Update, Sunday AM: After an intense battle for No. 1, Warner Bros.’ Dunkirk gained yardage away from Sony Animation’s The Emoji Movie with the Christopher Nolan WWII epic taking the top spot with $28.1M after a $11.3M Saturday that was +41% over Friday. That number reps a -44% hold for Dunkirk in weekend two. Once again, never bet against Nolan.
Imax pumped 22% of Dunkirk‘s North American weekend with $6.2M from 403 auditoriums. Seventeen of the top 20 domestic runs were Imax venues. Twenty-two percent of Dunkirk‘s $102.8M stateside cash came from Imax natch, as Nolan shot a bulk of the movie in that format. Dunkirk will have the full the large format exhibitor’s domestic supply of screens next week.
The Emoji Movie declined 14% between Friday and Saturday from $10M to $8.7M putting its opening for this $50M budgeted toon at $25.6M. Typically, animated titles see a spike on Saturday due to family matinees and it’s likely bad word of mouth off the pic’s B CinemaScore (very low for an animated title which typically earn As or A-, no matter how hokey they are) and 8% rotten reviews are impacting Emoji. Nonetheless, Sony got this pic to open at this level with all that baggage in this Rotten Tomatoes era and that should be noted, not to mention Emoji is based on a source material mobile concept that lacked any kind of depth or universe. Working in Emoji‘s favor is its late July date and the fact that there are no other major studio animated pics in the marketplace. Those under 18, 50% of Emoji‘s crowd, gave the movie an A-, which also points to where dollars are coming from. The last animated release to receive a low CinemaScore was 20th Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants with a B+ (though critics embraced it with a certified fresh 86% Rotten Tomatoes score). That pic opened to $23.9M and turned around a 3x multiple for a current running domestic B.O. of $72.4M. Sony is hoping for the same multiple.
“It’s great when critics and audiences are in sync, but The Emoji Movie reached its intended audience and we’re thrilled that they have spoken and made it a family event <Smiley face Emoji>,” beamed Sony’s global marketing and distribution chief Josh Greenstein this morning.
Greenstein gave a shoutout to Sony’s domestic marketing presidents Christine Birch and Andre Caraco for delivering the goods this weekend with Emoji Movie. The campaign obviously tapped the mobile app world, Emoji’s birthplace and stomping ground, with unique executions among key app partners including an “Emoji Match” Playlist on Spotify, augmented reality execution on Shazam, and a themed custom level on Just Dance. The studio also took advantage of these key partners’ social accounts when dropping trailers and exclusive content.
Similar to how Sony conjured up Smurf day as a holiday, so they declared July 17 as World Emoji Day whereby the pic’s voiceover cast appeared on Good Morning America, Today, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Late Night With Seth Meyers. On that day, the cast also rang the NY Stock exchange closing bell and lit the Empire State Building in yellow in honor of Emoji Movie and its partnership with Girls Who Code (a non-profit that seeks to educate and inspire tech skills in teenage girls). Sony went market to market with their walk-about characters from the movie, along with a mobile truck activation which created and co-opted events at each stop. Also, remember, voiceover star T.J. Miller parachuted into the Cannes Film Festival.
The TV push for Emoji reached every demo of the family audience with custom vignettes across the Nickelodeon networks, Disney XD, Cartoon Network, Freeform, Hallmark, OWN and TBS. On Univision/Unimas there was a multi-phased partnership that aired over the last three months with in-show integrations, unique content and sneak peeks inserted into top-rated programming like Premios Juventud, La Reina de la Cancion, Despierta America and CONCACAF Gold Cup. Plus, weekly custom “Emoji-Minute” segments throughout. There was the custom-made spot “The Real Emojis of Textopolis” featuring film characters playing off the iconic Housewives introduction on Bravo.
Still with all this marketing muscle behind Emoji Movie, it would be interesting to see how much higher this animated film could have opened if a universally appealing and critically acclaimed movie was crafted. Because when an animated movie has that groundswell (read Illumination Entertainment titles), audiences don’t hold back their bucks.
Focus Features/Sierra Affinity’s Cold War spy movie Atomic Blonde is turning in a solid $18.6M at 3,304 venues in fourth. The Charlize Theron action title dipped on Saturday to $6.5M from Friday’s $7.1M, but remember opening day was boosted by $1.5M in previews. Audience make-up is next to even with 51% guys to 49% women. Sixty-two percent were over 25. Atomic Blonde‘s opening reps the fourth-best debut for Focus Features after 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3 ($22.7M ), last year’s London Has Fallen ($21.6M) and 2008’s Burn After Reading ($19.1M). “We’ve been able to hit female empowerment in the movie industry and bring females in the spotlight whether it’s onscreen or behind the camera,” said Focus Features distribution chief Lisa Bunnell about Focus’ recent specialty streak that also includes Cannes best director winner The Beguiled from Sofia Coppola and Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife. “This is the time period for an edgy sensual thriller,” added Bunnell about the upcoming August play period, “A movie like this will take on new life and can have legs. It’s the reason why we opened here; you can play through Labor Day.” Atomic Blonde received an overall 73% positive score with a 52% definite recommend per ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak. Focus took domestic on Atomic Blonde (license,not equity stake) at Cannes two years ago with Uni taking two-thirds of the world. Sierra Affinity financed this $30M pic via presales and bridge financing.
Universal also had a fantastic weekend with its R-rated African American comedy Girls Trip which registered a 36% dip for $20M in weekend two and a 10-day total of $65.5M. This week it will become director Malcolm D. Lee’s highest grossing movie at the domestic B.O, surpassing The Best Man Holiday ($70.5M).
Annapurna’s first theatrical release as a distributor Detroit posted a strong $18,3K per theater at 20 runs in 10 cities for a $365K opening. That’s 12% behind the five-theater first weekend of Kathryn Bigelow’s previous movie Zero Dark Thirty which opened to $417K. Remember that movie was about a current affairs news topic, the Osama bin Laden hunt which was on the minds of many moviegoers, hence the higher opening. In addition, Detroit beat the opening weekend of the director’s The Hurt Locker which was at four venues and opened to $145K. At the last minute, Annapurna decided to tee up Detroit with a limited play, much like her last two titles The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty were handled, prior to its wide blast next weekend. The movie has a 94% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The pic follows the 1967 12th Street riot in Motor City when a curfew was in effect and the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets. Amid the chaos, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel.
In four theaters, Paramount/Participant Media’s documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power starring Al Gore put up an impressive $32,5K theater average from four runs in New York and Los Angeles or $130K. Gore made an appearance at Los Angeles’ The Landmark for Q&As over the weekend. The studio, which launched the movie at the Sundance Film Festival, hopes the doc will benefit at the B.O. as an environmental beacon in these anti-environmental Trump America times. The first movie, An Inconvenient Truth, won two Oscars for best doc and best song, and accumulated $24M-plus at the domestic box office, which was quite impressive.
Studio reported estimates as of Sunday AM for the weekend of July 28-30:
1.) Dunkirk (WB), 3,748 theaters (+28)/ $7.9M Fri./$11.3M Sat/$8.9M Sun/ 3-day cume: $28.1M (-44%)/Total: $102.8M/Wk 2
2.). The Emoji Movie (SONY), 4,075 theaters / $10M Fri. (includes $900K previews) /$8.7M Sat/$6.9M Sun/ 3-day cume: $25.65M /Wk 1
3). Girls Trip (UNI), 2,648 theaters (+57) / $6.2M Fri. /$7.9M Sat/$5.9M Sun/ 3-day cume: $20M (-36%)/Total: $65.5M/Wk 2
4). Atomic Blonde (FOC), 3,304 theaters / $7.1M Fri. (includes $1.5M previews) /$6.5M Sat/$4.9M Sun/ 3-day cume: $18.6M /Wk 1
5). Spider-Man: Homecoming (SONY/MARVEL), 3,625 theaters (-505)/ $3.9M Fri. /$5.4m Sat/$4.1M Sun/ 3-day cume: $13.45M (-39%)/Total: $278.4M/Wk 4
6.) War for the Planet of the Apes (FOX), 3,374 theaters (-726) / $3M Fri. /$4.2M Sat/ $3.2M Sun/3-day cume: $10.4M (-50%) /Total: $118.7M/Wk 3
7). Despicable Me 3 (UNI/ILL), 3,030 theaters (-495) / $2.3M Fri. / $3.1M Sat/ $2.3M Sun /3-day cume: $7.7M (-41%) /Total: $230.4M/ Wk 5
8). Valerian and the City of One Thousand Planets (EUR/STX), 3,553 theaters (0) / $1.8M Fri. /$2.6M Sat/$2.4M Sun/ 3-day cume: $6.8M (-60%)/Total: $30.6M/Wk 2
9). Baby Driver (SONY), 1,961 theaters (-542) / $1.1M Fri. / $1.6M Sat/ $1.2M Sun/3-day cume: $4M (-33%)/ Total cume: $92M / Wk 5
10.) Wonder Woman (WB), 1,651 theaters (-320) / $980K Fri. /$1.5M Sat/$1.1M Sun/ 3-day cume: $3.5M (-23%)/ Total: $395.4M / Wk 9
11.) The Big Sick (AMAZ/LGF), 1,589 theaters (-1,008) / $932K / $1.5M Sat/ $963K Sun/3-day cume: $3.3M (-34%)/Total: $30.4M/Wk 6
Detroit (ANPA), 20 theaters / $132k Fri. /$126K Sat/ $107K Sun/PTA:$18,3k/ 3-day cume: $365k /Wk 1
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (PAR), 4 theaters / $61k Fri./$43K Sat/$26K Sun/PTA: $32,5k/ 3-day cume: $130K /Wk
Menashe (A24), 4 theaters / $13k Fri./$26K Sat/$23K Sun/PTA: $20,4k/ 3-day cume: $61K /Wk 1
Brigsby Bear (SPC), 3 theaters / $17k Fri./$13K Sat/$15K Sun/ PTA: $15k/ 3-day cume: $45K /Wk 1
UPDATE, Saturday 8:12 AM after 12:10 AM post: Warner Bros.’ Dunkirk currently has a slight upper hand over Sony’s The Emoji Movie for the No. 1 spot, $27.5M to $27M. Today will determine whether matinees, and any disregard for bad reviews and word-of-mouth, will find families spending more on the animated Emoji than older adults on Dunkirk.
Without question, the Christopher Nolan-directed movie will fly past $102M by tomorrow. When compared to the total running cume of Nolan’s previous movie Interstellar through its second Sunday, Dunkirk will be running 5% ahead of that astronaut movie — and that had a two-day extra start at the time. Interstellar finaled its U.S./Canada run at $188M.
While we’ve pointed to PLFs and Imax as factors for keeping this WWII British-evacuation film afloat, it can’t be denied that it’s a remarkable piece of epic filmmaking, one that appeals from 12-year-boys to octogenarian women. According to comScore/Screen Engine PostTrak, 42% are watching the movie in Imax and 12% in PLF. The Nolan movie still has an 83% overall total positive score, with 65% of the audience composed of males. Fifty-nine percent are giving a definite recommend to this Warner Bros. release.
Warner Bros.’ fantastic summer will see Wonder Woman cross the $400M threshold in a little over a week. She remains the Burbank studio’s third-highest domestic release of all-time behind The Dark Knight ($534.9M) and The Dark Knight Rises ($448.1M).
The Emoji Movie won Friday with $10M to Dunkirk‘s $7.9M. Here’s what’s fascinating about the animated movie: Close to nobody likes it, including critics (6% Rotten) and Friday night audiences (B CinemaScore), and yet here’s Sony opening this $50M-budgeted family movie at a respectful level. Understand that a B CinemaScore is just awful for any animated film! Like, total poop emoji. This is the opposite scenario of what Sony had back in the spring with its tired threequel Smurfs: The Lost Village; it scored an A but opened with a puny $14M FSS. Most of the time animated pics get an A or A-. Remember that poorly animated MGM 2008 title Igor? Even that movie received an A-, ditto for Warner Bros.’ handholder film Storks. With a B, Emoji joins a short list of wide animated family releases since 2011 that earned B or B- including Captain Underpants, Mars Needs Moms, The Nut Job, Walking with the Dinosaurs, Norm of the North, The Wild Life, Ratchet and Clank, Strange Magic, and SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (even the 2004 version got a B+). Of those, only Sponge Out of Water posted the best results with a $55.4M start and $163M domestic end game, but at 2.9x it was a much smaller multiple than what most animated pics receive.
Heading into the weekend, family tracking for Emoji Movie was quite strong in first choice with crazy levels of unaided, which is the heat measure. In all fairness, if one deep-dives into the CinemaScore numbers, they find that 50% of the under-18 audience for Emoji gave it an A-, so it’s the adults’ thumbing down (over 25 at 43% with a B-) that’s dinging the Sony’s Animation title. And it’susually the older folks, not the kids, who make the moviegoing decisions in the family (moms chiefly and females at 61% give Emoji a B+, still low). The big question is whether these sour reviews and dull CinemaScores turn this Emoji Movie and Sony executives from a happy to a sad face.
Social media guru RelishMix provides some insight into what’s driving traffic here: “The social campaign has reached the target audience of summer movie fans — particularly kids and parents. Helping the effort is the almost 61.2M social media universe of the activated cast. Led by Christina Aguilera, Sofia Vergara and Jake T. Austin of Wizards of Waverly Place fame, the cast shared all kinds of fun Emoji-related materials.”
However, RelishMix also observed: “The discussion for Emoji is decidedly super-mixed. Some highbrow critics like Engadget and YouTube reviewers are letting the film have it with both barrels, even asking verbatim, ‘Why does this film exist?’ But as we learned from Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, among other blockbuster hits, the critics don’t always have the pulse of the wider, target audience.”
Focus Features/Sierra Affinity’s Atomic Blonde is at the lower end of its tracking with $18.3M and currently sits fourth with a B CinemaScore. While it’s not Bourne Identity (A- CinemaScore, $27.1M), the movie isn’t bound to be a disaster either, thanks to its financial structure. In fact, Atomic Blonde currently ranks as the fourth-best debut for a Focus Features release after 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3 ($22.7M, ), last year’s London Has Fallen ($21.6M) and 2008’s Burn After Reading ($19.1M).
In addition, Universal is having a great third-place second weekend with Malcolm D. Lee’s Girls Trip at $20M, -36%. The movie will be at $65.4M on Sunday and soon will beat The Best Man Holiday ($70.5M) to become Lee’s highest-grossing movie at the domestic B.O.
While there are kickass elements to Atomic Blonde (specifically a bloody stairwell scene shown off at CinemaCon and Comic-Con), it also has a funky, art house pace to it, which makes the film different from, say, Casino Royale. That could definitely work in its favor overseas (also it’s questionable how that girl-on-girl kissing scene plays in the red states of Trump America).
Sierra/Affinity financed this $30M unknown graphic novel feature adaptation through pre-sales and bridge financing, and Uni bought two-thirds of foreign because its execs loved the project and wanted to be in business with their Fast and Furious and Huntsman star Theron. Not a bad bet considering 56% of last night’s audience came for Theron, per CinemaScore. Sierra/Affinity made its own deals with distributors in Japan, Russia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Israel, Sweden, Vietnam and Singapore which will open date and date with the domestic release. Uni will open Atomic Blonde in Australia/New Zealand on August 3, then roll it out throughout September in UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Correction: Focus snapped up Atomic Blonde‘s North America rights at Cannes two years ago for eight figures. So while Uni/Focus doesn’t have equity in the pic, it’s a licensing deal with mutual upside to both parties. Uni/Focus is also shouldering P&A (which is under $40M, most of it digital and stunts).
Focus got the ball rolling at SXSW to create buzz for Atomic Blonde. July 15 was christened #AtomicBlondeDay featuring an Atomic Blonde flash mob at mural locations in Los Angeles. There was also a SnapChat launch where fans could unlock a lens that allowed them to transform themselves into an Atomic Blonde. At the Comic-Con screening last week, the crowd put on blonde wigs and took a selfie with Charlize Theron and director David Leitch. Theron also participated in Entertainment Weekly‘s annual “Women Who Kick Ass” panel at the San Diego fanboy confab, where she rallied the cause for more female-driven features and filmmakers. Of note among Theron’s TV appearances was a custom-integrated opening for UFC Fight Night on Fox. Theron’s MI6 spy deep-sixes Stoli vodka in the movie, and the beverage brand supported Atomic Blonde with a multimedia campaign including television advertising, out-of-home, print, digital and social media content. The stateside campaign includes a 1980s-themed Pandora digital station with both classic and authentic music from the soundtrack.
CinemaScore shows 52% males and 48% women turning out for Atomic Blonde, with its best grades among young and middle-age folk with 18-24 (12%) and 25-34 (19%) giving the movie a B+.
As rival distributors love to say about a flop: “Don’t stand under this thing.” Of course, that’s true for EuropaCorp/STX’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which will plummet 63% in Weekend 2 with $6.3M. If there’s any speck of good news about this disaster, it’s this: There are other wide releases that posted bigger second-weekend tumbles including Gigli (-82%), Friday the 13th (-80%) and Fifty Shades of Grey (-74%), to name a few.
Annapurna’s first self-distributed title, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, is earning business off its 94% certified fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating with a per-theater of $20K at 20 venues in 10 cities. The director’s two political war dramas, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, started off in a limited release as well. The pic goes wide next weekend. Paramount/Participant Media’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is posting a near
$24K $43K heater average off four runs in New York and Los Angeles. Former Vice President Al Gore will be appearing at Q&As at The Landmark in LA on Saturday and Sunday.
The top 11 for the weekend of July 28-30 per industry estimates as of Saturday morning:
1.) Dunkirk (WB), 3,748 theaters (+28)/ $7.9M Fri. (-60%) / 3-day cume: $27.5M (-46%)/Total: $102.2M/Wk 2
2.). The Emoji Movie (SONY), 4,075 theaters / $10M Fri. (includes $900K previews) / 3-day cume: $27M /Wk 1
3). Girls Trip (UNI), 2,648 theaters (+57) / $6.2M Fri. (-50%) / 3-day cume: $20M (-36%)/Total: $65.4M/Wk 2
4). Atomic Blonde (FOC), 3,304 theaters / $7.1M Fri. (includes $1.5M previews) / 3-day cume: $18.3M /Wk 1
5). Spider-Man: Homecoming (SONY/MARVEL), 3,625 theaters (-505)/ $3.9M Fri. / 3-day cume: $13.6M (-38%)/Total: $278.4M/Wk 4
6.) War for the Planet of the Apes (FOX), 3,374 theaters (-726) / $3M Fri. / 3-day cume: $10.3M (-50%) /Total: $118.6M/Wk 3
7). Despicable Me 3 (UNI/ILL), 3,030 theaters (-495) / $2.3M Fri. / 3-day cume: $7.9M (-39%) /Total: $230.9M/ Wk 5
8). Valerian and the City of One Thousand Planets (EUR/STX), 3,553 theaters (0) / $1.8M Fri. (-72%) / 3-day cume: $6.3M (-63%)/Total: $30.1M/Wk 2
9). Baby Driver (SONY), 1,961 theaters (-542) / $1.1M Fri. / 3-day cume: $4.1M (-32%)/ Total cume: $92.1M / Wk 5
10.) Wonder Woman (WB), 1,651 theaters (-320) / $983K Fri. / 3-day cume: $3.6M (-22%)/ Total: $395.5M / Wk 9
11.) The Big Sick (AMAZ/LGF), 1,589 theaters (-1,008) / $930K / 3-day cume: $3.3M (-34%)/Total: $30.4M/Wk 6
Detroit (ANPA), 20 theaters / $132k Fri. /PTA:$19,6k/ 3-day cume: $394k /Wk 1
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (PAR), 4 theaters / $61k Fri./PTA: $43k/ 3-day cume: $172K /Wk
Menashe (A24), 4 theaters / $13k Fri./PTA: $12,7k/ 3-day cume: $51K /Wk 1
Brigsby Bear (SPC), 3 theaters / $17k Fri./PTA: $18k/ 3-day cume: $54K /Wk 1
UPDATED, Friday 12:40 PM: It’s still too close to call No. 1 this weekend, with Sony Animation’s The Emoji Movie and Warner Bros’ Dunkirk eyeing the top spot. Current estimates show Emoji Movie around $24 million for the three-day frame, with Dunkirk marching to the beat of $25M-$26M.
Analysts are still divided: Working in Dunkirk‘s favor are the PLFs, Imax and the Christopher Nolan halo, while Emoji could be impacted by heavy rain in New York city, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. That latter factor is what’s pushing down on higher weekend estimates for Emoji, not to mention its current Rotten Tomatoes rating is reading 3% off 30 reviews (Really? How bad is that rating for business? Some studio executives are of the mind-set that a Rotten Tomatoes rating shouldn’t even be published until 50 reviews are collected).
Should Emoji get to $10M today, it could push it past Dunkirk for the weekend, which is currently looking at a second Friday of $8M.
Dunkirk ‘s second weekend is down 50% and is expected to crack the century mark at the domestic B.O.
Meanwhile, despite its great Thursday night start with $1.5M, Focus Features/Sierra-Affinity’s Atomic Blonde is now showing a range of $18M-$20M after a $7.5M Friday. There’s a chance it could take off: Despite all the kick-ass clips being toured around at CinemaCon and Comic-Con, some say the film has an art house story pace to it, which can keep some moviegoers away.
Universal’s Girls Trip is looking at $5M in its second Friday for a second weekend of $15.5M, down 50%, for a running 10-day take of $60.9M.
PREVIOUS, Friday AM: Focus Features/Sierra Affinity’s R-rated Cold War spy pic Atomic Blonde surprised with $1.52 million last night at 2,685 theaters, a preview figure that’s just above 20th Century Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service ($1.4M Thursday night) and below the $1.8M made by DreamWorks/Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell. The Charlize Theron action movie also walked all over Sony’s animated feature The Emoji Movie which only clocked $900K at 2,205 venues.
At this point in the morning, most rival analysts believe No. 1 is still up for grabs in the $20M range between Atomic Blonde, Emoji Movie and Warner Bros.’ holdover Dunkirk. But if you had to hold fire to their feet, they’d guess that Dunkirk would be No. 1 in the mid to upper $20M range given the fact that it has all the PLF and Imax screens. After great midweek business, the Christopher Nolan directed WWII film ended its week with $74.7M, and versus the first seven days of his last pic Interstellar, is 21% ahead of that pic’s running total. Dunkirk moves +28 theaters this weekend to 3,748.
Emoji Movie currently has 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that’s not a real score because typically these animated titles log at least 100 reviews and currently that rating is based off 28. Emoji‘s Thursday night cash is low, and kids’ films outside of Pixar and some Illumination titles aren’t known for their preview night cash. Emoji‘s Thursday is right above the $850K that Ice Age: Collision Course made last July in previews before logging a $21.4M weekend. That’s around where Sony sees it, but many think Emoji has the power to do much better in the upper to mid $20M range, not far from Dunkirk. Its advantage? Emoji is the only family film out there and it will be in play at 4,075 theaters this weekend.
Atomic Blonde, which carries a 76% Rotten Tomatoes score, is bound to land in the vicinity of $23M and should the $30M independently financed production beat the opening of Insidious: Chapter 3 ($22.7M), it will be the best opening ever for Uni’s specialty label Focus Features. Atomic Blonde is booked at 3,301 venues. Atomic pulled in 53% women last night per ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak with 68% of the audience skewing over 25. It received a 71% positive overall positive score with women under 25 (19%) giving the spy film its best marks at 79% positive.
Also opening this weekend is Annapurna’s Detroit from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow on 20 screens in 10 cities as well as Paramount and Participant Media’s environmental doc sequel An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power in two locations in New York and Los Angeles. The PG-rated pic will expand on Aug. 4.