Friday, March 27, 2015

More Positivity: 'Home' Tracking Suggests $44M+ Opening [UPDATE]

After projections said openings in the low 20s and the low 30s, Variety is now reporting that DreamWorks Animation's only release this year, Home, is going to open with over $44 million!

They said...

"Early projections showed Home notching a $12 million opening day on Friday, including $650,000 at Thursday night shows — a promising start with 15% of K-12 schools out for spring break. It looks likely to finish above Fox-Blue Sky’s Rio 2, which opened last April when 9% of K-12 schools were out and wound up the weekend with $39.3 million."

That is super-good news. That's a Croods-sized number right there! We all know how that ended up doing.

So again, let's look at the road ahead. Like I said in numerous posts, Home has no real G/PG competition until the release of Pixar's Inside Out on June 19th. It has 2 1/2 months to itself. There's only one film in that range opening in April, and that's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. But I get the sense that the first movie was a one-time only kind of success, and that two won't really do that well. Still, the two family pics won't rip each other part. No, cannibalization is just another exaggeration concocted by writers who don't understand animation and would probably be content with animated movies not ever happening again.

So, Home has so much time to breathe. Blockbusters won't harm it, for Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness did nothing to The Croods back in 2013. How To Train Your Dragon didn't get slapped upside the head by Iron Man 2 in 2010. By the time Inside Out opens, Home will have already made its dough.

It may not have gotten the best critical reception, but tons of poorly-reviewed animated films hang on just fine. They do even better when there's no other family film out there, so expect Home to score a 3.5x multiplier at worst. That's still pretty impressive for any big release movie! If it scores 3.5x, it'll finish up with $150 million+ domestically. That's pretty damn good, no? If it holds like Mr. Peabody & Sherman, it'll still make $145m+. Animated films score multipliers that size with ease since they attempt to appeal to all ages. It isn't just kiddies. The parents are the ones paying, ya know. They can say no if the movie in question looks like torture, looks undesirable, or just looks too kiddie for them... And we've seen that happen before. Alpha and Omega, Mars Needs Moms, Escape from Planet Earth, the list goes on.

(For longtime readers, I understand I'm once again going into broken mp3 mode.)

So yes, combined with that pretty good opening in other territories... Home will do fine, DreamWorks' people will breathe a collective sigh of relief, they'll have instant-hit-written-all-over-it Kung Fu Panda 3 to look forward to, and this year of restructuring won't be as bad as some have projected. They can rest easy...

They needed this, and I'm glad it's happening.

I just hope all those obituary-writing vultures are about to heat up the crow in the oven. I usually don't like being that kind of guy, but I absolutely love it when these things blow up in their faces. They bark "it'll flop! it'll flop!" and some will even go as far as saying "DreamWorks will die!" like they want it to happen. Then when said film does good, if not great, well... They end up either not admitting defeat or they just disappear. Being wrong on the Internet is a crime, you know?

Now before I wrap it up, I will say one thing... Things aren't always definite, but when some trade like Variety is saying something like this, it strongly indicates that it will happen. I say 95% chance the film opens with over $40 million. I'll happily eat crow if it doesn't, I can admit defeat.

We shall see, but I'm glad that things are seemingly looking up for the studio. If it opens this well, it'll just prove that you never what will strike a chord with the general public. Some of us might think "[x] animation movie looks terrible" and think everyone else thinks the same, but sometimes we are dead wrong. Sometimes we think a certain animated movie looks awesome and we think everyone else does too, when they end up thinking the opposite.

A few recent examples come to mind. I remember all the thrashing The Croods got before its release: The character designs are awful! Looks ugly! It's ripping off Brave! It's going to fail! It opened with $43 million domestically, nearly hit $200 million here, nearly hit $600 million worldwide, all of a sudden you saw a ton of people in the circles praising it. (I'm not joking, some suggested that it was one of the best animated films of all time. Not saying you're wrong for thinking that...) Frozen... Good gravy, Frozen. Negative nancies were all over it. Complaints about the character designs, that evil teaser with Olaf and Sven, it's "Tangled on ice!", and other things I won't get into on here. The movie opened big, become a phenomenon, and soon you heard nothing but hyperbole: "Best Disney animated film since The Lion King!" "Screw Pixar, this is awesome!" "Most progressive Disney movie ever!" "Best animated movie ever made!" Then of course there's the backlash to the hype, but that's another story.

A favorite example of mine dates back to late 2002. Michael Eisner saw a near finished cut of Finding Nemo and snarked that the film would be a wake-up call to the seemingly high-almighty Pixarians, a reality check. He flat out said that it wasn't all that good and it wouldn't do well. In fact, according to a ton of people who posted/lurked on forums, every Pixar film since Toy Story 2 was always given the same "it'll flop!" flack. I began forum lurking in 2004, and I remember each Pixar film being met with pre-release skepticism. "A movie about talking cars? Flop!" "A movie about a rat wanting to cook! Flop!" "A silent movie with robots falling in love in a post-apocalyptic setting? Flop!" "A movie about an old man in a flying house? Flop!"

I mean, history is littered with these premature obituaries. Disney's Folly, anyone?

You never know, that's what it boils down to.

I don't believe writing movie obituaries, unless it's really obvious that the film is going to suffer (most of the time, it has to do with an insanely high budget and bad marketing/buzz), is desirable. I just wait and see, I try to be optimistic, and it looks like Home will be another defier of so-called "conventional wisdom". I mean, I don't like the whole idea of dismissing something prematurely like that anyway.

UPDATE: March 28th, 12:43 pm

Friday number estimates are in. A damn good $15 million for Home!

To put it into perspective, The Croods opened with $11 million and wound up with $43 million for the weekend. Disney Animation's Big Hero 6 made $15 million on opening day and took in $56 million for the weekend. Home could land in the mid-to-high 50s! Box Office Mojo says $56 million, is thinking $58 million (!!) This is the best opening for an original non-sequel DreamWorks film since Monsters vs. Aliens ($58 million). I guess that marketing really did strike a chord with audiences!

Home is a success. The end. Hooray for the moon boy studio!

UPDATE: March 29th, 5:54 pm

Weekend estimate is $54 million. Woohoo!

1 comment:

  1. I thinks this would be a hit like Monsters vs Aliens at least, i'll wait for the next weekend holds