4th UPDATE, Sunday AM: Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s Ocean’s 8 is sailing in with a $41.5M opening, still the best debut for the franchise and a solid start for what will be a good piece of counter-programming in the event-filled marketplace.
When it comes to gender-swapping an established franchise, it’s also safe to say that Ocean’s 8 is a win, even though the movie is opening lower than Sony’s femme reboot of Ghostbusters ($46M). That’s primarily because Ocean’s 8 isn’t a geek nostalgia franchise like many ’80s pics. The brand doesn’t possess that preciousness, and therefore inherently avoided any negative naysay. In addition, the Ocean movies, even when they starred George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, were driven by female audiences, so changing-up this installment to Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, etc. was not only a smart and natural progression in continuing to stoke the audience, but carried little risk conceptually. As we wrote in the previous update, Ocean’s 8 is a great play for female crowds, with a female empowerment take on a franchise they already enjoy.
Financially speaking, 2016’s Ghostbusters will always look like a dog when compared to Ocean’s 8: The former cost more than twice the Gary Ross-directed caper (est. $70M) and had zero overseas prospects in its branding since emerging overseas markets aren’t acquainted with the property. Since the previous Ocean movies played during this millennium, plus the fact that foreign audiences already have a long familiarity with Bullock, the overseas voyage for Ocean’s 8 should be bountiful.
Ocean’s 8 Saturday held well with $15M, -4% from Friday’s $15.7M (which included $4M Thursday previews). Typically, femme-driven pics can be front-loaded, and that wasn’t the case (especially if you minus the previews from Friday’s haul). Females at 69% gave the movie a B+, while the under- 25 set at 31% gave Ocean’s 8 an A-.
It was Ross who sparked to the idea of a gender-swap in the Ocean‘s series and pitched it to the franchise’s longtime producer, Steven Soderbergh. The two friends have unofficially collaborated on many projects over the years. Ross even suggested Bullock as the lead, and together with Soderbergh, they took the idea to the late legendary producer Jerry Weintraub, who also worked on the Ocean movies, who made the call to the Oscar-winning actress. Ross hadn’t written with a collaborator since his first screeplay Big, and turned to David Milch’s daughter, Olivia Milch, to infuse a female voice in the caper and set it apart from the other Ocean movies.
Meanwhile, A24 posted the best opening in the distributor’s run with horror pic Hereditary making $13M in 3rd place, beating the debut of previous champ The Witch by close to 40% and killing tracking’s single digit outlook. Critics drove audiences into this pic with its 93% Certified Fresh score. However, CinemaScore audiences weren’t wowed, giving it a D+ grade. It’s an arty horror film. I hear it’s cheap enough to make some bucks off its $10M production cost, but by no means in the Blumhouse microbudget surplus kind of way (i.e. Truth or Dare, off a $3.5M production cost, has already amassed close to $88M WW). Though A24 didn’t have studio marketing muscle, they kept their P&A slim by selling their ads in-house (vs. out-sourcing), leaning on digital promotion (which is the standard for many genre pics from The Shallows to Upgrade). Since the pic was R, it skewed greater over-25 at 70% (D). However, the few under-18 demo who bought tickets enjoyed the movie the most, with a B (9%). The under-25 set at 30% tolerated the movie more with a C. Leg-out factor for The Witch was 2.85x off a $8.8M opening, and C- CinemaScore for a final of $25.1M. We’ll see where Hereditary goes.
Global Road’s Hotel Artemis didn’t open its doors in 8th place with $3.1M. Typically, with great edgy arthouse titles, you can platform them during the summer (read American Animals) and the fact that Global Road went wide with this acquisition means they had to make their money back fast (I’m also informed that their m.o. is to specifically handle wide-release films). Also, it can be argued that the R-rated Hotel Artemis audience was cannibalized by Hereditary, since they had similar male to female splits, with guys well over 50%, and a majority of those over 25. In the case of Hotel, it was 90%. Also, being one of the least-liked wide releases by critics this weekend at 58% Rotten next to Hereditary‘s glowing reviews means Hotel being condemned in the marketplace.
Focus Features’ Mister Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor? at 29 locations opened to $470K with a hearty $16K theater average. The Orchard and MoviePass Venture’s American Animals took in $234K, +75%, at 42 national sites and a running total of $422K. Still amazing: Magnolia RBG in weekend 6 is still roaring with $700K at 375 sites, -37%, with $9.1M. That running total for the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doc surpasses the B.O. totals for such docs as the Oscar-winning Amy, about Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse ($8.4M), and is easily Magnolia’s highest- grossing pic of all-time, beating last year’s doc I Am Not Your Negro ($7.1M). Next benchmark for RBG to beat on the B.O. list of docs is Super Size Me at $11.5M.
In terms of wide releases in their second weekend, Paramount’s Action Point dropped 63% with $880K and a 10-day of $4.4M.
Total weekend ticket sales came in at $108.5M, off 25% from a year ago, when the second weekend of Wonder Woman led all films with $58.5M and The Mummy sank with $31.6M in second place. This year continues to clip ahead of 2017 with $5.18 billion, 4.3% ahead of the same Jan. 1-June 10 period, according to ComScore. As far as summer goes, it’s not so hot, considering that Avengers: Infinity War’s huge opening is left at the tail end of April. So by counting summer’s start as of the first weekend with May 4-6 through this weekend, we’re at $1.24B, which is essentially flat with last year’s doldrums over the same frame. We’re currently pacing 15% behind summer 2013, which, at this point in time, counted $1.455B, and by Labor Day swelled to a record $4.75B.
Below studio-reported figures for the weekend:
3RD UPDATE, Friday PM after midday update: Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s all-femme caper pic Ocean’s 8 is headed toward a record opening for the franchise of $42 million. That’s more than any opening posted by the George Clooney-Brad Pitt-Matt Damon movies during the early aughts; the previous trilogy’s best opening was 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve ($39.1M).
Tonight, CinemaScore crowds gave Ocean’s 8 a B+, which is the same grade received by Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Thirteen (director Steven Soderbergh took an avant-garde turn in Ocean’s Twelve, which received a B-).
Ocean’s 8‘s $15.9M Friday haul is also a best for the Ocean’s movies, outflanking Ocean’s Eleven ($13.3M), Ocean’s Twelve ($14.7M) and Ocean’s Thirteen ($13.1M). Should Ocean’s 8 ticket sales keep up into Saturday, the movie will rep the second-best live-action pic debut for Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock after Warner Bros’ Gravity ($55.7M). Though Ocean’s 8 has been sold on its ensemble cast, Bullock is featured front and center in the materials as Debbie Ocean, the sister to Clooney’s Danny Ocean.
Though no Wonder Woman, Ocean’s 8’s haul this weekend is a respectable piece of counter-programming business in a June space loaded with May event-pic holdovers and upcoming event titles Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2. Also, it’s a good start stateside to leg off from when considering the pic’s estimated $70M production cost (before P&A) roughly split between Warner Bros and Village Roadshow.
Ocean’s 8 checks all the boxes: It’s a fun female empowerment story, arrives at a time when female audiences are thirsting for a solid piece of star-studded entertainment (versus the stale comedic plays of I Feel Pretty and Life of the Party), and also the Gary Ross-directed movie touts a diverse ensemble cast. That latter casting facet proves time and again to yield great box office results, read The Hunger Games, Rogue One, Twilight, Fast & Furious, etc.
Females have repped 69% of the crowd for Ocean’s 8, which outnumbers the women who turned out for the Clooney-Pitt-Damon sequels at 55%. Those over 25 numbered 69% giving it a B, while those under at 31% enjoyed Ocean’s 8 with an A-. Of the 11% under-18 crowd who showed up, they loved Ocean’s 8 with a solid A.
“The film’s casting is a real advantage in that fans of the original series like this mixture of actors. From Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett to newer faces like Awkwafina and pop star Rihanna, Ocean’s 8 has a star for everyone,” says social media analysts RelishMix. “And for those who liked Ocean’s 11-13, they see this as a reboot that might potentially merge into a giant, combined male/female caper eventually.” RelishMix weighs the positive social buzz for Ocean’s 8 at 7 out of 10, which is good.
Warner Bros started the excitement for the all-female film in January 2017 when they dropped a photo of the entire cast on a New York subway featuring Bullock, Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina. RelishMix is gobsmacked by the size of the social media universe here for the crime comedy: close to 600M, far above the average 117M social media universe size for an action comedy film. This is in large part due to Rihanna’s social media strength; she counts 232M followers across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Kaling has also been promoting to her 16M social media fans across those same platforms.
Ocean’s 8 video viral rate stands at 47:1. Below is one of Rihanna’s most notable posts with over 2M views:
Warners remains excited over the foreign potential for Ocean’s 8, especially since the Soderbergh trilogy generated 60%+ of global abroad. The question is whether foreign crowds will take to the pic’s gender swap. That said, the Ocean’s brand has more mileage overseas with its Euro-chic noir tones than, say, Ghostbusters. Ocean’s 8‘s foreign release is staggered into July, though 16 foreign territories started up this weekend including all of Latin America, Australia, Indonesia and a few markets in Eastern Europe.
Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, meanwhile, is still aiming for second place this weekend with $14.3M in its third go-round, off 51%, for a running total by Sunday of $175.2M.
A stellar Rotten Tomato rating of 94% certified is propelling A24’s family horror pic Hereditary to slash its single-digit tracking projections for a current third place of $13.7M. However, there’s a disconnect between critics and audiences as Ari Aster’s directorial debut has been scarred with a D+ CinemaScore. That could weigh down on Saturday’s business, though A24 knows how to stoke its hipster crowds. The studio implemented a unique marketing campaign selling targeted TV spots directly to networks (rather than outsource the ad sales work to an agency), and of course, like most horror sells, there was a digital component (a social media post featuring a calendar of evil grandmas, a key nemesis in the movie).
RelishMix notices that the pic has been on genre fans’ radars since Sundance. “A24 has done their job in building awareness among the core audience, with fans citing the film’s familial theme, the creepy child and unsettling moments seen in clips,” says the company. A24 co-financed with Palmstar for an estimated $10M on this pic; I’m informed by sources they’ll be fine with this opening. Hands down it’s A24’s best wide opening of all time beating the $8.8M they racked up with The Witch, another critically acclaimed darling at 91% RT that dissed audiences with a C-. The Witch did a 2.8x multiple for $25M.
Fox’s Deadpool 2 in its fourth weekend is looking at fourth place with $12.8M, -45%, for a $277.8M running total.
Global Road’s Hotel Artemis is falling apart with a $3M opening after a $1.1M Friday inclusive of $271,000 in previews. Critics have shut down this noir pic with a 57% Rotten score. Filmmaker Drew Pearce sought to create an edgy original thriller, however, it’s a mixed bagged both for crowds and reviewers, many who agree with Variety‘s Peter DeBruge who points out, “It boasts snappy dialogue, memorable characters, and a gorgeously designed central location, but doesn’t quite know what to do with any of the above.” RelishMix noticed mixed word of mouth for this pic starring Jodie Foster, Dave Bautista, Sterling K. Brown (playing against his This Is Us persona) and Jeff Goldblum effort, saying “Coming off last weekend, which saw the debut of the uber-violent Upgrade, some moviegoers are overwhelmed by graphic violence, with brief comments of ‘No thank you’ and ‘Is this a horror movie?’ credited to this sentiment. Others find Foster, Goldblum and other co-stars off-putting. Summer moviegoers also reference comparable films that have let them down as reasons not to see Hotel in theaters.”
Of note this weekend: Paramount’s senior demo Book Club is nearing $57M in its fourth weekend and will soon overtake Universal’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 ($59.7M). GSKY’s Sundance title from Brett Haley Hearts Beat Loud, which got some MoviePass promo boost, is turning in an estimated $20,7K theater average for $83K at four New York and Los Angeles venues. Focus Features’ Mister Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is looking at $6K theater average after $185K at 29 locations. The Orchard/MoviePass Ventures’ American Animals’ expansion to 45 theaters is grossing an estimated $154K, +15%, for $342K in its second weekend.
Chart for weekend of June 8-10 with industry estimates:
UPDATED, Friday 7 AM: Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s all femme reboot Ocean’s 8 hit the box office seas with a very good $4M last night, a number that bests the $3.4M Thursday previews of Sony’s 2016 gender-swap Ghostbusters which went on to post a $17.1M opening day and $46M weekend.
Thursday night’s figure for Ocean’s 8 include an estimated $100K generated from AMC Theatres’ Wednesday “Girls Night Out” and 70 Dolby locations.
Industry forecasts have moved up their projections to the low $40Ms on the Gary Ross-directed all-star caper from an earlier outlook in the mid $30Ms. Ocean’s 8 currently counts a 71% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score from 120 reviews. Ocean’s 8 co-financed by Village Roadshow and WB was made for a reported $70M before P&A. Ocean’s 8 will play at 4,145 theaters starting today.
Ocean’s 8 will easily defeat Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, that spinoff in its third weekend of play, which is expected to be down -55% with $13M and a running total of $174M. Yesterday the Ron Howard directed movie made $2.47M at 4,381 venues, -65% from Wednesday for a running total of $161M. Fox’s Deadpool 2 ranked second among regular films in release yesterday with $2.1M and a running total at the end of its third week with $265M.
Also opening this weekend: A24’s horror pic Hereditary which A24 is reporting a solid $1.3M at 2,964 sites on Thursday night. Earlier this morning we already heard it overindexed. Hereditary‘s projections were moved up from the high single digits to $12M recently.
Global Road has the noir Hotel Artemis which only turned in $271K last night from 1,800 theaters. The pic is expected to turn in an unimpressive mid single digit result this weekend.
The Orchard and MoviePass Ventures’ American Animals expands from four New York and Los Angeles locations to 42 sites across the U.S. The Bart Layton-directed movie ended its week with $188K.