Can a Summer Movie Still Have Legs?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Keith Yatsuhashi, May 27, 2003.

  1. Keith Yatsuhashi

    Keith Yatsuhashi Stunt Coordinator

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    I was wondering this because of the large % drops we see now. With a new movie every week is there less incentive to see a movie more than once. Also, with DVD, knowing that you'll own (or rent) the DVD in a couple of months, does that eat into repeat viewings? Oh, and there's the hype machine too. Everyone goes the first weekend a movie opens, and the theaters are showing the biggies on so many screens that as many people as possible see it opening weekend.

    I'm just curious about it.
     
  2. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    My Big Fat Greek Wedding had legs, although i don't remember if it ever had a massive weekend.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    It all depends on the release pattern. Ever hear of My Big Fat Greek Wedding? [​IMG] A similar phenomenon is occurring this summer with Bend It Like Beckham, although that film's box office probably won't reach MBFGW territory.

    It's pretty well established that, if you front-load a release on 8000+ screens, then most of the box office will be on the first weekend. Having "legs" requires a different approach.

    M.
     
  4. Win Joy Jr

    Win Joy Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    IMHO, the era of seeing a movie running for months at the cineplex is over. I doubt you will ever see another "STAR WARS", or "Raider of the Lost Ark" running into the fall / winter.

    Part of the issue is the number of screen available. When I got to the movies, my theater of choice is a 24 screen setup. As an example, "Bruce almighty" was showing on 4 screens and playing every 30 minutes. They are capable of putting more people in the seats in such a short amout of time, hence the big box office numbers.

    My biggest concern is making sure that the theaters can survive with keeping movies for only 4 weeks... I know the $4.00 popcorn and cokes help. But I would love to see the books from a large multi-plex to see if they are really making any money.
     
  5. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    this is the area that the theaters actually make their money on...not the movies themselves
     
  6. Win Joy Jr

    Win Joy Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    I do not count "Greek Wedding" in the same manner. Yeah, it was around for a long time, but it started out really small, then grew. It was never a "blockbuster" that had legs...
     
  7. StevenA

    StevenA Second Unit

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    Titanic was a rare example of a blockbuster with legs.
     
  8. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    and i vividly remember Titanic having negative buzz beforehand.
    lots of talk about the suits being worried, the cost overruns, etc, etc.
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  10. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    To a certain extent, the studios want the box-office take front-loaded - if they can earn $200M in three or four weeks, that may actually be better for them than earning $250M in eight weeks, since they get 75% of the box-office during the first two weeks, but maybe only 50% for weeks seven and eight (note: example numbers pulled out of my ass; the figures are different for every movie). That's also why you might notice that a movie which does last four weeks or so can hang around a long time sharing a theater, since it becomes a better deal for the exhibitor.
     
  11. Keith Yatsuhashi

    Keith Yatsuhashi Stunt Coordinator

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    Responding to Win Joy about seeing another Star Wars....this is something else I was thinking about. It seems that the hype ends once the movie opens. It's all about the pre release hype now. Once the movie opens, it's suddenly old news...on to the next hype. Remember when Star Wars opened? It was "THE" news of the summer. It was ALL anyone talked about. The last movie to do that was Titanic, and that was an anomoly by then. Didn't mean to get off topic on a topic I started, but I think the 2 go together.
     
  12. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Also remember that George Lucas (at least for TPM) required the exhibitors to commit to showing his film for 8-12 weeks just to be able to play the film during the initial release of the film(s), so many theaters were contractually obligated to run TPM (and perhaps AOTC) far longer than they might have done so, if left to a simpler demand/supply model.
     
  13. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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  14. Win Joy Jr

    Win Joy Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith, you are correct. "Star Wars" did come out of no where. It was also in a limitied number of theaters, had no automated ticketing systems in place. Lines around the block. You just do not see that now with the advent of the super-sized multiplex.
     
  15. Keith Yatsuhashi

    Keith Yatsuhashi Stunt Coordinator

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    Win Joy,
    I was thinking more of the cultural phenomenon that was Star Wars. It was on every magazine cover through out the summer. It had a Christmas special. It was talked about everywhere. In 2003, it seems that we focus on a film alot before it opens. It's hyped by the studios on all the entertainment shows, it's on the magazine covers etc. BUT, after the film opens, everyone's attention moves to the next movie. That wasn't the case with Star Wars. In the summer of 1977, there was only Star Wars.
     
  16. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    There was an article about this exact thing in the recent issue of Entertainment Weekly. Basically it said "Gone are the 2 month long runs. You are either a success in 2-3 weeks or you are out." That seems to be about true as most blockbusters earn ~50-75% of their final grosses in the first two weeks. Exceptions to every rule of course. But I doubt we will ever see an Episode I requirement again: the must run for 12 weeks, because the theatres just won't stand for it as they will be the ones losing money by not having enough screens for the most recent blockbuster to come out of the gate. And now with DVD being such a second wind for most movies, it doesn't make sense to try and keep a movie on the big screen when it is making a limited draw for an audience. Instead they want it out in a new form for people to buy it.

    Another interesting part of the article was that it said that people have been reconditioned to think "I must see this movie on opening weekend." I think that is pretty true, as the only reason I still watch movies in a multiplex is because I like seeing it with a large group of people on opening day with all of the excitement that surrounds it. But repeat viewings usually don't happen with me now since I know the dvd is just around the corner. X2 and Matrix Reloaded were exceptions this year. [​IMG]
     
  17. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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  18. Keith Yatsuhashi

    Keith Yatsuhashi Stunt Coordinator

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    I was talking to someone in my state's film dept. (the division that tries to attract filming to the state) and he said that its all about the number of screens today. The ratio is like 5-1 in terms of the number of screens today to the number of screens in 1977. He suggested looking at the number of times a movie was shown per day in 1977 versus how many times a day it is shown today. His thinking (without actually doing the math) is that the actual on number of tickets sold to a movie would even out. It's just that the movies are now front loaded, giving more people the opportunity to catch the movie the first weekend.
     
  19. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Part of it, though, is also the size of crowd it initially appeals to, and whether or not it is something that can attract unique repeat business.

    For example..

    Guy takes GirlA to see Titanic.
    They break up.
    Guy takes GirlB to see Titanic [​IMG]

    Same was true with several films. And kids films tend to have long legs because kids enjoy seeing something they like repeatedly.. or with different groups of kids.. for example:

    Billy takes his birthday party guests to Shrek
    Three weeks later, Tim takes guests to Shrek

    Kids enjoy saying "Oh the good part is coming.. " [​IMG]

    Thus is why I believe "Finding Nemo" will do well.

    The same logic (date/did you get that) type logic goes for the best example of Summer Legs I can think of.. _Something About Mary_
     
  20. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    Chris you forgot:

    Guy breaks up with GirlB
    GirlB and GirlA go see Titanic. [​IMG]

    I definately expect Finding Nemo to have the slimmest declines over the summer. This also happens to be Pixar's first summer release so that should be interesting to watch.
     

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