Box Office: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Weekend Box Office Expectation

On May 5th, 2017, Variety’s Dave McNary and JD Knapp reported on Marvel’s newest film to be released and 2017’s summer kickoff, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, stating that on Thursday alone, the film received $17 million in gross, making it the third-largest title for Marvel after “Age of Ultron” ($27.6 million), and “Civil War” ($25 million). The film is also the biggest preview number so far for the year (McNary and Knapp 2017).

As a follow-up to the sleeper 2014 hit, the film has some large shoes to fill. The first film garnered record-breaking numbers- opening at $94 million ending up with $333 million in domestic gross and $440 million internationally (McNary and Knapp 2017).

““Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” opened in 53% of the international marketplace with $106 million last weekend and a foreign total of $167 million as of Thursday. It debuted in South Korea on Wednesday with $3.3 million ($4.4 million including previews) for the biggest opening day of 2017. The film opened with $2.8 million on Thursday in Russia, 41% ahead of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s launching in China on Friday, so the worldwide total this weekend should be in the $250 million range” (McNary and Knapp 2017).

So far, the film has impressed Rotten Tomatoes critics, who give the film 82%, but Disney, while wanting to impress the critics with the spectacle of the film, are hoping that this film helps the rest of the box office for the remainder of the year. Paul Dergarabedian a comScore senior media analyst, notes that 2016 was a bummer for the box office, but with the reboots, sequels, and original content coming this year, there is hope for a better box office.  “Year-to-date, 2017 has already seen $3.75 billion in the domestic box office as of May 3. That number is up 3.5% from the same time in 2016” (McNary and Knapp 2017).

Time will tell if the box office will gain what is expected for this film, most likely, there will be impressive numbers, but not exactly equally to that of the first film. The reason is because the film’s budget is $232 million, which means that if these predictions are correct, the film would have just made it’s budget. However, it needs to do much more than just barely surpass the budget, but to make a decent profit and do better than the original, which, according to history, is not exactly in the film’s favor. However, it is Marvel, but we shall certain keep our eyes on this as it develops.


Work Cited

McNary, Dave and Knapp, JD. “Box Office: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Heading for $150 Million Weekend in U.S.” Variety. N.p., 05 May 2017. Web. 05 May 2017.

Box Office Follow Up (Part 2): China’s Box Office Suffers Due to a Dismal March

Despite “King Kong: Skull Island” and “Beauty and the Beast” delivering box office success overseas, China still suffered in March. Variety’s Patrick Frater reported on April 3rd, 2017 that China’s box office revenue for March was $488 million (RMB 3.37 billion) which is 9% lower than March of last year. Admissions were also down from last year, with March 2016 bringing in 109 million while March 2017 received 101 million (Frater 2017).

Frater notes one of the reasons is due to online-ticket sales, which since the beginning of the year have been calculated separately from the total box office, making March appear weaker than it was: “Removing those from the calculation… with an adjusted gross figure of RMB3.11 billion ($451 million)” (Frater 2017).

The first quarter of 2017 was calculated to be equal to that of the first quarter of 2016, but again, removing the online-ticket sales creates a drop, with “a year-on-year drop of 6%. In terms of ticket sales, the first quarter of 2017 saw 411 million admissions, down 2% from the 418 million in 2016” (Frater 2017).

Patrick Frater attributes this drop in sales to two main factors. Firstly, in mid-2016, China reduced the subsidies provided to consumers by competing online-ticket sellers (i.e. Fandango), this drove up ticket prices (Frater 2017). Secondly,  there was “a weak crop of films, both Hollywood and local, in 2016. In order to keep the turnstiles spinning, Chinese regulators allowed in far more Hollywood films than in previous years” (Frater 2017). Weaknesses for 2017 seem to lie in more domestic territory however, as only films released during Chinese New Year seem to have an impact so far.

While Wanda Cinemas president John Zeng attempted to sound optimistic at CinemaCon, saying  “that growth would normalize at 15-20% per year” (Frater 2017), China’s box office appears to be in stagnation; hopefully, what can occur is a miracle with the summer releases to bring the growth back up to make China, and consequently the United States’ studios, a larger profit.


Work Cited

Frater, Patrick. “Weak March Means China Box Office Recovery Is Not Yet in Sight.” Variety. N.p., 03 Apr. 2017. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

Box Office Follow Up: “Beauty and the Beast” and “Kong: Skull Island”

Variety’s Dave McNary reported on Sunday, March 26th, 2017 that Disney’s live action remake, “Beauty and the Beast” amassed $207 million over its second weekend, making the total box office run of two weeks approximately $690 million.

Internationally, “Beauty and the Beast” grosses $119 million, followed closely by “Kong: Skull Isand” with $91 milion according to McNary, who states that the later film came out to be a big winner in China: “including $72.1 million in China for “Kong” with 13.9 million admissions from approximately 18,000 screens for a 71% share of the total box office and the second-biggest international opening in China this year after “Resident Evil” grossed a stunning $91 million” (McNary 2017).

This is good news for Legendary  Pictures, which just two weeks ago, was riding all of their hopes and dreams on “Kong”, well, it has paid off: ““Kong: Skull Island” has now taken in $258.6 million internationally and $133.5 million in the U.S for an impressive worldwide total of $392 million” (McNary 2017). This means that, in terms of box office, “Kong” has made a profit against its production budget of $185 million by doubling the returns. However, there could be many factors in this pursuit, resulting in either loss or gain at this point, as either result is fair game at this point, but we shall have to see how the numbers play out when the run is complete.

In terms of comparison, “Beauty” has trumped “Kong, surpassing it by $300 million, making “Beauty” among the top 100 of all time grossers, taking the 92nd spot. Disney noted that as of Sunday, March 25th, 2017, “Beauty and the Beast” is the fourth consecutive film to surpass the $600 million mark in terms of worldwide gross: “Doctor Strange” ($677,561,661), “Moana” ($617,080,355), and “Rouge One: A Star Wars Story” ($1,055,121,310) (McNary, BoxOfficeMojo 2017). If this is any indication that the Walt Disney Company is making smart business decisions, then perhaps nothing else is. Especially since over the weekend, Disney CEO Bob Iger extended his contract til 2019 (Masters 2017).

We’ll have to wait and see with Disney for how well the summer films will do. In terms of Legendary, hopefully “Kong” puts them in a more comfortable and easy state to push on and make something even more extraordinary in the coming years. Perhaps we shall see a resurgence in monster movies, at least, that’s the hope anyway.


Work Cited

“”Doctor Strange”, “Moana”, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.” Box Office Mojo. N.p., 25 Mar. 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

Masters, Kim, and Bill Condon. “Bill Condon on the challenges of adapting a ‘tale as old as time’” Audio blog post. The Business. KCRW, 25 Mar. 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

McNary, Dave. “‘Beauty and the Beast’ Nears $700 Million Worldwide, ‘Kong’ Strong Overseas.” Variety. N.p., 26 Mar. 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

 

 

In the Spirit of Howard Ashman: Bill Condon on “Beauty and the Beast”

Kim Masters interviewed Bill Condon, director of “Dreamgirls” (2006), who also directed the new adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” (2017) on Saturday, March 25th, 2017. Speaking on the film, Bill Condon noted how he wanted to make the remake in the spirit of the original lyricist of the 1991, Howard Ashman, who died before the premiere of the original animated film in March of 1991 due to AIDS:

“Here, you are dealing with something that is not only a classic, but something that is nearly perfect in the form that it’s in… and so that the original animated film was based on musical theater and live action…. [Howard] was this kind of guiding force for us, because he’s the one who came up with the objects who sing and dance, that hadn’t been there before he arrived” (Masters and Condon 2017).

Condon did not wish to make a shot for shot remake of the film, instead, he wanted to make a film that appeared realistic and felt real. The production design consisted of large sets, some of which took five minutes to cross, and the Wardrobe character, which was actually constructed, had pulleys and various traditional mechanisms similar to “Mary Poppins” (1964 Stevenson) (Masters and Condon 2017).

In terms of the “gay moment”, the widely publicized issue that spoke of Disney including a gay moment in the film, this sparked an international issue, with Russia outright banning the film but allowed it to be played to audiences 16 and over. “Malaysia demanded cuts to the film, which would eventually allow an uncensored version to a PG-13 rating. Obviously, this became a distraction from Disney’s point of view, as they had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the film and probably just as soon had avoided any further discussion of the controversy” (Masters and Condon 2017). Condon notes that he certainly did not intend for this to be an issue, and was originally intended to be a surprise. According to Condon, a reporter leaked the information without the full context resulting in the widely publicized news which lead to overreactions: “I feel that it’s a conversation that’s happening outside of the context of people having seen it… It’s turning animation into real life, and you try to get to the human aspects that make people behave the way they do and the story’s been around for three centuries* now and it keeps getting told and it’s about this basic thing of looking beneath the surface, and looking deeper and accepting people for who they are and if you’re going to make that in 2017, you have to been more inclusive…” (Masters and Condon 2017).

*To correct Condon, just for fun, the story of Beauty and the Beast can be dated back to 16th century Italy.

However, the problem that the remake has is that it is essentially a shot for shot remake of the 1991 film. It does Howard Ashman a wonderful service, but it attempts to make something, like the “gay moment” (which was hardly noticeable in the film to begin with) and turns it into nothing spectacular. While the film broke box office records and is a continuation of the new trend that the Disney Company is taking, the film has an interesting production history, even if the film itself is nothing groundbreaking, in terms of technological innovation, like the original was.


Work Cited

Masters, Kim, and Bill Condon. “Bill Condon on the challenges of adapting a ‘tale as old as time'” Audio blog post. The Business. KCRW, 25 Mar. 2017. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

 

If You Can’t Be Yourself, Be Batman: “The Lego Batman Movie” Makes an Impressive Run at the Friday Box Office

“The Lego Batman Movie” (McCay 2017) which was released on February 10th, 2017, made an impressive two week run on Friday, beating out three of the February 17th new releases: “Great Wall”, “Fist Fight”, and “A Cure for Wellness”.

According to a  Variety article by Seth Kelley, the animated comedy picked up a healthy figure for a film that is already breaking box office records. “$7.5 million 4,088 theaters on its way to a four-day estimate in the $38 million range” (Kelley 2017).

While “Great Wall”(Yimou 2017) picked up $5.9 million and “Fist Fight” (Keen 2017) $3.8 million, “A Cure for Wellness” (Verbinski 2016) did not have a great opening day in the United States, only gaining a measly $1.5 million. Variety reports that the film could be “on its way to an opening between $4 and $5 million that could leave it out of the top ten.”

“Great Wall”, which has already earned over $200 million overseas “including over $170 million in China since its release on Dec. 16… the film carries a $150 million budget — the most expensive movie ever shot in China ” (Kelley 2017). This is not only a healthy sign for the film, but is also a bit of a make up for the travesty that was “47 Ronin” (Rinsch 2013).

As for “A Cure for Wellness”, let us hope that the film can find a cure for the box office slump that it managed to catch over the weekend. For now, it is Batman that takes the weekend office and hopefully, this time next year, it will get an Oscar nomination as Best Animated Feature as revenge for “The Lego Movie” (Lord and Miller 2014).

Perhaps that is just wishful thinking at its best.

Work Cited

Kelley, Seth. “Box Office: ‘Lego Batman’ Blocks Trio of Newcomers to Win Friday.” Variety. Variety, 18 Feb. 2017. Web. 18 Feb. 2017. <http://variety.com/2017/film/news/box-office-lego-batman-great-wall-fist-fight-cure-for-wellness-1201992010/&gt;.