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.