Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
March 17, 2015
Kim Hollis: Cinderella, Disney's latest live-action adaptation of one of their animated properties, opened with $67.9 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Edwin Davies: This is a fantastic result all around. It validates Disney's strategy of remaking/reimagining its old animated films for modern audiences, showing that Maleficent wasn't a fluke driven by Angelina Jolie's star power, while setting things up nicely for the Beauty and the Beast remake due out next year and also reaffirming the strength of the Disney brand. Unlike Maleficent and Oz the Great and Powerful, Cinderella didn't have the benefit of being headlined by a huge star or being associated with a famous director (Kenneth Branagh's had some success behind the camera but his involvement isn't a guarantee of success, as Jack Ryan proved), so for it to open in the same range as those two is very impressive. Success bred success in this case.
Obviously attaching the Frozen short to the film helped increase the numbers somewhat - I wouldn't be surprised if it added as much as $10 million to the opening - but even taking that into account the film looked very appealing and got great reviews. Clearly Disney have learned from the one-two punch of Frozen and Maleficent that you can make a lot of money by making films aimed at a young female audience and are pressing their advantage as cinema's primary purveyors of princess tales. They also seemed to have learned how to rein the budget in, since Cinderella cost roughly half what Maleficent, Oz, and Alice cost, so it should have covered its production costs before its second week in theaters has even started. If it shows the sort of legs that its predecessor did, it'll be another hugely popular venture for Disney.
Jason Barney: I’m shocked by the total of the opening here. Frankly, I didn’t see it coming at all, and kudos to Disney for being able to pull this off. I guess part of my apathy for this live action version of Cinderella was based on a couple of different things. First, Disney decided to greenlight the project with no huge names front lining the effort. Lily James and and Richard Madden may be recognizable in some circles, but their presence wasn’t a draw. Also, I guess I fell into the ho-hum crowd because I assumed, incorrectly, that people would not want to go out and see a story there are already differing versions of.
I thought Cinderella would fall prey to the box office softness of the last few weeks. It started in late February, the weekend that Hot Tub Time Machine 2 came out, and we really have been in a bit of a slump or holding pattern ever since. Focus and Chappie weren’t grabbing people’s attention and I thought Cinderella would come out of the gate somewhere in the $50 million range.
Boy was I wrong. Give all the credit to Disney. They took one of the sweetheart stories of childhood, one that everyone is familiar with, and they have done well with it. This opening is exceptionally strong and Disney is going to be really happy with earnings when all is said and done. With a $95 million budget and this opening, it won’t take very long for marketing costs to be out of the way. And that is just on the domestic front. It's already playing very well overseas, too.