As we predicted Sunday, Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated ‘Interstellar’ did not gross $50 million for the three-day weekend (as well as falling behind #1 “Big Hero 6″/Buena Vista). Paramount is now reporting an actual gross of $47.510,360, with the five-day total at $49,661,813.
Paramount’s estimate assumed they would have only a 21% drop Sunday, which for a non-holiday non-summer Sunday would have been extremely unusual. It was, however, the only way that they could claim a $50 million weekend haul, which in media reporting (such as this) would have lessened some of the disappointment over the initial results. (Warner Bros., which is distributing this co-production internationally, is reporting an $82 million first three days, a bit ahead of their initial estimate.)
For “Interstellar” to overcome this initial disappointing start, the film will need
an unusually strong domestic hold and further strength continuing with
the better foreign returns. Anyone needing a dose of context
needs to realize that at $47.5 million, this places the gross among
pre-Thanksgiving fall openers behind not only “Gravity,” but such less
stellar offerings in previous years as “Paranormal Activity 3,”
“Jackass 3D” and “Taken 2.” And none of those came close to having
anything resembling the advance hype that Chris Nolan’s latest received.
Projecting gross estimates on Sunday morning is not an exact science, but figures more than 2.5% off for the weekend are unusual, since it means the daily estimate — because of Sunday’s share of the total weekend – -would have to be more than 10% wrong. And unless it is industry-wide because of unexpected factors (weather and unexpectedly strong TV/cable competition), most figures come in within a +/- 2.5% most of the time. This weekend, among the top 12 films, all but two fit within this range.
Apart from helping spin a negative narrative by making a gross look less problematic, the other reason for overestimates is to initially claim a higher position than deserved. That didn’t happen with “Interstellar,” which by Saturday clearly wasn’t going to beat out “Big Hero 6” (which managed to gross almost exactly what Disney estimated, coming in ahead by $15,000).
This might have been the reason for what seemed to be an overgenerous estimate for The Weinstein Company’s otherwise successful “St. Vincent.” As indicated yesterday, to get to their projected weekend number ($5,707,000 — their new number is $5,405,967, 5.3% lower), they would have needed to hold far better from Saturday than they had the previous Sunday (when they fell 50% for the day). And guess what –they ended up falling 45% for the day, not the dubious 35% they predicted to get the initial fifth place result.
“Fury” — which actually was up 2.3% from Sony’s estimate (actual $5,628,450, up from $5.5 million) looked yesterday like the real #5 and indeed was. Open Road’s “Nightcrawler,” was $3,000 ahead of “St. Vincent” in numbers available to industry sources this morning with both films having about 100 theaters unreported. This was 2.5% lower — $5,373,560 actual, down from yesterday’s $5,512,000, placing them about $32,000 behind rather than $3,000 ahead of “St. Vincent” for seventh place.