Final Update, 2PM Monday: So Aliens: Covenant fell very short of expectations with only $36.1M (yikes) and we don’t see it holding strong against two newcomers next weekend; Everything, Everything which appealed to young females grossed around $11.7M, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul will likely be the last in the franchise after a dismal performance of only $7.1M.
However, all eyes are on what’s upcoming — the Memorial Day holiday which is a big moviegoing time. So, what’s on deck? Paramount’s Baywatch, which stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Zac Efron and lots of females in swimsuits, will open on Thursday, not in previews but for a full day of moviegoing. And Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will bow the same night (Thursday) but in previews, which should be nice start for a holiday haul of around $80M. And with these two movies, the box office should be up over last year as we finally head into the summer.
Here’s the final grosses for this weekend:
2). The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (DIS), 4,347 theaters (0) / 3-day cume: $34.6M / Per screen: $7,972 / Total: $301.39M / Wk 3
3). Everything, Everything (WB/MGM), 2,801 theaters / 3-day cume: $11.7M / Per screen: $4,187 / Wk 1
4). Snatched (FOX), 3,511 theaters (+10) / 3-day cume: $7.8M (-60%) / Per screen: $2,231 / Total: $33M / Wk 2
5). King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (WB/VR), 3,702 theaters / 3-day cume: $7.1M (-53%) / Per screen: $1,932 / Total: $27.5M / Wk 2
6). Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (FOX), 3,157 theaters / 3-day cume: $7.1M/ Per screen: $2,257 / Wk 1
7). The Fate Of The Furious (UNI), 2,287 theaters (-780) / 3-day cume: $3.2M / Per screen: $1,414 / Total cume: $219.9M / Wk 6
8.) The Boss Baby (Fox) 2,071 (-840), 3-day: $2.8M / Per screen: $1,375 / Total: $166.2M / Wk 8
9). Beauty And The Beast (DIS) 1,792 (-380), 3-day: $2.5M / Per screen: $1,421 / Total: $497.9M / Wk 10
10). How To Be A Latin Lover (PANT/LG), 948 theaters (-175) / 3-day cume: $2M / Per screen: $2,164 / Total: $29.3M / Wk 4
11.). Lowriders (OTL), 365 theaters (+70) / 3-day cume: $1.18M (-51%) / Per screen: $3,243 / Total: $4.2M / Wk 2
— Anita Busch reported Monday finals.
4th Writethru, Sunday AM: All sequelitis aside, what made 20th Century Fox’s Alien: Covenant slow down at the box office?
Initially the Ridley Scott-directed movie looked like it was coming in at $40M, which would have repped the second best opening in the Alien franchise, but now at $36M it’s third behind Prometheus ($51M) and 2004’s Alien v. Predator ($38.3M).
As major studios look for new franchises to mine, and the Alien origin stories looked very promising, this is not what any studio executive hopes for, especially with a vintage brand like Alien. If Star Wars and Jurassic Park can boost their grosses off of fans both old and new, why can’t Alien?
For a moment last night, one distributor even predicted that Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 might beat the Prometheus sequel for No. 1 after a 70% surge Saturday over Friday with $15 million. But Disney is calling second place for GOTG2 with $35.1M in its third weekend and a running cume of $301.7M.
From a marketing perspective, what went amiss with Alien: Covenant was the fact that in its materials Fox went strictly after the Alien fanboy crowd versus the general lay moviegoers who determine how big a movie is going to be. Some fans griped that Prometheus lacked the classic Xenomorph alien, so Fox in their materials sold the picture with a focus on the old Alien, the one everyone supposedly wanted.
As social media monitor RelishMix noticed on the social buzz heading into the weekend, “For the casual moviegoer, there remains sincere confusion over where the series is at this stage. Viewers are wondering if this is a Prometheus sequel, a prequel or some offshoot within the series that has nothing to do with the original characters like Ripley. Others still were wondering if the film was related to Interstellar because of the similarities in the musical score. And, comments specific to the ‘Crossing’ short, directed by Ridley Scott, express more confusion. Will this be part of the DVD extras as a deleted scene? Is it important to see this before Covenant — or after?” Also, it didn’t help that during the early development of Alien: Covenant nee Alien: Paradise Lost, Scott was wishy-washy on whether the sequel would be the further adventures of Prometheus‘ Noomi Rapace character Elizabeth Shaw. Early on that was apparently the plan, then there were headlines that she dropped out of the production, followed by news that she was definitely aboard and shooting scenes. Well, Rapace isn’t in Alien: Covenant except for in photos.
Critics gave Alien: Covenant a similar Rotten Tomatoes score as Prometheus, that of 73% certified fresh, but CinemaScore indicated that fans weren’t wowed any more than they were with Prometheus giving the sequel the same B grade.
And that screams volumes here as to why there’s ennui with Alien: Covenant, especially from a fanboy POV. Scott has delivered nothing fresh or jarring in regards to Alien: Covenant and twin Michael Fassbender androids isn’t going to cut it. Once you watch Alien: Covenant, it’s largely a run-of-the-mill Alien chase movie like we saw during the 1980s and 1990s. CNN’s Brian Lowry was one of the few critics to actually call that out (“Ridley Scott — who birthed the original nearly 40 years ago as well as that last film — plunges back into the latter’s mythology, with equally uninspired and perhaps more blatantly derivative results.”).
If Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has Star Lord’s dad as the big addition for part 2, and Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back has Darth Vader’s “Luke I’m your father”, then what does Alien: Covenant have in a series that’s expected to continue with at least two more movies?
Comic-book movies largely have an advantage over cinema franchise movies in that there’s an endless amount of source material that can be feasibly adapted. When Terminator: Genisys didn’t take off at the box office, some attributed it to the fact that the pic’s universe was rather limited plotwise especially in comparison to a superhero movie.
But Alien is different: Scott has fodder in the series to truly stoke the fans; he’s just not taking full-on blatant advantage of it. And if he’s setting up something here in Alien: Covenant that’s leading toward a bigger reveal, then he’s just being too coy with plot details, and, well, that’s arguably having an impact in ticket sales. Coming away from the Fox product reel day last December, it was teased that Katherine Waterson’s character Daniels may possibly be related to Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. Waterson herself couldn’t even reveal those details to attendees there. According to Alien: Covenant, Daniels isn’t necessarily related to Ripley, and that’s a letdown.
But one of the big story opportunities squandered and not played out in Alien: Covenant comes from an Easter Egg on the Prometheus DVD where it’s revealed that Scott’s Alien universe is connected to the Blade Runner mythology. Essentially, one of the DVD’s bonuses reveals that Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland (who funded the space expedition that Shaw was on in Prometheus) had a mentor, and that was Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkell), a character in the Blade Runner movie who was the CEO of the Tyrell Corporation which produces the replicant androids that Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard pursues. But why bury that fascinating plot point on a DVD? Playing out the greater supposed connection between Alien and Blade Runner in a Marvel universe kind of way could have given Alien: Covenant some substance that fans craved. Maybe, the connection will reveal itself in Blade Runner 2049.
We mentioned earlier that rivals observed Alien: Covenant would still be OK financially with a $36M opening of this size in relation to its production cost (before P&A) in the high-$90M range. Scott took advantage of new Australian tax credits, which got the negative cost of Covenant down 25% from Prometheus. Alien: Covenant‘s overseas opening raises its global cume to just under $118M. But still, the sequel doesn’t do any favors for the summer box office, which according to ComScore is -10% through three weekends.
The CinemaScore breakdown for Covenant shows 69% males to 31% females, with no one giving the sequel any A scores (except for 7% who gave the pic an A- for Katherine Waterston’s performance). Fifty-nine percent bought tickets because it’s and Alien movie, and they gave it a B. Twenty-two percent came because of Ridley Scott, grading Covenant a B+.
MGM/Warner Bros’ Everything, Everything dipped 7% on Saturday from Friday with $4.39M according to the latter distributor, which is reporting a $12M opening for the teen romance drama. Quite often it’s said how hard it is to pull in young females into the cinema, but when they make up their minds to come, they do so at the last minute, and in packs. CinemaScore shows that 82% of the Everything, Everything crowd was female (who gave the movie an A), but also 74% under 25 (who gave the movie an A-). Fifty-five percent came because the film is based on a property they know.
MGM made a point to make this teen novel at a very responsible budget, zeroing in on the young girl demo, and they’ve developed a knack for producing these types of titles under the WB shield. These types of movies have the potential to do north of a 3x multiple in their domestic run, i.e. WB’s If I Stay opened at $15.7M and legged out to 3.2x with $50.5M. Even through WB/MGM’s previous run at teen girls Me Before You did better than Everything, Everything, a lot of that has to do with the fact that the movie last summer starred Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke and it was a based on bestselling novel, one which was shared heavily between mothers and daughters. Another reason for the variance between Everything, Everything and Me Before You has to do with the fact that the latter was released during a point when more kids were off in the summer. The trick is for Warners to keep Everything, Everything in theaters long enough so more young girls find it when school breaks.
20th Century Fox’s Snatched is next with $7.6M in fourth during its second frame for a running cume of $32.78M, while Fox’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is filing fifth right now with $7.2M over three days after a $3M Saturday, up 51% over Friday.
So why is Wimpy Kid so wimpy, coming in far below its $12M projection? Know that it’s not 20th Century Fox’s intent to clutter its release schedule with cheap films, this Wimpy Kid costing an estimated $22M before P&A, in line with the last two movies. Essentially this property was rebooted with a new cast to appeal to a new generation: The books’ popularity abroad was growing, not to mention it continues to be an evergreen among younger kids. Children read these books, grow up and move on. Fox made an honest attempt to make another movie here, but it’s clear there’s no stateside interest in Wimpy Kid. – Anthony D’Alessandro
Studio-reported Sunday estimates for the weekend of May 19-21:
1.). Alien: Covenant (FOX), 3,761 theaters / $15.35M Fri. (includes $4.2M previews) /$12M Sat/$8.6M/ 3-day cume: $36M/ Wk 1
2.). The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (DIS), 4,347 theaters (0) / $8.8M Fri./ $15M Sat/$11.2M Sun/3-day cume: $35.1M (-46%) / Total: $301.7M / Wk 3
3.). Everything, Everything (WB/MGM), 2,801 theaters / $4.7M Fri. (includes $525K previews) / $4.4M Sat/$2.8M Sun/3-day cume: $12M / Wk 1
4.). Snatched (FOX), 3,511 theaters (+10) / $2.28M Fri. / $3.2M Sat/$2M Sun/3-day cume: $7.6M (-61%) / Total:$32.7M / Wk 2
5.). Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (FOX), 3,157 theaters / $2M Fri. (includes $150K previews) /$3M Sat/$2.1M Sun/ 3-day cume: $7.2M/ Wk 1
6.). King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (WB/VR), 3,702 theaters / $1.96M Fri. /$2.96M Sat/$1.93M Sun/ 3-day cume: $6.85M (-55%) / Total:$27.2M / Wk 2
7). The Fate Of The Furious (UNI), 2,287 theaters (-780) / $5.1M Fri. /$9M Sat/$5.8M Sun/ 3-day cume: $3.1M (-42%) / Total cume: $219.9M / Wk 6
8.) The Boss Baby (Fox) 2,071 (-840), $590K Fri/ $1.3M Sat/$895K Sun/3-day: $2.8M (-37%) / Total: $166.1M / Wk 8
9). Beauty And The Beast (DIS) 1,792 (-380), $625K Fri /$1M Sat/$699K Sun/ 3-day: $2.4M (-50%) / Total: $497.7M / Wk 10
10). How To Be A Latin Lover (PANT/LG), 948 theaters (-175) / $499K Fri. /$845K Sat/$856K Sun/ 3-day cume: $2.2M (-43%) / Total: $29.4M / Wk 4
11.). Lowriders (OTL), 365 theaters (+70) / $321K Fri. /$442K Sat/$398K Sun/ 3-day cume: $1.1M (-52%) / Total: $4.1M / Wk 2
Wakefield (IFC), 1 theaters / $4K Fri. / 3-day cume: $14K / Wk 1
2ND UPDATE, Saturday, 12:12 AM, writethru 7:56 AM: This weekend belongs to 20th Century Fox’s Alien: Covenant, which at this time is expected to pull in around $40 million after an industry-estimated $15.28M Friday.
From a financial perspective, rivals inform me it’s a decent start for a movie which Fox said was in the high-$90M range but the filmmaker Ridley Scott said in an interview that it cost $111M and has already banked $46.7M overseas. The studio shot Alien: Covenant in Australia and said it received an estimated $34M in government funds. Studio math. One thing is for certain: The entire Alien franchise across eight titles will count well north of $1.3 billion at the global box office by the end of this weekend.
Still, as Fox and filmmaker Scott expand and reboot this franchise, it would be better for them to see these opening numbers go up — especially in these die-hard, brand-driven times at the B.O., and we’ll see if that’s the case as the weekend continues with Covenant earning a B CinemaScore, the same grade as Prometheus. Right now, Alien: Covenant is playing like a sequel, with its domestic opening -22% from Prometheus’ $51M domestic start. That prequel marked Scott’s return to the R-rated sci-fi series and fans responded five years ago, giving Prometheus the best stateside start of any Alien title and the franchise’s best overall gross ($126.5M domestic, $403.3M global) in its seven-title run (that includes spinoffs).
But thank God for Covenant‘s 73% certified Rotten Tomatoes score (about the same as Prometheus); if it was lower, the movie might not be looking so good. Despite all of Scott’s teases and announcements about the film in the past five years — how it was originally titled Alien: Paradise Lost and intended to focus on Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw — social media monitor RelishMix attributes the slowdown between Prometheus and Alien: Covenant to the mixed conversation.
“First off, forget Alien series fans, as they are all-in regardless of the materials, cast or special notables that Fox has shared,” RelishMix says. “For the casual moviegoer, there remains sincere confusion over where the series is at this stage. Viewers are wondering if this is a Prometheus sequel, a prequel or some offshoot within the series that has nothing to do with the original characters like Ripley. Others still were wondering if the film was related to Interstellar because of the similarities in the musical score. And, comments specific to the “Crossing” short, directed by Ridley Scott, express more confusion. Will this be part of the DVD extras as a deleted scene? Is it important to see this before Covenant — or after?”
Here is The Crossing:
RelishMix also assessed that Alien: Covenant has a strong social media universe totaling 352M spread across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube views and Instagram followers. Video materials are being passed around at a rate of 20:1, well above the sci-fi genre’s 12:1. The company also adds that Covenant was challenged by a generally inactive cast, with Empire‘s Jussie Smollett being the most popular activated star. Danny McBride across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook counts over 250K. Michael Fassbender is not socially active.
Counterprogramming male titles this weekend is MGM/Warner Bros’ teen romance Everything, Everything at 2,801 locations on track to post somewhere between $11.4M–$12.6M, depending on tonight. Friday it garnered $4.72M. The upside here is both studios were responsible in their spending, shelling out an estimated $10M in negative cost before P&A. The M.O. here by MGM and WB is to stoke the early-summer teen crowd again like they did with last summer’s Me Before You, which cost $20M before P&A and grossed a massive $207.9M around the world.
However, Everything, Everything‘s domestic start isn’t as high ($18.7M) as Me Before You, which also had the star wattage of Game Of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, and it doesn’t have the drawing power of say a bestseller adaptation like John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars which opened to $48M and legged to $124.9M (Everything, Everything has a slightly similar premise to Fault: Teen battling disease falls in love).
Rotten Tomatoes is also down between Me Before You and Everything, 58% Rotten to 42% Rotten. CinemaScore tells a slightly different story with the majority of its core audience — females under 25 — giving it an A rating. Overall, it had an A- Cinemascore.
Another comp for Everything, Everything is Before I Fall as that Open Road acquisition that bowed in appealed to a slightly younger female audience as does the MGM/Warner Bros.’ film. That micro-budgeted movie — about a $10M production cost — had a three-day cume of $4.6M when it was released two months ago.
Again, both studios can’t be slapped on the knuckles for keeping this as cheap as possible and in the budget range of other teen romance fare. MGM acquired rights to adapt Nicola Yoon’s bestselling teen novel in 2015 and has select international territories.
Regarding the buzz, RelishMix says, “Overall, Everything, Everything has reached its target audience and otherwise sparked conversation about adaptations and mixed-race couples onscreen. In other words, fans of the book will surely be showing up for Everything.” Pic gets an A- CinemaScore, which is just below Me Before You‘s A.
Fox’s franchise Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is clearly winding down, coming in well below its $12M industry tracking for an estimated $7M. That’s the lowest opening in its cinematic canon, literally half of previous chapter Dog Days. It’s a cheap and tried series, and audiences know that. It only grabbed $1.97M yesterday. However, RelishMix saw clouds gathering for this fourthquel heading into the weekend: “Convo for this latest iteration in the Wimpy series is super mixed. Fans are furious at the re-casting of their favorite characters, particularly Charlie Wright, who is taking the reins from Devon Bostick to play the Wimp’s brother Rodrick. A viral hashtag campaign #NotMyRodrick reared its head in conversation, too. Fans are decrying the re-casting as reasons not to see this Long Haul chapter. The fans are even complaining about the re-casting of Greg’s parents.”
Meanwhile, there are B.O. milestones this weekend: Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 should click past $300M by Sunday, with only another $33M to go before it surpasses GOTG. Beauty And The Beast will bag a half billion by Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. and Canada, becoming one of eight titles to pass that mark on the all-time domestic B.O. list. After this weekend, Beauty should be a $498M box office beast.
Also, Warner Bros’ King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword is dropping 57% in its second weekend, and Fox’s comedy Snatched will be off about 60%. We’ll have more updates as the weekend goes on.
—Anthony D’Alessandro reported Friday night and Anita Busch did writethru on Saturday. Follow him at @Awardstony. Here’s the Saturday morning updated chart:
Industry estimates as of Friday night for the weekend of May 19-21:
1.). Alien: Covenant (FOX), 3,761 theaters / $15.28M Fri. (includes $4.2M previews) / 3-day cume: $40M/ Wk 1
2.). The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (DIS), 4,347 theaters (0) / $8.8M Fri. (-47%) / 3-day cume: $33.6M to $35M (-49%) / Total: $300M+ / Wk 3
3.). Everything, Everything (WB/MGM), 2,801 theaters / $4.7M Fri. (includes $525K previews) / 3-day cume: $11.4M to $12.6M / Wk 1
4.). Snatched (FOX), 3,511 theaters (+10) / $2.28M Fri. (-55%) / 3-day cume: $7.8M to $8.1M (-60%) / Total:$32.7M to $33.2M / Wk 2
5.). Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (FOX), 3,157 theaters / $1.97M Fri. (includes $150K previews) / 3-day cume: $7M/ Wk 1
6.). King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (WB/VR), 3,702 theaters / $1.9M Fri. (-63%) / 3-day cume: $6.6M (-57%) / Total:$26.9M / Wk 2
7). The Fate Of The Furious (UNI), 2,287 theaters (-780) / $822K Fri. (-41%) / 3-day cume: $3.1M (-42%) / Total cume: $219.85M / Wk 6
8.) The Boss Baby (Fox) 2,071 (-840), $585K (-40%) / 3-day: $2.67M (-40%) / Total: $166M / Wk 8
9). Beauty And The Beast (DIS) 1,792 (-380), $625K (-40%) / 3-day: $2.6M (-45%) / Total: $498M / Wk 10
10). How To Be A Latin Lover (PANT/LG), 948 theaters (-175) / $499K Fri. (-39%) / 3-day cume: $2.1M (-45%) / Total: $29.35M / Wk 4
11.). Lowriders (OTL), 365 theaters (+70) / $320K Fri. (-65%) / 3-day cume: $1M (-57%) / Total: $4M / Wk 2
Wakefield (IFC), 1 theaters / $4K Fri. / 3-day cume: $14K / Wk 1
UPDATE, Friday, 11:49 AM: Matinee numbers are starting to come in and industry watchers are revising estimates on the three new pictures out this weekend. Remember, these are early numbers so we are ticker-taping it. First up, is Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant which had a production budget of about $110M. The three-day currently looks to be in the range of $41M to $42M with the third weekend of Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 estimated to take in around $30M (after an $8M Friday) which would bring its domestic total to $296.7M. Alien: Covenant should pull in around $16.5M tonight (which includes the $4.2M preview number).
Meanwhile, MGM/Warner Bros.’ female teen-targeted film Everything, Everything is holding in line with earlier estimates of right around $10M to $12M for the weekend, with some trackers showing it possibly slipping a little. It doesn’t help that the reviews are not stellar. It’s 47% Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes.
Fox’s other offering in the marketplace, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul — which will see most of its business over the family going movie days of Saturday and Sunday, is very soft today and estimates are being taken down a notch. So maybe $3.2M today for an $9M to $11M weekend. – Anita Busch
PREVIOUS, Friday, 7:16 AM: 20th Century Fox’s Alien: Covenant ripped into theaters last night at 7 PM with previews of $4.2M from about 3,000 locales, promising a strong Friday and weekend ahead. The Ridley Scott-directed sequel to the 2012 sci-fi pic Prometheus will roll out in about 3,600 locales domestically today after already cashing in more than $46M overseas.
One comp is Mad Max: Fury Road, which bowed on May 15 two years ago and had a Thursday preview of $3.7M and ended up with a Friday tally of $16.6M. That action sequel to another 1979 movie — from another strong director in George Miller, ended the weekend with $45.4M.
Alien: Covenant‘s best comp would be, of course, Prometheus, but when that movie was released in 2012 the industry was not conducting Thursday night early previews yet. That practice only came to be some time after the mass shooting in the Aurora theater on July 20 that year. However, we can tell you that Prometheus opened to a three-day weekend of $51M and ended its run at $126.4M domestically and $403.3M worldwide when it bowed on June 8, 2012. Both Prometheus and Alien Covenant had about the same running time of a little over two hours.
Last night, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 grossed $3.7M as it heads into Week 3.
The studio is unleashing another movie this weekend with fourth installment of its Wimpy Kid franchise. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul opened a little earlier yesterday at 5 PM at about 2,000 locations and took in a mere $150K. This film cost about $22M before marketing and distribution costs, so the studio should be able to roll a profit off of this one. The last Wimpy Kid pic, 2012’s Dog Days, grossed $14.6M in its opening weekend (August 3) and ended up taking in $49M domestically and $77M foreign, so the studio knew this going in. The franchise adapted from the very popular book series seems to be played out. Only 3% of K-12 are out of school today, but that will move up to 27% by next Friday.
The MPAA announced this morning that production on the film, which spent more than 200 days shooting in Georgia, generated over $14M in local economic activity with $4.4M spent on rentals, $1.1M for catering, $700K on transportation and $500K on supplies.
Canada is enjoying a national holiday on Monday, Victoria Day, so about 5% of kids will be out of school, which includes colleges.