a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Evaluating My Holiday Movie Predictions

Now that the entire box office top ten is made up of crappy 2006 releases that I have no interest in seeing, it's type to go back and look at my predictions for the 2005 holiday releases, and chew over what it all means. (The numbers below are domestic only).

KING KONG (predicted $280 million; made $216 million, and almost done). I don't think I'm the only one that over-predicted this; I have a good friend who thought it would be the highest-grossing movie ever. So what happened? Turns out a lot of people didn't want to see a movie they figured they'd already seen on a few other versions, while the word-of-mouth that it was bloated knocked it out as well.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA - THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (predicted $165 million; made $287 million, including $1.7 million last weekend). Surprisingly turned out to be the king of the holiday season, though never underestimate the ability of a solid family movie to perform, and this had something for kids and adults. I don't think it's a particularly great movie (and I liked Kong more), but it worked for what it was.

THE PRODUCERS (predicted $80 million; made $19.3 million). Oops. The reviews weren't great, and that's what this needed to move beyond the core audience for musical remakes.

THE NEW WORLD (predicted $70 million; made $12 million so far). Okay, I must have been high. But it didn't get the Oscar nominations that it needed, while they just never really found a good hook to sell this on other than Colin Ferrell in a historical epic with a cute underage girl, which clearly isn't enough.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (predicted $57 million; has made $56.5 million so far). Wow. After not coming within $50 in my first four predictions, a bullseye on my fifth. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

RUMOR HAS IT (predicted $50 million; made $42.9 million). I'm surprised that it did this well, given that it became clear pretty quickly that the logline on this film was a bit creepy.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (predicted $90 million; has made $72 million so far, and is still making money). Ironically, this was the prediction I took the most criticism for, and it turned out to be pretty dead-on.

AEON FLUX (predicted $29 million; made $26 million). Close. A big bomb, given that it cost $62 million, plus they advertised the hell out of it.

FUN WITH DICK AND JANE (predicted $150 million; made $110 million). Given the dire reviews, the fact that it made this much is shocking (and probably a testiment to the box office power of Jim Carrey; though he has had his bombs, Carrey + the perception of fun equals box office). Imagine how much money it would have made if it was a really funny movie?

MATCH POINT (predicted $22 million; has made $20.4, and still made $1.4 last weekend). It's sad that even when Woody makes a good movie, he still barely crashes the $20 million barrier.

CASANOVA (predicted $22 million; made $11.2 million). Gay Heath really did kick straight Heath's ass.

MUNICH (predicted $75 million; has made $45.4 so far). They never really figured out how to sell this; it came across as too much of a serious movie initially, and only now are they trying to focus on the characters in the ads and make it more accessible (though a newspaper ad a few days ago, in which they have the five guys lined up walking down the street, was a bit too eye-rollingly similar to "Reservoir Dogs").

HOODWINKED (predicted $68 million; has made $49.6 million so far, including $1.7 million last weekend). Solid for an independent cartoon.

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2 (predicted $125 million; made $81.2 million). It got fairly bleak reviews, and Narnia swamped it. $81 million isn't bad, but if it was good it would have made a lot more.

THE RINGER (predicted $32 million; made $35 million). I was close. This movie is actually supposed to be pretty funny, as well as respectful of the Special Olympics, but that probably just confused audiences; mainstream people who don't like Jackass didn't go see it, while Johnny Knoxville fans probably thought it was a little tame.

THE FAMILY STONE (predicted $23 million; made $60 million). Ultimately, this looked like it was going to be a lot more fun than Rumor Has It, and that and the cast made it perform much better than I thought it would, given the previews for it.

WOLF CREEK (predicted $23 million; made $16 million). The buzz on this was that it was a good, original horror movie, but it wound up getting underethusiastic reviews, and underperforming.

Ironically, the #12 movie last weekend was WALK THE LINE, which made another $1.8 million, good for $116 million total; it wasn't on my prediction list because it had already opened, but it has hung on longer than everything but Brokeback Mountain.

The problem is that Walk the Line is coming out on DVD on Tuesday. Forget BUBBLE; it's when movies that are still making money at the box office start coming out on DVD that theaters should really be concerned, because it only reinforces the idea that the window between theatrical release and DVD release is shrinking.

Walk the Line is coming out on DVD 14 1/2 weeks after opening in theaters (November 18/February 28). Though that's a fairly standard interval nowadays, it has hung on so long at the multiplex that it seems like a lot less.


At 6:07 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Something that I just noticed about all of these holiday releases?

There isn't a major African-America or Hispanic character in any of them.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Steve Peterson said...

Thought the reasoning on your explanations was pretty strong.

Re: King Kong -- I wouldn't be surprised if this does particularl well on DVD and down the line on TV over the years. As a theatrical release it had to overcome the resistance to seeing something we'd already sene before. But on TV we already expect it to be familiar, it'll blow away the 70s version, and even hold up well against the original.

Re: Aeon Flux -- this genre of film is what I normally see right away, but that trailer was the worst action movie trailer I've ever seen. Compare it to the trailer for Ultraviolet -- which is fantastic; my guess is Ultraviolet will beat Aeon Flux's gross in no more than the first two weeks, and possibly the very first weekend.In fact, given how bad Aeon Flux's trailer was, they would have been better spending no money on advertising other than the posters.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Well, Aeon flux had that grass as a trailer highlight. Grass.

King Kong should have done better, that did surprise me, 3 hour movies have done well enough (Jackson's Rings flicks, but they had a fanbase).

Geisha looked like a snooze, and I'm not surprised Producers bombed, although that was a big bomb.

And I think The New World came out much too late to make any impact. Same with Rumor Has It - The Family Stone made the money Rumor Has It should have made.


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