Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

November 9, 2011

Why do you have more helmet decorations than me?

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With his hammer, the mighty Meow Meow…

Kim Hollis: We normally don't discuss the second weekend results of films, but Puss in Boots fell only 3% to $33.1 million. Does that change your opinions about anything you said last week (or possibly reinforce them)?

David Mumpower: Last week, I stated my belief that Halloween had behaved as an anti-holiday, a box office concept we discuss here from time to time. The scenario is that a calendar configuration creates issues wherein people who would ordinarily attend a movie wind up going to parties or various family gatherings instead. In examining this weekend's box office depreciation for the titles in the top 12, that is exactly what we witnessed over the pre-Halloween period. Even Paranormal Activity 3, a movie whose appeal should be limited in November, declined only 53%. Six out of ten qualifying titles fell 35% or less. Clearly, Halloween impacted all major titles in release.

Even acknowledging this, Puss in Boots deserves special mention in that most industry observers questioned the placement of the film prior to Halloween. While the virtual duplication of last weekend's box office could be painted as a positive (that would be the same tactic used for pre-Thanksgiving releases such as the Harry Potter franchise has done), the reality is that last weekend's opening was clearly deflated. That's a release date mistake in the purest sense. The good news is that with $75.5 million in the bank, DreamWorks Animation has averted disaster.


Edwin Davies: I stand by pretty much everything I said last week, though I grossly underestimated how good the legs would be when I said that they wouldn't be as good as those for How to Train Your Dragon. (Then again it's unlikely the film will see any holds as good as this in the weeks to come.)

The main thing that it reinforces is, as David said, the manner in which Halloween acted as an anti-holiday, and whilst it may not have hurt the film in the long run as much as it appeared to have this time last week, it certainly hasn't helped the film that all the discussion about its opening was about how disappointing it was. It's fortunate that the word-of-mouth and clear pent-up demand stemming from families being unable to attend last week has helped it to overcome that, but a low opening can harm a film by making people think that it isn't worth their time.

All of this doesn't really matter in the long run, since this weekend's result has made the difference in Puss In Boots' journey from a mild disappointment to an okay-sized hit, but if it had opened this weekend to $50+ million the overall narrative of the film's performance would have been much rosier.

Bruce Hall: What's that they say about DreamWorks films having legs? Puss in Boots dropped what, 3% off last week? It's not really that surprising. Good word-of-mouth is bringing in the skeptics, and a children's title that's a known quantity always has a chance. What else were you gonna take the kids to this weekend? I know, the movie they wanted to see last weekend but you couldn't/didn't go because of Halloween! I'm sticking with what I implied last week, because I think perhaps it's tempting to get carried away with statistics. Nobody was all that excited about a Puss in Boots movie, and it was released at a less than ideal time - but it did okay anyway. It made up some ground this weekend, in part thanks to largely positive reviews and perhaps some left over business from last week. This is the kind of film that's almost sure to have legs anyway and because of this, next week's result becomes even more interesting. Once the worldwide tally is counted, I think DreamWorks will be able to call this movie a success, and it'll probably be hard to argue.

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