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Monday MouseWatch : "Meet the Robinsons" keeps moving forward, while "Grindhouse" grinds to a halt. PLUS new "Pirates 3" images !

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Monday MouseWatch : "Meet the Robinsons" keeps moving forward, while "Grindhouse" grinds to a halt. PLUS new "Pirates 3" images !

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There is this rather brutal business-related saying. Which -- at various different times -- has been attributed to Gore Vidal, Genegis Khan, Larry Ellison, David Merrick and Attila the Hun.

"It is not enough that I succeed. My enemies must fail."

Now, given that I know that several executives at Walt Disney Studios actually subscribe to this theory ... Well, these guys must be downright giddy about what just happened at the box office this past weekend.

To explain: Even though four major studio films (I.E. Sony / Revolution's "Are We Done Yet ?," 20th Century Fox's "Firehouse Dog," the Weinstein Company / Dimension Films' "Grindhouse" and Warner Bros. "The Reaping") all went into wide release this past Friday, "Meet the Robinsons" still managed to hang onto the No. 2 spot on the box office chart.

Okay, sure. Business did fall off a bit for this Steve Anderson film during its second weekend in release. But only by 32.3%. Which -- when you compare that number to the 61.9% fall off in business that "TMNT" experienced over its second weekend in release ... Well, that's still pretty good.

Copyright 2007 Warner Bros. / The Weinstein Company

The $17 million that "Meet the Robinsons" pulled in this past weekend (As opposed to the $25.1 million that Disney's latest animated feature earned over its first weekend in wide release) suggests that this CG film now has some reasonably good word of mouth going for it. In particular, people who have seen this movie in the Disney Digital 3D format seem to be talking that version up to friends & family.

And given that the 3D "MTR" earned a record $7.1 million last weekend (More importantly, that preliminary figures for this past weekend suggest that the Disney Digital version of this new CG feature may have done as well if not better than the previous weekend) ... Well, it appears that this picture has developed some legs.

And then when you factor in the $52.2 million that this Steve Anderson film has earned over the past 10 days ... It now looks like "Meet the Robinsons" will be able to achieve blockbuster status (I.E. Earning over $100 million during its initial domestic release) by the end of April. Which -- again -- means that this film (in the long run, anyway) won't be a "Chicken Little" -sized success. But on the other hand, it won't be a flop either.

Which is fairly good news for WDFA employees. Who were feeling rather blue this past week over their new movie's debut. Given that "MTR" failed to beat "Blades of Glory" and take the top spot on the box office chart last weekend.

But now ... Even though "Meet the Robinsons" still lingers behind that Will Ferrell comedy ... The mood at the Mouse House is much improved this Monday morning. Mostly because Disney's week-old animated feature managed to kick "Grindhouse" 's butt at the box office this past weekend.

Copyright 2007 The Weinstein Company

Okay. Admittedly, this Steve Anderson film has a time advantage over that Quentin Tarantino / Robert Rodriguez co-production (Translation: Because "Meet the Robinsons" is only an-hour-&-32-minutes-long versus "Grindhouse" 's bladder-bursting three-hours-&-11-minutes running time, that means that Disney's newest animated film can then squeeze in twice as many screenings per day as this new Weinstein Company release can). Plus since "MTR" is rated G, whereas "Grindhouse" is a fairly hard R ... Well, that means that "Meet the Robinsons" had a much larger pool of potential customers to draw audience members from.

But brushing aside all of those rationalizations / logical explanations ... Disney execs are still chortling over the fact that "Meet the Robinsons" managed to out-gross "Grindhouse." Mostly because this means that the Weinstein Company's cold streak at the box office is continuing.

You would think that -- given that Harvey & Bob left Disney back in September of 2005 -- that the bad blood between the Mouse and the former owners of Miramax would have dissipated by now. Well, think again. Mostly because the Weinsteins have been so aggressive about trying to horn in on Disney's toon turf (I.E. Over the past 19 months, Harvey & Bob have acquired the North American distribution rights to four CG features: "Hoodwinked," "Doogal," "Arthur and the Invisibles" and "TMNT." While seven other animated features -- "Igor," "Escape from Planet Earth," "Cricket in Times Square," "The Nutty Professor," "Opus," "Azur & Asmar" and "Hoodwinked II: Hood Versus Evil" -- are now making their way through the Weinstein Company's distribution & development pipeline) ... Mickey now takes much pleasure in charting each & every mis-step that Bob & Harvey make.

So when a heavily promoted, high profile project like "Grindhouse" only brings in $11.5 million over its opening weekend ... Well, that's one of those moments that those Disney execs who genuinely believe that "It is not enough that I succeed. My enemies must fail" just live for.

Mind you, these Mouse House officials shouldn't get too smug. After all -- just last week -- DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg told a group of investors at a Bank of America conference that he expects that "Shrek the Third" will come out on top in the Summer 2007 box office derby. Mostly because the second Shrek sequel is just 81 minutes long. Whereas "Spiderman 3" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" are both expected to be close to three hours in length.

Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation

As Jeffrey explained it:

"Everyone is going to see Shrek. Everyone is going to see Pirates. Everyone is going to see Spider-Man. The difference is which one of those movies are going to get multiple viewings ... ("Shrek the Third" is) 81 minutes long. That pretty much means we are going to tend to get one-and-a-half to two shows for every one of theirs because they are longer films."

So the very reason that "Grindhouse" got tripped up at the box office this past weekend may come back to haunt Disney when "At World's End" rolls into theaters on May 25th.

Speaking of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" ... Very quietly over the last day or so, that film's official website finally went live. So if you'd like to scope out some "POTC3" goodness (Like -- for example -- the image capture below) ...

Copyright 2007 Walt Disney Pictures / Jerry Bruckheimer Films

... Or -- better yet -- our very first up-close look at all of the Pirate Lords ...

 Copyright 2007 Walt Disney Pictures / Jerry Bruckheimer Films

... Then I suggest that you click on this link ASAP.

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  • "Shrek" the highest grossing movie of the year? Forget it, I think "Pirates" will take the number one spot again, or else "Harry Potter". I do think "Shrek" will be the highest grossing animated movie of the year, and quickly following "Shrek the Third" will be "The Simpsons Movie".

    I believe the rumor that Disney executives are giddy about the Weinstein Co. not doing as well as expected, but hey. They did finish 9th last year, so they're having some success in distribution. Mostly live-action though, because the animated movies they acquire just aren't that great. "Hoodwinked" was okay, but the animation was.. Very bad, it wasn't even up to the level of animation of "Toy Story" and that was ten years ago. Same goes for "TMNT." I hope the animation of "Igor" and "Cricket in Times Square" will be better, 'cause their stories look nice.

  • All I know is that to me, Grindhouse perfectly accomplished everything it set out to do, and was very entertaining.  Robinsons, on the other hand, failed to entertain me in any way.  

    Also: Robinsons did well on a holiday weekend as the highest profile kids' picture in wide release, and on fewer screens the hard-R Grindhouse failed to beat it with Easter weekend film goers.  Next week Grindhouse will probably do better, and Robinsons will probably do a lot worse.

  • I'm glad that "Meet the Robinsons" is doing good. I was worried that it was going to be a total flop. I enjoyed that movie very much and I hope it continues to survive. Hopefully it will become a sleeper hit.

    As for "Grindhouse", I'm surprised it didn't do well as most expected. I thought it was going to get the same amount of audiences as "300".

    I saw "Grindhouse" and it was a really exciting and funny movie, on par with "Snakes on a Plane" (content-wise and financially in B.O. terms). The theatre was filled with people and everyone had a blast while watching. I live in the west coast and I read that the movie did well on both the west coast and east coast. Yet, it didn't do good in the south and mid.

  • I agree with empoor- POTC or HP will gross more than "Shrek the Third".  I'm hoping POTC will beat out HP, but only time will tell.  Jeffrey Katzenberg said that "everyone" will be seeing the new 'Shrek' film...many people don't like those films (and one, of course could argue, that many people don't like POTC).  But, looking at Box Office Mojo, the POTC movies did better than the 'Shrek' movies.  I'm assuming that trend will continue.

  • I find it odd that Disney would, in any way, compare MTR against Grindhouse. I can imagine that, on any level, these two films are competing for the same audience.

    Silly ....

  • Every now and then I come across a bit of news that just baffles me, regarding the way the AMerican public thinks. How can this Will Farrel movie still be on the top spot; how can someone actually release a sequel to that LL Cool J movie (the first one thankfully came direct to DVD down here, so as not to waste our screens); and how can Grindhouse, one of the most antecipated movies of the year open in FOURTH really is beyond me.

    And for the record, I wouldn't dare make a prediction for the year's B.O. winner. There's just too many blockbusters coming. And frankly, I don't care. 2007 is just posing out to be the best year in movies for any silver screen fan.

  • Like the Bowler-Hat-Guy's hat, Meet the Robinsons does indeed have legs. Cool!

  • Isn't Grindhouse the first big exploitation film to come out since the Captivity billboard controversy? I'm sure that didn't help.

    And who at Disney really revels in Weinsteins not doing well? Obviously, doing better than your competitors is the stuff that stock increases are made of- but it's still not this Highlander nonsense. Disney doesn't make the same movies and Weinstein makes extra efforts to make their animated films on the cheap.

  • I'm glad that Robiinsons is doing good. In fact I intend to see it this afternoon in 3D. I do get irritated though at hearing weekend box office reports. What I mean is this. We have such an instant gratification culture that executives expect sucsess on the very first day. Yeah I know, that's business.

  • MKCustodial: LL Cool J? Did you ever saw the first movie or stills from it? It's obviously Ice Cube..

  • 1) MTR's drop is especially small considering it is Easter weekend (which normally sees 40+% drops for movies as people don't usually go to the movies on Easter Sunday) and considering it had 2 new family films opening. Comparitively, Ice Age and its sequel each dropped 40% in the frame, as did Robots. Also in the same Easter frame, HotR opened to a mere $13.8 million and The Wild opened to $9.7 million.

    2) As it is tracking way ahead of Open Season now (it is already $8.6 million ahead and the gap is constantly increasing), it should (*hopefully*) cross the magical $100 million mark. This movie deserves so much more though.

    3) Pssst, Jim.... FOUR new films debuted wide this weekend.... you forgot family film Firehouse Dog. Even though it flopped, it still debuted wide (and provided competition).

    4) As for the Box Office Fest 2007..... the stats are well behind either Shrek 3 or Pirates 3 winning the summer (and at the same time, the year itself). Harry Potter has yet to cross the $300m mark since the 1st in the series, so I'm prepared to say that won't win. Spider-man 3 will no doubt offer up uber-competition, but being that the SM2 did worse than SM1, I think it will have to settle for third place. Now Shrek and Pirates hold up their own very well. Shrek 2 made $441m domestically (Pirates2 being just $18m behind) and Pirates 2 made $1.065 billion (Shrek 2 being just $145m behind). Even more astounding with those numbers is that while Shrek 2 had a 93m runtime, DMC had nearly twice the run time. So yes, I'm rooting for AWE and will predict it will be the number one film of the year domestically and will battle it out with HP5 for worldwide box office.

    "How can this Will Farrel movie still be on the top spot;"

    Because it is hysterical. ;)

    "how can someone actually release a sequel to that LL Cool J movie"

    Pssst..... Ice Cube :)

    "and how can Grindhouse, one of the most antecipated movies of the year open in FOURTH really is beyond me."

    In a year containing Spider-man 3, Shrek the Third, At World's End, Harry Potter 5, Ratatouille, Rush Hour 3, National Treasure 2, Even Almighty, and many other high profile films, Grindhouse is far from one of the most anticipated films of the year. And obviously everyone has different tastes, most peopole just didn't go for that movie.

  • I think it's surprising how many people ARE hoping MTR does well.  ( I haven't seen it, so I'm not saying I DON'T want it to do well).  

    It seems like a hit CG movie would be just another strike against the resurrection of traditional animation at Disney.  I just think it's surprising that we haven't heard from traditional animation fans hoping for this movie to trip itself up, to send a message to the heads of Disney Feature Animation.."We want traditional animation!"

  • How can the Weinsteins seriously be contemplating an animated version of The Nutty Professor? Have they already forgotten about the Eddie Murphy version? Sorry, but no new version of The Nutty Professor will ever beat Eddie. And they're just killing themselves by making a sequel to that horrid Hoodwinked film.

    As for Meet the Robinsons, I still haven't seen it, but it's cool knowing that people out there still have faith in Disney animation. I thought another film it would have trouble against would be was Are We Done Yet?

    Also, I think askmike proves a pretty good point about how Pirates may hold up against Shrek. I still have yet to hear any real complaints about the Pirates franchise, whereas Shrek....yeah.

  • I'm actually really excited to see how things go, you know? As for MTR I think it was a step in the right direction for Disney. This film doesnt totally disregaurd what walt would have wanted, it had heart.. I think that's an important aspect in any kind of film. To me, MTR was like a message from Disney "the old disney is coming back"... Disney just needs to gain it's trust back from the people.

    We'll just have to see what really comes next

  • <<I just think it's surprising that we haven't heard from traditional animation fans hoping for this movie to trip itself up, to send a message to the heads of Disney Feature Animation.."We want traditional animation!">>

    But that would contradict their whole philosphy that "it's not about the medium but about the story." Point is, a good movie is a good movie despite how it is animated. And regardless, we already know Frog Princess is coming out, it will be traditionally animated & also we pretty much know Shrek 3 will make loads of money, so CGI wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon.

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