Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
August 2, 2011
When will we get our Cavemen vs. Astronauts movie?
Kim Hollis: Cowboys & Aliens, the $163 million-budgeted spectacle from Universal, opened to $36.4 million. What do you think of this result?
Bruce Hall: If you recall the smashing commercial success of Serenity (sarcasm alert), I think this all but ensures we will not be seeing any more sci-fi/wild west mashups for a very long time, no matter who is involved. I believe studio projections were somewhere in the mid 40s for this, but as David pointed out the other day, international box office may yet salvage this result. Nonetheless, there's no question it qualifies as a disappointment. Despite this, I have a hard time seeing any recognizable names being hurt by this. Daniel Craig is still James Bond. Jon Favreau will continue making quirky, offbeat films and getting paid lots of money for it. And Harrison Ford will continue being Harrison Ford, who as far as I can tell is absolutely bulletproof.
Edwin Davies: On face value, looking at the budget (which seems really, really high to me for a project like this) this is one of those results that is a little hard to definitively judge off the bat, since it's not low enough to be an outright failure, but not high enough to be a breakout success. Still, it probably won't earn its budget back domestically, but will do so pretty easily once international grosses are factored in. However, it has to be considered a real disappointment when you factor in how much hype there was in the lead up to the movie. Jon Favreau famously went straight from the set to Comic-Con last year to show some of the earliest available footage to generate buzz as early as possible, but that early buzz ultimately never went beyond a low background hum. The trailers weren't strong and they failed to really sell a premise that, given the title, should have been easier than selling chocolate to children, and then the reviews were pretty middling, which probably gave those people who were on the fence about seeing it that little extra push towards not seeing it. Ultimately, I think this result is not terrible, but indicative of a lot of wasted effort and potential.
Brett Beach: This opening is in the range of what I was expecting. As shocked as I am that The Smurfs came up strong as it did, I would have been shocked if this had thrown under $33 million or over $45 million. As straightforward as the title is in setting up exactly what the film will deliver, a sci-fi/western mashup won't be to all tastes. Having seen the film (reaction: disappointed but not disgusted, somewhere between whelmed and under), I think the biggest catch is that the film plays everything straight. This is not unexpected considering Jon Favreau's past films, nor is it unwelcome, but if some on the fence people were hoping for something bombastically silly or ironic or more action-comedy oriented, this is none of those. They could have shelved a lot of the explosions and kept the budget down to The Smurfs level so that this wouldn't be so dependent on the foreign to make its costs back.
Final thought: With actual weekend numbers announced, I am a little surprised to see this hang on to the top. I thought for sure we had another Fight Club/Story of Us switcharoo on our hands .