The Box Office Report – September 9-11

Last week, in Box Office…

It was another one of those “lost weekends.” And I don’t just mean that in the sense that I was wasted for the entirety of it. I also mean that it was one of those “holiday” weekends, where the numbers get skewed because there’s that extra bullshit day added onto them. I hate that.

The Help wins the weekend with a normal total of $14.6 million, which, is actually more than it made the previous weekend. Seriously, what the fuck, America? You don’t go see anything, and you choose this as the film you go see? What’s with that? And for the four-day weekend (aka, not the normal number), it made — actually, fuck it. I don’t care what it made for Monday. I’m not telling you. I will tell you, though, that the film has made a total of $125 million domestically thus far, which is $100 million above its production budget. Seriously — what the fuck? What kind of blind side did this fucking movie come from? Do white people just like going to see movies where whites help out underprivileged and undereducated blacks? Keep an eye on that, it may be important.

Finishing second was The Debt, with $9.9 million. I guess all the old people went to the movies this weekend. This was way more than anyone was expecting, but even that number wasn’t very high in the first place. Considering they shelved the film for nine months, I’m guessing they weren’t expecting much out of this anyway. Meh, whatever. I’ll forget about this in a week.

Finishing third was Apollo 18 with $8.7 million. Ha ha, it failed! Yes! I fucking knew that $15 million estimate was way too high. This movie wasn’t very good at all. $8 million is totally what it should have made. Now let’s forget this ever exists.

Finishing fourth was Shark Night 3D with $8.4 million. Remember when I said, “$9 million, at best?” Yeah. I don’t know what it is. People seem to think the numbers are going to be normal around Labor Day. They constantly cease to take into account that nobody goes to the movies on Labor Day and that the films suck. Jesus, white people…

Fifth was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with $7.9 million, sixth was Colombiana, with $7.5 million, seventh was Our Idiot Brother, with $5.5 million, and eighth was Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, with $5.2 million. Don’t care, don’t care, don’t care, don’t care.

Moving onto this week…

Here’s where things start to pick up again. The fucking defibrillator for the box office. Kinda like the one they use on Gwyneth in the trailer for this movie…

The big movie opening this week is Contagion. 3,000 theaters. Yay, a real wide release.

Everything I’ve heard about this movie — plus the fact that it was directed by Steven Soderbergh (and I actually just read a great interview he gave on Ain’t It Cool … I can’t believe the first time I linked to them was in one of these articles) — leads me to believe this will actually be a really strong (and intelligent, which is really what I want after the summer) film.

Most estimates put the film around $20 million. And that’s a very telling number. I think it means that they don’t quite know how audiences are going to respond to it. $20 million seems like it respects the amount of theaters this is being released in, respects the fact that there hasn’t been a good film released since, oh, August 5th, thereabouts, but is hesitant because they don’t know if film audiences, who are (allegedly) notorious for just wanting spectacle and don’t give a fuck about story (ain’t that right, Disney? — Also, check out that article. It’s fucking fascinating, in the most depressing way possible), will go and see a film in which everything isn’t served up to them on a platter. Soderbergh said two really interesting things in his interview on Ain’t it Cool — first, that there are scenes where doctors are talking about the virus and there’s no moment of “In English, please?”, that part in most films where they’d stop and explain it to the people in the audience who have no idea what all the jargon means. Instead, they leave it to the audience to understand that these people know what they’re talking about, and instead of understanding every word, figuring it out for themselves what it exactly means (which, considering Soderbergh’s goal was to make it “intense,” I think we’re in for one scary ass film). The second is that there are no helicopter shots or random cutaways to other countries/the President. Which is great, because I fucking hate that stuff.

So, what I’m getting at is, here’s a film that is trying to be smarter than the av-er-age film, and the $20 million (or so) weekend estimates seem to be hesitant about whether or not people will go to that. And it means — if this film makes $16-17 million, there’s no hope for film audiences. If it makes $22-25 million, there’s still a chance. Of course, the actual number is irrelevant, but I like turning single weekends at the box office into life and death situations. Why not? The industry does it.

So, I’m gonna say this film makes $22-25 million, does more than they’re tracking it as doing, pulls in solid numbers, and holds very strongly over the coming weeks because people (especially teenagers) will see it and tell other people to go see it. Because, if that happens, maybe we’ll get a few more of these in the theaters, and a few less Conan the Barbarians and Cowboys & Aliens (the latter meaning: big budget films that are so shitty as to be demeaning). And also — I rarely do this — I think people reading this ought to go out to the theaters and help this film do well. I know nothing of its quality aside from the fact that it has this great cast and Soderbergh is directing it — which to me means it’ll be worth the price of admission alone. So I think people ought to go see this, because if you’re not careful (and this past summer has told us that you aren’t), we’re gonna have a lot more Green Lanterns in our future (meaning, no comic book films, but blockbusters of that quality).

So that’s my mini-rant/plea for the week. Go see this. Hope it makes a lot of money.

The other film opening is Warrior. All I needed to see for this one was that it was opening in 1,700 theaters. That, to me, tells me that no matter how good it is (and reviews have been pretty strong), it won’t make more than $10 million. That’s the ceiling here. Go $10 million if you want, but this is almost definitely guaranteed to pull in between $8-10 million. I can almost guarantee you it won’t pull in less, and if it pulls in more, it’s probably because MMA fans really want to see this. Still, $8-10 million (skewing slightly toward the higher end of that spectrum) and you’re almost guaranteed to be almost on the money.

And also, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star. Yeah, $5 million, at best, for this one. I don’t even have to look at the estimates. But I will, because I like knowing I’m right.

Oh hey — look at that. $3-5 million. Holy shit, that’s awful. One site even pointed out how the title was changed to evoke Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. Yeah, because that’s the film you want to be emulating. I actually saw a clip of this on Conan the other night when Kevin Nealon was on, and — wow, this doesn’t look good at all. Good luck to this one.

So that’s it for new releases. Onto the holdovers…

The Help better fucking stop making money. It’s worn out its welcome for me. We need to do like they used to do down south and put the item on the porch that lets somebody know they’ve overstayed their welcome. Seriously, this is three years running now. How could such shitty movies (The Help, Eat, Pray, Love, Julie & Julia) make so much money? Why do middle aged women have such bad taste?

Most people are estimating this only falls 30% to $10 million. HOW?! How can this be making so much money? Why are people so stupid? This might be the most whitewashed movie about black people I’ve ever seen. I hope this falls under $10 million. I’ll even take $9.9 million. Just let it go under 10. Please. Let something else make money.

The Debt should fall to about $5-6 million. Most people are calling it 6. I don’t care, so I will too.

Hooray, not giving a shit!

Apollo 18, hopefully, will not make more than $5 million, and most estimates are saying that it won’t. So, good job on that one, America.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes should also fall under $5 million, as should Shark Night. So — that’s good. We’re gonna wipe the slate clean here. Get rid of all the lingering filth for the good season to start.

Here’s how I see things going this weekend (because I can’t remember how many films are actually poised to hit $5 million):

1. Contagion — (hopefully) $22-25 million (praying for more)

2. The Help — $10 million

3. Warrior — ~$9-10 million

4. The Debt — $6 million

Wow, that’s it? Yeah, I don’t buy that. This might be the same as last week. You’ll see films hold better than expected because of the lack of anything being in the theaters. So The Help might make like $11.3 million, The Debt might get close to $7 million, and Apes might do $5 million, and then a bunch of $4 millions will be hanging down there. Maybe. I’m hoping everything outside of #1 (and #3. Why not? I have nothing against that one) fails miserably.

Seriously, folks. Back to school is upon us. How about we start using our education to go see smarter films?

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