Editors at the Southern Voice and Washington Blade have struck up a bet as to how much money Brokeback Mountain will make. Matt Hennie of Southern Voice says the movie will perform well under hopes due to the ho-hum attitude of straight people; Kevin Naff of Washington Blade has said the Golden Globe nominations and impending Oscar nominations will balloon the film's final box office numbers. They have picked $75 million as the measuring stick as to who is right.
Lots of people are expecting MONSTER numbers out of Brokeback Mountain because of the incredible per-theater average ($109,485) in its first weekend. A number that the biggest of movies hope for is $20,000. But, that BBM number is a bit of a lie. It opened in only five theaters; most movies with the marketing and press exposure that BBM has gotten open in over 3,000 theaters. The way over-inflated the BBM numbers opening weekend.
I don't know if people will stay away because it's a gay movie or if they'll stay away because it's too long and slow. The market is flooded now with quality films that don't have two guys kissing, which have a strong storyline or which have $200 million of explosions.
A good comparison for how this movie will do is The English Patient. Before it won the Best Picture Oscar, it had made $63 million; after it won, it made another $15 million. If Naff is going to win his bet, BBM is going to need to win the Best Picture Oscar; and even then, it will be a tough mountain to climb.