There are few moments in the world of “entourage” as tense as the weekend after a major vinny chase movie opens. that’s when e and the team, usually after a raucous cell phone call from ari, figure out if vinny should celebrate by taking the boys out for a club night and then buying a big house the next day or if, on the other hand, he they must cry taking the kids out for a club night and then buying a big house the next day.
so what frame of mind should vinny be in while looking for accommodation?
If you’ve been following the box office results, you’ll know that “entourage” had a strong mid-week opening grossing around $7 million and then settling on a more modest $10.4 million over the weekend, good enough for just fourth place, behind two new openings (“Spy” and Insidious: Chapter 3″) and one holdover (“San Andreas”).
but ranking only tells part of the story. The big question with a movie like “Entourage” – well, in addition to the other big questions – is whether enough people turned out to justify the movie’s existence. the one thing you heard more about “entourage” than almost any other movie this year, even brand-based movies, is why, after eight seasons in which he seemed to wear down every last bit of tread on his tires , the movie was coming out in the first place?
You often heard this from some of the same people who said they watched the show. And if they weren’t going to buy a ticket, they pointed out, who would it be? so the number of these people who appeared in theaters is an important question.
Turns out the argument for the movie may be a bit like Ari Gold’s sense of ethics: you wish it was stronger, but it’s not (totally) non-existent.
this is how it breaks down. the $17.8 million in box office for “Entourage” results in 2.2 million viewers, given the average ticket price. Assuming a typical second- and third-weekend trajectory for the film, that will put its final total at around $40 million, or about 5 million tickets sold. that’s higher than the number of people who watched the finale, with repeat broadcasts, 3.1 million, if not double that total. basically, it’s a multiple of 1.5x.
Where does this ranking compare to other TV hits that were made into movies during or shortly after their run?
“sex and the city” is probably the best analogue. It’s an HBO sitcom with a similar level of bluntness and fantasy, and one whose movie also premiered four years after the show went off the air.
Its ending drew 10.6 million viewers, and the film sold roughly twice as many tickets (21 million) in the summer of 2008. That’s a little better than “Entourage”: Vinny & co. you’d have to raise $50 million to hit the number, but not much better.
stronger than both is “the simpsons movie”. the show’s 2007 season finale garnered just under 10 million viewers when the film was released that summer. the film sold over 25 million tickets, a notable expansion of the show’s base. but again, while “entourage” won’t hit that 2.5x multiple, it won’t be that low either.
The real gold standard is “borat,” which is based on an ongoing segment of the “da ali g show” niche that drew only a relative handful of viewers. however, the film managed to sell nearly 20 million tickets. turned dozens of people into a character they had never seen on television. Hardly any TV-to-movie adaptation is going to top that.
perhaps the bottom bar, at the other end of things, is “file x: I want to believe”. The 2008 film saw less than a quarter of the 13 million who tuned in to the Fox series finale six years before leaving for the film; basically it is a multiple of 0.2x. “entourage” did much, much better.
Of course, the point of a movie, especially a summer movie, with its event feel and late-night TV appearances, big marketing budget, and endless brand ties, is to expand the audience. and that may be where “entourage” hits a wall, hits a wall like, what’s the best analogy to find here, e and sloane sometime after their third breakup? ari after terrence kicked him out of the agency? vince after “medellín”?
plus the final numbers offer only one metric. and, like all metrics, it’s not bulletproof. “Entourage” had been losing viewers and steam at the end of its eight seasons, the very fact that naysayers point out when asking why we needed a movie to begin with. therefore, the fact that the film was able to make it past the final numbers isn’t nearly as bragging-worthy as it sounds. (In contrast, “sex and the city” hit a massive record with its ending, so the fact that his movie could duplicate them was impressive.)
Still, for a movie even many of its viewers expressed skepticism, “entourage” has done quite well. he kept his base and even grew it a bit. it didn’t overwhelmingly show its need for existence, but it also served a need. “entourage” was, like e’s fashion sense, right in the middle. which some might say is the right thing to do.