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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Will We Ever Get a Film Sequel to Ender's Game? Probably Not (SPOILERS) (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Will We Ever Get a Film Sequel to Ender's Game? Probably Not (SPOILERS)
Jeff C.
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Is it pro-scientology? I never actually watched the movie. I couldn't give another one of his films a shot after the tragedy that was The Last Airbender. How does it promote scientology?
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Samprimary
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Yeah the whole thing is basically a representation of the scientology journey to being a Clear. well, okay, not 'basically' but actually rather absolutely and comprehensively. It's even got a painstakingly rendered volcano from the Dianetics cover on it.

It's entirely Will Smith's gig. He got MNS to direct it kind of on a mercenary level.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Yeah the whole thing is basically a representation of the scientology journey to being a Clear. well, okay, not 'basically' but actually rather absolutely and comprehensively. It's even got a painstakingly rendered volcano from the Dianetics cover on it.

It's entirely Will Smith's gig. He got MNS to direct it kind of on a mercenary level.

I guess it's worth pointing out that there is no real evidence about Smith being a scientologist.

And After Earth - Which I enjoyed as Shyamalan's best film since Signs and a solid YA adventure - uses very traditional scifi tropes, with very common, universal themes throughout. The claimed "scientologist" elements it uses are very common in these types of stories. And at least to me, it seems it has a lot of elements which are directly contra-dictionary with the supposed scientology message.

Yes, Smith is friendly with scientology, as he is friendly with several religions. He considers it a legitimate philosophy/religion. Since a lot of people consider criticizing scientology a "you are either with us, or against us" issue, this raises eyebrows. But being friendly with scientology isn't exceptional in Hollywood, where the religion has a fairly noticeable presence.

(Speaking as someone who has a fairly strong dislike for scientology).

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Samprimary
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quote:
And After Earth - Which I enjoyed as Shyamalan's best film since Signs and a solid YA adventure - uses very traditional scifi tropes, with very common, universal themes throughout.
Scientology itself is science fiction, so it's hardly surprising that a story clearly basing itself around scientology's auditing process would resemble a bunch of science fiction tropes.

Whether smith is a scientologist or a 'student of world religion' who happens to have gotten a movie made which is clearly deliberately written as a story about engrams and clearing and literally Study Tech as a means to unlocking ultimate human potential, he ... did exactly that, made a movie about engrams and clearing and literally Study Tech.

And he's almost certainly a scientologist.

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FoolishTook
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Tuukka, I also really enjoyed After Earth. I consider it yet another one of Shyamalan's grossly underrated movies. But I don't think he appeals to wide audiences. It's okay, as long as he keeps making movies for those of us who do love his films. [Smile]

Back to Ender's Game: seeing it drop so many spots was depressing, especially since a few changes here and there, another 10 - 20 minutes of movie, could have given it lasting power. And that's what a non-comic book movie needs, word-of-mouth recommendations, some buzz from critical reviews, etc.

<curmudgean> They should NOT have tried to sell this to tween/teenagers. Seriously, I hate to make a sweeping generalization, but are there any teenagers left smart enough to grasp a story like Ender's Game? This movie had depth, because the story has depth, but it was presented in a way that was more shallow than necessary to keep it light for the kids.</curmudgeon>

Maybe the movie will have secret staying power, though. I want to see it again. I want to own it. With the special effects, amazing visuals, however, it could have been a masterpiece.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
And After Earth - Which I enjoyed as Shyamalan's best film since Signs and a solid YA adventure - uses very traditional scifi tropes, with very common, universal themes throughout.
Scientology itself is science fiction, so it's hardly surprising that a story clearly basing itself around scientology's auditing process would resemble a bunch of science fiction tropes.

Whether smith is a scientologist or a 'student of world religion' who happens to have gotten a movie made which is clearly deliberately written as a story about engrams and clearing and literally Study Tech as a means to unlocking ultimate human potential, he ... did exactly that, made a movie about engrams and clearing and literally Study Tech.

And he's almost certainly a scientologist.

Well, that sounds like a vague assumption after another. Concrete evidence would be better.

I'm aware of the accusations After Earth got. Like this Hollywood Reporter article, which is one of the best known criticisms of the movie:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/a-scientologist-reviews-earth-guest-561310

I find that article and its arguments easy to tear apart.

But I'm not going to debate with the writer of that article, as he is not visiting this forum, and it would be pointless. I can't debate with you either, unless you would give detailed arguments.

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Samprimary
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The argument for After Earth being heavy-handedly allegorical or even directly about dianetical belief is one that can be summed up as "Too Many Coincidences" — at some point there's just way too many obvious references to be able to ignore them. Even if you discount the end of the movie, which is basically designed as around the attainment of Clear through the destruction of an engram while literally being on the visual representation of Dianetics.

I guess I could start by quoting DENSETSUCRASH in his explaining the Will Smith part of it.

quote:
Will Smith, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and their children Willow and Jaden are Scientologists. They have never publicly admitted to it, but Will Smith has said:

“I just think a lot of the ideas in Scientology are brilliant and revolutionary and non-religious [... ] ninety-eight percent of the principles in Scientology are identical to the principles of the Bible [...] I don't think that because the word someone uses for spirit is 'thetan' that the definition becomes any different.”

This is a dead giveaway as to their allegiance to the CoS, because a common tactic by the CoS and its members is to claim that the church body is religiously diverse. (You will remember the infamous training video where the "Scientology minister" tells the narrator that people of all faiths are welcome in the CoS.) They do this to seem more reasonable and accepting, and to make it feel like Scientology is more of a life philosophy to win more converts than a conventional religion (even though they use their claimed status as a religion for tax-exemption).

But that's not the strongest evidence, which is Will and Jada's ownership and support of the New Village Leadership Academy, a private elementary school in Calabasas, California.

Will and Jada opened the school in 2008 and it is funded almost entirely by private donations by the Smith family ($1.2 million in 2010 alone). Before they enrolled their own children in the school, they were homeschooled, and in 2004, the Smith family made a $20,000 donation to an organization called the Hollywood Education and Literacy Program, licensed by a nonprofit called Applied Scholastics, which is, in turn, a CoS front organization focused on educational outreach.

Moreover, the school's leadership consists almost entirely of active Scientologists. In addition, a former school administrator was pressured to leave because she did not agree with the school's extensive use of Study Technology, which is an education method created by LRH. The NVLA's use of Study Tech is basically the nail in the coffin as far as the Smith family's association with CoS.

Why? Because only Scientologists use Study Tech.

It is similar to other methods like the Montessori method because anyone can purchase and use Study Tech, but the only people that bother to use it are Scientologists because it doesn't actually work. Study Tech focuses on LRH as the ultimate authority on learning and, in turn, students slowly get indoctrinated to the teachings of the CoS.

I cannot stress enough how important Study Tech is to the CoS. LRH himself said:

“Study Tech is our primary bridge to Society.”

It is essentially "auditing for kids" in its three principles: the use of physical objects or models sculpted out of clay, the endless repetition of lessons and recitations, and a focus on defining unfamiliar words. Each of these processes is literally repeated over and over again with a particular lesson, without alteration, until the student "learns" it. I've heard it's absolutely excruciating to actually go through, and a lot of professional educators say it has little to no value in the classroom.

But to Scientologists, it's the only way to learn, because LRH invented it, and LRH is always right.

Study Tech is also extensively used, in a more complex form, in the CoS front organizations Narconon and Criminon. In those organizations, it essentially mimics Dianetics auditing procedure.


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Craig Childs
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I was disappointed in the movie.

First: Having read all 13 or so books over a 20 year period, I kept expecting the movie to go into more detail. I realized later much of that detail wasn't revealed until the sequels.

Second: While I really enjoyed the first half of the movie, watching Ender struggle through Battle School, the Command School sequences felt very anticlimactic on the big screen. It was inherently un-exciting to watch kids commanding battle ships in a bunker, safe from all the fighting. It felt important and exciting on the printed page, but it just didn't translate on the screen. Plus, it was hard to see how Ender's Battle School tactics translated into the bugger battles.

Third: The best subplot of the book, involving Peter and Valentine manipulating Earth politics, was cut. Without this, a lot of the gravitas of the story was missing.

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by C3PO the Dragon Slayer:

I think the Ender's Game movie could have been better with no more than just 10-20 more minutes to let us see more of Battle School and how Ender trains Dragon Army, and perhaps set aside a little more time to develop Ender and Valentine's relationship. The accusations of the movie being "rushed" seem to focus mostly around the middle and end of Ender's Battle School arc. Everything else was surprisingly well-paced, I thought. [/QB]

Agreed. That was what was missing in my opinion. I didn't think the movie felt rushed in the way that the editing was done, the pacing was more deliberate, with the exception of the lake scenes.

To contrast what I mean, Harry Potter 1 is a movie for me that felt like it was rushing through the source material in its early pacing.

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FlyingCow
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After 17 days, Ender's Game has grossed an estimated $53.8M (based on this past weekend's estimates).

Here are the domestic grosses for some other movies through 17 days, for comparison (total domestic gross in parentheses):

Pacific Rim: $84.2M ($101.8M)
Jumper: $64.8M ($80.2M)
John Carter: $62.4M ($73.1M)
Eragon: $56.4M ($75.0M)
After Earth: $55.0M ($60.5M)
Ender's Game: $53.8M (TBD)
Spiderwick Chronicles: $52.3M ($71.2M)

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by Craig Childs:
While I really enjoyed the first half of the movie, watching Ender struggle through Battle School, the Command School sequences felt very anticlimactic on the big screen. It was inherently un-exciting to watch kids commanding battle ships in a bunker, safe from all the fighting. It felt important and exciting on the printed page, but it just didn't translate on the screen. Plus, it was hard to see how Ender's Battle School tactics translated into the bugger battles.

I feel the opposite way. I think the Command School arc was excellent, while the Battle School arc felt rushed.

What drives the tension of the Command School arc in the book is Ender's emotional state. It's practically a foregone conclusion that he can win every battle the simulator throws at him; it's a question of whether he will stay sane through it all. The movie didn't emphasize that as much, but it was still there. Ender is shown to have doubts about whether he is able to keep going, about whether he will be doing the right thing in fighting the Formics without trying to talk to them, etc. And there's the scene where he suffers heavy losses and gets chewed out by Mazer, and when he abandons all of his carriers except Petra's to get to surface of the Formic homeworld, to show that he's making sacrifices that he wouldn't so readily make in the real world.

As for the Battle School tactics translating to the simulator... 1) the Battle School students are shown to be studying space warfare and orbital mechanics, and 2) Ender's entire strategy for the final battle basically mirrors the formation he used in the final Dragon Army battle: create an impenetrable human shield to protect the most vital unit and use it to catch the Golden Snitch. Does the strategy hold up to scrutiny? Not really; the Formics should have been able to pick off all the drones well before Ender reached the planet. But it is a pretty deliberate translation of the strategy he used with Dragon Army.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
After 17 days, Ender's Game has grossed an estimated $53.8M (based on this past weekend's estimates).

Here are the domestic grosses for some other movies through 17 days, for comparison (total domestic gross in parentheses):

Pacific Rim: $84.2M ($101.8M)
Jumper: $64.8M ($80.2M)
John Carter: $62.4M ($73.1M)
Eragon: $56.4M ($75.0M)
After Earth: $55.0M ($60.5M)
Ender's Game: $53.8M (TBD)
Spiderwick Chronicles: $52.3M ($71.2M)

Domestic gross is getting to be kind of totally useless, though. 75% of pacific rim's box office gross was non-domestic. Ender's Game is sitting around 9%.
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scifibum
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Dang I should have seen it at full price instead of matinee.
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FlyingCow
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Sure, but Pacific Rim is a bit of a special case - it was pretty much designed more with the Asian market in mind than the US market.

Most movies aimed at the US market, like Ender's Game, don't pull 75% of their gross overseas. It would be more accurate to pull other science fiction adaptations, and see what their overseas gross percentage ended up as.

Still, though, Ender's Game isn't exactly in "sequel" territory as far as SF/Fantasy adaptations.

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Samprimary
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point being that in that list, the items in question are really not as close as they seem in terms of their box office take. not inna least.
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FlyingCow
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Updated, now that there are official numbers ofr the weekend (EG at $53.6M after 17 days). Also included overall gross for each film, and resorted by that gross.

Pacific Rim: $84.2M ($101.8M/407.6M)
John Carter: $62.4M ($73.1M/$284.1)
Eragon: $56.4M ($75.0M/$249.5)
After Earth: $55.0M ($60.5M/$243.8)
Jumper: $64.8M ($80.2M/$222.2)
Spiderwick Chronicles: $52.3M ($71.2M/$162.8)

Ender's Game: $53.6M (TBD/TBD)

Looking at them, it appears as most of them did very well overseas, making more than 25% of their total take - and that Pacific Rim isn't really that much of an outlier percentage-wise.

So, taking the worst and best of those numbers (taking the 17-day gross as a percentage of total), we can get a very, very rough ranging on where Ender's Game might end up - falling between $59-73M domestically, and $167-244M overall.

Very much doubt that would warrant a sequel.

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Samprimary
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right now ender's game is about 85% domestic take. its worldwide gross is $63,138,185.
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scifibum
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How widely has it been released?
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FlyingCow
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Worldwide gross numbers are always delayed, usually by weeks or months. Movies aren't released in every country on the same day, and it takes time for some countries/regions to report grosses. (In EG's case, only 23 countries have reported grosses so far, and some of those are just opening weekend tallies)

So, it's not really worthwhile talking about dollar figures worldwide after just 17 days. Best we can do is predict what they will be months down the line.

I think it's a fair assumption that EG will gross in the $60-75M range domestically based on how it's done so far - domestic grosses are fairly predictable after the first few weeks, for most films. It may surprise, but it's going to get hammered by Catching Fire this weekend.

It's also a pretty safe assumption that between 50-75% of its worldwide gross will be overseas, when all is said and done. So, in several months, when it's out of all theaters worldwide, and the final tally is in - it will likely be somewhere in the $120-300M range. Probably closer to the $180-240M range.

As far as how widely it's been released, it opened at 3,407 for its first two weekends, and was reduced to 3,236 for its third weekend. That will drop again going into the 4th weekend. It's currently the #7 grossing movie, and Catching Fire (multiple screens) and Delivery Man are being released on Friday.

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FlyingCow
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Weekend grosses are in.

EG dropped from 3,236 theaters last weekend to 2,035 theaters on Friday. It took in an estimated $2.0M over the weekend to bring its total to $57.2M after 24 days.

This is just about the same amount After Earth had made by the same time ($57.4M) - but by the 24th day, After Earth was down to just 1,166 theaters (and just 331 the following weekend). So, EG may end up passing it domestically, though foreign totals are still a long way out.

This weekend sees Homefront (2,500 theaters) hitting theaters, which will cut into EG's screen count again. Black Nativity (1,500 theaters) may also. (Edit to add: Missed the fact that Frozen is also opening/expanding to 3600+ theaters, and The Book Thief to 1000... this weekend could easily see EG drop to fewer than 1000 theaters)

The following weekend (Dec 6th) sees no wide releases, but will probably be the last chance for EG to bring in any domestic box office dollars. On Dec 13th, Hobbit 2 and Madea's Chistmas both release wide, which will put EG's theater count down to low triple digits.

It's doubtful at this point that EG will crack $62M domestically, or a bit more than half its stated production budget. That still puts it on pace for the low-$200 millions, worldwide, though.

Edit #2: Updated estimates to final weekend numbers.

[ November 25, 2013, 04:31 PM: Message edited by: FlyingCow ]

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FlyingCow
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Just a thought on theater count.

Ender's Game was 11th on the list of top domestic grossing movies this weekend, but had the 8th most theaters. Only 13 movies were shown in more than 1000 theaters, nationwide.

Next weekend will see Frozen (3600, expanded from 1), Homefront (2500), Black Nativity (1500), and The Book Thief (1000, expanded from 70) all opening... which will likely bump a few movies from that list of 13.

Most likely candidates to drop would be:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 ($770 per-theater average in 1,121 theaters)
Ender's Game ($972 avg in 2,035 theaters)
Captain Phillips ($1100 avg in 1,656 theaters)
About Time ($1190 avg in 1,050 theaters)

No other films making less than $1300/theater for the weekend were being shown in more than 350 theaters.

For perspective, EG's per theater grosses by weekend were:
Week 1: $7930
Week 2: $3011
Week 3: $1859
Week 4: $972

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BlueWizard
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Ender's Game is currently at $79.3 million worldwide. Given the addition of DVD/BluRay sales and rentals, and perhaps a bit of merchandising, I suspect it will earn its money back or close to it.

Also keep in mind that many people considered this movie unfilmable. Like all books, the movie was cut to the barest of bones with little time for character development. But, given the complexity of the story they had to tell, I thought they did a pretty good job of it, and the special effect were excellent.

Where they can go from here is not clear. The remaining stories are not Teen Action Films. They are more complex and psychological. I would love to see the story of Bean, but how could a movie ever do that justice? Further, even if the age up the characters, give the story arc, how could Bean be played by one actor?

Just a thought.

Steve/bluewizard

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FlyingCow
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I honestly have no idea what their target "break even" point is. They have their stated production budget, however accurate that may be, but there's also the marketing expenses, the various taxes I'm sure they have to pay on the gross revenue (both domestic and foreign), the cut for the theaters themselves... and the dozens of other "expenses" that make it so that no movie ever makes any net profit.

The door to a sequel, though, is looking like it will be pretty firmly closed.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
(Leaving aside the fact that the "budget" includes post-release payments from revenues and is relatively meaningless when trying to assess whether a film is financially successful for those involved.)
hooray, someone UNDERSTANDS
I think at this point it's actually possible that the right people didn't make their money back on this one. While the public figures are obscure and largely meaningless, the film dropped nearly 70% in box-office in two weeks, which, considering the opening weekend was not exactly rain-making, means that the product probably won't recoup the actual costs of making the film, much less marketing it.

That's the hardest part to pin down: This movie had to cost at least 50 Million dollars to make in upfront costs, and I think it may have cost more, although that's very hard to say, as CGI has dropped so much in cost, and the movie is quite clearly shot on a budget when you look at it closely (the locations and shooting schedules include VERY little coverage, which is a money-saver). And the marketing was at least another 20 million by my totally uneducated guesses. I don't think the revenues justified the costs.

I actually expected this type of production when I heard it was Gavin Hood directing. He saved Marvel a ton of money when he shot that awful Wolverine movie by essentially faking very expensive effects with less expensive ones, and shooting them so few people would notice the difference. But again, if you look closely, there is very little of the production that is not right on the screen. Whereas a more expensive piece would create more effects than it needed, I believe Hood had all the 3d shots composited AFTER the cut was made, which means he never really worked with the CGI elements as a narrative device- he just added them to the shots. Cheap, but you can tell it's happening if you know where to look.

There are always people that make money on these types of films, but when stated revenues are HALF of what the stated budget is, we can be sure that someone lost quite a bit of money somewhere, or just as bad for execs, failed to make what they said they would. Enough to encourage them not to follow on with future investments.

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Samprimary
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no yeah EG is effectively a box office bomb (it did worse to its investment than After Earth definitely now) but it has luckily managed to avoid news appearances of such.

When After Earth came out and bombed it was getting crushed by other releases. When EG came out it was competing against some animated bird second stringer and Bad Grandpa's second week, so it topped the box office and that's usually what was reported. Pretty good timing tbh

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Ron Lambert
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I doubt if there will be any sequels to the movie, Ender's Game. The sequels were all way too cerebral for the silver screen.

The new prequel novels are very action-oriented, and could be made into movies quite well.

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FlyingCow
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Wow... so, according to boxofficemojo, Ender's Game was no longer in theaters as of Wednesday of last week.

The daily index stops on 11/26 with a total of $57,738,864 - there is no daily entry after that. It also does not show in the weekend index.

That's weird. Maybe there's just a glitch in their software?

According to moviefone.com, it's appearing in 657 theaters nationwide right now (which is more what I'd expect).

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scifibum
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Maybe some of their data entry people are on vacation and they are only updating the top titles.

...Nope, "Last Vegas" has ongoing updates. Hmm!

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FlyingCow
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Okay, it's back. That was weird.

So, EG made $1.2M this past weekend, and it dropped to 843 theaters. That brings its total to $59.4M.

It also popped up to $1,441 per screen, given the huge drop in total screens (-1,192) and demand not matching that drop. With no big titles being released this weekend, it may hang in at about $1M next weekend again before disappearing almost entirely the following week (in the face of Hobbit 2 and Madea's Christmas on 12/6) then probably out of theaters by 12/13 (wide release date for Anchorman 2, Walking with Dinosaurs, and American Hustle).

Looking like its final US tally will be around $62-63M or so. Given a rough spread on percentage of foreign revenue (60-75%), that would put its worldwide gross potential somewhere between $150-250M.

Some other recent sf/fantasy/adaptation films near that worldwide box office range:

$284.1 John Carter
$260.5 Lone Ranger
$249.5 Eragon
$245.5 Dark Shadows
$243.8 After Earth
$226.9 Immortals
$225.7 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
$222.2 Jumper
$219.9 Green Lantern
$215.3 Sorcerer's Apprentice
$211.8 Battle: Los Angeles
$198.5 Total Recall (2012)
$197.7 Jack the Giant Slayer
$162.8 Spiderwick Chronicles

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umberhulk
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
After 17 days, Ender's Game has grossed an estimated $53.8M (based on this past weekend's estimates).

Here are the domestic grosses for some other movies through 17 days, for comparison (total domestic gross in parentheses):

Pacific Rim: $84.2M ($101.8M)
Jumper: $64.8M ($80.2M)
John Carter: $62.4M ($73.1M)
Eragon: $56.4M ($75.0M)
After Earth: $55.0M ($60.5M)
Ender's Game: $53.8M (TBD)
Spiderwick Chronicles: $52.3M ($71.2M)

Domestic gross is getting to be kind of totally useless, though. 75% of pacific rim's box office gross was non-domestic. Ender's Game is sitting around 9%.
Oldboy made 850,000 on its opening weekend.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Given a rough spread on percentage of foreign revenue (60-75%), that would put its worldwide gross potential somewhere between $150-250M.
I'm confused. If it's only made 60 million worldwide so far, how could it possibly make 150-250m?
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Samprimary
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oldboy is so much of a disaster that it goes in the extreme outlier category, next to 'mars needs moms' and other bs
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FlyingCow
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
quote:
Given a rough spread on percentage of foreign revenue (60-75%), that would put its worldwide gross potential somewhere between $150-250M.
I'm confused. If it's only made 60 million worldwide so far, how could it possibly make 150-250m?
For a couple of reasons, Jeff.

First, foreign releases usually don't have the same release dates as US releases. While EG was released on 11/1 in the US, other countries are on a different timetable. For instance, Denmark only released EG as of 11/28. It's very possible that some countries still haven't seen EG hit their theaters.

Second, foreign box office numbers are usually a lot slower to come in. For instance, Russia has one the highest reported box office for EG outside the US. That total, though, is only as of 11/17... so it's missing 2 weekends worth of reported revenue. Some countries probably have released the movie already, but the revenue numbers still haven't come in. The total foreign box office revenue won't be final for probably 3 months or so.

Right now, EG is reporting $25.4M in foreign take, which accounts for just 29.9% of its total. Big budget SF/Fantasy movies usually do fairly well overseas, and end up seeing as much as 75% of their worldwide gross outside the US.

That would mean that EG's final US take (estimated by myself to be in the $62-63 range), would end up being about 25-40% of the worldwide gross.

We probably won't know until February, or so.

As a base of comparison, John Carter (another SF novel adaptation, albeit of a far older book) made just $73.1M domestically and $211.1M overseas (74.4%). On the other end of the spectrum, Spiderwick Chronicles (a fantasy novel adaptation), made $71.2M domestically and $92.6M overseas (56.3%).

EG will probably see a foreign take that is somewhere between these two poles, percentage-wise.

To use specific numbers, if EG ends up making $62M and the foreign take ends up at 60%, that would put the worldwide revenue at $155M. On the other hand, if the foreign take ends up at 75%, that would put the worldwide revenue at $248M.

My guess is that it will end up around $210-230M, when all is said and done.

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FlyingCow
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Looking like $62M domestic might be a stretch, at this point.

Weekend tallies came to just $483,974, in just 603 theaters ($796 per theater). Its domestic total is now $60.2M, and at this point it may not crest $61M.

No update on foreign box office tallies this week, which are still showing as $25.4M.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:
quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
quote:
Given a rough spread on percentage of foreign revenue (60-75%), that would put its worldwide gross potential somewhere between $150-250M.
I'm confused. If it's only made 60 million worldwide so far, how could it possibly make 150-250m?
For a couple of reasons, Jeff.

First, foreign releases usually don't have the same release dates as US releases. While EG was released on 11/1 in the US, other countries are on a different timetable. For instance, Denmark only released EG as of 11/28. It's very possible that some countries still haven't seen EG hit their theaters.

Second, foreign box office numbers are usually a lot slower to come in. For instance, Russia has one the highest reported box office for EG outside the US. That total, though, is only as of 11/17... so it's missing 2 weekends worth of reported revenue. Some countries probably have released the movie already, but the revenue numbers still haven't come in. The total foreign box office revenue won't be final for probably 3 months or so.

Right now, EG is reporting $25.4M in foreign take, which accounts for just 29.9% of its total. Big budget SF/Fantasy movies usually do fairly well overseas, and end up seeing as much as 75% of their worldwide gross outside the US.

That would mean that EG's final US take (estimated by myself to be in the $62-63 range), would end up being about 25-40% of the worldwide gross.

We probably won't know until February, or so.

As a base of comparison, John Carter (another SF novel adaptation, albeit of a far older book) made just $73.1M domestically and $211.1M overseas (74.4%). On the other end of the spectrum, Spiderwick Chronicles (a fantasy novel adaptation), made $71.2M domestically and $92.6M overseas (56.3%).

EG will probably see a foreign take that is somewhere between these two poles, percentage-wise.

To use specific numbers, if EG ends up making $62M and the foreign take ends up at 60%, that would put the worldwide revenue at $155M. On the other hand, if the foreign take ends up at 75%, that would put the worldwide revenue at $248M.

My guess is that it will end up around $210-230M, when all is said and done.

This is a lot of surmise. While EG is indeed popular in Russia (the book was too, and Sci-fi does well), the foreign release dates were much closer together than they would have been even 5 years ago. That, and foreign take is wildly affected by advertising spending.

Foreign take can be big for a hollywood blockbuster because there is less internal competition in the given country, but it's matched by increased spending in ads. The box-office take might be 60% of the total, but the advertising budget is also much higher, not least because campaigns have to be translated or localized in 20+ languages for a major release, local agencies hired, and payed for in each market. That's a lot more overhead than in the US market.

The studios also get a smaller take on the box-office in foreign releases when they are releasing the film later than in the US. The cinema companies have more leverage, partly because they have more options: they can show films from their internal market, and sideline the expensive hollywood films entirely, only opening their big viewing halls for 3rd and 4th week showings. I see this all the time in central Europe. The take is too high for hollywood, so the cinema just puts it in a small theater for showings, then the film filters out to the dozens of small cinemas around. The theaters can easily move the film to another screen if it is doing well. But they don't pay nearly as much in first-weekend box office as is payed in the US.

Films also play in theaters for much longer: you can expect EG to still play once a week for several months here- but keep in mind that even if it's taking box office in three months, this is being payed at something like 60/40 in favor of the cinema. So they don't care too much about advertising these big opening weekend, where the split goes the other way up to 90/10.

[ December 13, 2013, 11:11 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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FlyingCow
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Also good points, and good insight on how distribution differs outside of the US. Predicting worldwide gross is all about surmise, at this point - since we can't know the future. The best we can go on is predicting based on what we know about comparable prior movies.

EG is currently sitting at around $27.2M for its reported foreign total.

11 countries haven't reported box office numbers for EG since 11/17 - so there are 25 days of box office revenue (including 3 weekends) that aren't showing up yet in those markets (a third of the markets currently being reported). These countries include Russia (which had the 3rd highest foreign opening weekend), Germany (5th highest), and Italy (7th highest).

On the flip side, the movie was just released this past weekend in Finland, Australia, New Zealand, the Phillippines, and South Africa. It will be released later this month in South Korea, Brazil, Taiwan, Argentina, Japan, and the Netherlands - according to imdb.com

Plenty more gross revenue still to roll in worldwide - and we won't know the final tally for months.

As for profit, that's an entirely different story that I don't think we'll ever have sightlines into. The amount of money that goes to the cinemas, to advertising, to distribution partners, to taxes, etc... plus all of the creative accounting done by studios. The "break even point" or the any sort of threshold for a sequel is an internal number we'll never see.

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FlyingCow
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$61M is probably out of reach domestically, at this point.

Weekend tally was just $214K in 331 theaters. Total gross is now $60.5M ($2K shy of After Earth's final domestic number, fwiw)

This weekend sees 4 wide releases/expansions, so that 331 number is likely to take another big hit for this coming weekend.

Still no update to the foreign totals.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:

As for profit, that's an entirely different story that I don't think we'll ever have sightlines into. The amount of money that goes to the cinemas, to advertising, to distribution partners, to taxes, etc... plus all of the creative accounting done by studios. The "break even point" or the any sort of threshold for a sequel is an internal number we'll never see.

The paradigm is shifting massively in foreign markets due mostly to changes in technology. It's becoming more common for huge films to see first-weekend releases in a larger number of markets, sometimes even *before* the US release to cut down on inevitable piracy losses. And since distribution costs have been reduced by digital release, it's easier to coordinate an international release than it ever was.

15 years ago, films didn't come to Europe for months, and didn't make it to Asian markets for maybe half a year or a year. This was just logistics: a print of a film could cost 10s of thousands of dollars to make. So releasing in 2,000 theaters was non-trivial. Now the infrastructure is scalable: films can be distributed by satellite or hard-disk.

This has also had a big impact on the types of movies being made. Remember Pacific Rim? How the United States is not even mentioned in the film? That would have seemed crazy for an American blockbuster about alien attacks 15 years ago. But you're seeing this more and more, because European and Asian markets are cold on patriotic Amerocentric blockbusters.

But this is also leaving smaller films (like EG) in the lurch. Because markets in Europe are used to the idea that a film will be available for months after the release in small theaters that only show it once a week or so, there is not the same urgency to see movies on opening weekend, and the cut that studios get in the US, at 80/20 or 90/10 splits against the cinemas for those weeks don't happen here. No leverage.

We get the huge advantage of being able to see a movie like EG for peanuts (maybe 3 dollars) in a restaurant cinema months after the opening weekend. People will routinely put off seeing a movie because they prefer the neighborhood cinema that will eventually show it.

So Multiplexes still sell out to the die-hards for a few weeks, but the second it pulls in fewer people, the movie is out, and in its place are 3 smaller movies with more niche audiences. It's not uncommon here for a multi-plex to have once a day or even twice a week showings of maybe 20 European films that don't get a lot of press. But they fill the showings because there's a much bigger audience for non-English films. People are used to subtitles in many countries (though not all).

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Samprimary
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Also just to note: the home video sales market that underpins moviemaking these days is evaporating precipitously and it's not got good implications for movies at all.
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FlyingCow
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Of course, not all foreign markets are created equally, either. Each has its own challenges - third party distributors, taxes, etc.

Actual monetary gains/costs are still not something that movie production houses are going to disclose - it's a common joke that all movies are made at a loss. There is plenty of creative bookkeeping that goes on that clouds any outside view into "profit" (to avoid huge tax burdens), or what a studio needs to see to green light a sequel.

What is publicly known are gross revenue totals, which boxofficemojo.com does a pretty good job of aggregating and displaying.

When comparing, I tried to keep it to movies made within the past couple of years - which would have been operating in a fairly similar global environment to EG - rather than to movies made 10-15 years ago (you also don't have as much of a problem accounting for inflation that way).

A couple of bigger markets will see EG's release in the coming weeks - and some of the bigger markets that have already seen release haven't reported numbers back in weeks. I'm still fairly comfortable that EG will make 60% of its revenue or more overseas based on the global revenues of comparable films (both successful and unsuccessful) - but we won't have those numbers published for a while yet.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:

I'm still fairly comfortable that EG will make 60% of its revenue or more overseas based on the global revenues of comparable films (both successful and unsuccessful) - but we won't have those numbers published for a while yet.

Why? It was panned when it was released. (Okay, it was recieved without much warmth we can say) And while I agree the numbers are virtually the same, the correlation is purely superficial.

After Earth was released right before Superman, and spent 80 days in release. EG has been almost 50 days in release, and has faced competition from Thor 2, Hunger Games, and now The Hobbit, to name a few conspicuous examples. All films that do *extremely well* in foreign markets, knocking EG out of theaters before it even gets there, and obviating the availability of 4DX and Imax theaters for showings (many countries only have a few of these anyway).

This is why the film hasn't even seen release in almost 2 months in some markets, but the marketing has cooled on EG, and the word is out that it's a bomb. People go and see films like this one if the reviews are *very* good, because it looks like a kiddie movie, and if it doesn't have solid reviews, only families and fans will be interested. This happens to have been a very kiddie movie, and not one inspiring to critics in much wise. That means the studios have no traction with cinemas abroad for the film, and not much chance of interesting advertising partners, and not much reason to spend much more ad money. The ship sailed, and they weren't on it.

This film has little star power. People still go to see Will Smith, because it's Will Smith. Do they go to see Harrison Ford? I don't know. Movies like Ocean's 11, or Gravity can get late releases and clean up, because they've got enormous star power, and great hype. They're great popcorn films. But these markets are onto the fact that EG is not a good film. That's just not something that can be avoided in this conversation. And its late release means box office death, I'm afraid. But we'll see the numbers.

I haven't seen these numbers, but I'd guess that After Earth did the majority of its 75% share in foreign markets before the film had been in wide release for almost 2 months. As far as I remember, it hit wide release abroad at the same time as domestically. That vastly increases the liklihood that it will do well abroad. The studio knew that it sucked, which is why they did that. They gambled that EG would have staying power (for some reason), and I think that didn't pan out.

The fans in Russia have seen this film online by now. That's just the reality. And those that haven't, will see it when the DVD-rip comes out on VK.com. Piracy is an enormous problem for studios in Eastern Europe. Russians just have that attitude: if you're not cheating, you're not trying.

[ December 17, 2013, 05:49 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Bella Bee
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Well, according to IMDb, the only places where it is still scheduled to come out are South Korea, Brasil, Taiwan, Argentina, Japan and the Netherlands. Big markets, sure, but maybe not the biggest.

From my international perspective, it's been pretty much off screen here in Madrid for about three weeks. I have yet to meet anyone outside my immediate family who has seen it. Which is a pity.

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Orincoro
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Not for me. May it die a quick death and may the rights be bought by someone with wit and courage, and in 20 years or so, it will make a great movie (or better, a miniseries). Nobody will remember it is a remake of an old piece of crap from 2013.
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FlyingCow
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Orincoro, it's not just After Earth. Big budget science fiction movies tend to do fairly well overseas - 50% of their total revenue or more, usually topping out in the 75% range.

After Earth was down to 238 theaters in the US and was a certified bomb when it debuted in China... and it still made $34M in that market, a market known for piracy.

More telling is a foreign "failure" in Spiderwick Chronicles. It made just 56% of its revenue overseas, and had no real star power in the film - it too was based on a novel. Only one foreign market (South Korea) saw the film on the opening US weekend, and most didn't see it debut until over a month later, when SC was on its way out of theaters and clear to fall short of its production budget. Yet, it still pulled down $91M overseas.

Time will tell - at this point, it's all speculation. The only thing we can go on is the performance of other recent comparable films, and that indicates that EG will make 50-75% of its total worldwide revenue in foreign markets. That would put its range in the $120-240M range - it's right now at $87.7M.

Bella - The Spain numbers look to be up to date, last reporting in on 12/15. It's taken in $2.8M there at this point.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by FlyingCow:

After Earth was down to 238 theaters in the US and was a certified bomb when it debuted in China... and it still made $34M in that market, a market known for piracy.

My point earlier: it's box office take was $34M. In China, for a wide release, that has to be a huge financial loss. Think of the ad money involved. I can't even imagine.
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Samprimary
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Is $34 million the raw china box office take, like "this is the amount of money people paid to watch after earth in a theater"

because if true that means that the studio's take on it was going to be, what, six to ten million tops?

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Samprimary
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Is anyone really still thinking this movie could get up to $200 million worldwide gross, is there something I'm missing that makes it so that that isn't total and complete delusional fantasy
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BlackBlade
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Yes, the release of Ender's Game, The Director Cut, which makes everything wrong with the movie right once more.
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Jeff C.
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Unfortunately OSC will have to be content with only ever having one film made from his books.
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Orincoro
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Could be worse! There could be more.
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