Saturday, October 15, 2011

When 'on track' becomes a 'disappointing': The perils of early box office reporting...

At 3:28pm yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter sent out links to an article regarding early box office estimates based purely on afternoon matinees on the East Coast.  In it, they claimed that Paramount's Footloose remake was on track to gross $20 million for the weekend, which was considered a solid win as tracking had put the film at between $15 million and $18 million going into Friday.  Yet by midnight, the numbers had been revised, both by The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline Hollywood.  Now the number is at around $5.57 million for Friday, which means that the 80s remake looks to gross around $16-17 million (of course, official Friday estimates will be out in a couple hours...).  So, as expected, Nikki Finke is screaming about how the number is 'disappointing', with yet another seemingly-invented quote from a studio executive about how the industry is 'DOOMED!'.  Yes, some of this is just Finke being Finke where every weekend is a failure and every movie is terrible.  But we have a situation where a film was 'doing better than expected' in the late afternoon, yet was a disappointment despite opening right in line with tracking because the earliest-of-early estimates were a bit over-inflated.  Yes yes, I know I spent the summer guessing the weekend box office grosses for major summer films based on midnight grosses, so perhaps I may be a hypocrite.  BUT, I didn't run around screaming 'bomb!' because a film's opening weekend didn't open right in line with my purely-for-fun midnight math.  As it is, I'd argue it's good news that an 80s remake that no one wanted and a prequel to an 80s horror film (which is in itself a remake of a 50s horror film) that no one didn't explode at the box office (The Thing looks to do around $10 million, give or take).  Maybe the world wants more than remakes and revamps of the movies they grew up with...

Scott Mendelson

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