Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
June 30, 2008
People go for the hot robot-on-robot actionKim Hollis: WALL-E opened to $63.1 this weekend, making it the third most successful Pixar debut out of their nine titles. Should Pixar (and Disney) be pleased with this result?
Tim Briody: Absolutely. It's a nice rebound from Ratatoulle, which was an aberration because clearly some people just couldn't deal with the idea of a cooking mouse.
Joel Corcoran: Both Disney and Pixar should be very pleased with this result, rather than merely satisfied. The marketing behind WALL-E didn't really explain the storyline - at least not to the same extent as past Pixar movies - so it's impressive that they were able to gain the opening that they did.
Kevin Chen: I'm not sure what Joel is referring to, because Pixar's trailers and advertising are historically reticent to the point of silence about the plots of its films. The initial trailer for Toy Story 2 was nothing more than a gag featuring everyone's favorite crane-game aliens. Finding Nemo, Cars and The Incredibles featured disposable gags which did not appear in their respective films. Only Ratatouille and WALL-E have divulged facets of their storyline in their promotional materials. And it doesn't even matter - Pixar could make a trailer of grass growing (see, the light source is Luxo, Jr.) and still get people into the theater on opening and successive weekends.
Reagen Sulewski: I thought this had the potential to be a home run: instead it's merely a triple. And with Pixar's unbroken success rate for word-of-mouth, I don't think they're in any sort of trouble in the long run.
Michael Bentley: Reagen, your comment makes me think of another baseball analogy. With the tepid success of Ratatouille, I was beginning to think that audiences were getting complacent. "Oh, another Pixar. I know it'll be great, so I can wait for the DVD." In the 1990s, the Atlanta Braves were regularly winning division titles, yet they often had empty seats. But WALL-E gives me hope that this isn't the case.
Sean Collier: When comparing 2008 returns to the past, we can't forget a few things: the economy is in the tubes, it costs more than ever to drive to the theater, and the tickets cost more than ever once you arrive. It isn't easy to take a family to the movies anymore (or rather, it's harder than ever; anyone who's tried to corral five children in a crowded movie theater lobby will be quick to point out that it's never been exactly easy.) The fact that so many families dropped about $60 on gas, tickets, and concessions for WALL-E is plenty significant. During surer economic times, WALL-E easily could've been Pixar's biggest opening ever; all things considered, it's still doing great. Wonderful word-of-mouth, glowing reviews, and no surefire blockbuster kiddie flicks in July (no, you don't count, Space Chimps,) should equal legs and millions. Pixar and Disney should be pefectly happy.
Scott Lumley: I think Pixar and Disney may actually be a little disappointed with the result, if you can believe it. This is a movie that clearly is in the Pixar tradition of excellence and the reviews have been very good so far, so I don't think a result of $75 million should have been out of range. I think it may be their own fault in this regard. They made an interesting movie that requires a bit of thought and has little dialogue. For any other studio, I'd think producing a movie like this is borderline crazy. But it's Pixar, so it's merely them growing a little bit more as they have with every film. I feel this one is going to have solid legs, and like always, the DVD is going right into about 50 million libraries worldwide as soon as it is released, so no matter what happens, the boys are going to be swimming in a big vault of money. It's just that the pool of cash is an inch lower than they expected for their first week of release.
Jason Lee: Given the film's extrodinary opening day gross on Friday (largest ever for Pixar), I was a little disappointed with the Saturday/Sunday holds. Granted, it's a summer release but something closer to the mid-high $60s would have been nice. Even with Ratatouille's internal multipler, this film grabs an extra $4 million- that's enough for another Saw movie! (Now let's all recoil in horror at the idea of Pixar making Saw V.)
Daron Aldridge: They should be very pleased and additionally, this is the second best of Pixar's summer openings. Based upon the praise lavished upon the film, eerily, yet predictably similar to Ratatouille last year, WALL-E could be in for a long, green summer. If it follows Remy's multiplier of 4.4, then it will end with $274 million. That's quite a nice swan song for Pixar's last solo project.
David Mumpower: Exhibitors had been indicating that this was the toughest sell of any Pixar title to date, which had me confused. A cooking rat is much less enticing than a robot love story. The former movie might as well be called Health Code Violation while the latter is best described as Fun for a Boy and a Girl, Even More Than a Slinky.