Monday Morning Quarterback Part One
By BOP Staff
April 23, 2006
This is a literal interpretation of disposable incomeKim Hollis: Silent Hill, the latest video game-to-movie adaptation, earned $20.2 million this weekend. What do you take from this performance?
Tim Briody: When Uwe Boll doesn't direct them, video game adaptations can make good money.
David Mumpower: $20 million seems to be the range for the higher quality horror films that directly appeal to teens. This is right in line with Hostel and When a Stranger Calls.
Reagen Sulewski: You don't even have to try to make money with horror films. Just open it up, and 19-year-olds will come and empty their wallets in front of you.
David Mumpower: I am a bit disappointed Silent Hill didn't do better, though. I thought the "I am the Reaper" bit from the trailer absolutely killed (no pun intended).
Kim Hollis: It was a good-looking trailer - better-looking than the game, to me.
Joel Corcoran: I think this opening is slightly on the disappointing side, actually, compared to the opening weekends of other horror movies. I mean, Resident Evil: Apocalypse had a mid-September 2004 opening weekend of $23 million. I think this movie had greater potential, though perhaps not as great a videogame fan-base.
Kim Hollis: It's not as known a commmodity, to be sure.
Uwe Boll would have added more zombiesReagen Sulewski: Resident Evil had a lot more action in its premise as well. Zombies are an easier sell.
Joel Corcoran: But it definitely had much better marketing. That TV commercial David mentioned has been the best movie-related commercial I've seen all year.
David Mumpower: In addition, Resident Evil was a sequel, and that generally boosts the opening weekend while cutting the legs.
Joel Corcoran: Well, even the first Resident Evil had a mid-March 2002 opening of $17.7 million.
Tim Briody: As John mentioned in the wrap-up, Silent Hill cost $50 million to make, opened to $20 million and probably won't make its budget back domestically. I think I speak for everyone when I say "what the hell?"
Kim Hollis: Sony got it for only $14 million, though. It will do fine financially once DVD revenue is added as well. Also, Christophe Gans should have some international pull.
David Mumpower: The key here is branding. Silent Hill has been legitimized as both a movie and a videogame series now. Considering the fact that the video games were cult hits more than mainstream blockbusters, that's an important distinction. Silent Hill as a franchise has always been fighting for legitimacy as something other than a Resident Evil clone.
Reagen Sulewski: Maybe this will keep the value of the rights of other video game franchises high enough that Dr. Boll can't get his grubby mitts on them.
The generation gap rears its ugly head againKim Hollis: Do you think it's fair to say that the current box office climate is only equitable to films targeted at teens?
Reagen Sulewski: I hesitate to say "only", but they're who's driving the market these days.
Tim Briody: They tend to have a good amount of disposable income.
Joel Corcoran: I agree with Reagen - teens are very clearly the driving force right now.
Kim Hollis: Inside Man and to a *very* slight degree Thank You for Smoking are the only films that show much evidence to the contrary thus far in 2006.
Reagen Sulewski: It's a sort of a feedback loop - the more teens that go to the movie, the less adults want to deal with those crowds.
Reagen Sulewski: So the adult-targeted films have to wait for DVD.
Joel Corcoran: Yet, at the same time, the less "adult fare" out there, the less inclined adults might be to go to the movies. Not that I have anything personal against Scary Movie 4, mind you ... .
Kim Hollis: True enough. Teens are the most likely to talk obnoxiously amongst both themselves and on their cell phones.
Joel Corcoran: Which is why I whole-heartedly support cell-phone jamming technologies for movie theaters. But that's an entirely different topic.
David Mumpower: If you look at it from a broader perspective, teenagers are the ones most easily tantalized by a night out of the house. Any plans are better than staying home with mom and dad. Every other major economic demographic has seen their entertainment decision-making evolve in recent years.
Kim Hollis: And with such a wide variety of entertainment choices at home (DVD, watch shows you've recorded earlier in the week, etc., books), adults are that much more likely to stay in.
David Mumpower: Concurrently, that chases the kids out of the house that much more.
Joel Corcoran: It's all a vicious, vicious cycle.
David Mumpower: And it's what is keeping exhibitors alive right now.
Tim Briody: Coming in 2007: Scary Movie 5, 6, 7 and 8!
Joel Corcoran: Pretty soon, we'll have "MySpace Only" movie theaters.
Jack Bauer would wipe the floor with The SentinelKim Hollis: The Sentinel, a secret service thriller starring Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland, earned $14.7 million this weekend. Is this good, bad or average?
David Mumpower: I would say it's better than expected but still the height of mediocrity. Clint Eastwood used the concept better with In the Line of Fire, and Sutherland feels like he is just taking Jack Bauer to the big screen.
Joel Corcoran: I'd say it's on the low end of "average" performance, Kim. For comparison, Inside Man opened to $29 million about a month ago, and The Interpreter opened to $22.8 million just over a year ago.
David Mumpower: Both of those had a lot more hype for whatever reason. The Sentinel's release into theaters felt like an afterthought to me.
Tim Briody: I think it's underwhelming for the names involved. But maybe the lack of people that followed Jack Bauer to the movie theater in due to what we were just discussing above.
Reagen Sulewski: I'd say it's average, considering Douglas is on the tail end of his career and Sutherland is more of a TV star now. Would anyone have been surprised to see this movie premiere on TBS with Doug Savant and Robert Wagner?
Kim Hollis: I think it's right in line with expectations. Michael Douglas isn't a particular draw these days, and Kiefer has evolved to the point where he's a television star primarily in many people's minds. And again, it's one of those films that *looks* like it's a "wait for DVD" sort of thing.
Joel Corcoran: That's why I'd call it low end of "average," and not a poor performance.
David Mumpower: If anything, it exemplifies the discussion we were just having. Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland skew very adult and this is a teenager's marketplace at the moment. I suspect this logic is why Eva Longoria was cast in the first place. She just couldn't offset the old dudes, though.
Kim Hollis: It's not exactly like her show is a hit amongst the teens, anyway.
Joel Corcoran: They should've made this along the lines of "Agent Cody Banks enters the Secret Service."
Kim Hollis: Yeah, I'd say Frankie Muniz is no draw himself these days. Though the upcoming Stormbreaker might have a shot.
David Mumpower: As depressing as it is to acknowledge, Paris Hilton's name probably adds as much to a production as Michael Douglas' does.
We're about to mention From Justin to Kelly. No, really.Kim Hollis: The American Idol satire, American Dreamz, earned a less than funny $3.7 million with miserable per-venue average of $2,460. What went wrong?
Reagen Sulewski: American Idol fans aren't in on the joke.
David Mumpower: Ironically, had they worked out a tie-in with the show, it would have opened north of $70 million.
Kim Hollis: *bzzzt* See: From Justin to Kelly.
David Mumpower: Sure, but American Dreamz had something going for it From Justin to Kelly did not. It starred neither Justin nor Kelly, whomever they are.
Kim Hollis: I think that it was a *very* difficult film to market. People aren't ready to believe that the U.S. political system has degenerated to exactly what American Idol is.
Tim Briody: Let's also not forget that it looked like a steaming pile.
Kim Hollis: I never thought that it looked like a steaming pile, and am still really looking forward to seeing it.
David Mumpower: Reagen has the right answer, though. People are so intense about American Idol that they miss how naturally it lends itself to quality parity.
Kim Hollis: Like I said, it was nigh on impossible to market.
Tim Briody: I can appreciate the idea, but it just didn't look funny.
Reagen Sulewski: Satires are just so rarely successful. We're all Spalding Grays in a Rick Dees world.
Kim Hollis: Poor Paul Weitz. He kept desperately saying, "It's a comedy, not a satire." *He* understood that the label is the kiss of death.