Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

February 19, 2013

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David Mumpower: I agree with Jay that Die Hard is one of the seminal action films of all time. I also agree with Brett that Live Free Or Die Hard was absolutely stunning in terms of its quality. It is my second favorite title in the franchise, and I say that as a huuuuuge fan of the second film. We at BOP have maintained for years now that the quality of the previous film directly correlates to the opening weekend of its successor. This is the reason why I vehemently disagree with Edwin.

Even allowing for the reviews and word-of-mouth, I still believe this is a worst case scenario rather than best case scenario. The Die Hard brand has always mattered in this industry. The only previous title that had not reached $100 million in domestic release was (amusingly) the original feature. Live Free Or Die Hard is the top domestic as well as top global earner; it is also an exceptional movie. Another Die Hard title should have capitalized on its quality by becoming easily the biggest opener in the franchise. The bar is only set at $33.4 million, after all. Somehow, A Good Day to Die Hard failed completely in this attempt, earning less in four days (including holiday inflation!) than its predecessor. I consider this opening weekend failure a stunning reversal of fortune for a previously bulletproof franchise.

Kim Hollis: Safe Haven, the latest movie based on a Nicholas Sparks romantic novel, earned $21.4 million from Friday-to-Sunday and $30.2 million since it opened on Valentine's Day. What are your thoughts on this performance?

Brett Ballard-Beach: I am chalking this up as a big win for the Nicholas Sparks brand since Duhamel and Hough are no Tatum and McAdams (or even Tatum and Seyfried). Yes, it was the pre-ordained Valentine's Day romantic option, but to hold pace with the expected victor (John McClane 5) over the five days is impressive. This will most likely flame out quickly but that will still put it closer to the top two grossing Sparks adaptations - The Notebook and Dear John, each with about $80 million - than I would have predicted. (I always have work hard to remember that The Vow is not Sparks, although it is a jaw-dropping allegorical encapsulation of the upheaval, unrest, and anxiety - for some - in the age of Obama.) On another note, the erratically great Lasse Hallstrom lives to peddle Sparks schlock another day. My recommendation? Check out 1991's Once Around instead.


Matthew Huntley: Well, the movie has two attractive leads, which featured them embraced in each other's arms on the poster just under the line, "From the author of THE NOTEBOOK and the director of DEAR JOHN"; it has a romantic title; and it was released on Valentine's Day. Of course it was going to make at least $20 million over the weekend. It's sad to think, but on this weekend in particular, most couples don't seem to care about the quality of a romantic movie as long as it is one. So there are really no surprises here, and with this movie already topping its $28 million budget, we'll see the same thing next year. It's a vicious cycle, I tell ya!

Felix Quinonez: This seems to be right in line with expectations. There's nothing surprising about this result but it is clearly a win and it assures the fact that we'll be seeing more of these Nicholas Sparks adaptations hit the theater.

Edwin Davies: I'm a little surprised by this result since, as mentioned, Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough are not the first names I would pick to headline a $20 million+ opening, and not merely because of how the alphabet works. This does serve as the greatest example yet of just how much of draw the Nicholas Sparks name is, though, since this is the first such adaptation not to feature at least moderately well-known actors in the lead roles since The Notebook, which had the advantage of better actors and not being completely awful. Clearly slapping his name on something - or, in the case of The Vow, making something that looks like something that he might as well have written - is pretty much a license to print money at this point.

David Mumpower: I've been on a Houseboat kick lately (don't ask). In re-watching one of my favorite classic movies, I've realized how little I care about the plot when the leads are as regal as Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. This thought process bleeds into what Edwin is saying in that Duhamel and Hough are never going to be thanking the Academy for anything, but they are gorgeous human beings. Safe Haven's popularity is not rocket science in this regard. A couple of attractive people star in a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, and consumers show up to watch on Valentine's Day. The mediocre nature of the story combined with the saturation of Sparks romances is probably all that kept the movie from doing a lot better. I view these projects as win/win in that people who seek out romantic comedies have low enough expectations for these schlocky titles to satisfy. Meanwhile, the rest of us can enjoy the SAVAGE reviews for this monstrosity.

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