This weekend, two newcomers try to carve out their niche of box office receipts in a weekend that will once again be dominated by Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. Sony’s Money Monster, which just enjoyed a star-studded screening and ovation at Cannes, pulled in $600K last night with previews that started at 7 PM. They were on 2,387 runs. Blumhouse’s PG-13 horror offering The Darkness grabbed $206K.
There are many comps for Money Monster, but one of the closest ones is Bridge of Spies which garnered $500K in previews and ended up with a three-day weekend of $15.8M. Money Monster is tracking now at around $12M+, up from earlier-in-the-week estimates of $10M to $12M. Bridge of Spies took in $5.3M on Friday but opened in October of last year. With a budget of about $30M, Money Monster is a TriStar Pictures, LStar Capital, Smokehouse/Allegiance Theater production.
The Darkness has an better comp with The Green Inferno. Also from BH-Tilt/Universal/High Top, that film ended up with a three-day weekend gross of $3.5M after a Thursday preview opening of $265K. The Green Inferno had a $1.5M Friday and only dropped 17% on Saturday for a total run of $7.19M. It was R-rated, however.
Given that, there hasn’t been a horror film in the market since 10 Cloverfield Lane on March 11 (and before that The Witch on February 19), horror genre fans may line up tonight for the new horror film. In fact, there is conversation about this among hardcore horror fans on social media. Estimates going into the weekend are still in the $3M to $4.5M range.
While The Green Inferno had a higher Thursday night preview number, Blumhouse notes that some of that may have been because of pent up demand from die hard fans of the movie after its release had been pulled previously by other distributors. Another note, The Darkness apparently has been skewing more female.
Captain America: Civil War, meanwhile, grabbed about $8.1M last night and has been very strong throughout the entire week.
In terms of reviews for the newbies, the old-pro reviewers like A.O. Scott and Peter Travers love Money Monster director Jodie Foster. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie is at 64% fresh. The Cannes crowd also loved the Foster, Clooney and Roberts combo — it was the first time that Roberts had been on the red carpet and the second time for Foster. While the film won’t open in France this weekend, it will roll out in some international markets including Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and Taiwan.
In terms of social media reach, Money Monster’s big stars are not that social. The film, according to RelishMix, has a moderate reach of 37.6M, which consists of 23.5M Facebook fans, only 7.3M Twitter followers, only 200K Instagram followers and more than 6.6M YouTube views. It doesn’t help that Clooney is notoriously non-social.
Because Money Monster’s stars are decidedly non-social, it poses a challenge to the marketing of the film in this day and age. While the movie secured a nice promotion with social media conscious pub EW, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and director Jodie Foster don’t really dabble on social media. Even young newcomer Jack O’Connell, who plays the disgruntled kidnapper in the film, is non-social. Other co-stars, like Dominic West, have very small followings or are not activated. As a result, Giancarlo Esposito, who is well known for playing Gus on Breaking Bad, is the only social ‘star’ of Money Monster, albeit with a small, 236K fans and followers.
Despite recent publicity efforts — like the stars’ appearance on James Corden’s carpool karaoke — the film has limited conversation socially.
It has very limited daily views on YouTube outside of its popular official trailer, and the online conversation suggests that moviegoers are having trouble seeing these high-profile, wealthy stars in a film about uncovering financial corruption. RelishMix says that while the film’s earned-owned ratio of 6:1 is pretty good and it has an even mix of trailers, TV spots and clips, there is only moderate viewing. The top trailer is getting only 10K daily views.
For a film with this kind of star power, the conversation is very light and in many cases rather negative. In the midst of an election year, Clooney is taking a lot of criticism for his association with Hillary Clinton.
#MoneyMonster hashtags on Twitter and Instagram combined have spiked nicely over 2K per day in the last 24-hours, driven most by keywords “Jodie” and “Foster.” Activity is connected (in part) by an unverified Instagram page for Roberts.
The Darkness also has a small social media universe of 22.2M, comprised of 3.3M Facebook fans, 1.5M Twitter followers, more than 700K Instagram followers and only 16.7M YouTube views. The activity is moderate for a new horror film.
Recent YouTube views have been given a nice paid bump, and the hashtag #FearTheDarkness is under the 1K mark but they have used it in an interesting way. BlumhouseTilt’s social team has shared the hashtag on both FB and Twitter with links to similar movies in the genre like The Visit and The Purge and the hashtag has also been used by VH-1, MTV, Cryptmovies and many other horror film fan destinations. But, outside the hardcore horror fan, The Darkness may be a bit challenged as the movie has a low 2:1 earned-owned ratio.
The cast is led by its social star Kevin Bacon with over 2.3M fans and followers, and the actor is posting and re-posting materials to promote the film’s opening night. But, compared to other social efforts by recent stars, Bacon is by no means “all in.” Supporting cast Ming-Na Wen, known for TV roles (most recently Agents of SHIELD), and Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a Time) have legitimate social followings, but only Wen is actively sharing materials from the film. Radha Mitchell has a small Twitter following.
What is interesting, RelishMix notes, is that we are seeing more and more films tagging their fans by name. The Darkness has responded to fans tagging each other to go see the movie this weekend in response to the latest posting of the trailer with things like “Deby and Jasmin, it stars Kevin Bacon and David Mazouz (Gotham). Find tickets now.”