Archive for July 8th, 2008

08
Jul
08

Predicting the Box Office, Part II

Part I was a quizzical look at the Studios “search for more money.”

 

Welcome to Part II.

 

Have the Studios lost or gained for the summer of 2008? A lot of this is based on expectation. For example the new-kid-on-the-block Marvel Studios raked in money hand over fist with the release of “Iron Man.” In three days it took in $102 million; not bad.

 

Warner Bros. flooded money into “Speed Racer;” something to the tune of $250 million ($150 mil for the movie, $100 mil for the marketing). Unfortunately “Speed” lost gas quickly. It’s opening weekend it made $18.5 million and has so far accumulated $42.7 million. I don’t think you can blame it on the current fuel prices.

 

Disney packed a punch with its release of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.” Opening at Number One with a take of $55 million, “Caspian” held pretty well against its competitors and stayed in the Top Ten for a good month+. So far it’s made $138 million.

 

“Dr. Jones” set the summer’s 3-day box office weekend total. While $126 million is a lotta moolah, the Studio was disappointed it didn’t rake in its “projection” of $150 million. While it had a bigger opening weekend than “Iron Man,” it currently trails Tony Stark and company cumulatively by $5 million.

 

“Sex and the City.” I was really floored that this movie didn’t do better than it did. Opening weekend it made $56 million, beating out “Indy” by $1 million (in its second weekend). I was expecting “SATC” to make at least $100 million; every woman in my office area was planning on seeing it. Maybe it would have made more money if it had gone to Cable and was on Pay-Per-View. HBO would’ve raked in the cash…

 

In a summer that has fuel prices skyrocketing and pools shutting down, what do you do with the kids? The answer: go see “Kung Fu Panda.” This is the “little movie that could.” Studios had no expectations whatsoever on this kids flick and were pleasantly surprised (or dismayed) that its weekend box office was $60 million. That was higher than the opening for “Made of Honor,” “What Happens in Vegas,” “Speed Racer,” “Prince Caspian,” and “Sex and the City.” “Panda” continues to martial the art of box office earning with $193 million.

 

“The Happening” was released against “The Incredible Hulk.” This is a prime example of either not having enough faith in a movie (releasing it against something you KNOW will make money) or having too much faith in a movie (releasing against a movie that you think you can top). Either way, “The Happening’s” box office wasn’t happening; it made $30.5 million (but that was better than “Speed Racer’s” opening) The “Hulk” smashed the abomination of “The Happening,” taking in $55 million. Its current take is $124 million.

 

Another TV show-to-movie, “Get Smart,” was a disappointment; $38 million the first weekend. While it has climbed up to $100 million, it’ll probably make its profit from DVD sales and going to Cable. Meanwhile, “The Love Guru,” has crawled under the carpet making less than “Made of Honor’s” first weekend with $13 million. Ouch.

 

A kids movie versus a graphic novel-based movie. I was thinking that “Wall*E” would’ve kicked the box office for $100 million, but I was off. Taking in $3 million more than the opening for “Panda,” at $63 million the Earth’s last remaining robot did pretty well. “Wanted,” directed by the guy who did “Night Watch,” and “Day Watch,” held its own, taking in nearly $51 million. Going up against a kids movie, that’s impressive.

 

Which leads me to our stopping point: the July 4th weekend. With fuel and food rising and rising in cost, an unstoppable war, unemployment increasing and a nation standing on the edge of Depression, what can you count on? A blockbuster Will Smith Fourth of July movie. That movie: “Hancock.” Critics panning this movie didn’t stop everyone from seeing it; $66 million in three days. I was disappointed in the fact that I saw a commercial claiming that “Hancock” made $107 million. That took 5 DAYS to do. “Iron Man” made $102 million in 3 days…

 

Watch for Part III, where we’ll look back at July and Part IV where we gage summer’s final results. Until then, here are your Top Ten Lists:

 

Top Ten 3-Day Weekend Openings for Summer 2008

 

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull              $126,917,373

2. Iron Man                                                                             $102,118,668

3. Wall*E                                                                                $63,087,526

4. Hancock                                                                              $62,603,879

5. Kung Fu Panda                                                                    $60,239,130

6. Sex and the City                                                                   $56,848,056

7. The Incredible Hulk                                                              $55,414,050

8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian                              $55,034,805

9. Wanted                                                                                $50,927,085

10. Get Smart                                                                           $38,683,480

 

 

Top Ten Cumulative Box Office Totals for Summer 2008

 

1. Iron Man                                                                             $311,758,000

2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull              $306,428,521

3. Kung Fu Panda                                                                    $193,221,867

4. Sex and the City                                                                   $144,891,325

5. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian                              $138,780,000

6. Wall*E                                                                                 $127,196,028

7. The Incredible Hulk                                                              $124,841,395

8. Hancock                                                                              $103,877,446

9. Get Smart                                                                             $98,100,652

10. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan                                         $94,773,156

 

 

 

Will “The Dark Knight” strike a blow to “Iron Man?” Will “Hellboy 2” raise any hell? Is there any truth out there for “The X-Files?” And hey, how about “Tropic Thunder?”

 

Stay tuned for Predicting the Box Office III !

 

To be continued…

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08
Jul
08

Predicting the Box Office, Part I

Nobody knows nothin’.

 

Well, not exactly. Prognostication in Hollywood is best left inside the movies, but even it fails there. The Studios look at films as investments; supposedly, one “blockbuster” makes up for 20 movies that “lose” money. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket…

 

Steven Spielberg was interviewed in 1982 after he had made “E.T.,” and basically said that every time a film is released the Studios want it to be the “tied-game, last of the ninth homerun hit; the basketball slam-dunk during overtime…” 26 years later and the Studios still expect the same, albeit with an edge of cynicism.

 

Part of what’s hurting the Studios are their choices for summer releases. Ten years ago (summer 1998) the choices were “Deep Impact,” “Bulworth,” “Godzilla,” “The Truman Show,” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” “Six Days Seven Nights,” “The X-Files: Fight the Future,” “Doctor Dolittle,” “Armageddon,” “Lethal Weapon 4,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “The Mask of Zorro,” “Disturbing Behavior,” “BASEketball,” “The Negotiator,” “Halloween H20,” “Air Bud: Golden Receiver,” “Blade,” “54,” and “Wrongfully Accused.” Just looking at this list (I’ve seen all but 4 of these movies) the selection runs the spectrum: kid movies, action/adventure movies, comedies, scifi movies, romantic comedies… it’s across the board.

 

And that’s the problem of late: lack of variety at the Studios. Anyone remember last year? We had “Pirates of the Caribbean 3,” “Shrek 3,” “Bourne 3,” “Spider-Man 3,” “Rush Hour 3;” anything that could have the number 3 attached to it was sent out to do box office battle against original fare, as well as the rest of the 3’s. The audience got sick of it. Sure, this “3” may have been better than “2,” but neither were as good as “1” but was any “3” better than any other “3?” Did Studio execs ever get to hear or eavesdrop on these conversations?

 

Probably not. Like a three-year-old who realizes that he can no longer do the thing he got in trouble for doing and moves on to something else, so do the Studios. This summer is official SUPERHERO SUMMER. “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” and the “Dark Knight,” have all graced comic books and are showcasing this summer, as well as the original superhero flick, “Hancock,” and “Punisher: War Zone,” is due out later this year.

 

Are you superhero’d out yet?

 

Which brings me back to predicting the box office. The Studios have their marketing divisions and their expectations on what movies will rake in the dough. Remember: these are their investments. And when the film/”product” doesn’t do well, they try making back their profits through DVD and Cable distribution. But why does every Studio feel inclined to push out the same genre, the same type of movie? Whatever happened to the variety they did have?

 

Unfortunately, I don’t have those answers and I don’t know if I ever will. The Studios seem content to follow each other around; delivering the same type of product the other is doing and gambling at how much theirs makes over the others.

 

To be continued…