It’s time to put away the crying rags for September.
Virtually every box office story this month seems to want to apologize for these crappy films that open in September, as though the month is some sort of closet for the industry’s sins.
But give distributors, especially Jeff Blake and the entire team at Sony and Screen Gems, for turning late August/September into as good a time to open as movie as there is in the half of the year that is not the summer or holiday season.
In the last seven weekends, we have had eight opening weekends of more than $10 million:
Resident Evil: Apocalypse - $28 million
The Forgotten – est. $22 million
Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow - $19 million
Exorcist: The Beginning - $18 million
Hero - $18 million
Without A Paddle - $14 million
Anacondas - $13 million
Cellular - $10 million
The five weekends of last October, presumably a better time to release a movie, delivered nine opening weekends over $10 million:
Scary Movie 3 – $48 million
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – $28 million
Kill Bill – $22 million
School of Rock – $20 million
Out of Time – $16 million
Radio – $13 million
Good Boy – $13 million
Intolerable Cruelty – $13 million
Runaway Jury – $12 million
Now, of course that list of openings is more impressive... but not that much more impressive. The average for this year’s late Aug/Sept. launches is about $18 million. The average for last October’s big openers is about $20.6 million. And if you take away the $48 million start for the big sequel, October’s average drops to $17 million.
And look at the titles… of last October’s winning openers only Good Boy and Radio could be seen as September-type titles, though Columbia was pretty high on Radio going into release last year. But the only movie with any star power this September – and we know that Jude Law and Gwyneth and Angelina can only open some movies – is Sky Captain. On the other hand, last October’s list is huge sequel, huge genre remake, QT’s 4th, Jack Black in a near perfect Jack Black vehicle, Denzel, Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. as a mentally challenged guy, a dog, George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Oscar Jones, and Dustin, Hackman and Cusack together.
My point being… shift the October schedules into September and you might see no difference at all… and if you did see a difference, it would probably be towards the better, with less competition for the Human Stains and House of The Deads of the world.