Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

December 21, 2009

This was going on all day.

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I'm king of Pandora!

Kim Hollis: Avatar, James Cameron's first non-documentary release since Titanic in 1997 (and 1998), opened to $77.0 million, narrowly missing a December record. Should Fox be pleased with this result?

Reagen Sulewski: This is right on the lower end of what you'd call an acceptable hit for a film of this size with no series to fall back on for marketing purposes, and with no top line talent to drive it, like say, Will Smith, to pick a not so random example. Audiences definitely were at least curious about the concept that he brought forth, and getting them through the door is the toughest part of the battle. To quote Herm Edwards, "We can build on this!" - but without the two-win season equivalent to go along with it.

Tom Macy: I imagine the inside of the offices at Fox this morning sound a lot like "It's a non-franchise, actually a good movie and there was a snowstorm." It's surely below their expectations. But there's plenty of directions to spin here. So while the champagne is most definitely still on ice with perhaps some modest hand wringing, I doubt anyone is panicking yet.

Michael Lynderey: Just like Princess and the Frog's opening last week, this isn't a clear victory nor obvious defeat. It's a very strong number, a solid opening, but the whole story on Avatar's domestic performance just can't be written yet. If it's a leggy holiday beast and finishes north of $250 million, I'd say that's very good. And since I always thought a huge established franchise-type opening was unrealistic here, I'd say that $77 million is a win - at least for now.




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Shalimar Sahota: Do tramps drink in the park? It's an excellent result. What more do they want? Yes, Fox, you have my money, and if you're not pleased, then come to my house and I'll please you in ways you wouldn't even imagine. Crucially, I believe they've also got all those 3D screens to themselves until the next big immersive experience in March, Alice in Wonderland.

Matthew Huntley: Fox should definitely be pleased with this result. Although the film is still a ways away from profitability, an opening of this magnitude, along with the strong audience and critical reception, suggests it's a lot more likely to get there. The studio should be excited about all the buzz and word-of-mouth that's continuing to build up. It's possible they have a mega-hit on their hands.

Sean Collier: Word-of-mouth and legs were always the keys to Avatar, but this certainly isn't bad. It was never going to get Twilight money (God I hate myself for using that phrase) and James Cameron has demonstrated that his films do not necessarily have to follow normal box office patterns. With reviews and buzz as strong as we've seen thus far, Avatar can't help but make money from here on out; if it gets a few Oscar nods, it could keep going strong until spring, and with 3D-inflated prices to boot. Avatar starting with $77 million is like opening your season 6-0 - you're in a good place, and signs are that things are going to go pretty well from here. (For the record, that's two football metaphors in two posts, I certainly would expect the rest of you to continue.)


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