Saturday, November 22, 2008

Franchises Rule

Now with extra spicy Add On.

Okay, so I was wrong.

The Friday box office numbers are in, and the well reviewed Bolt falls victim to the ho-hum reviewed Twilight.

(I kind of guessed which film was going to come out on top when I saw the news reports for Twilight's sold out midnight shows. Excited, eager teenaged girls as far as the eye could see.) ...

Twilight collects $35.7 million -- twice the initial Friday take of the very successful Madagascar Deux.

Quantum of Solace hangs in with $8,750,000 for the start of its second weekend ($90.8 million to date).

Bolt earns $7.l million. Not awful, but a long way from what I assume the Mouse House was hoping for. And less than half the initial Friday take of the New York zoo animals.

Speaking of which, Madagascar the Second descends to fourth place, raking in $3.7 million (of a $125.2 million total.)

And what lessons do we draw from all this, class? (And let's see some NEW hands up, please?)

1) Never but never underestimate the power of a franchise or movie-going demographic.

2) Never assume that the audience for your movie is different from the competition's, because in the 21st century, with ten-year-olds playing bang-bang shoot-shoot video games, and tweeners dressing like high-schoolers and thinking young-adult thoughts, there is huge overlap.

3) Having two weeks between major animated releases is maybe two weeks too little.

Onward to Saturday and Sunday ... and thank Gawd for the oncoming four day holiday weekend.

Add On: Okay. The good news is that there are two animated features in the Box Office Top Five.

The bad news is that they did some cannibalizing of one another.

Plus, the Disney schedulers miscalculated putting Bolt up against the vampire picture over which 'teen and 'tween girls salivate. When it comes down to teen-aged vampires or an animated version of Miley Cyrus, the vampires win.

More's the pity.

The (almost) final weekend numbers: Twilight hugs and kisses a mighty $70.5 million. And Quantum Solace makes off with $27.4 million after a near sixty percent box office drop.

Bolt makes a partial receovery from a tepid Friday opening and ends with $27 million, while Madgascar 2 suffers a 54.3% decline and earns $7.2 million and a $137.4 million total.

Now it's on to the Thanksgiving box office and the fabled holiday season, where hopefully turnstiles will spin and cash registers will ring.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is the second time Disney has blown it with its movie scheduling. IMO, whoever is in charge of that should be handed his/her walking papers. Hell, I knew that "Prince Caspian" was going to get killed by the competition - I never could understand the scheduling for that one. But to put poor "Bolt" up against the phenom that is "Twilight"...yes, I know "Twilight" isn't a family film, traditionally speaking...but "Twilight" has anything but traditional appeal. Boys are going to see it, KIDS are going to see it...Disney plain blew it. And what a shame! "Bolt" is GOOD. But maybe...it'll catch up during the Thanksgiving weekend...although I have to say, while I'll be seeing "Bolt" tomorrow, I'll probably be catching "Twilight" next weekend...

Disney has GOT to get its house in order...it can no longer call itself the animation king. Not with "Madagascar 2" and the Shrek franchise, and hell, even Blue Sky's "Horton" raking in big bucks...Lasseter and Iger have a tall order to fill...and in light of that, I can't believe they're wasting precious time trying to resurrect the Muppets! :O

Anonymous said...

Why in the world anyone would waste money on Twilight after reading those terrible reviews is beyond me.

And yeah, Bolt IS really GOOD! Thanksgiving will help it...I hope

Anonymous said...

Obviously this isn't good news. If you don't own your opening weekend as an animated feature, thats really the best shot you have at getting your 3 to 4 time multiples for your entire run. I hope it picks up speed over thanksgiving because Madagascar 2 is not as good as i had hoped and lots of us have been looking forward to Disney turning it around. Its been too long since Lilo was a hit.

BTW its a sad statement of what's happening to family going audiences when kids are going to see vampire drama films.

Anonymous said...

As a father of a 14 year old girl I can tell you that Bolt isn't even on her or her friends' radar. It's all about Twilight and at that age they don't care if the film is good or bad - they also love High School Musical and all that crap.

But when asked about Bolt they sneer at the obvious use of Miley Cyrus - she is apparently over for anyone in their teens. IMO her casting goes well beyond anything DW or anyone has ever done in the way of stunt casting and feels desperate.

Even my 'general public' wife has no interest whatsoever in Bolt. Her words: "...it looks like every other CG film without anything new to distinguish it and that little white dog just looks annoying"

It's probably a very good film, but my guess it's the wrong property at the wrong time.

Anonymous said...

It does have some of the best animated action sequences ever done. Reviewers say it bests Quantum of Solace.

Aint it Cool news says it's up with the best of Pixar, not as good as Wall-E, but up there with The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

It's getting stellar reviews. It's at 84% at Rotten Tomatoes. It's going to have legs.

I'm not sure that the marketing got out the message, judging from the number of posts I've read who are shocked and surprised by what great reviews its getting.

John said...

Clearly, the trailers did a horrible job at exciting people for Bolt.

Everyone I know who's seen it, or seen extended sequences, is really surprised at how good it is. I guess the trailers made it seem just very generic and uninteresting.

Look at the comments online at Youtube or at review sites. It seems that people are really surprised that the movie rated highly and is really enjoyed by those who see it. That's clearly a sign that the marketing efforts did not give the public an accurate or positive reason to want to see Bolt.

Hopefully word-of-mouth will improve things over the Thanksgiving holiday. There's still some hope for a second week comeback. I don't know if it will be enough to compensate for this opening weekend, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

That's clearly a sign that the marketing efforts did not give the public an accurate or positive reason to want to see Bolt.

Thats so wrong. They advertise the heck out of Bolt. Stop trying to point fingers at people and just get a grip that the film is just okay. It was a little more original than Cars. The animation quality is no Pixar. Other than the Bolt and the Rhino characters, the animation was very weak. The characters move like they are in outer space. The choice to use Miley was a desperate attempt to get teen girls to go see the movie. Like the other comments. Kids are over Miley. I think people who read these blogs are so close to animation. The general public can careless about this film.

Overall, I think its the same level as Ice Age 2 and Cars, unmemorable.

John said...

While you may be right about Miley Cyrus, I reject outright the idea that the animation in Bolt was weightless. You must not know what you're talking about.

The story wasn't incredibly original, but it was solid, and had heart. I believe it deserved to do much better than it did.

I base my "marketing" comments on the fact that, at every review site I've seen that allows comments, there are almost always a number of comments that essentially said "I had no interest in this movie, but since this review was so positive, I guess I'll give it a try." People obviously have low expectations for Bolt, and that must be because of how the studio presented it in their advertising.

Anonymous said...

I think some of the blame needs to be taken off the marketing and scheduling, and put on the character designs. I've talked to friends and family scattered around the country, and most of them have said that it just didn't appeal to them. These are people with no connection to animation (except me) but who do look for family films.

Sorry to say, that was also my first impression of the redesign after Sanders left -- Bolt the dog could hardly be more generic, and that's a huge hurdle to overcome.

rufus said...

I have to agree with the last coment. The design of the characters in any film IS the first thing you get to see, in posters and trailers, so it's crucial to get charaters that are appealing and unique. Sadly, people tend to confuse "appealing" with "cute", especially at Disney!

Rufus.

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