8TH UPDATE, Tuesday 6:30PM: Final actuals Before we blame franchise fatigue as the catalyst for paltry Memorial Day openings, we need to also acknowledge the overall downward trend in openings for sequels this year. It’s been rampant across all genres including Ride Along 2, The Divergent Series: Allegiant even Captain America: Civil War (if you compare it to Avengers: Age of Ultron).
Sequels besting their predecessors have been few and far between in the wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
These are some of the reasons why Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass fell below its $55M-$60M projection with a final 4-day of $33.5M, as well as 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse missing its low-end $80M forecast by inches with a $79.8M FSSM (as we mentioned, non-Fox bean counters bet the ranch it would open to $100M).
While X-Men can be improved upon in its next iteration by Fox, the good news is that the series isn’t completely out of business like Alice is at Disney.
Could Alice 2 have been saved? Apparently not.
I’m told that early test screenings didn’t indicate in the least that the James Bobin-directed sequel was headed to a rabbit hole. Following the 2010 installment’s $1 billion worldwide haul, most of the talent was contracted to show up for part 2. One non-Disney executive who was close to the project criticized the screenplay as “half-baked” and that “most of the actors had to go through the motions” in showing up for the sequel. But mostly, time is what expired on Alice 2. The excitement for the property disappeared among audiences, and as we wrote over the weekend, the first Alice in Wonderland benefited from being the second 3D awe that moviegoers boarded post-Avatar (Tim Burton’s Alice generated 71% of its domestic B.O. from 3D). Add in the sequel director’s lack of Burton mystique and Johnny Depp’s drooping star and you’re left with a situation where no amount of potions or pills could make Alice 2 ten-feet tall.
Even as Disney tried to reignite interest in Alice 2 among millennials and young folk, the property wasn’t helped by the cast’s absence from social engagement, unlike, say, Furious 7. Depp isn’t an actor who naturally speaks directly to his fans like Dwayne Johnson, Emma Watts or Vin Diesel. And his press opps, sadly, were limited by the death of his mother. I understand he did one late-night appearance. Some might blame Depp’s recent domestic turmoils for the slowdown in Alice 2‘s opening, but such tabloid matters rarely weigh on moviegoers’ brows. But Deadline sources do suggest Depp’s wattage might be dimming from public appearances that are off-putting to Joe Consumer. “Fans want their stars to be magnetic, and to the people in Middle America, Johnny Depp is just weird,” said one rival studio executive about his antics. That tipsy guy seen at the Hollywood Awards two years ago might be catching up to Depp’s rep. As a barometer of popularity, CinemaScore reported over the weekend that 35% bought tickets to see Alice 2 because of Depp versus 51% back in 2010.
For all the media warnings Disney has received about Depp’s diminishing marquee value, particularly with regard to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales set for next Memorial Day, an even larger cloud surrounds the prospects for fairy tale sequels. Moviegoers hike to films like Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book and Snow White and the Huntsman for uniqueness. Can sequels promise anything better than the first go-round? I think that’s a bigger question than Depp’s B.O. power. The Pirates films are his $100M-plus openers, as was the first Alice. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened to $56M, but since 2012’s Dark Shadows Depp can mostly be counted on to open a movie in the $23M-$33M range. That’s his current B.O. batting average.
The top 20 films per ComScore for Memorial Day weekend 2016 — final actuals, ranked by 3-day as compiled by Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka:
1). X-Men: Apocalypse (FOX), 4,150 theaters / 3-day cume: $65.8M/3-day per screen: $15,848/4-day: $79.8M /4-day per screen: $19,231/Wk 1
2). Alice Through the Looking Glass (Disney), 3,763 theaters/ 3-day cume: $26.9M/3-day per screen: $7,138/4-day: $33.5M/4-day per screen: $8,904/Wk 1
3). The Angry Birds Movie (SONY/ROVIO), 3,932 theaters (0)/ 3-day cume: $18.8M (-51%)/3-day per screen: $4,774/4-day: $24.6M /4-day per screen: $6,246/Total cume: $72.2M/ Wk 2
4). Captain America: Civil War (Disney), 3,395 theaters (-831) /3-day cume: $15.4M (-53%) /3-day per screen: $4,535/4-day: $20M/ 4-day per screen: $5,892/Total cume: $377.5M/ Wk 4
5). Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (UNI), 3,416 theaters (+32)/ 3-day cume: $9.4M (-57%)/3-day per screen: $2,738/4-day: $11.4M/4-day per screen: $3,350/Total cume: $40.7M/ Wk 2
6). The Jungle Book (DIS), 2,523 theaters (-937) / 3-day cume: $7.1M (-35%)/3-day per screen: $2,809/4-day: $9.5M/ 4-day per screen: $3,770/Total cume: $341M / Wk 7
7). The Nice Guys (WB), 2,865 theaters (0)/ 3-day cume: $6.5M (-42%)/3-day per screen: $2,274/4-day: $8.3M/4-day per screen: $2,881/Total: $23.6M/ Wk 2
8). Money Monster (SONY), 2,315 theaters (-789)/ 3-day cume: $4.3M (-38%)/3-day per screen: $1,870/4-day: $5.6M/4-day per screen: $2,430/Total cume: $35.3M/Wk 3
9.) Love & Friendship (AMZ/RSA), 493 theaters (+446)/ 3-day cume: $2.4M (+331%)/3-day per screen: $/4-day: $3.2M /4-day per screen: $6,396/Total cume: $4.1M/Wk 3
10.) Zootopia (DIS), 572 theaters (-805) / 3-day cume: $802K (-52%) / 3-day per screen: $/4-day: $1.1M/4-day per screen: $1,960/Total cume: $336.2M / Wk 13
11). The Lobster (A24), 116 theaters (+92) / 3-day cume: $751K (+93%)/3-day per screen: $6,474/4-day: $989K/4-day per screen: $8,530/Total cume: $2.2M/Wk 3
12). The Darkness (HTR), 1,004 theaters (-765)/ 3-day cume: $713K (-69%)/3-day per screen: $710/4-day: $888K/4-day per screen: $884/Total Cume: $10M/ Wk 3
13). The Meddler (SPC) 420 theaters (-44) /3-day cume: $527K (-33%)/3-day per screen: $1,254/4-day: $700K/4-day per screen: $1,667 /Total cume: $3.1M / Wk 6
14). Batman v Superman (WB), 361 theaters (+40) /3-day cume: $518K(+67%) / 3-day per screen: $1,434/4-day: $635K/4-day per screen: $1,760 / Total cume: $329.5M / Wk 10
15). The Man Who Knew Infinity (IFC), 291 theaters (+21) /3-day cume: $432K (-13%) / 3-day per screen: $1,485/ 4-day: $608K/4-day per screen: $2,088 /Total cume: $2.5M / Wk 5
16). A Bigger Splash (FSL) 378 theaters (+250)/ 3-day cume: $405K (+23%) / 3-day per screen: $1,072/ 4-day: $520K/4-day per screen: $1,376 / Total cume: $1.4M /Wk 4
17). The Huntsman: Winter’s War (UNI) 374 theaters (-872) /3-day cume: $366K (-70%) / 3-day per screen: $980/ 4-day: $445K/4-day per screen: $1,191 / Total Cume: $47.6M / Wk 6
18). Kung Fu Panda 3 (FOX), 193 theaters (-26) /3-day cume: $256K (+15%) / 3-day per screen: $1,327/ 4-day: $307K/4-day per screen: $1,595 / Total cume: $143.1M / Wk 18
19). Miracles From Heaven (SONY) 207 theaters (+8) / 3-day cume: $252K (-23%)/ 3-day per screen: $1,500/ 4-day: $311K/4-day per screen: $1,500 / Total: $61.1M/Wk 11
20). Barbershop: The Next Cut (WB), 265 theaters (-479) /3-day cume: $246K (-71%) / 3-dayper screen: $928/ 4-day: $327K/4-day per screen: $1,236 / Total cume: $53.3M / Wk 7
The Fallen Idol (RIALTO), 2 theaters / 3-day cume: $12K/3-day per screen: $6,068/4-day: $16K /4-day per screen: $7,859/Wk 1
Holy Hell (IND), 3 theaters / 3-day cume: $9K/3-day per screen: $3,079/4-day: $11K /4-day per screen: $3,817/Wk 1
Chevalier (STRAND), 3 theaters / 3-day cume: $6K/3-day per screen: $1,989/4-day: $8K/4-day per screen: $2,572/Wk 1
The Ones Below (MAG), 4 theaters / 3-day cume: $5K/3-day per screen: $1,298/4-day: $7K/4-day per screen: $1,651/Wk 1
Presenting Princess Shaw (MAG), 3 theaters / 3-day cume: $5K/3-day per screen: $1,605/4-day: $6K/4-day per screen: $2,016/Wk 1
Unlocking The Cage (FR), 1 theaters / 3-day cume: $4K/4-day: $5K/Total cume: $9K/Wk 1
7TH UPDATE, Monday 8:20 AM: Sunday figures are in, and 20th Century Fox along with several rivals see X-Men: Apocalypse pulling in a $65.3M three-day opening on track for an $80M four-day. Thanks to the holiday, most films in the top 10 showed small drops on Sunday between -1% and -12% from Saturday. X-Men was down -8% from Saturday, while Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass sank further with $8.1M, -11%. Disney now sees Alice 2 making even less than what they forecasted 24 hours ago: $27M FSS, $34.1M FSSM. That’s even lower than Tomorrowland‘s broken-down Memorial Day debut of $33M FSS, $42.7M FSSM.
On Friday, just as we were beginning to see Alice 2 come apart, one distribution chief said, “The only sequels you can truly count on are the ones to superhero movies in this day and age.” And even though X-Men is coming in much lower than industry expectations, the guy is right. X-Men worldwide is going to be in much better shape, already counting $265.8M (true, it had a head start over Alice 2) than Alice 2 which is at $99.1M. Both titles cost north of $170M before P&A. X-Men Days of Future Past finaled its global B.O. at $747.9M, 69% coming from overseas cash registers. 2010’s Alice in Wonderland cleared $1B worldwide, and this one is going to do 61% less in the end ($400M) if it’s lucky.
Fox says that Apocalypse “played very balanced across the U.S. and Canada” with top grossing locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Antonio, Chicago, Miami and Toronto. Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and Miami over-performed the studio’s projections. With no Monday holiday, Canada came in strong, repping 8.1% of the weekend. Updated premium large format screen gross for Apocalypse is at $7.8M or 12% of the pic’s till.
3D was never going to be a driver with Alice 2 after 2010’s Alice in Wonderland‘s reaped 71% of its gross from the format at the height of its popularity. This time 3D contributed 41% to Alice 2‘s tally; broken down that’s 29% in traditional 3D, 11% Imax, and 1% whatever PLFs Disney could get their hands on. While CinemaScore gave Alice 2 an A-, ComScore’s PostTrak sees a different picture: Only 79% gave the sequel a total positive, with only 51% saying they’d recommend it to friends. Kids liked it better than parents, with positive scores of 87% to 77%, not to mention the young-ins are the best WOM Alice 2 has with 67% saying they’d give it a definite recommend to parents’ 57%.
Updated studio reported figures for Memorial Day weekend 2016:
1). X-Men: Apocalypse (FOX), 4,150 theaters / $26.4M Fri. (includes $8.2M previews) /$20.25M Sat. (-23%) /$18.65M Sun. (-8%) / 3-day cume: $65.3M/4-day: $80M Wk 1
2). Alice Through the Looking Glass (Disney), 3,763 theaters / $9.7M Fri. (includes $1.5M previews) / $9.1M Sat. (-6%) /$8.1M Sun. (-11%) / 3-day cume: $27M/4-day: $34.1M/Wk 1
3). The Angry Birds Movie (SONY/ROVIO), 3,932 theaters (0)/ $5M Fri. /$7.3M Sat. (+44%) /$6.4M Sun. (-12%) / 3-day cume: $18.7M (-51%)/4-day: $24.6M /Total cume: $72.2M/ Wk 2
4). Captain America: Civil War (Disney), 3,395 theaters (-831) / $4M Fri. /$5.8M Sat. (+43%) /$5.6M Sun. (-8%) / 3-day cume: $15.4M (-53%) /4-day: $19.7M/ Total cume: $376.9M/ Wk 4
5). Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (UNI), 3,416 theaters (+32)/ $2.8M Fri. /$3.3M Sat. (+16%) /$3.1M Sun. (-7%) / 3-day cume: $9.2M (-57%)/4-day: $11.4M/Total cume: $40.7M/ Wk 2
6). The Jungle Book (DIS), 2,523 theaters (-937) / $1.8M Fri. / $2.7M Sat. (+46%) /$2.6M Sun. (-6%) / 3-day cume: $7.1M (-35%)/4-day: $9.2M/ Total cume: $340.7M / Wk 7
7). The Nice Guys (WB), 2,865 theaters (0)/ $1.8M Fri. /$2.4M Sat. (+37%) /$2.3M Sun. (-4%) / 3-day cume: $6.5M (-42%)/4-day: $8.1M/Total: $23.5M/ Wk 2
8). Money Monster (SONY), 2,315 theaters (-789) / $1.1M Fri. /$1.7M Sat. (+50%) /$1.5M Sun. (-9%) / 3-day cume: $4.3M (-39%)/4-day: $5.5M/Total cume: $35.2M/Wk 3
9.) Love & Friendship (AMZ/RSA), 493 theaters (+446) / $663K Fri. /$917K Sat. (+38%) /$871K Sun. (-5%) / 3-day cume: $2.5M (+346%)/4-day: $3.1M /Total cume: $4.1M/Wk 3
10.) Zootopia (DIS), 572 theaters (-805) / $191K Fri. / $325K Sat. (+70%) /$306K Sun. (-6%) / 3-day cume: $821K(-51%) / 4-day: $1.1M/Total cume: $336.2M / Wk 13
6TH WRITE-THRU, Sunday AM: Tropical Storm Bonnie, the first of the year to threaten the U.S., will hit South Carolina by Sunday night. As such, distrib chiefs can’t use the weather as an excuse yet for what has been a lackluster Memorial Day weekend at the B.O.
The new titles — 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse and Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass — were both down on Saturday from their Friday returns, respectively -23% and -6%, which is putting a damper on weekend projections. Meanwhile, most of the holdovers in the top 10 posted increases.
Fox is confident it will hit its $80M four-day projection for the fourth Bryan Singer X-Men movie after a $20.3M on Saturday, and a $65M FSS. Despite being blasted by critics, the studio has the upper hand here on Apocalypse with enthusiastic exit polls (A- CinemaScore, an 81% PostTrak positive score and a 63% definite recommend). The Pico Blvd. studio finds itself in a similar scenario with Apocalypse as they did with X-Men: The Last Stand, which was also loathed by critics loathed, but not dismissed by the masses. A Batman v. Superman situation apparently this is not. Still, we can’t ignore the fact that some want something more from this franchise, especially when it’s coming from the studio that released Deadpool.
Meanwhile, Disney’s Alice 2 is the studio’s third Memorial Day bomb following last year’s Tomorrowland and 2010’s Prince of Persia with $28.1M over FSS and $35.6M for FSSM. While Alice 2 has a similar scenario of decent audience response (A- CinemaScore) and bad reviews like X-Men, it’s low tickets sales indicate it won’t have the leg factor of X-Men: Apocalypse. Despite Disney’s strategizing and planning for this sequel, no one was obviously eager to see it. There’s something to be said here about too much of a good thing: As Disney slam dunks with its string of branded tentpoles, they have to stop and assess — is a sequel really worth it? They really need to be careful with theme park adapted features, and sequels for certain live action fairy tales. Is Jungle Book 2 really the wisest move?
A few weeks ago, we asserted that the only studio in town that can make fairy tale movies right was Disney. We’re not backing away from that statement. Alice isn’t necessarily a princess property, and it’s bound to make more money stateside than Universal’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War ($47.5M). Disney has been able to get these Memorial Day disasters such as Prince of Persia and Tomorrowland beyond the $90M threshold at the domestic B.O. With so much product in the marketplace, and Finding Dory down the road, Disney can withstand a ding like Alice 2. Even if Alice 2 makes $400M worldwide, it’s going to bleed Queen of Hearts red after a total production cost and P&A of $320M. Disney passed the $4B global B.O. mark, the fourth time for the Burbank lot to do so, and besting the industry record last year; this during a weekend when it has Alice 2.
Still, this isn’t a Memorial Day to remember. The four-day holiday has continually been upstaged product wise by tentpoles launching during the first weekend of May, and for many distributors they really haven’t been putting their best foot forward. Even for moviegoers, Memorial Day at the B.O. is an afterthought.
Just look at how the holiday weekend’s ticket sales have tanked over the last three years. According to ComScore, 2013 marked a record four-day total for Memorial Day weekend with $314M thanks to Fast & Furious 6 ($117M), however, the holiday frame’s total B.O. fell 26% in 2014 to $231.4M, then 16% last year to $194.9M. OK, so this year’s Memorial Day is up 4% with approximately $203.5M which is the 10th best. Whoopee. We can do better.
A studio truly has to have the goods if they want to rally and break records over this weekend; a complete want-to-see title that outshines whatever has been programmed during the first weekend of May (read Memorial Day weekend 2008 when the fourth Indiana Jones film in 19 years debuted to $126.9M). That’s the only way people are going to be pulled away from any BBQ or poolside.
The other problem for the newbies this weekend is that the holdovers are cutting into their business. There’s just too much competition. “Of course it would be nice to have a wide open playdate – not only on the opening weekend, but surrounding the date before and after – that, as you know is an impossibility these days,” one insider explains this morning. As commenters have observed, The Jungle Book beat Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at the domestic B.O., $341M to $328.8M — who the hell saw that coming? Sony/Rovio’s sturdy canary The Angry Birds Movie nipped into Alice’s cat, up 46% over Friday with $7.3M on its way to a second weekend of $18.4M, -52% with a 4-day of $24.5M and an 11-day total of $72.2M.
Boosting X-Men: Apocalypse‘s gross are 480 premium large format (PLF) screens which are making $8M over FSS, $9.6M over FSSM, or 12% of the weekend B.O. RealD screens took in an estimated $19 million over 3-days on X-Men, $23.5M over four.
Arthouse cross-overs have been strong this weekend with Roadside Attractions/Amazon’s Whit Stillman movie Love & Friendship and A24’s The Lobster in No. 12 which will count $2.2M through Monday. RSA is comping Love & Friendship to Open Road’s Chef, strictly in how its third week 493 theater break is chalking up similar numbers. The distrib is reporting $2.5M for three days on the Amazon Studios movie and $3.5M for four. RSA says that the film crossed over to commercial multiplexes, specifically a Salt Lake City multiplex which ranked as one of the pic’s top 10 locations. The film is also playing strong from the northwest (Vancouver, WA) to the south (Birmingham, AL). Love & Friendship expands next weekend. To date, Stillman’s highest grossing movie is 1994’s Barcelona ($7.3M). Brian Brooks will have more this morning.
The top 12 films per studio-reported figures for Memorial Day weekend 2016 as compiled by Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka:
1). X-Men: Apocalypse (FOX), 4,150 theaters / $26.4M Fri. (includes $8.2M previews) /$20.25M Sat. (-23%) /$18.35M Sun. (-9%) / 3-day cume: $65M/4-day: $78.3M-$80M/ Wk 1
2). Alice Through the Looking Glass (Disney), 3,763 theaters / $9.7M Fri. (includes $1.5M previews) / $9.1M Sat. (-6%) /$9.25M Sun. (+1%) / 3-day cume: $28.1/4-day: $35.6M/Wk 1
3). The Angry Birds Movie (SONY/ROVIO), 3,932 theaters (0)/ $5M Fri. /$7.3M Sat. (+44%) /$6.4M Sun. (-12%) / 3-day cume: $18.7M (-51%)/4-day: $26.5M /Total cume: $72.2M/ Wk 2
4). Captain America: Civil War (Disney), 3,395 theaters (-831) / $4M Fri. /$5.8M Sat. (+43%) /$5.6M Sun. (-8%) / 3-day cume: $15.1M (-54%) /4-day: $19.5M/ Total cume: $376.9M/ Wk 4
5). Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (UNI), 3,416 theaters (+32)/ $2.8M Fri. /$3.3M Sat. (+16%) /$M Sun. (-%) / 3-day cume: $9.1M (-58%)/4-day: $11.9M/Total cume: $41.1M/ Wk 2
6). The Jungle Book (DIS), 2,523 theaters (-937) / $1.8M Fri. / $2.7M Sat. (+46%) /$2.5M Sun. (-6%) / 3-day cume: $7M (-36%)/4-day: $9M/ Total cume: $341.7M / Wk 7
7). The Nice Guys (WB), 2,865 theaters (0)/ $1.8M Fri. /$2.4M Sat. (+37%) /$2.2M Sun. (-10%) / 3-day cume: $6.4M (-43%)/4-day: $8.4M/Total: $23.7M/ Wk 2
8). Money Monster (SONY), 2,315 theaters (-789) / $1.1M Fri. /$1.7M Sat. (+50%) /$1.5M Sun. (-9%) / 3-day cume: $4.3M (-39%)/4-day: $5.4M/Total cume: $35M/Wk 3
9.) Love & Friendship (AMZ/RSA), 493 theaters (+446) / $663K Fri. /$917K Sat. (+38%) /$871K Sun. (-5%) / 3-day cume: $2.5M (+346%)/4-day: $3.1M /Total cume: $4.1M/Wk 3
10.) Zootopia (DIS), 572 theaters (-805) / $191K Fri. / $325K Sat. (+70%) /$315K Sun. (-3%) / 3-day cume: $831K(-51%) / 4-day: $1.1M/Total cume: $336.2M / Wk 13
11). The Darkness (HTR), 1,004 theaters (-765)/ $217K Fri. / $279K Sat. (+29%) /$251K Sun. (-10%) / 3-day cume: $747K (-67%)/4-day: $910K/Total Cume: $10M/ Wk 3
12.) The Lobster (A24), 116 theaters (+92) / $215K Fri. /$269K Sat. (+25%) /$242K Sun. (-10%) / 3-day cume: $725K(+86%)/4-day: $943K/Total cume: $2.2M/Wk 3
Weiner (IFC), 27 theaters (+22) / $46K Fri. /$59K Sat. (+29%) /$52K Sun. (-11%) / 3-day cume: $165K (+96%)/$6K PTA /4-day: $205K/Total Cume: $334K/ Wk 2
Maggie’s Plan (SPC), 19 theaters (+14) / $27K Fri. /$40K Sat. (+47) /$43K Sun. (+8%) / 3-day cume: $110K (+74%)/4-day: $134K/Total cume: $222K/Wk 2
Tomorrow (Demain) (IND), 17 theaters / $18K Fri. / $11K Sat. (+38%) /$10K Sun. (-10%) / 3-day cume: $38K/4-day:$44K /Wk 1
The Idol (ADOPT), 16 theaters / $6K Fri. /$8K Sat. (+45%) /$8K Sun. (-5%) / 3-day cume: $22K/4-day: $28K /Wk 1
Holy Hell (IND), 3 theaters / $3K Fri. /$3K Sat. (-8%) /$3K Sun. (0%) / 3-day cume: $9K/4-day: $11K /Wk 1
4TH WRITE-THRU Saturday, 8AM: We’ve seen two mega-franchise movies go up against each other before during Memorial Day weekend, but whenever this happens one always comes up with the short-end of the stick at the box office.
Countless examples abound, i.e. 2013 when Fast & Furious 6 ($117M FSSM) squared off with Hangover III ($50.3M) and 2009 when Night of the Museum 2 ($70.1M) faced off with Terminator Salvation ($51.9M).
A similar scenario is occurring once again this weekend with 20th Century Fox’s X-men: Apocalypse squashing Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, $80M+ to $38M-$42M.
Both of these films cost north of $170M. Was it a good idea for one to butt up against the other?
Each title needs the widest audience possible in order to see black. We need to question whether pitting two tentpoles of this magnitude over the four-day holiday is a financially sound practice. We know people go to the movies at the end of the year, however, the Memorial Day frame has shown leaks; it’s arguably only big enough to withstand one four-quad gorilla. For Disney, this is their third Memorial Day opening disaster following last year’s Tomorrowland and 2010’s Prince of Persia.
One east coast-based exhibition czar tells Deadline this morning, “It does not work well to pit two tentpoles against each other. It is common sense, the vast majority of people don’t have the money and time to see two movies on a weekend so they have to choose.”
Currently, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse is coming in toward Fox’s conservative projection of $80M+ over FSSM. Earlier in the week many rivals predicted a $100M+ opening, but Fox always knew the fourth X-Men movie directed by Bryan Singer was going to file lower, first because they were coming off a high with Days of Future Past (FSSM opening $110.6M), and second those God-awful Apocalypse reviews at 48% rotten. X-Men: Apocalypse is set to make $65M-$66.4M over FSS with $26.3M from Friday at 4,150 theaters. On a three-day basis it will be the fourth best opening for an X-Men movie not counting Wolverine.
Are flagging tickets sales such a great thing though?
Many critics do make a point that the sixth X-men is a lot of the same clang, bang, boom and that this mythology is growing long in the tooth. Let’s not forget that X-Men is being handled by the same studio who turned the superhero genre upside down for the better back in February with Deadpool. Despite rebooting the franchise slightly with 2011’s X-Men: First Class, it might be time for Fox to put the series back on the shelf for a while or at least go back to the drawing board. Dare we point out that the opening weekend for Sony’s broken-down The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is bigger with $91.6M?
CinemaScore is an A- for Apocalypse, which is less than Days of Future Past‘s A, but hopefully will counter those poor reviews. Alice Through the Looking Glass is looking at $29M-$32.5M over FSS and $9.8M from Friday. CinemaScore audiences loved it as much as the 2010 film with an A-.
On social, Relish Mix reports that the buzz for Apocalypse is “mildly positive with a fair share of skepticism. While some see Apocalypse as a popcorn film to rival Captain America: Civil War, others definitely are sharing their franchise fatigue.” More on social toward the end of the column.
Apocalypse demos were similar to Days of Future Past: 60% males showed up with 58% over 25. Sixty-one percent of those watching X-Men did so because they love the property, while 28% came out for the actors and 24% came out to watch Jennifer Lawrence and Olivia Munn. Hugh Jackman was a bigger draw on Days of Future Past at 32%. The under 18 demo who repped 22% of the crowd loved Apocalypse the most with an A.
Despite Alice 2 vying for young girls and families, “X-Men isn’t doing it any favors at the box office,” said one distribution chief. And even though X-Men is reaping the spoils, I’m sure Fox would be happier if that hag Alice and her kooky friends weren’t standing around, stealing their cash. And with all the family product in the market —Angry Birds with $20.1M FSS, -47%, as well as Disney’s own Jungle Book with $10.2M over FSSM– the question begged is why Disney kept Alice 2 on Memorial Day weekend? Yes, they were looking to get the biggest audience possible, but that’s not the case with all this competition in the holiday marketplace. In regards to marketing, Disney certainly didn’t bail on Alice 2. That’s not Disney’s way. And you can’t blame the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard feud; glossy woes do not factor into the B.O.. If this sequel meant anything, Disney should have found another date when there was less competition which would cut into its till. Granted, they chose May 27 first back in November 2013 before Fox staked the same date out for X-Men a month later. “I would have moved Alice,” asserted our rival distrib exec about keeping the sequel alive, “but that’s not Disney’s way. They’re not reactive. Their record is 88 to 2 and they never lose. They probably said to themselves when X-Men moved on the date, ‘We’ll figure it out'”.
Granted, there are other factors that go into dating a wide release stateside. Overseas plays into it, and Alice 2 is opening in 72% of the foreign market this weekend. In addition, distrib chiefs will pound their fists in their hands and say, that business during the summer is all about the weekdays. However, every weekend this summer feels like a Kamikaze mission for every wide release. There’s just too many wide entries at 51 this summer compared to 42 last year.
And while we can point to the waning 3D craze, Depp’s falling star (35% came out to see him for Alice 2 vs. 51% for Alice) and the lack of the Burton aficionados as reasons impacting Alice 2‘s ticket sales, our rival distrib chief continues, “The first movie wasn’t that good, so I was surprised that they made a sequel. Until Alice made all that money.” Critics weren’t so keen with 2010’s Alice in Wonderland giving it a 52% rotten score. Alice 2 fared worse with a 29% rotten rating. More females at 72% came out to watch Alice 2, than Alice (60%), while the under 25 demo was about the same size as the first time around with 59%. Forty-six percent bought tickets to Alice 2 for the subject matter. Alice 2 also got a little younger according to CinemaScore with the under 18 crowd at 43%, while Alice drew 34%.
The Relish Mix report on Alice 2‘s social media buzz: “Convo is generally positive, but the film has its share of criticism as well. Some fans just can’t wait to see Johnny Depp reprise his role as the Mad Hatter and see if this sequel lives up to the standard set by the first live-action Alice…There is a fair amount of skeptical chatter, ranging from the cast to the fact Tim Burton is not returning as director to confusion over who the villain is in the movie.”
At the Sundance Film Festival, director Whit Stillman saw his Jane Austen feature adaptation Love & Friendship as a date movie, and it certainly is. Stillman’s fifth feature directorial cracked into the top 10 with a projected 4-day of $3.5M. We can’t discount A24’s expansion of its quirky Alchemy pick-up The Lobster which played the Cannes Film Festival last year. The Yorgos Lanthimos comedy is up 93% in its third FSS after expanding to 116 theaters for a 12th place rank. Also coming on strong with per screen averages is the second frames of IFC’s Weiner doc and Sony Pictures Classics’ dramedy Maggie’s Plan starring Greta Gerwig, Julianne Moore and Ethan Hawke.
****X-Men: Apocalypse vs. Alice Through the Looking Glass social media****
Among some of the cool videos dropped by the Fox social media team, there was a retro ad for Xavier’s School which clocked 780K views as well as a Robin Leach narrated “Fables of the Flush and Fabulous”.
Alice 2’s viral video rate of 7:1 according to RelishMix isn’t considered that strong among social media standards. One of the biggest social media assets for the James Bobin movie was Pink’s music video, “Just Like Fire” which drew 15.8M views. The biggest social media stars for the movie among the cast are Anne Hathaway (7.2M) and Sacha Baron Cohen (4.2m). Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp are not socially engaged, however, the latter did participate in a stunt that earned 2.3M views on YouTube. Depp dressed up as the Mad Hatter, then sat in a small booth in the middle of Disneyland and surprised park visitors with his interactive poster.
The top 10 films for Memorial Day weekend May 27-30, 2016 per industry estimates as of 8:30AM Saturday compiled by Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka.
1). X-Men: Apocalypse (FOX), 4,150 theaters / $26.3M Fri. (includes $8.2M previews) / 3-day cume: $65M-$66.4M /4-day: $80M-$80.6M Wk 1
2). Alice Through the Looking Glass (Disney), 3,763 theaters / $9.8M Fri. (includes $1.5M previews) / 3-day cume: $29M-32.5M /4-day: $38M-$42M/Wk 1
3). The Angry Birds Movie (SONY/ROVIO), 3,932 theaters (0)/ $5M Fri. (-53%) / 3-day cume: $20.1M (-47%)/4-day: $26.4M /Total cume: $74M/ Wk 2
4). Captain America: Civil War (Disney), 3,395 theaters (-831) / $4.1M Fri. (-53%)/ 3-day cume: $16.5M (-50%) /4-day: $21.4M/ Total cume: $378.9M/ Wk 4
5). Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (UNI), 3,416 theaters (+32)/ $2.8M Fri. (-68%)/ 3-day cume: $9.4M (-57%)/4-day:$11.7M/Total cume: $40.9M/ Wk 2
6). The Jungle Book (DIS), 2,523 theaters (-937) / $1.8M Fri. (-34%) / 3-day cume: $7.6M (-31%)/4-day: $10.2M/ Total cume: $341.7M / Wk 7
7). The Nice Guys (WB), 2,865 theaters (0)/ $1.8M Fri. (-55%) / 3-day cume: $6.8M (-40%)/4-day: $8.6M/Total: $24M/ Wk 2
8). Money Monster (SONY), 2,315 theaters (-789) / $1.1M Fri. (-44%) / 3-day cume: $4.3M (-38%)/4-day: $5.5M/Total cume: $35.1M/Wk 3
9.) Love & Friendship (AMZ/RSA), 493 theaters (+446) / $669K Fri. (+338%) / 3-day cume: $2.7M (+386%)/4-day: $3.5M /Total cume: $4.5M/Wk 3
10.) Zootopia (DIS), 572 theaters (-805) / $188K Fri. (-51%) / 3-day cume: $866K (-49%) / 4-day: $1.2M/Total cume: $336.2M / Wk 13
11). The Darkness (HTR), 1,004 theaters (-765)/ $222K Fri. (-68%) / 3-day cume: $797K (-65%)/4-day: $985K/Total Cume: $10.1M/ Wk 3
12.) The Lobster (A24), 116 theaters (+92) / $214K Fri. (+77%)/ 3-day cume: $749K (+93%)/4-day: $946K/Total cume: $2.2M/Wk 3
Weiner (IFC), 27 theaters (+22) / $46K Fri. /3-day cume: $190k (+126%)/$7K PTA /4-day: $244K/Total Cume: $358K/ Wk 2
Maggie’s Plan (SPC), 19 theaters (+14) / $27K Fri. /3-day cume: $110K (+74%)/$6K PTA/4-day: $142K/Total cume: $230K/Wk 2
Tomorrow (Demain) (IND), 17 theaters / $18K Fri. / 3-day cume: $59K/4-day: $72K /Wk 1
The Idol (ADOPT), 16 theaters / $6K Fri. / 3-day cume: $20K/4-day: $25K /Wk 1
Holy Hell (IND), 3 theaters / $3K Fri. / 3-day cume: $12K/4-day: $15K /Wk 1
2ND UPDATE, 11:50 AM: Oh, no! It looks like it’s Tomorrowland all over again for Disney. Industry projections shows 20th Century Fox’s super-charged X-Men: Apocalypse raining meteors on Disney’s sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, with respective 4-day takes of $90M to $40M. Alice 2 cost $170M before P&A, so if these figures keep up and don’t pop, it’s off with her head.
X-Men looks to mint $29M-$30M today which includes an $8.2M Thursday, while Alice looks to eat up $9M, including a meh Thursday of $1.5M. Three-day for X-Men is $78M, while Alice will file second with $31M. It’s funny, we heard a lone projection from an analyst earlier in the week that Alice 2 was poised to tank, but we thought that was far too cynical; most box office trackers were seeing Alice 2‘s opening through rosy-colored glasses with $55M-$60M.
Disney actually owns the top opening of all-time for Memorial Day weekend: 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with $139.8M. However, the studio hasn’t had much fortune with the holiday since 2010’s Prince of Persia which flopped with $37.9M FSSM debut ($90.8M final domestic) and last year’s Tomorrowland which opened to $42.7M (domestic final $93.4M). Like Alice 2, both of those titles came with steep estimated price tags between $190M-$200M. Why did Disney plop Alice 2 here? They wanted to launch the movie on a weekend when a slew of families head to the cinema.
Again, it’s still early in the weekend. Never good to pronounce a film dead this early on, but it’s not looking promising at this point for Alice 2. While 3D was a huge factor for the first Alice in Wonderland, it’s less a factor this time around as families, which are the core audience here for the James Bobin-directed movie, opt for cheaper ticket prices. Even though Disney has Imax, a format that any studio would envy in their theater count, it’s not a format particularly meant for a PG movie geared toward little girls. It comes as no surprise to hear that PLFs are doing more business for X-Men, a comic book movie.
It should also be noted that Depp-gate, which is occurring right now in the actor’s divorce proceedings with Amber Heard, is not a negative factor contributing to Alice 2‘s dismal box office projections. Usually such glossy matters do not enter into a moviegoer’s decision-making process, plus in all fairness to Disney they sold this movie on all of the characters we loved from the first Alice. A case in point on how scandals do not impact the B.O.: the hot water that director Bryan Singer found himself in a month prior to X-Men: Days of Future Past opening. Those allegations against the director surrounding his affairs with minors didn’t put any dampers on the ticket sales for X-Men: Days of Future Past. That film would go on to become the second-highest grossing title in the franchise with $233.9M at the domestic B.O.
1ST UPDATE, 7:30 AM: 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse made $8.2M last night from 3,565 theaters with showtimes starting at 7 PM, while Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass gulped the shrinking potion and made $1.5M.
By comparison, 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past grossed $8.1M on Thursday night before chalking up a $35.5M first day. 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand owns the best Memorial Day Friday bow with $45.1M. Also two years ago, but during the post-Memorial Day weekend, Disney’s Maleficient made $4.2M.
X-Men Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass are hands down the No. 1 and 2 draws over the four-day Memorial Day holiday. Hopefully, Apocalypse pegs another slot on the all-time Memorial Day openers list. Rival projections are at $100M-plus for the Bryan Singer-directed movie, but Fox has a more conservative outlook of $80M+ over four-days. Meanwhile, Alice Through the Looking Glass is seeing $55M-$60M+ over FSSM. We’ll be hearing from Disney soon as to how Alice fared Thursday night.
On the list of all-time best Memorial Day domestic openers, 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand with $122.9M and X-Men: Days of Future Past with $110.6M rank third and fifth, respectively.
Fandango reported Thursday that advance ticket sales for Apocalypse were on par with Days of Future Past, while Alice Through the Looking Glass is in sync with Disney’s 2014 post-Memorial Day hit Maleficent, which made $69.4M in its first FSS.
Other than Wolverine, X-Men: Apocalypse is arguably the worst-reviewed title in the series at 47% Rotten. However, the franchise has shown to deflect any bitter word-of-mouth in the past: The Last Stand had a 58% Rotten Tomatoes score, but landed an A- CinemaScore — and it’s the highest grossing film in the series. Days of Future Past won over both tweeds and moviegoers with a 91% Rotten Tomatoes score and an A CinemaScore. Alice also has a similar scenario at the B.O., where the populist vote is bigger than the smarty pants’ one. The first Alice received a mixed response from film reviewers at 52% despite earning an A- CinemaScore and a final domestic of $334.2M. Currently, there are more critics that loathe Alice Through the Looking Glass than Apocalypse at 27% rotten.
Disney reported Thursday night demos for Alice Through the Looking Glass as follows: 51% female, 49% male, with 42% under 25. Families made up 21% of the crowd. In regards to the discrepancy between X-Men and Alice last night, one East Coast-based exhibitor told Deadline this morning that it boiled down to the PLFs. Read, one of his auditoriums grossed $2,600 from X-Men, while Alice made $300. “I wanted to share my PLF with the two films, but Fox would not allow where Disney would. I think this will result in X-Men doing better than expected and Alice underperforming,” said Deadline’s deep throat source.
The reasons this Alice won’t be as high as the original stem from various factors: It doesn’t have the Tim Burton-philes in its court, the 2010 pic benefited from a post-Avatar 3D craze — 71% of its domestic B.O. came from the format — and it was the only wide entry when it opened during the first weekend of March with $116.1M. Thirty-nine percent of Alice inWonderland‘s audience came from families, while it skewed female at 55% with 54% under 25.
Among the regular rank of movies in play, Disney’s Captain America: Civil War has been the top draw during the past four weekdays. The Russo brothers movie made $2.1M last night at 4,226 theaters for a three week cume of $357.5M; that’s 7% behind Avengers: Age of Ultron. which finaled at $459M. If Civil War keeps up its pace, then it will final a stateside B.O. north of $425M. Here are the first-week cumes for last weekend’s entries: Sony/Rovio’s The Angry Birds Movie ($47.7M), Universal’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising ($29.2M) and Warner Bros.’ The Nice Guys ($15.4M). Everyone is looking forward to strong holds thanks to the four-day holiday stretch.