Now, Rent cost 20 million dollars less than Phantom (with a budget of 40 million), and has already in a 7 day period grossed 17 million. Like Phantom, it still has a chance to get out of the red and well into the black. Assume it makes the same amount in DVD/VHS revenue as Joel Schumacher's 2004 movie, and it will just cross the 40 million threshold (though you still have to factor in advertising costs, production, etcetera). But then there are those other territories to consider too (Europe, Australia). Even if Rent leaves theatres in America having grossed 25 or 30 million, that will be enough to make it profitable assuming it does okay across the globe and that "Rentheads" show up to buy it on the ancillary market.
I'm writing about this because the movie musical is held to a stringent standard that few other genres are. Every time a new movie musical comes out, people ask "is the movie musical dead?" We don't ask this, you will note, when a superhero movies fails (Catwoman), or an action-flick (Stealth). Only the musical is held to this rigorous standard that every single one made must be a hit, or the ENTIRE GENRE is dead.
So I was looking at some reports today about how Rent fared over the weekend, and was surprised to see insiders saying the results are "low" or even disastrous. I disagree. Rent did respectably, and could still emerge a hit at the end of the day.
I mean, two films that I absolutely love, Serenity and Land of the Dead, had about the same opening weekend grosses that Rent did (10.1 million and 10.2 million, respectively), so why don't I hear people saying that "space adventure" is dead, or that "zombie movies" are moribund?
The fact is, we just have to wait and see. Rent may get the rent paid for the movie musical after all. No, it did not outgross Harry Potter. But anyone who expected it to is flat-out nuts.