Sunday, October 25, 2015

Box Office: Prestige vs Commercial (Update)

Of the box office articles written this weekend, and the upcoming articles which will confirm the box office receipts on Monday, some will have a negative slant in reporting about the box office for Steve Jobs. Some will write in a tone for click bait schadenfreude by acting as though Steve Jobs is your run of the mill commercial release instead of the arthouse fare that it truly is. With box office estimates for Steve Jobs to earn just shy of $8 million in its first wide release weekend in the US, in total, it will have earned just over $10.1 million. This film has legs and with overseas box office, and excellent critical reviews, it will do fine.

The Hollywood Reporter puts things into perspective:

In the U.S., Steve Jobs was expected to generate as much interest among adults as Bridge of Spies, considering the attention surrounding Boyle's biopic, starring Michael Fassbender as the legendary and controversial Apple co-founder. But the Universal film had to settle for a seventh-place finish after grossing $7.3 million from 2,493 theaters.
Those backing Steve Jobs had wanted to land somewhere in the teens, but are counting on a long run throughout awards season (an A- CinemaScore should help word of mouth). Jobs is pulling in strong numbers in core cities including New York and Los Angeles, meaning it is playing more like an arthouse title than a commercial release. Aaron Sorkin wrote the adapted script for the film, also starring Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels.
Two weekends ago, the $30 million movie scored the top location average of the year to date when opening in New York and Los Angeles. Last weekend, it did solid business when expanding into a total of 60 theaters. Through Sunday, Steve Jobs' domestic total is $10 million.

Update 10:30pm EST: As on spot as usual, IndieWire's Anne Thompson remarks on how the performance of Steve Jobs this weekend won't affect its Oscar contention. An excellent film is an excellent film period, regardless of 'wide release' box office.

 "Steve Jobs" Falls Way Short (Hint: The Adult Audience Isn't Infinite)
With "The Martian" and "Goosebumps" predicted to place where they did — and close to the weekend, same was expected for "Witch Hunter" — some projected "Steve Jobs" at the top spot, with perhaps as much as $20 million. Instead, it did under $7.3 and in a weak weekend ended up seventh.
This is disappointing, but not as much as might be seen. As indicated here last week, the writing was on the wall when, after nabbing the year's best platform opening, "Jobs"' 60-theater break fell short of similar "Sicario" in its second weekend.
That suggested it had a more narrow audience. And it is not unusual for a film when it shows relative signs of weakness (and emphasis on relative — last weekend was very strong) that it might indicate a trend that will increase as a film widens.
And that's what happened. In its third weekend, "Sicario" went wide in slightly more theaters grossed $12.1 million. So plotting out results to date, even $10 million seemed closer to likely.
But "Steve Jobs" is facing different conditions than "Sicario" — multiple films, including "The Martian" and "Bridge of Spies," as alternatives. Also, as we wrote in today's Arthouse Audit  about how "The Suffragette" and "Truth" are both lagging, too many true stories and biopics may be flooding the market.
"Jobs" is doing well enough to maintain its status as an awards contender. But for once this year, Universal, nearly faultless in their strategy, might have gone wider more quickly than interest in this film warranted. (Ed: This!)


Gisa said...

I have read the Variety report about "Steve Jobs" and the film's performance over the weekend. One of the reasons given for the poor performance of the film was laid by Variety directly at Michael Fassbender's feet. Had the film been made with di Caprio in the title role it would have done much better because nobody knows who Michael Fassbender is and his name is not a good enough draw to bring people into the theaters. How many times does Michael have to prove his excellence and his worth before people will recognize his talent for what it is? And is Variety forgetting that those very same people who flock to the movies on a Saturday night are fans of "X Men" and that Michael Fassbender is Magneto?

Simone said...

That variety article was a farce and showed that variety's trying to appeal to click bait and tabloid writing. They're full of shit, in other words. If you focus on the positive and professional articles, you will know that the smart journalists know that the film will be fine, it just appears that this niche film simply expanded too wide.

Snootiegirl said...

I for one am glad that the film went wide so that I could see it in my relatively small market. As for Michael's draw, I think that the actors in the superhero franchises are eclipsed by the characters. There is probably a good chunk of xmen fans who do t know Michael's name. Also, Steve Jobs is a film for adults. Plain and simple. It's not for just everybody like a more mass appeal action film.

Simone said...

Snootiegirl, did you see The Martian? I ask because even for this 'smart' sci-fi film, they still dumbed it do for the masses to make it more fun and relatable to the masses. Here we have a serious human event of an abandoned astronaut, but throughout the film there were silly jokes made and the science dumbed down to keep the lay person interested. I say this because it's no more apparent than now that audiences need to be spoon fed bits of information with a dash of jokes here and there to keep them motivated to watch and enjoy a film. In summation, straight up adult fare can't open in 2500+ theaters, only a fraction of the populace will be interested, and leaving other theaters empty because someone wants to really escape and not have to think and pay attention. It's frustrating, but oh well.

Snootiegirl said...

I didn't see it because it seemed like a remake of Intersteller. And that one was disappointingly cliched and referential. Not innovative. The refreshing part of Steve Jobs is that it's different. It's not the same tripe as the last thing. I'm so tired of the same stories over and over.

Gisa said...

In my comment above I noted that the failure of Steve Jobs at the box office was being put squarely on Michael (Variety) and here is some more which I just noticed on FILM among many comments about the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie.
13 hours ago, by slimpunk: I wonder if Fox is a little nervous about trusting a tentpole with Fassbender now, after the box office failure of Steve Jobs. Sure this film will have a built in audience due to the source material, but they still have to rely on the star to bring out more than just video game fans.
I do not like the wording of this and do not think ignoring it will cause it to go away. Anybody have an idea of what to do?

Simone said...

Gisa, it's not a question of ignoring commentary from people named 'slimpunk', I prefer to focus on rational commentary that is looking at the entire picture of this situation. Michael Fassbender has received praise all over for his performance, as well as the film as a whole. So what Michael isn't has known as Leo or Christian, both of whom have been acting in commercial films since they were children. They have at least 25 years of experience being in the public eye whereas Michael has his profile still growing since 2008, and look where he is now. If anything, I'm sure Universal is more confident in working with Michael on Jobs and in future films, and one look at Michael's IMDB profile, you'll see he is one of the MOST in demand actors.

The topic of Steve Jobs apparently is too deep for the masses and it's obvious that Universal just expanded too widely. I suspect they may pull it from half the theaters and keep it in major cities, and then have another small push in December (which Macbeth will help with another high profile Fassbender film out).

Michael Fassbender is fine, the smaller box office intake is no reflection upon his ability to appeal to audiences, and it's no reflection on the production/directing quality of Steve Jobs. People who don't want to see it are the fools for missing out on something spectacular.