Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

January 14, 2015

This is a real thing that happened.

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Kim Hollis: Academy Award hopeful Selma went wide to 2,179 theaters and earned $11.3 million. What do you think of this result?

Jason Barney: I think this opening for Selma is pretty good, and everyone should be smiling at Paramount. This is the type of film that is going to get a good amount of buzz going into the award season, and an $11 million wide release opening is respectable against the $20 million budget. I will be very curious what the numbers will be going into Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. It will be on the doorstep of making its budget at that point, and it has a pretty good chance of good holds over the coming weeks.

Paramount should be gushing with excitement based on the Rotten Tomatoes 98% fresh score. That sort of reception is going to create some very generous word-of-mouth.

Matthew Huntley: Given the film's outstanding (and near perfect) reviews, I was hoping it would earn at least $16-20 million when it expanded this weekend, but perhaps its foreseeably strong legs will make up for this rather mediocre opening. Next weekend will be a big tell, as will its Oscar nominations, if any. I'm hopeful, though, and despite my not having seen it yet, I'm assuming it's powerful and relevant filmmaking.


Felix Quinonez: I think this is a very good opening and it has so many things working in its favor. Because of its stellar reviews, A+ Cinemascore, the upcoming MLK day, and if it picks up some important Oscar nominations Selma has a very long life ahead of it.

Bruce Hall: I think that this result translates into a per theater average of just over $5,000, which tops everything else in wide release this week except for Taken 3. And since Taken 3 isn't going to win any Oscars when its time comes, I'll go ahead and give This Week in Quality to Selma.

Others have already touched on the near unanimous critical praise Selma has received, as well as the apparent financial success it will eventually be. All of this helps build the buzz for a film that already promises to be an awards season heavy hitter. And it bodes well in general for Paramount, at least until they make another Friday the 13th movie and lose my respect all over again.

Michael Lynderey: They should have started with a small release this frame, and expanded ultra-wide on the Martin Luther King, Jr. long weekend (in fact, I thought that was the plan). As is, it's looking like Selma will end up finishing with a lot less than I expected it to. Even after a couple of Oscar nominations, it probably won't get much past, say, $60 million, when the awards season is through. That's very solid, especially for a lower-budget film with no stars, but the movie probably could have taken in a lot more. What it's missing is the unapologetically crowd-pleasing elements The Butler had, and it's easy to see why: it's helmed by a more restrained, respectful director who maintains a fairly somber tone throughout. That isn't a bad thing, of course, but it just won't generate the same kind of excitement as its more blatantly populist cousin from last year.

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