Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

October 11, 2011

And *that* was a shutdown.

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Optimus Prime gonna sue someone.

Kim Hollis: Real Steel, arguably the widest-appealing action film released since mid-August, opened to $27.3 million. Is this a good enough result for a film with a $110 million budget?

Tim Briody: I had no idea that cost that much to make. Geez. Still, that's a pretty solid opening for something that had one of the harder sells in recent memory. Not that it had anything to do with success or failure, but Hugh Jackman plugging the movie on WWE Raw just screamed of desperation. It's his best non-Wolverine, non-Van Helsing opening, and as I said, since nobody remembers Van Helsing, it's kind of a big win for him.


Edwin Davies: In terms of Hugh Jackman's career, this is a pretty solid opening since he's often struggled to open films to this sort of level, but when we consider the budget it's hard to view it as anything other than pretty weak. It's not a flop by any means, but the film would have to have really great legs to make its budget back domestically, and even if it manages that it won't come close to covering what must be some considerable marketing costs. However, the mitigating factor in this situation, as ever, is the international box office. Real Steel opened to $22 million outside of the U.S., so if giant robots smashing the crap out of each other continues to be as popular abroad as it has been in the past then the film will probably end up breaking even overall. Still, there are a lot of qualifiers involved before we can declare Real Steel anything approaching a success.

Shalimar Sahota: It's an opening that just equates to "okay" for me. Initially I thought the premise of boxing robots meant that this was going to end up doomed. When it comes to special effects spectacles such as this, the lack of any human element in seeing CGI characters fighting fails to win me over. However, the trailers show a good balance of robot mash-ups and family drama. While it's nice to see an original idea, I don't think I would have spent over $100 million on such a risk, and unless it has stellar word-of-mouth, I just don't see it making its budget back at the US box office.

Brett Beach: It's been pushed as a family movie,and certainly one of the odder ones in recent memory. Considering how ridiculous the premise is, the fact that the film seems to push genuine emotion alongside the rock 'em sock 'em robot smashing,and has gotten fairly positive reviews to boot, suggests that legs may be forthcoming. I think the stealth weapon here is director Shawn Levy, who has racked up an impressive array of moderate to smash hits over the last decade, at least half of which were lower budgeted and made back their budgets and then some. Since graduating to $100 million plus sized features, the results have been a little dicier, but I think he has stepped into the niche Chris Columbus had in the late '80s and early '90s. Based on his past record, this may just squeakingly make back its budget here, but with overseas figures, it will be fine regardless.

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