6TH UPDATE, Monday: Even though Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s In the Heart of the Sea posted a better Sunday than expected by the industry giving it an opening of $11.1M, it’s not strong enough heading into the holiday gales. And when you start off short, it’s very hard to catch up — even if there is a holiday multiple. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens expected to clock $185M-$220M next weekend, Universal’s Sisters in the mid teens, and 20th Century Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip $12M; the Ron Howard film is expected to decline 55%-60%, which is on par with Ridley Scott’s stateside disaster last year, Exodus: Gods and Kings (which actually opened to do better figures at $24.1M). Had In the Heart of the Sea arrived with strong awards buzz behind it coupled with significantly better reviews, then more adults would be scheduling this film. Many project this film to top off at $40M stateside followed by another $80M-$100M abroad — still not enough to get it to breakeven off a budget that’s around $100M before P&A.
Then there’s the shortage of screen space that Warner will have to deal with on ITHOTS. The film’s low opening doesn’t give Warner Bros. any leverage when haggling with exhibitors to keep it on screen with their Christmas day release of Alcon’s Point Break, which took over the date after Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation vacated the holiday for the end of July — where Ericson Core film was originally situated. Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 thanks to a No. 1 win is looking to hold 70% or more of its 3,651 theater count as it contends with Force Awakens. MJ1 held strongly over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays last year, and MJ2 is expected to reap more repeat business from young females.
Universal/Legendary’s Krampus after a better than projected debut of $16.3M also had a better than expected second weekend decline of -48%. Most horror films suffer at least -60% drops in their second frames. However, with total ticket sales at $77.3M, -21% from last weekend and -8% from a week ago, the slowdown here is largely attributed to most moviegoers sitting out to spend their money on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, starting this Thursday at 7PM. This weekend, 2015 cleared the $10B mark, pacing 4.3% ahead of 2014. During the next two week holiday frame, it’s not unusual for the box office to make $1B.
The top 20 films per Rentrak Theatrical for the weekend of Dec. 11-13:
1). The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (LGF), 3,651 theaters (-435) / 3-day cume: $11.4M (-39%) /Per screen avg: $3,126 /Total cume: $244.6M/Wk 4
2). In The Heart of the Sea (WB/Village Roadshow), 3,103 theaters /3-day cume: $11.1M /Per screen: $3,562 /Wk 1
3). The Good Dinosaur (DIS), 3,606 theaters (-143) / 3-day cume: $10.1M (-32%)/ Per screen: $2,860 /Total cume: $89.5M/Wk 3
4). Creed (MGM/New Line/WB), 3,502 theaters (+78) 3-day cume: $10.1M (-32%)/ Per screen: $ /Total cume: $79.3M /Wk 3
5). Krampus (U/Legendary), 2,919 theaters (+17) / 3-day cume: $8.4M (-48%)/ Per screen: $2,885 /Total cume: $28.6M/Wk 2
6). The Night Before (SONY), 2,674 theaters (-120)/ 3-day cume: $4.1M (-18%)/ Per screen: $1,546 /Total cume: $38.4M/Wk 4
7). Spectre (SONY/MGM), 2,640 theaters (-200) / 3-day cume: $4M (-27%)/ Per screen: $1,532 /Total cume: $190.8M /Wk 6
8). The Peanuts Movie (FOX), 2,653 theaters (-264)/ 3-day cume: $2.7M (-25%)/ Per screen: $1,013 /Total cume: $125M /Wk 6
9). Spotlight (OPRD), 1,089 (+109) / 3-day cume: $2.5M (-10%) / Per screen: $2,304 /Total cume: $20.3M /Wk 6
10). Brooklyn (FSL), 947 theaters (+41) /3-day cume: $2M (-18%)/ Per screen: $2,107 /Total cume: $14.4M /Wk 6
11).The Martian (FOX), 1,041 theaters (-99) / 3-day cume: $1.5M (-9%)/ Per screen: $1,400 /Total cume: $222.9M / Wk 11
12). Love The Coopers (LGF), 1,610 theaters (-29)/ 3-day cume: $1.4M (-9%)/ Per screen: $855 /Total cume: $24.7M/Wk 5
13). The Secret In Their Eyes (STX), 1,661 theaters (-486) / 3-day cume: $1.2M (-36%)/ Per screen: $742 /Total cume: $19.3M/Wk 4
14). Trumbo (BST), 554 theaters (-106) / 3-day cume: $836K (-12%)/ Per screen: $1,508 /Total cume: $5.5M/Wk 6
15). The Big Short (Paramount), 8 theaters / 3-day cume: $706K/ Per screen: $88,191 /Wk 1
16). Bridge Of Spies (DIS), 540 theaters (+4)/ 3-day cume: $604K (-12%)/ Per screen: $1,118/Total cume: $69.5M/Wk 8
17). Chi-Raq (RSA), 285 theaters (-20) /3-day cume: $576K (-52%) / Per screen: $2,020 /Total cume: $2.1M/Wk 2
18). Carol (TWC), 16 theaters (+12)/ 3-day cume: $338K (+133%) / Per screen: $21,105 /Total: $1.2M/Wk 4
19). The Letters (FSR), 779 theaters (-107)/ 3-day cume: $328K (-53%)/ Per screen: $421 /Total cume: $1.4M /Wk 2
20). Legend (UNI), 107 theaters (+46) / 3-day cume: $326K (+16%)/ Per screen: $3,044 /Total cume: $1.4M/Wk 4
Room (A24), 198 theaters (+23) / 3-day cume: $265K (+16%)/ Per screen: $1,336 /Total cume: $4.2M / Wk 9
The Danish Girl (FOC), 24 theaters (+20) /3-day cume: $263K (+152%)/ Per screen: $10,964 /Total cume: $657K/Wk 3
Macbeth (TWC), 108 theaters (+103) /3-day cume: $257K (+268%)/ Per screen: $2,380 /Total cume: $355K/Wk 2
Youth (FSL), 17 theaters (+13)/ 3-day cume: $107K (+37%)/ Per screen: $6,279 /Total Cume: $218K/Wk 2
The Boy And The World (GKIDS), 2 theaters /3-day cume: $6,591 / Per screen: $3,296 /Wk 1
The Girl In The Book (FREE), 10 theaters /3-day cume: $5,249 / Per screen: $525 /Wk 1
3RD/4TH UPDATE, Friday 11:15PM/Saturday 8:42 AM: With Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens poised for a record December opening next weekend, people’s minds and wallets this weekend aren’t focused on current fare. Quite often before a huge tentpole like Force Awakens hits the marquee, business recedes greatly; a slowdown like the one we witnessed in April prior to Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron opening to $191.3M. This plunge is evident in the top 20 films this weekend which are currently pacing for $70.9M, -25% versus the same quantity last weekend. We also can’t ignore how holiday activities, from shopping to parties, are traditional distractions for moviegoers.
Those circumstances could at least partially explain Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s In the Heart of the Sea, a Moby Dick origins story based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 non-fiction book. The Ron Howard film was the top film on Friday with $3.8M at 3,103 with the help of Imax, however, analysts have changed their calculations this morning and now see Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 beating ITHOTS for No. 1, $11.1M to $10.5M. The change in estimates boils down to today as analysts expect MJ2 to have a 50% rise over Friday thanks to its audience skewing younger than ITHOTS 15% uptick of older men (see below). By Sunday, MJ2‘s cume through four weekends will stand at $244.5M and it will mark the second time since the first Hunger Games that a title in the franchise has had a four weekend run at No. 1.
For quite some time, we’ve been hearing how the biggest obstacle working against ITHOTS was its production cost which non-WB estimates put at $110M-$115M before P&A, while insiders have it just under $100M. The industry had been tracking a FSS in the $10M range, and given these low figures for a film this size, it just further casts a question mark around Chris Hemsworth’s ability to open a film outside of Thor and Avengers. Many sources aren’t even expecting foreign to put ITHOTS in the black after its mediocre $18.5M foreign debut in 38 territories last weekend. ITHOTS will clearly not profit from its theatrical run at the B.O., and that’s not a good thing for the Burbank studio which has bathed in red ink from such blunders this year as Pan, Our Brand Is Crisis, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Jupiter Ascending.
In fact, it’s unlikely that ITHOTS will post an 8x holiday multiple, an end result that some films reap at this time of year. Given the film’s B+ CinemaScore, ITHOTS will likely generate a 3.2 average multiple in sync with its grade. By the way, that’s the same exact CinemaScore that the last big clipper ship epic, Master and Commander received in 2003, however that fared better with a $25.1M opening and a 3.7x multiple (it also had far more awards buzz than ITHOTS). The only types of films opening in the $11M-$12M range around the holidays that make it to lofty heights are either kids pics such as 2006’s Charlotte’s Web ($11.45M opening, $83M cume) or films armed with the brightest awards season buzz (i.e. The Fighter $12.1M, $93.6M cume and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo $12.8M opening, $102.5M).
Breaking down the CinemaScore grades, we see that audiences didn’t loathe ITHOTS as much as critics who gave it a 44% Rotten Tomatoes score. Still when you start this low at the B.O. even with CinemaScore grades this high, it doesn’t get you any farther down the road. First, the audience makeup for this clipper ship drama was what we were always expecting: Older men showed up at 54% male, with 82% over 25. Close to half of the audience was over 50 and they too gave it a B+. Those grading the Howard epic in the A range included women at 46% (A-), the under-18 demo (9%), the 18-24 crowd at 8% (A) and the under-25 set at 18% (A-). If these scores were synced with higher grosses and bigger turnouts in those demographics, then ITHOTS might find itself sailing toward bigger shores by New Year’s. Those who did set time aside to watch this disaster pic in which a whale decimates a clipper ship of men said that they were drawn to the subject matter (64%). Howard’s fans came to the theater at 33%, while Hemsworth’s fan club repped 27% of the audience.
Rentrak’s PostTrak shows a similar make-up of older moviegoers with 55% guys, 78% over 25, however not everyone was wowed by ITHOTS with only 73% of all moviegoers giving it a very good or excellent rating.
Paramount’s The Big Short is currently on a bullish pace to be the second best opening theater average of 2015 with $80K after the $130K that Universal made from Steve Jobs. As of this morning, the Adam McKay mortgage crisis comedy looks to make $541K at eight locations in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The studio is reporting an estimated budget before P&A of $28M. Critics, who have praised this ensemble film with an 86% Rotten Tomatoes score are responsible for packing houses.
Off the heat of Golden Globes and SAG noms, awards season distributors have nothing to complain about with Open Road’s Spotlight and Fox Searchlight’s Brooklyn continuing to hang around in the top 10 with respective weekend dips of 15% and 21% after their expansions. Weinstein Co.’s Carol is up close to twofold after extending to 16 theaters. By Sunday, the film will fly past the $1M mark. By the time The Reader got to $1.2M in its third week, it was playing at 116 playdates, so TWC is making more on fewer engagements with a per screen of $22K. A24’s Room is looking at more business in the wake of its SAG and Globes noms with a 6% uptick and a total cume of $4.18M by Sunday. Focus Feature’s The Danish Girl isn’t holding up with an $11K per screen over FSS thanks to its expansion from 4 New York and LA locations to 24 venues in the top 9 markets. The Tom Hooper film’s cume through three weekends will be at $649K by Sunday.
Industry estimates as of this morning as calculated by Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka:
1.) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (LGF), 3,651 theaters (-435) / $3.3M Fri. (-42%)/ 3-day cume: $11.1M (-41%) /Total cume: $244.3M/Wk 4
2.) In The Heart of the Sea (WB/Village Roadshow), 3,103 theaters / $3.8M Fri. / 3-day cume: $10.5M /Wk 1
3). The Good Dinosaur (DIS), 3,606 theaters (-143) / $2.2M Fri. (-34%) / 3-day cume: $10.1M (-34%)/Total cume: $89.2M/Wk 3
4). Creed (MGM/New Line/WB), 3,502 theaters (+78) $2.95M Fri. (-35%)/ 3-day cume: $9.7M (-36%)/Total cume: $78.9M /Wk 3
5). Krampus (U/Legendary), 2,919 theaters (+17) / $2.5M Fri. (-58%)/ 3-day cume: $7.6M (-53%)/Total cume:$27.7M/Wk 2
6). The Night Before (SONY), 2,674 theaters (-120)/ $1.2M Fri. (-21%)/ 3-day cume: $4M (-21%)/Total cume: $38.3M/Wk 4
7).Spectre (SONY/MGM), 2,640 theaters (-200)/ $1.1M Fri. (-30%)/ 3-day cume: $3.9M (-30%)/Total cume: $190.6M /Wk 6
8). The Peanuts Movie (FOX), 2,653 theaters (-264)/ $569K Fri. (-28%)/ 3-day cume: $2.5M (-29%)/Total cume: $124.8M /Wk 6
9). Spotlight (OPRD), 1,089 (+109) / $710K Fri. (-15%) / 3-day cume: $2.38 (-15%) /Total cume: $20.2M /Wk 6
10). Brooklyn (FSL), 947 theaters (+41) / $581K Fri. (-22%)/3-day cume: $1.9M (-21%)/Total cume: $14.3M /Wk 6
11).The Martian (FOX), 1,041 theaters (-99) / $396K Fri. (-12%)/ 3-day cume: $1.4M (-13%)/ Total cume: $222.8M / Wk 11
Trumbo (BST), 554 theaters (-106) / $230K Fri. (-16%)/3-day cume: $795K (-16%)/Total cume: $5.4M/Wk 6
The Big Short (Paramount), 8 theaters / $222K Fri. / 3-day cume: $629K/PTA: $79K /Wk 1
Chi-Raq (RSA), 285 theaters (-20) / $164K Fri. (-62%) / 3-day cume: $544K(-55%) /Total cume: $2.08M/Wk 2
Carol (TWC), 16 theaters (+12)/ $101K Fri. (+155%)/3-day cume: $361K (+149%) /Total: $1.2M/Wk 4
Legend (UNI), 107 theaters (+46) / $93K Fri. (+8%) /3-day cume: $307K (+10%)/Total cume: $1.4M/Wk 4
Macbeth (TWC), 108 theaters (+103) / $79K Fri. (+257%)/3-day cume: $266K (+170%)/Total cume: $364K/Wk 2
The Danish Girl (FOC), 24 theaters (+20) / $74K Fri. (+150%)/3-day cume: $257K (+146%)/Total cume: $650K/Wk 3
Room (A24), 204 theaters (+29) / $61K Fri. (+28%)/ 3-day cume: $243K (+7%)/ Total cume: $4.2M / Wk 9
Youth (FSL), 17 theaters (+13)/ $27K Fri. (+12%)/3-day cume: $79K (+15%)/ Total Cume: $201K/Wk 2
2ND UPDATE, Friday 12:18PM: Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s In the Heart of the Sea is currently expected to win Friday with $4M-$4.2M putting it on a course for a weekend opening of $11.5M, which is a bit better than what the industry was expecting. Still, it’s not enough to launch this ship which many non-WB sources say cost $110M-$115M before P&A.
Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is currently eyeing $3.75M-$4M today, but it will have the benefit of an uptick on Saturday given its skew toward teen girls; a bump that In the Heart of the Sea won’t have with adults. Hence, there’s a chance that MJ2 arrives at $12M, but as of right now its FSS is too close to ITHOTS. By Sunday, MJ2‘s total cume will be at $245.2M, $31.7M behind MJ1 over the same point in time.
Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur will continue to post double digits with $10M in its third FSS, a 35% ease, putting its total cume by Sunday at just under $90M. Warner Bros. release of MGM/New Line’s Creed continues to hold with a $9.5M-$10M third sesh, off a third, for a running cume of $79.2M.
Last weekend’s surprise horror comedy Krampus is sliding down a chimney at -57% in its sophomore frame for $7M, with a 10-day projected cume of $27.1M. With the top five films currently estimated to collectively take $50.5M, that’s already off from last year’s top 5 of $56.9M a year ago when Exodus: Gods and Kings led the charts with a $24.1M opening. Worse, this weekend looks to be a complete downer from last weekend (which is typically one of the lower grossing ones of the year) when the top 5 chalked up $70.96M. That gives you an idea of where we are headed. Blame the holiday distraction, plus the fact that people are saving their money to blow next weekend on Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
On the specialty side, good word is percolating for Paramount’s limited release of The Big Short at eight locations. It’s currently expected to chart $50K a theater, double a safe minimum of $25K, which would give it an opening of $400K. It’s no wonder that the SAG awards gave this an ensemble nomination. Paramount had voters falling out of the Westwood Village screening, a venue that seats 1,400, back on Friday, Nov. 13 with an uproarious reception for the film followed by a Q&A that included director Adam McKay, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and author Michael Lewis among others. Weinstein Co.’s expansion of Carol from four to 16 locations is heading for a beautiful per screen of $20K which would give it a third weekend take of $320K, and sending its total cume to $1.2M by the end of the weekend.
1ST UPDATE, Friday 9:23AM:Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s In the Heart Of The Sea charted a course last night into what is expected to be a rough weekend at the box office, despite the fact the Ron Howard-directed film is the only major studio wide entry out there. The film grossed $575,000 on Thursday night. Many non-Warner Bros. execs believe the movie, budgeted at $110M-$115M (revised per industry sources), is headed for the cliffs with a $10M-$12M opening at 3,103 engagements. However, studio insiders say the Chris Hemsworth whale tale is looking at $12M-$14M off a production cost that’s just under $100M.
Critical buzz for Heart Of The Sea is quite low at 48% rotten and 44% for top critics, and an adult title such as this needs the tweeds on its side in a competitive moviegoing landscape. Still, an opening of $10M-$14M wouldn’t be the lowest for a Howard film on 2,000-plus screens: 1999’s EDtv debuted at $8.3M. iSpot.TV reports that Warner Bros shelled out $29.2M in estimated media value for TV spots for In The Heart Of The Sea, with a bulk of that shelled out on NFL football ($5.4M), the World Series ($2M) and popular shows such as Fox’s Empire
Keep in mind that exactly a year ago, 20th Century Fox had a big-budget epic that was stacked against them: Exodus: Gods And Kings. Not only did the Moses titles carry an estimated $140M budget, but the faith-based crowd was shunning the title before it opened. Exodus made $1.2M in Thursday night previews before opening to $24.1M. Still, that figure wasn’t enough to hit a high multiple during the holiday moviegoing season, eventually finishing its paltry stateside run at $65M. Fox milked what it could abroad on Exodus with a $203.2M gross, repping 76% of its global ticket sales.
Paramount has Adam McKay’s The Big Short in eight locations spread around New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. The film based on Michael Lewis’ book about those financial executives who profited off the housing bubble collapse should hit $25K per theater.
Last night, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 made $1.29M, raising its cume prior to its fourth week to $233.19M. It could beat In The Heart Of The Sea for No. 1 this weekend, making it the second time after the first Hunger Games that a title in the Suzanne Collins franchise held the top place on the charts for four frames in a row. Warner Bros. is having better luck with its release of MGM/New Line’s Creed, which is poised to cross $70M today after earning a Golden Globe supporting actor nomination for Sylvester Stallone yesterday.