Monday, February 09, 2009

Solid opening weekend for Coraline

Coraline had a $16.3 million US domestic box office for its opening weekend. Not a block buster, but not bad, either.
If you apply a 'standard' multiplier of 3.5 (opening weekend x 3.5) they're projected to bring in about $55-60 million before the film leaves US cinemas. The film reportedly cost $60 million to make. Anytime a film's total domestic box office covers its production costs you are in a great position. Add in international box office and DVD sales and any merchandizing and things add up nicely. While certainly not Shrek-like profits, this is a solid win for Laika. They have gained enough of a toe-hold as an animated film studio to warrant a second film. Too bad their sophomore effort got scuttled, but I expect with the encouraging results for Coraline that they'll redouble their efforts to get film #2 (whatever it may be) up and running. This is a good thing. The animated film marketplace needs a studio that is willing to make films like Coraline. And I hope that Framestore in the UK can also keep in the game and make more films. Critics raise valid points regarding the lost opportunities and narrative stumbles of both Coraline and The Tale of Despereaux, but those stumbles endear the films to me. I'm always partial to value the journey over the destination. I far prefer the early unsure efforts like Disney's Dumbo & Pinnocchio over the polished and formulaic films that followed. It's more inspiring to see folks striving to find something than it is to see someone try to recapture and repeat a previous success over and over again. May there always be new studios trying different things, stumbling their way to find their own voice in the wilderness. They may not produce perfection, but then who ever said perfection was a sensible goal anyhow?


Tim said...

I think it's interesting that all of the major players (except Disney) have only been open since the mid-90s, after Lion King & Toy Story set records.
Everyone (including the overlords at the House of Mouse) forgot that only 2 or 3 of the films released under Walt's reign made a profit on their initial box office release. (Snow White, Cinderella & The Jungle Book - yes I know JB was released right after Walt passed).
From 1937 to 1988-ish (the Little Mermaid/American Tale era), conventional Hollywood wisdom said animated films are a money pit.
Walt somehow manages to stay afloat by looking at the long haul.

(This is going to get long. I'll finish on my own blog.)

David Beer said...

Hi Keith

2 questions, could you elaborate on the Laika movie that got 'scutttled'? Is that Moongirl? what happened?

Also, we were trying to figure out, If a Movie cost $60 million to make, is that including marketing? and when you see the box office takings, is that excluding the Cinemas share? Despereaux cost roughly the same (though i was lead to believe that didnt include marketing, and that marketing is usaully the same cost as production?) so i was just trying to figure out if It was actually doing well or not.

I totally agree with you, i hope we see some more 'brave' movies in the future

Tim said...

Can I weigh in on the answer here, too, Keith?
David, there are many budget figures that are thrown around for every film. There is the one that gets publicized that doesn't have much bearing on reality. You know the type - Between 45 & 50 million!!! You think they don't know down to the penny what they spent? Hype, hype, hype.

But that publicized budget usually just reflects the production budget (roughly). It won't include back-end agreements, pre-production development money, etc.

Studios don't broadcast what they spend on advertising.

The real, actual production budget, only a handful of people are privy to. And, of course, the P&A budget can equal or surpass the production budget on a large film, and on some films (sadly) come to half of the production budget ("Igor). It depends on how much faith the studio has in the product.

It's all a risk vs reward scenario.

So when the trades report what a film makes in a weekend, that is the gross. The studio & distributor & theater all get a chunk. Many agreements have varying percentages by week: The first weekend, the studio/distributor will get most of the box office take, and every following week, the theaters get a higher percentage.

Some people will quote you actual percentages, but I'm sure everything is negotiable, picture by picture. Remember, theater chains have to bid on what films they want to book months in advance. They will give the studios the best deal possible to fill their seats with popcorn & sugar consumers.

Keith Lango said...

Thanks, Tim. I've nothing more to add, really. :)

Andrew Lee said...

I've been reading that really really big Disney autobiography by Neal Gabler. In it he describes how Walt and Roy,at first, shopped their product directly to the theaters. No middle man distributers and non-sense.

Obviously it was a different time and all, but is this still a viable option?

If not.....why?

David Beer said...

Thanks for the Info Tim
So what appeared to be a relativley good result on Despereaux is maybe not that good.

Although i didnt see that many Adverts in the UK, though i get the impression they targeted the US more.

Im sure they must have spent more on production than reported too, as things were running quite a few months overdue