Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
December 20, 2010
Who's up for a little death frisbee?Kim Hollis: Tron: Legacy opened to $44 million. Do you view this as win, lose or draw for Disney, and why?
Edwin Davies: Considering the amount of time that has passed between the original and the sequel, and the fact that the original has always been a pretty niche property, $44 million isn't too shabby a start. However, in the short term - and I mean the very short term, like the next week or so - it could be considered a loss, or at least a disappointment. Given the big advertising boost that Disney has given the film and the positive buzz that was generated from the preview footage that had been released, not to mention the huge number of 3D screens that it went out to, they must have been hoping for something in the $50-60 million range for the opening weekend. But, and it's a big one, they got it out before Christmas, during one of the most lucrative box office weeks of the year, and if it holds up then it might just earn its production budget back. If that happens, it's going to end up being a draw, but I don't see how Tron: Legacy could turn this around and become an out-and-out win for Disney, at least domestically.
Bruce Hall: On the one hand, I want to say "win". Tron 2.0 technically earned back a larger percentage of its budget on opening weekend than did the first one. I know that's reaching a bit, but I kind of have to in order to make juice out of what's probably going to end up less like a lemon and more like a tangerine - it's better than a lemon, but it doesn't make you happy. Also positive: Tron's weekend multiplier does not reflect the sharp drop off in business you might expect if this movie were going to play like the niche brand it is. That's a "win." The total numbers are pretty close to Disney's publicized expectations, so you have to wonder whether or not they've already decided to be okay with a modest performer. On the other hand, while Tron did smashing business in the 3D and IMAX 3D space on its first weekend out, you have to believe that this $44 million haul is skewed somewhat in favor of fanboys and curiosity seekers (those IMAX tickets are not cheap). By next weekend, the people who were going to rush out of the house to see Tron will likely have done so, and for me the more interesting number will be next weekend's results. That's a "lose."
I enjoyed the film but I kind of dig Tron, warts and all; casual viewers won't be as forgiving. Word-of-mouth on this film has been lukewarm, so it will be interesting to see what sort of legs Tron has. There isn't a whole lot of competition for this film's demographic until The Green Hornet opens next month, so if there's a solid international showing as well, Disney could make their money back. But I wouldn't start holding my breath for part 3.0 just yet.