5th Update Sunday AM FINAL writethru w/chart after Saturday 10:41PM: In the back and forth for No. 1 between Disney/20th Century Studios’ The Call of the Wild and Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, the blue critter is back on top. Paramount is reporting this morning a $26.3M 3-day (-55%) after a Saturday of $12.1M, +89% over Friday. That will bring Sonic to a 10-day gross of $106.6M. worldwide at $203.1M, Sonic is the clear global winner for the second weekend in a row with a deafening roar of $64.6M, powering over The Call of the Wild. In weekend 2 exits, Sonic remains a great 4 stars with general audiences, parents, and kids under 12.
Sonic‘s Saturday was higher than the feature adaptation of the Jack London novel, which is estimated to have made $10M yesterday, +24% over Friday, for a 3-day of $24.8M. Disney sees those exact numbers this morning as well, with an overall $40M global in 40 material markets, including France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Australia, Brazil and Mexico, which is horrible for this $135M production before P&A.
Best case scenario, box office-wise, is that this movie reaches $150M WW, $75M of that coming from domestic, which spells for a loss around $100M per finance sources. Despite the over-indexing of Call of the Wild stateside, it’s a hollow victory, given how much the film cost.
Essentially, Sonic is the greater family draw than the PG-rated Call of the Wild, which, in PostTrak exits, pulled in an audience that was 81% over 25. To give you an idea of how older-skewing Call of the Wild was, the pic’s over-indexing markets were retirement paradises Phoenix, Orlando, and Tampa. Also, mid- and smaller-sized towns over-indexed, in addition to mountain places like Salt Lake City and Denver.
Also, the best exits from the older 55+ crowd, with 90% in the top two boxes and an 80% recommend. What does that tell you? Apparently, there was some kids and parents polling, with the former giving it an 80% in the top two boxes with a 53% definite recommend, and parents at 78% with a 66% definite recommend. Overall, Disney reports that kids and parents repped 32% of the entire weekend.
Again, there is some credit given to Disney’s marketing stateside to get Call of the Wild ahead of its $17M-$20M projection. Disney mandated to exhibitors that they had to run the Call of the Wild trailer along with Black Widow and Mulan before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker during its four week run (in each venue’s largest auditorium), or face a 70% film rental penalty.
At the Skywalker showtime I caught in Naples, Florida, I actually saw all these trailers play beforehand. However, I’ve heard some exhibitors decided not to play Call of the Wild before Star Wars. Nonetheless, it was a smart and standard push by Disney to introduce this movie to mass audiences (particularly those who don’t surf YouTube, when the trailer dropped on Nov. 20). Call of the Wild in theaters also trailered on Frozen 2, Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Jumanji: The Next Level, Spies in Disguise, Little Women, 1917 and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Disney had an “Adventure Companions” featurette that debuted on Jan. 27 when tickets went on sale with an all-day media blitz, including digital takeovers on Fandango and Mobile Movie List and Mobile Theater Showtimes roadblocks. Digital media pushes for the Chris Sanders-directed movie included IMDb, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, GoodReads, Jukin, Pandora. TV spots ran on ABC, NBC, Discovery, Disney, ESPN, Freeform, Hulu, Nat Geo and major all-day television (Today, 9-1-1 Lone Star, AGT, WWE RAW, Kimmel, Tonight Show, Late Late Show and more), and during specific shows like the MLK Day Kids Blitz, AFC & NFC Conference Championships, Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, post-Super Bowl premiere of The Masked Singer, plus a Gold Rush takeover stunt and special look in The Dirt on Discovery Channel.
Online, there was an #AnswerTheCall push on Feb. 17 with Twitter takeover; a custom Harrison Ford video; and the debut of “Jack London’s Impact,” a stop-motion, animated retelling of London’s adventure to the Klondike by Foster Huntington. Influencer screenings included one with photographer Chris Burkard. Overall, RelishMix wasn’t amused with the social media diagnostics on Call of the Wild, saying that its universe was at 82.4M before opening, under the 336M for a family-live-action pic across YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
“Looking at key engagement metrics on social for Call, the film is under-performing across the board. A usual family/live action has a viral video rate of 16:1, but thanks to the saturation of clips across not only 20th Century Studios, but also Walt Disney Studios, the owned clips have evened out with the earned clips for this title. Further, average new Facebook Fans added daily are around 400 instead of the typical 900. Finally, Call’s average YouTube views for top clips are coming in at 27K, far shy of the benchmark 92K in the genre.”
In 3rd, Birds of Prey from WB drew an estimated $3M on Saturday, +57% over Friday, for a reported 3rd weekend of $7M (-59%) and running total by EOD of $72.5M. STX/Lakeshore’s Brahms: The Boy II now in 4th with a reported $2.35M Saturday, +7% vs. Friday for a $5.9M opening. Sony’s Bad Boys for Life is in 5th with a $2.6M sixth Saturday, +73% over Friday for a 3-day of $5.8M, -50% and total EOD of $191.1M.
Other highlights: Warner Media’s truTV’s Impractical Jokers: The Movie files 11th with $2.5M after a $1M Saturday gross.
Pantelion’s gross on Las Pildoras de mi Novio was $1.4M at 350 or $4K per screen after a $517K Saturday. Versus a comedy like 2016’s No Manches Frida which launched over Labor Day in similar footprint of 362 locations, that posted a 3-day of $3.6M. The Diego Kaplan directed and co-written comedy follows a woman’s island getaway with her boyfriend as its thrown for a loop when he forgets to take his prescription medications along.
All-in, weekend ticket sales per ComScore were $104.2M, off 19% from a year ago. The 2020 box office for Jan. 1-Feb. 23 remains 6% ahead of the same period in 2019 with $1.449 billion.
Sunday AM studio reported estimates:
Weekend B.O. Feb. 21-23
3rd Update, Saturday AM w/chart: As impressive as it might seem that Disney/20th Century Studios’ The Call of the Wild is expected to over-perform with a $26M 3-day and solid exits of 4 stars on PostTrak and an A- CinemaScore, it’s a small feat that’s hard to celebrate, given how expensive this Harrison Ford movie was at $135M — even if the movie continues to come in at No. 1.
Whenever a 20th Century movie dies now at Disney, it’s quite common to say that the movie was orphaned under the new administration. However, I think Disney muscled what they could here in regards to marketing, so that they could earn the best opening possible for an animal/wilderness movie. Many mass audiences, especially the older folks who would appreciate this movie (those over 45 repped 41% of last night’s crowd, per Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak), came to learn of Call of the Wild when they went to see Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, as it was one of four of the studio’s trailers that exhibitors had to include prior to the movie.
Legacy-wise, Call of the Wild is a movie right in Disney’s wheelhouse, having had a history with animal pics like 1957’s Old Yeller. Like Dark Phoenix, even if Call of the Wild was back at 20th Century Fox and that studio was still alive, the movie would still be challenged in regards to its opening.
Right now, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog is seeing a No. 2 rank of $25.4M in weekend 2. Which film wins No. 1 boils down to how robust matinees are for either film today. Industry estimates are mixed as to who comes out better today, Call of the Wild or Sonic, with around $11M. Wild‘s Friday was $8M to Sonic‘s $6.4M. I’m hearing that Sonic is looking to cross $200M WW by tomorrow, if not very close.
Family movies about dogs are usually quite cheap to make in the $20M range (before P&A, I’m talking movies likes MGM/Warner Bros’ Max and Amblin/Walden/Universal’s A Dog’s Purpose), so why spend this amount of money on a piece of IP that’s 117-years old? Who was the audience for Call of the Wild? The original source material has dark tones, which isn’t very family-friendly (though the script has been tamed down).
As we mentioned before, the movie was in development before the Disney-Fox merger, and was part of a revived strategy at Fox under Stacey Snider for the studio to head more aggressively into the animated space with their Blue Sky Ice Age franchise on the wane. Fox looked at successful live-action/CGI hybrids like Disney’s Jon Favreau movie The Jungle Book, and wanted some of that box office action.
In 2017, Fox bought VFX wizard Glenn Derry’s (who actually worked on The Jungle Book) Technoprops in an effort to make these live-action/VFX hybrids at a discount. In a world where it’s hard for actors to act against a green screen, Technoprops had figured out how to do the previsualization in real-time with actors. When Harrison Ford boarded the project, it became a no-brainer for Fox to greenlight. Despite the $185M Maleficent: Mistress of Evil under-performing stateside with a $36.9M opening, $113.9M domestic, Disney was able to make it up abroad and arguably break-even at $491.7M (close to $49M of that came from China’s box office). Big question marks here if that’s the case overseas with this Americana Jack London wilderness movie.
The older the exits get with Call of the Wild, the better the responses, with those 45-54 giving it an 84% on PostTrak, and 55+ a 92%. But the 18-44 crowd wasn’t that amused, given their grades between 69%-77% (which explains the negative skewing social media reaction that RelishMix was seeing, online potential audiences saying they were put off by Wild‘s CGI, which took them out of the movie). Those over 55+ were the single largest quad at 27%. Updated PostTrak on Wild also shows females over 25 leading (41%), then men over 25 (40%), followed by a huge drop in females under 25 (10%) and men under 25 (9%). Wild played best in the South and Mid-west, drawing 67% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic, 13% Asian/Other and 7% African American.
STX/Lakeshore’s Brahms: The Boy II posted $2.2M, for an expected $6.2M weekend in 4th place. The sequel gets a C- Cinemascore to the 2016’s installment, which notched a B-. As I mentioned previously, STX is claiming that their exposure is $3M production-wise (not including P&A). I’m sorry, but whenever these thrifty priced genre movies post single digits at the domestic box office, it’s nothing to be wowed about. Really. I don’t drink the juice. Cheap movies are built to be abundant cash cows, and when they’re not, it’s pretty clear they’re duds. If what STX says is true, then smart on them for reducing their risk on a genre movie that’s been panned by critics with a 9% Rotten Tomatoes, and dismissed by audiences (PostTrak exits have risen from 1/2 star to 1 solid star). With exits like this, there’s no reason to invest a heavy amount of P&A in the film. Those who showed up were 35% females under 25, guys under 25 at 24%, males over 25 at 21%, and females over 25 at 20%. Those under 25 turned up at 59% with the single largest quad being 18-24 at 34%. The mix was 44% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic, 18% African American and 15% Asian/Other. This STX sequel played best on the coasts along with the South-West, but even there it wasn’t so hot.
Relish Mix noticed a moderate social media reach for Boy II at 47M across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram versus the average horror movie’s reach of 94M. Video materials were low at a 9:1 viral rate versus the average horror pic’s 27:1. “Brahms has no truly stand-out social media materials to speak of. And, it’s one of those films that the audience has moved on from, given how the movie has moved dates, not to mention it’s a sequel with few stars and some curious messaging — and the moderate engagement on social reflects this sentiment,” says RelishMix which noticed mixed-to-negative online chatter about the sequel. There’s confusion as whether Boy II is a sequel or prequel, which is why many are alienated by Brahms. Relish also saw that audiences were asking “‘Where are we here, and what’s the story?’ The materials are not resonating or clear in their pitch to moviegoers, and they take to social to share that sentiment,” added the social media analytics corp.
NEON’s historic Oscar best picture winner Parasite, despite shedding 196 theaters, gains 200 Imax auditoriums, bringing its projected 20th weekend to $3.24M, just $1M shy of the $50M mark by tomorrow. Pic has surpassed Mexico’s Instructions Not Included ($44.4M) to become the 4th highest grossing foreign language/international film at the domestic B.O. after Sony Pictures Classics’ four-time Oscar-winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ($128.1M, 2000), Miramax’s three-time Oscar winner Life Is Beautiful ($57.2M, 1997), and Miramax’s Hero ($53.7M, 2002).
Other highlights on the specialty scene:
Impractical Jokers: The Movie launched in 357 theaters from truTV in 92 markets with a 57% Rotten Tomatoes score. This Jackass-type film actually had some big numbers in New York and LA, per distrib sources, with respectable runs in Chicago, Philly, Boston, Detroit, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati and more. Coming off of a TV show and out of nowhere, Friday’s gross of nearly $1M surprised many (it was actually $950K, which included $157,2K in Thursday night previews). Overall weekend outlook is an 11th place gross of $2.1M. Chris Henchy directed this comedy with Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, James Murray, and Sal Vulcano. The story of a humiliating high school mishap from 1992 sends the Impractical Jokers on the road competing in hidden-camera challenges for the chance to turn back the clock and redeem three of the four Jokers.
-Pantelion’s Diego Kaplan-directed comedy Las Pildoras De Mi Novio (My Boyfriend’s Meds) took in an estimated $414k yesterday on 350 screens for an estimated weekend total of $1.235M in 63 markets. Overall soft numbers, I hear. The film received an A- Cinemascore.
-Focus Features’ Emma saw $80K last night on its way to $200K this weekend at 5 NY and LA locales, for a $40K per screen, all respectable numbers at Angelika, Alamo Brooklyn, Lincoln Square, Arclight Hollywood and The Landmark.
-Amazon’s Kristen Stewart movie Seberg, about movie star Jean Seberg and how she was targeted by Hoover’s FBI after her romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal, saw a decent number at the ArcLight Hollywood on Friday with $14,4K. But NY’s Angelika and The Landmark LA were both soft. Overall, Friday is estimated at $25K, on its way to a $79K weekend, or $26,3K per theater at three locations. Overall RT score was an awful 38%, which doesn’t bode well for the movie, unlike Emma, which can look forward to a nice platform off its 88% certified fresh.
Saturday AM estimates:
Box Office For Feb. 21-23
2nd Update, Friday Midday: Weekend estimates right now show Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog ahead of Disney/20th Century Studios’ The Call of the Wild, $26.6M to $23.6M. If you see some media reports showing Call of the Wild, ahead or in a tight race, note that’s because the outlet is only using one studio’s estimates.
Despite besting its tracking range of $17M-$20M, that opening for Call of the Wild, isn’t anything to bark loudly about. It’s a very expensive movie at $135M before P&A, and the question remains what kids are going to be intrigued to see Harrison Ford outside of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Last night in Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits, females over 25 led at 41% followed by men over 25 at 39% with an overall 4 stars and 59% definite recommend, which isn’t that bad. We’ll see how this plays on. The over 35 crowd made up 57% of Call of the Wild‘s audience. Kids under 12 weren’t polled.
Friday’s figure for Sonic looks to be $6.6M (-68%) at 4,198 while Call of the Wild is looking at $7.2M at 3,752. Sonic‘s second weekend is looking to ease -54% coming off the built up Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend for a 10-day of $106.9M by Sunday.
Warner Bros. Birds of Prey in weekend 3 is seeing a third Friday of $2M, and weekend of $7.6M in 3rd -56% at 3,565 for a running total of $73.1M.
Sony’s ever resilient Bad Boys for Life in weekend 6 is seeing a $1.5M Friday, and 3-day of $5.4M in 4th place at 2,972, -53% for a running total on Sunday of $190.7M.
Meanwhile, in 5th place is STX/Lakeshore’s $10M PG-13 horror movie Brahms: Boy II with an expected $5.2M in 5th at 2,151 after a Friday that’s bound for $1.86M. It’s another miss on PostTrak for a horror film after The Turning and The Grudge as Brahms gets stabbed with a 1/2 star from audiences and a 24% definite recommend (Fantasy Island got away with 2 stars last weekend).
Focus Features at five NY (Angelika, Lincoln Square, Alamo Drafthouse in Brookyn) and LA locations (Arclight Hollywood and Landmark on Pico) has the period remake of Jane Austen’s Emma starring Anya Taylor-Joy which is seeing $85K today, and $215K for the weekend for a $43K theater average. The Autumn de Wilde directed movie is 87% certified fresh.
1st Friday Update, 7:42AM: Disney/20th Century Studios feature adaptation of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild drew $1M on Thursday night from 6 PM previews, while STX’s horror sequel Brahms: The Boy II saw $375K at roughly 1,800 theaters. They’re the two wide entries in a post-Presidents Day weekend that will see Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog the winner with $29M-$40M in Weekend 2.
Sonic made an estimated $2.55M on Thursday, -4% from Wednesday to end Week 1 with a fantastic $80.3M.
The Call of the Wild, starring Harrison Ford and Karen Gillan and directed by Chris Sanders, was in development before the Disney-Fox merger and repped a revived strategy by Fox when it was under Stacey Snider to head more aggressively into the animated space post-Blue Sky’s Ice Age movies and an effort to emulate the live-action/CGI hybrids like Disney’s Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book. We hear the pic was greenlighted at $135M, shot here in California, but even with a projected $17M-$20M domestic take, the studio will look to overseas for a bailout. Still, this is an Americana story, and that’s not apt to translate.
Call of the Wild opens day-and-date in most of the world sans Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Argentina, Venezuela, Finland, South Africa, and, of course, China, which continues to have a shuttered exhibition infrastructure in the height of the coronavirus. Call of the Wild‘s Rotten Tomatoes score is at 65% fresh, which is meh for this PG-rated film.
Thursday night’s business for Call of the Wild is being compared to The Upside ($1.1M, $20M opening), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood ($900K, $13M opening) and A Dog’s Way Home ($535K, $11M opening) — a mix of older-skewing and family titles.
Brahms: The Boy II, rated PG-13 and directed by William Brent Bell, follows the continuing terrors of the lifelike titular doll after a family moves into the Heelshire Mansion and doll and young boy make friends. Estimated opening is in the mid-to-high single digits at 2,151 theaters. STX claims it has a $3M exposure on this $10M movie given its foreign pre-sales model. Eight reviews currently on RT are registering at 0%. The 2016 first movie, made for $10M, opened to $10.7M stateside and finaled at $35.8M, $74.1M WW. At those numbers, the movie got a sequel.
Elsewhere at the weekly B.O.: Warner Bros. Birds of Prey in No. 2 made $990K Thursday, -2%, for a Week 2 of $23.3M, running total of $65.5M. Sony’s Bad Boys for Life in No. 3 earned $620K, even, for a Week 5 of $15.3M, running cume of $185.3M. Sony/Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island is 4th with $565K,-8%, for a first week of $16M. Fifth belongs to Uni/Amblin/New Republic’s 1917 with $540K, +3%, Week 8 of $11.3M, cume of $147.6M. NEON’s Oscar best picture winner Parasite ranked sixth Thursday with $405k, -5%, and a week 19 of $8.1M, running total of $45.8M. Universal’s The Photograph slotted 7th with $365K, -9% and a first week of $14.8M.
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