4th Update with Sunday AM Analysis: This weekend The Rock is getting squashed by a horde of bloodsucking vampires, as Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is the prime destination for families, with a studio-reported $44.1. That knocks down Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper to third place, with a Universal-reported $25.4M, a low result for the action star in his recent solo PG-13 credits. The opening for HT3 currently ranks behind Hotel Transylvania 2‘s $48.4M, and ahead of the first installment’s $42.5M. For full Sunday analysis click here.
There’s a few reasons why Skyscraper is in shambles, but chiefly, Johnson’s family crowd here is being swallowed up whole by both HT3 and the second weekend of Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, which remains solid with an estimated $28.8M in second place. In addition, we hear Johnson’s Rampage played more family than Skyscraper. Another reality is that the last two weeks of the year brings in more multiplex traffic than the middle of July, which is one of the reasons why Johnson’s ensemble, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, didn’t have a problem legging out in the face of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to become the highest-grossing title of his career stateside with $404.5M.
Some will say that Skyscraper is shackled by the fact that it’s original IP in a franchise-laden marketplace of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Incredibles 2, etc. I don’t necessarily buy that, because Sony’s Jumanji was a dusty brand completely reinvigorated in its concept and comedy that outpaced Last Jedi in its wide-weekend play, 14 weekends to 8 weekends. If the premise and execution are intriguing enough, people will come out in droves, and clearly moviegoers aren’t feeling that with Skyscraper in its Die Hard redux. “It all takes place inside,” knocked one rival producer about the one-stakes, old-fashioned Towering Inferno set-up of Skyscraper.
In regards to the sour chatter on social media, RelishMix reports that Skyscraper “literally looks like a Die Hard update, but with a hero challenged by a prosthetic. And, as unlikely as it might seem, some comments suggest some wear-out with Johnson, as he seems involved in all the recent Hollywood blockbusters. Some fans are asking, ‘Where’s the fresh face?'” To that point, Sidney Poitier once dispensed some advice to Denzel Washington: “If they see you for free all week, they won’t pay to see you on the weekend.” While Johnson always gives 1000% in promoting his films everywhere on social media and around the world, there is something to be said that perhaps he may have overexposed himself this year on the marquee; that Skyscraper could have benefited from being on next year’s slate, particularly with Jumanji and Rampage accounting for a combined $1.4 billion worth of global ticket sales since late December. On the other hand, 72% of Skyscraper‘s audience bought tickets because of The Rock (up from 38% on San Andreas), but they gave the movie a B+ versus the earthquake epic’s A. Uni hopes for a leg-out factor here off Skyscraper‘s overall 38% excellent PostTrak score.
While many in the industry questioned the kooky concept of the Rock paired with an ape and various monsters in Rampage last April, Warner Bros. comes off looking like geniuses in hindsight by putting that pic ahead of the summer competition and milking the pic for all that it was worth (this despite the fact that it opened below its $40M projection and fell short of the century mark with $99M stateside). At $140M production cost and a $425.6M global gross, 38% of that coming from China, finance sources tell us that Rampage will likely be around break-even two years after its release once all markets have played out, including foreign TV deals. Even with a B+ CinemaScore, just below the A-s of Rampage and San Andreas, it will be a hard road for Skyscraper in regards to collecting black ink — certainly harder than Rampage. Domestic end-game here for Skyscraper is likely around $60M-$65M. Even with Wanda’s Legendary Entertainment involved here covering 50% of the reported $125M production cost, they may have assisted in getting more movie screens in the Middle Kingdom. But I’m informed that Skyscraper is considered a U.S. production, as opposed to a Sino-foreign co-production, and will only see around 25% of its China B.O., and no downstream ancillaries. Skyscraper bows in China via Legendary East on July 20. Even if Skyscraper ends up grossing $75M stateside and does 70% of its box office internationally, including the PRC, finance sources tell us the pic doesn’t reach break-even.
Further collapsing Skyscraper down the road is the fact that it’s the first of three man-with-a-gun films in the middle of July. Washington’s Equalizer 2 opens next weekend, followed by Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout on July 27, and the word of mouth on that pic is already hot, with critics saying that the sixthquel is the best in the franchise (current RT is 93% fresh off 56 reviews).
Skyscraper marks another dud in a row for Legendary after Pacific Rim Uprising (global $290M, production cost $150M), The Great Wall (which lost close to $75M), and Warcraft (which at $433M fell short of break-even). The company has put a priority more on targeting Asian audiences with its fare than domestic moviegoers. By all accounts, there was truly a bigger push overseas for Skyscraper than stateside. Despite Universal being the second-best studio at the 2018 domestic box with $958M through Sunday, 38% of that from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Skyscraper no doubt comes as an upset to them, as they positioned this pic as another big notch in their summer alongside next week’s all-female pleaser Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (opening projection $30M-$36M). To give you an idea the expectations Uni had with Skyscraper, they shelled out around $5M for a 45-second spot during Super Bowl, followed by Johnson appearing on The Tonight Show‘s post-game special where he dropped the trailer in full.
Skyscraper drew an audience that was 51% female, 49% male, with 73% over 25 and 14% under 18 — very similar CinemaScore exit polls to San Andreas. The under-18 bunch enjoyed it the most, with an A-, in addition to the 25-34 (22%) crowd, who gave it the same grade. On PostTrak, Skyscraper skewed more male at 55%, with 48% under 25. Forty-two percent were Caucasian, 27% Hispanic, 19% African American, and 9% Asian.
We hear that Sony did indeed keep the production cost for Hotel Transylvania 3 at a reasonable level of $80M, in sync with the series’ previous two pics, and with the threequel getting an A- CinemaScore (just like the previous two), it can look forward to a 3.5 multiple and an overseas haul that’s likely larger than the second chapter’s $303.5M. Already, the pic is hot in Australia, beating HT2 with a current running overseas cume through Thursday of $15M.
A huge driving factor here for HT3 is the social media power of Selena Gomez, who counts 257M across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (she even impressively towers over Johnson’s 180.3M followers, and he’s considered huge). Added in there are Joe Jonas’ 17M followers. Both Gomez and Jonas are promoting the threequel, with the former more heavily. Overall social media universe for HT3 is close to 700M, with Gomez fueling a near 40% of that figure. The fact that the ensemble cast is promoting together is a plus, per RelishMix, which noticed that a recent BuzzFeed YouTube interview with Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kathryn Hahn, and Keegan-Michael Key racked up 443K views in one day alone (now near 666K).
Says RelishMix about the upbeat social buzz, “The Hotel series has its fans, there’s no question. Some loved the first two installments for the laughs, others like Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez – and others call out that one line or moment from the trailers and clips that made them remember why they liked the first two Hotels so much. There are plenty of fans asking each other when they’re taking the kids, including a fair share of tagging from Hispanic audiences.”
Other notables this weekend: Annapurna’s Sorry to Bother You breaks into the top 10 in 7th place after expanding from 16 to 805 runs with $4.3M, and $5.3M through 10 days. A24’s Eighth Grade from comedian Bo Burnham scored theater average year-to-date with $63K, and Isle of Dogs‘ arnered $60K. Currently, Eighth Grade counts $252K for the weekend at four New York and Los Angeles locations off an awesome 99% certified fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Amazon’s Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot starring Joaquin Phoenix as quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan is coming in much lower at $15K a site, or $60K at four locations. The comedy-drama which stars Jack Black, Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill has an 80% fresh score on RT.
Below industry estimates as of Saturday AM:
2nd Update, Friday: Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, as expected, will lead the box office this weekend, with an opening now estimated between $40M-$42M off a $14M-$16M Friday. Meanwhile, Dwayne Johnson vehicle Skyscraper might be a movie that’s about a high rise that’s up in flames, but its opening weekend is looking pretty chilly right now, with a $7.5M Friday and a 3-day between $19M-$21M in third. These are industry estimates and do not come from Sony or Universal.
Critics have slammed the Die Hard-like vehicle at 55% Rotten, while HT3 is also suffering 56% Rotten reviews. The difference is that family films can withstand bad RT scores, whereas live-action pics can’t. Read: The Emoji Movie was panned at 8%, but cranked out a 3.5 multiple off its $24.5M opening for a final domestic of $86M.
One reason we hear why Skyscraper‘s construction is being slowed is because it’s one of the rare original IPs in a sea of franchise films, which is partially plausible: Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp is looking at a second place win between $30M-$32M right now. Like Johnson’s Rampage which earned over 76% of its $425.6M global ticket sales overseas, Skyscraper will also need to lean on overseas. Fifty percent of the $125M production cost for Skyscraper is being covered by Legendary Entertainment, and the other half by Universal.
Friday 7:36AM: Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation grossed $2.6 million in previews that began at 5 PM last night, towering over Universal/Legendary Entertainment’s Skyscraper which minted $1.95M at 2,950 theaters from showtimes that kicked off at 7 PM.
Industry estimates expect Skyscraper to arrive between $33M-$40M behind HT3, which is eyeing between $38M to the low $40Ms for a No. 1 win.
Skyscraper‘s amount of cash is just above Dwayne Johnson’s previous collaboration with director Rawson Marshall Thurber, the action comedy Central Intelligence, which made $1.84M in Thursday previews before a $12.99M Friday and $35.5M opening.
More comps to Skyscraper: Outside of Johnson’s Fast & Furious credits and Disney’s animated Moana ($56.6M 3-day), San Andreas reps his biggest opening among his live-action pics with a $3.1M preview night, $18.1M Friday and $54.5M opening. Back in April, New Line/Warner Bros’ Rampage grossed $2.4M from Thursday previews before earning a $11.5M Friday and a $35.7M opening.
Hotel Transylvania 2 didn’t hold any previews since it opened when school was in session back in September 2015. Already, Hotel Transylvania 3 made $1.3M from a June 30 Amazon Prime/Atom Tickets sneak preview. That amount of money will be included in HT3‘s domestic cume and isn’t a part of last night’s till. HT3‘s Thursday is far ahead of Sony Animation’s release from last summer, The Emoji Movie, which made $900K at 2,205 venues for a $24.5M opening.
Fandango reported yesterday that Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is outpacing Hotel Transylvania 2 in advance ticket sales, while Skyscraper is outpacing Rampage at the same point in their Fandango sales cycles.
Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp led all films in regular release yesterday with an estimated $5.3M, off 9% from Wednesday, for a week’s take of $104M. Industry expectations figure the deeper universe MCU superhero movie to post a $30M second weekend, -60%.
Disney’s Incredibles 2 earned $3.3M in second place yesterday, -7% from Wednesday, for a running domestic total of $519.6M through the end of its fourth week.
Universal/Amblin’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is up to $347.7M through three weeks after a $2.86M Thursday in third place, -12%.
Uni/Blumhouse’s The First Purge ended its first nine days stateside with $40.3M after a $1.8M Thursday, -8% in fourth place.