Sunday PM update: At a time when streaming is encroaching on certain cinema genres and sending them to mobile screens, Entertainment Studios is looking to keep moviegoing alive on the big screen.

This weekend the $4M TIFF acquisition that Entertainment Studios’ chief Byron Allen made for Scott Cooper’s western Hostiles paid off with a $10M-$11M wide opening, easily besting tracking’s low single-digit projections.

Even more impressive, Hostiles beat the weekend results of all the big studio Oscar-nominated titles, many of which also went wide, i.e. The Shape of Water and Phantom Thread.

“It’s nice when your competitors call you and say ‘Wow, we were wrong, you were right,'” beamed Allen who literally made his minimum guarantee on Hostiles back this weekend in its film rental.

Entertainment Studios

“Although we are an independent, we are throwing punches like a major studio,” said Allen about his commitment to take titles to the big screen, and provide them the proper wide release of 2,000 to 4,000 screens.

Hostiles is a movie we always believed in and felt that it would do better between New York and Los Angeles.  We’ve always been a big believer that there was hope for the movie in the heartland and we’re proving that,” Allen told Deadline.

“When Real People aired in 1979, we did OK in Los Angeles and New York,” said Allen about the classic NBC reality show he co-hosted at 18 with Fred Willard, Sarah Purcell, and Skip Stephenson among many others. “What kept that show from being canceled were the ratings from the middle of the country and that’s what kept us in the top five. I learned then from co-hosting that it was important to focus on the country between Los Angeles and New York,” explains Allen.

“We’re not chasing an audience, we’re feeding an audience, and that’s the mantra of Entertainment Studios. There’s an audience that is not being fed. Something as simple as a shark movie (47 Meters Down) or a good western; we never wavered in our confidence of what this film would do or could do when we pulled out all the stops.”

Just like 47 Meters Down stayed around and ultimately grossed $44.3M over the summer (more specifically, it stole the young female demo from Sony’s femme comedy Rough Night), look for Hostiles to hold on marquees for a while. Westerns opening in this range like 3:10 to Yuma, The Hateful Eight and Kevin Costner’s Open Range have the potential to do a 4 multiple or more, ending their runs in the $50M range. Hostiles was financed by Ken Kao for a net $39M. Entertainment Studios ran an Oscar best actor campaign for lead actor Christian Bale. Had Bale been nominated, it would have added more wind to Hostiles‘ legs.

Previous Sunday AM update: Fox Controls Close to 40% of Weekend B.O. with ‘Maze Runner’ & Oscar Contenders: 20th Century Fox’s Maze Runner: The Death Curewhile always expected to be slowed by sequelitis, is arriving toward the top of its projections with $23.5M.

Similar to previous Maze RunnersDeath Cure wasn’t front loaded earning $9.6M yesterday which repped a 14% boost over Friday’s $8.4M (which included $1.5M Thursday night ticket sales). The film, which cost $61M before P&A, has already collected $105.5M at the global box office, 78% of that being from abroad.

“I’m thrilled with this number,” beamed Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson this morning, “To be only 22% off from the last opening weekend of Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, it not only validates our belief in this property, but the fact that fans have hung around.” But even beyond Maze Runner: Death Cure, Fox dominated the majority of the weekend box office with close to 40% (or $52.1M) of the marketplace thanks to its five Oscar contenders (The Post, Greatest Showman, Ferdinand, The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). It’s proof to Disney following its planned acquisition of the Pico Boulevard studio of how vibrant Fox product is, and how it resonates with a swath of demos.

20th Century Fox

A turn-of-the-century original musical? Talk about an audacious bet, but Fox continues to pull it off. Who knew we’d still be talking about The Greatest Showman in the wake of The Last Jedi holiday season at this point in time with $9.5m in weekend 6, -11% and a running total of $126.5M? At this pace, Greatest Showman could potentially out peg Les Miserables ($148.8M) and La La Land ($151M) at the domestic B.O. The studio greenlit a movie that they knew the audiences would enjoy, a contrast with critics’ grim forecasts for this Michael Gracey-directed movie.

“It’s a piece of populist entertainment that has caught on everywhere with a mix of family and Broadway fans,” says Aronson, “People are touched by this movie, touched by its message of inclusion and the sense of coming together. Then you have the ultra-charismatic Hugh Jackman.”

Meanwhile, Death Cure benefited greatly from a socially active cast including star Dylan O’Brien who counts 4.8M on Twitter, Katherine McNamara with 3.5M across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and Kay Scodelario with 2.1M. The complete social media reach for the threequel was at 174M which is good, but not great for a sci-fi film (average social media universe for the genre is at 268M). But according to RelishMix, Death Cure was ahead in other major social metrics with daily Facebook likes at 6.4K per day, a little ahead of the 3.8K standard for sci-fi/action. Most impressive, though, were the daily YouTube views of around 62K, double the genre’s typical 30K. Twitter activity was strong with hashtags for #DeathCure, #MazeRunner and @MazeRunnerMovie swinging in the 11K-29K per day range over the week. RelishMix noticed that advance buzz was largely positive over the last week for Death Cure. “Much of the conversation revolved around the last three seconds of the trailer where the line, ‘Please, Tommy, please’ was uttered. This line is leading to lots of social debate because it alludes to a beloved character’s fate (that of Newt, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster),” says RelishMix.

There were all sorts of stunts to stoke O’Brien’s millennial fanbase: The Teen Wolf thespian played with puppies on BuzzFeed while being interviewed, for example. In addition, there was this Lego trailer which he retweeted out (see below). There was also a Death Cure sweepstakes in which fans were asked to map their runs for a chance to win a $100 Under Armour gift card.

Atom Tickets, which targets millennials with its mobile app (4M monthly users with more than 70% between the ages of 18-34), repped $200K of Death Cure‘s $1.5M Thursday night sales making it Atom’s best-selling title so far this year. Of this weekend’s top box office movies, the top three movies on Atom (based on ticket sales to date) were Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Den of Thieves.

Hostiles
REX/Shutterstock

Entertainment Studios is calling their Christian Bale western Hostiles at $10.2M at 2,816 theaters, while industry figures peg them at $9.9M. Still, tracking thought this title would sink like a stone, and the pic beat its low-single-digit projection. Entertainment Studios boss Byron Allen purchased this Scott Cooper-directed movie out of Toronto for an estimated $4M, and before factoring in P&A costs of $23M, Hostiles has already made Entertainment Studios’ its minimum guarantee back. As we pointed out earlier, despite falling short in earning Bale a best actor Oscar nom, Hostiles beat all the weekend results of the big-board Oscar contenders this weekend, including The Greatest Showman ($9.5M) and The Post ($8.85M).

Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, is reeling in a total B.O. of $338M through end of today, which makes it Sony’s third highest film of all time after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man ($403.7M) and Spider-Man 2 ($373.6M). In weekend 6, the Jake Kasdan movie has made $16.4M. For those execs who were banging the drum for PVOD on titles after they were in the theaters for three weeks, please remind us again why that’s such a brilliant ancillary revenue plan. Moviegoing is alive.

Viva Pictures’ Padmaavat from director Sanjay Leela Bhansali pops into the top 10 with $4.27M. Pic is set in medieval Rajasthan where Queen Padmavati lives prosperously with her king. Everything goes sideways when an ambitious Sultan hears about her beauty and forms an obsessive love for the Queen of Mewar.

Top films for the weekend of Jan. 26-28 by studio-reported figures as of Sunday AM:

1..) Maze Runner: Death Cure (FOX), 3,787 theaters / $8.4M Fri (includes $1.5M previews)/$9.6M Sat/ $5.5M Sun/3-day: $23.5M /Wk 1

2..) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle  (SONY), 3,553 theaters (-151) / $3.7M Fri/$7.6M Sat/ $5M Sun/3-day: $16.4M (-16%)/Total:$338M/ Wk 6

3..) Hostiles (EST), 2,815 theaters (+2,696) / $3.3M  Fri /$4M Sat/ $2.8M Sun/3-day:$10.2M (+1659%)/Total: $12M/Wk 6

4..) The Greatest Showman  (FOX), 2,663 theaters (-160) / $2.5M Fri  /$4.4M Sat/ Sun/ 3-day: $9.5M (-11%)/Total: $126.5M/Wk 6

5..) The Post  (FOX/DW), 2,640 theaters (-211) / $2.5M  Fri /$4.1M Sat/ $2.25M Sun/3-day:$8.85M (-24%)/Total: $58.5M/Wk 6

6..) 12 Strong (WB/ALC), 3,018 theaters (+16) / $2.3M Fri /$3.9M Sat/$2.4M  Sun/3-day: $8.6M (-45%) /Total: $29.7M/Wk 2

7..) Den of Thieves (STX), 2,432 theaters / $2.3M Fri /$3.7M Sat/ $2.2M Sun/3-day: $8.4M (-45%) /Total: $28.5M/Wk 2

8..) The Shape of Water  (FSL), 1,854 theaters (+1,001)  / $1.59M Fri/$2.5M Sat/$1.6M Sun/ 3-day: $5.7M (+161%)/Total: $37.7M/Wk 9

9…) Paddington 2 (WB), 2,792 theaters (-910)/ $1.1M Fri /$2.6M Sat/ $1.7M Sun/3-day: $5.6M (-30%)/Total: $32M/Wk 3

10…) Padmaavat (VPD), 324 theaters / $1.1M Fri /$1.8M Sat/ $1.2M Sun/3-day: $4.27M /5-day: $4.78M/Wk 1

11..) Star Wars: The Last Jedi(DIS), 1,745 theaters (-711)/ $967K  Fri / $1.96M Sat/ $1.2M Sun/3-day: $4.1M  (-36%)/Total:$610.7M/ Wk 7

12..) Three Billboards…  (FSL), 1,457 theaters (+503)  / $980K Fri /$1.6M Sat/$3.6M Sun/3-day: $3.6M (+88%)/Total: $37M/Wk 12

Notables:

Laurie Sparham/Focus Features

Forever My Girl (RSA), 1,424 theaters (+310) / $1M Fri /$1.6M Sat/$1M  Sun/3-day: $3.7M (-12%)/Total: $9.2M/Wk 2

I, Tonya  (NEON/30), 960 theaters (+161) / $846K  Fri / $1.3M Sat/$795K Sun/3-day: $2.98M (+4%)/Total: $18.8M/Wk 8

Phantom Thread  (FOC), 1,021 theaters (+125) / $808K Fri /$1.2M Sat/ $821K Sun/3-day: $2.89M (-11%)/Total: $10.6M/Wk 5

Darkest Hour (FOC), 1,333 theaters (-8)/ $758K Fri  /$1.2M Sat/ $876K Sun/3-day: $2.16M (-20%)/Total: $45.1M/ Wk 10

Lady Bird (A24), 1,177 theaters (+502)/ $494K  Fri/$841K Sat /$589K Sun/3-day: $1.9M (+59%)/Total: $41.6M/ Wk 13

Call Me By Your Name (SPC), 815 theaters (0)/ $343K   Fri/$533K Sat/$424K Sun/ 3-day: $1.3M (-6%)/Total: $11.3M/ Wk 10

 

Saturday AM Writethru: It’s all about 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight this weekend.

Not only does Disney’s purchase own the top spot at the box office with its threequel Maze Runner: The Death Cure ringing up an estimated $23 million opening at 3,787 theaters, but with five other Oscar-nominated titles on the chart — The Greatest Showman, The Post, Ferdinand and Searchlight’s The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri — the studio is commanding over 50% of this weekend’s estimated $131.7M ticket sales. All-in, Fox product controls five out of the top 11 slots on the B.O. chart.

Disney, are you taking note? If there’s any thought of attrition in this pending merger, the Burbank lot may want to think twice, given the vibrant wattage of this brand and its indie classics unit, not just at the B.O., but in the awards sphere.

Twentieth Century Fox

The Greatest Showman is holding like a rock in its sixth weekend with $9.3M (-12%) in 4th place and a running total by Sunday of $126.2M — and that’s off one Oscar nomination for best song, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s “This is Me.” (You’ll remember those guys won the best song Oscar last year for La La Land‘s “City of Stars.”). It’s just further proof how much the original musical can resonate on the big screen, especially in the wake of La La Land ($151.1M domestic B.O.).

Then there’s Fox’s release of DreamWorks/Participant’s The Post in 5th with $8.7M in weekend 6. But this Steven Spielberg pic’s business isn’t just fueled by a best picture Oscar nom, and a best actress one for Meryl Streep: Audiences genuinely love this movie and are flocking to this #RealNews feature, a catharsis for left wing audiences in these trying Trump times. Total B.O. by Sunday is an estimated $58.3M.

Searchlight jumped Guillermo del Toro’s 13-Oscar nominated fantasy romance The Shape of Water from 853 locations to its widest point ever of 1,854; it’s poised to make $5.7M, taking its cume in weekend 9 to $37.6M. Three Billboards was at its widest in weekend 5 at 1,620 venues, and the pic is at its second-widest point of 1,457 this weekend with $3.6M, propped by seven Oscar noms. Total B.O. by Sunday is an estimated $37.1M.

Hostiles
REX/Shutterstock

Big props to Entertainment Studios’ western Hostiles, which is beating its low- single-figure tracking with a 3rd place take of $9.8M in its wide break at 2,815 theaters. This western was intended to be Entertainment Studios’ Oscar contender, specifically for Christian Bale in the best actor category. While that, unfortunately, did not happen despite the distributor’s campaigning, it’s a bittersweet weekend for them because Hostiles in its wide break is beating all other Oscar contenders at the box office.

Bale re-teams with his Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper and plays a legendary Army captain who escorts a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory. Entertainment Studios boss Byron Allen knew the flyover states would be stoked by Hostiles, and he targeted the pic there. Earlier on Friday, we heard that Hostiles was the No. 2 title in most theaters behind Death Cure. It would not be surprising if this pic clicks past $10M. Allen snapped up Hostiles out of TIFF for reportedly $4M, and by Sunday, the film rental alone should cover that cost before the estimated $20M-$30M P&A. Allen is a passionate supporter of indie films getting their shot on the big screen and not being relegated to streaming. Bale also tub-thumped the film appearing on such shows as CBS This Morning and Extra. 

Hostiles received an overall B CinemaScore, which is in line with 3:10 to Yuma, and just under the B+ earned by the Coen Brothers’ True Grit. CinemaScore also shows that 52% males turned up to Hostiles, with 65% over the age of 50 and 96% over 25. Both gave it a B, and ironically, it was the minority of under-25 (4%) and under-18 (1%) demos who respectively gave the Cooper pic its best grades with A- and A. On ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak, it gets an overall 72% positive score, which is OK. Men under 25 enjoy it the most at 82% positive (9% turnout) with men over 25 more jaded at 66% (52% of the audience). Half of the audience attending Hostiles are giving it a definite recommend to their friends.

Below is our TIFF interview with Cooper, Bale and the cast of Hostiles:

Sony’s invincible Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle takes 2nd place with an estimated $15.8M off a projected $3.78M Friday. Weekend 6 of the Jake Kasdan film is down 19%, with a running total by Sunday of $337.4M, which will make it Sony’s third highest-grossing film at the domestic box office of all-time, overtaking Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 ($336.5M).

Estimates for weekend of Jan. 26-28, 2018:

Maze Runner The Death Cure
20th Century Fox

1..) Maze Runner: Death Cure (FOX), 3,787 theaters / $8.4M Fri (includes $1.5M previews)/3-day: $23M /Wk 1

Death Cure gets a B+ CinemaScore tonight, which is the same as Scorch Trials, and just below the first 2014 installment’s A-. Scorch Trials drew 60% under-25, and Death Cure pulled in 47% under-25, which means that fans got older. Death Cure leans toward 51% females, with 29% buying tickets because of O’Brien. They loved the movie with an A-, the same grade the under-25 set, under-18 and 18-24 gave it.

2..) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle  (SONY), 3,553 theaters (-151) / $3.78M Fri (-21%)/3-day: $15.8M (-19%)/Total:$337.4M/ Wk 6

3..) Hostiles (EST), 2,815 theaters (+2,696) / $3.7M  Fri (+1878%) /3-day:$9.8M (+1593%)/Total: $11.6M/Wk 6

4..) The Greatest Showman  (FOX), 2,663 theaters (-160) / $2.5M Fri (-15%) / 3-day: $9.3M (-12%)/Total: $126.2M/Wk 6

5..) The Post  (FOX/DW), 2,640 theaters (-211) / $2.5M  Fri (-29%) /3-day:$8.7M (-26%)/Total: $58.3M/Wk 6

6/7..) 12 Strong (WB/ALC), 3,018 theaters (+16) / $2.4M Fri (-58%)/3-day: $7.9M (-50%) /Total: $29.1M/Wk 2

Den of Thieves (STX), 2,432 theaters / $2.3M Fri (-60%)/3-day: $7.9M (-48%) /Total: $28M/Wk 2

8..) The Shape of Water  (FSL), 1,854 theaters (+1,001)  / $1.58M Fri (+163%) /3-day: $5.7M (+171%)/Total: $37.6M/Wk 9

9…) Paddington 2 (WB), 2,792 theaters (-910)/ $1.1M Fri (-32%)/3-day: $5.5M (-31%)/Total: $32M/Wk 3

10..) Star Wars: The Last Jedi(DIS), 1,745 theaters (-711)/ $956K  Fri (-42%)/3-day: $4M  (-40%)/Total:$610.5M/ Wk 7

11..) Three Billboards…  (FSL), 1,457 theaters (+503)  / $973K Fri (+85%) /3-day: $3.6M (+88%)/Total: $37.1M/Wk 12

Notables:

A24

Forever My Girl (RSA), 1,424 theaters (+310) / $1M Fri (-30%)/3-day: $3.2M (-24%)/Total: $8.8M/Wk 2

I, Tonya  (NEON/30), 960 theaters (+161) / $845K  Fri ()%)/3-day: $2.95M (+3%)/Total: $18.8M/Wk 8

Phantom Thread  (FOC), 1,021 theaters (+125) / $804K Fri (-23%)/3-day: $2.89M (-10%)/Total: $10.6M/Wk 5

Darkest Hour (FOC), 1,333 theaters (-8)/ $763K Fri (-7%) /3-day: $2.7M (-3%)/Total: $45M/ Wk 10

Lady Bird (A24), 1,177 theaters (+502)/ $493K  (+45%) Fri/3-day: $1.8M (+59%)/Total: $41.6M/ Wk 13

Call Me By Your Name (SPC), 815 theaters (0)/ $344K  (-19%) Fri/3-day: $1.2M (-15%)/Total: $11.2M/ Wk 10

PREVIOUS, Friday, 7:22 AM: 20th Century Fox’s The Maze Runner: Death Cure, the last picture in the YA feature trilogy, got off to a $1.5 million start last night at 2,860 venues. Next to its predecessors, the first Maze Runner minted $1.1M from 2,200 10 PM showings back in September 2014, while a year later, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials improved upon that number with $1.7M.

There’s no question Maze Runner 3 will hit No. 1 this weekend. Fox is hoping for $20M at 3,787 venues, while others believe it could go as high as $23M. The Dylan O’Brien movie will have all the powers of PLF, Imax, and 3D working for it. In addition, Death Cure has the added perk of launching during a NFL-less weekend as we’re in the dead zone prior to the Super Bowl. Rotten Tomatoes score is at 44% Rotten, which is lower than the original movie (65% fresh) and Scorch Trials (46% Rotten).

Nonetheless, with its current weekend projection, threequelitis looks to be weighing down on Death Cure with the first pic opening to a $11.2M Friday ahead of a $32.5M weekend, and Scorch Trials earning $11M and a $30.3M opening. Maze Runner legged out a 3.1x to $102.4M stateside, while Scorch Trials did a 2.7x to $81.6M. Wes Ball returns for a third time in the director’s chair steering James Dashner’s sci-fi/dystopian future novel to the big screen. Estimated production cost for Death Cure is around $62M, which is just a tad north of what Scorch Trials cost ($61M).

Originally scheduled to open February 17 last year, Death Cure was delayed following O’Brien getting seriously injured during filming in March 2016. Death Cure was pushed first to February 9, then to this weekend.

Counting $321.6M, Sony’ mammoth Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is expected to take second with a 25% dip in Weekend 6 with an estimated $14M-$15M. It will overtake last summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming ($334.2M) to become the fourth highest-grossing title for the Culver City studio at the domestic B.O. behind Spider-Man ($403.7M), Spider-Man 2 ($373.5M) and Spider-Man 3 ($336.5M). Who knew in a Star Wars release year, we’d still be talking about Jumanji this far out?

While Death Cure is the only wide entry, Entertainment Studios’ Christian Bale Western Hostiles is also going wide from 119 theaters to 2,815 theaters today. The Scott Cooper-directed pic previewed in 1,893 theaters last night making $370,000. Running cume through its fifth week is $1.9M. Hostiles carries a $50M $39M net production cost. Entertainment Studios beat out Annapurna, Fox Searchlight and Netflix for stateside rights to the Western out of the Toronto Film Festival. Pic carries a 71% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score.

There’s also sevearl Oscar contenders breaking past 1,000 this weekend including The Shape of Water and Phantom Thread, to name a few. We’ll dive into those later this morning.