The moviegoing public plopped a steamer in one of Frank Miller’s dumb hats this weekend, as Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (my review) took in just $6.477 million at the domestic box office this weekend. Not even Eva Green’s awesome boobs could save it.
How bad an opening was it? It was less than half of Expendables 3‘s $15.8 million opening, which itself flopped so bad the studios blamed it on piracy. In fact, Sin City 2 earned less than Expendables 3‘s second weekend take, which was off almost 60% from its opening. Out of the three new films opening in wide release this weekend, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For was number three, behind a YA weepie starring Chloe Moretz that grossed $16.3 million (on an $11 million budget) and a Christian-themed football movie from the studio that brought you Fire Proof ($9 million). Basically, Sin City 2 was more sparsely attended than Kirk Cameron’s birthday party.
Sequels usually do better than the original, provided people give a sh*t at all, but whereas Sin City opened to $29 million in 2005, the follow-up did slightly better than a tenth of that. And that’s without accounting for nine years of inflation and 3D ticket pricing. It’s actually stunning how little people gave a sh*t about Sin City 2, and I say that as someone who definitely didn’t give a sh*t about Sin City 2. Its prospects don’t improve much in the coming weeks either, as it received a dismal B- Cinemascore and 43% on RottenTomatoes.
The opening couldn’t be blamed on piracy this time, but there was another third party actor deserving of scorn: tracking companies. Those are the folks who help studios gauge public interest by polling people standing around the mall on a weekday morning. Apparently their predictions haven’t been entirely accurate of late.
Let’s just look at the past two weekends: TWC’s YA adaptation, The Giver was predicted at $20M and ended up at $12M last weekend while Millennium/Lionsgate’s The Expendables 3 was tracking anywhere from $20M to $25M and came in at $15.8M.
This weekend was just as bad. If I Stay was tracking in the low 20’s and will come in at $16.3M; Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For was tracking at anywhere between $16M to $19M and came in at $6.4M. When the Game Stands Tall was tracking between $10M and $11M and came in at $8.7M.
So… basically, lots of companies basing their ad buys, expectations, and greenlighting future projects based on faulty numbers. The Deadline piece blames the bad numbers on tracking companies’ inability to adapt their methods to a younger generation with different media habits, but whatever the case, studios not being able to trust tracking numbers could be a great thing. They’ve long used focus groups and tracking numbers and polling as a way to remove any personal responsibility for choices. It wasn’t my idea, I was just going by the numbers! I’m sure they’ll figure out new ways to track, but in the meantime, can you imagine a world where a studio exec chose projects based on what he actually wanted to see? It’s probably too much to hope for, but that would be wonderful. And that’s why if tracking companies end up dead I will enjoy metaphorically pissing on their graves.
You see that? I started with a poop metaphor and ended with pee. Versatility.