The Box Office Report – September 30-October 2

Last week, in Box Office…

After some strong early numbers that made it seem like Moneyball was gonna take the top spot, The Lion King again held strong, to my tremendous enjoyment. I love the idea that a 17-year old film won the box office twice over newer (and, in like three cases, better) films.

The Lion King made another $21.9 million, bringing its recent total to $61.5 million. This, to me, tells me that, among being other things (somewhat racist, quick to sue about anything, discriminatory, possibly keeping their creator’s frozen head in a bunker underneath their park), are also smart. Because of this, they know, when they release titles from their vault, they’ll make quick money rereleasing them in theaters too. Now, of course, this really only applies to like, five movies (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, this and maybe some of the really old classics), but still, I feel like they could offset the 3D conversion price by knowing there’s enough desire for certain films (or just skip the 3D entirely and just rerelease the films). So I’m actually a big fan of this strategy. I’m glad they realize that their old stuff is better than other people’s new stuff. (If only they could make that the case about their new stuff too…)

Moneyball finished second, opening to a (pretty strong, actually) $19.5 million. I don’t think that’s bad for this film. I feel like it was one of those — “Okay, we’re aiming for Oscars, and with Pitt, we’ll probably make a few bucks as well.” But a $50 million price tag isn’t that high. Not for today. So even though most studios seem to be willing to lose some money on films in theaters in the case that they get nominated for Oscars, I think they’ll be all right here. I’ve yet to see the film, but I imagine it’s very strong, and will probably catch some Oscar nominations. But if not, I’m sure it’ll end up making its money back at some point.

Dolphin Tale opened to number three with $19.2 million. What the fuck, America? Is that really all it takes? Writing, “From the producers and studio of The Blind Side,” and expecting people to show up? I mean, I’m sure the film is okay, but, wow.

Abduction — that piece of shit — finished fourth with $10.9 million, less than expected. It wasn’t that bad. Its real problem was some terrible lead casting. That Lautner dude is not much of an actor.

The Killer Elite finished fifth with $9.4 million, which is exactly what films of this sort make. Everyone will be seeing this on Netflix in three to six months. That’s really all there is to say about that.

Contagion finished sixth with $8.5 million. Holding strong, about to hit its production budget domestically, which probably bodes well for it. I like that it’s holding pretty well. It was too good a film to fall into obscurity that quickly.

Drive, which to me, was the best film of the year thus far (but will probably be surpassed by the end of the year), made another $5.8 million, bringing its total to $21.4 million, which, given its $15 million budget, is great for it. And that makes me happy. Go out and see this, America. It’s amazing.

That’s it for last week, really. Maybe because it was easy to guess, or maybe it was because I just didn’t give a shit, but, I don’t really have all that much to say.

So, let’s check out the new releases…

The big film opening this weekend is 50/50. At least, for me it’s the big film. It’s really the only one I care about. Best thing about this film is, when you search for it on Google, you get 1. Try it.

People aren’t that big on this one. I guess because it’s about cancer, which, I guess, people tend to find icky. But it also seems like its a good movie, which, I guess, people tend to find icky. And it also seems like it’ll be intelligent, which, I guess, people tend to find icky.

Estimates have this making around $10-11 million. Again, I’m really at the point where I just hope for these kinds of movies to do as well as humanly possible. Seeing as how people are expecting a tossup between this and the next film to do the best out of all the new films, I’m just gonna pick this one to do better, because — it looks better. I’m pretty sure the subject matter will keep grosses on this one down (because people are stupid). But, even so, it should get positive word of mouth because of all the great reviews, and it should rack up a modest number, which should be enough for a film like this. One can hope, anyway. So, I’d say $11 million is okay for this, even though I’d like some more.

Dream House also opens. This is the film people have in the dead heat with 50/50, and is the one people expect to do better, because, well — Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz.

Jim Sheridan is also directing this, but that name should mean nothing to anyone planning on going to see this film in theaters. And if you are someone who knows that name, odds are, the fact that I said it probably made you go, “oooh.” Because, this man has made some fine films in his day. My Left Foot, The Boxer, In America, In the Name of the Father — and then, the last five years — wow. Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Brothers, and now this.

This film was pushed from last year, I believe. Or maybe it’s just been shuffled around a bunch this year. I know for a fact this had a December release date somewhere, either last December or this December, before it was dumped here. And I say “dumped,” because, well:

“The film will not be screened in advance for critics.”

“Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and director Jim Sheridan (Who had the film taken away from him by Morgan Creek Productions to implement their own cuts and changes) disliked the final cut of the film so much that they refused to do press promotion or interviews for it.”

Oh yeah — this is gonna suck!

The lack of press screening certainly means the film is going to be eviscerated by critics and is often done in order to keep the lack of quality of the film hidden. Recent examples of films not screened for critics: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Crank: High Voltage, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Disaster Movie, and Shark Night 3D. So you get a bit of an idea, generally, what it means when a film isn’t screened for critics. That and the shuffled release date and public knowledge that the director and both stars hate the film — whoa boy

Estimates have this around $10-11 million with 50/50. I, for one, hope this doesn’t make more than 50/50, and, quite honestly, I hope this doesn’t even make $10 million. And the pure reason for that is — I hate when filmmakers and studios argue over films, because almost always, the studio turns out to be the asshole. Whenever a director and stars disown a picture, that means the studio is trying to compromise quality in favor of more money, and in 99% of these cases, they get no quality and no money. And then the studio, rather than learn something, pretends it was just a big mess and wipes their hands of it all.

Please America, go see 50/50. Don’t go see Dream House. Or at least pay for 50/50 if you’re going to go see Dream House. Don’t support studio tinkering. It only breeds bad films.

What’s Your Number? — a shitty rom com — also opens. This looks like complete garbage, and I believe America will treat it as such. I hate to do this — whenever I put praise on America for not seeing shitty movies, they go and ruin it by letting a Jennifer Aniston movie make $30 million on its opening weekend — but America has been good lately about sniffing out the shitty comedies. I Don’t Know How She Does It — which was labeled as a comedy, even though most people would consider it a horror film — was the last one. It had an abysmal opening that was quite appropriate for a film of its quality.

Estimates have this between $7-9 million. The $9 million estimates are assuming the sheer saturation of theaters will carry the film to at least that number, and the $7 million estimates are figuring, “The audience is learning how to sniff out quality, the last few failed, it’s getting shitty reviews, nobody cares about it, there’s no star power, and there are better options for the age group this is targeting.” I agree with that one. This film should be lucky to make close to $8 million. I’m hoping for $6-7 million.

America, if you go see this, you have none of my respect.

And, because it’s just too hilarious not to mention, the film Courageous also opens. That film is a police drama, fully financed by a Christian film company. So I’m sure this will be pretty hysterical.

What’s even more hysterical is that people are estimating that this, being released in only 1,100 theaters, will make $8 million. Oh, Middle America, you stereotype, you.

I’m honestly not even going to wager an opinion on this. I just want to see what happens. My personal opinion on the matter shouldn’t be that hard to guess.

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

Dolphin Tale is, for some crazy ass reason, expected to actually win the weekend. Boy, that would be pretty hysterical. They’re figuring that it’ll be fighting with Moneyball for the top spot, and since its a feel-good kids movie, it’ll have less of a drop and win the weekend. I can’t really argue with that. It made $19 million last week, and estimates have it making around $13 million and change this week. I hope it doesn’t hit 13, just because — come on. But, whatever. I’m more interested than invested. I don’t really care what anything makes as long as certain films do well.

Moneyball is expected to drop to around $13 million. Probably a bit less, but still, 13’s your base number there. I’m just hoping for as high a number as possible. I really want to see this movie do well.

There’s a chance The Lion King wins the weekend again, but not a huge one. They’d only planned on putting it out for two weeks, but since it did so well, they’re holding it over again. The DVD comes out next week, so I’m guessing this won’t hold as well this week as it did before. But it should still hold pretty well. Estimates have it at around $12 million, and, depending on how the other films do, it could still win the weekend if it holds as well as it did last week. We’ll find out on Monday for sure, but I don’t think it does.

Abduction has a chance to break $5 million. If it does, it will barely break it. So, honestly, no one cares, and it will be forgotten about after next week’s article (unless it doesn’t hit $5 million, in which case, this is the last you’ll hear from it), and that’s all we can hope for, really.

The Killer Elite probably won’t hit $5 million, but we have to mention it because it can. A bunch of these films should hover around the $5 million mark. There doesn’t seem to be much money being made at the box office this weekend, so make this bumps $4 million films to $5 million films. We’ll see.

And Contagion is the last film we have to deal with. I don’t see this hitting $5 million, but the way it’s held, and the real lack of money grabbing this weekend gives it a chance. It will hold better than the two previous films I mentioned, so that alone gives it a chance.

Here’s how I see the weekend going:

1. Dolphin Tale — ~$13 million. As much as I don’t like it, I agree with what people are saying. By default, this looks like it’s gonna win.

2. Moneyball — ~$13 million, more like high 12. I’d love to see this win the box office, but you almost know that won’t happen.

3. The Lion King — ~$12 million. It’s being held over, plus most people would have went the last two weeks, and the DVD comes out next week, so I don’t think this holds to 30%. It should drop closer to 50, which is enough to put those other two films ahead of this. Still, the total is nothing to be ashamed of, and it still does have a chance to win the weekend.

4. 50/50 — ~$11 million. Wishful thinking, but hey, better this than the next one.

5. Dream House — ~$9-10 million. This looks really bad.

6. Courageous — $8 million. If the estimates are to be believed. I’m putting it here because it’s still funny to me to see this here. If this beats Dream House — if you see that this movie made more money than Dream House on Sunday, know that, wherever I am, I will be laughing, and it will be glorious. (Not because I want this film to succeed, but just because it’ll be fucking hysterical to see that happen.)

7. What’s Your Number — ~6-7 million. Let’s hope it does worse.

8-10 — Abduction, The Killer Elite, Contagion. No one cares about the order, really. These will be in the $4-5 million range.

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