5th Update, Sunday AM Writethru after Saturday and Friday updates: Even though it’s a quiet weekend at the box office after the mad holiday rush between Christmas and New Year’s Day, studios savor the first frame of the year given its great holdover business. Kids are still off from school (K-12 was 61% off on Friday moving to 22% by Monday, college was 92% off and will be at 69% over the same four-day frame) and heading to the movies, and another big plus: There isn’t a major snow storm freezing out the Northeast.
Total ticket sales for the weekend per ComScore is $138.2M, -26% from the final weekend of 2018 (ComScore will report their figure soon). That weekend-to-weekend percent slide is roughly on par with the first frame of 2017 vs. the last weekend of 2016, but steeper than the onset of 2018 vs. the finale of 2017 at -15%. Last year at this time Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Star Wars The Last Jedi drove weekend’s ticket sales to $165.5M. Jumanji 2 minted a third weekend of $37.2M, followed by Universal/Blumhouse’s Insidious: The Last Key with $29.5M (which was also made by Escape Room filmmaker Adam Robitel) and then Last Jedi‘s fourth weekend of $23.7M.
Warner Bros.’ third weekend of Aquaman is the only title grossing north of $20M with a studio-reported $30.7M, -41% for a running total by EOD of $259.7M. He’s a bigger deal overseas where WB officially reports what we’ve all been expecting for days that the the DC superhero has scaled to $940.7M WW with $681M overseas. Nancy reported that’s the best overseas haul for a DC pic abroad. On a global basis Aquaman is ahead of DC’s Batman v. Superman ($873.6M), Sony/Marvel’s Venom ($855M), Warners/DC’s Wonder Woman ($821.8M), and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($863.7M). Film finance sources believe it’s inevitable that Aquaman crosses $1 billion next weekend.
Saturday in U.S./Canada for Aquaman was 40% up over Friday with $13M. Rivals even think he’s headed to $31M+. Next weekend’s trio of wide entries –STX’s The Upside ($8M-$10M estimated opening), Sony’s A Dog’s Way Home ($7M-$12M) and Entertainment Studios’ Replicas ($4M-$7M estimated opening)– aren’t expected to inflict any damage, so expect Aquaman to reign a fourth weekend. The last time Warners held a film for four weeks straight was 2008’s The Dark Knight. Aquaman‘s will easily grasp $900M by Sunday and if he doesn’t lose too many screens abroad, a $1 billion WW final isn’t out of the question.
Columbia Picture’s Escape Room was a great surprise to many, pushing its way past Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns for 2nd place bragging rights of $18M this morning. At $6.6M, Saturday held in at -13% from Friday for Escape Room. Sony originally was going to construct Escape Room during the sleepy post Thanksgiving period of Nov. 30, but then moved the genre pic to Feb. 1 and finally this weekend. Good move: It’s quite conceivable that Universal/BVI/Blumhouse’s Glass will still be going strong at that time, and Sony opted to put its remake of Hispanic action-thriller Miss Bala on Feb. 1.
Poppins this morning looks like she’s raking in an estimated third weekend of $15.8M after a Saturday that was +32% over Friday with $6.6M. The Rob Marshall-directed musical is nominated for four Golden Globes today including best musical/comedy.
Rivals agree: Escape Room is a great result for a PG-13 horror pic that reportedly carries a $9M production cost. Horror easily plays to the under 25 set during the first weekend of the year. A great example of how powerful genre can be at this time of year was Paramount’s The Devil Inside back in 2012: The pic opened to No. 1 with $33.7M off a rare F CinemaScore. Those who entered Escape Room were 54/46 Male and 80% under 35 with the single largest quad being 18-24 years old at 33%. The mix was 42% Caucasian, 22% Hispanic, 20% African American & 16% Asian/Other. Escape Room played best in the on the East Coast along with the Mid & South-West.
Social Media metrics group RelishMix wasn’t impressed with the online reach for Escape Room: Few in the pic’s cast have social media pull, the pic has a moderate social media universe near 58M from Facebook, YouTube views, Instagram and Twitter, the video viral rate is low at 9:1 (short of the 13:1 average for a horror film).
Still something worked here, and RelishMix pegs it to the marketing materials. And if you were resting on the couch over the holidays Sony bought a lot of media capitalizing on binge viewing including a Christmas Day NBA Presence, a holiday-themed “Sick of Your Family?” creative, plus there was a “Escape the Ads” custom radio stunt. This in addition to screening the pic extensively, a Buzzfeed promotion along with social media takeovers, and an exclusive themed room and partnership with Escape Hotel Hollywood as well as partnerships with physical escape rooms around the country.
Reports RelishMix, “A lot of horror fans are looking at the trailers and social materials for the film and sharing their own experiences with escape rooms. Some of these fans are really excited to see the movie based on their love of the experience and how the movie resonates with them. And, more casual horror fans like the cast and Saw-like elements they’re seeing.” CinemaScore is a B for Escape Room which is better than Screen Gems’ R-rated The Possession of Hannah Grace which opened during the sluggish first weekend of December. ‘A’ CinemaScores are rare for horror pics, so a B is wonderful.
With Golden Globes today, here’s how some of the contenders are looking at the B.O.: There is strong buzz that Universal/Participant/DreamWorks’ Green Book could win best comedy. We hear that there’s a good chance that the pic will increase its number of screens leading into Oscars. Uni is reporting at 566 theaters that the Peter Farrelly-directed movie in weekend 8, made $1.8M, -3% for a total of $35.2M.
Annapurna’s Vice, which leads at the Golden Globes with six noms, is holding up quite well for a Vice Presidential biopic that has divided some audiences and critics, -25% in weekend 2 with $5.8M for a 13-day total of $29.7M. Already, the Dick Cheney movie has outstripped the $25.5M lifetime domestic total of Oliver Stone’s George. W. Bush biopic W. Yes, we know, Vice cost a steep $60M before P&A. But awards season isn’t over yet.
We’ve also heard buzz that 20th Century Fox/New Regency/GK Films’ Bohemian Rhapsody could upset with a Best Drama win (yes, the HFPA loves the pic that much). Fox jumped the number of screens by 199 to 1,080 in weekend 10 with $2.4M, +2% and a running total of $193.6M. The movie doesn’t hit DVD until Feb. 12. Fox has to get this past $200M
Annapurna’s If Beale Street Could Talk with three Golden Globe noms for Best Drama, supporting actress Regina King, and director Barry Jenkins, moved from 65 theaters to 335 in weekend 4 seeing a 137% surge with $1.85M and a running total by Sunday of $4.4M. Due to demand the studio will be breaking the movie wide past 1,000 in the near future. Saturday was +29% with $778K. Big plays and over-indexing for the Jenkins feature occurred in a variety of markets including NY, LA, DC, Atlanta, Philly, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore, Miami, Raleigh, Nashville and more. Beale Street is over-indexing in the Northeast by 32% and the entire West Coast, Arizona and Nevada by 24%.
The Megan Ellison studio is also seeing its Nicole Kidman L.A. cop movie Destroyer, which is nominated for Best Actress Drama at the Globes, grossing $110K from six theaters (+3) for a 13-day of $260K.
Studio-reported estimates for the first weekend of 2019:
WEEKEND B.O. FOR JAN. 4-6
Estimates as of Saturday AM:
BOX OFFICE FOR JAN. 4-6
2nd Update, Friday Midday: With schools still off for the holiday break, the studios can rely on continued traffic and this weekend at this point in time we’re seeing Warner Bros.’ Aquaman at $26.2M, -50% after a third Friday of $8M, with a running total of $255.2M. The DC superhero has already beat the lifetime U.S./Canada $229M take and global haul of Justice League and will see a $300M stateside tally sometime after MLK. But given Aquaman‘s momentum here, and seeing how Warners pushed Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad past the three-century mark, you better believe they’re going to get this Jason Momoa film past that threshold. Soon enough, he’ll cross $900M WW by end of this weekend.
Coming off of a great Thursday night, Sony’s horror thriller Escape Room in industry estimate is looking at a $15.8M opening after a $6.8M Friday that includes yesterday’s $2.3M. That said, many are projecting that the Adam Robitel movie files third behind Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns which is eyeing a third session of $18.4M, -35% for a running total of $141.3M, which would be 84% ahead of the running total of The Greatest Showman at the same point in time. Escape Room is at 50% Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is looking at an industry estimated $12.2M fourth frame, -35% for a running total by Sunday of $133M. Paramount’s third weekend of Bumblebee is just below with $12M, -43% for a running total by Sunday of $96.3M. Warner Bros.’ The Mule is seeing $7.5M in weekend 4, with a running total of $79.5M. It would be great if WB makes this Clint Eastwood’s fifth title as an actor, sixth title as a director to cross $100M. That’s quite conceivable. Annapurna’s six-time Golden Globe nominee Vice is looking at a second weekend of $5.2M, -32%, for a running tally by Sunday of $29.2M.
1st Update, Friday 8:15AM: Columbia Pictures’ PG-13 thriller Escape Room, the only wide entry this weekend and for the new year, fired up $2.3 million at 2,386 locations Thursday from showtimes starting at 4 PM. While moviegoers will continue to flock to holiday holdovers like Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman, which is poised to post between $25M-$32M in its third weekend, horror scares up young females under 25.
Escape Room‘s money last night is higher than the $1.98M that Universal/Blumhouse’s fourthquel Insidious: The Last Key made a year ago in Thursday night previews. Last Key went on to make a massive $29.5M opening, and finaled at $67.5M off a $10M budget before P&A. Adam Robitel directed both Escape Room and Last Key.
Tracking had Escape Room between $10M-$14M, and last night’s figure indicates a FSS toward the higher end of that range. The movie reportedly cost Sony around $9M, and when it comes to young genre movies, the Culver City studio has been aces in the digital marketing realm.
Aquaman drew $6.2M yesterday, off 16% from Wednesday, and in two weeks has come very close to beating the lifetime domestic cume of Justice League ($229.02M) with $229.017M, a marvelous result.
Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns is eyeing a third weekend of $21M after a $3.95M Thursday, down 11%, for a running total of $122.95M.
Paramount’s Bumblebee, Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Escape Room will be battling for third with mid-teen takes.
Spider-Verse grossed $3.1M on Thursday, off 5%. Anecdotally, to give you an idea of how much this animated film speaks to crowds, the Wednesday night 7:20 PM 400-seat show at the Regal Valencia outside Los Angeles was filled to the brim, with audiences applauding after the film finished; a majority of the auditorium stayed and sat through the credits. Through three weeks, Spider-Verse counts $120.9M. Bumblebee took in an estimated $2.6M yesterday for a two-week total of $84.35M.
Warner Bros’ The Mule ended its third weeks with $72M and is looking at a fourth weekend of $9M, -26%. The Clint Eastwood movie could very well walk its way to $100M.
Annapurna’s Vice is looking at a second weekend of $6M, -22%. Through 10 days the Adam McKay-directed movie counts $24M after a $981,000 Thursday, -5%. The Dick Cheney movie later today will eclipse the $25.5M lifetime domestic total of Oliver Stone’s 2008 title W., about President George W. Bush.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.