Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

February 9, 2016

Tom Wilkinson, why?

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Kim Hollis: Hail, Caesar!, the latest from the Coen brothers, earned $11.4 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?

Edwin Davies: It's not great considering the levels of star wattage on display, or the reputation of the Coen Brothers. On the other hand, the film was always going to have a limited appeal since films about moviemaking, let alone period films about moviemaking, tend not to be big draws, the Coens' comedies tend to be an acquired taste and historically haven't been among their better performers, and the studio put it out on one of the worst weekends for releasing a movie because all entertainment gets clobbered by the Super Bowl. It could have been worse, is what I'm saying.

Also worth noting is that the film was made for a very modest $22 million, a total that it should reach domestically before it's done, and the Coens' films consistently perform better overseas than they do in the US (case in point: True Grit is the only one of their films released in the past decade to gross more domestically than internationally) so this one should end up being a respectable win for Universal.


Felix Quinonez: I'd say that when you consider what type of movie it is and its release date, the opening seems just fine. It's obviously no breakout but is right in line with expectations. Also it has a fairly low budget that the movie should be able to match just with its domestic gross. If there is a cause for concern, it's the weak C- cinema score. It seems destined for a big drop and quick flameout at the theaters.

Ryan Kyle: $11.4 million is a fine opening for this film which Universal's stellar marketing team disguised as a star-studded light comedy when in reality it is a subversive period story set during the studio-system era of Hollywood with the big name stars (Tatum, ScarJo, Jonah Hill) limited to a few scenes apiece. Audiences obviously didn't like the trick, as they rewarded Hail, Caesar! with a miserable C- Cinemascore. For those not versed in Cinemascore, The Boy (B-), The Forest (C), Dirty Grandpa (B) and even Fifty Shades of Black (B) all got better marks, even though critics felt differently as Caesar has a Rotten Tomatoes score higher than all of those aforementioned films combined AND doubled. But critics aren't the ones paying for tickets. A quick flameout should be in order, especially with Zoolander 2 on the horizon for those looking for a star-studded laugher. However, the second weekend crash should be lessened by a stronger Sunday gross due to this week's weakened Sunday from the Super Bowl.

Ben Gruchow: It's on the low end of expectations for this one, which initially started out closer to the mid-teens (about $14 million) before trending down to around $12 right before the weekend began. The C-minus CinemaScore on Friday, which was far lower than the film deserves qualitatively, probably hurt it as far as multiplier, but only by a little bit. I don't think there's much of a chance at a rebound unless Zoolander 2 is a washout; it's not like this is a little movie that came up and surprised anyone with either its critical reviews or its audience reviews. I thought it was a very good film, but you have to be willing to play by its rules and on its wavelength a little. That's not exactly part of the recipe for a huge crowd-pleaser. The release date is less of a factor in terms of reputation or buzz; this is the frame that gave us a $22 million opening for Monuments Men in 2014, $34 million for Identity Thief in 2013, $30 million for Dear John in 2010, etc. And Fargo was first released in early March way back in 1996, albeit in a limited run. The numbers for Hail, Caesar! are down to the tone of this particular film, unjustified though those numbers may be.

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