SUNDAY AM UPDATE 10:40AM after 7:45AM post: With Chart Warner Bros. is celebrating the worldwide win for J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald . The movie came in lower than expected in U.S./Canada, with a studio-reported $62.2M after a $21.5M Saturday that was down -16% from Friday’s (+previews) $25.7M.
Overseas took in $191M for a $253M global debut. This easily gets the Fantastic Beasts franchise past the $1 billion mark (the first chapter repping over 80% of that number to date). Given the global win for Grindelwald, for Warners, it’s about the further extension of their Potter/Rowling universe, which trickles down into the veins of consumer products and other ancillaries. What princesses are for Disney, Rowling wizards are for Warner Bros. The global start for this pic is higher than FB1, which was close to $220M. The final foreign on FB1 repped 71% of its final $814M WW tally.
Grindelwald‘s domestic opening is off 16% from the opening of FB1‘s $74.4M. Total weekend ticket sales for all titles, per ComScore, were $174.7M, which is off 13% from a year ago, when Warners launched Justice League to $93.8M. Though that movie fell greatly below its commercial prospects following the uber-success of summer 2017’s Wonder Woman, it was still a richer pre-Thanksgiving time for the studio stateside at the box office. Justice League even opened better than Grindelwald worldwide with $278.8M.
We dissected what went amiss here with FB2 in the previous update. Critics think that Rowling and David Yates threw everything and the kitchen sink in the sequel which runs two hours and 14 minutes, the same length as the first installment. Obviously there’s not a lot of fervor from Potter fans to show up to these Beasts spinoffs in U.S./Canada, and this time they took their CinemaScore down from an A to a B+, though in Screen Engine/ComScore audience exits they weren’t that severe, easing from 4 1/2 stars on Part 1 to 4 stars on Grindelwald. Demo range on the film was comprised of 54% Caucasian, 18% Hispanic, 19% Asian, & 9% African-American. Kids enjoyed it more than parents, 89% to 83%. Updated exits show that the crowd was 52% female, with 52% over 25. Imax hubs in US/Canada grossed $7.5M, repping 12% of the pic’s opening weekend. All together through two days, PLF, Imax and 3D accounted for 42% of Grindelwald‘s business. There were a number of pre-sales, we hear, on Thursday and Friday, but more walk-up business on Saturday. The anticipation is that continues into today.
RelishMix provided an updated assessment of the social media convo on Grindelwald as audiences left the theater, and it’s certainly mixed: “Fans are discussing the end twist at length. Some felt the plot led to more confusion in the sequel, rather than smooth things out from the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Others are open about their disappointment that there wasn’t a clearer direction laid out for the third film. Other fans felt like the timeline is now contradicting itself – and they are pulling it apart using the films, books and conversation as fodder for their arguments. And others still were disappointed with the lack of certain plot elements from the books that were apparently not included in the big screen treatment. There is a fair share of sentiment from moviegoers who have seen the film who offer negative reactions to the tune of, ‘Don’t waste your money.’ This contingent is vocal about how convoluted the story line and characters were in their mind, how the series doesn’t have the connections that writer Rowling established in the Harry Potter novels and films. Here’s the big consistent theme: Fantastic Beasts fans don’t feel like the series lives up to the Potter series by quite a stretch. They are enjoying the movies, they’re glad to share them with friends, family and fellow Potter Fans – but these first two of five films don’t compare to their experience watching Potter & gang.”
It also doesn’t help FB2 with Illumination/Universal’s The Grinch in the marketplace, which enjoyed a solid second weekend hold -44% with $38.1M and a running total of $126.5M. Competition is going to get stiffer, with Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, which could clear anywhere from $67M-$72M over the Wednesday-Sunday Thanksgiving stretch.
The box office train isn’t stopping, by the way, despite Grindelwald‘s less-than-expected start. K-12 schools at 38% are off tomorrow, along with 14% colleges out. This will build, respectively, to 78%/61% by Wednesday, everyone off on Thanksgiving, 99%/98% off by Black Friday.
Paramount’s Instant Family‘s grosses grew from Friday to what we’re seeing this morning, with $14.7M over three days. Saturday spiked 29%, with $5.8M over Friday, which means all these glowing audience scores (A CinemaScore, 83% overall PosTrak positive score) are in effect, impacting word-of-mouth for this holiday comedy. The opening versus its $48M production cost isn’t spectacular, but there’s hope that this film could leg out and be the fourth choice in a crowded family-product marquee over Thanksgiving. The pic played best in the West, where came 9 of the top 10 runs, with the Midwest & Southwest over-indexing. Based on ComScore PostTrack polling throughout the weekend, the pic’s composition of General, Parents and Kids was three quarters general audiences (77%) and the rest split equally between parents and kids (12%, 11%), a balance, per Paramount, that’s nearly identical to Daddy’s Home and its sequel. CinemaScore exits on Friday night showed 65% females, 61% over 35, with close to half the audience women over 25. Demo breakdown showed 56% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic, 13% African American, 5% Asian and 4% other. In terms of ratings, PostTrack also shows audiences are loving the movie, with excellent ratings at 47%, and definite recommendations at 61%, well above the PostTrack PG-13 Comedy and Family Comedy Norms (38%/54% for pg-13 Comedy and 42%/55% for Family Norms)
20th Century Fox/New Regency/See-Saw’s Widows still not so hot in regards to its $42M production cost, with a $12.3M opening in 5th place. Business was +18% Saturday over Friday, with $4.97M. There was a disconnect between critics and audiences here, with the pic receiving a 91% certified fresh score, but a B CinemaScore. Fox Searchlight platformed Steve McQueen’s fare in the past, with Shame and 12 Years a Slave, and that might have been the best tee-up here, as this film heads into the aorta of awards season in mid-December. However, the director sought to make a socially conscious film inside of a popular genre, hence the wide release. The fact that it’s a hybrid film isn’t its shortcoming. Here is a film which speaks to the #MeToo and Time’s Up era and knocks our inflammatory, rhetoric-ridden leading political officials, complete with twists and turns. Why isn’t the pic selling? Our sources believe that there wasn’t any urgency in the marketing campaign, and it’s a note to all of those with awards contenders that you can’t sell a film based on its reviews alone. The female ensemble which stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo drew 55% females, 55% under-35 year olds with 49% Caucasian, 23% African American, 15% Hispanic, & 13% Asian. We hear that Widows played best in the East and Southeast, where came seven of the top ten runs.
Universal’s limited launch of Participant Media/DreamWorks’ Green Book on 25 locations with a national campaign was not good at all, per various sources we’ve spoken with, earning $313K at 25 locations. Universal says that there were a number of locations sold out; rivals tell us that just wasn’t the case. The biggest problem here: Selling the idea to the audience of what exactly a Green Book is (or was). Universal is crossing their fingers that this former Focus Features release, which took them by surprise and has earned an A+ following the top prize at TIFF, will generate enough heat in the weeks to come, especially after Globe noms. The film should have received more of a platform, even a Christmas Day platform launch, to rocket boost itself to higher figures.
Let’s juxtapose Green Book to other pics that have launched at a similar number of locations: Fox’s Hidden Figures, which also generated a lot of heat out of TIFF, opened at 25 locations on Christmas day and made $515K on its opening day alone, grossing $1.46M in its first week. Fox held the movie on that theater count for two weeks before going wide in close to 2,500 locations during the first weekend of 2017, followed by a 3,000-threshold break over the MLK holiday, ultimately ranking No. 1. Even The Hate U Give made more than Green Book during its opening weekend, with $512K at 36 sites. Green Book will increase to around 1,000 locations on Wednesday. Academy screening yesterday received a standing ovation, so it’s in awards voters’ hearts.
CBS Studios’ At Eternity’s Gate at four NY and LA locations did OK at $92K, but we’ve seen higher opening screen averages for awards contenders, and this one with $23K is below the typical acclaim of $40K-$50K. Willem Dafoe stars as painter Vincent van Gogh. Pic has an OK, not super RT score of 76% fresh.
WEEKEND B.O. FOR NOV. 16-18
2nd UPDATE SATURDAY 10AM after 7:10AM post: With chart and revised estimates Between midday and Friday and late last night, industry estimates for Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald eased with the J.K. Rowling-scripted sequel showing $25.7M for Friday (inclusive of $7.3M Thursday night sales and $1.8M from Tuesday) on its way to $63.5M, which is where tracking and Warner Bros. had it, but still this sub-franchise of Harry Potter is playing like a sequel in its second go-round not a superhero movie, or Potter movie for that matter. Family breakout was small last night with 18% kids, 8% parents and 74% general, and the hope would be that matinees would expand on those demos plus ticket sales, but the last movie made most of its money on Thursday night and Friday, easing close to 12% on Saturday, and this one looks like it will do about the same. While the pic leaned heavy on females at 53% overall, when you drill down the demos, there was largely an even spread across all ages with Females 25+ leading with 27%, followed by Females under 25 at 26%, males over 25 26% and males under 25 at 21%. FB2 was strong in the west with seven out of the top 10 runs while IMAX, 3-D, & PLFs accounted for 27% of the take so far.
While you can easily pin the slowdown on FB2 to its lackluster reviews of 40% Rotten (vs. the original’s 74% certified fresh) and overall CinemaScore which dropped from an A on the first chapter to B+ last night, the IP’s problems are inherent. Even though Warner Bros. marketing has gone to great lengths on Grindelwald to connect it to the greater Potter universe with images of Hogwarts in the trailers and pumping up Jude Law as a young Albus Dumbledore (in addition per RelishMix Warners even swelled the social media following on the franchise from 282M to 330M across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube views), Potter fans know it’s chopped ham and not steak even though they’re there was a positive buzz on social heading into the weekend per RelishMix (in marketing speak, people do as they do, not as they say, and clearly that Twitter/Facebook wattage isn’t translating into bigger bucks). Had these Fantastic Beasts movies been teed up as a line of best-selling Rowling books and from the onset loudly sold as being an essential element to the Potter universe (which didn’t happened on the first movie because we heard that Rowling wanted the IP to stand apart and alone as its own brand) rather than winking at it, then we might see these movies over-index. It would come as no surprise given the slow-burn momentum that’s out there for their play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child if that fares better when it hits the big screen than Fantastic Beasts because that, on the nose, is canon. Harry Potter fans used to drop everything and run out to one of his movies and crowd multiplex lobbies on a Friday night and it’s clear they don’t have the same affinity for Newt Scamander. That said, there is enough passion out there for the character to make enough cash overseas and potentially profit (evident in the first movie’s $814M WW gross ($580M international) and a $164.7M profit after all ancillaries. Already through three days abroad, FB2 has racked up $74.3M and global running haul of $100M. FB 2 before P&A cost an estimated $200M, +$20M from the first one.
Despite Warners best efforts to promote FB2 as being part of the Potter-verse, there is one stumbling block that truly alienates the unfaithful: the sequel’s title. Grindelwald. Who is this that and why should people go see this movie? Warners has pumped up the size of the second half of the title and shrunk the first portion (Fantastic Beasts) on a majority of one-sheets and billboards. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? While this character was in the form of Colin Farrell in the first movie at the end, thumbs up to those who remember. If the creators of the film could have squeezed in Dumbledore’s name or Hogwarts, we could see more people here. Reviewers complain that Rowling has thrown too much stuff in the sequel to make it interesting. On Postrack, the audience response is 4 stars, overall 83% positive with a 69% definite recommend (which is good).
Another challenge for FB2 is that there’s other strong family product cutting into its business: Illlumination/Universal’s The Grinch after a $8.9M Friday is looking at a second weekend of $38.2M, -43% and a running total of $126.5M and Paramount’s Instant Family is drew an estimated $4.5M on Friday for a potential $13M opening in 4th. Let’s also not forget the multi-generation appealing Bohemian Rhapsody which is third with a $15.5M third weekend, -50% and running total of $127.6M, that’s also preventing FB2 traffic.
Instant Family‘s opening in regards to its $48M production cost is bad, and it’s poised to be the fourth choice for families in a very crowded holiday season of FB2, The Grinch and next Wednesday’s Thanksgiving blast Ralph Breaks the Internet. Parents are more interested in this movie than kids at 90% to 77% positive. Instant Family has the best CinemaScore out of all the wide entries this weekend with an A and not too shabby RT score of 79% fresh. 11% parents, 22% kids and a general 67% audience last night on PostTrak, but females over 25 are the strongest here at 40%, followed by males over 25 at 29%. Between the great audience scores and and launching in the holiday season, you could say that Instant Family is poised to leg out, but it’s a low start, below the mid-teens-to-$20M this movie was banking on. What’s keeping audiences away this weekend? Says RelishMix about the social word-of-mouth, “The negative side of the conversation fence suggests that some comedy fans got their fill in recent years from the Daddy’s Home movies.” That makes sense as Instant Family is from that franchise director Sean Anders. Still critics have likened the pic to Ron Howard’s Parenthood, and though cookie-cutter, reviewers do respect the pic’s take on the foster-care system and the family drama of adopting children.
Two critically acclaimed awards contenders, 20th Century Fox/New Regency’s Widows at 91% certified fresh and TIFF winner Green Book at 83% certified fresh aren’t doing well in their expected openings respectively $11.9M at 2,803 and $276K at 25 locations, and that speaks to a larger conversation about these types of film this season. Outside, of A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody, which have pop elements built into them respectively with Lady Gaga and Freddie Mercury, this season’s awards season fare has been struggling (The Front Runner is flat-out gone and out and a write-off for Bron Studios and Sony with a $68K second weekend at 22 locations, running total of $159K) and we need to remember that these films are geared toward older adults who are slower to come out, and both of these titles are word of mouth movies. At an awards voter screening last night of Widows,there were loud gasps during major twists in the film, but CinemaScore and PostTrak audiences aren’t impressed with a B grade and 3 1/2 stars. Widows cost $42M before P&A. A $20M start here stateside would have been ideal. It’s unconventional movie that’s hard to comp, a hybrid heist socio political thriller. Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell are in the movie, but they’re not the stars. Here’s a diverse, female ensemble movie that speaks to the #MeToo and Time’s Up era:, not to mention it’s exciting. Audiences should be going to it. Diversity demos were 52% Caucasian, 22% African American, 16% Hispanic and 9% Asian with 43% females over 25 and 36% males over 25 dominating the audience share.
RelishMix trouble shoots what didn’t work on social saying, “For other moviegoers, the same snarky sentiment permeates the conversation for Widows as it did for Ocean’s 8, the recent Ghostbusters and other female dominated casts. Some moviegoers just aren’t interested in an action film without a traditional hero like Stallone or Bruce Willis in the driver’s seat – and this commentary is discounting outright sexist and political discussion. Lastly, the comments from those who have been treated to early screenings are mixed, too – the fans are singing Widows’ praises, while the naysayers are claiming a slow start and overall disjointed story.”
Though Widows’ social media universe at north of 116M, beating the drama thriller’s average near 77M, RelishMix says its “social activity results are mixed”. Video materials are only going viral at 7:1 rate versus the usual 24:1 for the genre. Average daily new Facebook likes are about 800, short of the 1.8K for the genre. A couple of paid clips on the platform, average daily YouTube views around 53K, far outpacing the benchmark of 26.7K daily. “However, remove those paid clips, and the average drops to about 18K – which when all things are considered suggests moderate engagement,” says the social media monitor. Michelle Rodriguez has been the social media leader with close to 20M followers from Twitter, IG and FB, and she’s been promoting the pic for quite some time since its fall festival run. Viola Davis follows with 5.6M and she’s been promoting along with director McQueen, composer Hans Zimmer, actress Cynthia Erivo and actor Brian Tyree Henry. Co-stars Neeson, Farrell and Daniel Kaluuya are not social.
By the look of its one-sheet, it’s hard to tell the audience what a Green Book is and Universal made an online featurette with star Mahershala Ali explaining what it is exactly (2.1M YouTube views). The studio knows it’s a word of mouth movie and a crowd pleaser and as such has adjusted its rollout to 25 locations in its first 5 days, then 1,000 theaters Wednesday and increasing more into SAG and Globe noms. Given the last minute change-up, the limited release wound up benefiting from a wide release marketing campaign and that theaters should have sold out everywhere, but they didn’t. We’hearing OK runs in NY, Los Angeles, San Franciso, Dallas and Phoenix, but bad turnouts in Chicago, Philly, Boston, DC, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Baltimore, etc. Uni is really hoping that word of mouth wins out, and that’s what they’ve tried to plan for. We hear the Participant Media/DreamWorks co-production cost under $25M. Focsu Features originally had the movie, but when Uni brass saw it, they thought that this pic, which has been described as a Driving Miss Daisy in reverse had commercial prospects. It certainly surprised at TIFF where no one saw it coming, and the pic walked away with the top prize there. Green Book is the true story about African American classical pianist Don Shirley and his tour in the racially divided South of the 1960s with his rugged Italian American driver. Both look beyond their differences and bond greatly.
CBS Studios’ launched At Eternity’s Gate this weekend at four NY and LA locations which stars Willem Dafoe as painter Vincent van Gogh. Rotten Tomatoes score at 76% fresh is alright, not super for an awards contender. Ditto for its opening screen average of $23K (these contenders should be much stronger in the $40K-plus range at this time of year). Overall three-day is looking like $92K.
The Golden Globe nominations couldn’t come fast enough so that these movies could see some box office bumps.
Industry estimates as of Saturday AM:
wEEKEND B.O. FOR NOV. 9-11
UPDATE FRIDAY, 12:36 PM: Warner Bros. sequel Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald is eyeing around $27.5M, on its way to a $69M-$70M weekend. Note last night’s previews only grossed $7.3M and rep close to 27% of today’s ticket sales. Let’s hope the momentum builds. Lower range here on the film because Thursday previews of $7.3M came in 17% less than the Thursday of the first chapter two years ago.
On the Atom Tickets side, FB2 is outpacing pre-sales of Incredibles 2, Ant Man & The Wasp, and The Grinch.
The Grinch from Illumination/Universal is showing a $7.5M second Friday estimate and $31M second weekend, -54%, for a 10-day of $119.4M. 20th Century Fox/New Regency/GK Films’ Bohemian Rhapsody looking like it will top the weekend’s newcomers with an estimated third weekend of $16M, -49% after a third Friday of $4M with a running total by Sunday of $128.2M. Fox/New Regency/See-Saw’s Widows is eyeing an estimated $13.3M opening after $5.5M Friday, while Paramount’s Instant Family with an estimated $5M today is not far behind with a three-day of $12.5M
UPDATE FRIDAY 7:35AM: Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald came in much higher last night with $9.1M. Note that’s not an exact like-for-like with the $8.75M Thursday night previews of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them‘s from two years ago at this time. The figure includes Tuesday sneaks at 600 locations which minted around $1.8M we hear (hence last night was $7.3M). The David Yates-directed movie is off to a great start. Showtimes began at 5PM and played at roughly 3,300 locations. The J.K. Rowling-penned movie from Warner Bros. is expected to clear $70M in U.S./Canada and not be shackled by its lackluster 45% Rotten Tomatoes score.
20th Century Fox/New Regency/See-Saw’s Widows from Oscar winner Steve McQueen which grossed $600K at 2,200 locations. The pic is looking at a mid-teen to possible $20M opening. One industry comp is Breaking In which posted a Thursday night of $615K before making a $4.5M Friday and $17.6M opening, but overall is a hard one to comp and its a hybrid socio-political heist thriller ensemble. Production cost before P&A was $42M. Widows has already cleared $4M from its UK release last weekend.
Paramount reports that Instant Family starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne made $550K. The Rotten Tomatoes score for the movie currently is at 70% Fresh. Tracking has the pic clearing a mid-teen to $20M opening. The pic’s Thursday is in the vein of Goosebumps, another family movie, which made $600K and debuted to $23.6M. It’s also not far from the older-skewing The Intern which made $625K on its Thursday night and opened to $17.7M.
EXCLUSIVE: After grossing $10.1M in ten offshore markets off 9K screens, Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is eyeing an estimated Thursday night of $7M-$7.5M at approximately 3,300 locations that started showtimes at 5PM, per Deadline sources. These figures do not come from Warner Bros.
As we always footnote, this estimate could go higher or lower, and west coast shows just started an hour and 15 minutes ago. Two years ago at this time, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first chapter in the Harry Potter spinoff from author J.K. Rowling, made $8.75M, which repped close to 30% of its first day’s $29.66M. The pic wound up opening to $74.4M in the U.S./Canada, but it was all about the global play with the movie, which debuted to $219.9M and finaled at $814M. This time around, FB2 is global day and date in 79 out of 80 markets. WB thinks it’s going to debut to $250M WW; others think it’s higher, possibly even $275M.
In Fandango pre-sales, FB2 was pacing in sync with FB1 with the ticket-seller survey showing that 93% of moviegoers are excited to see Jude Law as Dumbledore, 91% saw FB1 on the big screen while 78% are fans of the pic’s leading man Eddie Redmayne.
20th Century Fox/New Regency/See-Saw’s Widows is also holding previews tonight at 7PM, as well as Paramount’s Instant Family at the same time.
Yesterday Illumination/Universal’s The Grinch was the top grossing title among regular films in release with an estimated $2.5M, -3% from Wednesday and a first week gross of $88.4M; that’s more than the first week of Despicable Me ($85.6M). 20th Century Fox/New Regency/GK Films’ Bohemian Rhapsody earned $1.8M, -18% for a second week of $43M and a two week running total of $112.2M. Paramount/Bad Robot’s Overlord ended its first week with an estimated $13.8M while Sony/MGM/New Regency’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web earned $10.7M.
We’ll have more as it comes. Thanksgiving is just getting started.