When a major studio’s awards contender shoots past the century mark this early in the fall, it’s something to celebrate, and Warner Bros’ Bradley Cooper-Lady Gaga musical romance drama A Star Is Born has filled $100 million-plus worth of movie auditoriums in its first 12 days of domestic release.
Let’s face it, not all adult-oriented awards contenders are slam dunks at the box office, particularly when they are wide releases. Just ask Universal and DreamWorks, who hoped their astronaut drama First Man would launch to $20M in three days; it’s at $19.1M through five days. Quite often the better PR win is in a platform release: You celebrate your theater averages up front, and then, wow, the film has crossed over to bigger numbers later on in its run (not an easy feat; most distributors will say you need the cinematic goods, and after that it’s an expensive proposition given the consistent weekly P&A spend).
For the third midday to date in its run, A Star Is Born beat Venom in daily grosses — the pic did so last Thursday, on Monday and last night, edging out Tom Hardy’s fanged superhero $3.95M-$3.75M. Every studio depends on a huge opening-weekend gross for their event movies to survive, but sleeper movies, especially ones which continually draw out adult audiences — a crowd notorious for crawling to the multiplex — is pure manna from heaven. While Universal/ Miramax/ Blumhouse’s Halloween will soak up around $70M worth of business this weekend, Venom and A Star Is Born will continue to fight for second with around $18M-$20M. “A Star Is Born will continue to ease 30% every weekend in its run,” praised one rival studio executive about the pic’s longevity.
Yes, Sony’s Venom hit $100M in its first six days last week, but its commercial success after overcoming negative reviews can largely be attributed to being a long-awaited Marvel spinoff finally hitting the screen and clicking. Nice IP if you can get it.
But here we have A Star Is Born, the fourth remake of a classic property in an 81-year period, a movie by a first-time director in Cooper, coupled with ambitious dramatic performances that have paid off, not just for The Hangover actor, but in pop star Lady Gaga too. It’s a recipe that’s paying off. Note this movie could have been a very different one, with various directors having circled at various points in time, i.e., Joel Schumacher, Nick Cassavetes and Clint Eastwood, and stars including Will Smith and Tom Cruise, with Beyonce being a constant attachment throughout various iterations.
A Star Is Born through 12 days counts $101.4M to Venom‘s $148.9M. Versus other October hits, Warner Bros’ Gravity (final stateside gross $274M) hit $100M in nine days, 20th Century Fox’s The Martian (final domestic $228.4M) in 10, and Fox’s Gone Girl ($167.7M) in 16.
It’s fair to say, A Star Is Born is just getting warmed up.