Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Mid-Month Derby

Now with hot, buttered Add On.

The Nikkster informs us that animation continues to shine brightly.

... Disney's A Christmas Carol showed an excellent hold for No. 2, down just -38% from a week ago with $5.6 million Friday from 3,653 plays for what could be around $20M for the weekend ...

... Wes Anderson's "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" from, of course, Fox, got off to a good start in 2 theaters in NY and 2 in LA for $70K today and a location average of $17,500 per screen. This should put the animated pic comfortably over $200K for the weekend.

There are plenty of animated features rolling out in the near future, from The Princess and the Frog to the hybrid Avatar to the Spanish-made Planet 51. And the train keeps rolling ...

Add On: And the derby finishes with the two big C.G.I movies on top, with Christmas Carol declining a mere 25.7%:

1) 2012 -- $65 million

2) Christmas Carol -- $22.3 million

3) Men Who Stare at Goats -- $6.2 million

4) Precious -- $6.1 million

5) This Is It -- $5.1 million

There are no doubt cheerful faces in Burbank and Novato tonight.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

So a 38% drop is now an excellent hold?

It's at sub-Bolt numbers already, for a movie that opened bigger and without significant (vampirical) competition.

Anonymous said...

The film is a TRAGEDY. No wonder Disney fired Jim Gallagher. The marketing of the film was shit, but it wasn't any worse than the film itself.

Anonymous said...

Precious easily won the weekend, playing at only 174 screens, costing less than $10 million, it garnered $35,000.00 per screen. 2012 came in second, in 3500 theaters, garnering $19,000 per screen, at a $200 million budget, with a total of $65 million. Christmas Carol dropped to third, and in 2 full weeks playing at nearly 300 more screens than 2012, has only made $63 million on a $300 million budget ($200 for film, $100 for distribution).

Anonymous said...

How sad to see Cloudy/Meatballs, 9, and Coraline all not make their money back. I'm sure they will on video. I think a lot of people thought they'd do better. Where the Wild Things Are isn't doing so well, either, and although the reviews for Fantastic Mr. Fox are good, it probably won't do as well. Astro Boy flopped big time. Planet 51 may surprise, but I doubt it. Princess and Frog has Disney's marketing muscle, so even if it's not a great film, it'll do OK.

g said...

Cloudy has made 180mil worldwide so far...is that not at least breaking even?

Anonymous said...

Almost. Another $20 should do it. General rule is 2.5 x it's budget (including prints and advertising).

Anonymous said...

Astro Boy is the biggest tragedy. It's a fabulous film that was poorly marketed by that wretched Summit. And that's par for the course for that company. If not for "Twilight", Summit would be toast, which would serve it right.

Anonymous said...

I still dont believe a fabulous film can get a 48 on Rotten Tomatoes. No offense, but you must have worked on or know someone who did and arent being objective.

Its not like it was Bolt, which was critically praised, but got screwed by marketing. In fact, Id argue Astro Boy got great marketing compared to Bolt.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above, no, I don't work for
Imagi. I'm a mere moviegoer. As for Rotten Tomatoes...hmmm...why don't you take a look at the RT *user reviews* of the film. They gave it a 75%. And at Yahoo Movies user reviews list, it gets a B+. Plain ordinary people seem to love the film. In my opinion, overpaid, jaded professional movie critics are a lousy barometer of a film's true quality. I'd suggest taking a look at the film yourself and then making a judgment. If you loved Bolt, you'll love Astro Boy. It's even better.

Anonymous said...

I didnt say I loved Bolt, but thats beside the point.

Thing is, the term "fabulous" shouldnt be thrown around lightly.

Perhaps Astro Boy was "good" or "decent." But "fabulous?" C'mon. Ill see it eventually, but I'm pretty certain that ANY film that gets below 50% on Rotten Tomatoes cannot be considered "fabulous."

pud said...

Just wondering.
Can a film be considered 'super-duper' if it scores a below 50% on rotten tomatoes ?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering.

How the hell is Christmas Carol raking in the bucks when it only scored 56% on Rotten Tomatoes? (True, the film had a soft opening, but up against the blockbuster 2012, it's proving to have legs). Oh, and speaking of 2012 - you know, the film that just took in 225 million worldwide on its first weekend? - it scored a 39%. The film Law-Abiding Citizen got a 23%, yet it too is raking in the bucks, and it's going to be very profitable.

The Wizard of Oz got very mixed reviews and failed at the box office. Whoa. What a stinkeroo that film was! Not to mention Pinocchio, Bambi, Fantasia..all box-office disasters. Man, Uncle Walt sure made some lousy movies. It's a miracle his company still exists today, with the crap HE put out.

Now that we've had a reality check, let's get back to Astro Boy. That film stumbled on its very first weekend, which indicates that audiences weren't attracted to it, and yet on websites where ordinary filmgoers judge it, it scores very well. So why did it fail in its first week? Marketing. Simple as that. The ads didn't introduce the film's characters and storyline well to prospective filmgoers. Plus its October release pitted it against Where The Wild Things Are, which is a property that's much higher in audience awareness than Astro Boy. As for Rotten Tomatoes, surely it's clear by now that it is pretty irrelevant in just about every way of how good a film actually is. Its measurements of critical approval/disapproval are not reliable indicators of a film's merits or of its performance at the box office. (Duh!)

In this humble movie-goer's opinion, quite uninfluenced by professional naysayers, Astro Boy is a little gem. It's in the same category as The Iron Giant. Your opinion may vary - but it'll only count as valid with me if you've actually seen the film, as opposed to merely parroting the opinions of a bunch of movie critics.

But if that's all that matters to you, Roger Ebert liked it...(rolls eyes).

Anonymous said...

It's in the same category as The Iron Giant.

Iron Giant, despite its miserable box office failure, got a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. And the Wizard of Oz has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. You're losing this argument.

By the way, Im not discussing box office performance whatsoever. Im simply arguing that a "fabulous" film can NOT score lower than a 50% on RT. Rotten Tomatoes is NOT irrelevant, you've failed to prove that point. In fact, by using Oz and Iron Giant as examples, you've only strengthened my point.

I concede that BAD films can make a ton of money, thats clearly been demonstrated again and again. And GOOD films often get overlooked and make NO money, I also concede THAT point. But a RT score is a RT score despite the box office performance. Your RT score doesnt lower because it made less at the box office. RT is an objective, democratic website that (more than not) illustrates a pretty accurate response to a given film. And it's my position that if more than half the critics didnt like it, you cant call it a "fabulous" film.

And it's fine that you and others liked Astro Boy, and other people. A lot of people like bad movies. But your one opinion doesnt weigh more than the combined score of 83 professional critics.

Now, for my opinion as to why it didnt do well: Astro Boy is probably an OK movie. But at it's core, it is a property that doesnt appeal to families right off the bat. Americans arent too hip on Japanese properties, especially ones with character designs are kinda dated and unappealing. Unless you're a boy or are already familiar with Astro Boy, it's likely you'll pass on this film.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen AB yet -- probably will soon -- but the truth of the matter (and has been mentioned already) is there just wasn't that much audience interest in seeing it.
Whether the marketing was good or bad is pretty subjective. I saw a lot of ads for it and celebrity interviews (as I did for Bolt). I can't imagine what marketing could have done to make audiences want to see this film more (or Bolt for that matter). It's easy enough to say "it was bad marketing", but I've yet to see anyone suggest what 'good marketing' could've been.

THE bigger issue is that Imagi and their investors over-estimated how much money this film -- which is essentially a small audience film -- could make. AND if they had only spent 25mill (or less)on it everyone would probably be pretty happy with its performnance and the eventual DVD release (unless Arlo pirates too many copies), but instead they spent a reported 65mill (and I suspect a LOT mnore than that) so it becomes a tragedy.
If Imagi didn't suddenly think they were going to do Pixar or DW (or FOX for that matter) numbers and been more realistic about what they had then they might not be in the tailspin that I assume they are.

Anonymous said...

What's with all the abject love for Rotten Tomatoes? Geezus! Get a freaking grip. When the Wizard of Oz first premiered, the critics of its day were largely unenthusiastic about it (Which is what I was referring to because guess what!!! Rotten Tomatoes didn't exist back then! Neither did the internet! News flash!!!) So I won THAT argument. But despite the fact that "professional critics" didn't think much of Oz, and that its box office take was weak, I think that in hindsight, it can safely be said that it's a good - if not FABULOUS - film. So yeah, I think I CAN call Astro Boy a fabulous film, no matter what Rotten Tomatoes says. For one thing, I've actually seen it. Several times, because its quality made me desire to see it again. I haven't wanted to re-watch a movie that's still in the theaters since I saw The Incredibles. I had my doubts about this movie when I saw the trailers - they didn't do the production design justice, and they didn't really explain the story in a way that grabbed you. I gave it a chance anyway, and I'm glad I did. In my opinion, the trailers should have played up the funnier parts of the film - that ploy always seems to work for cartoon movies - and tried to make it seem less like a kiddie film, because it's so much more than that. And it would have helped had it been released at a better time of year, away from more high-profile films like "Wild Things". Good films have gotten buried before because of bad marketing, and in my opinion, "Astro Boy" is an example of that.

Me, I want to support good animated films, and I don't need Rotten Tomatoes' permission to do that. Your mileage may vary.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, YOU can say it's fabulous, but that certainly doesnt make it a fabulous film.

There is no abject love for RT on my part, but I trust the combined opinion of others over yours.

50 years from now, no one will look back and think Astro Boy was underrated.

PS) I find it laughable that you actually had to point out the internet wasnt around back in 1939. What a dolt.

Anonymous said...

What I find laughable is that when I mentioned that Oz had gotten indifferent reviews, you pointed (again) to Rotten Tomatoes, as if it were somehow relevant. Like Rotten Tomatoes had anything to do with the reviews I was referring to, circa 1939. What a maroon!

Follow the opinions of others like a sheep if you want. If you crave the security of numbers. Me, I'm an independent thinker. I didn't expect much from Astro Boy, but I was wrong. It's a fabulous little film, a delight for both children and adults. That's what I look for in a good animated film - not a great score from Rotten Tomatoes.

Again, actually WATCH the film, then come to a conclusion. Don't even try to impress me with the opinions of others. Only fools form their own opinions from that.

Anonymous said...

Fine. Whatever. Astro Boy is fabulous, right on par with The Iron Giant.

How could I have ever been so wrong.

Anonymous said...

That's right. But that's my opinion, not yours. Watch the movie and see what YOU think.

g said...

If websites like Rotten Tomatoes and the like are completely "irrelevant," as you say, whats the point of them? Perhaps you dont understand the concept of consensus?

Anonymous said...

"You're a poopy-head!"

"No YOU'RE a poopy-head!!!"


Wow. The internet never gets old, does it?

Anonymous said...

g: Since many movies become successful DESPITE critical panning, why would anyone think a site like Rotten Tomatoes IS relevant when it comes to the popularity or quality of movies? I think the reason people visit Rotten Tomatoes is because people just like to read other people's opinions. That's why sites like these have comment boards.

g said...

Yes, but financial success does not equal quality.

I think that's what you're arguing, and your antagonist is arguing only about film quality.

Some people wont see a movie if its critically panned. Thats just the way it is. Some people like exploding robots despite how bad of a film it is.

For me, I read reviews of Transformers, and because of the bad reviews, I didnt go see it, and I wont see it. Id rather not waste my time. So for me, film critics are helpful, and therefore, relevant. Whether or not it made a killing is a different discussion.

Another way to look at it is with car reviews. Some people will spend hours reading reviews on safety, performance, engineering, etc before buying a car. Other people will just look at the exterior and if they like it, they'll buy it, even if it breaks down a year later (the Mitsubishi Eclipse comes to mind, haha). Maybe the Eclipse will outsell far superior cars because it looks better, but does that make an Eclipse a better car? No. Are reviews of other cars still relevant and helpful to those who listen? Absolutely.

So I guess the point is, dont be so quick to easily disregard the combined opinions of others, even if you disagree. And dont be surprised if someone calls your Eclipse a piece of junk, even though you think it's fabulous.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised people who are on this blog, who supposedly support animation and wish for its success so that (at the very least) animators will get more work, would give a damn what movie critics say about any given animated work. Would actually avoid an animated film because of what some dude who's working at a newspaper thinks. And that bit about "financial success does not equal quality" falls right in line with my opinion of the movie Astro Boy. The opinions of some of the critics and the box-office take of that film are not an accurate gauge of its entertainment value. It's an underrated gem. That's my opinion that I base on having actually seen it. That was my argument from the very beginning: watch the film, make up your own mind, don't let the opinions of an overexposed few make up your mind for you. You might discover a diamond in the rough. The artists behind Astro Boy deserve praise and support because they did a damn fine job; it kills me that their hard work is being so unfairly overlooked. And that's why I don't give a damn about Rotten Tomatoes. I say it's a siren song for the easily led. Again, your mileage may vary.

My 2 Cents said...

I would never buy, or not buy a car based on what critics say, (unless it had some kind of chronic mechanical or
safety flaw). I would always take it for a test drive first.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised people who are on this blog, who supposedly support animation and wish for its success so that (at the very least) animators will get more work, would give a damn what movie critics say about any given animated work.

Im a feature film animator. So, by that token, you assume I should support every single animated movie that comes out because I should "support my fellow artists" just because?

No thanks. I only support GOOD movies because I want my particular craft to grow and develop, not to stagnate or be overrun by garbage movies, thus cheapening the craft. So I guess, I sort of regret going to see it.

By the way, I thought Astro Boy was just okay. Sure, the visuals were nice, but the story was just meh. (I wasnt too convinced of the translation from the original 2D art of AstroBoy to CG) I could tell they were trying for a more honest storyline in there somewhere, but it didnt quite get there for me. So, maybe I should have listened to the critics, huh?

BuckPrivate said...

I...don't mean to prolong what appears to be a heated argument, but I liked Astroboy too. Up was great, of course, but Astroboy really got to me. Visually I think it was just as good as any other CGI film. It probably won't win an Oscar, but who cares? (FOr the record, I never listen to movie critics either).

Anonymous said...

And I'd like to add that Rotten Tomatoes gave Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs a Rotten Rating of 45% - lower than Astro Boy's (48%). Ice Age is now one of the biggest animated hits of all time, raking in millions of bucks and promising more employment for hundreds of animators.

Golly...how come the audiences who provided those millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs didn't listen to the critics?! What a bunch of dolts, not heeding the words of people who obviously know better than they do what's good and what isn't. Sheesh! Moviegoers are chumps!

Anonymous said...

Yes! And Ice Age was a TERRIBLE movie, definitely deserving of a poor RT score. People went to see Ice Age because it was a familiar property with talking animals, cheap laughs, lots of action, and pretty imagery. NOT because it was a good film.

Even more proof you cant separate box office results and film quality. You arent even worth arguing with

My 2 Cents said...

Wait, so if Ice Age 3 was good because it made a lot of money, wouldnt that mean Astro Boy was bad because it didnt? PLUS it got bad reviews?

Anonymous said...

So box office performance means nothing, but movie critics' opinions DO, when it comes to any given film's quality? Wow, what a twisted view. So twisted I don't even know how to untangle it.

As for Astro Boy, my point all along was that ordinary folk who have seen the film generally love it (see the Rotten Tomato/Yahoo Movies user review grades for the film, which were all much higher than the film critics'). AND that the reason the movie did so poorly is because Summit did a lousy job of selling the film to the public prior to its premiere. It wouldn't be the first time, after all, that a studio failed a good movie in that regard. Rotten Tomatoes gives "The Iron Giant" a 97% Fresh rating, yet the film flopped. (So much for critics' opinions, hmmm?)
So with all that critical praise behind it, why did "Iron Giant" fail? Easy; same reason "Astro Boy" failed. Bad publicity, bad timing on the film's release. It's really not that hard to figure out...if you're not totally into some kind of cult-like worship of Rotten Tomatoes, that is. :P

Reality Check said...

Astro Boy failed because it sucked.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. So did The Iron Giant.

Brilliant, RC.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all films that get 48% on Rotten Tomatoes did poorly at the box office solely because of bad marketing.

Brilliant.

See, I only think you can claim "bad marketing" if it get's positive reviews, just like Bolt and Iron Giant was pointed out earlier.

But if it gets bad reviews AND a poor critical reception....well....its kinda doomed.

Anonymous said...

WHOOPS! Typo:


But if it gets bad reviews AND a poor marketing....well....its kinda doomed.

Anonymous said...

But if a film gets bad reviews but good marketing and good box office ("Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"), does that mean it's a good film?

Anonymous said...

So box office performance means nothing, but movie critics' opinions DO, when it comes to any given film's quality?

How else would you explain Transformers 2? You really think that movie was good?

Anonymous said...

I might think Trans2 was good, if I actually watched it. But whether I do or not, the opinions of movie critics won't be the deciding factor. I ignored the tepid reaction of critics to Astro Boy, and I loved that movie. More than any film I've seen recently, including Up. I've seen it twice, and both times, the reaction of the audience around me was very enthusiastic. Grownups were tearing up at some parts of the film. The kids were silent, engrossed, focused on the screen - I heard no fussing, no restlessness (how often does THAT happen during a matinee showing of a so-called family film?) This is why I'm saying that people by and large are better off ignoring the opinions of movie critics when choosing a film to spend their time and money on. The quality of Astro Boy as opposed to film critics' opinions of it was a revelation to me. And that's why I'm championing the film here. Unlike some people here, apparently, I'm more a fan of animation than I am of movie critics. Astro Boy is just damn good. Do yourselves a favor and give it a look. Or obey the movie critics and stay home. Your choice. And possibly, your loss.

Anonymous said...

Or, you might just have bad taste.

Anonymous said...

Right. Whereas movie critics all have GOOD taste, by your way of thinking.

Boy, do I feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

Thus, the term "consensus" as mentioned before. You clearly dont know the meaning of the word.

Dont feel sorry for me. I make a lot of money making cartoons and am extremely happy.

Anonymous said...

But whatever will you do if a consensus of critics don't like an animated film you worked on? Of if you take part in something you know is good but is overlooked by the public thanks to bad scheduling and faulty publicity?

Quit your job? Join a monastery? Become a film critic?

BTW, last week at the Animation Asia Conference, the head of Imagi Studios gave a presentation concerning Astro Boy's rough ride at the box office. While it tanked in the U.S. and Japan, it did very well in China (it has yet to be fully released worldwide). He gave various reasons why the movie had its difficulties, with media and everything (gotta love his honesty). His reasons for the U.S. failure involved timing of the film's release, Americans' general lack of awareness of Astro Boy and the fact that the trailers made the movie look too "kiddie". Well, what do you know? I believe I mentioned a few of those reasons in earlier posts. Regarding Japan's reception of the movie, it was found that many Japanese didn't like the idea of Astro getting updated and Americanized (even though the character's been dormant for like 20 years and Japanese in general like American films. They're just a very traditional crowd when it comes to their own culture). China, on the other hand, is a huge consumer of anime and the film's done very well there. Hopefully the rest of the world will catch on too. As I've said and will continue to say (because I'm right!) the movie deserves more love than it got.

Anonymous said...

Um, I have worked on LOTS of animated films that have received poor critical response. Big deal. Ive worked on stinkers AND huge box office and critical successes.

But cry all you want, Astro Boy was just okay, not fabulous.

Anonymous said...

If you actually saw it, and that's your opinion, fine. But you might bear in mind that Walt Disney's "Fantasia" was both a dud with critics AND at the box office. Which of COURSE means it's crap, right?


Or maybe it was just overlooked and under-appreciated?

Anonymous said...

I know Im going to get murdered for pointing this out, but I cant resist:

Fantasia has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

*laughs evilly to myself*

Anonymous said...

I was referring to the critical reaction when "Fantasia" first premiered. It's amazing what time and a little perspective will do to public perception of any given work of art. That's the irony of believing that critical appreciation indicates the true quality of a film. It's silly to use it as any kind of guide IMO.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. But I cant honestly believe Astro Boy's critics will have that kind of change of heart in 50 years...

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