TUESDAY FINAL UPDATE, 2:30 PM: Blame it on the good weather across the country, an unusually competitive weekend with family titles and a basic lack of interest in the product, but we have some certifiable duds on our hands this Fourth of July including one from brandmaster Steven Spielberg himself. Shouldering high-budget costs and a competitive family market, neither Disney and Spielberg’s The BFG ($140 million budget plus P&A) nor Village Roadshow and Warner Bros’ The Legend Of Tarzan ($180M budget plus P&A) won over the family audiences as hoped. And with Illumination/Universal’s The Secret Life Of Pets running into theaters next weekend, look for both titles to be trampled upon.
Dominating this holiday weekend yet again was a big fish named Finding Dory, which swam off with another $41M+ for the three-day and over $50M for the holiday.
While BFG came in line with what were lower expectations going into the weekend, one of the other big problems is that the book itself really had no IP value and doesn’t feature cuddly animals or talking fish, but features … an old man. Kids these days, right? In hindsight, a better distribution date also seemed prudent given the amount of family fare in the marketplace.
Both BFG and Tarzan, to which its core audiences gave high A- CinemaScores, will need a lot of international business to make up for the lack of interest domestically. Tarzan is only in 19 markets and grossed $19.3M in its weekend bow. The BFG — which premiered at Cannes — has yet to get started, really, with $3.9M. For more in-dept analysis see below and also Saturday’s analysis from my colleague Anthony D’Alessandro.
While every title got somewhat of a bump on Friday due to some inclement weather, once the weekend rolled out, all grosses re-adjusted accordingly. One title that found its audience was Universal/Blumhouse/Platinum Dunes’ The Purge: Election Day. By weekend’s end, it played out as its predecessors did (The Purge: Anarchy grossed $29.8M in 2014, and The Purge opened to $34M in 2013). With only a $10M budget, the horror film ended up grossing a three-day of $31M+. It didn’t hurt that this one received a better-than-usual B+ CinemaScore from its core audience.
Meanwhile, in its second weekend, Fox’s Independence Day: Resurgence dropped hard (down 60%) over the long holiday. Although had a better day yesterday than expected (maybe because of its title), it has failed to impress. It has grossed $175.8M internationally but only about $80M stateside.
Overall, the market was up about 40% in box office over the three-day from last year — of course, July 4 fell on a Monday this year rather than the Saturday last year. Here are the Top 20 this holiday weekend with both three-day and four-day grosses:
Anita Busch compiled Monday’s final grosses with Amanda D’Nuka.
1). Finding Dory (DIS), 4,305 theaters / 3-day cume: $41.8M (-43%) / Per screen average: $9,714 / 4-day: $51.4M / Total cume: $381.8M / Wk 3
2). The Legend of Tarzan (WB), 3,561 theaters / 3-day cume: $38.5M / Per screen: $10,819 / 4-day: $46.6M / Wk 1
3). The Purge: Election Day (UNI), 2,796 theaters / 3-day cume: $31.5M / Per screen: $11,271 / 4-day: $36.1M / Wk 1
4). The BFG (DIS), 3,357 theaters / 3-day cume: $18.8M / Per screen: $5,593 / 4-day: $22.7M / Wk 1
5). Independence Day: Resurgence (FOX), 4,091 theaters (+23) / 3-day cume: $16.7M (-59%) / Per screen: $4,087 / 4-day: $21.68M / Total: $77.8M / Wk 2
6). Central Intelligence (WB/NL/UNI), 3,166 theaters (-342) / 3-day cume: $12.5M (-31%) / Per screen: $3,952 / 4-day: $15.4M / Total: $94.8M / Wk 3
7). The Shallows (SONY), 2,962 theaters (0) / 3-day: $8.8M (-48%) / Per screen: $2,963 / 4-day: $10.5M / Total: $36.8M / Wk 2
8). Free State of Jones (STX), 2,781 theaters (-34) / 3-day cume: $4.1M (-45%) / Per screen: $1,489 / 4-day: $5.3M / Total: $16.4M / Wk 2
9). Conjuring 2 (WB/NL), 2,008 theaters (-1,025) / 3-day cume: $3.8M (-50%) / Per screen: $1,910 / 4-day: $4.5M / Total cume: $95.95M / Wk 4
10). Now You See Me 2 (LG), 1,788 theaters (-957) / 3-day cume: $2.96M (-47%) / Per screen: $1,655 / 4-day: $3.7M / Total cume: $59.4M / Wk 4
11). Swiss Army Men (A24), 636 theaters (+633) / 3-day cume: $1.4M (+1,242%) / Per screen: $2,224 / 4-day: $1.67M / Total: $1.8M / Wk 2
12). Our Kind Of Traitor (RSA), 373 theaters / 3-day cume: $983K / Per screen: $2,636 / 4-day: $1.2M / Wk 1
13). X-Men: Apocalypse (FOX), 630 theaters (-1,049) / 3-day cume: $906K (-64%) / Per screen: $1,438 / 4-day cume: $1.1M / Total cume: $153.7M / Wk 6
14). Me Before You (WB), 523 theaters (-1,015) / 3-day cume: $821K (-58%) / Per screen: $1,569 / 4-day cume: $1M / Total cume: $53.9M / Wk 5
15). Captain America: Civil War (DIS), 367 theaters (-386) / 3-day cume: $771K (-44) / Per screen: $2,100 / 4-day cume: $951K / Total cume: $405.6M / Wk 9
16). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PAR), 719 theaters (-1,228) / 3-day cume: $754K (-69) / Per screen: $1,049 / 4-day cume: $942K / Total cume: $79.7M / Wk 5
17). The Jungle Book (DIS), 294 theaters (-184) / 3-day cume: $643K (-49)/ Per screen: $2,187 / 4-day cume: $784K / Total cume: $359.6M / Wk 12
18). Warcraft (UNI), 411 theaters (-1,541) / 3-day cume: $510K (-77%) / Per screen: $1,240 / 4-day cume: $608K / Total cume: $45.9M / Wk 4
19). Love & Friendship (RSA), 185 theaters (-96) / 3-day cume: $405K (-13%) / Per screen: $2,191 / 4-day cume: $514K / Total cume: $12.7M / Wk 8
20). Alice Through The Looking Glass (DIS), 192 theaters (-303) / 3-day cume: $395K (-79%) / Per screen: $2,056 / 4-day cume: $465K / Total cume: $75.7M / Wk 6
SUNDAY AM UPDATE and MONDAY 8:13 AM, WRITE-THRU: Traditionally, one big franchise title — a Transformers, a Twilight or a Spider-Man — dominates the Independence Day box office, but this year, there was an eclectic mix of IP, most of which vied for a family demo. Overall, the year-to-date is still down about 2.5% from last year.
And similar to last year when Inside Out topped the July 4 weekend charts, this year’s holiday entries were overwhelmed by another Disney/Pixar title, Finding Dory, which rose from $13.4M on Friday to an estimated $14.7M on Saturday in what will be a $41.7M three-day and $49.7M four-day. By next week, Dory will overtake Toy Story 3 ($415M) as the highest grossing Pixar movie of all-time at the domestic box office. Other records in Dory‘s path which she still needs to take down: highest grossing Disney animated film (currently The Lion King with $422.8M) and the highest-grossing animated film of all time, which still belongs to DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek 2 ($441.2M).
In second place is Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s $180M adventure epic The Legend of Tarzan which was expected to file in the low $30M range and is besting those forecasts with a $38.49M three-day and a $45.5M to $48M four-day at 3,561 theaters. Tarzan‘s better than expected results come in the wake of its A- CinemaScore: Audiences have discovered that it’s a fun ride that truly delivers on what’s promised in the trailers: a lush, jaw-dropping cinematic vista loaded with lots of action and romance between two gorgeous people, Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie. The demos for this one are evenly split with females at 51% and males 49% with about 55% over 35 years old and 45% under that age group.
Heading into this weekend, Warner Bros. had been relentlessly airing TV spots; even several times during NBA finals games. ISpot. TV estimates that Warner Bros. spent $21.8M on Tarzan, to Disney’s $24.6M on The BFG and Universal’s $12.6M spend on The Purge: Election Year. Even though Tarzan‘s ticket sales are coming in higher, we can’t ignore the fact that it’s not enough to save it from being a dud.
Financially, between its production cost and domestic take, it looks similar to last weekend’s Independence Day: Resurgence, however, the big difference is that Tarzan, given its improved word of mouth, could leg out better than the Roland Emmerich movie here in the states. Warner Bros. knows that if Tarzan recoups, it’s because of overseas (the film has an upcoming China release date without any serious competition).
Then there’s Universal/Blumhouse/Platinum Dunes’ The Purge: Election Year which is also beating its high $20M weekend forecasts with a $31.4M three-day opening — second best opening in the series behind 2013’s The Purge‘s $34M — and a four-day of $34M. Unlike Tarzan and BFG which are based on older lit properties, Election Year‘s advantage was that it arrived to theaters with a moviegoing following already intact. Also, creating a want-to-see is the fact that Election Year is satirically timely and it’s by James DeMonaco, who directed and wrote the first two Purges. While most horror films change-up directors from sequel to sequel, Blumhouse generally makes a point to keep the same filmmaker on the entire franchise, so that a vision remains intact and the faithful remain stoked. Says Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou, that filmmaker model “keeps it relevant for people and builds on the deep knowledge in the series’ DNA, which is contrary to a number of sequels we’ve seen.” In regards to why Uni opted to open Election Year during the July 4 stretch, Carpou says, “An Independence Day weekend opening resonates completely given the theme of the movie.” Look for a four-day of around $34.7M to $35M.
After tabulating this weekend’s ticket sales, Election Year, with an estimated production cost of $10M, has already made that money back before P&A. That falls within Blumhouse’s micro budget model. CinemaScore of B+ is the best of any Purge title with females turning up at 53%, 65% under 25.
Steven Spielberg has played during July 4 before with Warner Bros. 2001 Stanley Kubrick-inspired A.I. ($29.3M opening, $78.6M domestic) and Paramount’s Tom Cruise hit War of the Worlds ($112.7M in its first six days, $234.3M domestic), but Disney’s The BFG skews significantly more female (58% per PostTrak) and younger at 52% under 25. A three-day opening of $18.6M and a four-day of $21.8M is an awful start for this film which is estimated to cost $140M before P&A.
There’s an abundance of family titles in the market, with Uni/Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets on the horizon. And BFG is old-fashioned, deliberate storytelling. It’s a different type of family film. It’s not like Disney didn’t try: They brought BFG to Cannes to dazzle everyone on a global stage. While many will say BFG is one of Roald Dahl’s signature titles (and arguably more gruesome than the movie), like Tarzan, it’s an anachronism to younger audiences. As such it’s harder to compel that demo to see BFG and Tarzan in great numbers. Audiences also gave BFG an A- CinemaScore, but when you start this low at the B.O., it’s hard to catch up. Also, eating into BFG‘s ticket sales this weekend: Finding Dory. There was a time when Robin Williams was in talks to play the lead giant in BFG and in an era when star power ruled, this property, scripted by the late Melissa Mathison, migh have worked at the B.O. back in the 1990s. But here, BFG rests on the shoulders of recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance.
As we explained earlier, The BFG was a passion project of producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, while Tarzan was willed into existence by late producer Jerry Weintraub. Given their huge budgets, it was in the interest of both pics’ studios to open their films over the holiday four-day frame in an effort to access as many moviegoers as possible.
Distribs love it when July 4 falls on a Monday, when Sunday is like another Saturday. The holiday itself can slow down at the B.O. as everyone heads off to pools and barbecues.
The top 12 studio-reported figures for July 1-4 as compiled by Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka and Anita Busch:
1). Finding Dory (DIS), 4,305 theaters / 13.4M Fri. / $14.8M Sat. (+10%) / $13.2M Sun. (-12%) / 3-day cume: $41.7M (-43%) / 4-day: $49.7M / Total cume: $380.1M / Wk 3
2). The Legend of Tarzan (WB), 4,068 theaters / $14M Fri. (includes $2.55M previews) / $12.7M Sat. (-10%) / $11.7M Sun. (-10%) / 3-day cume: $38.49M / 4-day: $45M to $48M / Wk 1
3). The Purge: Election Day (UNI), 2,796 theaters / $14.5M Fri. (includes $3.64M previews) / $9.3M Sat. (-36%) / $7.5M Sun. (-19%) / 3-day cume: $31.4M / 4-day: $34.7M to $35M / Wk 1
4). The BFG (DIS), 3,357 theaters / $7M Fri. (includes $775K previews) / $6.2M Sat. (-12%) / $5.3M Sun. (-14%) / 3-day cume: $18.6M / 4-day: $21.8M / Wk 1
5). Independence Day: Resurgence (FOX), 4,091 theaters (+23) / $4.65M Fri. / $6.1M Sat. (+31%) / $5.8M Sun. (-4%) / 3-day cume: $16.7M (-60%) / 4-day: $20.35M / Total: $76.5M / Wk 2
6). Central Intelligence (WB/NL/UNI), 3,166 theaters (-342) / $3.7M Fri. / $4.5M Sat. (+22%) / $4.1M Sun. (-10%) / 3-day cume: $12.4M (-32%) / 4-day: $14.8M / Total: $94.35M / Wk 3
7). The Shallows (SONY), 2,962 theaters (0) / $3M Fri./ $3.1M Sat. (+%) / $2.6M Sun. (-12%) / 3-day: $8.6M (-46%) / 4-day: $10.1M / Total: $36.1M / Wk 2
8). Free State of Jones (STX), 2,781 theaters (-34)/ $1.2M Fri. / $1.5M Sat. (+30%) / $1.4M Sun. (-5%) / 3-day cume: $4.1M (-45%) / 4-day: $5.07M / Total: $16.1M / Wk 2
9). Conjuring 2 (WB/NL), 2,008 theaters (-1,025) / $1.2M Fri./ $1.4M Sat. (+14%) / $1.1Sun. (-16%) / 3-day cume: $3.7M (-50%) / 4-day: $4.4M / Total cume: $95.9M / Wk 4
10). Now You See Me 2 (LG), 1,788 theaters (-957)/ $880K Fri. / $1.1M Sat. (+12%) / $980K Sun. (-10%) / 3-day cume: $2.98M (-47%) / 4-day: $3.6M / Total cume: $59.3M / Wk 4
11). Swiss Army Men (A24), 636 theaters (+633) / $522K Fri. /$464K Sat. (-12%) / $435K Sun. (-6%) / 3-day cume: $1.4M (+1,245%) / 4-day: $1.7M / Total: $1.85M / Wk 2
12). Our Kind Of Traitor (RSA), 373 theaters / $296K Fri. / $370K Sat. (+25%) / $315K Sun. (-16%) / 3-day cume: $987K / 4-day: $1.19M / Wk 1
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