A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

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A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by W on Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:33 am

A dozen possible bargains for various reasons

No matter what I, Buscemi, Shryke, Geezer and everyone else that make up the pricing list do, every pricing list period has its share of breakout hits. What I'm saying is we screw up or things change that we couldn't forsee coming. (the latter mostly :)) We miss out on correctly pricing films like Obsessed, The Hangover, The Ugly Truth, et al. This article is about finding our pricing faults and giving you some films to keep an eye on the next few months. I'm going to give you a list of films that are primed to make the big dough but have some fault right now (or something we don't see) that needs fixed, or a reason will come up to make it big, before it comes out. I guarentee you that at least a couple of these will be 6xes.

Most films this pricing list have a ceiling of their price tag (if you consider a 5x as justification). I in no way am saying that all of these films will be great, but they have the best chance to have a 6-7x or more.

(Though I think larger films can be bargains, I did "Slate Anchors" last week, so I won't include any of those on the list. If I did include those, both "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and "Couples Retreat" would rank high on it.)

Zombieland $10 (HSX: $58.20)
Why its on the list: It has a great trailer that is getting buzz for being the funniest looking film (to some) since The Hangover. Woody Harrelson seems to be in top form.
What it has to do: Mass promotion on tv/etc. More importantly, maybe, is that it has to actually be good and not be one of those completely disposable films that gives you the best parts in the trailer.
W thinks: While it could creep over the $60 M mark, $50 is more like it. One of the few films that will probably justify their price this pricing season.

The Road $9 (HSX: $39.33)
Why its on the list: It's an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize winning book from the writer that was endorsed by Oprah's Book Club. I'm not sure how often Oprah endorses books with cannibalism in them, but I doubt it isn't too often.
What it has to do: First and foremost, it has to be advertised well. Secondly it needs to be as good as the source material.
W thinks: For a Pulitzer winner that's sold millions and was endorsed by Oprah to be only $7, it really doesn't have to do much. I don't think it'll dissapoint, but who knows if it'll truly break out.

Amelia $8 (HSX: $39.70)
Why its on the list: Oscar bait film about a well know American historical figure. Hilary Swank doesn't lose.
What it has to do: Be good. Amelia Airhart has always been a mysterious figure and a biopic will get people in the door, if its good they will get their friends to come along as well.
W thinks: I don't think they can completely screw this up. $30 M is about the floor and if it takes off, it could fall almost anywhere below $100 M.

Whip It! $7 (HSX: $31.01)
Why its on the list: Drew Barrymore has always been able to draw a crowd. Kristin Wiig and Ellen Page aren't too shabby either. But, I'm wondering if the material is going to catch on with the general population.
What it has to do: It has to promote itself as a female movie that men wouldn't mind watching. Anything other than that will probably be confusing to the audience.
W thinks: As it is, it looks like a film that's going to get released and not do that well. Keep an eye out for changes though.

Law Abiding Citizen $9 (HSX: $37.58)
Why its on the list: Explosions, violence, Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx.
What it has to do: Make sure that people forget Gamer and look at this as a cat-and-mouse thriller instead of a pure action film.
W thinks: It looks good, but will people want to see action at this time of the year? Action films get bogged down a lot of the time. This one, though probably has enough "thriller" to it to break out a little, though.

Love Happens $7 (HSX: $32.29)
Why its on the list: Jennifer Aniston makes high grossing films.
What it has to do: Start promoting tomorrow!
W thinks: It's a dud rom-comedy, but worth looking at next week.

The Men Who Stare at Goats $4 (HSX: $35.64)
Why its on the list: Star power (Clooney, McGregor, Spacey, Bridges) and hilarious trailer. And it could be good counter-programming to A Christmas Carol.
What it has to do: Make it seem less weird somehow.
W thinks: It looks a little too weird for mainstream. It is only $4, so it will probably make enough to justify picking it even if it is a little off-mainstream. Plus, HSX likes it.

The Box $7 (HSX: $39.57)
Why its on the list: Reese Witherspoon, premise.
What it has to do: It really should play up the Witherspoon angle while trying to keep it a thriller. Can it be done? Probably not.
W thinks: It's probably going to tank, though it may be good. I don't think its going to get promotion.

The Blind Side $5 (HSX: $36.35)
Why its on the list: Good story with Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. Playing during the NFL season.
What it has to do: Advertise on the NFL's games. Wives will see it and drag their husbands to it.
W thinks: It's probably a decent bet to do well considering the price and that Bullock is in it. Think of it this way, if it hits All About Steve numbers, it's probably ok.

Planet 51 $10 (HSX: $53.36)
Why its on the list: It's a cartoon in November.
What it has to do: Present itself as an alternative to Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar.
W thinks: Its probably not worth it.

If I had to choose now (and I kind of do), I'd choose Zombieland, The Road, The Blind Side, Goats, Citizen, and Amelia on some slates. How about you?

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by undeadmonkey on Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:24 am

erm, W. the box doesnt have witherspoon, its Cameraon Diaz
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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by Shrykespeare on Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:35 am

What I would choose:

Law Abiding Citizen - Action films can do fine any time of year. I don't think "forgetting" Gamer will be a problem given that so few people seem to know about it to begin with. F. Gary Gray movies tend to be advertised well. It's really the only action thriller in October, and may have legs for a solid month.

The Men Who Stare at Goats - Too weird for mainstream? I heard that appellation put on District 9 once upon a time. This cast sells itself. It may not get the widest release platform, but for $4, I'd snap it up in a flash. 11/6 is very crowded right now... I'd be surprised if at least one title didn't change places before then (if I had to bet, I'd say The Fourth Kind).

The Blind Side - For $5, to not take this near the Thanksgiving Holiday would be silly. This SHOULD have been Sandra's next film after The Proposal, but surefire Razzie winner All About Steve just had to go and pee in the fruit punch. (Sigh.) In the heart of football season, this looks like a great family film, and great counterprogramming for adults against Planet 51 and New Moon.

Planet 51 - This one is being marketed VERY well. I've seen trailers and posters out the wazoo, but let's face it... the week that The Princess and the Frog hits theaters everywhere, this one will be old news. Let's hope it can pack them in for its first 2-3 weeks.


What I wouldn't pick:

The Road - early critical buzz on this film has been god-awful. I don't care if Oprah endorsed the book, it won't be enough to stem the tide of bad reviews.

The Box - Buscemi pegged it... it looks like a bad ripoff of a Twilight Zone episode. They should have kept it on Halloween weekend, where it would have been the only new film. Where it stands, it'll barely make a ripple. And it's Cameron Diaz, not Reese Witherspoon, BTW.


Jury's still out:

Zombieland - This film looks like a cult classic in the making, like Shaun of the Dead. Most people consider Shaun to be a hilarious work of genius, but it only made $13 million in theaters. I think Zombieland could do $50M, but no more than that.

Amelia - Just because it's a biopic with Hilary doesn't mean it's Oscar bait. If it was, they wouldn't be releasing it in October. And though I love Ms. Swank, this movie looks like more style over substance.

Whip It! - Good for Drew for her directorial debut. I like the cast, but what is the demographic here? A lighthearted comedy involving roller derby? I have a hard time picturing this as a big moneymaker.

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by Buscemi on Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:11 pm

Actually, I've been seeing a bunch of ads for Love Happens (on TV and on at least three different websites). Also, Universal will surely get Aniston and Eckhart to promote it on the talk shows. I still think it can do decent numbers.

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by transformers2 on Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:08 pm

Nice article W. I think Zombieland,Planet 51 and Law Abiding Citizen would be the best picks out of that bunch.
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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by silversurfer19 on Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:48 am

Shrykespeare wrote:The Box - Buscemi pegged it... it looks like a bad ripoff of a Twilight Zone episode. They should have kept it on Halloween weekend, where it would have been the only new film. Where it stands, it'll barely make a ripple. And it's Cameron Diaz, not Reese Witherspoon, BTW.

That would be because it is.

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by A_Roode on Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:58 am

Interesting that there has been so much ripping on 'The Box.' Yeah, Hollywood fooled me once by proving you actually could ruin something that Richard Matheson had been involved with (I Am Legend) but I'm looking forward to seeing it. Langella is enough of a counter to Marsden and Diaz to not deter me performance-wise. Throw in Richard Kelly's ever active imagination script and direction -- I'm there.
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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by Buscemi on Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:55 am

I can't believe Richard Kelly still has a career.

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by silversurfer19 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:10 am

Sorry, I didn't try to slate The Box. I do hope it will be good, as I particularly enjoy that episode of The Twilight Zone, and I am a fan of Kelly's (and one of the few fans on here of Southland Tales). I'm just interested to see what he can do with an already very good short.

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by Buscemi on Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:11 am

After the overbloated Southland Tales, he'll probably overbloat The Box.

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by silversurfer19 on Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:17 am

Hopefully not, as its not a story that needs to be too complicated, it's quite simplistic (as many of The Twilight Zone episodes are) and hopefully just some good direction and acting will suffice to make the story a success.

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by A_Roode on Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:00 am

Agreed Surfer. All they need to do is focus on characters with a difficult moral decision and not only do they have me hooked, they'll likely have made a compelling movie that will hook a lot of other people too. I like Richard Kelly a lot, even in his failures he's a very interesting film-maker. I applaud his failures if they come from being overly ambitious or too broad in scope. 'Southland Tales' failed as a film but it was mesmerizing to watch. Never, if this makes any sense, have I so enjoyed and been enthralled by a movie that I gave a 4/10 to.

It's hard to go wrong with Richard Matheson. I'm more worried about Cameron Diaz but as I think she's slightly unlikeable, that might actually be a bit of genius casting on their part, *lol*
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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by numbersix_99 on Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:33 am

I've my doubts over Zombieland- I think comedy horror zombie flicks have their limitation- it's very much a fanboy audience and even $50mil would be a huge surprise
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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by geezer9687 on Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:28 am

They have a terrific trailer though and its getting a pretty good push. I think its going to be a nice success.

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Re: A Dozen Possible Bargains for Various Reasons

Post by W on Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:06 am

geezer9687 wrote:They have a terrific trailer though and its getting a pretty good push. I think its going to be a nice success.

I've been thinking (and saying) this for a while. Hopefully we're not wrong because it looks good.

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