Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

November 7, 2012

Political junkies go crazy!

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Let’s just name Denzel king of the world.

Kim Hollis: Flight opened to $24.9 million this weekend. What are your thoughts on this result?

Edwin Davies: Impressed but not surprised. Impressed since the film was out to a relatively small number of screens, but not surprised because it's a Denzel Washington film and he has one of the most consistent track records of anyone working today. With the exception of The Great Debaters, which had a much smaller release than Flight, every single wide-release film he has appeared in since 2003 has opened to at least $20 million (and, if you factor in inflation, Out of Time, the film that breaks that streak, sold enough tickets on its opening weekend to be a $20 million opener in 2012 dollars). It also helped that the trailer for the film was very smartly put together - featuring some great spectacle whilst hinting at the deeper story of the film - and highlighted the involvement of Robert Zemeckis, a hugely popular filmmaker who's not made a live-action feature in over a decade. Coupled with some very strong reviews and Oscar buzz, it's not surprising that Flight took off this weekend. (Sorry, sorry, couldn't resist.)

The thing that I find most notable about this film is how low the budget was. At only $31 million, Flight is probably going to make its budget back before the week is out and will probably ride the word-of-mouth to a very strong final figure somewhere round about $100 million. All in all, this is a great result for Washington and Zemeckis.


Matthew Huntley: Completely agree with everything Edwin said, but I'd expand on two counts: 1) What I think is impressive is Flight had a higher screen average than Wreck-It-Ralph; and 2) I disagree about the trailer being smartly put together. If anything, I think it gave away too much. Granted, I have not seen the film yet, and so I can't say for sure if it gave away crucial plot points, but I do remember Zemeckis' Cast Away having a similar problem, which softened that film's impact. Otherwise, very well said, Edwin!

Jason Barney: Paramount has to be excited. With a budget of only $31 million, they will be making a profit by the time readers see this column. That is an outstanding turn around on the numbers, but that has to be one of the stories here. Every studio would love to be able to put a project together and then recoup the costs of that project in the first weekend or so. It does not happen often, but the dollars don't lie. With strong reviews, and the holiday movie season upon us, it will likely do very well in the coming weeks.

On a broader note, Paramount is loving this holiday season, and we just got through Halloween. Their two most recent projects are huge money-makers out of the gate. Paranormal Activity 4 was made for $5 million and has brought in almost $50 million domestically. Now Flight has matched its budget in a little more than a week. Yes, Paramount is very happy right now.

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