Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend Final Numbers - Wall-E frontloaded?

The List

Again, I waited till the final numbers were released because the estimates seemed somewhat off.

But, yes, it seems that Wall-E was downright front loaded, especially for an animated film. Ending the weekend with $63.1 million, it had a weekend multiplier of 2.7. To put it in more disturbing perspective, it opened with $3 million more on Friday than The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, yet those two pictures ended the weekend about $7 million ahead (both closed out with a touch over $70 million). Front loading? Less than stellar word of mouth? I don't know. The critics raved, but I have no idea how moviegoers in general will take to this downbeat and arty tone poem. Is it good? Yes, it's visually astonishing, and the ideas, while not totally original, are nourishing and worthwhile (it seems to mix elements of There Will Be Blood, Minority Report, and Idiocracy). I'd place it in the Million Dollar Baby category of great, flawed movies that I will probably never want to watch again.
MILD SPOILER - To answer the questions that have been buzzing - yes, it's about the environment, yes it's about Wal-Mart, and yes it's about obesity.

Make no mistake, this is a terrific three-day total for an artistically daring animated feature. Ratatouille did about 4x it's opening weekend by the end of its domestic run. Finding Nemo opened to $70 million and made it all the way to $339 million (4.84x its opening). The low mark is still The Incredibles, which did a 'mere' 3.7x it's $70 million opening (odd, since that is one of their very best pictures and it had one of the smallest second-weekend drops for a $50 million+ opening ever).

Anyway, if Wall-E plays like The Incredibles, it'll end up with $235 million. If it falls below even that to, for example, a mere 3.25x, it'll still end up matching the $204 million of Ratatouille. My own misgivings about its future aside, it'll have to crash and burn pretty hard to qualify as anything other than a solid financial hit. And, frankly, I expect the art house nature and vaguely anti-capitalistic leanings of the picture to be a big boon overseas (every right-wing article or pundit who calls Wall-E 'anti-American' sends another $10 into the overseas ticket coffers).

Onto to movies that deserve to die (tell you why, Ms. Lovett, tell you why...), Wanted turned into a mega-hit whose marketing resonated with several key movie going audiences. Joke's on them, but I digress. Action junkies, date-crowds, nerds, and potentially feminists showed up in force to give Wanted a $50.9 million opening weekend. Shockingly, this had almost as high a multiplier as Wall-E (2.67x). This is easily the biggest R-rated opening ever in June and the seventh biggest R-rated opening ever, just behind 8 Mile's $51.2 million back in November 2002 (you'd have thought that Universal could have found three-hundred grand lying around somewhere). Of course, a shockingly high R-rated opening always begs the question of what PG-13 and under movies benefited from fraudulent ticket purchases? Anyway, I hate the movie, but I suppose the major successes of R-rated movies this summer (Sex & The City, Wanted, The Happening) is a good thing. I'm expecting a HUGE drop for this one, but I'm a tad biased.

In other news, Paramount successfully fudged the Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull numbers from Sunday's estimates. On Sunday, it was at something like $299.999999999 million, and sure enough the final numbers found enough loose change to allow it to cross the $300 million mark by the end of weekend six and day 39 (tied with Transformers and nine days ahead of Iron Man). Mazel Tov, Henry Jones Jr, mazel-tov.

Get Smart dropped 47% and ended day ten with a solid $77 million. Expect it to cross $100 million over the long holiday and end up a bit below $150 million. At $82 million, this was a solid investment for Warner.

In the 'glass is half full' column, M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening has now doubled its $60 million budget worldwide and will likely turn a tidy profit when all is said and done. In the 'glass half-empty column', of course, it's an allegedly terrible movie that has permanently scarred M. Night Shyamalan's once highly-touted artistic reputation. But, at least it'll make money, right?

In the 'glass is half full' column for The Love Guru... uh, I got nothing. It'll end out at $35 million on a $60 million budget. Good.

Speaking of not-so solid investments... guess what inexplicably acclaimed and far more expensive sequel will possibly fail to surpass the 'underwhelming' domestic box office of its original? If you guessed The Incredible Hulk, you're smarter than Marvel Studios! Dropping another 57%, Hulk not-quite 2 ended weekend three with a mere $116 million. With the never ending supply of Hulk-killers waiting in the wings (Hancock, Hellboy II, The Dark Knight, X-Files 2, Mummy 3, Tropic Thunder, Star Wars: Clone Wars), this bonehead play has at best $20 million left in it (2003's The Hulk had $117 million at this point and would only make another $15 million by the end of its run). So, you have a $160 million sequel to a $130 million movie that grossed $132 million which will be lucky to make $140 million. That's ok Marvel, I'm sure Ant Man will save you.

In the better news department, after hemorrhaging for the first two full weeks after its sensational opening day, Sex & The City finally stabilized with 45%-ish drops and it now has crossed the $140 million mark. Expect it to crawl to $150 million.

Next weekend we have the critically divisive Hancock and the expansion of Kitt Kitridge: An American Girl, which has been going gangbusters in very limited release for the last ten days.

Scott Mendelson

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails