Sunday AM Final: A year after Covid-19 raged in China, the country’s box office is all sewn up and back together, with Detective Chinatown 3 besting Avengers: Endgame‘s U.S./Canada all-time opening with a $394M weekend.
But here in the States, we’re still trying to get the pandemic under control, and winter storms that impacted 100 million Americans, according to the National Weather Service, didn’t help over a four-day Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day weekend, which historically is a lucrative time.
This weekend, the wide entries were essentially last-minute awards contenders before the Oscar-qualification period closes at the end of the month: Warner Bros.’ Judas and the Black Messiah, about the killing of Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, and Focus Features’ Robin Wright feature-directorial debut drama, Land, which respectively made $2.4M and $1.07M over four days.
‘Detective Chinatown 3’ Tops ‘Avengers: Endgame’ For Biggest Opening Weekend Ever In A Single Market With $398M, Imax Crushes Records As Performance Perks Up Hollywood Hope: International Box Office
But neither of them was No. 1. Rather, it was Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Thanksgiving release, The Croods: A New Age, which popped up to No. 1 in its 12th weekend with $2.66M — a No. 1 resurgence that is unheard-of in recent box office history for any wide entry. You’d have to go back to the 1980s, when lengthy theatrical tentpoles release would pop back up to the top of the charts.
To date, Croods: A New Age has taken in $48.9M, and it’s even on PVOD, which again underscores how hungry people are to get back to cinemas, especially families. They’ll watch a movie that’s 12 weekends old. Over three days, Croods 2 is +21% from last weekend with $2.04M at 1,890 theaters. The toon sequel’s global cume is $150M and growing.
Last year, Paramount delivered the first big movie under new CEO Jim Gianopulos, Sonic the Hedgehog, which debuted to $70M over four days (and finaled at $148.9M domestic, $319.7M). But the biggest Presidents Day opener was 2018’s Disney/Marvel movie Black Panther, which debuted to $242.1M (and finaled stateside with $700M, $1.3 billion WW).
Judas and the Black Messiah tied with Warner Bros/HBO Max’s other wide release, The Little Things, for the No. 2 spot. In Weekend 3, the Denzel Washington-Rami Malek-Jared Leto thriller also earned $2.4M over four days (running total $10.6M). Also, the studio’s Wonder Woman 1984, in Weekend8, grossed $1.3M over four days, with a running total of $41.8M in the No. 5 spot.
Again, what remains impressive here with Warners, even with its controversial day-and-date theatrical/HBO Max titles, is that its movies are making millions of dollars, even weeks later (granted, WW1984 is no longer on the streamer, it’s just in theaters). This is hardly the case for Netflix titles, which solely devote their marketing campaigns to pushing eyeballs on their service. For Warners, the theatrical campaign doubles as their streaming campaign. The M.O. for WarnerMedia is to grow the revenue pie on these titles, which is especially crucial at a time when both box office capitals, New York and Los Angeles, remain closed because of Covid. When we re-emerge from Covid, it certainly will be a different theatrical window environment for all major studio movies.
Judas is a big-city movie, and even if there weren’t any major snowstorms this weekend during the pandemic, the title still would have been challenged. That said, its key cities of play, Atlanta and Chicago, were severely impacted by snow despite both being the top-grossing markets for the pic. There was also a historic snowstorm in Texas, which has remained a box office-grossing territory during Covid-19.
Judas has supporting actor Golden Globe and SAG noms for Daniel Kaluuya (who plays Hampton), as well as a Globe nom for the Original Song “Fight for You” byy H.E.R. The pic also is distinguished for having an all-African American producing team. Great audience scores here for the Shaka King-directed action thriller, with an overall “A” CinemaScore, with the under-25 segment (31%) giving the movie an A+. The pic skewed female at 53% in CinemaScore. Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak came in at a very good 87%, with 4 1/2 stars and a 74% recommend. Critics gave Judas a 97% certified Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. In PostTrak exits, there was a 50-50 male-female split, and 75% over 25 and 43% over 35 years old. African Americans led ticket buyers at 61%, followed by Caucasians (21%), Hispanic (12%) and Asian/other (6%).
The top 10 locations for Judas this past weekend were: 1. AMC Southlake Pavilion Atlanta, 2. AMC Phipps Plaza Atlanta, 3. Paramount Drive-In (Los Angeles market), 4. iPic River Oaks District Houston, 5. Ford Drive-In Detroit, 6. AMC River East Chicago, 7. AMC Hoffman Alexandria (Washington D.C. market), 8. Cinemark Valley View Cleveland, 9. West-Wind Capitol Drive-In (San Jose, CA), and 10. West-Wind Sacramento Drive-In. And the pic’s top 10 DMA markets were 1. Atlanta, 2. Chicago, 3. The Greater New York Metro area (including locations in NJ, Long Island, Upstate NY, and CT), 4. Houston, 5. Dallas, 6. Detroit, 7. Philadelphia, 8. Phoenix, 9. Greater Washington D.C. (including theatres in Virginia and Maryland), and 10. Miami.
Social media analytics corp RelishMix counts a total social media universe across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube views and Instagram for Judas of 67.9M, which includes 1.8M from the HBO Max social media universe. “Most recent activity and momentum for the movie’s pages are fueled by videos and recent announcement materials from three CriticsChoice nominations, two Golden Globe nominations plus the AFI, Sundance premiere, The National Board of Review and more. Soundtrack videos are strategically well cross-promoting predominantly on Facebook and Instagram, fed by YouTube materials and the H.E.R. performance on Stephen Colbert’s show and the just-dropped Nipsey Hussle & Jay-Z video — plus The Roots with last-moment mentions on Fallon and on social — which is an ideal tactic,” reports RelishMix.
Warner Bros. dropped the Jay-Z/Hussle music video, “What It Feels Like,” on February 9. On the heels of its inspired from the film release, the Roc Nation mogul announced recently that he donated his entire fee from the song, with half going to Hussles estate, while the other half was given to Hampton House, the childhood home of Fred Hampton:
RelishMix also reports, “The timing and tone of Judas is resonating in conversation around Black History Month, #BLM, the new administration and efforts to rewrite classroom curriculums. Clearly, fans understand the day/date offering for HBO Max and journey into the Black Panther’s legacy: ‘I never in my life thought I would see a Fred Hampton movie made. This brought a tear to my eye, I can’t wait to see this,’ wrote one social media follower. Awards-wise and with more nominations assumed, convo touches on comps, ‘This looks like a worthy competitor of Trial of the Chicago 7 for movie of the year,’ observes another.”
Land, which follows a bereaved woman seeking out a new life off the grid in Wyoming, grossed $940K over three days. The movie is booked at 1,231 theaters in 196 DMAs North America with a CinemaScore of B+. Critics weren’t over the moon about it at 69% fresh. PostTrak exits showed 73% in the top two boxes, but a low 42% recommend. Females showed up at 56%, with 85% over 25, 62% over 35, and 39% over age 45. Diversity breakdown was 74% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic, 5% African American and 8% Asian/other.
“We are thrilled to see audiences returning to theaters as they open more and more across the country,” Focus president of distribution said Lisa Bunnell in a statement. “As the top specialty opening of the weekend, audiences have been inspired by Robin’s directorial film debut in Land. Her ability to tackle both sides of the lens in one film shows what a limitless talent she is creatively.”
Top theaters over the past two days for Land were Santee Twin Drive-In, San Diego; Sunset DI, Santa Barbara; Arrowhead, Phoenix; Cinemark 24, SLC; Cinemark University, SLC; Cinemark Majestic, Boise; Megaplex, Salt Lake City; Cinemark 12, Salt Lake City; Superstition Springs, Phoenix and the Pineview in Salt Lake City.
Top markets for Land were Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, New York, Denver, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago and Orlando.
Focus and Robin Wright’s Land social media universe of 25.1M has clocked 9.1M Facebook views and YouTube views “of a nicely boosted trailer,” per RelishMix, with 2.7M, as well as five additional spots and music videos, with “strong promotional engagement from Focus social channel” at 2M SMU, with social chatter/enthusiasm for her theatrical directorial debut.
“Wright’s social media strategy works well by integrating her film projects, including WW84, her clothing line, Pour Les Femmes, and social causes — with most activity on her Instagram with 634K fans and 1.3M total, including her Facebook and Twitter,” adds RelishMix.
Indian title from Telegu, Uppena, ranks 11th with 100 runs in 49 markets and best plays from Dallas, Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix, Chicago, and Seattle, with an industry estimate of $205K over 4-days. Movie from filmmaker Buchi Babu Sana follows the romantic love journey of two youngsters whose lives are affected when events take a dangerous turn.
A big shout-out here to 101 Studios’ Robert De Niro family movie, The War With Grandpa, which finally crossed $20M in its 19th weekend.
Another awards-imseason contender that hit the marquee this past weekend was STXfilms’ The Mauritanian, about Guantanamo 9/11 prisoner Mohamedou Ould Salahi and his legal fight with the US Government for being detained without a charge. Pic drew $170K over four days, $144K over three at 245 sites in 69 markets. The pic was nominated for two Golden Globes, drama feature actor awards for lead star Tahar Rahim (as Salahi) and supporting actress Jodie Foster (as his attorney, Nancy Hollander). The pic will hit PVOD on March 2 for all transactional platforms for $19.99 at a 48-hour rental.
Bleecker Street had the 19th century lesbian romance The World to Come at 278 venues in 81 markets. The pic starring Vanessa Kirby, Katherine Waterston, Casey Affleck and Christopher Abbott grossed $48.9K over four days and $42.5K over threedays. The movie, which made its world premiere at Venice, will also hit PVOD on March 2. Check out our interview out of Sundance with the cast and filmmaker Mona Fastvold below:
The top movies for Presidents Day weekend 2021, February 12-15:
1.) The Croods: A New Age (Uni) 1,890 theaters (-45), 3-day: $2.04M (+21%)/4-day: $2.66M/Total: $48.9M/Wk 12
2.) Judas and the Black Messiah (WB) 1,888 theaters, 3-day: $2M/4-day: $2.4M/Wk 1
3.) The Little Things (WB) 2,090 theaters (-116), 3-day: $2M (-5%)/4-day: $2.4M/Total: $10.6M/Wk 3
4.) The Marksman (Open) 1,825 theaters (-193)/3-day: $1.1M (+12%)/4-day: $1.325M/Total: $10.6M/Wk 5
5.) Wonder Woman 1984 (WB) 1,681 theaters (-137)/3-day: $1.1M (+22%)/4-day: $1.3M/Total: $41.8M/Wk 8
6.) Land (Focus) 1,231 theaters/3-day: $940K/4-day: $1.07M/Wk 1
7.) Monster Hunter (Sony) 1,366 theaters (-101) 3-day: $650K (+11%)/4-day: $750K/Total $12.7M/Wk 9
8.) News of the World (Uni) 1,243 theaters (-294), 3-day: $385K (-2%)/4-day: $443K/Total: $11.4M/Wk 8
9.) The War with Grandpa (101) 525 theaters (-5), 3-day: $180K (+15%)/4-day: $215K/Total: $20M/Wk 19
10.) Promising Young Woman (Focus) 733 theaters (-190), 3-day: $183K (-18%)/4-day: $210K/Total $4.9M/Wk 8
11.) Uppena (Telegu) 80 theaters, 3-day: $189K/4-day: $205K/Wk 1
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.