Monday Morning Quarterback Part One

By BOP Staff

July 10, 2006

Now maybe I can afford that trip to the dentist I've been needing.

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Yo ho ho, that buys a lot of bottles of rum.

Kim Hollis: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest obliterated the four-year-old record of Spider-Man for biggest opening weekend. Its estimated $132 million three-day total is a full 15% beyond what the previous record holder had previously attained. How great is it to be Johnny Depp right now?

Reagen Sulewski: People at Disney owe him so much. Jerry Bruckheimer might be his personal valet for the next two years.

Tim Briody: He was certainly an unlikely candidate for Biggest Draw Ever.

David Mumpower: Everyone at Disney must be wearing a grin right now. Pirates had the number one and number seven single day performances of all time, the number one weekend and word-of-mouth on it is surprisingly positive given the mediocre critical reception. Depp can do no wrong right now.

Kim Hollis: And even the unhappy reviews tend to acknowledge that Depp is terrific. Captain Jack Sparrow became an icon somewhere along the way. Pirates have a mystique and intrigue about them that really works when done well.

Tim Briody: Like I said last week, I found didn't find the first movie all that good. But Depp elevates it to watchable. We're not trashing Superman very much if at all if it makes $84 million in three days. In five days? Not so good. They're also certainly happy they didn't open on a Wednesday.

Forget Mondays. I don't like Wednesday.

David Mumpower: In hindsight, I wonder if Sony regrets their decision on Spider-Man 2. They had $152 million after five days, but I think they threw away a chance to enhance the opening record in the process.

Tim Briody: I'm telling you, the Wednesday opening should die a noble death with Superman Returns.

Reagen Sulewski: There's just too much to lose with that strategy now.

Kim Hollis: I do think that Superman Returns will make any future huge opening contenders strongly averse to a Wednesday opening.

Tim Briody: You're stretching your three-day total into five days, which doesn't make good headlines.

Joel Corcoran: And the dual opening totals are confusing to a lot of people. There is the five-day opening grand total, and the standard weekend opening total, too.

David Mumpower: Wednesday openings are a blatant attempt to hype a larger number. The problem is that everyone knows that trick in our media-savvy culture. In addition, it backfires more often than not since Wednesday openers see more dramatic frontloading.

Where's Bruce Willis when you need him?

Kim Hollis: Variety reports that Pirates' total was $100 million after two days. Is that an unbreakable record?

Tim Briody: It's probably the start of a list of films that will tie that total, though I have no idea what the next one might be.

David Mumpower: As I said in my column yesterday, it's like the 56 game hitting streak in baseball. I just don't see how it can be broken. It can be matched and films can make more money in those same two days. They would just be tying the record, though. How would a film make $100 million in a day? Movie tickets would have to cost $35.

Tim Briody: Shhh, you're going to start giving exhibitors ideas.

Joel Corcoran: I think it's an unbreakable record, unless the number of theater rapidly and dramatically increases. With the continuing long-term downward trend in the overall box office, I don't see any movie out there that could break the record. At least until the entire real estate market collapses and we're back to double-digit inflation.

Reagen Sulewski: It's sort of the Johnny van der Meer consecutive no-hitters of movie box office. You can tie it, but there's no way to break it without the US annexing a bunch of other countries and adding them to the total.

Reagen Sulewski: It's "breakable" in the sense that a film can certainly make more than Pirates did in two days. But the ceiling on that one is smaller.

Kim Hollis: There's going to have to be something truly spectacular and unique that will have to come along if there is going to be any hope of beating that number at this point.

David Mumpower: And it will have to operate business the way England does...with like three nights of midnight sneaks it adds in as part of the "Friday" total.

Joel Corcoran: I think The Hobbit could break the record, if it's ever made.

Kim Hollis: I'd guess, though, that if Hobbit ever comes into being, that it would follow a similar release pattern to the previous hobbit movies as a December release, which means that it wouldn't.


Pirates had more records than Disco Demoliotion Night at the White Sox game

Kim Hollis: Which Pirates record is more impressive to you, single day record of $55.5 million, the three-day total of $132 million, or its per venue average of $31,945 in 4,133 venues? And why do you think so?

Reagen Sulewski: The three-day record. Star Wars III had managed that 50 million but couldn't carry it through the weekend. Pirates slipped a little through its opening, but blasted the record out of the water.

Tim Briody: The total, simply because by how much it surpassed Spider-Man.

David Mumpower: I rank them as opening weekend then opening day then per-venue average. The average only beats Spider-Man by less than $200. The single day beats Episode III by 11%. The opening weekend takes a staggering number and throws 15% more on top of that. Also, let's be honest. The opening weekend and final box office records are the two that matter. Since no one is beating Titanic, this is the big one.

Kim Hollis: That three-day total just barreled by Spidey, which makes me think it will also stand for a few years.

David Mumpower: Kim makes a good point. Spider-Man stood for over four years. Dead Man's Chest could have a similar reign of dominance.

Reagen Sulewski: It really is a situation where we're going to have to wait for a film to open on something like 4,500 screens, and you wonder if the exhibitor situation can support something like that with the bleed off from DVDs.

David Mumpower: That's the other aspect, Reagen. As more avenues become available for a movie product to be distributed, the theatrical run's potential box office deteriorates in the same capacity as network television ratings.

Joel Corcoran: On the other hand, I think Pirates demonstrates that many people are still willing to see a good movie that provides a great experience at the theater.

Tim Briody: I kind of dismiss the single day total because of the amount attributed to midnight sneaks.

Reagen Sulewski: Every film that's up there for the single day record has those, though, Tim. Even removing that amount, it's still no worse than sixth.

David Mumpower: To be fair, Tim, Episode III reported $16.5 million in their midnight/early morning showings. While I suspect Disney is manipulating their numbers somewhat, they are saying $9 million for Thursday sneaks. That's still $46 million on Friday. That's better than X-Men: The Last Stand's #3 total even including its sneaks.



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