Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

April 23, 2013

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Kim Hollis: Oblivion, the sci-fi film starring Tom Cruise, opened to $37.1 million. It also has accrued $112 million so far from overseas venues. What do you think of this result?

Jay Barney: I have mixed thoughts on this opening of Oblivion. Perhaps because I am so aware of discussions of box office success and failure I tend to think this weekend’s debut is a bit disappointing. Let me be clear, an opening of over $35 million is nothing to turn your head at. Oblivion was the number one film for the weekend, and it had enough press to get media outlets asking if this was going to be the start of the summer box office frenzy. This opening is substantial because Universal doesn’t have to worry about this project being a misfire. It will make money.

We are seeing a long trend of studios trying to put legit products a little bit early on the schedule to lengthen the energy that summer movies receive. The recent trend with this is clear. Avengers smashed through the box office during the first week of May last year. In 2011 Fast Five ripped through theaters with an $86 million opening. In 2010, it was Iron Man 2 with $128 million in the second week of May. In 2009, Wolverine opened in the first week of May with $85 million. My point is, with a $120 million price tag, Universal brought in a bankable star and did try to expand the calendar.


It will be a success. There is no doubt about that. The international numbers for this sci-fi flick are already extremely positive, and this domestic opening is significant enough to help. I just feel they tried to roll the dice for something much bigger and did not quite attain it. The money from this weekend in the US ensures it will make its money back domestically, and it will be really able to cash in from overseas money. However, a mega hit this is not.

Matthew Huntley: Hmm...I have to disagree with Jay on this. I never thought Universal was trying to extend the summer movie-going season by opening Oblivion two weeks before the first weekend of May. From what I've read so far, the movie's performance actually exceeded expectations, so I don't think they were banking on this being a "mega hit," per se, but rather just a hit in general, which I think its early numbers indicate. I can see this going on to make between $110-$120 million domestically and $400 million worldwide when all is said and done, but it will all depend on audience reception and how it holds up next weekend (Pain and Gain is its only competition stateside). It'll be a solid moneymaker, yes, but I think that's all the studio was expecting. I haven't seen the movie yet, but the reviews suggest it's just okay; maybe the studio execs felt the same way and they were hoping it would merely be in the black (and not necessarily the high black). I can definitely understand Jay's reasoning on this, though.

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