Nancy Tartaglione contributed to this report.
Some reporters are writing Adam Sandler’s box office obituary today after the less-than-spectacular $24M bow for Sony’s Pixels which cost a reported net $88M. If the budget was lower, we’d be raving about what a profitable success it is. Tracking was way off on this one heading into the weekend, with non-Sony analysts seeing a $30M-plus opening.
It’s a bit much to sentence Sandler to movie jail; he’s shown more comebacks at the box office after bombing than most stars. But Pixels’ domestic under-performance comes at a bad time for the leading comedy man when his bows are down from his $30M-$40M opening highs. Sandler is at a point in his career where he might have to take on all the risk to prove that he has another upswing in him. His Netflix features — December 11’s Ridiculous Six and the upcoming The Do Over — arrive at a prime time when he can potentially re-invent himself to audiences and his fans.
Final global bow for Pixels was $49.1M, and the jury is still out in regards to how far this Chris Columbus-directed film can travel abroad. Non-Sony film finance sources tell us that if Pixels posts slightly north of $200M worldwide, which is where the actor’s family pic Bedtime Stories landed, and another $150M in home entertainment/foreign TV and ancillaries, it would be on its way to break even.
When it comes to blaming Pixels stateside misfire, some in the industry point to the movie, not Sandler. Observed one rival studio distribution chief, “It was a feathered fish, a bad idea to begin with that was more expensive than Adam’s other films. The majority of kids didn’t care and his R-rated audience didn’t turn up for evening showtimes”. Not to mention, Pixels didn’t star any of Wreck It Ralph‘s co-stars, the ones that boys truly care about, read Sonic the Hedgehog and the Mario Brothers. Heck, if Sandler folded Minecraft into Pixels, he would have dynamited all those boys away from their YouTube walk-throughs on a Friday night instead of banking that Dads would pull them into the theater for Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.
Other stars in their solo outings have shown greater strain in their downward B.O. spirals in the last year, read Johnny Depp (Transcendence, Mortdecai) and Vince Vaughn (Unfinished Business). Sandler, on the other hand, has shown a resilience at the B.O. Pixels is 67% higher in its opening than Sandler’s PG-rated Blended bomb ($14.3M/$46.3M domestic B.O.). A year and a half after eating crow with 2000’s Little Nicky ($16.1M/$39.5M), Sandler bounced back with Mr. Deeds ($37.2M/$126.3M). A year after 2012’s That’s My Boy ($13.5M/36.9M) tanked, he returned with Grown Ups 2 ($41.5M/$133.7M). For a Sandler family film, Pixels’ stateside bow is just under where Bedtimes Stories ($27.5M) and Jack And Jill ($25M) opened.
China Film Group’s investment in Pixels can’t be dismissed, guaranteeing theatrical space for Pixels when it bows on September 15 (LStar also co-financed). Sandler overperforms in Latin America. The videogame element is likely to appeal to Japanese audiences when the film opens there on September 12. Not to mention of bulk of heavy duty territories have yet to play Pixels, despite its presence in 40% of all foreign territories with its foreign roll out as follows: Italy (July 29), Germany (July 30), Austria & India (July 31), UK (August 12), Malaysia & Singapore (August 13), Hong Kong (August 20) and Australia (September 10).
Initially, it seemed as though the mix of $20M-plus films toward the top of the charts would lead us to an up weekend. That’s wasn’t the case with Rentrak reporting ticket sales at $149.9M, off 3% from a year ago. Nonetheless, 2015 ticket sales for January 1 – July 26 of $6.6B continues to rage ahead of the same period a year ago. Weinstein Co.’s Southpaw has solidified excellent word of mouth among adults. Among the top 15 films on Sunday, it had the best hold from Saturday, dipping 15%. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Vacation arrive to wake audiences this weekend. Read our preview here.
Most of the films in the top 10 bested their Sunday AM studio estimates.
1). Ant-Man (DIS), 3,868 theaters (+12) /3-day cume: $24.9M (-56%)/ Per screen average: $6,440 /Total cume: $106.2M/Wk 2
2). Pixels (SONY), 3,723 theaters / 3-day cume: $24M / Per screen: $6,450 /Wk 1
3). Minions (UNI), 4,066 theaters (-245)/ 3-day cume: $22.9M (-53%)/ Per screen: $5,640/ Total Cume: $262.5M / Wk 3
4). Trainwreck (UNI), 3,171 theaters (+13)/ 3-day cume: $17.3M (-43%)/Total cume: $61.5M/ Wk 2
5). Southpaw (TWC), 2,772 theaters /3-day cume: $16.7M / Per screen: $6,025 / Wk 1
6). Paper Towns (FOX), 3,031 theaters /3-day cume: $12.65M / Per screen: $4,174 /Wk 1
7). Inside Out (DIS), 2,717 theaters (-546)/ 3-day cume: $7.4M (-36%) / Per screen: $2,729 / Total cume: $320.4M/ Wk 6
8). Jurassic World (UNI), 2,645theaters (-472) / 3-day cume: $7.2M (-37%) / Per screen: $2,715 /Total cume: $624.1M/ Wk 7
9). Mr. Holmes (RSA/Miramax), 686 theaters (+325) /3-day cume: $2.9M (+18%)/ Per screen: $4,181 / Total cume: $6.45M/Wk 2
10). Terminator: Genisys (PAR), 1,702 theaters (-1,112) / 3-day cume: $2.4M (-55%)/ Per screen: $1,421 / Total cume: $85.68M/ Wk 4
11). Magic Mike XXL (WB), 1,440 theaters (-1,137)/ 3-day cume: $1.9M (-58%) / Per screen: $1,304 / Total cume: $63.1M/ Wk 4
12). Gallows (WB), 1,202 theaters (-1,518) / 3-day cume: $1.2M (-71%) / Per screen: $983 / Total cume: $21.35M /Wk 3
13). Ted 2 (UNI), 696 theaters (-886)/ 3-day cume: $971K (-63%)/ Per screen: $1,395 / Total cume: $79.6M /Wk 5
14). The Vatican Tapes (LG), 427 theaters /3-day cume: $832K / Per screen: $1,949 /Wk 1
15). Max (WB), 665 theaters (-843)/ 3-day cume: $771K (-60%)/ Per screen: $1,160 / Total Cume: $39.8M / Wk 5
16). Spy (FOX), 539 theaters (-400)/ 3-day cume: $768K (-49%) / Per screen: $1,425 / Total Cume: $108.1M / Wk 8
17). Amy (A24), 370 theaters (-65) /3-day cume: $727K (-35%)/ Per screen: $1,964 / Total cume: $5.5M/ Wk 4
18). Mad Max: Fury Road (WB), 345 theaters (+77)/ 3-day cume: $418K (+9%)/ Per screen: $1,212 / Total Cume: $151.6M / Wk 11
19). Baahubali (Telugu) (BSKY), 125 theaters (0)/ 3-day cume: $347K (-66%)/ Per screen: $2,774 / Total Cume: $6.7M / Wk 3
20). San Andreas (WB), 266 theaters (-136)/ 3-day cume: $334K (-43%) / Per screen: $1,255 / Total Cume: $151.9M / Wk 9