SUNDAY UPDATE: suspect all non-Gleeks now can relax since Fox will never make another Glee 3D unless a few execs at 20th and 20th TV undergo lobotomies. The concert film opened in only 6th place Friday with $2.7M, then Saturday plunged -37% for just $1.7M which took the pic out of the Top 10 completely. Its $5.7M weekend from 2,040 theaters would be humiliating and downright disastrous if it hadn’t been made for such a low budget — around $9.5M to $9.7M, according to Ryan Murphy, who emailed me: “That’s compared to the Bieber film which was around $14 million I believe. So the risk [was] very very low. No matter what it will be a money maker for Fox. I am proud of it.” Murphy, who produced but did not direct, was as befuddled as Fox TV and film execs why the pic didn’t do better, especially because it was given an ‘A+’ CinemaScore from audiences under age 25. “The CinemaScores were excellent. They don’t sync up with the results,” one Fox TV exec emailed me. Fox thought the film would at least reach double-digits, crack the Top 5 for the weekend, and perform respectably like the other concert movies. But the studio wasn’t really sure what to make of the soft tracking despite fan-favorite castmembers like Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Chord Overstreet, and The Warblers.
Murphy said that, by design, the movie wasn’t just a big-screen version of the TV show: instead it’s about three young people who say that Glee helped them live better lives and overcome struggles with their personal stories cut against 20 positive message songs. When moviegoers didn’t materialize Friday, the filmmakers still thought kids would come out Saturday and Sunday. But these concert films are frontloaded and it’s all downhill from opening day. Immediately Fox TV execs turned against Fox film execs. “I think it was a shitty campaign that did not effectively communicate what the movie was or that the people who had seen it reviewed it positively,” one suit told me. “I think the feature company took a very laid-back approach, feeling their only job was to alert the core fans, and that’s not enough to fill seats.”
I say these concert films are very unpredictable. Disney’s Hannah Montana concert film was a breakout blockbuster, but it was also among the first of its kind. But then Disney’s Jonas Brothers’ 3D concert movie didn’t do well (though its $12.5M opening weekend wasn’t as bad as Glee‘s) and they were really big at the time. But kids can watch the real Glee for free on Fox and faux The Glee Project on Oxygen, so why spend their milk money on a movie ticket? No one believes that limited-run two-week-only nonsense anymore. And maybe Glee is just over-exposed right now and not as cool as it was initially. Not even a Fox Television integration with the popular So You Think You Can Dance finale helped attendance.
So maybe Sue Sylvester’s email sent to the press as a publicity stunt was really prescient: “For two years, we’ve been mercilessly bombarded with the pubescent nonsense of carnival sideshow freaks calling themselves ‘The Glee Club’. And now, they’re trying to shove a 3D concert movie down our throats. It’s time to make a stand against these pimply-faced, hormone-ridden twits by joining the ‘STOP BELIEVING’ campaign. Say ‘NO’ to their insignificant cinematic experiment. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand looking at their little satanic faces in 2D, much less 3D.”