The female demographic has shown to be one of the more reluctant to return to cinemas during the pandemic, but that is about to change this weekend with Paramount’s The Lost City, which is eyeing a mid-$20M start, possibly $30M+, at 4,228 theaters. The pic is 89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum-Brad Pitt-Daniel Radcliffe romantic adventure comedy is the first of six major studio releases, one of which will open wide every Friday through April 22. Remember how vibrant October was with a major opener every weekend? Well, that’s what’s in the cards as we head into spring with Sony/Marvel’s Morbius on April 1, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on April 8, Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore on April 15 and two on April 22: Lionsgate’s Nicolas Cage satire The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys.
‘The Lost City’ SXSW Review: Sandra Bullock And Channing Tatum Make Slapstick Comedy Look Good
Morbius, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Fantastic Beasts 3 stand to open to at least $50M, I hear. This all before Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness lights the summer box office on fire.
Exhibitors and rival distributors are hopeful that The Lost City finally will draw in female audiences. On Monday, NRG reported that moviegoers’ comfort levels during the pandemic are at an all-time high, with 83% being very or somewhat comfortable. Also, women over 35, who are part of Lost City‘s target, grew to 78% very or somewhat comfortable level, +3 points from a week ago. Women under 35, also a hot audience for the film from directors Aaron and Adam Nee, stand at 88% positive in regards to being very or somewhat comfortable at the cinema now, while men over 35, who are expected to tag along with their wives or dates, stand at 79%.
Back over Valentine’s Day weekend, two female-centric movies didn’t exactly dazzle in their openings: 20th Century Studio’s Death on the Nile ($12.8M opening) and Universal’s Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson romantic comedy Marry Me, which was further reduced by its same-day availability on the paid tier of streaming service Peacock; that title debuted to $7.9M.
For the most part, the female demographic in the current pandemic marketplace hasn’t had a lot of direct content targeting in what has largely been filled with male-heavy action/sci-fi/comic book titles. What’s been noticeable about female moviegoers’ tendencies during Covid is that while they’re more comfortable about heading back to theaters, they’re still aware of the risk and often look to avoid busy showtimes or even attend during a pic’s opening weekend.
‘The Lost City’ Directors The Nee Brothers On Winning Over Sandra Bullock & Landing ‘Masters Of The Universe’ Gig With A ‘Bumblebee’ Reel – SXSW Crew Call Podcast
The Lost City made its world premiere at SXSW on March 12, where the movie played like gangbusters with lots of laughs and applause, punctuated by Bullock, Radcliffe and the Nee Brothers showing up.
Paramount held paid sneaks with Fandango over the weekend, the money from which will be rolled into the Thursday night previews that kick off at 4 p.m.
Other things to look out for this weekend: Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home will hit $800M, a nice round number and still the third-highest domestic box office after 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936.6M) and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame ($858.3M).
Warner Bros.’ The Batman made close to $3M in its third Monday yesterday, -70% from Sunday for a current U.S./Canada cume of $303M. The Matt Reeves-directed DC superhero title is estimated to make $20M in weekend 4, -46%.
Also opening this weekend is A24’s martial arts fantasy Everything Everywhere All at Once from the Daniels, which also played through the roof at SXSW on the fest’s opening night, and Sony Pictures Classics’ British period romance Mothering Sunday in New York and Los Angeles.
Bleecker Street has the Malgorzata Szumowska directed movie Infinite Storm going nationwide. Pic stars Naomi Watts as a climber who gets caught in a blizzard. She encounters a stranded stranger and must get them both down the mountain before nightfall.
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