Monday Morning Quarterback Part III

By BOP Staff

August 16, 2006

I'm going to miss having boosters. Now I have to pay for my own housing.

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Remember when Oliver Stone movies got a ton of hype?

Kim Hollis: World Trade Center finished in third place, earning $19 million in three days and $26.8 million in five days. What do you take from this performance?

Reagen Sulewski: I think this is a really solid performance for something that is still a touchy subject.

Joel Corcoran: I think World Trade Center reinforces the rule of "never open a movie on a Wednesday." But overall, this is a fine performance, especially when people are still unsettled about whether 9/11 is suitable subject matter for movies.

Kim Hollis: Why do you think this was a bad idea for a Wednesday opening? I think this of all films was one that had sound logic behind the decision and a solid performance over all five days.

Dan Krovich: It will pass United 93 by next weekend, if that's a benchmark. Of course, it was more expensive to make, too.

Reagen Sulewski: I think one practical consideration for opening on Wednesday was that it avoided opening *on* an 11th.

David Mumpower: This is right in line with my expectations. I was thinking $28 million for the five day period, and it managed just below that. Given the subject matter, the controversial nature of the director and the inconsistent career of the "bankable" lead, it's just fine. It also has legit Oscar buzz.

Dan Krovich: From here on out it will depend on whether the word-of-mouth will convince people who avoided it based on subject matter to go see it. The biggest problem in my opinion, however, is that the movie is boring.

Does 11 mean more than just 11?

Joel Corcoran: I'm not sure opening on an 11th of any month would have been a detriment. Avoiding any sort of September opening was probably a good idea, but I can't agree that the 11th of every month in the year is now to be avoided at all costs.

Reagen Sulewski: I'm talking specifically about this film, Joel.

Joel Corcoran: If WTC would've had a standard weekend opening, it would have been the #1 movie at the box office. But now, what we have is the movie placing third behind Step Up and Talledega Nights.

Reagen Sulewski: Maybe, maybe not. The $4 million it was short is over half of what it made on Wednesday and Thursday. I don't think you can necessarily add that much in.

David Mumpower: I understand your argument, Joel, but the film has another $7.7 million in box office through the Wednesday opening. For a smallish release, this is a significant boost.

Reagen Sulewski: This kind of film is less effected by the Wednesday cannibalizing, as say, Superman, which had fanboys.

Joel Corcoran: I understand, Reagen, but I just disagree. I think this movie could've opened on August 11th or the 11th of any month of the year. I just don't see why any movie, book, TV show, or other pop culture event that relates to 9/11 needs to avoid the 11th day of any month but September. I can totally understand avoiding September 11th itself, but not the rest of the calendar year.

Tim Briody: Unlike a tentpole release, something like this was fine for a Wednesday opening, as people are generally touch-and-go with anything involving Nicholas Cage and/or Oliver Stone, especially given this movie's subject matter. So they could let word-of-mouth that it's actually quite good spread.

Joel Corcoran: I'm just waiting for some talking head out there to spout off "this movie placing third at the box office shows that Hollywood is out of touch with American society." But maybe I'm just cynical...

David Mumpower: I disagree with you here, Joel. The producers were already facing an uphill climb in promoting a project with such sensational journalism working against it. Any way they could avoid negative association was worthwhile.


Nobody wanted it to happen. That's for sure.

Kim Hollis: Do you think that the news of the attempted terrorist attacks impacted World Trade Center's box office any?

Dan Krovich: I don't think so. An actual attack in the US would have mattered, obviously, but I don't think this news made any difference.

Reagen Sulewski: I have a hard time imagining they did, though it's a bit of hindsight reasoning.

David Mumpower: When the news came out on Thursday, my visceral reaction was that it would have some impact. After numbers for Thursday came out and it had held 75% of its Wednesday tally, I knew it hadn't. I have also seen arguments saying it helped. I don't really buy those, either. I think it was bad luck, but it didn't hurt or help any.

Joel Corcoran: I wouldn't be surprised if there was some reaction among audiences in New York City or Washington, DC, but I can't really guess if the reaction was positive or negative. I don't think the average person in the movie-going public really thought much about the connection between the breaking news and the movie, however.



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