The Box Office Report – March 25-27

Last week, in box office…

Limitless wins the weekend with an overperformance of $18.9 million. It’s fine. The movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (still bad, just, not unforgivable), and made exactly the kind of money it should have made. A film like this should top out under or around $50 at best. Not a major success, a bit less than a break-even. Though, with a budget of $27 million (estimated), plus that ad budget, let’s assume they need to pull $60-70 to break even on this one. Which, they’ll do on home video. That’s where this movie will really make its money. When the idiots rush to rent it and stuff on Netflix (thereby allowing me to get all the shit I want without any worry. Everybody wins).

Finishing second was Rango, at $15.1 million in its third week. Which means…

Battle: Los Angeles fell like a lead fucking brick. An almost 60% drop to finish with $14.5 million and $60.5 million in two weeks. Oh, boy does that tickle. This movie deserves to fail so badly. But first Rango, then I’ll laugh about this.

So, Rango makes $15 million. That gives it $92.3 million in three weeks. That’s awesome. Good for it. Granted, that $135 million budget is hard to recoup, but something tells me this is well on its way to doing so. Because it’s not factoring in overseas business. If there’s any movie that came out this year that deserves to make money (that isn’t The Adjustment Bureau), it’s this. Drive Angry will make its money on DVD. So, good job, Rango. Keep it up.

Now, ha ha, Battle: Los Angeles tanked like is should have. A 60% drop is abysmal. It means people only went to see it because the studio essentially bought the weekend with relentless advertising — which now cost them more, since word of mouth will not be getting out (and it it is, it sure as shit ain’t positive) and now it can’t possibly make back all the money they pumped into it (that ad budget had to be at least $50 million). And I couldn’t be happier. Next week this will go under $10 million and it’s almost certain to not top $100 million. That tickles me so much. And I’ll say it again, if you or anyone you know went to see this in theaters, they are an idiot. Moving on.

Finishing fourth was The Lincoln Lawyer. $13.2 million. Just about where it should be. The movie won’t top $40 million and will be forgotten about in two weeks. Just another shitty thriller to be forgotten about.

Fifth was Paul. $13 million. Pretty forgettable figure, but then again, it’s a pretty forgettable movie. I enjoyed it for the 90 minutes I saw it, but fuck if I can tell you what actually happened. So, it’ll make some money, and that’s that.

Sixth was Red Riding Hood, finishing with $7.2 million. That gives it just shy of $26 million after two weeks. Yeah, big turd. Good. It deserves it.

Seventh was The Adjustment Bureau, dropping 50% to $5.8 million. The movie is just under $50 million total and will hit that number midweek. It should come close to hitting its budget — $62 million, before leaving theaters, which means the studio should have a tidy little hit on their hands.

Eighth was, and this was surprising, Mars Needs Moms. It made $5.3 million, hanging in for an only 23% drop. Don’t think it’s all that positive, since the $150 million film has only $15.4 million over two weeks. So the movie’s only made back 1/10 of its budget (pre-advertising) in two weeks. I can only smile.

All the other grosses are pretty forgettable. The only other things worth mentioning are that Just Go With It is $2 million from hitting $100 million. Which it should do. A shame. That will technically give Adam Sandler another $100 million grosser. However, Gnomeo and Juliet is $6.4 million away from $100 million. Which it probably won’t do, but still, for a film like that, it’s incredible.

The other numbers I noticed while scrolling down, which I rarely do, since I’m only interested in recent films — The King’s Speech, in its 17th week, is at $132.5 million. To keep things in perspective, it was a $15 million movie. That’s incredible. Though what remains equally incredible, Tangled is also in its 17th week. Surprising, right? Tangled has actually made $616,000 this week, finishing 17th overall. It was a few thousand shy of outgrossing — ready for this? — Big Mommas and I Am Number Four. In week 17. Wow. It’s also at $197.7 million. So it’s just shy of hitting $200 million. That’s awesome. Though its budget was $260 million, so, not gonna make that back. Why that budget was so high I’ll never know. The Green Hornet also looks to be falling short of $100 million (at $98). Thank god. True Grit is about to hit $170 million. Awesome. And The Fighter is at $93 million. Black Swan is at $106 million. And Tron: Legacy just made $1 million over its budget. Which bodes very well for that film.

I only mention Tron because — well, there’s more to come with that film in the next thirty days.

So, that’s last week. Now, this week…

The big film opening this week is Sucker Punch. I’ll get my thoughts on this out now because I know I’m going to end up 100% correct on this one.

First — I don’t like Zack Snyder films. I respect them, but I don’t like his style of filmmaking. I never have. I have always made that very well-known. Let’s review: Dawn of the Dead, his only live-action film. It was good. Entertaining, had a couple of really good set pieces and ended up turning a great social critique of the 70s into a not all that awful modern day action film. Then, 300. This is a film that’s entertaining to watch, but that’s about it. I still hate the film, even though I own it. I’ll watch it and be glad to not think for 100 minutes, but, don’t get me wrong, it is not a good movie. I’ve always had a problem with the film, specifically with his green-screen style of filmmaking. It’s lifeless, soulless, and makes me want to tune out because nothing in it it real. What deep enjoyment can you have of a film when none of it elicits any emotion?

That said, the only film of Snyder’s I do have deep affection for is Watchmen. Why? Because his style is best suited to comic books. The fact that he made it look like the novel worked in its favor. So, I will be truly indebted to Zack Snyder for bringing Watchmen into the world. Everything else? I can take it or leave it. I can only wait for him to fuck up (or is that even possible at this point?) Superman. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, though.

Oh yeah — he made that Owls movie too. Which was another flashy but soulless bomb. Oh, wait, not another. This one isn’t technically out yet.

So, now, Sucker Punch. First, let me say, I was down on this from the second they announced it. Zack Snyder make a shit ton of money with 300 and made a nice hit in Watchmen and garnered a sizable amount of good press for actually bringing it to the screen. Which allowed him to get the keys to the kingdom. He got a blank check to do what he wanted. First, he did the Owls movie, which, didn’t work out. Perhaps that was something they thought would succeed. Then, he did this. Which, you can tell a lot about a director when they have passion projects. Martin Scorsese’s passion projects were The Last Temptation of Christ and Gangs of New York. Oliver Stone’s passion project was Alexander. Avatar was James Cameron’s passion project. I can’t think of any more right off the top of my head, but you get the picture. This is Zack Snyder’s passion project. The film which, with unlimited resources and complete freedom — he would make. Why am I not surprised?

When this trailer came out, it was exactly as I expected it to be. I said, “This is going to be the most horrendous piece of shit, completely fake-looking and generic to the core. Yet, the action sequences and the look of it will be amazing.” I was not excited for it in the least. And yet, I knew I could not simply like the film, because all the people around me would go nuts for it because it’s mindless action. Because I have many friends who are like, “Who cares if the story was shitty, it was awesome!” Yeah — I care.

I’m treating this movie the way I treated 300. I refuse to go to the theater to see it until I know it either failed or succeeded beyond the point of hope. Hope for failure, that is. I know there are going to be some very awesome action sequences and very beautifully framed (albeit fake) images. And none of that will be enough to compensate for the complete lack of storytelling (I’m already hearing they go for an Inception-like storytelling, with different “levels” of consciousness, which, since the film is nowhere near as intelligent as Inception, completely blows up in its face) and total computer-generated feel of the entire thing. At best you’re looking at a film I enjoy once, and never feel the need to see again. Much like 300.

The only thing this movie had going for it for me was that he incorporated really fucked up musical numbers in the film. Or at least, musical numbers. I can only assume they were fucked up. And they mysteriously got cut from the final cut of the film. Possibly from the studio saying, “What the fuck, musicals? Look, we gave you money as it is and we’re gonna take a hit on this one. So cut them out.” Or, he himself thought, “Musicals? People want action, so I’ll put it on the DVD since there will be six directors cuts of this anyway.” Though, now that I’m hearing about all the whorehouse imagery, my guess is that those numbers weren’t going to be the kind of numbers I was expecting. I was hoping for fucked up Busby Berkeley and Gene Kelly. This was looking like it was gonna be Elizabeth Berkley and Christina Aguilera. (That comparison would have been so much cooler if Aguilera had Kelly in her name.) I bet that whole feminist angle they’re running ends up being so horribly misogynist that it’s funny. I wish I had someone to go to the theater with, just so I can laugh and make comments the whole time.

I had to get that off my chest. So that way I can point to this when all of my friends see it and go, “How can you not like it?” Very, very easily. The more Hollywood puts out films that are designed to appeal to only the “that was awesome” sense, and the more people are satisfied with anything they watch, the harsher I will be and the more films I will dislike. And even if this film ends up blowing me away, it won’t matter. I will still be upset at it for the same reason I hate Battle: Los Angeles — making shit go “boom” does not a good film make. It is not awesome. I can show you awesome. It’s not that. Aliens, that’s awesome. This is nothing more than a video game on screen that you don’t even have the ability to play.

Anyway, box office prospects…

The silver lining to this whole thing — aside from the complete trashing the film is getting from critics. I’m so happy. Actually, let’s pause on that for a second. It’s pulling a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hall Pass has a 34%. top critics only give it a 13%. Yeah. And in case you think it’s because it’s “that type of film,” know that Watchmen got a 64% and 300 go a 60%. So even the inherent bias only goes so far. Also, here are a few reviews that I thoroughly enjoyed, and very eloquently state all the reasons why I don’t like this film. Keep in mind, these are people whose reviews I (mostly) trust. Or people whose opinions I know well enough to gauge my response off of theirs. The first is too nice to people, especially when he knows them. The second can be extreme and a bit too mean sometimes, but on the whole is pretty reasonable. The third and the fourth are very big names, who, along with Mr. Ebert (whose review is not yet online as of this writing), which to me, basically tell me everything I need to know about this movie (that I didn’t already know from just watching a trailer and knowing the director’s work). In fact, A.O. Scott’s review pretty much says exactly what I did about the video game thing (which I take as a mark of pride, because I wrote that before I read the review. I figured I’d accept the bad writing over the “you just wrote down his idea.” No, I was gonna post the reviews without having read them. Now, I’m covered. And he agrees with me). Anyway, now, actually onto the box office — so the silver lining to this whole thing is that they’re predicting this film to not do well. Ha ha!

They’re saying this movie will do $24-26 million this weekend. Which is both laughable, and — well, laughable. I’m just gonna say right now, I hope they’re right. That would be great. But, I don’t buy it. I think everyone is skittish because all those bold predictions they’ve been making the past few months have fallen flat on their faces. Watchmen did a $55 million opening weekend and 300 did 70. Do you really think this will only do $26 million? Seriously? I won’t be skittish, I will make bold predictions. Well, not that bold, since I’m really hoping they’re right. But, honestly, with numbers like that and the fact that he’s the most visually exciting director the shitty action movie field has to offer, this should do $40 million easy. I know people will not see it because of the tiring of his style, which, is great. I hope they do. But, still, I can’t see this not pulling in at least a $36 million weekend. How can it not? So, I’m gonna boldly pick way above everyone else, because, they’re too chicken shit not to.

Though, they do have a point. It’s only 3,000 theaters (less than the next film that’s opening, which, is kind of surprising), which leads me to believe the studio is expecting not great things out of it. Then again, the budget was (apparently) only $82 million. So they really only spent like, $160 million on it. Which is a bit high of an estimation, but, still, $26 million is a good number, as long as it holds. So, there’s evidence to suggest it will do $26 million. And the worse it opens, the less freedom Snyder will have in the future (which he might not even have anyway, judging by those musical numbers). So, yeah, whatever. Let it do $26 million. But I’m still expecting 40.

Also opening, in about a hundred theaters than Sucker Punch, is Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules. This is a film that is strange, because, the first one became quite the sleeper hit. It did $22 million its opening weekend. I’d expect a relatively similar opening. Though, this being a young person’s film, the whole idea that sequels aren’t as good — let’s say it opens to less overall but still does okay business because films like this hold very well. So instead of that 22, let’s call this weekend $18-20 million. 18.2. Maybe 17.6. Around there. $21 million if it does well. I don’t expect it to outgross the first one. If it does, expect another one this time next year. Maybe even still, expect another one.

Those are the new releases. Now, onto the holdovers…

Limitless, not being a shitty action film and merely being a shitty thriller, should hold to the standard 50% drop, skewing toward slightly less than rather than more than. So, expect around $9-10 million. I’d actually expect 10 here, since there’s no competition whatsoever, and $1-2 million here or there is pretty meaningless. Don’t go higher than $11 million and change, don’t go lower than $8 million. This is pretty easy to guess, this one.

And, Rango. After $15 million last week, a nice hold would be around 30%. That’s the standard kids movie hold. But, Wimpy Kid will take some audience, so, even with a 40% drop, you’re still looking at $9 million. Don’t go lower than $8.5 million and don’t go higher than, let’s say $12 million. It should definitely do between $9-11 million. But, displacement money goes into effect here. If Sucker Punch opens huge, all of these will skew toward the lower end of their estimates, if not lower. If it doesn’t, all of these will be doing on the higher end of, if not better than, expectations. Plan accordingly.

Now, Battle: Los Angeles. We’ll assume a simple 50% drop, rather than the 60% drop it did last week. Things tend to hold better each successive week, purely because the opening weekend is an aberration. So, a simple 50% drop gives it $7 million. And change. This movie, more than any other, is tied to Sucker Punch. Maybe not by a lot, but, a strong Sucker Punch opening can mean the difference between $6.7 million and $7.2 million for this movie. For guessing purposes, that’s pretty big. In reality, not really. That first number is really what dictates how close you were. Still, assume $7 million. 8 if you’re really daring. Don’t go lower than 6 and change.

And the last two — The Lincoln Lawyer and Paul. I’m gonna say, based purely on experience, Paul has the greater probability to hold. Then again, they both kinda do. So, I’m gonna say that one of those does around $6.4 million, and another goes $6.9 million. I don’t think they hit $7 million. Whichever does which, is a choice I leave to you. I’m saying Paul, just because, lesser of two evils. Not that it’s evil, but, everything’s evil. They can all become agents.

That’s about it. Everything else isn’t worth mentioning. I’m off to go fuck the woman in the red dress…

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