Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
November 4, 2014

They still can never be Royals.

Kim Hollis: Nightcrawler, the creepy Jake Gyllenhaal movie, earned $10.4 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?

Jason Barney: This is a great result on many levels. As always, the basic analysis depends on the budgetary numbers. Nightcrawler was a low risk/high reward type of project, and the numbers certainly are very nice for Open Road Films. With a reported budget of only $4.3 million, this addition to the box office easily started making money less than 24 hours after release. The marketing costs will probably be in the rear view mirror by the time BOP readers see this column. That is a very enviable position for a movie to be in. What studio wouldn’t want that result?

The Rotten Tomatoes rating is exceptionally high, which is going to allow word-of-mouth to spread substantially. This is the type of flick that could get substantial viewership just based on positive buzz. This was never intended to be a huge film anyway, but it won’t take much to get some attention.

Finally this is another nice win for Gyllenhaal, who has recovered nicely from Prince of Persia. And even that project had considerable international support. Source Code was a nice, mid-level hit. End of Watch made a great deal of money for Open Road Films. Prisoners got a great deal of attention about a year ago. He is involved with praiseworthy efforts of late. Specifically with Nightcrawler, his performance is supposed to be quite good.

Edwin Davies: I think this is very good for most of the reasons Jay already listed. Nightcrawler was a very low-budget film that managed to turn the bleak desolation of the Halloween weekend to its advantage. Even though Nightcrawler ended up being the #2 film for the weekend, it already made its money back and got the headlines saying that it was the number one film, even if only briefly. That and the great reviews have put the film on a lot of people's radars, and that will help it to stay afloat among the other heavy hitters that are coming out in the next few weeks. That could lead to possible awards attention for Gyllenhaal, but at the very least opening it on such a quiet weekend has made a big enough splash that the film will earn multiple times its slender budget before it leaves theaters.

Reagen Sulewski: I'm actually slightly disappointed by this one for reasons I laid out in my forecast. While yes, this material is a bit tough to make a connection to audiences with, Gyllenhaal has had a strong streak of opening weekends, and this shoots well under the high teens-low 20s that he's been hitting. You sort of hope that as an actor makes a transition to bigger starring roles that he pulls these tougher projects along with him into being hits. This opening weekend isn't really a knock against him per se, but merely a realization that he's not *quite* there yet in terms of being able to open anything.

Tim Briody: While reviews have never really meant all that much to box office, this is the second weekend in a row when a movie got very strong positive reviews and came in with a mediocre weekend. Yes, this was an awful weekend to release a movie given the calendar configuration, but you had to figure Nightcrawler was at least worth a few million more.

Kim Hollis: I think it's a fine performance for a movie that seemed like it ought to have started as a limited release before platforming out to a wider audience. With the rapturous reviews from critics, it would have built some decent buzz ahead of its release to more theaters. Instead, it barely clears $10 million and winds up in second place when actual box office receipts are tallied. I don't think Open Road has any reason to be unhappy here, but I do think they might have left some money on the table.

David Mumpower: I am with Reagen in that I realize it's a low budget investment that has opened to double digits, it barely did so. This is one of those weekends where nothing deserves to finish in first place, which is why the announced tie amused me. Gyllenhaal is developing a reputation as a go-to guy for off-kilter roles wherein he plays good guys and villains in basically the same style. I feel like describing this particular opening as good is akin to grading on a curve, and I'm not interested in doing that. It's a well reviewed title with a distasteful subject that most of North America wasn't interested in watching. Open Road did a good job in finding a few that did, but it's still no big deal as an opening weekend.

Kim Hollis: Before I Go to Sleep, the Nicole Kidman/Colin Firth film, earned just $1.8 million this weekend. What do you think about this performance?

Brett Ballard-Beach: before everyone went to sleep they set their clocks back an hour and used the extra hour to not see this movie. Between this, Legends of Oz, and And So it Goes, Clarius Entertainment won't even crack $30 million in domestic gross this year.

Max Braden: I saw one ad for this movie, and halfway through it I was wondering if this direct-to-video movie was released on Tuesday last week or coming this Tuesday. That question was quickly followed by "Nicole Kidman is still acting?" $2 million is a windfall for this movie.

Edwin Davies: Considering that I hadn't heard about this movie prior to the weekend, this is better than I would have expected, but only because I expected literally nothing from it. Considering that it had a fairly wide release of 1,902 theaters, that is a pretty horrible opening, and not the sort that will convince other theaters to pick the film up later in its run. The only positive about the situation is that it might top the $4.4 million that The Railway Man, 2014's other Colin Firth/Nicole Kidman film that no one cares about, managed back in April. But that's a pretty low bar.

Kim Hollis: I wonder why Clarius Entertainment even bothered with releasing this movie in theaters. I think they would have been better off putting all their releases this year straight-to-video. At least they wouldn't have had to pay for the prints.

David Mumpower: I admire Clarius Entertainment for trying. I denounce them for failing.