Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

April 16, 2013

Promo image from Stephen King's The Jacket

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Bruce Hall: This is huge. Number one opening. First baseball movie to open over $20 million. Great chance of passing $100 million. Demographically it scored big with middle aged men, African American AND female audiences. Reviews have been kind and word-of-mouth has been very positive. Plus, the marketing leading up to this film was subtle, polished and perfectly well timed, partially benefitting from the real life mystique behind its subject matter. And if you're Brian Helgeland, look whose directing career is no longer on life support! It'll be interesting to see if, as we all seem so believe so far, this film demonstrates ample legs.

Edwin Davies: This is an immensely impressive result from a film which I think everyone was feeling a little cool towards going into the weekend. Pretty much everyone said it would do okay, maybe approach the level of Moneyball or The Benchwarmers, but that it would probably be in a close finish for number one with Scary Movie 5. So for it to smash the opening weekend record for a baseball movie is pretty spectacular relative to expectations. Even if it doesn't show great legs going forward - and I think that there is a chance that a big opening weekend might lead to a slightly larger than expected drop next, though it could easily surprise me again - it's guaranteed to make back its budget and make a decent profit stateside. The only downside is that the film will probably be a non-starter anywhere other than domestically, because baseball is America's pastime (and dull, to boot) and no one outside of America really knows who Jackie Robinson is, which in a way emphasizes how important this opening weekend was to the overall success of 42. Unlike most films these days, it had to do well in the US because the money from foreign markets is going to be pretty small.


Max Braden: I feel like I'm not surprised at the result (as in that it did well), but this could have easily been met with a "that's a nice little movie" tepid response. Years ago the biopics of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth starring Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman, both well known at the time, barely made a dent at the box office. I think they just found the right groove, with Boseman and everyone else fitting in well, and a solid marketing campaign.

David Mumpower: What pleases me about this result is that independent of my love of baseball, the greatest sport in the world, a quality movie has excelled at the box office. 42 earned an A+ Cinemascore. We hadn’t had a film do that in calendar 2013. There has been only a handful since last summer (!). The start of 2013 has been one of the worst movie quarters of my lifetime…and I’m not in the Justin Bieber demographic if you know what I’m saying. With 42, an acclaimed sports movie has captured the attention of consumers. I am not quite ready to cede the project over $100 million as Brett believes to be inevitable. Still, I am thrilled by this debut and fully believe that 42 will become a staple of cable television as most great sports movies do.

Kim Hollis: Everyone has been commenting on how this film plays to older audiences, but I think we might see it emerge as a family-oriented film as it continues on in theaters. I’m seeing friends recommend it as a good (and important) movie for kids over 11. Since audiences are so enthusiastic, I agree that it’s looking at long-term success and while I don’t really expect it to play out like a Blind Side, I do think it shares a lot of similar qualities that will help push it along.

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