Sunday, December 9, 2007

How much is not enough?

To extrapolate from my question two posts ago, Golden Compass took in $26.1 million domestically, less than studio execs hoped for (they admit to wanting $30+ million, though I think they were lowballing that on purpose). It cost $180 million to make. That's... a lot.

It also took in $55 million overseas, and they hope for great staying power because of the holidays. The audience was apparently mostly families (not at the 9:50 pm screening I went to, of course), and those don't tend to give great opening weekend boom. But still, it's not a huge figure. They did a fair bit of marketing, but nothing too extraordinary, so of course they're going to turn a healthy profit. I just wonder how happy they'll be about laying out another, say, $300 million to shoot the next two, which if they have an ounce of sense they will do back to back like the Pirates sequels or LOTR.

Though I am all for the indie film (and Juno raked in a huge per-screen take), I do get very curious about the big-business end of things. Box Office Mojo has a handy chart of the all-time box-office takes, which only lacks a ratings column to be perfect (conventional wisdom being that an R movie excludes a good moviegoing audience, teenage boys). I was appropriately staggered to see that the record opening weekend is for Spiderman 3, which took $151 million, and that Fellowship of the Ring "only" took $47 million. Looking at it, I think there's hope for the Pullman franchise, because a PG-13 franchise will probably go up (note how many of the top ten are franchise films).

On the other hand, it helps if the movies are good and therefore much-anticipated. The reviews for this one did not glow, though not all were bad.

I also wonder for the first time how much the writers' strike has affected box office takes. I surely can't be the only one who is often made more aware of a movie by seeing the star shilling for it on late-night TV. More Kidman and Craig might have pulled in a more grown-up audience.


jodi said...

I think you've got the writer's strike problem (I'm practically wearing widow's weeds I'm so deep in mourning over late night tv), possibly, a little bit, the massive Christian anti-Pullman campaigns, and the fact that the kids are not YET on holiday break ("Enchanted" had a strong opening because it was a holiday weekend)

I'm $10 of that "Fellowship" opening weekend, and I was dragged against my the time :-)

off to work!

Ben said...

Hi Heidi! Enjoying the posts as always.

Anyway, I haven't seen this movie (unsurprisingly, since I haven't seen any movies in theaters since last November), nor have I read the books (perhaps more surprisingly). But I can say that even I, devotee of fantasy lit and film that I am, have a pretty serious case of fantasy fatigue in the mainstream right now. Probably the only downside of how amazing and successful the LOTR films were--they inspired all these other films in short order, which just makes them pile up on one another in some less than ideal (for creativity, for money-making, you name it) ways.

I suppose there's no solution to that problem--once one thing works, Hollywood is apparently forced to run it into the ground with a billion other similar things, then declare it dead and do nothing with it for a decade, then rinse and repeat--but it's particuarly unfun when it's my favorite genre being summarily driven into the ground.

Heidi said...

(pours sand on head) I can't believe that I forgot about the Christian stuff. Yes, I suppose that did take out at least some audience.

Enchanted also had Disney behind it, and princesses, and Patrick Dempsey. I wish little girls had wanted to see this one, because Lyra is a great heroine for them, but she isn't in the popular consciousness the way Harry Potter or Generic Princess is.

I dunno. These things are weird. I wonder if Ben is right and it's just fatigue; not everyone misses the big yearly movie opening of the LOTR era.