Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

April 16, 2013

Promo image from Stephen King's The Jacket

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Kim Hollis: 42, the biopic about Jackie Robinson, opened this weekend with $27.5 million. What do you think of this result?

Jay Barney: This film is going to be a pretty big success over the coming weeks. In many respects it already is. I took a look at the early Friday numbers over the weekend, and when 42 was doing a little better than expected I started thinking about its prospects over the long term. Early reviews are good to spectacular, and I can’t emphasize enough how important the opening weekend numbers will help this film. It is already millions of dollars ahead of expectations and the next couple of weeks don’t look as though any other picture is going to seriously take away the core demographic.

The film is already approaching its production budget, which was in the $40 million range. With $27 million in the bank, and with the word-of-mouth it is going to get, matching the amount it cost to make the movie could be achieved before the start of its second weekend. Once next week’s numbers are in, 42 will have already made millions of dollars. Those are the results every writer and creative team dream of, and right now, Brian Helgeland and Warner Bros have to be pretty excited.

On other levels, there is a lot more going for this one. The timing is absolutely perfect, as the weather is getting warmer, and baseball season is well underway. This is probably the type of film that is an event for couples, as this will be one of those occasions were guys ask girlfriends to come with them. It won’t be a date movie in the true sense, but more than sports geeks are going to buy tickets for 42. This also is a nice achievement for Harrison Ford, and proves that he is not on the shelf yet. Too often I hear people discuss some of his recent films, like Space Cowboys, Morning Glory, Extreme Measures or Firewall and they think the guy is washed up. I think Ford still has appeal and in the right roles he can still be a draw. 42 will be a nice achievement in a long line of successful films for him.


Brett Ballard-Beach: With all due respect to Tim Briody, I would categorize this as an in the park home run, rather than a triple. No baseball movie has ever opened north of $20 million, and only one has finished above $100 million (A League of their Own). This was a tremendous opening that may prove to be the least front-loaded #1 of the year so far (three out of five ticket buyers were over 35, a demographic that rarely rushes out on opening weekend.) With strong legs that should carry this for at least until the end of May/early June, it should easily surpass League and claim the #1 mantle in its genre. I admit to being way off base on the breakout potential for this. I was cynical about the reception of its old-fashioned storytelling and its earnestness. It also sounds like every opportunity to sell this story properly was embraced by the marketing team. The success is a pleasant surprise.

Matthew Huntley: This is indeed a solid opening weekend figure, and because the demographic for 42 skews toward older adults, it's likely to show better-than-average legs, perhaps enough to get as high as $85-$100 million. The timing, as Jay alluded to, is also in the film's favor, so Warner Bros. must see this as a win. I haven't seen the film yet, but I admit I'm skeptical about it. Something about the way the era and subject matter are depicted in the ads make it seem too polished and melodramatic, but I won't judge a book by its cover, which, coincidentally, seems to be the message of the movie.

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