Crowd Report: "Friday Night Lights"
Friday Night Lights poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published October 9, 2004
From what I saw with the 10:10 show I was at, it?s looking like a $5 - 6 million Friday gross.
I?m not much of a fan of football or some of the movies in this genre, but the reviews for this film were what mostly got me in the door; and plus, it looked like it could be a pretty reasonable flick. And considering I liked 8 Mile, this film?s marketing tagline (?From the Producer of??) worked on me as well. Though I didn?t like Remember the Titans, I was willing to give this flick a shot.

Friday Night Lights is on 2 screens at its Santa Monica (LA) multiplex (1 main screen and 1 other screen for 2 additional shows) and since I couldn?t check the status of its partial screen, it was harder to accurately judge this film?s performance. But from what I saw with the 10:10 show I was at, it?s looking like a $5 - 6 million Friday gross.

There was a line designated for this show by 9:20 (usually a promising sign), but there were only about 5 people waiting, and the auditorium didn?t even get that crowded until about 10:00. The room seats around 375 people and the show ended up being about half-filled (if not a little over). The demographics were mostly 25 - 35-years old, and dominantly male, but not by a long stretch.

Trailers:

Christmas with the Kranks
? A few laughs, but toned down when compared to my Shark Tale crowd.

White Noise
? Got a few unintentional laughs.

Ray
? Jamie Foxx realizing that he?s touching the rather large woman got a solid round of laughter, and that moment probably got the biggest reaction here that I?ve seen for this trailer.

After the Sunset
? A few people were making fun of it at first, and then it just played to silence.

Coach Carter
? Silent response.

Seeing Friday Night Lights with this crowd was like being at a bar during a big game: there were gasps, ?Ooooh!??s, howls, and even some claps at spots (though not a lot), though there wasn't an applause afterwards. But it was obvious that the crowd dug the flick, and so did I.

My problem with Remember the Titans was that I felt it was football, Disney style (it was predictable and pretty light). Here, the film?s tone is stronger and pretty mature, it has a gritty style which I sometimes like, the acting all-around is solid, and I actually cared about most of the characters. Some people may think this is really screwed up, but the crisis near the end of Titans didn?t even make me react at all ? it just felt like a desperate Disney tool to get everyone weeping.

But with Friday Night Lights, I was impressed with its tone and consistent pace, and it surely made up for having seen Around the Bend previously and being a little bored with that. And though word of mouth on Friday Night Lights might be pretty good so far, I?m not sure how far this film will get at the box office. There?s the chance that it will have Miracle?s legs (or something in that region), but I could also see it falling off after this weekend (and dare I say it, as much as Biker Boyz). Maybe I?m on crack, maybe I?m not, I don?t know, but I just have a feeling ? a movie about football is likely to drag fans out right away, which raises a question of how frontloaded it will be.

I am planning on seeing the sneak preview to Team America on Saturday night, so there is a pretty good chance of a crowd report for that movie as well.
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'Friday Night Lights' Articles
  • Greg's Friday Night Lights review A
    October 16, 2004    It is an extremely accurate portrayal of how hard a sport it really is, both physically and emotionally. -- Greg Ward
  • Craig's Friday Night Lights review A-
    October 11, 2004    We really begin to care about these characters, and what's even more striking is that their story becomes a powerful and heart-wrenching piece of work. -- Craig Younkin
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (10/8)
    October 9, 2004    With generally positive reviews in its favor and attracting young and middle aged viewers, Friday Night Lights benefited from its wider appeal, as well as from the limited, intriguing options in the marketplace. -- Lee Tistaert
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