Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
June 15, 2009
Considering that no one seemed to know this was opening, this seems like an okay result...Kim Hollis: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 opened to $23.4 million, good enough for third place this weekend. What should Sony take from this result?
Josh Spiegel: Sony should be pretty happy with this result. Sure, it would have been nice if the film could've opened above $30 million, but I just don't think that Pelham 1 2 3 was ever going to be that big. Obviously, having The Hangover repeat as the number one film of the weekend hurt its chances even more, but considering the fact that the original isn't well-known enough to most people under the age of 30 and its stars were far more popular a decade ago, this is a win. Presumably, the film will do well overseas, too, so Sony will end up making a profit, as they did with their last attempt at the over-30 market, Angels & Demons.
Scott Lumley: I think Sony has to be fairly happy here. This is not a big budget extravaganza, this is a character-driven quasi action piece with fair to middling reviews that's opened right in the expected range. It'll make about $75 to $90 million long term, depending on legs and then it'll make about the same amount in the aftermarket. Hopefully it wasn't over-budgeted, and I don't think it was, so it should turn out to be reasonably profitable.
Tim Briody: Based on how this summer has gone, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 didn't outright bomb, so it's a success. There won't be any crack and hooker parties but nobody's getting fired, either.
Scott Lumley: Dammit Tim, I want to work at your film studio!
Sean Collier: A bit of both, as the result is fine, but third place is a black eye. The film isn't the type to be a breakout hit, and it fits perfectly with expectations for both Denzel and Travolta. It'll end up making a profit in spite of middling reviews and (I'm betting) non-existent buzz after opening weekend. On the other hand, it got beat by a three-week old family film and a two-week old starless comedy. Look for Sony to gloss over that fact with lots of "#1 Thriller in America!" type ads.
Max Braden: Sadly last year's offering for the second weekend in June was The Happening with a $30 million opening, but chalk that up to gawkers of a different kind of train wreck. Mid 20s is actually pretty typical for Denzel considering Man on Fire, Inside Man, and Deja Vu. Travolta's similar releases - Swordfish and Basic - opened below $20 million earlier this decade. The concept of hijacked subway train doesn't offer much in the way of intriguing twist, so Sony shouldn't have been expecting anything special at the box office.
Jason Lee: Given the level of talent involved, they have to be a little disappointed that the best they could come up with was a bronze medal behind two non-openers. Given the source material, I'm not surprised at all. This was not a film that was demanding a re-make, Travolta's acting in the commercials seemed WAY over the top and I think that the audience that's been driving this summer's BO just doesn't care for warmed-over retreads. See Land of the Lost for further evidence (though Star Trek doesn't count in this category).