Numbers

On what planet could a 53% second-weekend drop be considered “solid”? This is how box-office analyst Steve Mason has described the projected Inglourious Basterds fall-off this weekend, based on yesterday’s figures.

In the old days a 25%-to-30% second-weekend fall-off was considered a decent hold, a 40% fall-off was thought to be worrisome and a 50% fall-off was a major “uh-oh.” But in today’s era in which some highly-touted films have fallen off 60% and even 70% on their second weekends, a 50% drop is now considered par for the course as in “not great but not catastrophic.” Perspective is all.

Warner Bros.’ 3D The Final Destination brought in $10.5 million yesterday, and is projected to top out Sunday night at $26.3 million. Rob Zombie and the Weinstein Co.’s Halloween 2 earned $6.9 million yesterday (#2 for the day), and is looking at $16.8 million for the weekend. Inglourious Basterds is in third place as we speak, but it’s projected to reach $17.7 million by Sunday night for a ten-day cume of $71.4 million.

I’m not at all pleased to report that Ang Lee‘s Taking Woodstock (Focus) is already dead. I’m not much of a fan, but I feel badly for Lee and producer-screenwriter James Schamus, whom I like and admire. It will pull in slightly less than $4 million by Sunday night, averaging $2800 in 1,393 situations.

  • Steven Kar

    OK, so maybe it’s not “solid” but IB’s final domestic gross will be around $111 million, and THAT’S solid.

    Before it came out, I was expecting IB to earn no more than 70 (like the first KILL BILL), but the movie has surprised me in BO performance and in its critical reception.

  • Steven Kar

    And whatever happened to HURT LOCKER? It looks like it’s going to reach only $12 million by the time it’s done when it should’ve done twice that much.

  • vansmith

    This is what kills me about the biz, a guy like Ang Lee and even James they can make whatever picture they want, they have that cache but what do they do? They sink investor dollars into a freaking Woodstock movie thats DOA! Think those backers arent pissed the fuck off. They thought they had a mild winner and at least some gravitas but no they got nothing! And oh yeah, try pitching them now. Not that they wont back other films but jeez…

  • http://kingdomofdoom.wordpress.com/ TulseLuper

    Doesn’t surprise me. I like the film but it’s not the movie the so-called Eloi were expecting. Not enough of Brad Pitt killing “Natzis.” As for Taking Woodstock, it was a pathetic excuse for a release. I don’t think I saw a single TV spot anywhere, and the very fact that Focus dumped it at the tail end of August shows you what they thought of the film.

  • corey3rd

    There were plenty of ads for Taking Woodstock on Comedy Central and VH1Classic – which should be good target audiences

  • matt cousens

    So we have to go see IGLRSBSTRDS again, is what you’re saying?

  • http://scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com Scott Mendelson

    In June 1992, the 45% second-weekend plunge of Batman Returns sent shock waves through the industry and signaled that the film was disliked by the masses and wouldn’t come close to the $251 million earned by Batman.

    In June, 2005, the 45% second-weekend plunge of Batman Begins sent a sigh of relief through Warner Bros. studios, signaling that their reboot was liked by audiences and would have the legs to keep chugging after a lower-than-expected opening weekend.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • York “Budd” Durden

    Um, that standards change over time? Duh, pal. That’s like, so insightful.

  • http://landoftheuseless.com AtticusRex

    I’m kinda surprised with this post Jeffery. Now, I know you don’t care for IB and that’s find and jim-dandy but as Scott just presented with the two Batman flicks… We are in a different era now. Judging BO decline has changed in the last say 8-9 years. My point? Movies now open on alot more screens then they used too. More peeps rush to see it, especially if they are caught up in the hype. They want to have a front seat and not be left out at the office water cooler Monday morning.

    A 51% drop isn’t really that bad in today’s climate. Let’s see schools/colleges are back in session. Two horror movies opened (and alot of that aud is IB’s aud as well).

    The only real news is FD defeating HII. And I agree it’s sad that Ang/James pic is tanking, but it’s a ‘small’ film about a big event and isn’t even about the music!

  • matt cousens

    This is getting ridiculous. Mccool hit it perfectly when he said…”ok, so i googled denby. I won’t say what he and Wells have in common (references to such usually get you banned around here), but let’s say delusions of being an authority of hip and cool is common in their, uh, bracket. These bombastic fellows have–I’ve gotta be careful here–matured to the point where they feel their opinion should go unquestioned …. what with all their experience and world weariness and all. They can’t handle or come to grips with the fact that they’re losing touch, and resort to appealing to a higher authority and belittling anyone with an alternate viewpoint. Indignation as a response to a differing opinion about art (art, especially) is, as someone mentioned above, an extremely un-enlightened, entrenched, unworldly attitude. Ironically, it’s quite morlock-y. But then Wells is a closet conservative, so why is this surprising?”

  • Howlingman

    I was under the impression that, at least in today’s climate, that a roughly 50% drop in the second weekend was considered to be indicative of what will be a solid run. The fact most movies drop more than 60% in their second weekend would seem to bolster that.

  • http://scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com Scott Mendelson

    Agreed Durden, didn’t feel like stating the obvious.

  • btwnproductions

    WOODSTOCK cost $30 million, meaning a mudbath for Focus, which also missed on AWAY WE GO. Away we go, James Schamus?

    The Weinsteins aren’t out of the woods, either. They’re splitting whatever profits that result from IG with Universal and H2 is unlikely to have the legs of its predecessor.

    HURT LOCKER? It’s a mindfield out there for indies. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER is the only one with much traction this year. Awards attention may give HL a boost and a re-release opportunity.

  • Freddie Mertz

    Why release a Halloween movie so early? Wouldn’t late-September/early-October have made more sense?

  • corey3rd

    now Halloween 2 will be out on DVD in time for trick or treaters

  • Rothchild

    How is “a 53% drop meant something twenty years ago” an argument against IB? This is a big achievement. They made a huge gamble selling this as a big non-stop fun ride with action around every bend. It’s astonishing that no one gave a shit that it was something different and something better.

  • MartinBlank

    Because, like it or not, the Saw franchise has owned the Halloween slot for the last five years. In light of that, putting horror out in August, right before the teens and college kids go back to school, might be a shrewd move.

  • Rothchild

    Also, they brought the first one out at a similar date and it opened huge.

  • G.N.A.

    I just hope this means the end of the HALLOWEEN franchise. Talk about something that should have stayed dead and buried.

  • btwnproductions

    And the Weinstein-run Miramax had a hit with HALLOWEEN H20 in early August 1998. Makes more sense than releasing a Woodstock-movie two weeks after the anniversary has passed.

  • Ronald McFirbank

    I do not get this movie if I keep saying it’s not successful it will go away

  • Jesse Perry

    Where does Mason say “solid”? Did he remove it after Wells’ lambasting?

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    The title of this should be “Numbers Rip Van Winkle” as Jeff attempts to catch up on box office trends 20 years after apparently he last understood them.

    That said, no one would consider a drop of 53% “solid,” which does not appear in Mason’s article or is even suggested by the wording “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS seems headed for a 53% drop!” These days, something around 40% is solid unless the film opened huge and then 53% would be.

    Last weekend’s total means something like just 5.3 million people rushed out to see Tarantino’s latest. Out of population base of 340 million, that ain’t really shit. “Cash Cab” gets more viewers.

  • ZayTonday

    Oh come on Wells, this isn’t a box office trend that started with IB. The shots you are taking at it are becoming increasingly transparent by the day. The reality is that the whole business has conditioned a large amount of movie goers to see a movie on its opening weekend which obviously makes their BO takes more front-heavy. It’s also the result of the much more saturated market.

    But oh yeah, now that a 50% drop is seen as good for IB, THAT’S where the line is crossed. Wells, watching you rail against this movie is like watching Glenn Beck.

  • Terry McCarty

    AtticusRex wrote:
    The only real news is FD defeating HII

    Not really a surprise since FD4 had a number of 3-D prints. And HII is a somewhat lesser film than Zombie’s surprisingly not-bad original reboot–expressed by the young people rapidly heading for the exits at the end of the showing I saw in Chatsworth last night.

  • Travis Crabtree

    I think, wait, I’m SURE I saw Jeffrey walking around in front of the Cineramadome with a bullhorn yelling at people approaching the box office… “Do not see this movie! Repeat, do not see this movie! Tickets are available for the 2:45 showing of ‘The Hurt Locker’ on screen 9, by the way!”

  • matt cousens

    @ZayTonday: Thank you so much for the Glenn Beck comparison.

  • Daniel Tayag
  • the400blows

    Don’t get me started on Glenn Beck. If you support public schools, healthcare, the environment–you are a Communist. If you support the military–you are an American. As far as I’m concerned, Glenn Beck is a Nazi. Since when was it American to invade, kill and destroy other countries as Hitler did? The Bible said that the third and last world war will be in the Middle East and dorks like Beck are making damn sure that happens.

  • plastiqueelephant

    Of course it’s dropped 53%!!! Who on earth thought that a VERY large chunk of the sort of people who would ever watch a Tarantino film wouldn’t run out and watch it opening weekend so they can be in on the twittercooler chat?

    And like the Weinsteins wouldn’t take a $15-17M second weekend when there woulda been a real fear that would be the week one gross.

  • DeeZee

    vansmith: It’ll probably make money on dvd.

    Scott: Batman Begins was probably a bigger disappointment than Returns, though, because they were hyping BB as being on the same level as War of the Worlds, and it ended up being a more of a niche hit, compared to WOTW. I think the reason Returns was considered a disappointment, at the time, was because Burton was a brand name, as well. For what it’s worth, though, Returns did pretty well for a grittier tent-pole flick. And that wasn’t going to happen again until Blade.

    Atticus: FD IV would’ve probably bombed, or lost to Halloween II, if it wasn’t for the 3-d gimmick.

    matt: Personally, I think people who jerk off to fan-boy movies are the ones losing their cool.

    btwn: And whatever Weinco makes on IB and H2 will probably go to covering the losses for Nine.

  • COCO

    Jesus Guys…let it go…I saw IB…loved it…might take
    my german girlfriend next weekend…..waiting for ”The Road”…..until then the NFL and any new
    books from Amazon…..oh and work also….busy…
    busy…..”Sound Good?”
    ………………………..”YES SIR”

  • Anonymous Bosch

    I thought she was Canadian!

  • bluetide

    Batman Begins was a much, much bigger hit in the long term for Warner than Batman Returns because it re-legitimized the franchise whereas Returns was just another sequel that got a little too out there for the tastes of mainstream audiences and thus saw mediocre word of mouth keep it from showing legs. What wasn’t mentioned was the way that week after week after week Batman Begins suffered 25% and less drops as word of mouth spread to fanboys and adult cineastes alike that it was actually a pretty good film. For a superhero film to show legs like Batman Begins did is nothing short of astonishing. And then of course it did gangbusters on DVD long before the Dark Knight was a blip on the radar. I always point to Batman Begins/ Superman Returns and The Bourne Identity/ Sum of All Fears as the two biggest examples of how DVD sales, not box office drive Hollywood these days.

  • Chicago48

    The real story is that District 9 made $73mil after costing about $35mil. Some producers would kill for that return.

  • Alboone

    The Hangover is the real story. 30 mill budget. 270 gross. WOW!!!!!!!

  • Steven Kar

    I’d like to make a correction. Since IB performed better than expected this weekend, my estimate for the final domestic BO has gone up to 124.

  • Steven Kar

    Also, since we’re talking numbers here, I estimate HANGOVER will finally reach 275.

    JULIE AND JULIA has a good chance of reaching 101.

    DISTRICT: 118.

    A lot of surprises this summer: UGLY TRUTH did better than expected. It’ll end up with 90.

    G FORCE: 121.

    PROPOSAL: 163

    Even TREK and UP performed better than expected with 257 and 292.