Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Martin Scorsese: Foolishly Raising Expectations

Martin Scorsese's fun-looking gangster drama "The Departed" opens Friday. A smart producer or studio executive would always downplay expectations. But what does Marty's producer Graham King tell the Daily News? That he expects the movie to open at $30 million, that more than $40 million would make him very happy and that he'd cry if it made $25 million or less. How stupid is he? Scorsese's top-grossing movie of all time is "The Aviator," which made $102 million. The weekend it went wide, the movie grossed $8.6 million. His other relatively big openings -- "Gangs of New York," "Casino," and "Cape Fear" -- all made between $9 million and $10 million. King has set the bar so high, he wants this movie to make more money on its opening weekend than 12 of his movies have made in their entire run. If he was smart, King would have said he hopes the movie makes more on its opening weekend than Scorsese's last few movies made when they went wide; in other words, looking for a personal best of $12-15 million. Then, when "The Departed" made more, everyone could crow about how much better it did. At it's very best, "The Departed" will only (barely) reach the level King has announced as the measure of success. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

NOTE: The Departed opened at $26.8 mil -- easily a career-best for Scorsese -- and went on to gross $133 million in the US, $290 million worldwide (incl US) and $140 million on DVD in the US alone, all records for Scorsese.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I have changed the figures in my article about the opening weekend gross of The Aviator and hence the references to Scorsese's personal best opening weekend. I based my original figures on Variety but failed to note they were giving me the grosses for the entire week rather than the opening weekend. Thus my figures were wrong as pointed out to me by someone who left a comment. This makes the point of the article even greater: King idiotically called for an opening weekend gross 3 to 4 times bigger than any other Scorsese film.


Anonymous said...

The Aviator grossed less than 9 million on its first wide-release weekend.

sftom said...

I like Scorsese films but do not like Leonardo de Caprio. Until Martin ends his love affair with Leo I will tend to not see his films. I feel that he is trying to fit Leo into roles that are not appropriate for him. A rough and tough 19 century gang leader in Gangs of NY (a bad film anyways) and his role as Howard Hughes are two examples. Leo is sensitive looking, small and frail, and boyish.

Michael in New York said...

For my figures on The Aviator, I;m using the industry bible Variety. For subscribers, they list a week by week breakdown of a movie's performance in every country around the world for which stats are available. (They don't go way back in providing this info of course.) I can't provide a link for non-subscribers. The Aviator opened on 40 screens December 17, 2004, grossing $1.3 million or a very good $33,000 per screen. One week later, on Christmas Eve, it opened wide on 1,796 screens and grossed $18,821,988 or $10,480 per screen. The next week it grossed $15 mil, the week after $9.8 mil, the week after $8 mil, then $7.5 mil, then $9.7 mil (Oscar nominations?) and then peaking in screen total on Feb 4 weekend on 2,530 screens and grossing $7.1 mil. It ended with $102,610,330. Sorry for not backing up my numbers earlier; I've been distracted by baseball. I haven't loved a Scorsese movie since GoodFellas (though I'm ready to resee Age of Innocence so I wouldn't blame Leo for his movie's faults. I've always thought Leo was extremely talented (if pretty) and he's always shown interesting taste. He certainly hasn't aged well, which may free him to play less iconic roles. He certainly hasn't been outstanding in Gangs (very miscast) or Aviator (even more miscast) but I think he's a really good actor. But I agree with you he was wrong for those films and Marty needs to get over his man crush on Leo or find parts more appropriate.