Monday Morning Quarterback Part III
By BOP Staff
October 17, 2012

I wish I had used the restroom first.

BOP's webmaster gonna sue someone...

Kim Hollis: Summit's horror flick Sinister debuted with $18 million this weekend. What do you think about this result?

Edwin Davies: It reaffirms that horror is one of the most dependable genres when it comes to return on investment. Make 'em cheap (Sinister was apparently made for $7 million), cut together a scary trailer and you'll probably get your money back. This one also benefited from being the first horror film to hit theaters since The House at the End of the Street opened a month ago, and from getting out ahead of Paranormal Activity 4 next Friday. As such, we can probably expect it to get slaughtered next week, but everything is gravy for Summit from here on out.

Felix Quinonez: This is a clear win and like it was already mentioned it reaffirms the dependability of the genre, especially at this time of year. Legs are almost completely out of the question but when you make back your production on the first day, it's probably not a major concern.

Bruce Hall: I think it's interesting that Sinister finished as the number one movie on Friday, only to end up in third place Sunday night. I think it's more interesting that it took in six times its production budget in that time, despite such lukewarm word-of-mouth. This is a classic smash and grab, just like you want out of a low budget horror flick - especially with Paranormal Activity 4 opening next week. Home video will be gravy. Everyone involved with Sinister should sleep quite soundly tonight.

Jason Barney: As far as the executives are concerned, this is an enormous win. I have seen two different estimates on the budget numbers for this one, but even if we assume the money put into the project was on the high end, around $7 million, Summit made their money back by the end of the second day. It is a horror film and will be in and out of theaters fairly quickly, but you can't argue with success and with what makes money. I haven't seen a horror film in the theaters in years. As long as the high school and college crowd continue to embrace these Halloween movies, studios will pump them out. Even if the drop is near 60% next week, films that make five or six times their production budgets are what executives drool over.

Max Braden: That seems good, but it seems like it could have done better. I saw some advertising for it but not a lot. And I've started getting confused about which one is Insidious and which one is Intruders, when's Sinister actually in theaters, and with The Possession already out and Paranormal Activity 4 still to come, there's a glut of horror-thriller movies out this season. People may be waiting to just put all their chips on the franchise name they know instead of these one-offs.

Kim Hollis: I think Summit should be very pleased with their result, particularly because they're already making money with the film. Sinister was marketed well, with a very creepy trailer that built a lot of suspense. Also, it is generally positively reviewed, so it had that going for it early on.

David Mumpower: I consider this situation similar to The Possession. The premise is so strong that even the cheapest production possible will provide the requisite scares to satisfy audiences. Horror's 2012 track record in terms of revenue versus financial outlay is as strong as I can ever remember. And the defending champion is up next week.

There was supposed to be an earth-shattering ka-boom!

Kim Hollis: Here Comes the Boom, the Kevin James comedy featuring mixed-martial arts, opened with only $11.8 million this weekend. Why do you think this fell below his previous films?

Edwin Davies: There's two possible explanations; either people weren't interested in the subject matter (MMA) or Kevin James' star is on the wane. I think it's probably a mixture of the two. We already know from Warrior's lackluster performance that MMA is a pretty niche subject even when the film is good - which, by most accounts, Here Come The Boom is not - so there probably wasn't much widespread interest in it to begin with. This also continues a downward trend for James' films from the highs of Hitch and Paul Blart. Considering that it shot under The Dilemma, I think James may have reached the point where he needs to be pickier or to stick to out and out family films like Hotel Transylvania.

Felix Quinonez: I think a lot of it has to do with the subject matter. MMA definitely has its hardcore fans but it is still a niche sport. Even when the movie is good, it has trouble attracting audiences. Last year's Warrior had great reviews and even generated some Oscar talk but it barely made over $13 million domestically. And the fact is that the violence might have actually turned off some of Kevin Jame's audience. I don't know if it's his star waning although that could be part of the reason why it disappointed. But I think the bigger reason it under-performed is the fact that the subject matter might not be appealing to mass audiences and particularly the audience that would go see a Kevin James movie.

Bruce Hall: I think it was a mistake for anyone to place their box office expectations here relative to Kevin James' involvement. Yes, it's the worst opening of his career, but I'd argue that Kevin James isn't necessarily the draw of a Kevin James film. It's usually the whole "generically funny fat guy surrounded by chaos" trope that sucks people in, and I think that says more about America than it does about Hollywood. I'm not so sure things wouldn't have turned out the same way with Will Sasso at the helm. I'm sure the MMA theme turned off a lot of mainstream consumers, but the generic story and hokey tag lines probably didn't help. Whether Kevin James is on the way out or not is hard to say, but I'm not convinced Here Comes the Boom is going to be the determining factor.

Kim Hollis: Ultimately, I think Kevin James needs a more populist gimmick in order for his films to succeed. I do think he was riding a high point in popularity when Hitch and Paul Blart become hits, and since then we've seen his potential audience eroding. The "funny fat guy" shtick only goes so far, and while I think James is affable, he's also not really someone who compels people to say, "Oh my gosh! I have to see the latest Kevin James film!"

David Mumpower: Suffice to say that I am shocked by this result. Everyone else here doesn't seem to feel this is an extraordinary disappointment. I do. The Funny Fat Man is a concept that almost always sells in Hollywood. The Nerd Playing Sports also has a magnificent box office track record. Kevin James getting destroyed should be a lucrative proposition. The fact that it wasn't is remarkable to me. In hindsight, I believe that a key ingredient is that James appeals to the older CBS crowd that watched his show. Few of those people are aware enough of cage fighting to carry a movie. The under-35 crowd that cannot get enough of it isn't the Kevin James demographic.