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

Friday, October 17, 2008

Musings on the Movie Biz, and Weekend Box Office #106

It occurs to me that I haven't been in a movie theater in months.

When I lived in Manhattan in the 1990s, I lived in movie theaters. I was a movie theater manager for about 7 years, from 1986-1993, and I used to see 100-150 movies in theaters a year.

Of course, I was a single man then. I had a lot of disposable income, I was a social retard, and I had a lot of free time.

Now, not so much (well, I'm still something of a social retard, but now I'm married).

Plus I think it's becoming a real issue for a lot of people, that DVD prices are going down, and movie prices are going up.

There's nothing like seeing a movie in a theater with a big crowd, particularly an event movie. But if one can own a copy of a smaller film (say, The Visitor) in a couple of months, why does someone need to pay more to see it now?

The movie box office is doing well, for certain big movies. But I think the shift is coming in which movie theaters are going to be even more and more about movies that need to be seen on a big screen. Which isn't really good for the movie business in general.

I guess we'll see.


Opening in wide release today:

MAX PAYNE (3376 theaters). It sort of looks like a dumb video game movie, but the black-winged creatures look cool, and the presence of Mark Wahlberg will help. Plus this is a lot of screens. Prediction: $21.1 million for the weekend.

SEX DRIVE (2421 theaters). It's supposed to be funny, but it has a fairly no-name main cast, and it's going to lose a big chunk of its young male target audience to Max Payne. $5.1 million.

W (2030 theaters). My prediction is that this is going to tank, bigtime. Republicans aren't going to want to see it, while reviews say that it is actually a fairly moderate look at Bush, so Democrats aren't going to want to see it either. I think we're in a period of time when everyone is sort of tired of George W. Bush, and ready for him to just fade away -- which isn't going to get a lot of people to drop money to see this. $4.1 million.

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES (1591 theaters). They are advertising the hell out of this, and though reviews aren't over-enthusiastic, there's an audience out there for a movie with a fairly sharp cast like this one has. $7.6 million.


At 11:19 AM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

I think the complete opposite about W. It's not just Democrats who hate him - it's almost everybody at this point. I think curiosity and timeliness will pull people into theaters. I don't know if it will take the #1 spot but I think it will perform well.

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There's nothing like seeing a movie in a theater with a big crowd, "

OMG. I completely disagree. Nothing could be more distracting; shuffling, coughing, rustling, whispering, texting, talking, going to the bathroom, eating, chewing, slurping, sneezing... what else? Oh yeah some fuckhead CUTTING HIS TOENAILS!

I have yet to see a movie in a theatre where my experience has not been totally fucking destroyed by a big crowd of assholes. Yeah, there's nothing like it indeed.

No Thanks. I'll just buy the DVD and watch it at home.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Matt said...

I agree with Emily. The fact that the film is supposedly fair to Bush, as fair as you can be to that piece of shit, will intrigue people from the Republican side.

This isn't a war film, and those have all been tanking.

If this film were made four years ago, when half this country was still in the process of kidding themselves, it wouldn't have done well.

But now that he is pretty much looked on as a failure by just about everybody interest will go up.

Definitely won't be number 1, because Max Payne looks just cookie cutter enough to bring in the people that don't require a story. But I think it will do well.

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might see W. Looks funny and cool. A lot of people in the theater got excited about the trailer... until they saw the "cool guy" wrecking his car and doing blow was GW. Idiots. It's a shame GW can't run for a third term, he'd be better than either of the morons running now.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Christina said...

I'm so sick and tired of politics that the last thing I'm going to do is see a movie about a politician. It could be about Jimmy Carter or Al Gore and I still wouldn't go see it. I'd rather see Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

The main reason that people are staying home to see movies doesn't have so much to do with movie ticket prices but rather that fact that a 50-inch plasma TV and a home theater sound system can be afforded by the middle class. With that kind of quality at home, it's hard to make a case for seeing a comedy or a drama in the theater. The only films that really benefit from a full-sized screen are action movies. I don't think it's necessarily bad for the movie business. But it is bad for the theater business.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Matt said...

"It's a shame GW can't run for a third term, he'd be better than either of the morons running now."

I think this was meant as bait. And I'll bite.

What has GWB done in eight years that did not spectacularly fuck up our nation?

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Pat said...

I think there will be a huge curiosity factor for W, and it may surprise with a number 1 spot. Let's say 25 million.

I don't think thetre will be interest in Max Payne beyond soem hardcore gamers & action freaks (although most of them will wait until DVD) but I'll give it 15 million.

Secret Life Of Bees? 3 million.

Sex Drive looks pretty damn funny for this genre, but there is little star power, but it might surprise with 8-10 million.

Or all of the above could bomb.

Oh, and I'll send out an OMFG to the genius that wrote:

"It's a shame GW can't run for a third term, he'd be better than either of the morons running now."


At 6:43 PM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

I'm with m'man, Scott, there's A LOT to be said for seeing a movie with a bunch of people. Personally, I LOVE seeing what other people react to.

Josh Brolin makes "W." intreaging, and the Seattle Times say James Cromwell really parks the role of George Bush Sr. SOMETIMES outstanding performances trump politics.

"Sex Drive" looks like it's filled with laughs too.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

According to the Friday numbers, Max Payne did $7.1 million, W did $3.8 million, and Secret Life of Bees did a solid $3.6 million.

So W is going to do better than I thought, but it's not going to be #1.

At 2:29 PM, Blogger Luzid said...

"It's a shame GW can't run for a third term, he'd be better than either of the morons running now."

Yeah, better at murdering innocent Iraqis who never harmed us.

I think the film will do better than expected but not as well as Stone may hope. There's a lot of douchebag/liar/criminal fatigue when it comes to just seeing the real w on television, and the sheer extent of his crimes against the American people and the world make it hard not to want to scream at him on sight.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Pat said...

Not surprised by the numbers, Bees did better than I figured.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger just me said...

I can't go to see movies in Manhattan anymore.

Freaking $12. Even during the day. SCREW. THAT.


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