Daily Box Office Analysis for June 24, 2010
By David Mumpower
June 24, 2010

Oprah's impact reaches far and away.

Knight and Day debuted on Wednesday to $3.8 million, a result that not even the most zealous of Scientologists would describe as strong. BOP is going to assume that you've already seen a million jokes about its failure on Twitter, so we're going to go a different way with this and offer a couple of points that may or may not be devil's advocate in nature.

Fox's handling of this project has been something of a mixed bag. They've demonstrated significant belief in the film by giving it several hundred Saturday sneaks last weekend as well as a midweek release in anticipation of building positive buzz. Here's the problem. Studios are still feeling their way around the social media era, and the Wednesday debut of Knight and Day should prove to be a learning experience. As all of you know, Tom Cruise's past five years have been...unfortunate. A lot of consumers are actively seeking out instances where they can make fun of him. This is problematic in combination with an unheralded Wednesday release. If a movie is to debut in the middle of the week, the marketing campaign has to trumpet that fact weeks in advance. What has happened here is that a lot of people have pulled up their movie listings and said, "Huh. I had no idea Knight and Day was coming out today."

The fallout from all this is that rather than gaining several thousand positive comments about the movie from those who watched it on Wednesday, Fox is instead forced to ward off exponentially more snide remarks from Cruise-haters who were never going to watch the movie in the first place. Effectively, the studio has given a bunch of people tomatoes and sent them over to Tom's Nicole Kidman-proofed Scientology compound. In short, opening the film on Wednesday has proven to be a crippling mistake from which Knight and Day may not recover. We will only need 48 hours to make a final determination on whether this is the case, as Friday numbers will reveal whether consumers were waiting for the weekend or have decided instead to push their viewing back to when the film is released on DVD. The big winner to emerge from this story might just be Redbox in the end.