Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
May 20, 2015
Kim Hollis: Mad Max: Fury Road debuted this weekend with a solid $45.4 million. What do you think about this result?
Jason Barney: Despite the buzz, and I am very relieved there is significant chatter about its quality, I am concerned about the overall budget. This is the type of project I will spend money to see, and I am relieved general movie goers may be willing to broaden horizons and for an action science fiction film from a franchise that has been on the shelf for a while. The Rotten Tomatoes rating is extraordinary, and we have seen long term support for films like these, but the budget number is just way high. For this to be a relative success….the drops in the coming weeks are going to have to be slim. This is possible, but we are talking an extremely thin margin for error. Unless Mad Max Fury Road can somehow garner a lot of overseas appeal, much of the work is going to be done with the domestic box office. A $44 million opening against a $150 budget….and then marketing costs. Those are numbers I don’t like.
Of course, the Memorial day weekend will be key, and maybe Mad Max can duplicate the success it had this weekend. I hope so.
Edwin Davies: The budget is the only thing that keeps me from declaring this an unqualified success. This is an R-rated action movie, based on an old property that was never all that popular, starring two actors who have never opened a film to blockbuster numbers (Hardy and Theron both have starred in big movies, but they've always been supporting players or part of a big franchise). Fury Road could have been a disaster, and instead it performed pretty admirably out of the gate.
The only problem is that it cost an awful lot of money to make, so its position is somewhat precarious. Hopefully the strong critical response and word-of-mouth will keep it afloat in the weeks ahead, especially since it occupies something of a unique position as an unashamedly R-rated movie in a PG-13 dominated time of the year. International numbers are also looking promising, so I think signs are positive for the film to make out okay once all is said and done.
Felix Quinonez: I think Edwin hit the nail on the head. Part of me wants to call this a huge success and it's certainly impressive but it has a very big price tag and it has a long way to go before it can break even. And it's not a certainty that it will see a profit. But I certainly hope it manages to have strong legs.
Michael Lynderey: I think this is a clear case of the great reviews (which were basically unanimous; Mad Max is this year's Boyhood) adding a good $15 million or so to the debut. If the film had gotten something like 65% or a bit lower on Rotten Tomatoes, as I had initially expected, it would have probably opened in the late 20s or so. So kudos to the filmmakers for putting together such a beloved motion picture, especially considering how long ago it was filmed (2012), how long ago the last sequel was, and the advertising and promotion, which were somewhat confusing and didn't sell the movie as well as they should have. But the critics did. So given all these factors, I would call Mad Max an unqualified success. I won't consider the budget because it's not the film's fault that it was given a price tag usually reserved for James Cameron or Joss Whedon movies.
Kim Hollis: Which movie do you think will make more in the long run, Pitch Perfect 2 or Mad Max: Fury Road?
Jason Barney: Based on the size of the opening....probably Pitch Perfect 2. I will be pulling for Mad Max, but it is already well behind. That gap will get smaller....but I wouldn't be surprised if Pitch Perfect stays ahead of Mad Max through the Memorial Day weekend. If that happens the discussion is probably over at that point.
Edwin Davies: Domestically, I think Pitch Perfect will win (though it all depends on which film holds up best next weekend) but internationally Mad Max will, since comedies and musicals tend not to do as well internationally as action films. Fury Road's relative lack of dialogue would probably help it on that front, too, since it enhances the idea of it as a work of pure spectacle that anyone can enjoy, rather than the cultural specificity of Pitch Perfect 2.
Felix Quinonez: I'm going to again echo Edwin and say that domestically the win will go to Pitch Perfect 2. But overseas Mad Max should be the winner.
Michael Lynderey: The safe choice is Pitch Perfect 2, and that's what I'm going to go with. It should be interesting to see if either film touches $200 million, and I think they'll both at least get close (if not quite make it). Pitch Perfect will probably have better legs than one could expect. And Mad Max will have the difficulty of being an action film with a somewhat established if minimal fan-base, two factors that don't necessarily suggest legs. I see Pitch Perfect 2 finishing at around $180 million, which is absolutely staggering, and Mad Max: Fury Road with somewhere around $165 million, which is incredibly solid considering this franchise has never been anywhere near that level of viability, whether you adjust the numbers or not.