Sunday AM writethru following Friday/Saturday: As we always thought Black Panther will arrive at $500M+ by the end of today. Early industry morning estimates show the Disney/Marvel movie with a $30.4M Saturday, +84% over Friday’s $16.5M for a weekend that’s around $66.7M, down an awesome 40% and a running cume at $502.1M. Disney is calling the weekend at $65.7M for a running total of $501.1M. Panther prides shines brightly around the world with $897.7M after a $13M week’s start in Russia ahead of Captain America: Winter Solider and Ant-Man, and a No. 1 notch as the top western release in Japan with $2.4M.
Black Panther easily became the second-highest grossing Marvel movie at the domestic box office, running over Avengers: Age of Ultron ($459M) and standing behind Avengers ($623M). Black Panther currently owns the third-best third weekend ever at the domestic B.O. behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($90.2M) and Avatar ($68.5M) which is still slam-down amazing during an early March when the Northeastern part of the U.S. was snowed under and out of power. Here in U.S./Canada, Imax drove $4.5M of Black Panther‘s business at 304 auditoriums for a running domestic take that’s $43M or 9% of its domestic ticket sales.
20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s Red Sparrow is no soaring eagle at the box office even with a bit of a lift of $17M. With a net $69M production cost, which reportedly includes star Jennifer Lawrence’s estimated $15M-$20M paycheck, it’s just too much to spend on a movie when it’s riding on just one star. “A star by definition is someone who puts people in seats during opening weekend,” cried one rival business affairs studio executive to Deadline about Red Sparrow‘s inability to fly higher. Red Sparrow earned an estimated $6.7M yesterday, +12% over Friday.
Interesting to note that ensemble cast pics have a better shot at taking off at the B.O.: Lawrence’s team up with Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper realized a near $20M start for American Hustle (which also was pumped by awards season traction) and final $150.1M domestic, while Fox’s fall older-audience skewing Murder on the Orient Express had a great $28.6M opening in the fall which wound up with $102.8M.
Originally, Fox scheduled Red Sparrow for October, but then wisely moved it away from Lawrence’s landmine mother! (F CinemaScore, $7.5M, $17.8M domestic) in September. The film gets a ‘B’ CinemaScore, indicating that her fans are happier (though slightly less so than the B+ earned by Joy and American Hustle), but not over the moon about her playing a sultry Russian ballerina-turned-spy in a period film. Director Francis Lawrence fell in love with the book (and frankly wasn’t even aware that a similar movie like Atomic Blonde was in the making), took it to his Hunger Games star, who responded to the sexual empowerment themes in the material, especially post her 2014 phone hack. Following Hunger Games, the Lawrences could have collaborated on material that was more populist, possessed some more zeitgeist appeal; however, the actress’ choices have intentionally been more sophisticated, i.e. Joy ($17M opening, $56M) and mother!. That, of course, comes with commercial risk.
The deja vu in Red Sparrow is that it shares a similar set of challenges with Atomic Blonde. First, Red Sparrow is opening around the same range as Atomic Blonde ($18.2M, though it was much cheaper at a net of $30M before P&A), and both pics earned B CinemaScores. Even though Red Sparrow has a lower Rotten Tomatoes score at 51% than Atomic Blonde‘s 77% fresh, there’s a similar reaction from critics: Both possess a manic arthouse rhythm in its pace (spurts of violence are followed by slower, convoluted moments, never rising above pulp). Red Sparrow has a running time of 2 hours and 19 minutes and if the film was shorter, it’s conceivable that critics would have warmed up more to it.
While Red Sparrow‘s final domestic will likely under-deliver with a take below $60M, it puts pressure on overseas. Ironically, you’d think this type of film would work, but Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron earned less overseas at $44.1M than its $51.6M stateside. Fox cut a riveting, gorgeous trailer that they showed off initially at last spring’s CinemaCon, but for the average moviegoer, as social media monitor RelishMix observes, they’ve seen this all before with “fans equating Red Sparrow to female-starring action films like Salt & Atomic Blonde.” There could have been more umpf in Red Sparrow‘s marketing to distinguish it from those Russian spy movies before it; also its title isn’t an easy sell.
Females were in the theater at 53% for Red Sparrow, and Jennifer Lawrence fans were present at 57%, also giving the spy pic a B. 81% were over-25 (B), while guys at 47% were harder on the film with a B- and the under-25 set as well (B-). Red Sparrow over-indexed in the west, slightly under-indexed in the middle of the country and Northeast, and under-indexed in the Southeast. Top 20 markets that over-indexed include NY, LA, SF, Wash DC, Seattle, San Diego, Miami, Tampa, and Minneapolis. The only top 20 markets that under-indexed were Houston and Philadelphia while Toronto was slightly under norm. Top grossing theaters came from NY, LA, Toronto, Dallas, SF, Wash DC, Phoenix, and Miami.
With an opening at $13M in 3rd place, MGM’s Death Wish is slightly under the result of other low-budget guy action fare which has flooded the marketplace during the first quarter, i.e. STXfilms’ Den of Thieves ($15.2M, $44.4M domestic, $67.5M global) and Studio Canal/Lionsgate’s The Commuter ($13.7M opening, $36.1M domestic, $100M global). That said, like its action brethren this year, Death Wish was made at a manageable, low cost in the $30M range with an intent to see an upside from MGM TV deals around the world. Stateside, no one was screaming for a reboot of this Charles Bronson classic starring 1980s/’90s action star Bruce Willis. In the wake of the Parkland shootings, this movie has been a challenge with its avenging protagonist; some of its promotional elements had to be dialed down (There was a campy Grindhouse-like trailer, cut in the spirit of Eli Roth ,which yielded 3M views across social, 1.6M on official MGM channels) after a campaign that generated 40M views across several social channels, with conversation that skewed 80% positive/20% negative. Some in the creative community, such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story screenwriters Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, still found the trailer hard to sit through during Black Panther. Those who actually showed up for Death Wish didn’t mind it that much giving it a B+ CinemaScore. Those who turned up were 55% males, 89% over 25, 38% over 50 with the minority being 18-24 at 7% who gave the pic its best grade of an A-. Saturday drew $5.2M, +23% over Friday.
Continued shout outs to Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Fox’s Greatest Showman: It’s March, and these Christmas releases are still in the top 10, with respective running domestic cumes of $393M and $164.6M. Check out our lowdown on the box office potential for Oscar’s best picture winner here.
Studio-reported figures for the Oscar weekend of March 2-4:
1..) Black Panther (DIS), 4,084 theaters (+64) / $16.3M Fri /$30M Sat/ $19.4M Sun/ 3-day: $65.7M (-41%)/Total: $501.1M/Wk 3
2..) Red Sparrow (FOX), 3,056 theaters / $6M Fri (includes $1.2M previews)/$6.7M Sat/ $4.3M Sun/3-day: $17M /Wk 1
3..) Death Wish (MGM), 2,847 theaters / $4.2m Fri (includes $650K previews)/$5.2M Sat/ $3.5M Sun/3-day: $13M /Wk 1
4..) Game Night (NL/WB), 3,502 theaters (+14) / $3m Fri /$4.8M Sat/ $2.9M Sun/3-day: $10.7M (-37%)/Total: $33.5M/Wk 2
5..) Peter Rabbit (SONY), 3,607 theaters (-100) / $2M Fri /$4.7M Sat/ $3.2M Sun/3-day: $10M (-22%) /Total: $84M/Wk 4
6..) Annihilation (PAR), 2,112 theaters (+100)/ $1.5M Fri /$2.4M Sat/ $1.75M Sun/3-day: $5.65M (-49%)/Total: $20.6M/Wk 2
7..) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 2,313 theaters (-206) / $1M Fri /$2.1M Sat/ $1.3M Sun/3-day: $4.5M (-20%)/Total:$393.2M/ Wk 11
8..) Fifty Shades Freed (UNI), 2,614 theaters (-651) / $1M Fri /$1.5M Sat/ $750K Sun/3-day: $3.3M(-54%)/Total: $95.6M /Wk 4
9..) The Greatest Showman (FOX), 1,407 theaters (-194) / $715K Fri /$1.2M Sat/ $755K Sun/ 3-day: $2.67M (-22%)/Total: $164.6M/Wk 11
10..) Every Day (OR), 1,669 theaters / $455K Fri /$729K Sat/ $376K Sun/3-day: $1.56M (-48%)/Total: $5.3M/Wk 2
The Shape of Water (FSL), 832 theaters (+111) / $340K Fri /$755K Sat/ $305K Sun/3-day: $1.4M (+19%)/Total: $57.3M/Wk 14
Three Billboards… (FSL), 770 theaters (+79) / $330K Fri /$630K Sat/ $270K Sun/3-day: $1.23M (-2%)/Total: $52M/Wk 17
Call Me By Your Name (SPC) 914 theaters (+239) /$260K Fri/ $440K Sat/ $220K Sun/3-day: $920K (+76%)/Total: $17M/ Wk 15
The Post (FOX), 671 theaters (-124) / $275K Fri /$435K Sat/ $205K Sun/3-day: $915k (-26%)/Total: $80.4M/Wk 11
Phantom Thread (Focus), 715 theaters (+64) / $160K Fri /$309K Sat/ $124K Sun/3-day: $590K (-41%)/Total: $20.1M/Wk 10
Darkest Hour (Focus), 913 theaters (+118) / $133K Fri /$310K Sat/ $124K Sun/3-day: $570K (-24%)/Total: $55.4M/Wk 15
I, Tonya (NEO/30), 511 theaters (+88) / $151K Fri /$264K Sat/ $145K Sun/3-day: $561k (-3%)/Total: $29M/Wk 13
Lady Bird (A24), 710 theaters (+109) / $165K Fri /$233K Sat/ $135K Sun/3-day: $532K (-20%)/Total: $48.3M/Wk 18
Industry estimates for March 2-4 from Saturday AM
1..) Black Panther (DIS), 4,084 theaters (+64) / $16.5M Fri (-42%) / 3-day: $62.6M (-44%)/Total: $498M/Wk 3
2..) Red Sparrow (FOX), 3,056 theaters / $6M Fri (includes $1.2M previews)/3-day: $16.4M /Wk 1
3..) Death Wish (MGM), 2,847 theaters / $4.3m Fri (includes $650K previews)/3-day: $12M /Wk 1
4..) Game Night (NL/WB), 3,502 theaters (+14) / $3m Fri (-45%)/3-day: $10.45M (-39%)/Total: $33.3M/Wk 2
5..) Peter Rabbit (SONY), 3,607 theaters (-100) / $2M Fri (-28%) /3-day: $9.5M (-25%) /Total: $82.5M/Wk 4
6..) Annihilation (PAR), 2,012 theaters / $1.5M Fri (-61%)/3-day: $5.3M (-52%)/Total: $20.3M/Wk 2
7..) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 2,313 theaters (-206) / $1M Fri (-23%)/3-day: $4.3M (-24%)/Total:$393M/ Wk 11
8..) Fifty Shades Freed (UNI), 2,614 theaters (-651) / $1M Fri (-55%) /3-day: $3.2M(-55%)/Total: $95.5M /Wk 4
9..) The Greatest Showman (FOX), 1,407 theaters (-194) / $720K Fri (-21%) / 3-day: $2.7M (-21%)/Total: $164.6M/Wk 11
10..) Every Day (OR), 1,669 theaters / $460K Fri (-58%) /3-day: $1.5M (-51%)/Total: $5.2M/Wk 2
Midday update: Right now industry estimates have Black Panther between $60M-$63M in weekend three, down around a sweet 44%. Cut back to a week ago, and we saw T’Challa lower in the $90M-plus range, and then he just blew up. That’s apt to happen again as many believe he’s headed to $500M by Sunday. Black Panther is eyeing $16M today, -44%.
20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s Red Sparrow looks to post $7M today and $20M for the weekend. If the Jennifer Lawrence Russian spy movie flies to that perch or higher, it will rep her best solo outing at the box office for a non-franchise IP outside of her Hunger Games and X-Men movies. Prior to Red Sparrow, Joy opened to $17M for an original Lawrence feature.
MGM’s Death Wish is loading up $4.25M per industry estimates and a $13M start. Technically speaking, 2013 was the last time Bruce Willis starred in action theatrical releases with Sin City: A Dame to Kill for ($6.3M opening), G.I.: Retaliation ($40.5M), Red 2 ($18M) and a Good Day to Die Hard ($24.8M). It’s been a while.
Interesting to note that nearly a year ago during Oscars 2017 weekend was when Universal/Blumhouse’s Get Out opened to an awesome $33.3M before finaling $176M. Here we are this weekend and there’s whispers that the Jordan Peele movie could potentially steal best picture away from Fox Searchlight’s one-two punch of The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Friday, 7:21AM: There’s no question about it whatsoever: Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther will own the top spot at the box office in its third weekend with a 3-day that’s well north of $60M, with a possible shot at $70M.
Yesterday, T’Challa made $6.6M, -4% from Wednesday with a running domestic tally of $435.4M. The pic would need to clear $64.6M to hit the half billion mark in U.S./Canada by Sunday, and that’s not a ridiculous bar for the Marvel movie to clear.
With Oscars on Sunday, moviegoers will definitely make a point about seeing this year’s crop of best picture nominees specifically those still in theaters, read The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; The Post, Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Lady Bird, and Phantom Thread. Even though Dunkirk and Get Out are out on DVD or in the case of the latter, running on HBO, they are still part of the best picture showcases that many exhibitors like Regal and AMC are running around the nation.
20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s Red Sparrow which is the reteam of Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Mockingjay star Jennifer Lawrence and director Francis Lawrence is playing at 3,056 theaters. Tracking has the movie in the mid-to-high teens with a possible shot at $20M+. Red Sparrow made $1.2M from 2,775 locations yesterday from showtimes starting at 7pm. The comp here is The Girl on the Train which also made $1.2M on its Thursday and finaled a $9.2M Friday and a $24.5M opening. Red Sparrow carries a net production cost of $69M. Also, Red Sparrow beats the Tuesday preview take of Lawrence’s Passengers which made $1.1M as well as her critically-acclaimed box office disaster mother! which earned $700K prior to its Friday opening. Passengers had a 5-day opening with $22.1M, $14.9M over three days. Red Sparrow is based on the 2013 Scribner novel by Jason Matthews.
MGM has their ’70s reboot Death Wish starring ’80s/’90s action star Bruce Willis in 2,847 and that $30M net budgeted pic hopes to land somewhere in the mid-teens, and an iffy $20M. The Eli Roth-directed pic earned $650K in 7pm Thursday previews. That number is just below the $700K made by Liam Neeson’s latest shoot-em-up The Commuter and STXfilms’ Den of Thieves’ $950K Thursday. Both titles respectively debuted to $13.7M and $15.2M.
Critics have been hard on both wide entries, pulling Red Sparrow‘s wings off at 52% rotten and choking Death Wish at 15% rotten.