ALLIGATORS IN A HELICOPTER

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

Friday, August 07, 2009

Weekend Box Office #146

Sometime this weekend I'll write a post on John Hughes, a man whose movies I generally loved; when he was at his best, in his teen comedy/dramas, he was gold.

Opening this weekend:

G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (4007 theaters). I'm sure it'll make a lot of money, but I have no interest in seeing it. I don't think I ever owned a G.I. Joe, but if I did I don't think this was the kind of adventures I was imagining. Though again, blowing stuff up real good generally makes a lot of money. Call it $40.0 million for the weekend, but I could be way low or even way high; I'm just not sure this is really going to hit women that well.

JULIE & JULIA (2975 theaters). Look for this one to do really well, just because I think it's going to draw women, as well as an over-40 audience that might not go to the movies much. Prediction: $28.7 opening weekend, and then it'll hold well.

A PERFECT GETAWAY (2159 theaters). This might work as a compromise date movie: the girl doesn't want to see G.I. Joe, the guy doesn't want to see Julie and Julia, so they settle on this. $15.5 million.

Opening in only 38 theaters is PAPER HEART, which is on my short list.

*******

Last weekend, FUNNY PEOPLE did $22.7 million, a bit low, and I have a feeling it's going to drop a good 40% this weekend.

ALIENS IN THE ATTIC only did $8.0 million. THE COLLECTOR did $3.8 million. I overestimated everything...

23 Comments:

At 11:09 AM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Of all these latest offerings "Julie and Julia" looks the best: Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in the same movie?! Good enough for me, I'll go see it.

"GI Joe" looks like Transformers II, two months later.

"A Perfect Getaway": A psycopathic killer-thriller set in Hawaii? Good look with that. Not sure I want to see people getting hunted down in an area of wolrd known for relaxation.


On a personal front, still line editing that two part movie. Took me 3 days to go through the 2nd part movie using Final Draft's playback feature. THINK I've got that pretty rock solid. Hard at work making the 1st movie sound as good as I can make it. Getting to the point of being TOTALLY EXHAUSED. Final polish line editing just wears me out. Thank God on Monday I'm going salmon fishing with my dad and his two brothers from Illisnois and Wisconsin. Can't wait to catch them salmon! (Hope to have both scripts on route to you BEFORE I leave for that trip)

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

 
At 2:11 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Hmm, I'll say 47 for Joe. And yes, I had them as a kid.

 
At 1:05 PM, OpenID highmaintenanceimaginarygirlfriend said...

RE: funny people's predicted 40% drop.

Isn't any drop less than 50% considered great for a big release?

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger peter said...

To Imaginary GF:

According to Nikki Finke's number's, Funny People dropped "a massive -72%."

This will certainly burn Matt who called Mystery Man full of something-or-other when he dare tell the truth about the dwindling power of Apatow (I personally find his films overlong sprinkled with some laughs).

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

For movies that are hoping to do some word-of-mouth and find an audience (as opposed to big blockbusters that everyone rushes to see opening weekend), 40% is pretty big.

72% is huge and tragic. But the buzz on the movie is that it is long and that the mix of comedy and drama doesn't work. Basically, it feels like a movie you can wait to see on DVD or cable.

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger Matt said...

"This will certainly burn Matt who called Mystery Man full of something-or-other when he dare tell the truth about the dwindling power of Apatow"

Your obsession with me continues.

Apatow's power is not dwindling. What MM said wasn't the truth. It was an opinion, based on a lack of intellect or research. His power may dwindle over the course of his next few movies. But it hasn't yet. And there is no proof to suggest otherwise. Let me show you.

This is only related to box office, although most of them were at least moderately well received critically.

This is as a writer and/or director and/or producer over the last few years.

Pineapple Express
Step Brothers
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Knocked Up
Superbad
Talladega Nights
Anchorman
40 Year Old Virgin
You Don't Mess With the Zohan

He HELPED make stars out of Seth Rogen, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Steve Carrell, Jason Segal, James Franco, and Paul Rudd.

He's had a few misfires, such as Walk Hard and Drillbit Taylor.

Funny People was a 2 1/2 hour long, somewhat serious film that receieved lukewarm reviews.

Had it been 100 minutes, without the serious stuff, it would've been a huge hit.

One film. One. As long as he rebounds, makes a good one the next time or the time after that, he'll be just fine.

And no, the box office of Funny People doesn't burn me. I haven't even seen the film, and will likely wait for DVD.

Mystery Man is a poor writer, he pretends to be a journalist but his bias and lack of research is astounding. The fact that people eat his shit up amazes me. It shouldn't amaze me in a world where people worship hacks like Bay and Sommers, but it still does.

 
At 11:26 PM, Blogger Matt said...

To add to that. Are you also going to tell me that Adam Sandler's power is dwindling? Or is this more of a detour into serious movies, similar to Punch Drunk Love, and not an actual indicator of Sandler's power and future?

Think about that before responding.

 
At 5:37 AM, Blogger peter said...

Apatow's films are crashing down to earth. Although sprinkled with some funny moments, they always run way too long.

And now his last few films are showing a pattern that his audience feels the same thing.

Forget MM for a second, Nikki Finke was one of the first to label Apatow's produced/
written/directed films as the "Apatow Factory."

That implies that the kid has some serious influence in Hollywood.

And, she's also reported since, that the shine is starting to wear, and now he's a little bit suspect when it comes to greenlighting his projects (although he has a 3-pic deal with Uni; everyone's a little more uneasy about this now).

Adam Sandler is a special breed-- the guy is one of the smartest guys out there. Running Happy Madison, he's another guy that just "gets" his audience. When he's fully in charge, Sandler knows that audiences will tolerate his films for about 90-100 minutes. He's very well aware of the philosophy: start late, leave early...

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger Matt said...

"Apatow's films are crashing down to earth. Although sprinkled with some funny moments, they always run way too long."

One man's opinion. Clearly the overwhelming majority disagrees. One film. One. One film where people just don't seem to care.

"And now his last few films are showing a pattern that his audience feels the same thing."

His last few films? Which films? Name them. Big hits like Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin? C'mon.

"And, she's also reported since, that the shine is starting to wear, and now he's a little bit suspect when it comes to greenlighting his projects (although he has a 3-pic deal with Uni; everyone's a little more uneasy about this now)."

Everybody reports something. They have to, and the more controversial the better. Jeffrey Wells knows that. He posts stuff on HE that is designed to get hits. That's what they do.

And like with the Bible, or with Obama's health care package, people can take the info and make it say what they want it to say.

Apatow had one film that he directed that didn't do that well. If he continues down that path, yes, his career will suffer big time.

If he returns with another hit, and produces more big hits, he will stay where he has been.

Simple as that. Nikki Finke can't see the future.

Adam Sandler can sustain box office duds, such as Punch Drunk Love, Spanglish and (not entirely a dud)Funny People. Because he surrounds them with hits.

Apatow can do the same thing, as long as he continues to make the hits as well.

Thank you, and good night.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger peter said...

Made for $75 million before marketing, drops -72% in its second week after underperforming in its first week and Funny People is not entirely a dud?

Ok...

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Well, the movie got some decent reviews, and it's going to make over $50 million. It's going to lose money because it cost so much, but if it had been made for $20 million (and it's the kind of movie that could have been made for $20 million) we wouldn't be having this conversation.

So "dud" seems a little strong. I haven't seen the movie yet, but when I do, I'll probably like it. So for me it won't be a dud.

The studio might not agree, but I don't care about them :-)

Apatow's method of improvisional working leads to his having a lot of material, and his not wanting to let any of it go causes length problems. Still, the long cuts of 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up (both available on DVD) actually work pretty well.

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger peter said...

RT 66% over all; 47% from Top Critics...

A formula of over-long comedies is beginning to tire on the movie-going public.

Of course we could say, if it was made for $20 million; or if he only trimmed x amount off the running time...

But Apatow didn't shoot it for $20 million and he seems to think his films are worthy of Godfather running times.

This is the film he left us with. And, unlike many directors out there: this guy pretty much has final cut.

But, I'll say it again: people don't want to watch many films with a running time much over a hundred minutes, let alone something they thought was a comedy... Or was it a drama...?

Whatever genre-splicing Apatow was up to, it was too long.

And when you gamble $75 million on a film and it underperforms in its opening week and drops -72% in the second week, yah, you pretty much have a dud on your hands.

 
At 1:24 PM, Blogger Matt said...

"Made for $75 million before marketing, drops -72% in its second week after underperforming in its first week and Funny People is not entirely a dud?"

I see you continue to focus on one film. One. I conceded Funny People wasn't a success. Funny how you're so insecure you can't concede the rest of it, despite a mountain of evidence supporting my point versus no evidence supporting yours.


Peter,

REally, start backing up something that you've said. Show me a list of other duds from Apatow. He's had a couple of movies (WAlk Hard, Drillbit) that underperformed, but they weren't deal breakers.

His movies normally make HUGE profit, no matter how long they are.

"But, I'll say it again: people don't want to watch many films with a running time much over a hundred minutes, let alone something they thought was a comedy... Or was it a drama...?"


Audiences don't like long movies? Go watch Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Pirates Trilogy, The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Knocked Up and many other huge hits in recent years. Then get back to me on that idiotic point.

Seriously, your obsession with Apatow and his success is starting to paint you as a very bitter, failed writer.

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

I think the problem with Funny People is that initially they tried to sell it as a movie about Adam Sandler dying of cancer.

And they lost everyone, immediately. Because who wants to see that, really? Just a very small segment of the audience.

If they had done a bait and switch, and sold it just as a wacky comedy about stand-up comedians, it would have lured a lot more people to see it -- though they might have resented the bait and switch.

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger peter said...

And it still would have died the following week from, as what's happening right now, not favorable word-of-mouth

 
At 2:09 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Peter,

Still not able to come up with anything. What's even worse, you don't even have the stones to acknowledge it.

Scott,

You're right. Because it turned off a lot of Sandler, and Rogen fans just with the trailer.

It would've had a bigger opening weekend had they made it out to be a 40 Year Old Virgin type film.

The second weekend still would've dropped, but it would have had a better chance at being a hit.

Kudos to Apatow and company for putting out an honest trailer.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger peter said...

Yes, Matt, you are absolutely correct. About everything. Always.

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger Matt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I agree. And I thank you for finally admitting it.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger peter said...

And Matt, in all seriousness, my offer still stands about reading one of your scripts.

I'm not in the business to judge anything until reading. I don't care about anything but a great script.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger Matt said...

What's in it for me? That's what I want to know.

Clearly you have a problem with me. So I have a problem believing that you would go into the read without bias.

And even if you did like it, and admitted it, what's the upside for me?

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger peter said...

Matt:

I have a problem with some of the things you say. And I challenge those things since my opinion differs "just because" or, I may've experienced something in this "biz" that runs counter to some of what you've said.

Otherwise, feel free to email me and we can have an open and private discussion of anything else.

And from that step we'll see what happens.

 
At 5:12 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Peter

I emailed you.

 

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