Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

October 7, 2015

Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope.

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Kim Hollis: The Walk, the fictionalized telling of the Philippe Petit story, debuted in 448 IMAX-only locations and earned $1.6 million. What does this mean for its prospects moving forward?

Edwin Davies: It's hard to tell since this kind of release strategy is pretty new, but even taking that into account, it doesn't look great. It may be that the film didn't promise a big enough spectacle to justify the added expense in the way that Everest did, so it may have benefited from being sold as the story of a unique heist. That aspect could help it when it goes wide, since it is an incredible story, but it seems to be in real danger of getting lost as more and more films geared towards the same audience come out in the build up to awards season.

Ben Gruchow: What I saw happen here was a case of Sony trying to make an event out of a film that was tracking pretty indifferently; with a budget of $35 million and a fairly high concept, it's not going to go down as a disaster.


However...if we're going off of anecdotal evidence, this movie built little anticipation. Out of the multiple times the trailer has played in front of an audience this summer and early fall (and the trailer has its share of big money shots), the only time I've heard any kind of reaction from anyone is either disgust at the moment where Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character steps on a nail, followed by (at one point) someone saying: "Yeah, I am not seeing that movie". At the time, I figured it was because the trailer induced vertigo or that audience member had a fear of heights. This number does not suggest that the marketing material was that impressive.

The only time I've heard of the movie brought up in conversation is general annoyance that it got the PLF treatment instead of The Martian at the one theater in our area that has PLF. And since The Walk wasn't shot on IMAX or in native 3D - phrases that actually do mean something to the average audience-goer - it whiffed on any status as an event. This stings, because The Walk is evidently actually a good movie...but it's a good movie on a character- and story basis, which is not why movies get early PLF releases.

Michael Lynderey: It’s definitely not very good. Well, on the one hand, since Steve Jobs isn't going wide next weekend, The Walk does have a bit of a window before more of these fancy "adult films" (now, now) arrive, including and especially Bridge of Spies (on the 16th). So there's some room there on the 9th, especially opposite what is mostly a children's film in Pan. On the other hand, even Everest isn't doing all that well in wide release, and that was a movie that opened to $7.2 million at 545 IMAX theaters. The Walk is opening to $1.6 million at 448, so Everest still took in over three times as much in a similar situation. I'd have to assume then, comparing to Everest's wide release opening of $13 million, that The Walk will open in single digits if it expands next weekend. And as we know from The Transporter Refueled, We Are Your Friends, and Scott Walker's candidacy, sometimes there's no recovering from single digits, regardless of the product.

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