Feeling The Burn

So, the early reports are in and it looks like Burn After Reading will be crowned King of the Weekend, raking in $19.4 million. That number sounds pretty decent, but I would have expected a heavily marketed comedy starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney and directed by the reigning Best Director winners would have done a little better. How much better? I don’t know.

I wasn’t really sure what to compare it to, so I came up with a very unscientific formula. I took the per screen averages of the opening weekend for the last four movies for Pitt (The Assassination of Jesse James, Ocean’s Thirteen, Babel, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Clooney (Leatherheads, Michael Clayton, Ocean’s Thirteen, The Good German), and the Coens (No Country for Old Men, The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty, The Man Who Wasn’t There). I came up with $8,885.33 per screen. I multiplied that by the screens for Burn (2651) and got $23,555,013.17, with the three parties having equal influence in the equation- (Pitt + Clooney + Coen) / 3. Since the director usually has more impact on the final product, I recalculated with the Coens having twice as much influence- (Pitt + Clooney + (2 x Coen)) / 4. That gave me $21,920,563.64, even closer. I came up with the formula in the hopes of coming up with a number I could use for a comparison, but I was still surprised that the number was that close.

Maybe $19.4 million was about what was expected, and no one can really complain since that covers a good chunk of the movie’s budget. I don’t know if I can really draw much from a formula that took me all of two seconds to develop, but I’ll try using it on some upcoming movies and see what the numbers look like.

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