5th Update, Sunday AM: after Friday and Saturday posts: New Line/DC’s Shazam! bulked up 74% on Saturday over Friday with $11M, putting its second weekend at $25.1M, -53%, for a 10-day of $94.9M. The DC superhero hero formerly known as Captain Marvel should cross $100M before Good Friday.
The weekend’s other comic book franchise, though grittier than Shazam!, Millennium/Lionsgate’s Hellboy, arrived on ice to the multiplex with $12M. That’s the lowest Hellboy opening through three pics, off 64% from the series’ previous opening high of $34.5M, when Universal made Hellboy II a piece of summer 2008 counter-programming. The shame is that after being a niche superhero during its launch with Sony/Revolution in 2004, Universal looked as though they expanded the audience for muscular red, horned guy. Now it’s back to square one in regards to rebooting the brand. No one rushed out to see Hellboy because Guillermo del Toro wasn’t part of this reboot, plus the film looks like a watered-down version of its predecessors. There’s no plus-ing going on here in regards to making a movie that builds on del Toro’s.
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Screen Engine/ComScore PostTrak exits on Shazam! were bright at 4 stars from general audiences and 4 1/2 from kids under 12. General audiences numbered 64%, while kids under 12 rep close to a third of the audience. Shazam is still boy-heavy next to girls, 58% to 42%. The under-25 set showed up at 60%. Studios love that because they’re a fickle demo, a challenge to get into theaters (that said, this is a superhero movie). Males under 25 who are attending at close to 40% give the Zachary Levi project an 81% postive score.
Says social media monitor RelishMix about Hellboy‘s nasty word of mouth, “Hardcore Hellboy fans to casual ticket buyers are asking, ‘Do we need another iteration of this guy?’ Even if they agree, some are asking why Ron Perlman, who starred in del Toro’s two films, was replaced. This side of the convo fence doesn’t get the jokes and seem generally frustrated with the knee-jerk reboots that seem common in today’s Hollywood.”
That said, there was an earnest attempt here to tap Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall, who was behind the “Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall” episodes. But critics have deep-sixed the movie at 15% Rotten (we hear the film wasn’t widely available to critics to be screened, so that tells you something right there). Worse, CinemaScore audiences have slapped Hellboy with a ‘C’ grade, lower than del Toro’s first 2004 movie (B-) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (B). PostTrak audience like it less than CinemaScore folks at 2 1/2 stars and a 44% recommend. Men over 25 repped 38% of the crowd, females over 25 were close to a third. Caucasians numbered 47% followed by Hispanic audiences at 23%, Asian at 14% and African American at 11%. Millennium spent $50M to make the movie. “Millennium will be fine, they will always be fine,” said an international distribution exec yesterday, “When are they not?” Lionsgate, though, is bound to get the short end of the stick here after acquiring UK and US on the pic and being on the hook for P&A. For a studio that needs more franchises, Hellboy isn’t the one.
RelishMix also noticed that social media metrics were down for Hellboy, with a moderate social media universe near 155M, The viral video rate is at 21:1, short of the 37:1 average for the superhero genre.
Universal’s Little had the upper hand over the devil throughout the weekend in second place and her estimates are spot on with what we saw yesterday afternoon, with $15.5M this morning after a Saturday of $6.1M, +15% over Friday. That’s solid for a pic that cost $20M before P&A, which is a standard budget for a Will Packer production. It’s a major win for diversity both at the box office and behind the camera, as Little is a movie directed, starring, written and executive produced by African American women.
“Little offers something for audiences of all ages. Our partner Will Packer and our amazing cast, led by Regina Hall, Issa Rae and the incredible Marsai Martin, who also executive produces, bring a hilarious and unique spin to the body swap movie, which audiences are clearly enjoying,” said a beaming Universal domestic distribution boss Jim Orr this morning.
CinemaScore audiences, who are typically hard on comedy, gave the movie a B+, while the Marsai Martin film gets four stars on PostTrak and a 62% recommend. Revised exits as of Sunday AM show African Americans repped 43% of the audience, followed by 28% Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, and 4% Asian. Little overperformed in Atlanta, Houston, Washington DC and was generally better across the South and in the Northeast. Little‘s ticket buyers were comprised of 65% female, 56% under 25 in updated exits.
Uni began marketing Little in early January with its trailer drop earning 5M-plus views in its first day, for 59M views to date. RelishMix cites the trailer’s viral rate of 59:1 is high due to the fact that only one trailer was being circulated around the web.
Leading up to Little’s release, new content rolled out every week as a part of “Flawless Fridays.” There were user-generated challenges, including the “Little Storytellers” contest, encouraging teens to create a short film imagining their adult selves as kids; the #LittleGlowUp challenge, where users post side-by-side photos of their younger, more awkward selves next to their current-day look; as well as a partnership with Chocolate City Comics for #LittleMovieArt.
Pic’s actresses Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin participated in a number of custom media integrations as well, across BET, Bravo, Freeform and other outlets. One standout was a themed alliance with RuPaul’s Drag Race, featuring breakout star Shangela performing in outfits inspired by the movie (a clip which has drawn just over a half million views). Television spots were featured in episodes of World of Dance, American Idol, The Voice, Black-ish, Boomerang, This is Us, Empire, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and the premiere of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.
The cast traveled to Atlanta for a blitz of promotion, including an appearance at Spelman College, and Martin visited Miami for some Hispanic programming as well. Hall, Rae and Martin appeared on a variety of shows, from Today and Good Morning America to Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Real.
We are hearing, especially in regards to how Aviron/Voltage’s After fared overseas this weekend, that it was a missed opportunity over here in the states. Industry estimates at the feature adaptation of the Anna Todd teen romance navel at $7.25M yesterday morning, and it’s since fallen to $6.2M stateside. It’s slightly higher than the debuts of such teen indies as Global Road’s Midnight Sun ($4M) and Open Road’s Before I Fall ($4.6M). We understand there was a thrifty targeted digital campaign toward females, but if this film, given its notoriety, had a bigger TV spot spend, the results could have well been in the double digits. Even though Rotten Tomatoes scores were at 14%, critical scores are irrelevant in driving business for this film, just like they were for the Fifty Shades series. Hey Lionsgate, perhaps you should have handled After instead of Hellboy? After played best on the East Coast, including French Canada, along with the Mid-West, where 9 of the top 10 runs were from. Females under 25 were out in full force on this film at 56%, but After gets 2 1/2 stars on PostTrak, but a B CinemaScore.
But we hear that this $14M financed production from Diamond Films, CalMaple, Wattpad and Voltage is crushing it overseas, ranking No. 1 over Friday and Saturday in Italy, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Greece, Argentina, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Aviron put up a small MG. Nancy will have an update on After‘s overseas.
Said Voltage President and COO Jonathan Deckter about the success of After abroad yesterday, “Our production partners have done an amazing job bringing this book franchise from Watt Pad to the big screen, giving our international distributors a film that delivers for both the core fans of the book and the general public. We’re already performing extremely well in a number of territories including Germany, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Argentina, Denmark and Central America. Nicolas and I couldn’t be happier with our international partners who’s results speak for themselves.”
RelishMix notes that After “has a strong Social Media Universe of 164.6M” comprised of 5.5M Facebook Fans, 32.3M Facebook video views, about 1.5M Twitter Followers, 106.1M YouTube views and 19.2M Instagram followers. And video material has an awesome viral rate of 83:1 versus the average teen drama of 15:1 since the first trailer dropped in November. YouTube views are near an average of 25K a day, ahead of the 18,6K average for the genre.
Her Smell has the highest per-screen average of the weekend at $13,019 for three engagements and a gross of $39,058, followed by Bleecker Street’s Teen Spirit, the latter with $11K, or $44K at four NY and LA venues. Bleecker partnered with LD Entertainment on Max Minghella’s feature directorial debut, which made its world premiere at TIFF last September.
There were only 4% K-12 schools out on Friday and 1% colleges per ComScore, numbers that will grow respectively on Monday to 20% and 5% and explodes on Good Friday to 74% and 29%. Everyone is trying to get as much business in heading into Easter, and especially before Avengers: Endgame takes away all the business.
Sunday AM studio reported estimates:
WEEKEND B.O. FOR aPRIL 12-14
BOX OFFICE FOR APRIL 12-14
1st Update, Friday 7:46AM: Here’s how the rest of April looks before Avengers: Endgame blows up all box office records on April 26: There’s an avalanche of counter-programming going on over the next two weeks, and this week that includes Millennium Entertainment/Lionsgate’s R-rated reboot of Hellboy, Aviron/Voltage’s feature take on Anna Todd’s new adult novel After, Universal’s kid comedy Little and United Artists release of Laika’s Missing Link.
This is different from the event film-a-weekend release pattern that occurred throughout most of March and into last weekend with Captain Marvel, Us, Dumbo and Shazam!. Plus there’s not a four quad blockbuster opening over the next Holy Weekend, a period in recent years which has been RSVP’ed by blockbuster launches such as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Furious 7. Instead, we have another R-rated horror pic, The Curse of La Llorna.
Again, all of this is due to Avengers: Endgame being on the calendar, and distributors rushing product out to nab whatever bucks remain from the Spring Break crowd. Not to mention, it’s in the best interest of those distribs with wide entries this weekend to play into Good Friday, which has increasingly proven to be a lucrative box office day and this year there’s 74% K-12 schools off and close to a third of colleges.
The latter New Line/DC superhero is expected to step on the throat of Millennium Entertainment/Lionsgate’s Hellboy reboot for the weekend win, $20M-$22M to $15M-$17M. Hellboy will play at 3,303 locations this weekend.
Yesterday, Shazam! made $2.3M at 4,217 theaters, -9% from Wednesday, ending his first week at $66.4M, $69.7M with previews. Meanwhile, Hellboy made $1.38M last night from Thursday previews at 2,700 sites. Screen Gems 2017’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a comp here with $1M preview, $5M opening day and a $13.6M weekend. In second place among those films already in release was Paramount’s Pet Sematary with an estimated $1.2M, -11%, for a first week total of $31.1M.
Hellboy‘s Thursday is in line While estimates started high earlier in the week for Hellboy at around $20M, those critics who’ve seen the reboot have crucified the movie with an 11% Rotten score. We heard that the film wasn’t screened widely for press which is unfortunately a telling sign right there. The first 2004 movie and its 2008 sequel based on the Dark Horse Comics character is one of many gems for Guillermo del Toro fans, and this one arrives to theaters challenged by the fact that he’s not attached. Millennium financed Hellboy and Lionsgate took U.S. and UK rights. Hellboy 15 years ago opened to $23.4, finaled at $56.3M domestic off a B- CinemaScore, and ended its global run at $99.3M off a $66m production cost. Hellboy II: The Golden Army released by Universal actually did better at the box office with $34.5M July 11 stateside opening, $76M domestic off a B CinemaScore and final WW of $160.3M, but it also cost more at $85M.
Despite Shazam! being a body-switch movie, Universal has a Big of their own in Little which minted $735K in previews last night from showtimes that started at 7PM from 2,220 sites. Pic is expected to open in the mid-teens. Little was conceived by Black-ish star Marsai Martin who also stars and executive produces here. Back in February Universal pacted with the 14-year old star’s Genius Productions company in a first-look deal. Kenya Barris, Will Packer and James Lopez are the producers of Little. Drumline‘s Tina Gordon directed off a script she co-wrote with Girls Trip scribe Tracy Oliver. Reviewers were tough on Little at 52% Rotten, but being a family pic, the movie is expected to buck critical naysay.
UA’s Missing Link, another stop-motion pic from the Oscar-nominated toon house of Laika, follows Mr. Link, an ape (voiced by Zack Galifianakis) who after living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, recruits fearless explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) to guide him on a journey to find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. The pic is expected to open between $10M-11M at 3,413 theaters. Last night Missing Link made $230K, which is just under the $375K that Sony’s Smurfs: Lost Village did in April 2017; that pic opened to $13.2M after a $4.1M Friday.
We’re hearing that After made $550K in previews last night, which isn’t too shabby for an indie teen movie, especially on a night when only 2% K-12 schools are off. Compare this to a big studio spend teen movie like WArner Bros.’ If I Stay which made $1.1M. Is it front-loaded? We’ll see. After will play in 2,100 theaters and is set to make in the low single digits, akin to such indie teen pics like Midnight Sun ($4M) and Before I Fall ($4.6M) which did not hold previews.
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