Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cloudy Holds Fast

Now with abundant Add On.

So last week a top-level Disney animator says to me in the doorway of his hat building office:

"Have you seen Cloudy with Meatballs yet? No? Well, I thought it was really good. I found it to be fresh and funny. I know the two directors didn't have much animation experience, but maybe that helped the picture. I thought they brought a new slant to what they did ..."

Sure, there are those who probably don't like the feature, but "De gustibus non est disputandum" applies here. And the L.A. Times reports this A.M. that hordes of movie goers apparently like CWB

It's starting to look like a cloudy weekend for everything but "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."

"Surrogates" and "Fame" both had soft opening days, while Sony's animated film dropped only 31% from its debut Friday last week to $5.6 million. Animated family films tend to decline even less on a Saturday and Sunday, meaning "Cloudy," the third movie from Sony Pictures Animation, could fall between 20% and 25% for the weekend.

That's an extremely small second-weekend drop and would be a sign of excellent word of mouth.

"Cloudy" will almost certainly gross over $20 million for the weekend, giving it a lock on first place ...

Bad news for Bruce Willis's sci fi opus. Good news for animation.

Add On: Friday's results, per the Hollywood Reporter, are about as expected:

Disney will probably have to rein in its weekend expectations for Bruce Willis starrer "Surrogates," after the sci-fi thriller rung up an estimated $5 million in first-day grosses.

That was good only for second place in Friday's domestic ranking ... [I]t looks like last weekend's No. 1 pic -- Sony's 3D animated "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" -- is staging a run at repeat bragging rights, ringing up $5.6 million on Friday for $41 million in cumulative boxoffice over its first eight days in release.

As Sam Goldwyn said "When people don't want to come see your movie, you can't stop them ..."

And conversely.

So Meatballs is on a tear, and animation gets another booster shot.

Add On Too: And Cloudy walks off with top honors for a second weekend ... and Bruce should maybe think about prepping another Die Hard installment, because he's now entered the danger area of "aging action star."

Audiences took a look at the new movie offerings this weekend and decided to stick with what they knew. Two major new wide releases, "Surrogates" and "Fame," both posted weak openings and received poor reactions from those who did attend. Moviegoers gave the films an average grade of "C" and "B-," respectively, according to market research firm CinemaScore. Audiences are typically generous graders, so those are signs of poor word-of-mouth and, most likely, short box-office runs.

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," meanwhile, dropped an extremely modest 19%, indicating very strong word-of-mouth and continued hunger for a family film.

After its decent but not great $30.3-million launch last week, "Cloudy" enjoyed the third-lowest second-weekend drop of any film this year, after "Taken" and "Coraline." The studio-estimated $24.6 million in tickets it sold in the U.S. and Canada this weekend brought its total domestic gross after 10 days to $60 million. The $100-million production, the third from Sony Pictures Animation, is now on solid financial footing, aided by the $13.3 million it has earned so far from four foreign territories ...

The score card:

1. Meatballs (Sony) Week 2, Wkd $24.6M (-19%), [3,119] Cume $60M

2. Surrogates (Disney) NEW, Wkd $15M [2,951]

3. Fame (MGM) NEW, Wkd $10M [3,096]

4. The Informant (WB) Week 2, Wkd $6.9M (-34%) [2,505] Cume $20.9M

5. I Can Do Bad All By Myself (LG) Week 3, Wkd $4.7M [2,120] Cume $44.5M

6. Pandorum (Overture) NEW, Wkd $4.4M [2,506]

7. Love Happens (Universal) Week 2, Wkd $4.3M (-46%) [1,898] Cume $14.M

8. Jennifer's Body (Fox), Week 2, Wkd $3.5M (-49%) [2,738] Cume $12.3M

9. 9 (Focus), Week 3, Wkd $2.8M [2,025] Cume $27.1M

10. Inglourious Basterds (Wein/Uni) Week 6, Wkd $2.7M [1,960] Cume $114.4M

As you see, animation sits on top and bottom of the Big Ten


Anonymous said...

On the comment about live action folks adding to animation, when I was working at the Disney studio in the late 1970s, there was a lot of new talent doing boards, storywork, and animation that would later go into story and direction. At that time several bemoaned how they had tried time and again to convince manangement (at that time mainly Miller and Wilhite) to let them bring in some live action writers to do at least the first draft so that stories could be stronger. (I recall Woody Allen and Mel Brooks being two suggestions) They also thought getting some of the newer up and coming directors to co-direct with an artist would really help. Most of these folks, as mentioned, moved up to the higher positions and now think only bad can come from such outside influences. I think they were more correct when they, themselves, were fresh.

Anonymous said...

We're still in the middle of a recession and a positive, fun and colorful movie was expected to do well. And the mouth to mouth is working too. The kids are telling and twittering their classmates to go see the flick.

Anonymous said...

The directors thanked the crew at the cast & crew party for "helping them make the most expensive student-film ever." Talented as they are, it was their first helming an animated film. They learned on the job and actually made a great film. How nice for Sony that it has a real hit. Too bad almost all the pre-production talent behind the film has been kicked to the curb.

Anonymous said...

The Cloudy directors "didn't have much animation experience"? That's ridiculous. Sure, Lord and Miller have ALSO worked on a few sitcoms, but they are first and foremost animators. They created the cult classic "Clone High," directing all 13 episodes, and re-storyboarding almost every panel in the process. Before that, they wrote and directed for Disney's One Saturday Morning programming. For pete's sake, Chris WON A STUDENT OSCAR AWARD for his animated short! Just because their most RECENT credit before Cloudy was writing on "How I Met Your Mother," doesn't mean they aren't animation guys at heart. It might have been a slight risk for Sony to hire them as directors because they had never directed a feature film before, but they had done plenty of other animated projects... AND had already written the first draft of the Cloudy screenplay before they were brought on as directors. So Sony knew they were getting a couple of special talents.

Anonymous said...

So Sony knew they were getting a couple of special talents.

And it showed. I knew at the beginning when it said "A film by...a bunch of people" that we were in for a treat!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"the Cloudy directors "didn't have much animation experience"? That's ridiculous."

Didn't you know? If they haven't had animation experience in features at Disney, they're zeros from nowhere to some of the people sitting inside that hermetically sealed building.

Not to all, just to some. They don't know or care what happens outside and it shows.

Anonymous said...

"Didn't you know? If they haven't had animation experience in features at Disney, they're zeros..."

heh, I like this statement.

Isn't it funny how elitist people can get? If you haven't worked at Disney/Pixar they think you don't know what you are doing or can't do anything good.

I find the most unique and original stuff comes from people who haven't been "programmed" by those places.

Anonymous said...

I dont know where all this Disney/Pixar hate comes from, but from someone (me) who has worked at both studios, we dont think that way at all. Im consistently impressed by stuff that's made elsewhere, and I constantly get inspiration and reference from some of the most obscure places.

I think there's a lot of perception problems on these boards, or maybe just one or two bitter apples making assumptions and statements that dont represent the majority of the animation community.

At least, I hope not.

Anonymous said...

"Im consistently impressed by stuff that's made elsewhere, and I constantly get inspiration and reference from some of the most obscure places"

Is this John Lasseter explaining how he turned Doc Hollywood into Cars...?

Anonymous said...

Ugh I give up.

Go ahead and continue believing your made up Disney/Pixar stories.

Smells more of jealousy and sour grapes if you ask me, but whatever.

Anonymous said...

Clearly this "someone...who has worked at both studios" doesn't have much of a sense of humor...I guess he wasn't one of the gag guys.

g said...

And the "Cars is a ripoff of Doc Hollywood" is an old, boring joke, so maybe its not him who doesnt have the sense of humor?

Anonymous said...

Clearly someone needs to be schooled on humor.
The "cars is a ripoff of Doc Hollywood" wasn't the joke (it's the nasty truth), but what is funny about the above referenced post is that Lasseter would try to defend his film by using the obtuse post "I constantly get inspiration and reference from some of the most obscure places" on a Guild message board anonymously.

At least, that's what I found funny about it, but then again I'm not a Pixie...;)

Anonymous said...

Never explain jokes. Who needs to be schooled on humor?

Anonymous said...

I'm no Pixar fanboy either, but this Disney hater is coming off like a jerk. Let's get this back on track and talk about Cloudy, which actually deserves some good comments!

Just my 2 cents.

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