Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

September 23, 2015

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Kim Hollis: Everest was released into 545 premium and IMAX theaters this weekend in advance of its wide release a week from now. It earned $7.2 million, good for a $13,251 theater average. What do you think of this debut?

Edwin Davies: It's a very interesting strategy that I fully expect to see more of in the future. IMAX-exclusive limited releases have been done before, but they've generally been for established franchise films like Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which earned $12.7 million from 425 IMAX screens back in 2011. For a film not based on an existing franchise to do so well by emphasizing its scale and the idea that you need to see it in IMAX suggests that this is a really good way to build excitement and buzz for a film that might otherwise not have an easy way of staking out its place in the market place. If its expansion turns out to be big next week, then I could easily see us getting at least five or six of these semi-platform releases next year.

Ben Gruchow: I'm very impressed, considering that this one is IMAX DMR and not actually native IMAX (which is a mystifying whiff on opportunity, really; if you have a $55 million budget and you're shooting part of the movie on-location, why wouldn't you use IMAX for at least certain scenes?). If nothing else, it promises scope. I'm looking forward to the wide release of this one, and IMAX DMR is much better than no IMAX at all, especially with the scope of some of the images in the trailer.

Kim Hollis: I think it’s a pretty solid performance and certainly sets the stage for this sort of platform release to become more common in the future. If the film were getting better reviews, I think it could have carried some word-of-mouth to its expansion. It’ll be interesting to see if The Walk behaves any differently, assuming that reviews and audience reaction are good.

Ryan Kyle: I think the $13,251 per theater average counts this as a win as well as sets a good barometer for The Walk in two weekends from now, as it employs another IMAX-only strategy for a film that you wouldn't typically rush to see on IMAX. Next week's gross will really show well Everest will perform and how effective this exclusive one-week IMAX window truly is in building hype. With mediocre reviews and shot for a mid-range $55 million (funny how Black Mass ended up costing almost the same), this grandly-shot, non-franchise film seems like the perfect project to test this release pattern. Count this as another point to Universal's perfect report card so far this year.


Kim Hollis: Captive, the latest faith-based film, earned $1.4 million. this weekend. Why didn't this one do better?

Edwin Davies: As was said last week about 90 Minutes in Heaven - a film I just had to look up because I am already starting to forget that it happened - the faith-based audience can turn up for a films in decent numbers if the releases are spaced out and demand builds up, but if they come clustered together - and especially if one really hits hard and sucks all the air out of the room - then you get rapidly diminishing returns. War Room has been a bigger than expected hit, and it seems to be the one film that the target audience is evangelical about. If everyone within a very narrowly defined niche is flocking to see one aimed at that audience, then the other films targeting the same niche are going to struggle to make themselves known. Even when they star actual Hollywood actors (unless those actors are ones who are especially known for being vocal about their faith within that community, a la Kirk Cameron (in fact that might hurt them since it could make them seem less authentic than films which star non-actors)).

Ben Gruchow: A flashbulb went off in my brain when I was looking up info on Captive; it's not showing at any theaters in my area, so I couldn't have had the chance to see it even if I'd remembered, but even 800 theaters is just enough to warrant some kind of exposure; I've been to the theater often enough for the pre-show cellphone announcement to be burned into my brain, and I haven't seen a single trailer for Captive in months. The one time they did screen a trailer, I actually thought the movie looked intriguing, or at least had the ability to go either way. Then again, this must have been at least May, and it could've been earlier. Up until I remembered that, though, this was just another faith-based film that, like Edwin said, showed up in a cluster. And it's one that hasn't even been close to promoted in any consequential sense. I'm not surprised at this opening at all.

Ryan Kyle: Ben and Edwin already stole the words out of my mouth on listing why this film is a big loss. Not even cracking the top 10, starring two current big Hollywood stars (Kate Mara and David Oyelowo) and released by a major studio (Paramount) unlike the other recent religious films, Captive should have done better. Much better. With this opening, it is very unlikely that it will even reach $4 million, which was the lowest-end projections for the opening weekend to begin with.

Kim Hollis: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I find the box office performance of faith-based films to be unpredictable at best. What is it that makes War Room the big deal out of three films released in a fairly short span? I just don’t know. I suppose if I could figure it out I could make a mint. I realize that’s a really cynical viewpoint, but that has me wondering if the people who greenlight and produce these films think about it in those terms as well.



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