One Month Out: Part Three
By BOP Staff
April 17, 2009

Callista Flockhart three years from now.

The dog will make this movie do 27% more business than it might have otherwise

Kim Hollis: What are your thoughts and expectations for the box office performance of Up?

Josh Spiegel: I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Up will be a bigger success than Ratatouille or WALL-E were for Disney/Pixar. First of all, having the movie show on 3-D-equipped screens is going to give the box office a big boost, even if those screens will only be available until early July. That will help combat Up against the other big family film of the month, Night at the Museum 2: Electric Boogaloo. Also, the general Disney/Pixar label plus good reviews (presuming the praise comes) will help bring audiences in. Overall, I'd expect Up to get close to $250 million, mostly due to 3-D.

Brandon Scott: I am not sure this one translates to kids as well as others have, but then, Wall-E was deemed disappointing by so many in terms of box office performance. It seems adults are "up" for this one, but I haven't seen anything that looks interesting to me (shocker, right?). Pixar is a shoo-in for high ones to two bills though in most cases, and I suspect that this is another in the line in that realm. Nothing scorching like $300 million, though. I just don't see that from what I have seen of the film.

Joel Corcoran: I'm with Josh on this one. Up has the potential to be the break-out surprise hit of the summer, but even if that doesn't turn out to be the case, it should do at least as well as WALL-E.

Sean Collier: I'm going to go against the tide and say that Up does not beat WALL-E. Like WALL-E, it seems like a tough sell - no cartoonish cars or adorable fish here, just an old man and a fat boy scout - and the 3-D price tag may actually be a deterrent if kids are indeed indifferent. I'd call it for a respectable showing, but little more.

Max Braden: I'm with Sean on this one. Up is a return to more straightforward movie after the silent treatment of WALL-E, but as we discussed previously about the difference between Pixar and Dreamworks, Up still doesn't look like it's going for the gut. After the setup, then what? I don't see a lot in the trailer that's worthy of repeat business.

Jim Van Nest: I have no doubts that Up will be one of my favorite films of the year. Pixar usually hits the mark with me. I do have doubts about Up being a huge box office smash, though. The current trailers have even me yawning. And if the choice is the old man cartoon or the dinosaur bones that come to kids are gonna go see the dinosaur a second time before they see the old man. Pixar needs to take a quick peek at the Bolt trailer and re-work Up a little bit or like Sean said, it will throw under WALL-E.

Reagen Sulewski: Up actually has a good trailer by Pixar standards, which in many cases have been kind of lackluster. I still remember Toy Story 2 going for two pants-falling-down jokes in its full-length promo (or maybe that's why it did so well. In which case, shoot me). I agree that the 3-D is going to be the wildcard, and it's still in the stage where the novelty hasn't worn off. "Pixar in 3-D" feels like an event to me, and I can see this one challenging Finding Nemo's internal-Pixar record.

David Mumpower: I'm not drinking the kool-aid on Up quite yet. I think that it has a cute trailer and I fully expect it to be an adorable film. In terms of box office revenue, however, I am just not seeing the hook that separates it from other recent Pixar releases that did solid but declining business. I'd like to be wrong about this as I consider Pixar to be the gold standard in the industry and feel they are the role model ever moviemaker should attempt to emulate. When I watch Up's commercials, I don't understand what is being sold, though. An old guy wants to go Up. Okay, that's the first five minutes. Now what? The premise doesn't sell itself.

Kim Hollis: I think that Reagen is exactly right. Every time Pixar has a new film, people talk about how they're disappointed in the trailer. Every single time. Why is this? It's because Pixar actually chooses to hold back the best stuff for the movie, rather than putting every single great moment/joke in the trailer (I'm looking at you, most DreamWorks Animation Films). Honestly, I feel like anyone who thinks this one *doesn't* connect to kids is crazy. It has a kid as one of its main characters, not to mention a cute dog who seems to have a similar function to Bolt's Rhino. Personally, I think this is one of their best trailers in some time, but I am admittedly a Pixar mark. Nonetheless, we've seen that 3-D matters. Coraline, a movie that theoretically should have made around $15 million total, catapulted to almost $75 million on the strength of those 3-D screens. Yes, much of that was because the movie was great, but we should see a similar effect with Up, if it holds up to the quality of previous Pixar productions. This is going to be their biggest hit since The Incredibles.

*Goes into a tirade*

Kim Hollis: What are your thoughts and expectations for the box office performance of Terminator Salvation?

Brandon Scott: This is a PG-13 film? I think it will end short of $200 million maybe $150-170 million. I think Bale is a bigger star now, but I don't think this film holds tons of appeal to be honest. The Terminator story has had its run and it gets convoluted to the average movie-goer, so then all you have is Bale and action to sell it. Something tells me this will not break out. I think Bale's public image has taken a bit of a hit in the last six months and I expect that will keep some fans away to be honest. Just a hunch.

Joel Corcoran: Before I saw the last trailer, I was close to giving up on Terminator Salvation entirely. But now, think it'll end up being a decent success. It should end up being a satisfying ending to the Terminator story, or a great bridge into handing the continuing story over to television in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. If it is a better movie than the trailers make it out to be, however, it could end up breaking the $200 million threshold, particularly because it will be the only true action movie at the box office for three weeks (until The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 comes out on June 12th). I think the chances of that happening are very small - a more likely result is something around a $150 million domestic gross - but we've seen stranger things happen at the box office.

Max Braden: I think this is going to be huge. It has all the visual appeal of Transformers (which finished over $300 million) with the gritty nature of The Dark Knight (which grossed even more). Bale has great recognition thanks to Batman, and the Terminator is a proven series. I expect at least $200 million for its run.

Jim Van Nest: I wish I could be with Max on this one, but I don't think I can. Given the fact that apparently I'm the only one watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles...the Terminator story may be in trouble. The Chronicles have been so good, in my opinion, that Terminator Salvation is at the top of MY must-see list, but I fear there won't be enough folks like me out there to make this a super huge success. I'm with the others and can see a $150 million finish for this one. But I'd be thrilled to see it break out, if for no other reason that to make Fox wake up and realize they need to re-up the Chronicles and move it to a better night.

Reagen Sulewski: T3 had every look of being a cheap cash-in (although it wasn't), and Salvation actually looks like it's trying, plus it's the future apocalypse world that people have been wanting to see ever since the first film. I see this breaking out to a large degree, with potentially a $250 million finish.

Kim Hollis: Yeah, I think you people who are saying $150 million are insane. This movie is going to be huge. The trailers look seriously great, and Christian Bale has lots and lots of goodwill carryover thanks to The Dark Knight. Simply put, this movie has *everything* going for it - awesome looking effects, a solid, recognizable star, and a movement of the story to the fireworks factory. I think it has a shot at as much as $300 million, particularly if it's good.

David Mumpower: When Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines came out, I understood everyone's reticence to expect great things from the film. The Matrix sequels were receiving all of the hype and it seemed as if the man against machine premise had been co-opted by a competitor. It speaks volumes that in spite of any real hype, T3 earned $150 million domestically and over $430 million worldwide. As a good movie, it also reminded consumers that a dozen years later, the Terminator premise was still sound. Now, a new movie starring the title character from the number two movie of all time strikes me as the type of serendipitous "right role at the right time" that happens once a generation or so. Christian Bale as John Connor is a masterstroke of casting, and I am firmly convinced that this film is poised to be the Transformers of 2009, even over the actual Transformers sequel. I fully expect that if Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince does not win the summer, it will be Terminator Salvation that does. T2's $204 million in 1991 inflation adjusts to $350 million in 2009. I don't think T4 quite gets to that level, but I am expecting something north of $250 million. To my mind, this is the juggernaut on the May schedule.