5th Update Sunday AM writethru with updated chart: Anyone who ever thought moviegoers completely abandoned the theaters for their couches, think again.
Summer is truly roaring, and it’s not just because of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which is topping the B.O. in its second weekend with $60M, -59%, with a 10-day total of $264.7M per Universal this morning. Overall weekend ticket sales per ComScore are at an estimated $172M, +1% from a year ago, propelling the first six months of 2018 to $6.2 billion, +9.3% over 2017.
Going by the usual measure of summer starting the first weekend of May, the season through July 1 is at $2.29 billion, +15% over the same period last year, which wound up being the lowest in 11 years at $3.97 billion, per ComScore. Now, compared to summer 2013 at the same point in time, which then tallied $2.37B, we’re currently pacing close to 4% behind that figure, which ultimately repped a banner year for the season with $4.87B.
Yet those figures don’t even begin to explain how enormous the cinema business is this summer.
Remember, this year is an anomaly because Disney decided to jump start summer on April 27 with Avengers: Infinity War, which posted the best opening ever at the U.S./Canada box office with $257.7M. During the first week of Infinity War‘s play, theatrical ticket sales hit $415.1M, and to discount that amount of business from the summer B.O. just because of some arbitrary traditional date is shortsighted. For AMC, Cinemark, Regal and other theater chains, they’ve been feeling the heat wave since late April, as concessions fly off bins and lines form outside. So what if the season began four days before May 1? Exhibition and the majors are richer. How much? For the period of April 27 through July 1, the summer box office is actually $2.7 billion, a raging 28% ahead of the same period a year ago, and –get this– it’s already 8% ahead of 2013 over the same period. By a late April’s start date, this summer’s box office is headed toward an all-time record.
Movie-going is not dead, as the Wall Street media falsely prophesied last summer. It is not going the way of print media. It’s a product-driven business. There’s no precise measure of admissions in place at movie theaters across the nation, so it’s false to write that admissions are down. As AMC boss Adam Aron says, “We don’t bank bodies, we bank dollars.”
As we already mentioned, last week yielded another $400M at the B.O., the fourth time this year and the 11th time overall stateside. Fallen Kingdom‘s $148M opening last weekend in the wake of Incredibles 2‘s $182.6M during the previous frame marked the first time that two titles opened back-to-back to $100M plus at the domestic B.O. during a non-holiday period. Incredibles 2 continues to cement itself in second place with a third weekend of $45.5M at 4,410 locations, -43%, for a running total by today of $439.7M. At that level, the Pixar superheros easily become the second-highest movie of all time stateside for the animated studio after Finding Dory ($486.2M) and ahead of Toy Story 3 ($415M). They should beat Dory at some point in the next week.
Here’s the weekend’s top 10 per studio-reported figures on Sunday AM:
With Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2 holding sway, the only way for others to succeed is to counter-program them, which brings us first to the Sony-released Sicario: Day of the Soldado, financed completely by Black Label Media. On the bright side, the pic is coming in ahead of its $9M-$13M tracking with a studio-reported $19M at 3,055 in 3rd place. Pic grossed $6.1M on Saturday, -18% from its $7.4M Friday (which included $2M previews). That weekend result is also higher than the wide expansion break of the 2015 title, which made $12M, and ahead of other drug cartel comp movies, such as Tom Cruise’s American Made ($16.8M) and Oliver Stone’s Savages ($16M). That’s commendable considering the Rotten Tomatoes score for Soldado was less than Sicario‘s at 64% fresh to 93% certified fresh.
In addition, that result is also impressive considering that the pic’s one-sheet marketing wasn’t repelling audiences. It was though Sony was ripping from Guns and Roses’ album covers.
RelishMix spotted mixed reactions on social media, with the original fans stoked by marketing materials. But “for other moviegoers, they feel the ‘take no prisoners’ attitude of Josh Brolin’s character and the government officials seen in the clips and trailers is not exactly hitting their mood right now. With the current border controversy leading the headlines, Sicario 2 could be a hard sell to more casual summer moviegoers.” The question is how front-loaded is Soldado‘s overall till off its older male audience? Guys turned up at 62%, 40% over-50 and 84% over-25. The sequel received a B CinemaScore last night, down from Sicario‘s A.
While the studio has reported that Soldado cost $35M, our phone is ringing off the hook with sources telling us that the movie’s budget is a reported $45M before P&A (vs Sicario‘s reported $30M). At that budget level, finance sources question how Soldado profits. Sony receives a distribution and marketing fee, and reportedly doesn’t have any skin in this sequel, which they obtained after Black Label decided not to release via Lionsgate after a disagreement over the title’s release date and marketing plans (news which Deadline exclusively reported). Sony has Latin American and Spain for Soldado, which open this weekend, followed by South Africa on Aug. 3. Lionsgate opened Soldado in 42 international territories this weekend, with the major locales being UK, South Korea, Australia, France and Russia/CIS to a sleepy $6.2M.
The pic’s social media stars for Soldado are Isabela Moner (1.8M followers) and Brolin (1.1M), the latter who has been on a roll this summer following Infinity War and Deadpool 2. The Oscar-nominated actor’s appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in which he reads President Donald Trump’s tweets as Thanos clicked north of 3.1M views.
Lionsgate’s Uncle Drew didn’t cost as much as Soldado, in the high teens before P&A, and Lionsgate sees a $15.5M start in 4th place. The African-American basketball comedy didn’t over-index as many were hoping. It’s an OK start, a pure domestic play and finance sources tell me it could make a few bucks down the road given its production cost which is much lower than the $30M-ish pricetags of New Line comedies. Audiences loved it with an ‘A’ CinemaScore, the same grade that Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween received. Perhaps that will carry it to a decent multiple through past the July 4th Wednesday Uncle Drew attracted 59% guys, 58% over-25.
Lionsgate’s marketing team partnered with Pepsi and targeted moviegoers and sports fans to catapult the fan-favorite 150M-viewed digital series to an uplifting comedy pic. Pepsi supported the film’s theatrical release with co-branded television and digital integrations, as well as regional retail activations. The pic’s campaign was launched during NBA’s All Star Weekend in February with a talent-hosted trailer debut, high-profile outdoor and a social media messaging campaign. Further publicity initiatives continued to build and capitalized on signature basketball events, including the NBA playoffs and the recent NBA finals. Lionsgate identified and delivered brand placement opportunities that were organic to the pic and its stars, i.e. for the first time in decades, Wheaties debuted a dual facing box with Kyrie Irving and Uncle Drew to launch a comprehensive co-branded retail program. Meanwhile, Nike released an Uncle Drew capsule collection inspired by imagery and quotes taken directly from the movie. They promoted the film and collection with an augmented reality/digital stunt and custom content, as well as retail and event activations.
Breaking into the top 10 is Sanju, with $2.55M, which at 356 theaters is the widest Bollywood release ever stateside. The Fox International Productions biopic follows the controversial life of actor Sanjay Dutt who came from a family of cinema legends. As he rose, he fell hard, succumbing to addictions, a prison sentence and speculation that he may be a terrorist. Pic is directed by Rajkumar Hirani and is simultaneously being released in 66 countries at a global 5,5K runs.
Other notables on the specialty side: Neon’s doc Three Identical Strangers about three triplets, who after being separated at birth, are reunited at 19 and ultimately uncover an unimaginable secret. The Tim Wardle directed feature with a 94% certified fresh RT score is posting a $32,6K per theater at five New York and Los Angeles venues for a weekend of $163K. Once, again, the summer of the docs. We have Participant Media/Magnolia’s RBG within nickels of overtaking 2004’s Super Size Me ($11.53M) with a running total of $11.52M in weekend 9, and Focus Features’ Mister Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor? having busted its way into 10th place as of Sunday AM with $2.29M in weekend 4 and a running tally of $7.4M.
Debra Granik’s first feature length movie since 2010’s Oscar-nominated Winter’s Bone, Leave No Trace is earning a $24K average at nine theaters or $216K via Bleecker Street who acquired the pic out of Sundance. Based on Peter Rock’s novel My Abandonment, the pic centers around Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), who have lived off the grid for years in the forests near Portland, OR. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland.
Below the weekend’s top 10 as of Saturday AM — chart updating as of Sunday AM:
1st Update, 7:47AM: Sony/Black Label Media’s Sicario: Day of the Soldado collected $2M in previews last night from 2,669 locations starting at 7PM. Meanwhile Lionsgate’s basketball comedy Uncle Drew scored $1.1M in Thursday previews last night at 2,200 theaters.
Both titles are counter-programming to Universal’s box office beast Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which ended a great week with an estimated $204.7M. The J.A. Bayona-directed sequel will lead all films again at the box office with an estimated second weekend take around $60M. Last night, Fallen Kingdom took in $11.3M, -8% from Wednesday. Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2 still owns second with $10M Thursday, -2% for the day, a second week’s take of $124.7M and a running two week total of $394.1M, currently at this minute the third-highest Pixar movie of all-time behind Finding Dory ($486.2M) and Toy Story 3 ($415M).
Soldado is projected to make $12M for the weekend at 3,055 theaters, while Uncle Drew is making a lap toward $11M-$15M at 2,742. Uncle Drew has a 58% Rotten Tomatoes score while Soldado‘s RT score has declined to 64% fresh off 121 reviews from its 72% fresh earlier in the week from 39. The first Sicario, distributed by Lionsgate in 2015, made $12.1M in its wide break weekend after a platform launch and ended its domestic run with $46.9M off a 93% certified fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Stefano Sollima directs this time from a script by Taylor Sheridan, who also penned the original movie.
Uncle Drew‘s Thursday is just under such recent male comedies like Tag which earned $1.3M on its preview night before turning in a $14.95M weekend. It’s also above such African American comedies such as Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween ($855K Thursday preview, $28.5M opening weekend) and Barbershop: The Next Cut ($735K Thursday, $20.2M weekend) which overindexed their preview nights in regards to their opening weekends, a great halo effect for any comedy. Uncle Drew expands to 2,742 today. Charles Stone III directs this comedy which is based off the 2012 Pepsi digital series that has amassed over 150M views. Jay Longino wrote while Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey produced Uncle Drew which carries an estimated production cost in the high teens. Soldado reportedly has a production cost of $35M fully financed by Black Label media while Sony receives a distribution-marketing fee.