Friday, July 18, 2008

Space Chimps

I haven't seen the film, so I have no opinion of it one way or the other. But I have to question the wisdom of opening any film the same weekend as the latest Batman film and the release of Mamma Mia. Batman: The Dark Knight will easily gross more than $100 million and there are predictions that it might go as high as $170 million. Mamma Mia is based on a huge Broadway hit with many successful road companies. There can't be a lot of money left in the pool after those two films suck up their share. The same article predicting the Batman gross is predicting Space Chimps to gross $6-8 million.

While I have no idea when the Space Chimps DVD will be released, it's likely to be for Christmas, where it will be up against Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda and the latest Looney Tunes compilation. A strong theatrical marketing campaign and good box office gross would have helped the Space Chimps DVD release, but it doesn't look like that's in the cards.

My sympathies go out to the crew of this film. A lot of hard work is going to go unnoticed.


Steve Schnier said...

Mark, this was obviously a decision made by the film's distributor. Once the distribution deal is signed, all control over the advertising and exhibition passes to the distributor.

Now the question is, does anyone know of a case where a filmmaker was "hired on" as a creative consultant for distribution?

Seriously, no one knows the film better than the director - why not get his/her input into the strategy for marketing and exhibition of the film?

Mark Mayerson said...

I know that it was Fox's decision to pick this release date. It appears that Fox has no confidence in the film or they'd be trying to place it during a week where it had a chance to be #1 at the box office. There is no way that Space Chimps will be better than number 3 this weekend and it could be considerably lower.

Certainly, the entertainment news is going to focus almost entirely on the grosses being racked up by The Dark Knight. Estimates just for Friday are at $60 million, more than most movies make their entire first weekend.

Even without a record box office, the Batman film still would have been the talk of the weekend due to the final performance of Heath Ledger, and that's something that anyone could have predicted months ago.

It's hard to avoid the impression that Fox considers Space Chimps an embarrassment and is trying to release it on a weekend where it will attract zero attention.

Steve Schnier said...

Well, they're just dumping it. They probably reason that it will make it's money on home video.

In this case, the theatrical release is just a big "Family and Friends" screening (with advertising to boost the video sales).

Anonymous said...

Hey, first time here. I've seen BOTH "Mama Mia" AND "Batman" (saw ikt again for the tenth time, now to catch the next "Mamma Mia" now that it's left my theatre, seen it as half,") and you are right on the button... and then this (by Summmit Ent.) OTHER animated space cartoon in 3-D "Fly Me to the Moon".

Needless to say...neither are doing well (in cidnetlaly, the trailer for "Chimp" had some great gqags though, like a treadmill one with one chimp singing Vaughn Monroe's latterday, timely, Korean War song "Sound off" ("No one wants to sing a long" as his companion falls off.)

Actually looks like it would have dolne well but no one really WANTS to sing along, or see it when there'/s some EXTREMELY high profile fiklms involed (and that Batman flick's ujse of Heath Ledger, who had passed away, made it a tough thing to beat,likewise Mama Mia, which along with its mujsical counterpart I saw on the flick verison's opening weekend in Vegas, a year after "Hairspray" no less..)

Some studios just don't learn..and some do!

ANd always an honor to post on a entertainment insider or persoanlity's blog too...(I'[ve also visited John Kricfalusi's, too.):)

BTW I remmeebre you drew for ANIMATO and you drew some "Kimmy" character..loved it! (circa 1994).

Anonymous said...

Ps sorry for the bad spelling..(