Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
June 26, 2013
Kim Hollis: World War Z, the zombie action flick produced by and starring Brad Pitt, opened with $66.4 million this weekend. What do you think about this opening weekend performance?
Jason Barney: This is a stellar opening for World War Z. Despite the delayed date, the negative press, the middle of the road reviews, and the competition, it has managed to pull off an amazing opening weekend. Many pundits had an initial take somewhere in the mid $40 million range. The smart money was that it would come in third as Man of Steel had such huge opening. $66 million effectively beat the expectations by a third. It instantly gives World War Z a chance of making back its budget on the domestic front, and who knows how Brad Pitt will influence the international box office.
Matthew Huntley: The consensus among box-office analyst websites is that World War Z "defied expectations" this weekend, but I don't see why the expectations for it were so low in the first place. Yes, it did have production problems, but how many "regular" moviegoers are aware of this, or even care? To most people, this is a big-budget summer blockbuster with lots of special effects starring one of the most famous celebrities around. Of course it's going to open huge! It might not last a long time (even though its reviews are decent), but to say World War Z's opening is "shocking" is going too far in my opinion. Given the premise and its international appeal, I think this movie will earn upwards of the reported $600 million it needs to show a profit. Brad Pitt is a big sell overseas and the scope of the story is traditionally an easy sell to countries like China and Russia, which are fast becoming two of Hollywood's most important markets.
Edwin Davies: I agree that analysts in general over-valued the importance of the behind the scenes troubles of the film in their assessment of how the film was going to do. The news of extensive, expensive reshoots and the delayed release - coupled with general murmurings of dissatisfaction from fans of the (great) book - certainly made for good copy in the echo chamber of the industry press and social networking sites, but that clearly didn't translate to general audiences, who clearly thought, "Hey, a disaster movie with zombies. Neat." and decided to give it a shot. Divorced from the negative publicity, this is about what might have been expected from a film that promised spectacular action and which tapped into a monster that has been central to the zeitgeist for the better part of a decade at this point.
Whether that translates to anything other than a decent opening remains to be seen. Personally, I don't see World War Z having any legs because reviews and word-of-mouth aren't great, and there certainly seemed to be some frontloading over the course of the weekend. However, it'll no doubt do well overseas, and domestically it seems to have turned what everyone was certain would be a disaster into a decent result.