In my early days in Hollywood, when I focused more on the business of entertainment than I do today, I used to try to predict (before I realized there were websites dedicated t0 that very science) how well certain new releases would do at the box office on a given weekend. If I was egregiously wrong and a movie I thought would tank grossed over $100 million (as in the case of the 1999 release Double Jeopardy), I would make sure to see the movie to try to figure out why I had been so wrong. I did get some things right, predicting that Josie and the Pussycats and Gigli would tank, with the former’s total gross not even equalling its anticipated opening weekend take.
And while I think yesterday’s release, 2012, will open pretty well, largely on the strength of its special effects, it will see a serious drop-off and end up being a money-loser for Sony. Yea, the preview looks cool. Maybe that’s because the filmmakers concentrate on the amazing-looking effects and barely show the flick’s lead, John Cusack, an actor who lacks the screen presence to carry a movie.
Over at boxofficeguru.com (one of those aforementioned websites), Gitesh Pandya, anticipates a dynamic similar to the one I’m predicting
Though they get little respect, disaster movies are popular with the masses and are reliable sellers of tickets, popcorn, and soda. Audiences usually know that they’re not going to get a great story, but instead sit back and enjoy the special effects and all the destruction. With 2012, Emmerich has widened the deficit with visuals that are even more impressive while the script got even more ridiculous. But the effects and the intriguing doomsday plot should sell the picture in the short term. Word of mouth may not be very good so don’t expect much damage on the charts after Thanksgiving weekend.
Yeah, but disaster movies don’t sell as many tickets as they did in the 1970s.
And since my readers surely anticipated a political prediction with this post’s title, let me offer this: should Katie Couric keep her job as anchor of the CBS Evening News, by Election Day 2012, her audience will be smaller than that of the O’Reilly Factor.