Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trouble With The Strip Mining

Oh dearie me ...

The studio and Aladdin director Guy Ritchie launched a global casting call in March to find the stars for the musical based on the hit 1992 animated film [Aladdin], about a street kid who teams with a genie to woo the princess Jasmine. ... But finding a male lead in his 20s who can act and sing has proven difficult — especially since the studio wants someone of Middle-Eastern or Indian descent (the animated film is set in the fictional Middle Eastern city of Agrabah). The original casting call specified that production was slated to begin by July, but the search has dragged on, with Disney and Ritchie having to go back to the drawing board multiple times. Sources say there have been several rounds of tests in London, with the actors coming in for up to two weeks at a time. “The test process was a mess,” says one agent with a client who tested. ...

The long-term sorrow, of course, is that ... at some point ... the studio will run out of old animated features to replicate in live-action, and then they'll have to resort to doing live-action versions of the CG features. Difficult to tell how that ploy will turn out.

I'm certain we can all agree that going with the tried-and-true is safe, sane and profitable. Which is why Diz Co. does it. Being fresh and original is so over-rated.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Animated Box Office

Despicable Me 3 slips to second place as Spidey occupies the top position on the box office list:


1). Spider-Man: Homecoming (SONY/MARVEL), 4,348 theaters / $51.2M-$51.5M Fri. (includes $15.4M previews) / 3-day cume: $125-127M /Wk 2

2). Despicable Me 3 (UNI/ILL), 4,535 theaters (+6) / $11.4M Fri. (-61%) / 3-day cume: $37.3M (-48%) /Total: $152.4M Wk 2

3). Baby Driver (SONY), 3,226 theaters (0) / $3.9M Fri. (-35%)/ 3-day cume: $13M (-37%)/ Total cume: $57.1M / Wk 2

4.) Wonder Woman (WB), 3,091 theaters (-313) / $2.9M Fri. (-33%)/ 3-day cume: $9.9M (-37%)/ Total: $368.6M / Wk 6

5). Transformers: The Last Knight (PAR), 3,241 theaters (-891) / $1.8M Fri. (-63%)/ 3-day cume: $6M (-65%)/ Total cume: $118.6M / Wk 3

6). Cars 3 (DIS), 2,702 theaters (-874) / $1.7M Fri. (-43%) / 3-day cume: $5.6M (-42%) / Total: $133.7M / Wk 4

7). The House (WB), 3,134 theaters (0)/ $1.5M Fri. (-55%) / 3-day cume: $4.7M (-46%)/Total: $18.5M/ Wk 2

8.) The Big Sick (AMAZ/LGF), 326 theaters (+255) / $1.1M (+105%) / 3-day cume: $3.3M (+106%) / Per screen: $10K /Total: $6.6M/Wk 3

9.). 47 Meters Down (ENT), 1,740 theaters (-510) / $862K Fri. (-38%) / 3-day cume: $2.7M (-40%) / Total: $38.4M / Wk 4

10.) The Beguiled (FOC), 941 theaters (+267) / $661K Fri. (-37%) / 3-day cume: $2.1M (-32%)/Total: $7.4M/ Wk 3

Despicable Me 3 is breaking records overseas, and now owns a global box office total of $350 million. Captain Underpants is currently DreamWorks Animation/Universal's low budget, Canadian-created under-performer, with approximately $80 million at the worldwide box office.

And Car 3 will be the weakest entry in the Cars series, having grossed about $190 million at the world box office. (But don't think ticket sales here, think kiddie merchandise!)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Pixar Schmixar

You want to consider a cartoon company not named Pixar that's had a lot of hits, how about this one:

... How Illumination Entertainment got to $5B+ [in world wide grosses?] Here’s a rundown of the major titles: Despicable Me ($546M), Hop ($188.7M), Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ($350.8M), Despicable Me 2 ($975.8M), Minions ($1.167B), The Secret Life Of Pets ($876.5M) and Sing ($633.2M). ...

Then of course there is the third iteration of Despicable Me, which has, as of yesterday, collected $286.8 million across the globe. The rollout is still in its early stages, and DM3 looks to be on its way to "sizable hit" status. One of the reasons the franchise continues to be successful? Those clever French directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda are experts at constructing sight gags*. Which is what animated cartoons used to be about, no? (And we mustn't forget the sight gag heritage left by the late Jacques Tati).

Illumination Entertainment is also adept at designing and producing animated features where the dollars show up on the screen. Imagine that.

* The trailer above, released last December and seen by 30+ million people, is a fine example of the gag on top of gag on top of gag scaffolding that Messrs. Coffin and Balda love to construct.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 4th Cartoon Box Office

Holiday box office was down from last year, but the running tallies for your animated epics are as follows:


1) Despicable Me 3 -- Universal, $72,434,025, 4,529 locations, $15,993 average, $99,020,280, 1 Week.

5) Cars 3 -- Disney, $9,689,279 (-60%), 3,576 locations, $2,710 average, $125,350,795, 3 Weeks

15) Captain Underpants -- 20th Century Fox, $1,114,612 (-74%), 1,452 locations, $768 average, $69,798,274, 5 Weeks.

Cars is the high-budget candidate of this trio. Cars 3 cost $80 million, while Captain Underpants came in at $38-$40 million. All three will go into profits.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Warren Buffett's Wingman

Charlie Munger is the "junior" partner at Berkshire-Hathaway (Mr. Buffett's company), but he knows investing and knows what makes capitalism work. He's got three truckloads of useful knowledge stored in his head on these subjects, and isn't shy about sharing them.

One takeaway regarding the 2008-2009 meltdown? Simply this:

[The country] went way too far in financial de-regulation. People were making so much money and the economy was doing so well because it was being puffed up by this idiot boom and idiot expansion of consumer credit, that everyone thought, "Oh, isn't this wonderful?"

Your life for the next three weeks would be very pleasant if you went on heroin. But it would totally destroy you over the long pull. And that's what the economy does when it allows itself to be seduced by the potential for an idiot boom ... and to allowing all this gross immorality and craziness to take over.

The man does not keep his opinions hidden under a bushel basket. It's interesting that Charlie Munger calls de-regulated markets immoral and crazy. (What kind of Republican IS he, anyway??) Also interesting that he points to the fact that markets drop like stones every so often, and that truly effective investors have the fortitude to ride the declines out.

Both he and Warren advocate buy-and-hold investment strategies. Both of them know that, with investing, patience isn't just a virtue, it's a necessity.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Your Star-Spangled Box Office

So animation, she seems to be doing well, no?


1). Despicable Me 3 (UNI/ILL), 4,259 theaters / $29M Fri. (includes $4.1M previews)/$24.3M Sat/ $19.1M Sunday/ 3-day cume: $72.4M /Wk 1

2). Baby Driver (PAR), 3,226 theaters / $5.7M Wed. (includes Tuesday preview of $2.1M) / $3.3M Thurs. / $6M Fri. /$7.7M Sat/$6.8M Sun/ 3-day cume: $20.5M / Total cume: $29.5M / Wk 1

3). Transformers: The Last Knight (PAR), 4,132 theaters (+63) / $4.9M Fri. / $6.5M Sat/$5.5M Sun/3-day cume: $16.8M (-62%)/ Total cume: $101.9M / Wk 2

4.) Wonder Woman (WB), 3,404 theaters (-529) / $4.4M Fri. /$6.1M Sat/$5.3M Sun 3-day cume: $15.7M (-37%)/ Total: $346.2M / Wk 5

5). Cars 3 (DIS), 3,576 theaters (-680) / $3m Fri. /$3.6M Sat/$2.8M Sun/ 3-day cume: $9.4M (-61%) / Total: $120.6m / Wk 3

6). The House (WB), 3,134 theaters / $3.3M Fri. (includes $800K previews) /$3M Sat/$2.4M Sun/ 3-day cume: $8.7M/ Wk 1

7.). 47 Meters Down (ENT), 2,250 theaters (-221) / $1.37M Fri. /$1.7M Sat/$1.4M Sun 3-day cume: $4.49M (-36%) / Total: $32.4M / Wk 3

9.) The Beguiled (FOC), 674 theaters (+670) / $1.05M Fri. /$1.2M Sat/$1.2M/$902K Sun/3-day cume: $3.1M (+1279%)/Total: $3.5M/ Wk 2

9.). The Mummy (Uni), 1,760 theaters (-1,112) / $835K Fri. /$1.1M Sat/ $984K Sun/3-day cume: $2.9M (-51%)/Total: $74.7M / Wk 4

10.). Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (DIS), 1,674 theaters (-682) / $724K Fri. /$963K Sat/$836K Sun/ 3-day cume: $2.5M (-53%)/ Total: $165.6M / Wk 6

So you've got an animated feature at #1, a semi-animated feature at #3 (giant robots count, don't they? Even if the frenetic cutting and jumping around give audiences a headache?). You have the latest Pixar epic rolling along at #5.

And then there is Captain Underpants lurking below the Big Ten with a $70 million gross. This is probably way below what DreamWorks/Universal was hoping for, but since the film had a cost somewhere around $38-$40 million, thanks to all the Free Canadian Money, the picture should eke out a profit when all world markets are counted.