2ND UPDATE, Friday, 6:44 AM: Nerve continued its early run last night and grossed another estimated $2.3M for Lionsgate to head into its three-day weekend with $6M already in the till for this YA thriller. The film was released in previews Tuesday and then rolled out wide Wednesday, bowing early to give it time to breathe and as not to compete with another female demo movie releasing today: the comedy Bad Moms, which is also bound to get a high CinemaScore tonight and good word-of-mouth. The picture is in line to get about $9M for the three-day and maybe $14M to $15M for the five-day.
UPDATE, Thursday, 8 AM: It looks like Lionsgate’s distribution strategy is paying off as Nerve ended up grossing $3.75M last night in its first full day out. The thriller that skews heavily young female received an A- CinemaScore overall and an A from those moviegoers under 25. It is playing at at 2,538 locations. The film about an app game that pushes its players to the brink has so far grossed $4.8M as it heads into its third day of play. Tonight previews start for two other films, including the new installment of Universal’s Jason Bourne, starring Matt Damon and directed by Paul Greengrass, and the older female-skewing (and Kathryn Hahn-charged) comedy from STX, Bad Moms.
PREVIOUSL, Wednesday, 8:41 AM: Lionsgate’s thriller Nerve previewed in theaters last night to $1.06 million in about 1,700 theaters as it prepares to push into 800 more theaters today. The launch of the film on a Tuesday, and then having a Wednesday jump, gives the film a nice lead-in as it heads into its three-day weekend. In essence, Wednesday and Thursdays become like sneak previews. The audience for the PG-13 film, which stars Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, is skewing heavily young female — the story follows a high school senior (Roberts) playing an online game that escalates into a dangerous game of survival. The Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday bounce will give the movie the kind of momentum it needs before the R-rated, slightly older female-driven (hilarious) comedy Bad Moms stomps into the marketplace.
Finding a comp for this one has been difficult. While some point to Lights Out (which had a Thursday preview of $1.8M), the horror film did not open on a Wednesday. Similarly with PG-13 horror film The Shallows, which tended to have more male interest, it also opened on a Thursday to garner $1.235M in previews before ending its three-day run at $16.8M. Also, neither is said to be performing with the trajectory Nerve is demonstrating.
The comp that seems to work, according to one source whom we trust, is 2015’s Vacation (while not a perfect comp). It also opened on Tuesday at 7 PM with $1.2M in preview numbers and did a lackluster $3.8M on Wednesday (that included the $1.2M, of course). It ended with a five-day debut of $21M.
One of the promotions for the film yesterday: giving fans who showed up at PokéStops near theaters in certain markets (and if you don’t know what Pokemon Go is by now, they are geo-fenced areas where you can get Pokémons via a phone app game) a buy-one-get-one-free code to see the film, which was redeemable on an app called Atom Tickets. While it’s not a great idea to give tickets away, if the movie delivers, that kind of promotion does help generate positive word-of-mouth among a film’s core audience.
The film, which rolls out to 2,538 theaters today, is an Allison Shearmur, Keep Your Head and Lionsgate production. It was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman from a script by Jessica Sharzer who adapted from the novel by Jeanne Ryan.
Nerve has a moderate showing in social media, according to RelishMix, with a social media universe of 51.6M comprised of 40.2 YouTube views, 5.5M Facebook fans and 5.8M Twitter followers. Roberts is the social star with 10.5M SMU (3.5M Twitter, 7M Instagram).
The best-performing spot of all Nerve materials is a red-hot YouTube spot with 13/1M total views and over 100,000 views a day which is exceptional.