Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
April 12, 2010
What's next? A Neil Patrick Harris/Charlie Sheen rom-com?
Kim Hollis: Date Night, the Steve Carell/Tina Fey romantic comedy from Fox, opened to $25.2 million. What do you think of this result? And what do you anticipate its legs will be like?
Josh Spiegel: This result isn't that bad, and I've read that the studio was playing down expectations, but I honestly thought this would get to or pass $30 million. The movie has been advertised for a long enough time, and Carell and Fey, while not being box office superstars, aren't nobodies. What's more, the diverse cast seemed like it was meant to invite more than just adults and some teens who love the two stars. Still, the number's not bad. Its legs, though, I don't see as being too impressive. Granted, this won't be as bad as Evan Almighty was for Carell, but I'd thought this had an honest chance at $100 million, which I don't see anymore.
Daron Aldridge: I am on the opposite side of this argument, Josh. This completely exceeded my expectations. I was pegging this for less than $20 million based upon the quality of the abundance of ads (prime example of quantity over quality) and the fact that while Carell and Fey both have a critical TV following but neither of those shows is a Nielsen winner. A month ago, I would have been surprised with a total gross of more than $50 million based upon these (clearly incorrect) assumptions. Legs are bit of question, though, because the reviews have been better than I was expecting and Fey's Baby Mama opened in late April $17.4 million and managed a 3.47 multiplier for total of $60.3 million. Similarly, Patrick Dempsey's Made of Honor (also in 2008 and featuring a recognizable TV actor) opened a week later with $14.8 million and its 3.11 multiplier meant a gross of $46 million. So, even if Date splits the difference with a 3.25 multiplier, Date Night still takes home over $80 million.
Matthew Huntley: Daron, great research! I agree with you on this one and think Date Night will end up grossing between $80 and $90 million domestically. This will be enough to cover its mid-50s production budget and probably a good chunk of its marketing costs. The movie is light, breezy and entertaining enough that the word-of-mouth will be good, but not great. I anticipate drop-offs of 40-45% in the coming weeks, which will be the same sort of legs The Bounty Hunter has shown. And if that latter film can overcome appalling reviews and still reach the same demographic, a movie starring the moderately reliable (box-office-wise, that is) Steve Carell and Tina Fey, it should be able to hold on well through April. If it's true that Fox's expectations were so-so, this should come as a welcoming surprise to the studio.
Reagen Sulewski: What we saw here was a very careful balancing of two factors - the awful reviews and commercials and the marquee value of the two stars of the film. While Carrell is clearly the bigger star of the two actors, one thing that using Baby Mama as a benchmark for Fey misses is that that film was pre- the Sarah Palin impression, which really vaulted Fey into the public consciousness. So we've got two comedic forces near the height of their power. What they're saddled with is unfortunate jokes about "whacking people off". When a shirtless Mark Wahlberg is the most memorable thing about your ad campaign you've got trouble.
Legs wise I suspect this will be okay, as it takes a lot for a comedy to really piss people off, but I'm looking for something more in the neighborhood of $85 million.