Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
April 17, 2013

Promo image from Stephen King's The Jacket

Kim Hollis: Scary Movie 5, the spoof movie that was beaten to the punch by A Haunted House earlier this year, earned just $14.1 million, the lowest opening ever for the franchise. What do you think of this result?

Jay Barney: Well, Scary Movie 5 will probably make back its production budget in the time that it has in theaters, but it is going to have a totally ignorable presence. This one is going to do so poorly I hate to admit that I saw one or two of the others in the theaters. I doubt I will see this one. The reviews are terrible, and I have to wonder if this is going to have an even more significant drop than the average horror film. I guess this is a different genre, but a parody about horror films that lacks any excitement or interest is going to spend very little time on screens. It will have a place in the top 10 next week because so many films are several weeks into their runs and making less than $10 million, but Scary Movie 5 is going to be gone quickly. It won’t be a failure, but nobody is going to care one way or the other.

Brett Ballard-Beach: For the third time in three years, Dimension Films has attempted to re-launch one of their signature franchises from the late ‘90s/early ‘00s and like Scream 4 and Spy Kids: $$D 4D, this is on track to be the lowest grossing of its series by far, and like those won’t clear the $40 million bar. It won’t be a money loser by any means (with a budget of $19 million) but it is sad to see a series devolve from such great heights financially and critically (um, relatively speaking) to becoming just another Friedberg/Seltzer-esque zero sum piece of junk. When A Haunted House steals your mojo, you have hit the dark end of the tunnel indeed. Someone needs to take the spoof genre off life support and use the parts for better purposes.

Matthew Huntley: The first question Scary Movie V has us asking is, why was this movie made? Aside from the usual commercial reasons, why, practically speaking, was this movie made? Do the filmmakers really think the pop culture references they target are worth spoofing? Or are even funny? Aren't people like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan spoofs in and of themselves? Do they really need to be featured in a movie? They're jokes, sure, but not funny jokes (they're more of the pathetic variety). And what movies are they even making of this time around? Honestly, I don't know and I don't care, and I'm sure that's how most people feel. So, can anybody really answer my first question with confidence?

In any event, I'm relieved by this movie's numbers, because hopefully it's a sign Dimension will finally hang up this franchise for good. Perhaps the era of trying to resurrect old series has finally come and gone, and movies like Scary Movie V and A Good Day to Die Hard are the evidence. Audiences have grown up and moved on, and it's high time movie studios follow suit.

Bruce Hall: Hold on, don't you guys think you're being a little harsh? I for one find it incredibly refreshing that someone finally had the courage to make fun of Charlie Sheen. Or Lindsay Lohan. Or Black Swan and Inception, two films that have totally gotten a free ride since they came out almost three years ago. And logistically I can't wrap my head around how they managed to fit in more than a symbolic shot at Evil Dead, which was released after this one had already finished filming. Scary Movie 5 is obviously going to make its money back but it's as though someone was consciously striving for the bare minimum. A film this cynical hardly deserves to be mentioned, let alone rewarded with profit.

Edwin Davies: I'm surprised, but only slightly. I expected that it would do pretty badly compared to its, er, illustrious predecessors, both because the previous film was released so long ago and because the years between installments saw the spoof genre get thoroughly beaten to death by the aforementioned Friedberg/Seltzer team. I did not, however, expect it to shoot under A Haunted House, which covered much the same ground without a supporting brand (other than the Wayans name, I suppose) to prop it up. I guess that film burned up most of the demand there was for hastily thrown together, broad horror spoofs. It didn't help that the ads for Scary Movie 5 were painfully, almost literally painfully, free of laughs, which is kind of a problem for a comedy. Like Spy Kids 4, this will probably just about recoup the costs incurred from production and marketing, but it's probably the death knell for the series unless they can start knocking them together for $1.5 million the way that A Haunted House was. There's no way a sixth film doesn't lose money if they keep throwing money at Charlie Sheen.

Max Braden: I was a little surprised to check back and see that this actually beat Movie 43. And Movie 43 had Ana Faris! Scary Movie 5 just looks like they threw stuff together (even more so than the previous films) and expected people to go because it's part of the franchise. I think this opening was all about rubbernecking a bad accident.

David Mumpower: I mentioned when A Haunted House was released that the timing was perfect for a horror spoof. In the interim, we have witnessed the release of another dozen of these cheap genre pictures. By the time Scary Movie 5 rolled around, even a parody of horror feels like too much horror. Saturation is an issue, and that is doubly the case with Scary Movie 5 as a horror spoof has already been done once this year...and it's only April. Finally, the presence of Sheen and Lohan smacks of desperation rather than cleverness. They are media whores who will do anything for money and attention. Nobody is going to pay to see people who show up on TMZ every day anyway. The Scary Movie name brand was sold out here, and the selling price proved to be quite cheap.

Kim Hollis: I have no idea why $14.1 million worth of tickets were even sold in the first place. Is there really that much demand still out there for this franchise? And why would anyone pay money to see a film with Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan at this point? Yes, this is a horrible result if we compare it to the Scary Movie franchise as a whole, but as a cynical cash grab, it’s doing way better than it deserves.

Kim Hollis: The Place Beyond the Pines, the film that reunites Ryan Gosling with his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, expanded to 514 locations and earned $3.9 million this weekend. What do you think about this total? Do you think it will get more attention or has it peaked?

Jay Barney: There is a lot of room for more positive attention, especially if the film continues to get good press. We will see how it does, but movie goers do have a tendency to notice the little films with a bit of a buzz. It is still early to make any predictions, but the expansion and attention from last week certainly helped it.

Brett Ballard-Beach: I am torn on this. It's gotten mostly rapturous reviews, but the dissenters are strongly against it. Gosling and Cooper add a fair amount of star power, but the plot focuses on how the sins of the father carry on to the son and the film runs 140 minutes. Reading some comments by Cianfrance, he has some very specific ideas about movie violence (he doesn't care for it being glamorized or trivializing death), which suggests this isn't a Heat-like action epic. Still, if it reaches a curious and thoughtful younger crowd, and an older crowd who might initially be a tough sell, I could see this pushing past $30 million.

Matthew Huntley: Using only myself as a basis, I have no idea what this movie is about (I haven't seen an official trailer or read a synopsis), but I want to see it anyway. There's something about the TV spots and the attention this movie is receiving that makes me more and more curious about it, and I wonder if others share my perspective, which might explain why it's doing as well as it is in limited release. Of the little advertising I have seen for The Place Beyond the Pines, it intrigues me, despite the rather poor reviews.

With that said, I honestly can't see this becoming a breakout hit and earning much more than its production budget ($15 million), not unless Focus Features continues rolling it out into more venues and its audience reception supersedes its critical reactions. But we've seen it happen, and to great success (Silver Linings Playbook), so it's definitely possible. At this point, I don't think it's peaked, but it's still too early to tell in my opinion.

Kim Hollis: I’m a little curious that Matt’s perception of the film is that it has poor reviews, while Brett feels they are overwhelmingly positive. It sits at 81% at Rotten Tomatoes, though Top Critics are somewhat less enthusiastic about it at 70% (still overall positive, though). I think this sort of commentary is going to make people interested in the movie, though it’s probably the sort of thing that mostly appeals to that smaller art house crowd. There’s enough buzz around it – and a pretty big gap in other quality fare lately – that it may be able to take advantage if Focus handles it right, though.

Edwin Davies: Having not seen the film yet (I was going to see it today, but we had a tornado warning which made a trip to the cinema seem like something that could wait a day or two), I don't know if the content of the film will prevent it from being a breakout hit, but my suspicion is that it probably is going to end up being a film that works for critics and art house audiences but doesn't draw in bigger crowds than that. The ads remind me a lot of Derek Cianfrance's last film, Blue Valentine, which was a film which on the surface looked like a typical indie romance but was ultimately a lot harsher and more difficult, and while The Place Beyond The Pines has a more potentially commercial genre, it looks like a film that isn't trying to be that at all. Still, the buzz surrounding it and the very strong marketing campaign suggest to me that an expansion over the coming weeks could see it become a minor hit, finishing in the $30-40 million range if it's handled just right.

Bruce Hall: Recently, I've read more articles about this film than I have for Iron Man 3, which has dropped a new teaser/trailer every 48 hours for months. That's the fascinating thing to me about The Place Beyond the Pines; the buzz. Evidently this is an unconventionally structured film that makes some very uncomfortable choices/compromises, depending on how you look at it. In the world of critics and film buffs at least, LOTS of people are talking about it, whether they appreciated it or not. The strong per theater average it's enjoyed could be interpreted to mean good word-of-mouth, and I think this will help entice a slightly wider audience. But even though I don't expect this movie to resonate with the mainstream, I do expect it to have its advocates come award season.