4th Writethru Sunday AM following Saturday 11:45PM post: If there’s a tale as old as time at the box office this weekend, it’s the non-stop trend that premium brands are much bigger stars than the talent on the poster.

Disney says Beauty and the Beast‘s second weekend is $88.3M, but the industry believes it’s higher at $90.4M. The Burbank studio likes to play it safe with their Sunday AM reporting. Last week, Monday, of course, showed that Beauty and the Beast was much better than what they were reporting. Either figure, it’s still the fourth best second weekend ever behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($149.2M), Jurassic World ($106.5M) and Marvel’s The Avengers ($103M). Tomorrow the Bill Condon musical should be at $319M.

Meanwhile, kids and millennials flocked to Lionsgate’s theatrical reboot of 1990s franchise Saban’s Power Rangers which is looking at $40.5M. Some believed Lionsgate was crazy dating in the wake of Beauty and the Beast, but the fact is they complemented the Disney audience. Power Rangers is pulling in over 60% males, while Beauty is still clocking over 70% women. Click hear to read about how Lionsgate reinvigorated Power Rangers.

Disney

Granted, Beauty and the Beast has the help of a very popular leading lady in Harry Potter‘s Emma Watson, but Power Rangers arrives with a fresh-faced cast in the title roles and they’re whipping Sony/Skydance’s Ryan Reynolds-Jake Gyllenhaal sci-fi R-rated pic Life (estimated $12.6M in fourth) and running Warner Bros.’ Dax Shepard-Kristen Bell-Michael Pena R-rated big screen reboot of 1980s TV series CHIPS off the road ($7.6M in 7th). Before Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers even hit the screen, they had more street cred with moviegoers given their multi-billion dollar labels: Beauty with its toys, princess dresses and touring Broadway stage show, and Rangers with its actions figures and global TV licensing over the last 24 years.

Beauty thrives on its generation of fans, pulling in everyone from five-year old girls to grandparents. As a majority of major studios make a case to segue their titles to PVOD a few weeks following their theatrical window, they point to families as a key target audience. It’s just too much money for them to go to the movies, right? But here’s Beauty and the Beast as well as a slew of other titles this month proving that notion wrong with March clocking a $1 billion record at the B.O. according to ComScore.

Whenever families want to get out of the house, they have zero problems breaking their piggy banks. Says one brilliant East Coast based distribution chief, “These families probably go to the movies four-to-six times a year. Why? Because it’s a family value with all the popcorn and costs. Are they going into debt over this? I always say that the economy isn’t bad when a family wants to do an activity for their family.” And the same argument can be made for Power Rangers.

Power Rangers Movie
Lionsgate

Power Rangers is proving to be a good night time movie, and that can be attributed to its big turn out by millenial 25-34 year olds who repped 39% of the crowd on ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak. Saturday deposited $14.6M into Power Rangers’ bank account, -3% from Friday’s $15M which included $3.6M Thursday previews.

Men turned out more than women at 65%  with a near even split between the under/over 25 ( 49%/51%). CinemaScore also showed that 49% of the crowd was ages 18-34. Under 18 gave it an A+ with males and females giving the Dean Israelite-movie an A.

For $100M production cost as well as Lionsgate’s estimated 25% exposure on the film, I’m told by rivals that $40.5M is a good start here in the states as it beats both Maze Runners’ low $30M starts, and is head and shoulders above Divergent Series: Allegiant ($29M).  Power Rangers adds to the great momentum Lionsgate has savored since the fall with Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween ($73M domestic), Hacksaw Ridge (two Oscars $175.3M worldwide), La La Land (six Oscars, $430M worldwide), John Wick: Chapter 2 ($90M domestic, $159M global), and faith-based title The Shack (near $50M domestic).

Pic received a 66% definite recommend, which is higher than CHIPS (50%) and Life (48%). Boys ages 7-9 made up 44% of the kids under 12 and they loved Power Ranges with a 94% positive score. Dads who repped 45% of the crowd also enjoyed Power Rangers with a 92% positive score. Overall, evenly spread demos for Power Rangers with Caucasians accounting for 35% of Friday’s movigoers followed by 25% Hispanic, 24% African American and 11% Asian.

Even though Lionsgate sold off foreign, which is how it eliminates risk, Power Rangers should soar abroad, and if that’s the case, then it’s a good thing for the foreign sales eco-system which suffered tremendously from such Lionsgate bombs as last year’s Gods of Egypt ($140M production cost, $31M domestic) and Allegiant ($110M cost, $66M domestic).

AP Images

Power Rangers maestro Haim Saban said at the Wednesday Hollywood premiere that he was approached by Lionsgate motion picture group co-president Erik Feig to make a movie based on the 1990s popular show and toy line. “I’ve been waiting to make this movie for the last 24 years,” said Saban. The movie certainly boasts a better production value, and a tad more gravitas than both the original Fox Kids show, and the 1995 movie Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (final domestic $38M) the latter of which failed at the peak of the franchise’s fame.

If Lionsgate could only get those critic scores (46% Rotten) up in the Marvel sense of the word, they’d boost their B.O. even further. The power of Power Rangers lies in its generational fanbase a la Transformers in that it appeals to hand-holders up to thirtysomething millennials who grew up with the franchise. This Power Rangers was trying to be more grounded (great opening first act with the misunderstood high school kids) while trying to be true to the crazy hormonal spirit of the series. But fans would probably go for something even more dangerous and smarter a la Logan. Remember that fan-made Power Rangers adult-themed short that was yanked from YouTube in February 2015? It clocked 12M views. Now multiply that by $12-$15. Still, Lionsgate has set the table here with something that’s improved upon from the original.

Next, we have two studios: Sony who tried their best to market Life and open it, and Warner Bros. who dropped the ball on CHIPS. 

Sony

Sony was trying to find the right launchpad for Life, initially on March 24, then Memorial Day weekend, then when the Baywatch gang moved on to that turf, the alien thriller blasted back to this weekend. Sony shelled out at least $10M for two 30 second spots that bookended the Super Bowl. Right there, you’re promoting to an audience of 111M viewers. They booked Life at the hipster SXSW film festival along with an experimental booth which is also in select AMC venues. Sony aimed to position Life as a story that could happen any time, potentially ripped from the headlines, particularly with the discovery of the seven Earth-like planets TRAPPIST-1. The studio tried to generate this conversation on Reddit with the recent NASA announcement. There was also a sweepstakes partnership with Vice Motherboard.

But c’mon, it’s a $58M budgeted sci-fi movie, cheaper than Sony’s Passengers, that stars Deadpool‘s Reynolds. So what went wrong?

Critics are split at 66% and that doesn’t help business at all. Audiences hate it with a C+ and that’s another depletion of box office oxygen. It’s pretty simple why Life is dying: it’s a killer alien in space, and 2oth Century Fox and Ridley Scott completely own that story. It’s called Alien. Audiences recognize that in the promos, and they’re going to watch something else that’s R-rated this weekend, a movie that busts cinematic standards, i.e. Kong: Skull Island ($14.4M in 3rd) and Logan ($10.1M in 5th). It also doesn’t help that Life is wedged between the two. RelishMix noticed this on social reporting, “Life has a true mix of convo.  Many moviegoers are comparing the clips they’re seeing to the Alien series, The Thing and even Gravity, asking where the originality is in this new sci-fi thriller. Like so many other horror film convos, fans are also asking obvious questions like ‘Why would they try touching the life form before testing it out?'”

And then there’s poor CHIPS, which was beaten down by a confluence of factors including a cutthroat release date, lack of marketing muscle, poor reviews (21% Rotten) and a buddy cop genre that audiences have seen in 21 Jump Street, The Other Guys, Ride Along and The Heat. 

Warner Bros.

If you have an R-rated film that’s different from the rest, specifically a comedy, why not prop it, especially in a competitive guy marketplace? Heading into the weekend, genre is one advantage that CHIPS had over Life among choices for men. Originally CHIPS was set to open on Aug. 11, which might have been a better date, but WB gave that up to New Line’s Annabelle 2. I understand CHIPS tested in the 90s and that the studio originally took to Shepard’s passionate, twisted comedic take on the TV show that would appeal to both young and old. As a director, he maximizes his money and brings stars like Bradley Cooper, Jon Favreau and of course Bell, having made Hit and Run for only $2M, the microbudget Brother’s Justice, and now this action comedy in the low $20M range. When you build a movie at such a low price, the whole point is to feasibly churn a profit. Just ask Universal and Blumhouse who’ve amassed over $410M between Get Out and Split on combined production budgets of $13.5M.

It’s truly unfortunate to see CHIPS’ result here, and both Shepard and Bell have been working overtime on social, talks shows and Comedy Central & TruTV cross promos to get the word out there (see their hysterical Funny or Die video below). Bell is even interacting with fans on Twitter encouraging them to see CHIPS. As the studio that’s notorious for spending for the win, there was zero buzz around CHIPS. TV ad spot tracker iSpot shows that WB spent the least out of the new wide entries with an estimated $16.5M versus Sony’s $27M on Life and Lionsgate’s $30M on Power Rangers. CHIPS’ social media activity didn’t even register on ComScore’s Pre-Act social media list, and RelishMix reports that there were only two trailers circulated online. It’s as though WB gave up after clocking close to 5M views from the first trailer that debuted in January on Jimmy Kimmel. Shepard and Pena made motorcycle entrances on the show to introduce the trailer.

However, in regards to the limited marketing, I hear it was a case of the studio not wanting to throw good money after bad. Apparently, they had a sense that CHIPS wasn’t going to work in the end. The social chatter was a clear indicator with RelishMix reporting “Despite a few trailers and funny clips from the co-stars, CHIPS is challenged by negative skewing convo overall.  Fans who love R-rated, silly action-comedy will surely show up, but many moviegoers are asking how many more remakes and movies based on old TV series do we really need?”

Furthermore, male comedies have been challenged at the B.O. sans females while Office Christmas Party fared better with Jennifer Aniston, and Bad Moms was huge. “When you have the leading females, you’re good,” said one analyst this morning.

Overall audience make-up on PostTrak is 54% males/46% females with 65% over 25 and a low 74% overall total positive score.

Earlier this week, it was leaked that the Burbank studio was pondering a PVOD window that sold movies at $30 a few weeks after their theatrical release. Now who wants to pay that for CHIPS after its lackluster reviews and B- CinemaScore? Even if it lasts two weeks in theaters? If there wasn’t enough marketing to push people into the theater, how do you distinguish CHIPS at home on a crowded pay-per-view menu next to all the Netflix and Amazon Prime competition? How much cash is left on the table for a film that wasn’t eventized? People pay a premium to see a movie first in the theater, and less in subsequent windows.

The following are Sunday AM estimates from the studios:

1.) Beauty And The Beast(Disney), 4,210 theaters  / $23.6M Fri. /$38.2M Sat/$26.5M Sun/ 3-day: $88.3M (-49%) /Total: $316.95M/Wk 2

Industry weekend estimate: $90.4M (-48%)/Total cume: $319M.

2.) Saban’s Power Rangers (LGF), 3,693 theaters  / $15m Fri. (includes $3.6M in previews) /$14.6M Sat/$10.95M Sun/ 3-day: $40.5M/ Wk 1

3.) Kong: Skull Island (20th/Leg), 3,666 theaters (-180)  / $3.7M Fri. /$6.5M Sat/$4.2M Sun/ 3-day: $14.4M (-48%)/Total: $133.5M/Wk 3

4.) Life (Skydance/Sony), 3,146 theaters  / $4.4M Fri. (includes $800K in previews) /$4.8M Sat/$3.3M Sun/ 3-day: $12.6M/ Wk 1

5.) Logan (Fox), 3,163 theaters  (-524)/ $2.7M Fri. /$4.5M Sat/$2.9M Sun/ 3-day: $10.1M (-43%)/Total: $201.45M/Wk 4

6.) Get Out (UNI), 2,474 theaters (-505) / $2.5M Fri. / $3.8M Sat/ $2.3M Sun/3-day: $8.6M (-35%)/Total: $147.4 M/Wk 5

7.) CHIPS (WB), 2,464 theaters  / $2.6M Fri. (includes $500K in previews) / $3m Sat/$1.98M Sun/3-day: $7.6M/ Wk 1

8.) The Shack (LG), 2,330 theaters (-495) / $1M Fri./ $1.6M Sat/$1.1M Sun/3-day: $3.78M (-36%) /Total: $49M/Wk 4

9). The LEGO Batman Movie (WB), 1,638 theaters (-1,097) / $450K Fri. /$920K Sat/$600K Sun/ 3-day: $1.97M (-57%) / Total: $170.8M/Wk 7

10.) The Belko Experiment (BHT/ORN), 1,341 theaters  / $553K Fri. /$784K Sat/$463K Sun/ 3-day: $1.8M (-55%)/Total: $7.6M/Wk 2

11.) Katamarayudu (CGX), 250 theaters  / $677k Fri. /$252K Sat/$151K Sun/ 3-day: $1.08M/ Wk 1

******

Estimates as of Saturday AM based on industry figures for the weekend of March 24-26:

1.) Beauty And The Beast (Disney), 4,210 theaters  / $23.6M Fri. (-63%) / 3-day: $91M (-48%) /Total: $319.1M/Wk 2

2.) Saban’s Power Rangers (LGF), 3,693 theaters  / $15m Fri. (includes $3.6M in previews) / 3-day: $41.6M/ Wk 1

3.) Kong: Skull Island (20th/Leg), 3,666 theaters (-180)  / $3.68M Fri. (-50%) / 3-day: $14M (-50%)/Total: $133.1M/Wk 3

4.) Life (Skydance/Sony), 3,146 theaters  / $4.3M Fri. (includes $800K in previews) / 3-day: $12.2M/ Wk 1

5.) Logan (Fox), 3,163 theaters  (-524)/ $2.66M Fri. (-42%) / 3-day: $10M (-44%)/Total: $201.3M/Wk 4

6.) Get Out (UNI), 2,474 theaters (-505) / $2.5M Fri. (-34%) / 3-day: $8.9M (-34%)/Total: $147.7M/Wk 5

7.) CHIPS (WB), 2,464 theaters  / $2.6M Fri. (includes $500K in previews) / 3-day: $7.3M/ Wk 1

8.) The Shack (LG), 2,330 theaters (-495) / $1M Fri. (-35%) / 3-day: $3.9M (-36%) /Total: $49.1M/Wk 4

9.) The Belko Experiment (BHT/ORN), 1,341 theaters  / $553K Fri. (-64%) / 3-day: $1.8M (-55%)/Total: $7.6M/Wk 2

10). The LEGO Batman Movie (WB), 1,638 theaters (-1,097) / $448K Fri. (-63%) / 3-day: $1.7M (-63%) / Total: $170.6M/Wk 7

11.) Katamarayudu (CGX), 250 theaters  / $671k Fri. / 3-day: $1.69M/ Wk 1

Broad Green

NOTABLES:

T2 Trainspotting (Sony/Tri-Star), 59 theaters  (+54) / $128 Fri. (+100%)/PTA: $5,8k/ 3-day: $404k (138%)/Total: $637k/Wk 2

Personal Shopper (IFC), 107 theaters (+66)  / $59K Fri  (+65%)/ 3-day: $225K (+47%)/Total: $554K/ Wk 3

Song To Song (BG), 80 theaters (+76)  / $40K Fri. (+127%)/3-day: $129k (+158%)/ Total:$201K/Wk 2

Raw (FOC), 27 theaters (+18)  / $22K Fri  (+59%)/ 3-day: $72K (+50%)/Total: $185K/ Wk 3

UPDATE, Midday Friday: Disney’s Beauty And The Beast is the box office hotstepper with a projected $21 million Friday, down 67% but on course to make $84M this weekend. If the pic hits that number, it will rank as the fourth-best second weekend of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($149.2M), Jurassic World ($106.5M) and Marvel’s The Avengers ($103M). Belle and Beast will cross $500M globally today and stand at $312.6M domestic by end of day Sunday.

Beauty‘s second-weekend hold is projected to be -52%, which isn’t that far from Jurassic World (-49%), and also beats the second-session holds of such superhero pics as Avengers: Age Of Ultron (-59%) and Captain America: Civil War (-60%). As we mentioned, fanboy pics are more top-heavy, with the legacy generation films like Jurassic and Beauty possessing more sustaining power.

Don’t underestimate Lionsgate’s Saban‘s Power Rangers, which is looking at an estimate of $14M today off industry matinees and a $40M weekend. That’s not a bad start for this $100M production, which the label funded via foreign sales and output deals and possesses about 25% exposure overall, per finance sources. “This has to be a win for Lionsgate,” says one rival distribution chief. Power Rangers made $18.7M in 62 territories but its biggest countries like Japan, South Korea, France, Italy and Spain have yet to open.

And two R-rated guy pics, Life and CHIPS, are struggling in the face of Warner Bros/Legendary’s Kong: Skull Islandwhich looks to do $15M in its third weekend, and 20th Century Fox’s Logan, which will mint an estimated $11M in its fourth weekend. Kong will grow to $134M, while Logan will dash to $202.3M.

Sony Pictures

Skydance/Sony’s Life could use a pep talk as of right now. The Daniel Espinosa sci-fi thriller is looking at $5M for today and a $14M opening for this $58M net budget production. We understand Sony is exposed for about a quarter on the production cost, while Skydance picked up three-quarters of the tab before P&A. It needs to do better.

CHIPS, with a $20M production cost before P&A, is currently looking like road kill with a $7.5M opening after a $500K start last night. We’ll dive deep into these figures later tonight as projections sharpen up.

PREVIOUS, Friday AM: Lionsgate’s release of Saban’s Power Rangers racked up $3.6 million last night at 2,700 domestic sites. The pic, directed by Dean Israelite and based on the multibillion-dollar TV/toy franchise, is tracking to open between $30M-$40M.

Power Rangers’ Thursday is $100,000 shy of the $3.7M that Kong: Skull Island racked up and the $2.2M posted by The Lego Batman Movie. Those to $61M and $53M, respectively, this year. Power Ranger‘s Thursday night also decimates the previews of Maze Runner ($1.1M at 2,200 locations, $32.5M opening) and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials ($1.7M previews, $30.3M opening).

Sony/Skydance’s R-rated sci-fi thriller Life starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t scare anyone into theater in its first night, grossing $800K at 2,627 venues that started at 7 PM. Sony is seeing a mid-teens weekend. Dax Shepard’s comedy CHIPS posted an estimated $500K $350K last night per Warner Bros. Tracking earlier this week pointed to a $10M opening for this low-$20M-budgeted pic before P&A.

All three new entries are on the low side in their initial Rotten Tomatoes scores, with Life charting the best with a middling 63% fresh. Power Rangers is currently at 44% Rotten with CHIPS at 28% Rotten.

Beauty And The Beast
Disney

Despite three wide releases on the marquee, Disney’s Beauty And The Beast remained the top ticket yesterday earning an estimated $11M, down 5% from Wednesday, and taking its week’s take to $228.7M. Even if the movie bottoms out at $71.3M in its second weekend — many expect it to do $80M — Beauty And The Beast will easily cross $300M.

Warner Bros/Legendary’s Kong: Skull Island was second yesterday with $1.88M, and a two-week tally of $119M.

Although 20th Century Fox’s Logan was third on Thursday with $1.4M, Wolverine’s running cume stands at $191.3M, with $200M within its grasp this weekend.

In addition, Lionsgate/Summit’s Oscar winner La La Land, finally crossed $150M at the domestic B.O. in its 15th week. Pic arrives on digital HD on April 11 and DVD/Blu-ray/On-Demand on April 25.