Previous, Saturday, 10:16AM: Updated with Edgar Wright’s quote The Edgar Wright-directed action movie ballet Baby Driver broke the $100M threshold yesterday as we exclusively reported on Saturday morning. The film made by Sony/TriStar, Working Title and Media Rights Capital to the tune of a net production cost of $34M, has been a breath of fresh air at a summer box office given its originality amid a litter of Nth franchise sequels, many of which have fallen short of providing any gas at the B.O. (take your pick: Alien: Covenant, The Mummy, Transformers: The Last Knight, etc.).
Said Wright Monday morning in a statement, “Even if I wasn’t involved in Baby Driver I would be thrilled, encouraged and inspired that an original film connected with mainstream audiences in this franchise heavy summer. I made it to be seen on the big screen and I’m so glad the audiences turned up (some many times). I have to thank my hard working producers, crew and cast for bringing this script to the screen and making a long dreamt of movie come true. And endless kudos to all at MRC, Tristar and Sony for having enough faith in my creation to a) make it and b) proudly put in the middle of the summer season.”
Baby Driver is a clear example of Sony Pictures motion pictures group chairman Tom Rothman’s mandate at the studio: Make ambitious, original fare at a reasonable price so that there’s plenty of upside. In addition, Baby Driver is a big win for Hannah Minghella’s TriStar Pictures. Prior to Sony, after Wright backed out of Ant-Man, Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu’s Media Rights Capital yearned to be in business with the director on an original commercial feature, and that’s when the director sent them the materials he had been working on for Baby Driver.
Much like Jordan Peele’s Get Out before it, what Baby Driver proves in this streaming age is that audiences will drive to the multiplex to watch riveting, original, lower budget fare. Just because a film is considered niche and risky doesn’t necessarily mean its destined for home audiences.
The way that Wright coordinates car chase sequences with punctuating sound and the rhythm of hard rock songs like Queen’s “Brighton Rock” or Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bell Bottoms” is something to behold on the big screen, not a 70″ 4K television. Top this off with Ansel Elgort and Lily James’ smoldering chemistry, and you have a movie. Sony has been great about putting its below the line contenders out there during awards season, and Baby Driver should be in the mix.
Baby Driver played at 865 locations and grossed $1.4M this weekend. In the pic’s seven weekend run, Baby Driver has averaged a -36% week-to-week hold, a number any distributor would envy. Sony is currently planning to take the movie wide again during the weekend of Aug. 25. Worldwide, Baby Driver stands at $167M with many key markets such as China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Italy.
Sony started the engines on this movie back at SXSW with a marketing/publicity campaign led by Danielle Misher, co-head of marketing at TriStar. Baby Driver earned great reviews and slotted a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score before opening, and leveraged that in their trailers. Damon Wolf, also co-head of marketing for TriStar, led the charge on creating the high octane, retro-style promos for the film with colorful vintage design posters and award-winning million-plus-view trailers (Best Action Trailer at 2017 Golden Trailer Awards).
From the onset, Baby Driver has been the highest grossing title of Wright’s career both on an opening and running total basis. He hatched the feature from an idea he formulated years ago. Originally, the industry saw a $20M take for Baby Driver in its five-day opening, but the pic trumped expectations during an Independence Day stretch with $29.6M, and $39M in its first week of release. According to ComScore/Screen Engine, Baby Driver, rated R, drew mostly males at 57%, 54% over 25.