This is truly an unprecedented weekend hold for a summer movie, especially in recent years. Typically you see this type of weekend hold between a Christmas and New Year’s weekend, but you have to go back to movies like Forrest Gump (-1.5%) or The Sixth Sense (-3%).
Even more amazing, the Crazy Rich Asians second Saturday of $10.3M was the same amount that the pic made the previous Saturday, per Warner Bros.
It’s the third consecutive weekend that Warner Bros. has owned the top spot at the box office, but it’s the second weekend in row that they’ve ruled the top two spots, thanks to their China Gravity co-prod shark, The Meg, which earned $13M in its third outing, -38% for a $105.3M domestic running cume. The shark is the third movie to jump the century mark YTD for Warners after Ocean’s 8 ($138.7M) and Ready Player One ($137M). We hear Dwayne Johnson’s Rampage is bound to join those ranks soon.
Worldwide, Meg has flipped past $400M. More for Warners to boast about: They’re going to hold the top spot at the box office until mid-September, when Fox’s Predator arrives. Crazy will continue to play strong through Labor Day weekend, with New Line’s The Nun owning the post-holiday frame with at least $32M.
One has to applaud Warner Bros. Domestic Distribution boss Jeff Goldstein and his team for the bold bravado of dating Crazy Rich Asians and Meg so close to each other. Crazy Rich Asians opened five days after The Meg. Yes, true, completely different respective audiences which really wouldn’t cannibalize each other, one female and the other older male. Crazy Rich Asians always made sense in the middle of August, given how The Help, which was another best-selling novel like Crazy Rich Asians, brought out women in droves. By the way, with a 12-day running total of $76.8M, Crazy Rich Asians is pacing ahead of The Help by 8% over the same period, as that DreamWorks pic also opened on a Wednesday. But The Meg wound up here in August as Warner Bros. distribution was keeping the shark film away from other big studio competition. The plan worked.
Goldstein attributes the phenomenal hold here to the continual “broadening out” of Crazy Rich‘s moviegoers. Yes, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York are king with this movie, but it’s seeping into the smaller markets, and more chiefly, a greater amount of demos are goings. There was a big turnout by Asian moviegoers at 44% at the onset, and a figure which is now at 27%; still huge. Caucasians are up from 32% on the first day to 48% yesterday for the Jon M. Chu-directed romantic comedy, while the Hispanic audience has increased from 10% on opening day to 13% over the same period.
Crazy Rich Asians producer and co-financier John Penotti of Ivanhoe Pictures says that when it came to foreseeing this romantic comedy as a hit, “We had an inkling from the early screenings; the conversation as people came out of the theater was electric, with people asking, ‘When can I see it again?’ But we never imagined it would catapult like this. There’s no metric for that, and that’s what we’re finding here: You have to throw the rule book out.”
Penotti stopped by two theaters yesterday that were playing Crazy Rich Asians, one an early in Marina del Rey, and another a late show in Hollywood. “The first one had an unbelievable family turnout – it was like Disneyland, and the late show I stopped by, it was a party; it was boisterous.”
After a recent trip to Asia where Penotti saw Crazy Rich Asians play in Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, the producer says that he’s “seeing the same kind of enthusiasm” as here in the states for the movie, with “smiles coming out of the theater.” Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan always knew that his fans crossed cultures, and that is the yield we’re currently seeing now both stateside and overseas for the film.
We did a deep-dive over the weekend on why STX Entertainment’s Melissa McCarthy raunchy comedy The Happytime Murders failed. The studio is reporting a $10M opening, but others see it in the high $9M range. Essentially, the stars weren’t around to promote, and this further prevented STX from making this a Sausage Party-like event in the way Sony and Annapurna did two summers ago. With a C- CinemaScore and two stars on PostTrak, it’s quite conceivable that STX saw something in their test scores which read this wasn’t worth the investment. It’s sad what happened here with Happytime Murders; for a minute from that hysterical trailer, it looked like it could turn around this raunchy comedy recession at the B.O. Instead, it just added to its continued wane. For the last ten years, this project has been willed into developing, initially with Lionsgate and ultimately STX. There was a belief in the wake of Ted that Happytime could have brought smiles.
In what is likely Global Road’s last stand at the box office, their Lakeshore robot dog co-production A.X.L. melted down to $2.9M. It was a carryover from the previous Open Road regime, and we hear the reason why it wasn’t sold off is new Global Road owner Donald Tang was trying to raise overseas funds by showing the company’s current slate of films. CinemaScore audiences didn’t loathe the family movie with a B+, but PostTrak attendees did, at two-and-a-half-stars.
Sony’s Asian-American thriller Searching drew an A CinemaScore and saw a $142K Saturday, +16% for a $360K weekend. That’s a strong $40K screen average at nine locations. Much like last weekend’s Crazy Rich Asians, there was a huge groundswell by notable Asian personalities to give this Aneesh Chaganty-directed movie a #GoldOpen, as they bought out whole theaters for audiences. Sony is going wide with Searching over Labor Day weekend.
Bleecker Street is reporting for their TIFF acquisition Papillon a $1.1M weekend at 544 locations. Critics were mixed on this Rami Malek-Charlie Hunnam remake at 55% Rotten. Given that, it makes sense why Bleecker Street is going wide with this movie, as there would be too much of a financial risk in platforming the title. When a specialty pic has a platinum critical response, and distributors are wise as to what works and what doesn’t ahead of time, that’s when they can roll the dice on a platform release.
Studio reported figures for the penultimate weekend of summer 2018, Aug. 24-26: