Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

April 30, 2013

I was the number one pick at the 2013 NFL draft. Do you know my name?

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Kim Hollis: Pain & Gain, the latest directorial effort from Michael Bay, earned $20.2 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?

Jay Barney: If I thought it was notable last weekend that Oblivion’s opening was fine but not spectacular, the same can be said for this week’s Pain & Gain. There is, however, one substantial difference between Pain & Gain and Oblivion - the production budget. Oblivion, while doing great business overseas, is looking more and more like it won’t match its budget domestically. Pain & Gain is not going to have any such problem with this opening.

The film was only made for $26 million, so Paramount is in a position of making money after only the first weekend. Regardless of openings, theater counts, or word-of-mouth, any studio would love to be in the position that Paramount is in. They squeezed in this flick, made relatively cheaply, right before the box office frenzy begins next weekend. The big movies are about to start grabbing screens left and right, so Paramount has to be happy.

I think the numbers for Pain & Gain, like Universal’s attempt at expanding the length of the summer box office last weekend, just could have been higher. Our own Reagen Sulewski predicted an opening over $30 million, so I think there is a sense of some money being left on the table. That said, any film that makes money has done something right. Films that are successful after their first weekend in theaters are the envy of any studio.


Max Braden: Maybe it could have been higher - you might think, "It's the Rock, and he's more pumped than ever! It's The Fighter's Mark Walhberg!" and it actually reunites them briefly from The Other Guys. But The Other Guys had that $35 million opening because it was more of a straight up comedy with broader appeal. It's harder to describe Pain & Gain that way, because although it's clear it's supposed to be funny, it still takes itself more seriously than a regular comedy. It's a niche for muscle heads, so you have to expect the box office to be lower. $20 million is satisfactory for this, I think.

Edwin Davies: This is about what I expected going into the weekend based on a number of factors, chief of which being the fact that this is the first non-Transformers film Michael Bay has made since 2005 when The Island flopped hard. He's proven to be a very successful film-maker when working with big special effects, Will Smith, Jerry Bruckheimer or some combination of those three, none of which really applied to Pain & Gain. Couple that with a dark story (seriously, look up the original articles that the film is based's some pretty messed up shit) and a pair of stars who tend not to be big draws in small films (just look at what Broken City and Snitch did earlier this year to demonstrate that) and you've got a recipe for modest success at best. Then again, the outlay was very modest to begin with, and no one is going to walk away too mad about this result.

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