SUNDAY AM WRITETHRU after Saturday PM update: What did this weekend prove at the box office?
It’s not just about tentpoles.
The overall champs of the weekend were lower-budgeted releases, with Universal’s Cocaine Bear trampling its teen projections with $23.09M, and Lionsgate’s Jesus Revolution turning water into cash with $15.5M after being initially forecast in the $6M-$7M range.
However, both movies had something that propelled audiences: They had sticky titles. It doesn’t get much better than Cocaine Bear and Jesus in your movie titles when it comes to creating want-to-see marketing.
Los Angeles, despite being drenched and snowed upon,didn’t falter when it came to Cocaine Bear, the market +7.6% from its 52-week norm.
Not all animals-maul-people movies outside of sharks and King Kong open to great heights. Read Paramount’s alligator movie Crawl ($12M) and Uni’s Idris Elba lion movie, Beast ($11.5M). However, Cocaine Bear was different. She wasn’t all horror or serious, but had campy comedy. Audiences noticed that promptly in the trailer, and saw that it was a movie they could have fun with for an hour and 35 minutes. The pic also pawed another $5.3M abroad in 50 markets for a global start of $28.4M. While AMC, Regal, and Cinemark naturally led all circuits, Alamo Drafthouse was 100% over its 52-week norm with the title, leaning into it with their fanboy demos.
Said Universal Domestic Distribution chief Jim Orr, “This is a tremendous debut for Cocaine Bear, an outrageous comedy so well-crafted by director Elizabeth Banks. Audiences across North America were eager to see this original, hysterical film that continues what is shaping up to be a very good year at the domestic box office.”
Other top markets for Cocaine Bear included NYC, Chicago (+10% over 52 week norm), Dallas, San Francisco, DC, Philly, Atlanta, Boston (+10% over 52 week norm), and Phoenix. Detroit overperformed with Cocaine Bear by 25%. Northeast and West coast were the overindexing regions.
Jesus Revolution is a faith-based win for Lionsgate, as it looks to have a better 2023 stateside than it did in 2022. It’s director Jon Erwin’s (who directed here) fourth A+ CinemaScore of his career, after American Underdog, I Can Only Imagine, and Woodlawn. Lionsgate built word of mouth through several word of mouth church and university screenings, as well as an outreach to contemporary Christian musicians. Am hearing the movie was screened over 150x.
Tracking only saw this movie at the single digits? How did they miss this? The theory is that tracking only polled those people who had been to theaters in recent movies. That said, it’s been a while since the faith-based crowd has had a wide release like this. It’s mostly been short-run Fathom Events. Not just that, but the pic’s soundtrack is a huge magnet here as well for its followers, and Kelsey Grammer’s star power didn’t hurt. Also, Jesus Revolution stars Jonathan Roumie, who played Jesus in Angel Studios’ $34M-grossing franchise The Chosen; he’s a very popular faith-based star. Huge amount of walk-up business here with Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak showing 74% of those seeing the movie either bought their ticket the day of or the day before.
Lionsgate is already hearing from exhibition about repeat business over the weekend. And the definite recommend here on PostTrak is — well, miraculous, at 90%. You never see that on any movie, including MCU and Star Wars titles. The pic was 97% positive on PostTrak. Females over 25 led (54%), men over 25 (37%), females under 25 (6%), and guys under 25 at 3%. Can we get an Amen?
Disney/Marvel’s official numbers for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania still show the worst drop for an MCU title at -69, with $32.2M after an estimated $14.6M Saturday, +76%, for a running total of $167.2M in first place.
How will Marvel post-mortem this? Aren’t they already “plus-ing” with every movie they make?
One insider close to the film isn’t worried, telling us, “Marvel takes something away from movie including Black Panther, including Avengers. I can say we’re incredibly proud of the film, Jonathan Majors does a fantastic job as Kang. It’s the movie we wanted to make. Box office is what it is. But it’s not going to stop people from going back to the theaters.”
Overall weekend looks to be around $91.6M for all movies, +47% from a year ago, but off 29% from the same frame in 2019, when Uni’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World led with $55M, and the second weekend of Alita: Battle Angel did $12.3M.
1.) Ant-man and the Wasp Quantumania (Dis) 4,345 theaters, Fri $8.3M (-82%) Sat $14.6M Sun $9.3M 3-day $32.2M (-70%), Total $167.3M/Wk 2
2.) Cocaine Bear (Uni) 3,534 theaters, Fri $8.65M, Sat $8.8M Sun $5.5M 3-day $23.09M/Wk 1
3.) Jesus Revolution (LG) 2,475 theaters, Fri $6.95M (includes $3.3M previews) Sat $4.7M Sun $3.8M 3-day $15.5M/Wk 1
4.) Avatar: The Way of Water (Dis) 2,495 theaters (-180), Fri $1.1M (-19%) Sat $2.3M Sun $1.3M 3-day $4.7M (-28%)Total $665.3M /Wk 11
5.) Puss in Boots: Last Wish (Uni) 2,840 theaters (-172), Fri $900K (-26%) Sat $1.95M Sun $1.27M 3-day $4.1M (-23%), Total $173.4M/Wk 10
6.) Magic Mike’s Last Dance (WB) 2,918 (-116) theaters,Fri $905K (-46%) Sat $1.23M Sun $865K 3-day $3M (-45%) total $23.2M/Wk 3
7.) Knock at the Cabin (Uni) 2,115 (-486) theaters, Fri $520K (-49%) Sat $870K Sun $480K 3-day $1.87M (-53%) Total $33.9M /Wk 4
8.) 80 for Brady (Par) 2,397 (-722) theaters, Fri $480K (-52%) Sat $820K Sun $530K 3-day $1.83M (-51%)/Total $36.4M/Wk 4
9.) Missing (Sony) 1,006 (-510) theaters, Fri $263K Sat $485K Sun $262K 3 day $1M (-41%) Total $31.4M/Wk 6
10.) A Man Called Otto (Sony) 1,118 (-607) theaters, Fri $217K Sat $391K Sun $242K 3-day $850K (-47%) Total $62.2M/Wk 9
SATURDAY WRITETHRU after Friday PM post: A Marvel movie is losing gravity in its second weekend atop the box office, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania clocking the worst second frame drop ever for an MCU title at -70% to -72%. That’s while two lower-budgeted releases outstrip their projections.
We’re talking Universal’s Elizabeth Banks-directed genre movie, Cocaine Bear, and Lionsgate’s Kingdom Story Company faith-based title, Jesus Revolution, which respectively open to $21.2M (original projection high teens) and an estimated $14.5M (first projected at high single digits). Both are great results in regards to their production costs; Cocaine Bear budgeted in the low $30Ms, while Jesus Revolution cost just under $15M.
Those tepid audience exits and B CinemaScore are certainly impacting Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The second weekend drop here for Ant-Man 3 beats that of Ang Lee’s Hulk (-69.7%), Black Widow (-67.8% which was schackled by a theatrical day-and-date release) and Thor: Love and Thunder‘s -67.7%). The movie is expected to do $30M-$32M this weekend. One could say, ‘Hey, Marvel, gotta make ’em better’, but this Ant-Man threequel saw the best opening ever, and the severe plummet here indicates front-loaded business. That said, there’s no want-to-see for repeat viewing.
Universal’s Cocaine Bear is overperforming, despite a B- CinemaScore (M3GAN had a B). The studio won Friday with $8.65M to Ant-Man 3‘s $8.3M (read the review). Very, very good results. Let’s hope nobody gets too grossed out by all those body parts tonight, which is when a horror film either buckles or overindexes. Uni and rival projections aren’t expecting a bloody situation. Remember this is R-rated, while M3GAN was PG-13, which debuted to $30.4M and will stand at $94.5M by EOD Sunday (and the movie is also available on PVOD and Uni streaming service Peacock). Cocaine Bear is a reunion of sorts for The Americans castmates Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and Margo Martindale.
Cocaine Bear‘s opening blows away many leading bear protagonist movies, including Jean-Jacques Annaud’s 1988 The Bear ($2.9M opening), The Care Bears Movie ($3.7M), Paddington ($18.9M), and the Alec Baldwin-Anthony Hopkins thriller, The Edge ($7.7M).
But seriously — what’s amazing here with Universal pulling this off is that the animal-devour-humans subgenre is tricky: We know these types of movies work with sharks and gorillas (specifically King Kong), but not so much with alligators and lions. Universal had a lion-eats-man movie this past summer in Idris Elba’s Beast. It only opened to $11.5M, and legged out to $31.8M (the movie got a B CinemaScore). Universal didn’t make the lion front and center in one-sheets, which is the opposite of what they’ve done here, putting villain Cokey the Bear in all one sheets, ala a Sin City poster design. Very millennial retro.
Also interesting in Cocaine Bear‘s potential over-performance: There’s no Cokey the Bear dancing meme going on here, like there was with Uni’s TikTok dancing doll M3GAN sensation.
Cokey’s splash on social media, including Twitter and TikTok, came when it was reported that 3.5 tons of cocaine was discovered in the Pacific Ocean off of New Zealand, and “Cocaine Shark” became a hot trending topic over the course of the day. Cokey wasted no time jumping into the conversation, including a reply by AMC Theaters for a Bear/Shark showdown. That exchange received more than 50,000 views and 1,000 likes.
The campaign for Cocaine Bear launched its first trailer on Nov. 30, 2022, which notched more than 90M global views to date and was the #4 trending topic on Twitter and YouTube, generating nearly 200 global editorial stories and reactions. The trailer ran in theaters in front of Universal’s Violent Night and the 2023 breakout sensation from Blumhouse, Atomic Monster and Universal M3GAN.
RelishMix says that Cocaine Bear‘s social media awareness levels were strong heading into the weekend, standing at 148.8M coming off of a Super Bowl spot from pre-game and a lift of 14.9M across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and a dedicated TikTok channel for the movie with 175K fans.
On the way to Super Bowl, @cocainebear continued commenting on popular culture, first by welcoming the Big Game with an image of her snorting up the white lines on the field that was picked up widely, amassing 67K likes, 5000 retweets, and more than 2.5 million views across social media.
TV spots also ran across AFC & NFC Championship Games, NBA, WWE Raw, NCAAB, Premier League, UFC 284 Sponsorship, NHL, Liga MX, UEFA Champions League and shows such as The Bachelor, American Auto, Celebrity Special Forces, Bob’s Burgers, 9-1-1 Lonestar, and the Snowfall premiere.
On digital and social, there was also a retro 1980s style PSA, This Is A Bear On Drugs, along with a helpful online video, Tips for Encountering A Bear, hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Margo Martindale. A Rise of Pablo Escobear 8Bit Game launched, whereby users become Cocaine Bear chasing victims around in a Pac-man inspired game.
Updated exits for Cocaine Bear are 80% on PostTrak and a 67% recommend. Guy leaning at 58%, 65% between 18-34 with diversity demos of 45% Caucasian, strong 28% Latino and Hispanic, 13% Black, and 14% Asian/other. Much like in the 80s, Cocaine was most popular on the coasts in the big cities where eight of the top ten runs came from. Ant-Man 3 had all of the IMAX and most of the PLFs, but Uni snagged 105 PLFS which is driving 3% of ticket sales to date.
Lionsgate’s Jesus Revolution has a 99% Rotten Tomatoes audience score, trampling its 56% rotten (read the review) reviews, which don’t matter with its faith-based audience. Lionsgate can also praise the almighty on this film as it earned an A+ CinemaScore with great PostTrak exits with 97% positive and 89% recommend.
Does Lionsgate have another I Can Only Imagine on its hands? It appear so. Jon Erwin codirected both movies. That 2018 movie opened to $17.1M and legged out to a 4.8 multiple, with $83.4M stateside. Jesus Revolution’s two-day gross saw AMC leading in ticket sales (26%), with Regal not far behind at 23% and Cinemark third at 18%.
Jesus Revolution pulled in 59% women, 80% over 35, 68% over 45, and 53% over 55 years old. Diversity demos were 64% Caucasian, 21% Latino and Hipanic, 5% Black and 10% Asian/other. Yes, Jesus was popular in the Midwest and South, the Bible belt, where five of the top theaters were. However, there were followers on the West coast, where another top five top theaters hailed form, including No. 1 at the Spectrum in Irvine. Jesus didn’t chart high in NYC, with the city’s top grossing theater being the Union Square, no. 55 in the pic’s run.
The 2023-to-date box office is already over $1 billion, standing at $1.07 billion by end of Sunday, +46% over last year’s Jan. 1-Feb. 26 period.
Saturday AM estimates:
1.) Ant-man and the Wasp Quantumania (Dis) 4,345 theaters, Fri $8.3M (-82%) 3-day $30M-$32M (-70% to -72%), Total $165M-$167M/Wk 2
2.) Cocaine Bear (Uni) 3,534 theaters, Fri $8.65M, 3-day $21.2M/Wk 1
3.) Jesus Revolution (LG) 2,475 theaters, Fri $6.95M (includes $3.3M previews) 3-day $14.5M/Wk 1
4.) Avatar: The Way of Water (Dis) 2,495 theaters (-180), Fri $1.1M (-19%) 3-day $4.8M (-27%)Total $665.4M /Wk 11
5.) Puss in Boots: Last Wish (Uni) 2,840 theaters (-172), Fri $890K (-27%) 3-day $4M (-24%), Total $173.3M/Wk 10
6.) Magic Mike’s Last Dance (WB) 2,918 (-116) theaters,Fri $905K (-46%) 3-day $2.7M (-50%) total $22.98M/Wk 3
7.) Knock at the Cabin (Uni) 2,115 (-486) theaters, Fri $510K (-50%) 3-day $1.77M (-55%) Total $33.8M /Wk 4
8.) 80 for Brady (Par) 2,397 (-722) theaters, Fri $480K (-52%) 3-day $1.7M (-55%)/Total $36.3M/Wk 4
9.) Missing (Sony) 1,006 (-510) theaters, Fri $260K (-39%) 3 day $1M (-41%) Total $31.4M/Wk 6
10.) A Man Called Otto (Sony) 1,118 (-607) theaters, Fri $215K (-47%) 3-day $810K (-49%) Total $62.2M/Wk 9
FRIDAY AM: Universal’s campy R-rated genre pic Cocaine Bear from Elizabeth Banks lifted $2M last night from previews at 3,000 theaters that began at 5 p.m.
The $30M-budgeted movie, in a weekend that easily will be dominated by Disney/Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with an estimated $40M (-62%), is set to do in the high teens, pulling in guys (62% last night) and the 18-34 crowd (who showed up at 72%) at 3,534 theaters.
Any overindexing would be a surprise. The pic already has alright exits with 82% from Rotten Tomatoes’ audiences and four stars on ComScore and Screen Engine’s PostTrak and 72% fresh from critics. Uni/Blumhouse’s winter horror hit M3GAN was 94% certified fresh from Rotten Tomatoes critics, 78% with the aggregator site’s audiences, a B CinemaScore and 3 1/2 stars on PostTrak. Last night’s ticket sales are higher than the $1.1M previews of Universal’s Violent Night (which opened to $13.4M in December and legged out to $49.8M stateside) and they’re just under M3GAN‘s $2.75M, which turned into an $11.7M Friday, $30.4M opening.
Cocaine Bear is inspired by a 1985 true story when cocaine went missing in a Georgia forest after a drug runner’s plane crash, with a black bear gobbling the goods. In the movie, the beast goes on a rampage, taking out cops, criminals and hikers. WETA was involved in the CG creation of Cokey the bear, the main protag here.
Lionsgate is opening wide its faith-based title, Jesus Revolution, which already has five stars and 85% definite recommend on PostTrak. We heard that the studio pulled in an estimated $2M from Wednesday previews alone. Lionsgate is reporting $940K from last night’s previews for a lump sum of $3.3M since Wednesday. Tracking had this Kingdom Story Company movie in the single digits, but it potentially could hit $10M at 2,475 locations.
Logline: In the 1970s, young Greg Laurie (Joel Courtney) is searching for all the right things in all the wrong places — until he meets Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie), a charismatic hippie street preacher. Together with Pastor Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer), they open the doors of Smith’s languishing church to an unexpected revival of radical and newfound love, leading to what Time magazine called a “Jesus Revolution.”
While Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania got juice from the Presidents Day Monday with $14.2M, discount Tuesday wasn’t so robust, with only $7M this past week. Wednesday was $3.8M, but yesterday eased only 3% for $3.7M getting the Peyton Reed-directed sequel to a first week of $135M at 4,345 theaters.
20th Century Studio/Disney/Lightstorm’s Thursday for Avatar: The Way of Water was around a half-million, +2% for a 10th week of $9.7M at 2,675 and running total of $660.6M.
Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Oscar-nominated Puss in Boots: The Last Wish saw an estimated $432K ninth Thursday, +3% and a week of $8.5M for a $169.3M running total.
The second Thursday of Warner Bros.’ Magic Mike’s Last Dance (read the review) posted $405K, -3% from Wednesday for a second week of $7.6M and running total of $20.2M at 3,034 venues.
Paramount’s 80 for Brady (read the review) booked at 3,199 theaters, grossed $409K in fifth place on Thursday for a near $6M third week, $34.6M running total.
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