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Kagan: ‘The Help’ Is The Most Profitable Film From A Month With Few Successes

DreamWorks and Disney’s The Help and Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes are the only two August releases that can be sure of making a profit, although New Line’s Final Destination 5 could make it over the line, according to the latest monthly estimate from SNL Kagan. The financial analysis firm makes its projections based on a ratio that compares a film’s estimated revenue from all sources to the costs that Kagan can calculate — which don’t include distribution fees, overhead, interest, profit participation, and residuals. A movie with expected revenue 1.75 times higher than the known costs is projected to be a winner, while those with a ratio of at least 1.4 are on the bubble. The Help easily succeeds with a 3.09 ratio vs. Apes’ 2.49. Final Destination just barely makes the gray area with 1.43. But other major releases fall short including Focus Features’ The Debt (1.18), Sony’s Colombiana (1.06), and Dimension’s Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (0.97). The biggest disappointments by Kagan’s calculations are Disney’s Fright Night (0.44), Fox’s Glee The 3D Concert Movie (0.44), Lionsgate’s Conan the Barbarian (0.48), Universal’s The Change-Up (0.67), and FilmDistrict’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (0.71). Overall, last month’s 14 releases had an average ratio of 1.24, slightly below the 1.25 for 12 films released in August 2010 and 1.45 for the 14 films in August 2009.

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Autopsy Report: ‘Glee 3D Concert Movie’

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 »

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