After two weekends without any major-studio wide releases amid Omicron fears, Paramount and Lionsgate will try to lure moviegoers back with Jackass Forever and Centropolis Entertainment’s Moonfall, respectively
Exhibition hopefully will see more traffic after the Northeast experienced cabin fever from winter storm Kenan last weekend. Rolling winter-into-spring breaks don’t go into effect until February 18, per Comscore’s school calendar; that’s when 22% of K-12 schools are off and 8% of colleges. This Friday, it’s just 1% K-12 off and 2% colleges. Having Ontario movie theaters in Canada reopened with concessions doesn’t hurt, however, that only works in Jackass Forever‘s advantage as Moonfall won’t be playing in the Great White North this weekend.
Right now it’s looking like mid-teen millions for the Jeff Tremaine-directed Jackass Forever at No. 1 in 3,590 theaters. The movie is tracking with males under 25, but younger females are showing some decent interest as well.
The reality-stunt franchise, first born on MTV nearly 22 years ago, has spawned three movies and a “Presents” comedy production, Bad Grandpa. Altogether they’ve grossed $487.4M worldwide, with the highest-grossing title stateside being 2010’s Jackass 3D, with a $50.3M opening and $117.2M U.S./Canada haul.
These movies are a massive cash cow for Viacom. Jackass Forever cost $10M before P&A. Similar to the way it handled Scream, Paramount didn’t want to go day-and-date in theaters and on Paramount+ with this title, teeing it off in cinemas first as the filmmakers wanted. There are 7 p.m. showtimes Tuesday for AMC Investor Connect members, with the second set of previews at 7 p.m. Thursday. No Rotten Tomatoes critic ratings yet, but the Jackass movies outside of the first 2002 title (49% Rotten) typically have scored low 60% fresh grades.
Roland Emmerich’s independently financed $146M sci-fi disaster movie Moonfall starring Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, Michael Pena, John Bradley, Donald Sutherland, Kelly Yu and Charlie Plummer, will debut in 3,400 theaters. Lionsgate took domestic rights for a low-eight-figure MG, and its on the hook for P&A, which is a $30M+ spend at minimum. Exhibition, I hear, is seeing $8M-$11M, and if the movie overperforms, it’s in the $13M-$15M range. Males and females under 25 have the most interest, but older guys really are the core quad here. Sony moving Marvel’s Morbius to April 1 helps Moonfall‘s business; that Jared Leto picture previously was scheduled for last Friday, January 28. That release-date change also put Moonfall in a position to absorb all of Morbius’ Imax auditoriums.
The pre-pandemic comp is Emmerich’s former creative partner Dean Devlin’s 2017 Geostorm, which opened to $13.7M domestic and finaled at $33.7M but did close to 85% of its global $221.6M abroad. There’s also Emmerich’s previous AGC/Lionsgate WWII movie, 2019’s Midway, which opened to $17.8M, finaled at $56.8M domestic and $127.4M WW. That movie, I understand, did very well in ancillaries during the pandemic as older audiences watched it during lockdown.
Hitting high numbers abroad for Moonfall a la Geostorm is a tall order, with some Asian markets still closed and certain Euro territories operating theaters at 50% capacity rates. China definitely will be releasing the movie in the near future as Huayi Brothers financed about $40M of the production. Centropolis, AGC and CAA sold out Moonfall worldwide at Cannes 2019. Other foreign distributors include Entertainment Film Distributors in the UK, Leonine in Germany and Switzerland, Metropolitan in France, Sun in Latin America and Spain, IIF in Italy, Roadshow in Australia, Kino Film in Japan, Noori Pictures in South Korea, Central Partnership in Russia, and DFW in Benelux.
Production financing was provided by East West Bank as agent along with MUFG Union Bank. SPG3 Entertainment provided key funding for the production’s Covid safety protocols. CAA Media Finance with co-head Roeg Sutherland and Casey Sunderland helped arrange financing from SPG3. The pic was shot in Montreal with the support of the Quebec government (that province will have to wait to see the movie when its cinemas reopen on February 7).
Moonfall showtimes begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, though there were some paid previews last weekend for AMC Investor Connect and other circuits, which were trying to weather a frame without fresh product.
Critics’ scores aren’t available yet on Moonfall. They aren’t expected to be great, but Lionsgate is banking on general-audience reactions, which have been positive in test screenings.
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