'Grindhouse' Box Office Forecast
Grind House poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published April 5, 2007
Compared to recent successes like Wild Hogs and Blades of Glory ? which were very commercial films ? Grindhouse?s chances of a $30+ opening weekend seem unlikely. However, it still seems possible for a $10 million opening night; even if it drops terribly
Will Grindhouse be the next Snakes on a Plane or Freddy vs. Jason at the box office? As you probably know, Grindhouse is a double-feature by writer/directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Rodriguez is first up with his cult homage, "Planet Terror," starring Freddy Rodriguez and Rose McGowen; while Tarantino follows that up with "Death Proof," featuring Kurt Russell and Rosario Dawson. The lineup, which features fake trailers in between, is an ode to campy cult films of the 1960's and 70's, a genre that the filmmakers and certain film scholars are obviously passionate about; but does anyone else care?

There seems to be a divide; some seem curiously excited, while others are expecting it to be ridiculously bad; a chick with no right leg gets a machine gun as her leg? Robert Rodriguez has had a knack for goofy storytelling; but is this shlockfest a bit much? And it's clear that Tarantino is bringing back Kurt Russell like he did with David Carradine, Robert Forster, and John Travolta; but Grindhouse is so clearly a geekfest that it could scare many away.

The trailer for Snakes on a Plane got audiences excited at X-Men 3, only to turn into an utter joke soon thereafter. The studio might have screwed up the release pattern by waiting for buzz to build, but it's also possible Snakes just wasn't meant to reach a broad audience; it was campy, very dorky, and over-the-top, but for a reason. The question is: will Grindhouse fall in that same category?

Ads are pushing Tarantino and Rodriguez like it's a dream come true collaboration; or cinematic duel; almost as if they are representing Freddy going up against Jason at the movies. Freddy vs. Jason was big partly because of summer but also because of its fan-base from both horror franchises in the 80?s and 90?s; Snakes was just coming from a one-joke premise. Can Grindhouse overcome the odds and pull in both of the filmmakers? fans?

I would think the odds for success should be with it; these guys have big fans now. It's also a film that screams "opening night movie" more than anything in recent time for a specific film clique; possibly over Tarantino's Kill Bill volumes. Can this double feature actually follow through with a big Friday night performance? Can it weigh in with more than $30 million for the weekend?

Compared to recent successes like Wild Hogs and Blades of Glory ? which were very commercial films for audiences ? Grindhouse?s chances of a $30+ opening weekend seem unlikely. However, it still seems possible for a $10 million opening night; even if it drops terribly thereafter. It?s possible the film could follow a similar path as the first Jackass; with a low weekend multiplier.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 opened to $22 million while Volume 2 grossed $25 million. Volume 2 was more frontloaded, and Sin City ? which was directed by Robert Rodriguez and novelist Frank Miller (with one scene by Tarantino) ? took in $29 million on opening weekend. After the huge success of 300, it?s possible that young audiences are looking for something out of the norm for some crazy fun; and these two filmmakers are the kind of guys who many cult fans can trust. However, Warner Bros. did an amazing job of making ?300? appeal to mass audiences with their epic marketing ? selling it as a sort of Lord of the Rings experience with much more violence. Chances are, only a fraction of those fanboys are likely to come back for this offering. But it could still pull in a strong fratboy audience who want to go in knowing exactly what to expect.

Right now, there?s nothing else for that demographic; that audience is likely rebelling against Blades of Glory and most other movies ? just like Tarantino and Rodriguez. Grindhouse is for those who are tired of the same old thing; some people are likely to love it, while others are likely to pass on without a care. But that?s also what Grindhouse films were; one flick was so bad it was good; the other was so bad it was just silly. That shouldn?t bode too well for the coming weeks, but these guys could still turn in an opening; which is all they really need. Volume 1 clocked in at $70 million domestically while Volume 2 finished with $66 million; and Sin City took in $74 million; $60 million could be the domestic mark they?re going for here. With a budget of $53 million, it shouldn?t be too hard to make it up; but it?s also a wildcard of a feature.
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'Grind House' Articles
  • 'Grindhouse' Friday Analysis
    April 7, 2007    The film seemed to play best in big cities; but even there, attendance varied from theater to theater. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Lee's Grind House review B-
    April 6, 2007    The best parts of Grindhouse leave you wanting more, which is good and bad; they leave you with a tease, but the best moments of shock value come early on. -- Lee Tistaert