Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
November 29, 2011
Hugo always makes me think of Bart Simpsons' twin brother...
Kim Hollis: Hugo, Martin Scorsese's movie for kids, opened to $11.4 million in three days and $15.4 million over the holiday period in only 1,277 exhibitions. Out of the top 12 movies, only Breaking Dawn and The Descendants had a better per location average. What do you think of its box office? Do you agree with the assertion in the weekend wrap-up that it's well positioned to do the best of the three new Thanksgiving openers?
Edwin Davies: Contrary to what I just said about Arthur Christmas, which took more money than Hugo and cost a little less to make, I think this is a very good start for Hugo. Considering its esoteric subject matter (it's part adventure film, part paeon to the birth of cinema and silent film) and that it was on only about a third of number of screens that Arthur Christmas was, this is a very encouraging beginning to its run. The studio has made a very canny decision by starting with such a relatively small release this week, since the word-of-mouth and reviews drove people who were in locations where it was playing to check it out, and helped create demand in places where it wasn't which will pay handsome dividends as it expands.
I think that The Muppets will prove to be the more successful of the three films released this week since it's established a solid lead so far and appeals to such a broad selection of people (it's got almost 40 years and multiple generations of nostalgia on its side, whilst Hugo is based on a moderately popular book from only a few weeks ago) and even though it has a chance of becoming Scorsese's most successful film, it still is a bit of an oddity that might not be able to go beyond that.
Matthew Huntley: Let it be said that Hugo is a wonderful film - beautifully designed, exciting to behold and full of wonder. But it is not, in my opinion, destined to be box office hit. Why? Because, as Edwin alluded to, its subject matter is not universally relevant or appealing to the general populace and I don't think it will reach beyond the more hardcore film fans who believe it's not just a small deal every time a Martin Scorsese movie comes out. I can see it grossing about $50-$60 million, which would be too low to cover all its expenses, and ultimately getting overshadowed by The Muppets (and to a lesser degree, Arthur Christmas). I hope I'm wrong, because the movie is not only highly imaginative but serves as a history lesson on the origins of cinema. I would love to think this will be a smash, but I just don't see it.
Kim Hollis: I do think that this is a film that is well positioned to do well moving forward. It might be too arcane for most audiences, which is what will prevent it from being a big hit. On the other hand, I also think it has a shot at some awards recognition, which should bolster its cachet. It's also the kind of film that people will wait to see rather than running out and seeing it right away on opening weekend. With all that said, I think it's a big unknown. With other, more accessible family films available, I'm not sure that this will be option #1 in the coming weeks. I think Matthew is correct that it's going to appeal to film-lovers, but will it be able to reach more to the mainstream? I'm inclined to think no. I'll be delighted to be proven wrong, though.