Weekend Newsy Notes


* Did Dr. Manhattan shoot his load the first weekend?

Depending on whom you talked to this week, the opening weekend box office for WATCHMEN was great or underwhelming. Things look a little clearer after the first night of weekend number two.

From Variety:

Warner Bros./Paramount’s comic book epic “Watchmen” fell 78% from its opening day landing third Friday with an estimated $5.4 million from 3,611 theaters. Pic’s eight-day cume currently stands at $73.3 million.

Did all the fanboys decide they didn’t need a second viewing? Was word-of-mouth outside the nerd bubble not great? Were people scared off by Dr. Manhattan’s package?

* In other nerd news

Time.com’s Nerdworld blog interviews annotator extraordinaire Jess Nevins. (Disclaimer: Jess and I went to grad school together and his work has appeared in my magazine.)

9. Have you, as an annotator, ever gone down in defeat? Are there things in the LoEG books that you just can’t solve?

Oh, heavens, yes. When Moore & O’Neill get into areas which I don’t know anything about and which are ill-represented online and in print–1950s British comic book science fiction, for example–I’m at a complete loss, and some of their references stump even the collective brains of the people who contribute to the annotations. In the Black Dossier, for example, Kevin O’Neill drew in spaceships from various British Fifties sf comics, and if he hadn’t identified them for the print version of the annotations, they would have remained a mystery to us all.

Moore sometimes jokes about trying to stump me. I feel a pain in my head when he says that, because if/when he ever tries to do that, I’m not just stumped, I’m uprooted and thrown into a woodchipper.

*Since there was no Lost column this week…

A week without a new Lost means an extra week for people to scrutinize the most recent episode looking for clues about the statue or how to put all the various time traveling threads together. The coolest thing I read (don’t remember where) was that the hieroglyphs that showed up on the countdown clock are on the Ajira airline tickets.

*A non-comic note for all you people who hate non-comics news here.

Sad news this morning for the pro wrestling business as word broke that Andrew Martin passed away at the age of 33. For those who watched during the “Attitude Era,” Martin worked for the WWE as Test, a beefy mid-carder best remembered for being coupled with a young Stephanie McMahon and feuding with her brother Shane. While not the best in-ring performer, many people raved about the match between Test and McMahon at Summerslam 1999. Once removed from the McMahon family soap opera, he slowly drifted down the card until being released a few years ago from the WWE after failing a drug test. Recently, he had been working on shows in Europe and Japan.

Posted by Mark Coale

Comments

  1. What is it with the movie industry and the need to judge a film’s success NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!

    I remember thinking it was idiotic that they were basing success solely off of opening weekend numbers. I’m impressed that they’re willing to look at the second week this time — but come on, we’re talking ONE DAY of the second weekend. Because, no one EVER goes to movies on Saturday or Sunday, right? (For the record: seeing Watchmen for the first time on Sunday. Apparently my ticket doesn’t count.)

    At this rate they’ll be judging films entirely on the sales at midnight showings opening day.

  2. Hey. Congrats to the Rock and Race to Witch Mountain for taking number one this weekend!

    This is good news.

  3. And we’re comparing one day of a second weekend to a day of the first weekend -that had midnight showings from the night before counted in.-

    Watchmen is also an inherently a tricky nighttime showing. Whereas most movies can put in two showings on a screen to start at the after-dinner hours and end by eleven, Watchmen can only fit in one, making the Friday numbers a poor predictor for even Saturday.

    It’s interesting, it’s a curious game, but it hardly tells us how profitable the film will be once the world rights, the cable rights, the DVD rights, and all the other financial capillaries are counted in.

  4. Steven R. Stahl says:

    Given all the hype and expectations for WATCHMEN, it’s not enough for the film to make a profit. The film has to be a blockbuster, and that burden makes the 78 percent drop in revenue significant. If masses of fans aren’t paying to see the film repeatedly — and the “R” rating will decrease the potential viewer base.

    SRS

  5. I actually want to see Watchmen a second time!

  6. Wraith says:

    In regards to WATCHMEN movie’s under performance at the box office, I told you guys so.

  7. If you check out Box Office Mojo you can see Watchmen has already passed 100 million worldwide.
    It’ll do fine.
    I saw it, but yeah, incredibly hard to top the graphic novel experience.

  8. R.I.P Andrew Martin

  9. Charles Knight says:

    “What is it with the movie industry and the need to judge a film’s success NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!”

    Because it’s a money focused commerical business with clearly defined metrics for determining the success or failure of a film in relation to it’s budget+marketing spend?

    Just a guess?

    “Did all the fanboys decide they didn’t need a second viewing?”

    I would actually watch it again but not so soon – when I think about the film length plus getting to the cinema and back – it’s six hours of time that I’d rather not spend repeating *last* weekend, so I’ll wait for the extended DVD.

  10. “It’s interesting, it’s a curious game, but it hardly tells us how profitable the film will be once the world rights, the cable rights, the DVD rights, and all the other financial capillaries are counted in.”

    It simply doesn’t matter. Warners overspent on the movie, not only in production, but in mis-marketing the film so that few outside of the select fanboy faithful even knew what is was. Overseas, the film is already reportedly tanking in most world markets on its FIRST weekend.

    One also has to take into account that WB won’t be the only ones taking a financial hit if the movie’s merely a one-weekend wonder. Remember, they had to fight off Fox a few months ago to even release it, and Paramount also owns a piece of this expensive pie. DVD sales might recoup some of the box office losses; but then again, what kind of financial incentive will there be for WB to release a multi-disc “Director’s Cut” version?

    KET

  11. Charles Knight says:

    “but then again, what kind of financial incentive will there be for WB to release a multi-disc “Director’s Cut” version?”

    Oh a lot, the material exists and they need that an audience will buy it.

  12. Michael says:

    “Was word-of-mouth outside the nerd bubble not great?”

    Dingdingding!

  13. Glycon wins!

  14. Other factors aside, I wouldn’t dismiss the notion that America is not ready for that much full-frontal male nudity. I’m not saying that Dr. Manhattan’s penis is killing the movie, but I imagine that it does significantly contribute to the reported drag in ticket sales.

  15. Steven R. Stahl says:

    Nikki Finke has Saturday B.O. numbers for WATCHMEN at http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/

    Saturday’s take, higher than Friday’s, put the revenue drop compared to last weekend at 67 percent, rather than 78 percent.

    Excluding the Thursday midnight and Friday 12:01 a.m. screenings from the weekend totals would have resulted in a 73 percent drop, rather than 78 percent, after Friday’s screenings.

    Finke puts the cumulative ten-day revenue at $84 million, compared to a cost of $150 million.

    SRS

  16. I was looking forward to a second viewing of Watchmen until I read about this.

    How to make sure you don’t make repeat money: Liken your viewers’ return viewings to a complicated rape-related situation from the movie.

    Yeah, no.

  17. Xenos says:

    Well that’s sad to hear about Watchmen. The mainstream moviegoer might have been turned off by the dark tone, Randian madmen, and blue dongs. I’m worried what it means for future non-stereotypical superhero and non superhero comic films.

    As for (the Watchmen / Moore inspired) Lost, that statue is interesting. The funniest theory is that the statue is of Vincent the dog. Dogs have four legs. Vincent goes back in time and becomes a god. Ha. Though really, a better one was that it was an Egyptian god.

  18. Wow, Red Stapler, that is just sad.
    Thanks for the link…

  19. not....guy says:

    well, when the world around you is bleak and depressing, you don’t really want to watch a movie about how much people (even “superheroes”) tend to suck.

    The target demographic for this film is the one hurting the most right now in this economy, also. Food is likely a higher priority than an overpriced film experience.

    Also, just because something doesn’t meet your expectations doesn’t mean it’s underperforming. It’s making about as much as I expected it to–maybe slightly more–so does that mean it’s doing fantastically well? It’s a hard sell in a tough economy with an obvious lack of a “feel-good story” element. It’s lucky to be doing as well as it is.

  20. Maybe what the viewing public needs is some escapism, some laughs, a chance to see some deserving heroes win, something lighter that might make them smile and offer some hope. There’s a reason why musicals and screwball comedies did so well in the 1930s. “Serious filmmakers” ought to review their copies of “Sullivan’s Travels” and save their “serious” works for a bit.

  21. Oz Carver says:

    re: Watchmen, I’m sure there are one or two smart producers out there who realize that Watchmen didn’t fail because it was serious anymore than Dark Knight succeeded because it was serious — like all movies, they live or die on the strength of their story, direction, cast and acting. And what I saw in Watchmen was bad acting, uninteresting actors, half-bright direction and a story that was hard to follow for people who hadn’t read the graphic novel. (I liked the soundtrack!)

    Admittedly, I went into it expecting not to like it and wasn’t even going to see it at all until a couple of non-comic-reading friends strongarmed me into going. So maybe my view is tainted, but they both felt the same way. All three of us loved Dark Knight, for what it’s worth…

  22. I’m reading the Watchmen GN before I go see the movie.

    Already, by chapter 5, I can picture the average non comic reader movie-goer sitting in the theatre, Biggie Popcorn in one hand, Biggie Soda in the other, thinking (without visible thought balloons) : “What th’ ????”

  23. Because it’s a money focused commerical business with clearly defined metrics for determining the success or failure of a film in relation to it’s budget+marketing spend?

    I’m not saying they don’t have metrics — I’m saying the metrics are incomplete and represent a (sadly common) tendency to care more about being first than about being right.

    Judging a whole weekend by Friday night is like calling the U.S. Presidential election based solely on the results from the eastern seaboard.

  24. chris7crows says:

    Here’s a crazy idea: Maybe the movie is simply not all that great, and the domestic box office reflects that. No deeper cultural readings required.

  25. jimmy palmiotti says:

    why would anyone that enjoys comics wish a single negative thing towards watchmen? they gave it a shot…good or bad, i am glad it got made.

    and yeah, worldwide, it will be just fine.

  26. chris7crows says:

    “why would anyone that enjoys comics wish a single negative thing towards watchmen?”

    There’s a difference between “wishing something negative” towards “Watchmen” and observing that it’s not the most transcendent movie-going experience of our lifetimes.

    Besides, swap “Watchmen” with “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” in the preceeding sentence and tell me if the sentiment still holds.

  27. KET: If the actual profitability “simply doesn’t matter”, then I guess I miss what this conversation is about. If it’s just about the movie outsiders’ game of comparing the box office results to some expected box office results, I fail to see how that matters to anything. (And all of the talk of how this is a bomb, a flop, and the public just doesn’t want to see it is a bit odd on the movie that had the biggest first weekend of the year, the second-biggest second weekend of the year, the biggest first 10 days of the year.)

  28. Alan Coil says:

    The epitaph on the Watchmen movie:

    “Naked Blue Penis didn’t rise to the occasion.”

  29. not....guy says:

    “like all movies, they live or die on the strength of their story, direction, cast and acting.”

    Since when? Which alternate universe are you in where quality actually matters in the movie business?

    “And what I saw in Watchmen was bad acting, uninteresting actors, half-bright direction and a story that was hard to follow”

    Understandable, but I liked the actors and their performances and the director’s ability to tell the story and his directing choices and the story made more sense to me as a film than it did in TPB form.

  30. IIRC from my Stern media economics course, the percentage of ticket price kept by the studio is higher the first week of release and then evens out over the next 6 weeks or so, so there’s good reason for emphasis on first week. And with most films, you usually do have a pretty good idea how it’s going to do after Friday’s numbers come in. The longer one have few showings, so that skews, and every once in a while, you get a correction when the final numbers come in Monday, but there’s a normal pattern.

    Personally, I’ve found you can get a pretty good idea how a film will do by going to a noon showing on Friday and seeing how full the place is. If it’s packed, you’ve got a hit. If it’s half-full that’s normal. If it’s less than half-full, time to sweat.

  31. Man, I don’t get all the talk about Dr. Manhattan’s naked blue penis!? I swear, this country! In fact (ok, maybe this has something to do with being gay, Ha ha) I didn’t think there was ENOUGH blue penis! I mean, after all that hype, THAT’S all we got? I mean, it’s just there. It did nothing. Get over it.

    And WHAT is with all the hate thrown at poor Malin Ackerman? I thought she was great! In fact, she was one of the highlights of the movie for me! In a film so dark and brutal, she was about the only “light innocence” we had in the movie. I’m not sure WHY I thought of her character in that way, but that’s how she came across to me. I really thought she did a good job, and there seems to be so much dislike for her, on the net/in reviews. (And again, this is coming from a gay guy, so it wasn’t all about her “hotness” for me.)

    ALSO (I swear I’m not crazy. Go, watch it again closely) does she not look like the spitting image of a John Romita Jr. drawing! When they do side shot closeups of her face during the movie – her nose, the shape of her face, and the cut of her wig. Man, I have to do a side by side comparison! It was like John Romita Jr. sketched her into the flick! I know I sound seriously insane, but it’s true! I’ll have to mock up a side by side…

  32. tsj017 says:

    Saw it for a second time yesterday.

    Liked it even more upon second viewing.

    I honestly don’t get all the negativity. Ackerman and Goode were fine, the altered ending worked (it was different only in detail), I didn’t even notice the giant blue dong after the first couple of shots, the sex scene was no more laughable than any other Hollywood sex scene, and so on.

    Remember that Sam Hamm script that was circulating back in the early-mid 90s? Think about THAT. Think of just how badly Hollywood COULD’VE screwed this up.

    For a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster, it’s probably the best Watchmen movie we could’ve hoped for.

    Forget the haters. This was a great movie.

    And if it’s “tanking” at the box office . . . well, that just means that no studio pinheads will be clamoring for a sequel. Thank God.

  33. Alan Coil says:

    “Man, I don’t get all the talk about Dr. Manhattan’s naked blue penis!? I swear, this country! In fact (ok, maybe this has something to do with being gay, Ha ha) I didn’t think there was ENOUGH blue penis! I mean, after all that hype, THAT’S all we got? I mean, it’s just there. It did nothing. Get over it.”

    And doesn’t its blue coloring indicate coldness? Wouldn’t that also indicate shrinkage? Man, that thing musta been huge!

  34. Glenn Simpson says:

    I was sorta distracted by the fact that Akerman had a fake mole that wasn’t covered up by makeup but a real mole that was.

  35. So: initial Box Office failure, critical drubbing by the major reviewers, fanboys up in arms at the unfaithfulness to the source material, the general public turned off by the dark and dense storyline in an economic recession, and directed by someone who used to do tv ads and known for his visual flair in genre films— where have I heard this before?

    WATCHMEN is the new BLADE RUNNER. (Maybe.)

  36. Mark Coale says:

    I guess that would also make WITCH MOUNTAIN the new ET, going by the “kids movie that opened on the same day” parallel.

  37. Synsidar says:

    For those who are interested in tracking WATCHMEN’s box office revenues. Be warned that the slant on the second weekend’s take is decidedly negative. Negativists aren’t the only pooh-poohers, though; the professional analysts are also negative, reportedly.

    Nikki Finke has an entertaining piece on the difficulties of casting THOR. Natalie Portman fans should avoid reading it, though.

    SRS

  38. Alan Coil says:

    Salma Hayek as Jane Foster.

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