Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
November 5, 2013
Kim Hollis: Ender's Game, the long-awaited adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel, debuted with $27 million. What do you think of this result?
Jason Barney: This is an okay opening for everyone involved with Ender’s Game, probably a little disappointing. I don’t want to sound too harsh, but if this one just breaks even, then it won’t have met expectations. The $27 million start is good news from the perspective that the film is not going to bomb, but it is going to have to do some considerable work at the domestic box office. One thing is clear. It is not a break out success, and that is probably where the disappointment lies. If this was supposed to be a franchise starter, those involved must have been hoping for a larger push out of the gate. International money is already coming in, but I think the jury is still out on how well this will do.
As a side note, I tend to try and mark when older stars still do well at the box office, as there seems to be a “blood in the water with sharks nearby” mentality when aging performers don’t deliver on the big screen. Sometimes this is warranted, sometimes it’s highly sensationalized. For Harrison Ford, one of the biggest stars in the world at one point in time, this may make two decent showings in 2013. 42 did extremely well this year, and Ender’s Game opens number one this weekend. Sure, these films are not Star Wars or The Fugitive, but I think we can stop putting nails in his coffin.
Matthew Huntley: It was reported that Lionsgate/Summit only flipped for 20% of the production budget bill, so for them, this is a win, albeit a small win, because they'll likely recoup their costs during Ender's Game's first week of release. And if the movie can crack $200 million worldwide, then its international distributors should also be able to sneak into the black. But as Jason Barney said, this is all just "okay." I think it would have helped the film tremendously to open one week ahead of time, because despite the positive feedback (which I'm giving it anyway), it will likely get crushed by Thor next weekend and then Hunger Games two weeks later (none of this is news). Given these two juggernauts, not to mention Frozen, I'd be surprised if Ender's Game was able to stick around the entire month, even though I think it deserves to. It needed more upfront room to plant its feet.
Bruce Hall: I can't find a way to look at this result and think anything other than "meh." Ender's Game isn't a bomb, but it isn't a breakout hit, either. And that's not a good thing, since there's no doubt this was meant to be the first film in a series. I like that Hollywood continues to swing at the young adult demographic; I know I'd have jumped at something like this when I was in high school. But that's because I'm familiar with the source material. Most people aren't, and the marketing for this film didn't do anyone any favors. I'm not sure it was clear what the movie was about, and I'm also not sure (to put it politely) that Harrison Ford is what you'd call a "draw" anymore. I AM sure that the controversy surrounding Orson Scott Card's...um...beliefs...may have turned off anyone who was on the fence. I never felt very good about the prospects for Ender's Game. This is about what I expected.