Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
October 19, 2009
You make my heart sing.Kim Hollis: Where the Wild Things Are opened to $32.7 million in 3,735 locations. Is this a win for Warner Bros.?
Tom Macy: I'm going to go with a solid hell yes! Sure, buzz ramped up for WTWTA (eh, that doesn't work so well as an acronym does it?) pretty impressively over the last two months. It was on everyone's radar, I felt like I could strike up a conversation with anyone about it and they'd be eager to continue, as opposed to what usually happens when I strike up a conversation about movies. "What? Oh someone's calling me." So maybe with the ultra saturated release, some feel this opening is about on target, no more, no less. But think about the perceived state of the production before the trailer came out. It was a punchline. Yes, there was curiosity but it was never a built-in-audience-shoe-in. Six months ago WB would have salivated at the thought of a $30 million opening.
Josh Spiegel: Considering that the project has been in development for years, there were rumors about the movie going over-budget, the film potentially not being a winner for kids, and the like, seeing this movie top the box office with over $30 million without any big-name stars is a big win. I'm not sure if the movie's going to act like a typical kids' movie, based on how it performed each day this weekend. The legs may not be as strong as something like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but that this movie got made and did successfully enough in its opening weekend is enough of a pleasant surprise.
Jim Van Nest: As much as I love the book, I really thought this had disaster written all over it. There's not enough book to make a movie...which means there has to be a ton of stuff added in to fill out the time, which is a scary proposition, to me anyway. So, I'd say that $32 million is a huge win for them. This should have solid legs and like Josh said should make up for all the time spent in development.
Reagen Sulewski: As beloved as Spike Jonze is among a certain segment (one I include myself in), he's never been a commercial filmmaker. This is just $10 million shy of the combined gross of Adaptation and Being John Malkovich, so to say that this was something of a dicey commercial project is an understatement. I think he was working with a lot of public good will towards the subject matter, thin as it is, and we can't underestimate the effect of those early rapturous reviews. Warner Bros. did a fantastic job of getting the movie out early to the right people to spread the good word.
Brett Beach: As further validation of my fear that I no longer sail on the shiny seas of pop culture information, I must confess that a) I was amazed to realize this was Spike Jonze's first big-screen helming credit since Adaptation in 2002 and b) I was ignorant of any indication there was a wall of negative buzz surrounding the production. As aware as I was of the book and certain that I did read it as a child, it did not impact me in the way it seems to have hit others of my generations (my favorite childhood book was "Oliver Button is a Sissy" for the record.) For Warner Bros. to entrust an $80 million venture with a director who could aptly be described as both visionary and off-putting was a leap of faith on their part. To stick with him and allow him to maintain his vision (as I understand it), financially scared though they may have been, may qualify as a latter-day miracle. Somebody contact the Vatican (if it hasn't been sold yet). Solid an opening weekend as this is, it's too early to pin it as a win. I think the second weekend will tell if word-of-mouth is enough to bring in the fence sitters and concerned parents who may not have brought their kids yet. Sigh. This makes me wish Babe: Pig in the City had been allowed a fighting chance. . .