Thursday, April 1, 2010
A presumptuous release date
If I told you that Clash of the Titans and The Last Song were both opening this week, which one would you think was getting the head start on Wednesday?
You'd guess it was the 3D sword-and-sandal epic, which is serving as the unofficial start to the summer movie season, right? Not the small teenage romance starring Miley Cyrus?
You'd be wrong.
The latest Nicholas Sparks movie, starring the erstwhile Hannah Montana, is in fact opening today, a Wednesday. Time was, this day of the week was reserved only for when the movie in question was so big, one single weekend wasn't enough to contain the demand. You know, your Star Warses, your Batmen, your Indiana Joneses.
But a teen melodrama whose director cut her teeth on episodes of Grey's Anatomy, whose only recognizable names other than Cyrus are Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston?
Granted, Cyrus has a sizable following, and so does Sparks. But neither has had an unqualified box office hit. Cyrus' and Sparks' movies have made a tidy profit on small budgets, but neither has had a film that truly captured the zeitgeist.
So what's the deal with the Wednesday release date?
Well, Sparks' material typically has religious overtones. And it is Easter this Sunday. And it is Good Friday this Friday. Perhaps the studio thought releasing it on Good Friday would prevent Christians from doing ... well, whatever they're supposed to be doing on Good Friday?
I do see that the film was originally scheduled to be released on January 8th, which may be a truer sign of its actual quality (the reviews have been negative). But then "spring break/Easter weekend" was deemed a "more appropriate" release date, according to wikipedia. It doesn't say anything about why the release date was moved up two additional days, and all I can find is speculation from excited teenage bloggers of the female persuasion.
Well, presume all you want, Last Song. But my prediction for this weekend, even extended to five days: $19 million, $25 million if you're lucky. Which should total out to $40-$50 million over the course of your theatrical run.
But, at least you've got those extra two days.