Box Office Outlook: Million Ways...
A Million Ways... poster
By Scott Sycamore     Published May 29, 2014
At first I thought it might have a chance to do in the realm of Ted, {but} now I put the opening in the range of $30 - 35 million.
So it’s called A Million Ways to Die in the West, and it stars Seth MacFarlene who reportedly got along smashingly with the writer/director, probably because it’s his self. I didn’t notice any black people in the trailer, which could hurt performance in the urban demographic. Asians seem to be in short supply too. Be on the lookout for cheerfully racist humor by MacFarlene, possibly at the expense of both ethnic groups just mentioned, and perhaps others as well. MacFarlene is a respected comedy person but can he open a picture as an actor? Shia LaBeouf can. So the question is, can Mr. MacFarlene become the Shia LaBeouf of his generation?

Seth has populated his movie with recognizable faces. Unfortunately, these are not the mugs that pull huge dollars out of the public’s pockets. Nowadays, a name does not equal a ticket sale. For female power, we have Sarah Silverman, Amanda Seyfried, and Charlize Theron, all attractive ladies in their own right – but the question is, what substance will they turn into in this comedy; simple eye candy or actual laughing gas? We know that women in cinema haven’t had the best relationship; you can even call it abusive at times. Charlize had to become ugly to win an Oscar for Monster; here she shows all the signs of being a hot piece of ass. That doesn’t spell acting awards. Now, the problem with this trailer is that it doesn’t tell you dick-squat about what the movie’s about. It could possibly be a joke-a-minute laugh riot, but will it be the endearing anti-fable featuring a vulgar teddy bear and an actor who apparently killed someone or did some really bad shit in his youthful days of indiscretion but he worked out a lot and looks tough and so he gets to star in Transformers IV: Age of Extinction? And by that I mean will it have a story like Ted did in its own way? Only time and the flickering image on the cinema screen will tell.

The college crowds will come out in nice droves for this fare on opening weekend, but we know they have a tendency to be drunken morons who probably should’ve never been shit out by their parents. Adults and their younger children should be showing up as well looking to enjoy themselves. A word about education: It is a sensitive and important topic that is best addressed in my review of Mad Hot Ballroom. Definitely don’t watch that movie, but read my review if you want to know how urban children are being shepherded into a false paradigm where by the art of dance papers-over the plight of being poor and ghetto and less-than-white. A word on tracking: Web-master Lee and I have done some analysis on this movie’s prospects for opening weekend and beyond. You see, at first I thought it might have a chance to do in the realm of Ted, but because of all the fuck-ups as mentioned above, I now put the opening in the range of $30 - 35 million, highly adequate if not great for a comedy, but will it be a half-a-billion-dollar juggernaut like MacFarlene’s one-hit-wonder of the past?

What are these ways to die, as mentioned in the title? Does Liam Neeson have to do with all of them? I assume there will be jokes about sexually-transmitted diseases such as the Clap, which surely had devastating effects on the landscape of the American West. Liam Neeson was cast by George Lucas to play a Jedi in the most disappointing movie ever made. MacFarlene could not possibly disappoint with this film as much as that film did. Why? Because people do not take Seth seriously. And they shouldn’t. Rumors about Seth being gay have circulated the Hollywood industry pretty much since he came to the limelight as a fresh young talent in the cartoon world. His hosting of the Oscars singing show-tunes and having squeaky-clean physical appearance has done nothing to dispel these notions. It’s kind of like when Norm MacDonald used to have that joke about how “This does nothing to disprove my theory that Germans love David Hasselhoff.”

Oh, so back to the numbers and stuff. We ran a special analytic sequence which crossed referenced other films from the western and comedy genres while also accounting for other pictures featuring the same actors. And so I came up with that figure. Will it be in the line with professional tracking numbers? Maybe, but I’ve never been a fan of the western genre so I could be biased with this one.
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