8TH UPDATE/WRITETHRU, MONDAY 8 AM: Warner Bros.’ Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is finishing lower than its $52.4M weekend estimate yesterday, now at $51.8M. That 69% drop ties with Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine as one of the steepest second-weekend drops for a superhero film ever. BvS weathered a post-Easter frame in which fans failed to return in droves. And there was nothing holding them back since the other majors didn’t trot out new wide entries.
Compare BvS’ drop with those of other prized superhero titles: The Avengers: Age Of Ultron (-59%), The Dark Knight (-52%), Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 (-61%). The latter caused Sony to go back to the drawing board in an effort to reboot Marvel’s Spidey for a third time.
Next weekend, the most prolific release is Universal’s R-rated Melissa McCarthy comedy The Boss, which industry projections have at a $24M opening. It’s a coin toss at this point in time whether BvS hangs on to No. 1 for a third weekend. Last year, Furious 7 held No. 1 for four weekends until Disney’s Age Of Ultron kicked off the summer.
Rival distributors also pointed out other factors impacting BvS’ slowdown: It was playing in a non-holiday frame, in which there were fewer schools off on break than last weekend. Also, BvS was frontloaded more than other superhero films outside The Dark Knight Rises ($30.6M), with moviegoers also showing up on the weekdays and male moviegoers in particular distracted on Saturday night by the NCAA Final Four. “Essentially, you’re comparing this weekend’s grosses for Batman V Superman against a four-day holiday last weekend. Whenever you have that set-up, there’s always a steep drop,” says one non-Warner Bros distribution executive.
Even so, another rival laughs at the notion of the non-holiday frame biting into BvS‘ business: “What about the great hold that Furious 7 put up (-60%) in its post-Easter weekend?” That sevenquel, directed by James Wan (who’s on the hook to helm Aquaman), made $59.6M in its second go-round, $7.2M more than BvS this weekend.
Financially, BvS could still turn out alright: Its second weekend was slightly better than Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, which fell 72% and made $47.4M. That film became the highest installment in the Potter franchise with a 2.25 multiple off its $169.1M, for $381M. That’s the same leg-out factor many are predicting for BvS. For Warner Bros, with BvS at $681.3M, they have nothing to apologize for in its accounting ledgers (yet).
The critical reaction has prompted Warner Bros (per some fanboy blogs) to get another look at next summer’s Suicide Squad and ordered re-shoots to make it more fun. There’s a significant amount on the line for the studio with DC features 2.0. BvS, a property it’s been developing for two decades (Wolfgang Petersen was attached to direct at one point) didn’t exactly take off as hoped. Agita resides at the studio as Zack Snyder, who became too intoxicated by the Dark Knight-and-the-son-of Jor’El brawl, hasn’t reignited the DC franchise in a way J.J. Abrams did for Disney and Star Wars. It’s going to take more than a visual stylist to move these DC films forward. Christopher Nolan was able to turn these dark DC stories into the smart Dark Knight series, but many argue that Snyder has thrown everything and the kitchen sink at BvS. On social media, per Relish Mix, Jesse Eisenberg’s turn as Lex Luther ticked fans off. WB is now tasked with proving to critics and fans why Snyder is the guy for the Justice League job, and must seriously consider content improvements moving forward in DC 2.0.
As of Monday morning, ranking behind BvS were Disney’s Zootopia in second with $19.45M and an awesome -19% fifth-frame hold taking its cume to $275.4M. Here’s a record for ya, Disney: That’s the best fifth weekend for a pre-summer release ever, beating American Sniper‘s $16.4M.
Universal/Gold Circle/HBO/Playtone’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 drew $11.2M in its second weekend, and though that’s a great sophomore hold of -37%, it’s doubtful this sequel will cross the century mark. Still, it’s a nice cash gift off its estimated $18M production cost. Total cume through 10 days stands at $36.6M, while worldwide is solid at $55M. Global for the first Wedding was $368.7M, but 66% of that came from domestic.
Of the two indie features that dared to compete with BvS, Pure Flix’s faith-based sequel God’s Not Dead 2, according to industry estimates, is below its $8.1M expectation with $7.6M at 2,419 theaters in fourth place. While that’s under the first one’s $9.2M debut at 780 theaters, there’s a fervent fan base for this series: The first God’s Not Dead generated a 6.6 multiple, which any major studio executive would covet. Even though faith-based films have an easy time gaining A CinemaScores, this sequel, like the last, could beat the 3.6 multiple that typically comes with the grade.
Freestyle’s Meet The Blacks gradually improved to what looks to be a $4.06M opening, more or less in keeping with expectations in eighth place. Freestyle reports sold-out shows, with exhibitors adding late showtimes in this small wide release of 1,015 theaters.
The specialty distribs have been eyeing this weekend as a time to expand, since the majors were holding back on wide debuts. Bleecker Street went wide with its critically-acclaimed (93% fresh) drone thriller Eye In The Sky chalking up a 319% hike over last weekend with $3.96M in ninth. “We saw this momentum with the film last weekend and we thought we’d take this wide. It was a smart risk to take and it’s paid off,” said Bleecker Street distribution chief Jack Foley. Gotham hubs, such as Union Square and Lincoln Square where Eye In The Sky first opened, are doing more business than they were in the first frame. The film is playing heavily toward the smart and art groups, with some houses seeing double to triple jumps between Friday and Saturday. As a film that studies barbarism and civilization, Eye In The Sky has hit a nerve, and it wouldn’t be crazy to see Oscar potential in the riveting performance by the late Alan Rickman. The trick for Bleecker is to keep this film’s vibe alive until awards season.
Other indie pics that crossed over this weekend include Roadside Attractions’ Sally Field dramedy My Name Is Doris, which is up 43% in Week 4 after heading to 964 theaters with $2.3M. The distributor points out, “Three of the weekend’s top 10-grossing theaters for the film were in Orlando, FL; Providence, RI; and Toledo, OH, showing the film’s appeal across a broad swath of American audiences.” Sony Pictures Classics also sought to squeeze as much money as it could out of its Hank Williams biopic I Saw The Light. Even though the film has a 16% Rotten score, it generated close to $1K per theater at 741 sites, or $682K. Read Brian Brooks’ Sunday indie rundown here.
ComScore’s top 20 films and notables for the weekend of April 1-3:
1).Batman v Superman (WB), 4,256 theaters (+14)/3-day cume: $51.3M (-69%)/ Per screen avg.: $12,062 /Total Cume:$260.4M / Wk 2
2). Zootopia (DIS), 3,698 theaters (+28)/ 3-day cume: $19.3M (-20%)/ Per screen: $5,226 /Total Cume: $275.3M/Wk 5
3). My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (UNI), 3,179 theaters (+46)/ 3-day cume: $11.2M (-37%)/ Per screen: $3,529 /Total Cume: $36.6M /Wk 2
4). God’s Not Dead 2 (PURE), 2,320 theaters /3-day cume: $7.6M/ Per screen: $3,152 /Wk 1
*includes $400K Thursday preview
5). Miracles From Heaven (SONY), 3,155 theaters (+108)/ 3-day cume: $7.3M (-25%)/ Per screen: $2,300 /Total Cume: $46.5M/ Wk 3
6). Allegiant (LG), 3,018 theaters (-722)/ 3-day cume: $5.8M (-39%)/ Per screen: $1,910 /Total cume: $56.4M Wk 3
7). 10 Cloverfield Lane (PAR), 2,511 theaters (-291)/ 3-day cume: $4.6M (-23%)/ Per screen: $1,818 /Total cume: $63.4M / Wk 4
8). Meet the Blacks (FREE), 1,014 theaters /3-day cume: $4.1M / Per screen: $3,996 /Wk 1
**includes $200K Thursday preview
9) Eye in the Sky (BLST), 1,029 theaters (+906) / 3-day cume: $4M (+325%)/ Per screen: $3,850 /Total Cume: $6.1M/ Wk 4
10). Deadpool (FOX), 1,968 theaters (-368) / 3-day cume: $3.5M (-29%) / Per screen: $1,756/Total Cume: $355.1M / Wk 7
11). MET Opera: Madama Butterfly (FAN), 900 theaters /3-day cume: $2.5M / Per screen: $2,744 /Wk 1
12) Hello, My Name Is Doris (RSA), 963 theaters (+478)/3-day cume: $2.4M (+42%)/ Per screen: $2,464 /Total Cume: $6.6M/ Wk 4
13). London Has Fallen (FOC), 1,510 theaters (-663)/3-day cume: $1.9M (-37%)/ Per screen: $1,255 /Total Cume: $59.1M/ Wk 5
14). I Saw the Light (SPC), 741 theaters (+736)/ 3-day cume: $684K (+1,404%)/ Per screen: $923 /Total Cume: $745K /Wk 2
15) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS), 462 theaters (-90)/3-day cume: $682K (-17%)/ Per screen: $1,475 /Total Cume: $934.9M/ Wk 16
16). Midnight Special (WB), 58 theaters (+53)/ 3-day cume: $550K (+450%)/ Per screen: $9,489 /Total Cume: $964K /Wk 3
17). Kung Fu Panda 3 (FOX), 396 theaters (-84)/3-day cume: $517K (-8%)/ Per screen: $1,306 /Total Cume: $140.3M/ Wk 10
18). Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (PAR), 457 theaters (-390)/3-day cume: $512K (-43%)/ Per screen: $1,121 /Total Cume: $22.3M/ Wk 5
19). The Witch (A24), 666 theaters (+520)/ 3-day cume: $465K (+187%) / Per screen: $699 /Total Cume: $24.7M /Wk 7
20). Ki & Ka (ERO), 150 theaters /3-day cume: $440K / Per screen: $2,970 /Wk 1
Everybody Wants Some!! (PAR), 19 theaters / 3-day cume: $312K /Per screen: $16,440 /Total cume: $361K/Wk 1
Chongqing Hot Pot (CHINA), 20 theaters / 3-day cume: $202K / Per screen: $10,098 /Wk 1
Miles Ahead (SPC), 4 theaters /3-day cume: $115K / Per screen: $28,632 /Wk 1
Saturday Warrior (PUR), 9 theaters /3-day cume: $96K /Per screen: $10,671 //Wk 1
Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe (CLBR), 1 theaters / 3-day cume: $28,340/Wk 1
Kill Me Deadly (INP), 2 theaters / 3-day cume: $12K / Per screen: $5,800 /Wk 1
Standing Tall (CMG), 2 theaters / 3-day cume: $7K / Per screen: $3,744 /Wk 1
5TH WRITE THRU SATURDAY 8AM: Well, the poor reviews and mixed word of mouth are finally taking their toll on the second weekend ticket sales for Warner Bros.’ Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. This morning, BvS woke up from a hangover to learn that it’s on its way to a -70% weekend drop of $50.7M. That fall-off is one of the steepest for a superhero film, topping the -69% posted by 20th Century Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. All this despite the fact that Bruce and Clark have the Friday-Sunday period all to themselves, without any new wide threats from the other majors, not to mention the added benefit of 30% K-12 schools off, and 9% of colleges on break, per ComScore. The second Friday till for BvS of $15.3M, down 81%, looks like a collapse compared to last Friday’s $81.55M which included $27.7M in previews. Even if you strip the previews out ($53.85M), BvS’ Friday-to-Friday decline is still big at -72%.
Now, these fanboy and -girl films can be heavily frontloaded. A Warner Bros. source was quick to point out the 72% drop weathered by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.1M opening, $47.4M second weekend) as well as the 69% to 70% crashes experienced by The Twilight Saga pics New Moon and both Breaking Dawns. The major difference with Deathly Hallows 2 is that it faced competition from Captain America ($65M) in its second sesh, whereas BvS doesn’t have any big rivals this weekend. Unfortunately, BvS’ drop isn’t a case of ‘the bigger it opens, the bigger it falls’: There’s been too many of the $100M-plus superhero openers to show that second weekends can sustain a -50% to -60% slide. Whether BvS hits $1 billion worldwide is still TBD, and we’ll have a better indication after international reports roll in.
Warner Bros. is aware of fan discontent with BvS’ moody tone: the fanboy blogs lit up like pinball machines two days ago with buzz of reshoots on Suicide Squad (due out on August 5): Apparently the studio is lightening the mood for a more fun Suicide.
A year ago, former Easter champ Furious 7 slid from its then record debut of $147.2M to $59.6M, repping a 60% decline in its second weekend before finaling at $353M (a 2.4 multiple). Fox attempted to counter-program F7 in its second frame with the Nicholas Sparks cowboy feature adaptation The Longest Ride, but a $13M opening hardly curbed F7 (which was also a draw for females at 49%).
Originally, 20th Century Fox had the Jon Hamm spy comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses on this date while Weinstein Co./Dimension/Blumhouse had Amityville: The Awakening. But both studios had second thoughts for different reasons. Joneses took a hiatus temporarily from the calendar as the production returned for additional filming, while TWC decided that the first weekend in January was prime to throw Amityville‘s doors open. Nonetheless, a missed opportunity for the majors during spring break: Hard currency was just left on the table. With no big studio films opening, a greater supply of theaters became available. As a result, the top four films upticked their counts while the specialty pics grabbed up venues, i.e. Sony Classics’ Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light jumped from five locations to 736 for an estimated Friday of $228K (+1,241%) and a second FSS of $746K (+1,540%).
Toward the end of Friday’s workday, Warner Bros. International reported that BvS’ global cume stands at $554M through Thursday, having already spanked an impressive queue of Marvel titles: Ant-Man ($519.3M), Thor ($449.3M), Captain America ($370.6M) and Wolverine ($373.1M). In all fairness, BvS also beats DC comic adaptations Batman Begins ($374.2M), and will soon overtake director Zack Snyder’s own Man of Steel ($668M). BvS’ foreign tally is at $345 through Thursday, of which $75M was taken in China.
Current theater count for BvS, superpowered by Imax, RealD, 4DX, 70MM, grows from 4,242 to 4,256. For a moment there, we thought that BvS might steal the best pre-summer second weekend record away from Warner’s American Sniper ($64.6M). Nope, not gonna happen.
BvS’ first week take of $209.07M is the 11th best, jogging 1.6% behind 2013’s Iron Man 3, which grossed $212.4M in its first seven days. That threequel finaled at $409M. On Thursday, BvS took in $7.7M in first place, down 4% from Wednesday. As far as the best Thursdays in March go, 2013’s G.I. Joe Retaliation holds that title with $10.5M.
The conversation on social media about BvS has been divided between haters and supporters. First, the pic’s SMU has grown over the last week from 738.8M to 756.4M (comprising 37M FB fans, 8.8M Twitter, 109.2M FB views and 595.5M Youtube views). During this time, Ben Affleck has added 50K-plus fans to both Facebook and Twitter while Wonder Woman Gal Gadot has surged by 100K fans in the last week, with 200K on Instagram alone. The Sad Affleck satirical video has clocked 20.9M views alone, resonating both with his fans and the pic’s naysayers.
There have been numerous posts on Facebook with links to articles of other classic films that were initially panned, funny GIFs of Affleck reacting to the bad reviews and fans comparing BvS’ success to other films like The Avengers.
The word strong is an understatement when talking about the fifth weekend hold for Disney’s Zootopia which is at amazing -14% for a projected FSS of $20.7M. Domestic by Sunday will be at $276.6M. Zootopia‘s percent decline isn’t that far from Frozen‘s -13% at the same point in time, and its running 44% ahead of that princess musical.
Gold Circle/Playtone/HBO’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 from Universal is looking really good this morning with a -37% second weekend decline with $11.2M in third place for a 10-day take of $36.5M. It collected $1.6M on Thursday.
With the majors holding back their wide entries, some boutiques are vying to fill the void. A24 re-released The Witch in 666 venues raking in another $403K, +148% for a running cume of $24.5M. And Bleecker Street widened its critically acclaimed (93% fresh Rotten Tomatoes) Eye In The Sky from 123 sites to 1,029 translating into an estimated Friday of $1.2M (+297%) and a fourth FSS of $3.9M in ninth place for a running cume by Sunday of $6M. The thriller nearly scratched 10th place last weekend with $932K and a per theater of $7.581. Warner Bros. is pulling in close to a hearty $9500K per theater during the third week of Jeff Nichols’ sci-fi chase pic Midnight Special. The studio upped the pic’s theater count from five in New York, L.A. and Austin locations to 58 sites in 18 markets raking in an estimated $550K.
Two indies took a chance by going wide. After a $400K Thursday night, Pure Flix’s faith-based God’s Not Dead 2 is now expected to come in toward the lower end of its $8M-$12M projection with $8.3M; still lower than the $9.2M opening the first installment posted at 780 theaters. Ironic, given the sequel’s great word of mouth on social and the fact that it’s in more theaters. GND2 received an A CinemaScore tonight with a heavy turnout by older women over 25 (60% females, 70% over 25) — no surprise there as the faith-based demo always throws off the curve. Literally straight As in every single demo, which one hardly ever sees. Seventy-two percent bought tickets because it was a faith-based fave franchise for them. Similar to the first title, GND2 cost a thrifty $2M. The grassroots campaign swelled GND to $100M across all revenue streams.
The first GND had a huge social media presence fueling its grosses. RelishMix notices that GND2‘s social presence is moderate at 43.1M (12M Facebook fans, 9.5M FB views, 3.7M Twitter followers, 3.1M Instagram followers and over 14.8M YouTube views). However, the social media monitor adds that for young faith label Pure Flix to have 33M-plus fans signifies the loyal following carryover from the first movie. By comparison Sony/Affirm’s Risen had an SMU of 25M, composed mostly of Sony Pictures’ 19.3M pages.
One unique element RelishMix keenly assessed about the GND2 social tub-thumping was the following: “We have observed that campaigns for other titles respond to fans’ posts with a variety of stock quotes or calls to action. But, this campaign is replying to everyone, individually, by name within a day of the original posting. For example, a fan from the Philippines asked if God’s Not Dead 2 was coming to his country, and the campaign advised that they are focused only on the U.S. release, but will post when debuts occur in international markets.”
In addition per RelishMix, the GND2 cast has moderate social activity and are leveraging their audiences from other projects. YouTube views are somewhat light, comparatively, but there were plenty of materials and chatter across the film’s social channels leading into this weekend. GND2‘s social media star is Sadie Robertson with 4.7M fans, who has had a following from her time spent on Duck Dynasty and Dancing With the Stars. She shared materials from the set, red carpet and her own life’s adventures. Melissa Joan Hart follows with the second-best social status with 2.3M, followed by GND2‘s co-star and Pure Flix founder David A.R. White with 560K.
During the early part of the 8PM hour, Hart posted the following:
Freestyle’s comedy Meet The Blacks previewed in 700 of its 1,014 locations last night, earning $200K. The Purge parody is looking a little brighter this AM now in 8th for a $4M weekend.
On the boutique side, Paramount’s Richard Linklater film Everybody Wants Some!! is putting up an OK per-theater of $16K. Critics loved it with a 91% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. It could get further boosted by the director’s appearance at LA screenings. Don Cheadle’s feature directorial debut, the Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, is projected to post an awesome per theater of $29K.
The Top 10 films based off Saturday AM industry estimates for the weekend of April 1-3, 2016 as compiled by Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka:
1).Batman v Superman (WB), 4,256 theaters (+14)/ $15.3M Fri. (-81%)/ 3-day cume: $50.7M (-70%)/Total Cume: $259.8M/ Wk 2
2). Zootopia (DIS), 3,698 theaters (+28)/ $5.6M Fri. (-41%)/ 3-day cume: $20.7M (-14%)/Total Cume: $276.6M/Wk 5
3). My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (UNI), 3,179 theaters (+46)/ $3.4M Fri. (-53%) / 3-day cume: $11.2M (-37%)/Total Cume: $36.5M /Wk 2
4). God’s Not Dead 2 (PURE), 2,320 theaters/ $2.9M* Fri./ 3-day cume: $8.3M/ Wk 1
*includes $400K Thursday preview
5). Miracles From Heaven (SONY), 3,155 theaters (+108)/ $2.2M Fri.(-35%) / 3-day cume: $7.5M (-23%)/Total Cume: $46.8M/ Wk 3
6). Allegiant (LG), 3,018 theaters (-722)/ $1.8M Fri. (-51%)/ 3-day cume: $5.7M (-40%)/Total cume: $56.3M Wk 3
7). 10 Cloverfield Lane (PAR), 2,511 theaters (-291)/ $1.4M Fri. (-32%) / 3-day cume: $4.7M (-21%)/Total cume: $63.5M / Wk 4
8). Meet the Blacks (FREE), 1,014 theaters / $1.4M Fri.**/ 3-day cume: $4M / Wk 1
**includes $200K Thursday preview
9). Eye in the Sky (BLST), 1,029 theaters (+906)/ $1.2M Fri. (+305%) / 3-day cume: $3.9M (+318%)/Total Cume: $6M/ Wk 4
10). Deadpool (FOX), 1,968 theaters (-368) / $1M Fri. (-40%) / 3-day cume: $3.6M (-26%) / Total Cume: $355.2M / Wk 7
11) Hello, My Name Is Doris (RSA), 964 theaters (+479)/ $677K Fri. (+39%) / 3-day cume: $2.4M (+46%)/Total Cume: $6.7M/ Wk 4
I Saw the Light (SPC), 741 theaters (+736)/ $228K Fri. (+1,241%) / 3-day cume: $746K (+1,540%)/Total Cume: $807K /Wk 2
Midnight Special (WB), 58 theaters (+53)/ $168K Fri. (+468%) / 3-day cume: $550K (+450%)/Total Cume: $963K /Wk 3
Ki & Ka (ERO), 150 theaters / $137K Fri. / 3-day cume: $427K /Wk 1
The Witch (A24), 666 theaters (+520/ $125K Fri. (+131%) / 3-day cume: $403K (+148%)/Total Cume: $24.5M /Wk 7
Everybody Wants Some!! (PAR), 19 theaters / $96K Fri. / 3-day cume: $307K /$16K PTA/Total cume: $355K/Wk 1
Chongqing Hot Pot (CHINA), 20 theaters / $65K Fri. / 3-day cume: $189K /Wk 1
Saturday Warrior (PUR), 9 theaters / $60K Fri. / 3-day cume: $174K /$19K PTA/Wk 1
Miles Ahead (SPC), 4 theaters / $35K Fri. / 3-day cume: $115K /$29K PTA/Wk 1
Vaxxed: From Cover-Up (CLBR), 1 theaters / $8K Fri. / 3-day cume: $21K/Wk 1
Francofonia (MUSIC), 2 theaters / $6K Fri. / 3-day cume: $18K /Wk 1
Sold (MAT), 1 theaters / $3K Fri. / 3-day cume: $10K /Wk 1
The Dark Horse (BGP), 2 theaters / $2K Fri. / 3-day cume: $6K /Wk 1