5th writethru/update Sunday AM, after Friday and Saturday posts: w/chart
With the CBS-Viacom merger on the horizon, the Tiffany network’s film label, CBS Films — which will shutter its theatrical arm later this year — opened its penultimate film, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, to the distrib’s second-best result ever at $20.8M. At the same time, CBS Films beat their soon-to-be big brother Paramount, which was trying to exploit its kid sister network Nickelodeon’s 20-year old classic IP Dora the Explorer, which made $17M — not a domestic number that screams the beginning of a franchise.
Another shocker here is that Scary Stories is the best horror film opening of the summer, beating Annabelle 3‘s $20.2M, Blumhouse/Universal’s Ma at $18M, Orion’s Child’s Play at $14M, and Paramount’s Crawl at $12M. Beamed Scary Stories producer and co-story guy Guillermo del Toro in a statement today, “The filmmakers and the team at CBS Films are thrilled that moviegoers are embracing the world of Scary Stories. It’s particularly satisfying to see families experiencing the fun of the movie together.”
Both Scary Stories and Dora were targeted toward teen girls and Latinx audiences, and should have been dated on different weekends. But that’s hard when everyone is trying to avoid the late-summer juggernaut of Hobbs & Shaw, The Lion King and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and they still want some seasonal runway before all all the kids go back to school.
The surprise here is that the Alvin Schwartz novels are much hipper and cooler than an early-millennial Nickelodeon cartoon girl who has been aged up here in hope of reaching her former child fan base who now are well past adolescence. Scary Stories bested Dora among ages 13-17 (12% to 8%) and the 18-24 set (38% to 15%). Scary also played more evenly in its audience reach, whereas Dora was weighted toward females under 25 at 38%, with parents and kids under 12 repping 43% of the audience in updated comScore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits. Dora was very strong, with Latinx audiences driving 46% of its audience, with Caucasians at 32%, African Americans at 11%, and Asian at 10%.
Co-produced by eOne and distributed by Lionsgate, Scary Stories is still in line to rank second for the weekend behind Universal’s Hobbs & Shaw, which is seeing a second No. 1 weekend of $25.4M, -58% (after a $10.5M Saturday, +48% from Friday). That’s below Mission: Impossible – Fallout‘s second weekend last year of $35.3M, -42% (everyone last weekend was comparing the Dwayne Johnson-Jason Statham film to that action pic from last summer). CBS Films typically is very thrifty and targeted in its P&A spend, especially for horror films. However, we hear they’ve spent plenty in this case on the PG-13 horror pic produced and co-written by Guillermo del Toro — significantly north of $20M. The pic was greenlighted before it was announced that CBS Films would be folded into CBS Entertainment Group, with a new focus on streaming content. Can you imagine the money left on the table here for this $28M horror production had it fled to streaming? What a win here for low-budget pics at the box office. CBS Films’ scored its best opening ever with the spooky 2012 Daniel Radcliffe pic, The Woman in Black ($20.87M).
In regards to Scary‘s success, some point to the trailers that dropped during Super Bowl pregame and fourth quarter: They certainly grabbed people’s attention and didn’t let go. RelishMix reported that in the 24 hours following the Big Game, Scary Stories racked up 10M views across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a number that bested the 6.6M views of Universal’s Us pregame spot over the same period.
Further propelling cash for Scary into multiplex drawers is that 80% Certified Fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Whenever that blessing occurs for a horror movie, it’s great for business. Heading into the weekend, the social media monitor RelishMix reported that fans of the tomes were “excited,” with “fans sharing experiences from the books.” CinemaScore is a C, with 3 stars and a 53% definite recommend on PostTrak. Scary Stories played best in the West and Southwest, where nine of the top 10 runs came from. Scary Stories pulled in 55% female, 69% between 18-34, with 45% Caucasian, 28% Hispanic, 15% African American, and 12% Asian/other.
Lionsgate was able to fully mobilize exhibition partners behind Scary Stories early, as chains rolled out unique promotions to help push the film, with special giveaways to drive audiences and eventize this film. In-theater pre-rolls featured cast members like Natalie Ganzhorn and Michael Garza promoting the pic in Regal venues, and del Toro and director Andre Ovredal tub-thumping the pic at Cinemark. del Toro and Ovredal also made a pit stop at San Diego Comic-Con to talk up Scary Stories on the confab’s Saturday, literally before Marvel soaked up all the news about their 2020 slate.
The one question is whether Scary Stories is hip enough to leg out in the Don’t Breathe sense of the word. That R-rated 2016 Screen Gems pic opened to $26.4M and turned a 3.4x multiple of $89.2M. Is Scary Stories scary enough to keep the genre faithful coming? We’ll see. Will the success of Scary Stories change CBS Films’ mind to stay alive theatrically? We hear, “no.” The label’s last movie is Jexi, a comedy from Bad Moms helmers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, that’s due on October 11.
Paramount made Dora and the Lost City of Gold at a responsible cost of $49M net, with Australian film credits and finance partners Media Rights Capital and Walden Media. However, she’s going to need a lot of help from overseas, we understand, to reach break-even. The hope domestically is that it does a 3.5x-4x multiple like other August family fare, Pete’s Dragon and Christopher Robin. Even though the pic came in at the top-end of tracking, Dora is a brand that has reportedly generated some $11 billion-plus in global merchandise sales. It’s IP like this that rival studios envy, because everyone needs franchise material to survive.
Disney, with their live-action reboots of classic ‘toons, make them sing at the box office. However, that source material speaks to generations. Dora‘s problem is inherent: She’s limited in being squarely a young girl property, and that’s a very hard demo to hit at the B.O., and also a hard one to cross over to other demos. Some rival distribution heads have criticized Dora for being aged-up in this movie — but, c’mon, then you’re really stuck with a hand-holder pic. Dora‘s dilemma is that she’s too old for the really young fans of the show and too young for the girls who grew up with her and now are in college. Dora was never expected to be SpongeBob (the last animated/live-action movie opened to $55M+ for Paramount). In addition to kids, he wins adults over with his absurdist sense of humor.
“It’s worth noting that loyal Dora fans have a contingent that do not prefer this teenage Dora,” RelishMix said of its social media observations. “This action/comedy take is fun for some, but out of bounds for others, based on their memories from growing up. And, Dora’s very 18-ish age range is getting plenty of odd and disturbing social commentary, not to mention reviews from professionals.”
Another stone in Dora‘s shoe: Disney’s The Lion King. Who knew four weekends out that this pic still would be going strong. Simba and company will step over Dora for third place with $20M. She’s also receiving more competition this Tuesday, when Sony/Rovio’s Angry Birds Movie 2 swoops in to swipe more family cash (however, that pic, we hear, didn’t open well overseas). Ay Caramba! Dora did receive a solid A CinemaScore. Dora also played best in the West and Southwest, with nine of the top 10 runs coming from the West Coast. All of the great exits for Dora didn’t surge her Saturday, which made $6M, a 7% drop versus her $6.5M Friday (which included Thursday previews).
Factor in that Dora looks like a watered-down version of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and here’s our opening box office result. This, despite the fact that Paramount truly has been promoting this everywhere, with web page takeovers on IMDb, a 25:1 viral video rate per RelishMix (ahead of 13:1 for live-action family pic), and getting the pic screened early (critics gave it an 82% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score).
Now, for that sinking feeling.
Unfortunately, Fox’s voice-over dog movie The Art of Racing in the Rain isn’t over-performing as anticipated Friday morning, now with a very-low $8.1M. It was cheap at between $18M-$20M before P&A, and if the pic had posted a double-digit results, it would have been fine. But it’s another botched marketing campaign from Fox, and the film is shoe-horned in a year where there’s been two (too many) weepy dog films already: A Dog’s Way Home and A Dog’s Journey.
What’s bad about the campaign here? The tagline “From the studio that brought you Marley & Me.” First, that movie is 11 years old, and it’s about a dog who dies. Who’s first in line to see Racing in the Rain, then? Critics weren’t warm to this pic at 49% Rotten, because touchy-feely films turn them off, but those who showed up gave Art an A- CinemaScore, 4 1/2 stars on PostTrak, and a 72% definite recommend. Smells like a missed opportunity, Disney — one that potentially needed to be nurtured more.
If there was any concern for this movie — even getting it to a more $40M-ish final domestic gross — a better release date would have been found for it, outside a crowded summer weekend. RelishMix further noticed on social, “Even some fans of the genre and the book claim they won’t go to the theater because they don’t want to break down in public. Others, much like we observe for genre-centric films, don’t get the tone and feel of the materials and are not interested.” Sixty-two percent of Art’s audience, per Disney, were females, 79% general audiences to 21% families. Over-45 patrons repped 27% of the crowd, with females over 25 the biggest quad at 34%. The best territories of play here were East Coast and Midwest.
A first time-feature director plus two comic actors looking to play against type in a tired gangster genre spells the lowest wide opening ever for Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish (in a notable/leading role) with New Line’s The Kitchen, which posted an untidy $5.5M for what we hear is a production that cost an estimated $37M before P&A. This, despite Saturday being up a bit over Friday, $2.2M, to $1.77M. Kitchen is lower than Haddish’s turn in Keanu ($9.4M) and is even lower than McCarthy’s naughty-Muppet movie The Happytime Murders from last summer ($9.5M). While comediennes always like to stretch and play serious fare, when you have two of them in a movie, it had better be funny. The Rotten Tomatoes rating registered late this past week for this pic because the studio knew Kitchen would be a misfire (21% RT Score).
The pic has been in the can since last July. Warners did cut an intriguing trailer that they showed off at CinemaCon, but once you get in the theater, the pic is all low stakes and been-there/done-that action. Warners took a chance here on giving a directing gig to Andrea Berloff, who is a screenwriter with fantastic credits like World Trade Center and Straight Outta Compton. In an industry that’s continually trying to be more diverse in front of and behind the camera, Kitchen was a pic that employed all-female department heads. It’s unfortunate that the movie didn’t work out. East Coast was where Kitchen played best, but even there it wasn’t good. Sixty-two percent females showed up here, with 64% between. The mix was 51% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic, 15% African American, and 11% Asian/Other.
Note that whenever comedic actors initially play outside their laugh playbox into drama, it’s always a pratfall at the box office. Years ago, everyone thought Bill Murray was crazy when he did The Razor’s Edge at the height of his Ghostbusters fame (the pic failed with $6.5M back in 1984). Eventually, audiences’ become more open-minded as comedians dip their toes further into drama (it’s not like McCarthy hasn’t been there before with her recent Best Actress Oscar-nominated turn in Can You Ever Forgive Me?).
Trafalgar Releasing’s South Korean boy band concert pic Bring the Soul: The Movie raked in $2.3M, unseating A24’s The Farewell for 10th place, which drew $2.21M. Bring the Soul bowed Wednesday and will see running total by Sunday of $4.4M. Pic was front-loaded on those days, but there are some potent runs expected from Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and San Antonio. Saturday grossed $990K to Friday’s $711K. The pic leaves theaters today.
Lastly, Bleecker Street’s sports drama Brian Banks isn’t scoring a box office touchdown at 1,240 locations, with a muted $2.1M. The Tom Shadyac-directed pic never was expected to pop, and the pic is further crimped by a 54% Rotten Tomatoes score. That said, PostTrak shows there’s definitely a great divide among critics and those who paid to see this movie, with moviegoers giving it 4 1/2 stars and a 72% definite recommend. Men over 25 led the way at 39%, followed by women over 25 (38%), females under 25 (14%) and men under 25 (9%). Updated diversity demos showed 39% Caucasian, 31% African American, 21% Hispanic and 9% Asian. Brian Banks played best in the football-mad South, but even there we hear it was really very mediocre.
Other shoutouts: Sony delivered Quentin Tarantino his 4th $100M-grossing pic of his career with Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. Pic with $100.3M in its third weekend is now pacing 9% ahead of Inglorious Basterds at the same point in time.
Arthouse notables: Roadside Attractions’ The Peanut Butter Falcon starring Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson was booked at 17 runs in seven markets and grossed around $205,2K. Off great reviews (96% on RT), the pic debuted to decent numbers in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, out of its exclusive runs in that city, as well as New York, Dallas, Denver, Charlotte, Salt Lake City and Austin. Roadside reports that Peanut Butter Falcon “was No. 1” in more than half their theaters, “including a big commercial multiplex in Salt Lake City, The Landmark In LA…with lots of sellouts in various markets.” Private CinemaScore was a rare A+ 53% female and 47% male showing up, and 65% of the audience under the age of 50. Pic will expand gradually to an expansion of 800 screens on Aug. 23.
Sony Pictures Classics has the Michelle Williams-Julianne Moore movie After the Wedding, which opened Sundance. Pic was booked at five runs in New York and Los Angeles, on its way to a reported $57K and per screen of $11,2K. Mild numbers at the Angelika, we hear, but everywhere else — i.e. New York’s Lincoln Square, Cinema 1 and LA’s Arclight Hollywood and Landmark — wasn’t so good.
The summer box office for April 26-Aug. 11 is still 1.4% ahead of the same period a year ago, with $4.33 billion, per ComScore. But business is about to ratchet down significantly, with no Meg or Crazy Rich Asians on the schedule like last year. There’s another four weeks to weather before New Line’s It: Chapter 2 rains cash.
WEEKEND B.O. FOR AUG. 9-11
Chart as of Saturday AM:
BOX OFFICE FOR AUG. 9-11
2nd Update Friday, midday: Despite the onslaught of five wide releases, Universal’s Hobbs & Shaw will continue to have No. 1 bragging rights in weekend 2 with $24.8M, but down 59% for a 10-day by Sunday of $107.9M.
Today the Dwayne Johnson-Jason Statham pic is expected to settle for second place with $7M to CBS Films/eOne/Lionsgate’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark which will see $8.5M-$9M today (including last night’s $2.33M) for a 2nd place take of $21.3M. If that estimates doesn’t buckle, it will be CBS Films’ best opening of all-time, besting 2012 Daniel Radcliffe movie The Woman in Black ($20.8M). Very ironic for a label that is winding down theatrically prior to the CBS-Viacom merger.
Disney’s Lion King will rank 3rd with $20M in weekend 4, -48% for a running total of $473M by Sunday.
Paramount/MRC/Walden Media’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold will see $6M today estimated, including last night’s $1.25M, for an anticipated $16M debut. Remember, it’s a kid’s movie, so tomorrow’s matinees is this pic’s best friend.
Sony/Bona’s Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is 5th with a 3rd weekend of $10M, -50% and a running total of $98.7M.
Everything else is not looking so hot: Disney/Fox’s The Art of Racing in the Rain ($3.1M, $8.5M), New Line’s The Kitchen ($2M, $5.7M) and Bleecker Street’s Brian Banks ($650K Friday with $100K from previews, $1.85M opening).
UPDATED with more Thursday preview results: CBS Films/eOne/Lionsgate’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark racked up $2.33 million at 2,500 locations Thursday in shows that began at 7 PM. How front-loaded will the Andre Ovredal-directed PG-13 spooky film be?
Tracking heading into the weekend had Scary and Paramount’s live-action take of the famed Nickelodeon cartoon, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, colliding as they aim to grab young teen girls with $15M-$17M apiece. But Dora raked in a solid $1.25M last night from showtimes that started at 4 PM, which could push her beyond estimates.
The $49M production is co-financed by Walden Media and Media Rights Capital. The hope here for Paramount this weekend given such a prime piece of Viacom IP is that Dora dashes past $20M and over-indexes (as it should for a property that since 2002 has reportedly accounted for well north of $11 billion in worldwide consumer sales).
Dora’s Thursday night cash is right on the money with the 7 PM shows of Disney’s Big Hero 6 ($1.25M back on November 6, 2014, which translated into a $56.2M opening — not expected here for Dora) and is higher than the $1.2M of Fox’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ($9M opening day, $28.8M opening).
Families repped 55% of Dora‘s audience last night, with parents giving the pic 4 1/2 stars and kids under 12 3 1/2 stars in PostTrak exits. The turnout was 44% Hispanic, 39% Caucasian, 7% Asian and 4% African American. Moms led the way at 59%, with girls under 12 outnumbering boys at 59% as well. In overall audience make-up females under 25 repped 31% of the crowd, females over 25 repped 26%, men under 25 were 24%, and men over 25 at 19%. Dora is 77% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but these exits are more powerful and will propel her.
Scary Stories, written by Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman with a screen story by Guillermo del Toro, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, only received 3 stars on PostTrak last night. On the upside, critics are enjoying the pic at 81% fresh. Production cost net for the pic was $25M. Audience was 57% over 25, with females over 25 leading at 29%, men over 25 at 28% females under 25 at 23%, and men under 25 at 20%. So far, Dora has the bigger ratio of females under 25. Caucasians turned out at 46%, Hispanics at 28%, African Americans at 11% and Asians at 9%.
Meanwhile, the expectation is that Universal’s Hobbs & Shaw will reign supreme with $28M-$30M in its second frame. Yesterday, though, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham had their feet stepped on by Disney’s The Lion King, which won the day $4.2M–$4M. Hobbs & Shaw ends week 1 with $83.1M, 7% behind Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout, to which many have been comparing the pic’s B.O. trajectory. Lion King ends week 3 with an estimated $60.5M and a running total of $453.1M.
Disney/Fox’s The Art of Racing in the Rain drew $450K from 7 PM previews last night which is below the $535K 5 PM preview made by Sony/Bona Fide’s A Dog’s Way Home, and just under the $455K made by Uni/DreamWorks’ 2017 A Dog’s Purpose starring This Is Us’ Milo Ventimiglia. It is higher than the $250K made by its sequel, A Dog’s Journey, back in May from Thursday nights. Fandango reports that Art of Racing in the Rain presales were outpacing those pics yesterday at the same point in their sales cycles.
Some think it’s quite possible that Art here, though a leftover from the previous Fox administration, could beat its high single grosses for a take around — possibly — Breakthrough ($11.2M for three days), another pic that starred a This Is Us castmember, Chrissy Metz. This pic is aimed largely at the faith-based we hear, and women over 50 — just in case anyone is wondering why a family dog movie is opening against Dora the Explorer.
PostTrak exists show 4 stars for general audiences for Racing in the Rain, 4 1/2 from parents, and 4 stars from kids under 12. General audiences repped 80% of attendees last night. A total of 34% of the audience was over 35. Females over 25 were strong at 31%, men over 25 at 30%, females under 25 at 28%, and men under 25 at 11%.
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