FRIDAY FORECAST: Disrespect the Middle East edition

Posted by · 2:44 pm · May 28th, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

There’s a mild controversy every time a “Sex and the City” movie comes out where it is mercilessly trashed for existing by male critics who, the accusation goes, often let comparable trash starring men get off easy. Well, you all know that I can not be labeled one who lets any trash off easy so I have free reign to say that anyone who looks up to the women in this movie is probably a terrible person and I weep for humanity that this will be another big hit for Warner Bros.

“Sex and the City 2” has already opened and earned $14.2 million yesterday. Is that good? Yes. Is it great? No. The first film made $29.6 million on its opening day, albeit being a regular Friday and then dropped drastically to record a weekend tally of $63.2 million. As far as opening days being front-loaded in a weekend, “Sex and the City” is one of the top 15 worst offenders ever and sequels tend to be even worse. But since it’s just a Thursday, no need to panic yet.

I suspect the film will pick up slightly to around $18 million on Friday and then record around $45 million for the weekend, before adding another cool $8 or $9 million on Monday. All told that will be close to $70 million in five days and set the film up for a profitable run. For some reason, the original was enormous overseas and that should again be the case. But seriously ladies, have some self respect and put your considerable weight (bad choice of word?) as a consumer behind something that doesn’t make you look like a worthless idiot.

Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer desperately attempt to recapture the same magic of “Pirates of the Caribbean” with “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” I mean, it’s pathetically obvious. Leading man with no action experience and indie cred? Check. Setting determined based on Halloween costume potential? Check. Skeletons holding swords tucked into the corner of the poster to add supernatural element? Check. Too bad early word is that Mike Newell dropped the ball and anticipation is generally muted.

Granted, the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film opened with a down-to-Earth $61.5 million and rode positive word of mouth to a mammoth finish. Even with the holiday weekend, I can’t see “Prince of Persia” coming close to that. This is going to be another very disappointing weekend for theater owners and studios and Jake Gyllenhaal and company are going to be the biggest reason. I’m thinking $35 million for the three days and maybe $45 million for the four day period.

Luckily, the film will have broad appeal overseas (although methinks perhaps not in Persian areas) and earn a profit for Disney. Are you guys seeing a trend yet? No matter how disappointing the numbers are, these things all eventually earn just enough to justify the green light. That’s why they get the green light. Hollywood has you all figured out just enough to get by so if you want to see some changes, throw them a curveball!

Regardless and domestically speaking, that would be two more films that fail to maximize their potential and leave summer 2010 still looking for it’s first positive surprise. Where’s the “Star Trek” of this summer? Hint: It’s “Marmaduke.”

“Shrek Forever After” has two choices. It can perform like a typical generic sequel and drop 50-60%, officially becoming an embarrassment, or it can take advantage of the relatively weak market and drop a respectable 35% aided by the holiday weekend. I think it’s probably going to be closer to the former as $20 3D tickets don’t really lend themselves to the ambivalent crowd. If people want to just see something, they’ll probably choose “Iron Man 2” or “Robin Hood” instead.

As for “MacGruber,” well, Universal would probably appreciate it if I just didn’t bring it up again. R.I.P. MacGruber.

What are you guys seeing? Why not take a break from terrible movies and roast some hot dogs on the beach instead?

→ 41 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Friday Forecast

41 responses so far

  • 1 5-28-2010 at 3:27 pm

    Chris said...

    Hot Dogs it is.

    No mainstream movie has sparked an ounce of interest for me since “Kick-Ass.”

  • 2 5-28-2010 at 3:27 pm

    red_wine said...

    One very important thing is that Sex And The City is R Rated. That suddenly makes everything seem a bit brighter. Get an R rating, cut your audience by half, aim it almost 100% at women, again slash your audience by half. The figures are very good I would say. That Prince Of Persia with its built in brand value and PG-13 rating got beaten by a complete ‘woman’s’ picture tells you just how uninspired it all looks.

    But still Pop has HUGE brand value, and it should do very well overseas. Gyllenhaal and co. have very modestly said that they will only make a sequel if the audience ’embrace’ this one, so the script-writers are already ‘writing’ a sequel, right?

    Still it is hard to grudge SATC its success because this is only the second female driven blockbuster franchise of recent times. It is almost bizarre that one half of the world’s population does not enter the producers’ mind when they think about their market.

  • 3 5-28-2010 at 3:28 pm

    Ziyad Abul Hawa said...

    I’m arab, from middle east, watched it today, loved it, even more than the first one!

    Kill me.

  • 4 5-28-2010 at 3:29 pm

    red_wine said...

    Oh and I’m genuinely waiting for Toy Story 3. Will almost surely watch it first day on a big IMAX screen with a large group of friends. In 3D double price.

  • 5 5-28-2010 at 3:56 pm

    James D. said...

    I am really hoping for some good films on my ten hour plane ride tomorrow. The website suggests I could watch Paris, Invictus, It’s Complicated, Pirate Radio, Sherlock Holmes, The Blind Side, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and The Young Victoria.

  • 6 5-28-2010 at 4:01 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    To be fair, some female critics — the late Pauline Kael comes immediately to mind — have sometimes joined the men in giving idiotic male-oriented junk a kinder reception than idiotic female-oriented junk. Kael used to insist that male-oriented junk appealed to the “pre-moral” impulses that we develop naturally (for good or ill) in childhood, whereas female-oriented junk was artificially shrill and didn’t have any legitimate tie to the way the human brain works.

  • 7 5-28-2010 at 4:36 pm

    Al said...

    2008 and 2009 were great movie years. 2010 so far has proved to be one of the most embarrassing years in cinema in recent memory. The blame belongs to the fact that everything being churned out these days is a sequel, remake, or adaptation.

    I mean seriously, if there wasn’t the art house films or christopher nolan, they academy would get rid of Best Original Screenplay this year.

  • 8 5-28-2010 at 5:24 pm

    MovieMan said...

    “Best Worst Movie” is making its rounds, and it’s a lovingly crafted ode to “Troll 2,” one of the most charmingly awful films ever made. The film should be nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

    “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” is about on the level of every other video game movie ever made: not an abortive mess, but certainly kind of terrible.

    I’m certainly going to catch flak for this: “Sex and the City 2” is kind of terrific. After the self-important first film, the sequel returned to the humanity and hilarity of the TV show.

    “Survival of the Dead” is another disappointment from George A. Romero, after “Day of the Dead” and “Diary of the Dead.” Not many scares or satirical laughs here. Just plain “meh.”

  • 9 5-28-2010 at 5:24 pm

    Jim T said...

    Chad, I have no right to judge your character and tell you how to form opinions but I’d like to tell you what I think.

    I have stopped watching block-busters and try to watch only potentially quality films. Wyler, Hawks, Allen, Wilder, von Trier etc.

    But I will probably go see Sex and the City 2 because these characters have been a part of my life since my teenage years. I don’t exactly look up to them but there are many things in their behavour and the situations they find themselves in which I identify with.

    You’re neither a woman, nor a gay man so I understand how you can’t connect to the whole thing but please don’t make assumptions about the people who have or will watch the movie.

    I might dislike it but I don’t want to miss it.

  • 10 5-28-2010 at 5:31 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “Father of My Children,” y’all. It depends where you are, of course, but it’s comfortably the best film available to U.S. audiences this week — and I’m not just plugging my interview.

  • 11 5-28-2010 at 9:23 pm

    Fitz said...

    “But seriously ladies, have some self respect and put your considerable weight as a consumer behind something that doesn’t make you look like a worthless idiot.”

    That came off as incredibly sexist. Would you say the same thing about all men because of Transformers: Revenge of Michael Bay?

  • 12 5-28-2010 at 10:57 pm

    Hans said...

    Actually, he probably would.

    (Intended as a compliment and not snark.)

  • 13 5-28-2010 at 11:01 pm

    A.J said...

    Was that Marmaduke shout out serious?

  • 14 5-28-2010 at 11:33 pm

    Dean Treadway said...

    Great graph about throwing the curve ball into this mess.

  • 15 5-28-2010 at 11:56 pm

    adam said...

    ‘But seriously ladies, have some self respect and put your considerable weight (bad choice of word?) as a consumer behind something that doesn’t make you look like a worthless idiot.’

    I wish men would do this. Then we wouldn’t get films like GI Joe and Clash of the Titans.

  • 16 5-29-2010 at 2:39 am

    BJT said...

    I really enjoyed Prince of Persia.

    Escapist – leave your brain at the door – fun. A long way better than any of the other summer movies so far this year, at least.

  • 17 5-29-2010 at 2:46 am

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I wouldn’t say that about men and Transformers because that movie is for little boys. And while it would be awesome if little boys had great taste, I can’t expect it. Grown women should know better.

  • 18 5-29-2010 at 5:32 am

    ninja said...

    SATC 2 was awful. Boring, embarrassing, unfunny and SJP is so ugly, it`s unwatchable. I saw it on a free screening and still want my unspent money back. Craps all over the TV show. I don`t know who writes this garbage but it can`t be HBO people who penned the series. Just not possible.

  • 19 5-29-2010 at 6:01 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Come now, I’m sure there’s enough to pick on in the film without bringing the lead actress’s looks into it.

  • 20 5-29-2010 at 7:24 am

    JJ said...

    I agree with BJT.

    Really enjoyed ‘Prince of Persia’; fave Summer movie I’ve seen.

    It’s stupid as all Hell, but I also went in expecting it to be.

    I just found it thoroughly entertaining in a big, beautiful, dumb, escapist way.

  • 21 5-29-2010 at 11:23 am

    Neel Mehta said...

    Couple of thoughts:

    1. Am I still the only one who thinks Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia are catering to the exact same target audience? I know both may have some general appeal to moviegoers, but casting Jake Gyllenhaal in a potential franchise seems like a very measured move to attract a specialized core fanbase.

    2. SJP’s looks are fair game, at least when it comes to playing Carrie Bradshaw. Darren Star, Michael Patrick King, and (especially) Patricia Field built her up to be a fashion icon that millions of clueless girls and women follow. It’s the role of any sensible person to tear that icon down.

    (On some levels I enjoyed the HBO show, but I never saw it as anything but the story of 3 interesting, intelligent professional women and the vapid idiot that they pretend is their leader.)

  • 22 5-29-2010 at 11:42 am

    Jim T said...

    “Neel Mehta: It’s the role of any sensible person to tear that icon down.”

    Sorry for the sarcasm but..
    Yes, it’s really important to save women from that terrible threat! Come on!

  • 23 5-29-2010 at 12:31 pm

    Estefan said...

    Also, it’s kind of weird that for a series called “Sex and the City”, Kristen Davis is the only one of that quartet who is even remotely attractive.

  • 24 5-29-2010 at 3:11 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Testing… seeing if this works now.

  • 25 5-29-2010 at 4:23 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Saw Prince of Persia Thursday night. Very much in the vein of most Bruckheimer-Disney productions, but the movie’s goofy charm won me over. Had a good time. Bring on Inception and Toy Story 3, and I’m actually kind of looking forward to The Last Airbender, despite the Shymalamadingdong factor. It will undoubtedly be either awesome or a disaster, mostly because of M. Night, but the trailer is promising and it looks like a good adaptation of the show, which I quite enjoyed.

    So far, How To Train Your Dragon is the best film of the year by a mile.

  • 26 5-30-2010 at 6:26 am

    Ben M. said...

    Prince of Persia was decent summer entertainment but nothing special; hope to see one or two others today and tomorrow- probably between Micmacs, Solitary Man, and Ondine (via VOD).

    Toy Story 3 is easily the big film of the summer for me, but I’m looking forward to Last Airbender more and more (hope the 3D conversion is decent), and interested in Inception but have a gut feeling it is going to be a flop.

  • 27 5-30-2010 at 8:27 am

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Why does everyone think Toy Story 3 is going to be so good? Looks pretty lame to me. And I love Toy Story 2.

  • 28 5-30-2010 at 9:33 am

    Kevin K. said...

    I think the buzz behind Toy Story 3 is a combination of Pixar’s track record and nostalgia from a lot of people who grew up watching the first two Toy Story films.

    @Ben M: What makes you think Inception will be a flop? All signs point toward it being a smart, well written, well made blockbuster from a director with an astonishing track record. It won’t do the same astronomical box office that The Dark Knight did, but that simply comes down to the fact of it not being an iconic superhero film franchise, and thus, people are slightly less aware of it. But most people have heard of it at this point and believe it will be good. Again, all signs point to it being a great film, and there hasn’t been anything to indicate otherwise. Also, don’t see The Last Airbender in 3D, please????? Help us end this idiotic trend!

  • 29 5-30-2010 at 10:03 am

    j said...

    Ouch, in early #’s no movie broke 10k avg for the weekend. And SATC2 made in 4 days about what SATC made in its first 2; maybe that’s what you get for sucking so very hard and ruining the show, Michael Patrick King + SJP.

  • 30 5-30-2010 at 11:00 am

    Ben M. said...

    @Kevin K.:
    A lot of talk about Inception among the cast and crew is about how complex the story is and even some of them are not sure what is going on; it may well be a very interesting film but I’m not sure Summer audiences are going to buy that.

    I could see it being the next Blade Runner- difficult and complex sci-fi film that underperforms theatrically but gains a cult following over time.

  • 31 5-30-2010 at 11:20 am

    Kevin K. said...

    @Ben M:

    Most actors, when in a big budget film, don’t know what’s going on half the time because they tend to read just their part and not the whole script, and it’s hard to know what a final product will look like when there are CGI effects yet to be finished, ala a city bending into itself. I think it’s going to do a lot better than your analysis suggests. District 9 was a complex and difficult sci-fi film and it did tremendous box office. The Dark Knight was difficult, dark, and complex, and look how that turned out. Audiences are getting smarter, hard as it is to believe, less and less are buying into the Michael Bay philosophy of “People will like what I tell them to like” and are craving smarter films. I have no doubt Inception won’t break a ton of records, as it simply doesn’t have the broader appeal of a superhero flick, but 90% of people I talk to, casual movie goers and film fanatics alike, are very excited for it and want to see it. Plus, it has tremendous star power. This will be a film that, like Avatar, has a very strong marketing campaign, and will be very successful based on word of mouth.

  • 32 5-30-2010 at 11:23 am

    red_wine said...

    I don’t think Inception will be all that complicated. I mean its a populist entertainment and they by their very nature are not too complex. We are certainly not into Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire territory. Prestige was supposed to be complicated and it was just plain silly. Hopefully this will turn out better.

  • 33 5-30-2010 at 11:34 am

    Kevin K. said...

    The Prestige was anything but silly, but I’m not going to turn this thread into a “Which Nolan film is the best” debate. Inception doesn’t look as incredibly complex as some are making it out to be. Maybe on a psychological or emotional level like The Dark Knight, but I can’t imagine it being too hard to swallow. I think there’s an important need to distinguish films that are “complicated” from those that are “complex”. Complicated implies confusion and overly-difficult to follow. Complex, as I said before, simply requires the use of one’s brain but doesn’t leave people in the dark. David Lynch is complicated, Christopher Nolan is complex. There’s a difference.

  • 34 5-30-2010 at 11:48 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’d say Lynch is pretty damn complex too.

  • 35 5-30-2010 at 12:11 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    The movie is about a guy who enters into people’s dreams and steals information, people. It’s a $200 mil summer movie. You’re not going to need a graphing calculator and cheat sheet to make it through the end credits.

  • 36 5-30-2010 at 12:21 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Well said Chad.

  • 37 5-31-2010 at 8:03 am

    Marlen said...

    1st post ever, here. This is by far the best cinema site around – kudos to writers and readers alike.

    I read the SATC2 reviews and thought, “Yikes!”

    Went to see it in a tiny Western Pennsylvania town last Thursday – theater was packed, more women than men, but still packed – and I and everyone around me absolutely loved it. There were lots of “funnier than the 1st one” comments and consensus was “silly fun with a serious shadow.”

    I laughed and thought “how stupid is that?” more times than I can remember, but overall, I left with spirits elevated and I’m ready to go back again should I need some laughter therapy at matinee prices.

    Nearly every review I’ve read takes a serious tone and I keep thinking, “Come one, this is a movie that’s REALLY written for women and gay men.” One AP reviewer even criticized Liza for her Beyonce moment….geesh…How was The Hangover such a better quality film than SATC 2? Some of you will write, “it was actually funny.”

    The best part of all this is that some of the comments and reviews I’ve read against the film and its performers sound exactly like they could have been actual lines in the SATC2 script! LOL!

  • 38 5-31-2010 at 1:06 pm

    JJ said...

    Yeah, as a fan of the tv series, and a mild fan of the 1st movie, I gotta say, I really did find SATC 2 to be entertaining.

    Superficial, materialistic, mildly offensive, heavily costumed, but funny and entertaining (to me & my peeps).

    I’d prob give it a 6 or 7 out of 10. It’s a bad “film”, but I can’t say I didn’t laugh or enjoy watching characters I’d grown to love over the years once again.

  • 39 5-31-2010 at 4:11 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    “The Hangover” is a decent comparison for men. And that movie is totally awful as well.

  • 40 5-31-2010 at 6:55 pm

    JJ said...

    Thank you. I know you don’t like much, Chad. But I, too, despised The Hangover.

  • 41 6-01-2010 at 10:40 am

    V said...

    I ended up seeing a lot of movies this weekend (making up for lost time, I suppose):
    Robin Hood which bored me.
    Macgruber which provided a couple of chuckles.
    Iron Man 2 which was OK, but not as good as the first. I could watch RDJ all day, and I prefer my Mickey without an accent.
    El Secreto de Sus Ojos which is hands-down the best movie I’ve seen so far this year (not that there’s been much competition…) Please go see it if you have the chance!