Deadline Hollywood’s Report Today on Total Recall’s $26M Opening Weekend
Creeping in softly to begin with, Total Recall (3,601 theaters) “performed in line with tracking and expectations,” Sony said of its $26.0M opening. Actually, the studio had expected more: $28M-$30M. Problem is, as rival studios pointed out, this weekend’s take won’t be enough to make up the pic’s $150M cost unless it hits big overseas. There, the film opened #1 in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand and took in $6.2M from 12 markets. In North America, the CinemaScore was only a ‘C+’ which doesn’t bode well for word of mouth. Exit polling showed 58% of the opening weekend audience was male and 42% was female; 47% was under age 30 and 53% was 30 and over.
Deadline Hollywood’s Report on March 11th on John Carter’s $30.2M Opening Weekend
Disney’s 3D sci-fi newcomer John Carter finished a feeble #2 considering its whopping $250+M cost. Friday’s domestic box office numbers for director Andrew Stanton’s actioner came in even weaker than predicted but rival studios tell me the loincloth epic experienced an unexpected double-digit bounce on Saturday. Clearly word of mouth, like the ‘B+’ CinemaScore from audiences, is helping although reviews were decidedly mixed. Only Monday actuals will confirm whether Disney got its “miracle” and John Carter‘s North American box office opening this weekend had a ’3? in front of it. But that still means a massive $100+M writeoff for the parent company if this dismal opening affects the new pic’s international fortunes. The studio’s Prince of Persia, for instance, opened similarly weak in North America, then made up its domestic deficit overseas. Disney made a gigantic worldwide day-and-date push for John Carter and says Russia was especially ”very strong”. “We have some good starts in Europe, with some softer than we hoped. A few Asian territories are strong where this type of film plays well,” an exec tells me.
To summarize: this flop is the result of a studio trying to indulge Pixar… Of an arrogant director who ignored everybody’s warnings that he was making a film too faithful to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first novel in the Barsoom series “A Princess of Mars”… Of the failure of Dick Cook, and Rich Ross, and Bob Iger to rein in Stanton’s excessive ego or pull the plug on the movie’s bloated budget … Of really rotten marketing that failed to explain the significant or scope of the film’s Civil War-to-Mars story and character arcs and instead made the 3D movie look way as generic as its eventual title… Disagree all you want, but Hollywood is telling me that competent marketing could have drawn in women with the love story, or attracted younger males who weren’t fanboys of the source material. Instead the campaign was as rigid and confusing as the movie itself, not to mention that ’Before Star Wars, Before Avatar‘ tag line should have come at the start and not at the finish. But even more I think John Carter is a product of mogul wuss-ism as much as it is misplaced talent worship. More detail to come.
Thanks to Kevin Sanderson for pointing this out.