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Scott Mendelson Breaks Down Tarzan’s Surprising Friday Box Office

Legend of Tarzan (Movie), Legend of Tarzan Box Office

I was going to break down the box office news on Legend of Tarzan but Scott Mendelson at Forbes has been up early and already done a good job of it. His bottom line is about what mine is at this point — that the surprisingly good Friday projects to a way better weekend than experts were expecting, but it still falls short of a clear “Win”.  What it does, though, is put Legend of Tarzan into the range where a big overseas result really could push it over the top — and also, it’s only Saturday morning and word of mouth may cause the projection for US domestic to go up a bit more between now and Monday.  Here is Mendelson.

Budgets matter. That’s one lesson for The Legend of Tarzanthis weekend. The good news is that the Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc./Village Roadshow production opened a bit better than I was expecting over this holiday weekend. The film earned $14.04 million on its first day, including $2.55m in Thursday previews and $1.4m in IMAX alone. That means we’re probably looking at a Fri-Sun total of around $36m and a Fri-Mon cume of around $43m.

Considering how little heat the film had going into the weekend, and how bad the reviews turned out to be, that’s a genuinely pleasant surprise and a marketing triumph. If this David Yates film had cost $120 million to produce instead of $180m, I might be calling for a minor celebration. But that insane $180m budget means that Warner and friends are still betting on massive overseas interest. They may get it, but that’s a “wait and see” proposition.

Read the full article.

I’m not sure why he calls it “marketing triumph” …. the marketing only got it to the point of tracking $30M coming into opening day.  And the critics panned it (not all, but 33% Rotten is 33% Rotten, even if it did get fav reviews from New York Times, Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Village Voice) ….. the only thing it had going for it was, duh, the film is actually quite good and fans recognize tht even if critics don’t.  (More analysis of that to come.)

Anyway, that’s a quibble. Overall, I think Mendelson is spot on.

One thought on “Scott Mendelson Breaks Down Tarzan’s Surprising Friday Box Office

  • I think he calls it a marketing triumph because Mendelson seems to have had it in for LOT since the HR article.
    This doesn’t mean this isn’t a pretty decent analysis, it’s just that after having read some of his other articles he’s not as smart as he thinks he is. And it’s not that he’s a mean person, he just seems more susceptible to industry gossip and group think than he’s aware of. Just my take on him.
    But he’s correct that budgets matter, and even more important perceptions of budgets matter. So whatever LOTs real budget is, doing much better than was predicted even a day ago helps with the perception of it not actually being a flop in regards to budget.
    And while the media’s been focused on LOT and its perceived lack of box office muscle, it looks like The BFG is not doing well at all. So while it’s received good reviews both from the audience and critics, the word of mouth doesn’t actually seem to be that enthusiastic. Unlike the word of mouth for LOT and, from what I can tell, The Purge.

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