought it looked creative.  I was so excited!  But then it went and underperformed at the box office, earning just $40.6 million over the holiday season.  Suddenly, I wasn’t so keen on seeing the film.  Now, I know that’s a terrible philosophy, and artistic value should never be judged based on commercial appeal, but I think it’s definitely a factor for most people.  For instance, if a TV show pulls in poor ratings in its premiere, many people will jump ship by the next episode, not wanting to commit to something that isn’t popular, relevant, or successful.  It applies to movies as well, and I think that’s why I’m not excited about Where The Wild Things Are: I don’t believe it’s going to be a big box office success.

Call me crazy if you want, but I don’t see great box office numbers for Where The Wild Things Are when it debuts on October 16th.  This film falls very much into the category of what I like to call “hipster films,” and while those films are usually artistic and interesting, they are not bona fide box office successes.  With the rare exception of Juno, most indie-music-playing, snarky-dialogue-touting, dream-sequence-filled, cartoon-title-over-a-drab-background-having, film-blog-buzzed-about, shaky-camera-shot hipster flicks aren’t going to top the box office.  Yes, the fact that Where The Wild Things Are is based on an immensely popular kids book will provide some built in business, but when you watch the trailer above, does it really look like a widely appealing kids movie?

The trailer brings to mind one movie in particular: Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola’s much talked about historical update of the famous French queen.  Both trailers are relatively dialogue-free.  Both trailers were filled by quick moving images set to quirky music.  Both trailers were talked about endlessly by the film world.  And yet, despite all the buzz, Marie Antionette only grossed $16 million back in 2006.  Other recent hipster movies that come to mind would be Garden State ($28.4 million), Adventureland ($16 million), (500) Days Of Summer ($30.2 million), and Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist ($31.5 million).  All of these films were well-received by critics, and audiences generally liked them, yet, while these are far from box office bombs, they’re not exactly smash hits either.  This is the typical fate for a hipster film: a modest, though very buzzed about, theatrical performance, followed by a solid performance on DVD from a passionate, loyal, college-aged following.

I’m expecting a similar trajectory from Where The Wild Things Are.  The numbers will be better because of the book-factor and the family-factor, but this looks like a movie made more for adults than children, and families = money at the box office.  Furthermore, it doesn’t look nearly mainstream enough to be a blockbuster.  We live in a world where Alvin And The Chipmunks breaks the $200 million barrier and G-Force breaks $100 million.  There was nothing subtle or artistic about these films, and yet, this is the type of family entertainment that more average American consumers would rather watch.  Really, can you imagine a rural Kentucky audience getting super excited about Where The Wild Things Are?  I can’t.  So for now, I’m not buying into the buzz.  I’m guessing that critics will love it, audiences will like it, people will watch it and feel nouve-riche for doing so, but it won’t be as huge as many people are thinking.  My very early prediction is about $65-70 million.

What do you think about all this?  Is Where The Wild Things Are too hipster to break out?  Are you excited to see Spike Jonze’s film?  I’ll admit, some of the released shots of the film are just beautiful, but I’m not positive I’ll be attending.  Let me hear your thoughts in the comments!