Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
November 28, 2011
Someday we'll find it.
Kim Hollis: North American moviegoers celebrated the return of the Muppets, which earned $29.2 million in three days and $41.5 over the five-day holiday period. What do you think of this result, considering the movie has a $45 million budget?
Edwin Davies: Any film that makes most of its budget back on opening weekend has something to celebrate, but even by those terms I think this is a very, very good result since, even just a month or so ago, The Muppets seemed like a real wild card. Of all the films being released in the run-up to the holidays, it seemed like the one that was hardest to judge, and there were a lot of lingering questions about it. Did people still care about The Muppets? Will kids nowadays actually know who The Muppets are (and that they are not quite mops and not quite puppets)? Would the film be any good? The answer to all of them is a resounding yes, and as a lifelong fan of The Muppets I couldn't be happier. It's so great to see that the film's fun, inventive marketing paid off, and that Jason Segel, as writer and producer, has turned his passion for the characters into a film that does justice to them, and even more heartening that this 2D film featuring felt animals (and whatever the hell Gonzo is) triumphed over (equally high quality) 3D fare. This is a really, really great result, and at the very least it should take away some of the sting of them not getting to host the Oscars.
Going forward, I can see the film doing very, very well. This is lower than either Enchanted ($49.1 million) or Tangled ($68.7 million), both of which Disney opened at the same time in 2007 and 2010, respectively, but I think that The Muppets might end up finishing higher than Enchanted's $127 million total (Tangled's $200.8 million is probably out of reach, though). There is such goodwill towards these characters at the moment which, coupled with decades of nostalgia and cross-demographic appeal, could drive the film to a finish in $140-150 million range when all is said and done.
Matthew Huntley: I agree with Edwin's points entirely, though I'm not as optimistic the film will finish between $140-$150 million domestically. Next weekend will be the determining factor, of course, as we'll get to see just how huge the post-Thanksgiving drop-off is. With its slower than Enchanted start, I think $100-$120 million is more realistic. Nevertheless, it's already a commercial and (huge) critical success, so I think we'll be seeing more Muppets movies in the years to come. Perhaps they could even come out with one every four to five years like James Bond, where each installment is not a sequel so much as a new, independent adventure. The Muppets certainly proves the quality is there.