The Weinstein Co is experiencing a brutal 2011 with every movie it releases that’s not The King’s Speech. In quick succession, Scream 4, Spy Kids 4D, Our Idiot Brother, Apollo 18, and last weekend’s I Don’t Know How She Does It didn’t open worth a damn. And that doesn’t even count the rough reception given Madonna’s W.E. at the Venice Film Festival which Harv is releasing during the awards corridor. (Awards? Not unless he can buy her a Golden Globe.) I don’t know how the studio is going to stay on track with its reorganized finances if Dimension films keep bombing or TWC pics get no traction. If only Harvey Weinstein hadn’t bragged during the Tribeca Film Festival that 2011 was “going to be our best year financially” and that his indie studio was on track to outpace even its most profitable years at Miramax. But that was in April, before The Weinstein Co began its losing streak. That $150M it made from The King’s Speech before ancillary revenue streams kick in won’t last long. Weinstein said he has to rebuild “a model that’s beyond Oscar”. The real question now is whether he even knows how.
I Don’t Know How She Does It was based on a well-known book just like The Weinstein Co’s The Nanny Diaries which women rejected just as summarily. Problem is, IDKHSDI is such an awful movie (only 17% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) starring the annoying Sarah Jessica Parker (just go back to television already) in an abominable premise (a working wife under stress). But ask The Weinstein Co why it tanked, and the claim is that the opening weekend of The Lion King 3D took a $6M-$7M bite out of Parker’s pic. Because older women had a choice between seeing Sex And The City‘s Carrie as a clone of themselves or taking themselves and their kids to Lion King 3D – and picked the toon. (Given the choice between IDKHSDI and a kidney transplant, i would have picked the surgery.) Read More »
Lionsgate execs today are despondent as they try to figure out what went wrong for Conan The Barbarian to only earn a dismal $10.5M from 3,015 theaters. “It’s one of those weekends that gives me a stomach ache,” one Lionsgate exec told me Friday night. “It’s a headscratcher, but it won’t kill us.” But they also know that with Carl Icahn back breathing down Lionsgate’s mane by buying up company shares, and the annual stockholders meeting scheduled for Sept. 13, this is a really lousy time for this secondary studio to have such a box office bomb. Over the last two weeks, Icahn has acquired 756,840 shares in Lionsgate, growing his ownership to 33.2% from 32.6%, presumably in his so-far-unsuccessful effort to gift his son Brent with a Hollywood studio. Last year, Icahn tried but failed to seize control and, after a brief respite, he’s trying yet again, all the while carping about Lionsgate’s profligate management and moviemaking strategy. Here’s more ammunition for him. First off, being in business with Avi Lerner’s Nu Image/Millennium film company is a dicey proposition at best. Especially when this reboot cost nearly $90M, which makes this weekend’s opening disastrous even if Lionsgate’s exposure was mitigated by the co-production and co-release. Not even spreading the buzz that previous Conan the Barbarian Arnold Schwarzenegger was treated to a private screening and “really liked it” helped box office, which didn’t come near to even Lionsgate’s low-ball expectation of $15M from a wide release. Read More »
Not even a shortish 101-minute running time, or Dr. Who‘s David Tennant, or jokes about the Twilight franchise, or borrowing cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe from Twilight Saga: New Moon could save this film at the box office. Least of all Colin Farrell, who is decidedly not a star despite Hollywood giving him gazillion chances to become one. Everyone needs to stop trying. He’s a fine actor but audiences don’t want to watch him in massive numbers. Deal with it, people. That said, Fright Night took in a feeble $8.3M from 3,114 theaters. It certainly seemed like a good idea to do a contemporary revamp of the 1985 comedy-horror classic written and directed by Tom Holland. But in those days, spoofing vampires was still a relatively rare occurrence. Now the whole fang thing is lame (except to Twi-hards). Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) is being criticized for being too faithful to the original film and for not making any interesting use of 3D. Perhaps audiences sensed a rip-off and that’s why they stayed away. The marketing did no harm. And a 74% positive on Rotten Tomatoes didn’t hurt either. But all that Comic-Con hype and hoopla did nothing to bring in moviegoers (panel moderated by Chris Sarandon, star of the original Fright Night; a screening with introductions by talent; a Fright Night party themed as Peter Vincent’s lair with talent appearances; a bus wrapped in Fright Night art with a “text … Read More »
I don’t know how The Weinstein Co is going to stay on track with its reorganized finances if Dimension films keep bombing like this: a weak $12M opening weekend from 3,295 theaters. The whole underpinning of the Weinstein Brothers’ success at Miramax was that Dimension threw off wheelbarrows of box office cash. No more. Here’s yet another unnecessary sequel not helped by its 4D gimmickry, Aroma-Scope schtick, or Robert Rodriguez. (See Robert Rodriguez On His ‘Spy Kids’ Stinker.) The Weinstein Co saw the handwriting on the wall and didn’t bother to brief the media on the film ahead of time — and then failed to send out grosses Friday. With a ‘B+’ Cinemascore and exit polls showing that kids rated the film much higher than parents did (72 excellent and 90 in the top 2 boxes), the film should have done better especially with 3D’s higher ticket prices. But Spy Kids: All The Time In The World had 60/40 with 2D in terms of screens but only 54/46 in terms of business. (To give you some context, The Smurfs was 77/23 with 2D, which is more in line with the family film trend). Dimension can keep making this sequel swill, but until it comes up with fresh ideas for fresh films, then TWC could tank again.
SUNDAY UPDATE: suspect all non-Gleeks now can relax since Fox will never make another Glee 3D unless a few execs at 20th and 20th TV undergo lobotomies. The concert film opened in only 6th place Friday with $2.7M, then Saturday plunged -37% for just $1.7M which took the pic out of the Top 10 completely. Its $5.7M weekend from 2,040 theaters would be humiliating and downright disastrous if it hadn’t been made for such a low budget — around $9.5M to $9.7M, according to Ryan Murphy, who emailed me: “That’s compared to the Bieber film which was around $14 million I believe. So the risk [was] very very low. No matter what it will be a money maker for Fox. I am proud of it.” Murphy, who produced but did not direct, was as befuddled as Fox TV and film execs why the pic didn’t do better, especially because it was given an ‘A+’ CinemaScore from audiences under age 25. “The CinemaScores were excellent. They don’t sync up with the results,” one Fox TV exec emailed me. Fox thought the film would at least reach double-digits, crack the Top 5 for the weekend, and perform respectably like the other concert movies. But the studio wasn’t really sure what to make of the soft tracking despite fan-favorite castmembers like Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Chord Overstreet, and The Warblers.
Murphy said that, by design, the movie wasn’t just a big-screen version of the TV show: instead it’s about three young people who say that Glee helped them live better lives and overcome struggles with their personal stories cut against 20 positive message songs. When moviegoers didn’t materialize Friday, the filmmakers still thought kids would come out Saturday and Sunday. But these concert films are frontloaded and it’s all downhill from opening day. Immediately Fox TV execs turned against Fox film execs. “I think it was a shitty campaign that did not effectively communicate what the movie was or that the people who had seen it reviewed it positively,” one suit told me. “I think the feature company took a very laid-back approach, feeling their only job was to alert the core fans, and that’s not enough to fill seats.” Read More »