Friday, February 21, 2014

Pompeii May Be Heading for Disaster at the Box Office

Scott is predicting a disastrous weekend for the new releases at the box office. It looks like The LEGO Movie is building up to three straight weekend victories if we're to trust Scott (and anyone with common sense).

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Well, this is the week that I have been dreading to write about, and the reason for that is Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii, which looks to cash in on the already cashed out graphic style from 300 as well as reminding us that a decent movie called Gladiator was once made and throwing a volcano into the mix for some reason. I suppose the reason is so they can name the movie after an event that really happened, but I am really doubting the volcano really needs to be inserted into the plot of a slave who became a gladiator, who fought for something more. By the time you read this, I will have seen the movie for some odd reason.

While I normally have to tussle around a number of different strategies for coming up with my prediction numbers, this one became quite easy. So far this year has had two CGI style action movies completely flop in I, Frankenstein and The Legend of Hercules, earning opening weekends of $8.6 million and $8.8 million respectively. I would be insanely shocked if Pompeii is able to have a much better start than those films, especially since Paul W.S. Anderson really does not have the best of records with movies that are not in the Resident Evil franchise. Most recently, it was his oddly visualized 3D interpretation of Three Musketeers endured box office hardship as it only made $8.6 million its opening weekend before finishing at $20 million domestically on a budget of $90 million (I will add that it did take in $139 million worldwide, but it would have had to do closer to $200 million to break even on its production and marketing budgets).

I have not been able to find budget information as of yet for Pompeii, but I am left wondering why such large amounts of money get entrusted to a regularly unproven director. TriStar should be more than a bit worried about their investment right now, but at least they can take some joy in the fact that rival studio Lionsgate was responsible for both of those other box office flops that I mentioned. Oh, I just found an estimated budget of $100 million… bad move TriStar, bad move. While some people may think the fact that the movie is in 3D will aide it by giving it higher ticket prices, I am actually seeing it as having a possible negative effect. The movie looks crappy, does not have a proven Hollywood lead, and costs more money than others, factors that add up to making it a less than appealing option for audiences this weekend. Also, if this is any indicator, at the time of writing this, Boxoffice.com shows the positive to negative tweet ratio for this movie being 1:1 right now, which is terrible news for a movie that is set to open.

Pompeii Opening Weekend Prediction - $8 million

Another film opening this weekend is 3 Days to Kill, a movie which places Kevin Costner into an action role as he has three days to kill people, or at least I am lead to believe. Theatres have not been kind to action movies this year. Not only did we have the two bombs that I have already mentioned, but there was also the disappointing performance of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which looks like it would be aiming for a similar audience to this movie. If Chris Pine was only able to bring in a $15 million opening weekend with an established brand, I see cannot see 3 Days to Kill coming close to that number.

Some could easily argue that it is a poor comparison because Chris Pine has not been able to establish himself as a solid draw as of yet, but the perfect counter point is that Costner is no longer a draw. His films have had a seriously hard time gaining opening weekend traction for years. Outside of Man of Steel, the last time a movie with Costner in it made more than $20 million its opening weekend was in 1995 with Waterworld (a film that ended up hurting his reputation). His brand was hurt even worse two films later when he was in The Postman, which made $17 million worldwide on a budget of $80 million. And a few movies later (none of which made back their money) he had Thirteen Days ($66 million worldwide on a budget of $80 million), 3000 Miles to Graceland ($18 million worldwide on a budget of $62 million), and Dragonfly ($30 million worldwide on a budget of $60 million). What appeal Costner has had in the box office is long gone, which is a shame because he is capable of giving good performances. Luckily for 3 Days to Kill the budget seems to be quite modest for an action film at just under $30 million, but even so it may be a long road for Relativity to get even close to some profit.

3 Days to Kill Opening Weekend Prediction - $7 million

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