Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oh Bother!

"Sixth place? YOU'RE FIRED!"

It's noon on Saturday as I write this, but Deadline Hollywood is estimating that the Winnie the Pooh film will finish sixth for the weekend with a gross of $8 million. No sane person expected the Pooh film to outgross the Harry Potter finale, but it's interesting that films two through five are hold overs. Pooh couldn't outgross Transformers 3, Horrible Bosses, Zookeeper or Cars 2. Cars 2 is in it's 4th week and may still outgross the Pooh film. That's bad as both are aimed at similar audiences of young children.

The final domestic gross for the Pooh film should be somewhere between $20 and $32 million, depending on how it holds up. That will undoubtedly put downward pressure on the budgets of any future drawn films to come out of Disney as neither Pooh nor The Princess and the Frog have gotten close to the grosses for cgi films. I would be the last to blame the grosses on the fact that the films are drawn -- both films are retreads of what audiences have seen too many times before -- but from a business perspective there isn't much justification for Disney making drawn films.

15 comments:

Patrick Desilets said...

It's such a shame how these big decisions are based on the flawed logic that "these 2d films didn't do well so we should stop making 2d films."

"These unoriginal films didn't do well so we should stop making unorignal films" makes a lot more sense.

I know you can't say cars 2 is really original either but what I mean is, I'm sure a 2d production as fresh as, say, Ratatouille was when it came out, would do pretty well too. It's a shame to evaluate the 'performance' of an entire medium based on relatively average films. Not that these 2 are bad films, they're just, cramped by 'tradition' I guess (I haven't seen the new pooh but, I think I kind of know what to expect there.)

Anonymous said...

In my opinion the 3D>2D is not the only factor. All the more "successful" movies in your list are loud, over-the-top, using every trick possible, begging for attention kinda flicks, while Winnie is a more quiet gentle subtle fun, partly due to the illustrated book esthetics. The over-the-top films will always outperform something more subtle, as the mass audiences prefer to be wowed rather than charmed. We are still the same medeival crowd that loves a circus kind of show with all its freaks and clowns and colorful costumes and dangerous acrobatics, magic tricks and loud music, rather than something warm, gentle and personal.

billburgnyc said...

Every person to whom I've mentioned, "A new Winne-the-Pooh movie opened this weekend" was shocked by the news. My sister-in-law, mother of three young children who decorated their nursery with a Pooh mural, had no idea the movie existed. I'm not saying it had a prayer against Harry Potter, but I have to think that many other people who might be inclined to see the movie simply don't know it's out there.

Wit said...

I think I must agree with billburgnyc. The new Pooh movie was hardly marketed. I've mentioned the movie to not just one, but many people, and not one of them knew that it was out there. I think it would have done better if Disney had bothered to market it.

Anonymous said...

Disney needs to take a page out of animated European features. They can be made on a smaller budget and still appeal widely to the mass market.
Whether they would take that gamble and see a flock exodus of it's top artists/talent etc for the sake of art remains to be seen.

Michael Sporn said...

If CARS 2 was an ad for more CARS product, WINNIE THE POOH is an ad for more Winnie product. Winnie is Disney's second most valuable star in animation. The market for the dolls took a nose dive after the failed cgi tv versions. They had to remarket the package, and they did by try to recapture the original.

I suspect grosses will ultimately be twice what you indicate for the US. It'll probably do about the same in the rest of the world.

But it will sell a fortune of BluRay and DVDs and dolls, and iy will refresh the Disney franchise. The film was made with a lower budget than other features and will meet Disney's expectations.

And, yes, it's obvious that their marketing budget is low.

cardinalcs said...

Having just seen WINNIE THE POOH in the mixed comany of two adults, a tween, and a child, I must say that it's a pity that the film has not been the focus of a stronger marketing campaign. It is tuneful, charming, simplistic, beautifully and fluidly animated, and best of all: genuinely funny.
What's better was that everyone had something wonderful to say about it, even the 12 year old who seemingly prefers ultra violent video-game inspired films loved the extremes of the characterization. It may not score high at the box office, but it outshone many a louder film this summer.

Michael Sporn said...

I forgot to mention that CARS 2 cost $200 million, TANGLED cost $260 million and WINNIE THE POOH cost $30 million. Essentially, WINNIE has already made back 1/2 of its negative cost. I think it will actually be a hit (even though it won't pull in $500 million.)

Steve Schnier said...

I agree with Michael Sporn - long term, setting aside opening weekend grosses, the new Pooh film will be a success.

Families aren't rushing to the theater to see this movie because every parent knows that their kids will watch it a million times at home. The real numbers will appear when it comes out on home video.

Anonymous said...

Winnie the Pooh essentially is still an expensive film condsidering it's running time

JPilot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JPilot said...

I don't think that Winnie the Pooh screams "Event movie" or "Summer Blockbuster". It got great reviews and will probably make a huge profit from the DVD when it's released, I am guessing some time around the holidays.

Michael Sporn said...

Anonymous, not to beat a deada horse, but if you do the math you'll see that WINNIE THE POOH cost $440,000 per minute of screen time. CARS 2 cost $2.2 million per min of screen time. That means CARS 2 was 5 times more expensive per minute.

WINNIE wasn't expensive as full animation goes. Especially given the talent that pulled it off.

Floyd Norman said...

It remains the best kept secret in the business. Traditional hand drawn animation is far cheaper than its CGI counterpart.

Nothing will change, however. The perception that audiences only want digital films is pervasive and producers will continue to buy into the myth.

Sketchees said...

Dude.. I wouldn't put Pooh in ANY category near Transformers 3, Cars 2, ect...

Pooh is for kids 6 and under probably. Sure, as animation enthusiasts, we'll want more traditional stuff made but let's be realistic.

Pooh shouldn't be compared to ANY of these movies. And who cares how much it makes! People (*Disney or not) will continue to make beautiful classical films. What's all this worry about 2D dying?

Where there's a will, there's a way.

Cheers!