Monday, October 19, 2009

Handicapping Astro Boy

The end of the week, Imagi's Astro Boy hits 1200 3000 American movie screens, and the big question is, how will it do? The answer to that question will help determine the viability of Imagi as a force in the AnimationLand.

"Astro Boy" was completed in June. Many fans of animation around the world are eagerly waiting to see the film -- a proof that Imagi US$40 million outlay to promote the movie has not been in vain.

But some observers are wary of the company itself as it has had to climb stiff hurdles to be where it is today. In January, it conducted intense negotiations to secure a bridge loan facility of up to US$16.6 million ... [And] sources in the industry point out that the profit-sharing deal between Imagi and Warner Brothers -- the distributor of "Astro Boy" -- does not favor the Hong Kong company ...

Imagi, as indicated above, hit a rough patch early this year, but it's hung onto the large office space it leases at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. As a studio rep told me: "The company intends to press on with Gochomon whether Astro Boy turns into a mega blockbuster or not ...." (We'll see how that turns out.)

My guess is that the film will perform well domestically. Reviews have been encouraging, and high-end animated features have been on a roll of late. Plus the people I've talked to who have seen it maintain Astro Boy delivers the goods.

However, there is my definition of "performing well," and the definition that Hollywood's slide rule brigade carries around in its head. Is $120 million enough? $140 million? I have no earthly idea.

My guesstimate is that Astro Boy will collect between $60 and $85 million from the citizens of the U.S. and Canada, and another $100 to $150 million in the rest of the world. Is this enough to have the owners turning handsprings back in Hong Kong? Your guess is as good as mine. Probably better.

Come the weekend, we'll apply the Koch Box Office Calculator to AB's initial grosses, and decide if my prognostications are realistic or delusional. Up until now, its been mostly American animation studios that have raked in big bucks across the globe, but that could always change.

Nothing, after all, is forever.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Being released in only 1200 theaters is worrisome, though boxofficemojo.com reports that it's going into 3000 theaters. I hope it's the latter, because 1200 theaters would guarantee an underwhelming opening.

Anonymous said...

I see the problem -- in your linked article, they refer to Astro Boy being released in 1200 theaters in China, day and date with the US release. This is a huge release there, which bodes well for Imagi. So I guess the 3000 theater number is correct for North America.

Also hopeful is the 71% fresh rating on rottentomatoes.com. From the trailers, I think the film skews a little young for my tastes, but I wish Imagi well.

Anonymous said...

I can't WAIT to see this! Aside from loving the manga, I think that this CGI interpretation of it looks fantastic, and it appears that Astro himself was given a likable personality ("I've got machine guns...in my BUTT?!") LOL! After the dreary snoozefest that was "Wild Things", I'll bet families are hungry for the bright rainbow-colored adventure "Astro Boy" appears to offer. I think it'll do fine. At least I hope so; if it's a really good film, maybe a really good franchise could emerge...

Anonymous said...

There should be over 8,000 screens worldwide.

Anonymous said...

Sorry---I've seen the film, and it will flop. The film is only so-so, no one cares about astro boy. And the marketing is piss poor. It may eventually cross $100 million on DVD, but won't make it's cost back for a long, long time.

The story is very run of the mill, and the emotional core of the film is thin. The characters are "types" without being fully developed. The film "look" for the most part OK, but is a hodge-podge of basic sci-fi staples with nothing new. And who cares what a film looks like if they don't care about the characters ANYway? Certainly not the paying audience.

I had higher hopes for the overall quality of this film.

otomo said...

I liked it a lot. I don't know who the last poster was (at 7:33), but he's a douchebag.

I think the kids will love, as well as those who loved the original series.

Aaron H. Bynum said...

I enjoyed the film as well. I'll agree that the movie sort of struggles to make an emotional connection, but this is only a problem in the first Act alone, if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

"douchebag?" LOL! Wow--haven't heard that in decades.

Saw a special screening myself, and have no idea how this will connect with audiences. Didn't really connect with me. It really felt as though the screenplay was committed to death to remove any spark of imagination or surprise. Very few people remember the original series, and this has little to do with that other than the title (a good thing). But I didn't think the film makers came up with anything to make it much better. I'll be happy if it hits, but don't think it will.

Anonymous said...

It's a cute kids film. I think kids under 8 will like it. Anyone expecting it to have much to do with the original series will be disappointed. not that the original series was very good--but just pointing it out. It'll be a good babysitter video. Nothing to offend anyone, and very "safe" in a milquetoast way.

heranee said...

From the inception Astro Boy (2009) movie was tight me rendering robot boy and funny characters. I really like that super Astro boy character Especially I like his childhood creations. When I remind those things oh, I can’t stop my laugh. I am waiting to watch this movie
Source
http://blog.80millionmoviesfree.com/in-theaters/astro-boy-trailer-i-love-my-astro-boy

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