Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Modest Prediction

I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring with a prediction for how Cars will perform at the box office. Clearly it's going to do very well, but how well? Steve is betting around $75-80 million for the opening, and about triple that by the end. Considering both The Incredibles and Finding Nemo opened at $70 million, and Ice Age: The Meltdown at $68 million, that's probably a good guess. Jim Hill says that an opening of at least $75-80 million is the threshold for the film to be considered a success (ponder that for a second!) by some 'experts.' I say aim higher. I may not personally be that excited by what I've seen in the trailers, but my gut instinct is that this isn't going to be a blockbuster, but a monster blockbuster. I had the same feeling before Shrek 2 came out, when I said the film would be the hit of the summer and exceed all expectations. People thought I was smoking crack, that Spider-Man 2 and The Incredibles would swamp the ogre. I think my insight came from a visit to family in Kentucky, months before Shrek 2 opened. Everyone who heard what I did for a living not only expressed delight that I worked on the film, but most would go on to name their favorite character from the first film (and it was always a different character), complete with quotes and impersonations that even I found obscure. People who ordinarily weren't much into movies felt that this was a film being made just for them, and they couldn't wait to see it. I get the sense that Cars will hit the same demographic. The heartland of the country is, I think, going to make this a huge hit. Superman Returns won't be close. Only the second Pirates of the Caribbean is a threat, which makes one wonder why it was scheduled to come out only a month after Cars. Specifically, I think $100 million for the opening, and over $350 million for the total, is likely. That's all domestic. Overseas, I wouldn't be surprised if Ice Age: The Meltdown does better. I don't think the Pixar film will have the same appeal overseas. But here at home, I think Cars will rule 2006. And if I'm wrong, I'll just have to edit the heck out of this post.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, nobody drives cars overseas. ;-)

I think you're correct in general, though - it's going to be HUGE! They hit every angle, from NASCAR to lowriders.

Kevin Koch said...

Yes, many people drive cars overseas, but the whole "Route 66" thing won't play. And while "car culture" is prominent in some countries, it's almost nil in many places. While we worship cars, and most families here probably own three, in many parts of the world car ownership isn't nearly that common. And things like NASCAR and lowriders, etc. will be American pop culture references that will zip right over many foreigner's heads.

I think the film will make money overseas, but it'll be far less than it makes in North America.

Anonymous said...

> will zip right over many foreigner's heads.

That remains to be seen. ;-)




"Today, Route 66 has all but vanished. . . . The disappearance of the old road has stirred a sense of what Route 66 meant and still means to many Americans."

It should add Germans and Japanese, based on the stories owner Tom Willis tells.

"Great following among Europeans, Japanese," he says while sitting at the restaurant's 1950s-style lunch counter. "Some Europeans came here with their (Route 66) books and want you to sign it to prove that they were here."


Kevin Koch said...

Europe will be no problem. Japan is a maybe, given how American animated films aren't always hits there. Unfortunately, you cited most of the 6 or 7 foreign countries with hard-core "car cultures." Most of the rest of the world gets by with public transportation, bicycles, or motoscooters and motorcycles. Cars and trucks there are mostly taxis or work vehicles. And Cars is steeped in Americana, both in theme and content. I'm not saying the film will bomb overseas, but I suspect that the North American grosses will be comfortably greater than the total foreign grosses (i.e., the opposite of the pattern we saw for Ice Age: The Meltdown.

Kevin Koch said...

Well, it's only Saturday and it's already clear I was way off on my prediction. With a Friday opening of $19.3 million (estimated), it looks like $70-75 million will be about right. Still a huge opening, but not the monster I thought might happen.

Kevin Koch said...

Yikes, I was a good 40% off. So much for my future as a prognosticator.

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