SUNDAY AM UPDATE, 2nd write-thru after midnight post: Crazy Rich Asians scored its best day at the box office since its Wednesday opening, with its $10.3M surging 42% over Friday’s take. Current weekend opening B.O. bling as of this morning for Jon M. Chu’s Asian romantic comedy stands at a stellar $25.2M, with $34M over five days. This is according to Warner Bros. For a contemporary comedy about Asians, starring Asians, and made by Asians, those numbers certainly rep an opening record.
What’s remarkable here is that there were no comps for the movie; maybe Girls Trip and maybe The Help, particularly the latter in how a best-selling book clicked with broad female audiences at the August B.O. Crazy Rich Asians will certainly make it to $100M like The Help (final domestic $169.7M). But the Asian comedy will get there via a different means, making the bulk of its moolah in metropolitan theaters. The Help played deep into the South, bolstered by church groups and African- American audiences. Crazy Rich Asians underscores that there is a definite demand from moviegoers for diverse story-telling, evident in a year that includes the awesome success of Black Panther ($700M) and even the $100.5M business for A Wrinkle in Time, that pic’s huge production cost aside.
“Crazy Rich Asians is a movie, a movement, a celebration — it’s all these things and getting into the cultural zeitgeist,” says Warner Bros. global marketing boss Blair Rich.
“The movie was a big leap of faith and Warner Bros. truly got behind the property in all departments and asked ‘How can we make this work?’ The movie is truly special and Jon M. Chu and Kevin Kwan have a gift and great sense of comic timing,” said Domestic distribution boss Jeff Goldstein.
Rich says that “marketing and distribution were in lockstep” in creating a cohesive, multi-cultural campaign that sold equally to Asian-American and general moviegoers, emphasizing the themes of love and family. “Distribution deserves credit for giving this movie a lot of run-room,” she adds. That Wednesday opening day for Crazy Rich Asians truly paid off.
Asian audiences in final PostTrak exits repped 38% of Crazy Rich Asians’ ticket buyers to 41% Caucasian. The former number as mentioned is phenomenally high next to Asian moviegoers turnout for live-action fare in recent years. According to PostTrak, those films that pulled in the biggest share of Asian moviegoers over the last three years include last year’s The Foreigner (18.4%), 2016’s Warcraft (11.9%), and 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (14%); mostly guy pics. Similar to last weekend with The Meg, Warner Bros. employed digital pushes over the last three days to target potential moviegoers and thus broaden the audience.
Current weekend ticket sales per ComScore are at $127.3M, +33% over a year ago, making it another up-weekend during summer’s most notoriously sluggish month. The annual B.O. is on the verge of cracking $8 billion through this weekend, pacing 8.9% ahead of the same January to mid-August period last year. With Crazy Rich Asians and The Meg on the marquee, we can thank Warner Bros. (and Paramount) for giving the August marketplace a pulse. Warner found ideal release dates for a high-gloss popcorn shark film, and a universally-relatable family comedy. August is the time for studios to take chances, and it’s why we see a number of awards-worthy titles make a splash here. Count Crazy Rich Asians in the kudo mix before the fall festival scene blasts off. The movie represents a true seminal moment for Asian-American cinema.
Last year’s August bottomed out at $661M, the lowest since 1997. ComScore reports that through the 15th of the month, August currently counts $463.6M, +17% over the same period a year ago ($397.4M).
The Meg scored a $9M second Saturday, +56% over Friday for a projected FSS of $21.1M, -53% for a 10-day of $83.7M. That’s a respectable hold for a genre movie, which, on average, declines 60% or greater in its second weekend. The shark’s global cume shot past the three-century mark with $314.1M.
STX’s Mile 22 is still low in third place with a $13.6M, which is STX’s number this morning. Saturday’s estimated $4.9M is -6% from Friday. Both Paramount and Sony are calling a tie for fourth place this morning. However, the industry sees the Tom Cruise ahead of the cave man pic by roughly $100K. Paramount/Skydance’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout saw $4.65M on Saturday, +55% over Friday, for a revised fourth weekend estimate of $10.5M, -46%, for a running total of $180.7M. Studio 8/Sony’s Alpha grossed an estimated $4.1M, +24% over Friday’s $3.3M, and putting its three-day at $10.5M; still, not a good enough start for this high $50M-budgeted Ice Age pic to justify a sequel titled Beta. We analyzed in a previous post what was lopsided about both Mile 22 and Alpha. Mile 22, for one, lost people with its unfamiliar title and its confusing trailer, so it’s no wonder that its domestic start is far below previous Peter Berg-Mark Wahlberg movies like Lone Survivor ($37.8M, $125M) and Deepwater Horizon ($20.2M, $61.4M final).
Paramount is celebrating Fallout clicking past the half billion mark at the global B.O., which puts the spy sixthquel past the total WW cumes of Mission: Impossible III ($397.9M) and the first Mission: Impossible ($457.7M), and close to taking over Mission: Impossible II ($546M). The fourth title, Ghost Protocol, remains the highest in the all-time Cruise franchise with $694.7M.
Here’s how the top 10 films played out according to studio estimates:
Hollywood is over the moon and celebrating the success of Crazy Rich Asians on social on Saturday. The cast and director Jon M. Chu are working nonstop throughout the weekend to share moviegoers’ love of the pic. But Crazy Rich Asians is also receiving high praise from Wrinkle in Time filmmaker Ava DuVernay and Jurassic World star Chris Pratt, the latter who was blown away by the packed auditorium where he watched the film last night. Crazy Rich Asians star Ken Jeong, meanwhile, rectified a situation after his sons decided to buy tickets to The Meg.
Check it all out:
2ND WRITE-THRU SATURDAY AM: Warner Bros.’ Crazy Rich Asians is still looking to best the studio’s shark movie The Meg for the top-spot at the weekend B.O., $22.4M to $19.8M. Crazy Rich Asians won Friday with $7.2M to Meg‘s $5.8M.
Should Saturday send Meg over the top for the three day crown, it’s still a win for Crazy Rich Asians. Here’s the first Hollywood studio movie in 25 years about westernized Asians, made by them, and starring them, and there’s a notable mass appeal for the film. There were hardly any B.O. comps for a romantic comedy like this, and Warner Bros. gets credit here for taking a chance, embracing and backing director Jon M. Chu’s vision of Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel, and cultivating a larger platform for inclusive story-telling. Warners released Crazy Rich Asians at 3,384 theaters knowing that the pic would play broadly, specifically to female audiences. The last big studio Asian drama, Sony’s Memoirs of a Geisha (directed by Rob Marshall), opened during the 2005 holiday awards season and never played beyond 1,700 theaters. By the end of Monday, Crazy Rich Asians will easily outstrip the entire domestic box office run of 1993’s The Joy Luck Club ($32.9M). Also, Crazy Rich Asians’ five-day start of $31.1M is a solid start in regards to the movie’s $30M production cost.
While key Asian-American metropolitan markets drove the pic’s opening day ticket sales on Wednesday, we hear that business has broadened. On Friday afternoon, we heard that the pic was over-indexing on the west coast in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. In updated ComScore/Screen Engine PostTrak polls, women at 68% rep the pic’s biggest audience, with the 25+ crowd turning out at 66%.
Also in PostTrak exits, Asian moviegoers repped 38% of Crazy Rich Asians’ audience to Caucasians’ 39%, the former being a huge number. Over the last three years, those live-action titles showing the biggest turnout by Asian moviegoers, per PostTrak, include 2017’s The Foreigner (18.4%), 2016’s Warcraft (11.9%), and 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (14%). Wednesday CinemaScore audiences gave the Chu-directed movie an A, while PostTrak, which polls throughout the weekend, shows a current four-and-a-half stars and overall 85% positive, with a 65% definite recommend.
With the top two pics this weekend, it’s an embarrassment of riches for Warner Bros., and it’s the fifth time this year that the Burbank lot has notched No. 1, after Ready Player One, Rampage, Ocean’s 8 and The Meg.
STX’s Mile 22 is close to being the lowest opening for a Peter Berg-Mark Wahlberg combo, with $13.9M per estimates this morning, well below the wide debut of their Lone Survivor ($37.8M, $125M) and Deepwater Horizon ($20.2M, $61.4M final), and just ahead of Patriots Day ($11.6M, $31.9M). Pic’s projected start is also below the high teens that some tracking services were spotting. Critics hate Mile 22 at 20% Rotten, calling this movie about “a black ops unit escorting a whistle-blower through dangerous streets” (Rolling Stone) confusing and a chaotic mess. It also doesn’t help that the film is following in the wake of the best-received and reviewed Mission: Impossible of all-time. Fallout is bound to be the highest-grossing title in the franchise of all-time stateside, passing Mission: Impossible II‘s $215M. This weekend the sixthquel soaked up $10.8M in fourth place, -44% in weekend 4. Yes, Mile 22 is beating Fallout, but that’s possibly $10M-plus that could be in STX’s pocket.
We hear that Mile 22 cost roughly 60% less than Berg-Wahlberg’s $118M Deepwater, which failed to come up for air at the global B.O. ($121.7M). Knowing STX, they likely covered more than half the budget in foreign sales, and spent less than the majors’ average P&A (in this case around an estimated $30M). Some distribution executives think that Mile 22 has a better chance of legging-out abroad, certainly better than Studio 8/Sony’s Alpha. However, at this start stateside, Mile 22 is nothing memorable theatrically. Any possible greater glory lives on in home entertainment, where these male genre action pics have a greater chance of nickels after running out of bullets at the B.O.; read this year’s STX’s Den of Thieves ($15.2M, $44.9M) and Lionsgate/Studio Canal’s The Commuter ($13.7M, $36.3M). Overall, CinemaScore is B- for Mile 22, which is lower than Patriots Day and Lone Survivor‘s A+ and Deepwater‘s A-. Mile 22 gets two-and-a-half stars on PostTrak and a 63% overall positive, with men 25+ repping 49% of its ticket-buyers.
With an estimated $9.4M in 6th place and a budget in the high $50Ms, Alpha is a bust. An opening in the high $20M sphere would have been considered safe. Nonetheless, the Ice Age adventure has hooked critics, with an 84% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. But note RT tends to skew in favor of auteurs, and this one reps Albert Hughes’s solo directorial sans twin brother Allen.
Critics such as Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman say that Alpha is “like a Disney adventure fueled by a higher octane of visual dazzle, with a gnarly texture wrought from elements like blood, excrement, and maggots”; that the movie is a “prehistoric eye-candy survival yarn.” However, Alpha is for critics, and not for the masses, evident in how moviegoers are voting with their wallets on this one — that B+ CinemaScore unlikely to make a difference here. The pic’s pace is slow, and we hear that the test scores were pretty bad.
Sony jumped this one around the calendar trying to make it work, initially on Sept. 15, 2017, then March 2 of this year, then Sept. 14 (a date that Studio 8’s White Boy Rick now owns following its TIFF premiere), and finally, this weekend. Given the great critical response here, it might have been a good idea to launch Alpha at a fall festival. If that option wasn’t available, it appears that Sony was aiming to grab whatever remnants were left of the out-of-school crowd (which, according to ComScore, declined from 82% last Friday to 57% yesterday for K-12). Recent TV spots are emphasizing the family facets of the film in its boy-meets-wolf tale, versus the intense adventure of the first trailer that dropped a year ago. One rival studio marketing executive says, “It’s definitely not for kids.” PostTrak shows general audiences making up 62% of Alpha’s crowd, to 25% kids and 13% parents. Males 25+ made up the largest segment at 28%, followed by females under 25 (25%), females 25+ (24%), and males under 25 (23%). RelishMix on the social buzz for Alpha: “Moviegoers are unconvinced by the action, the unknown cast, the cheesy looking effects and how similar this movie looks to other recent films – like 10,000 B.C.”
On the specialty side, Sony Pictures Classics’ The Wife from Bjorn Runge is showing the best theater average of the weekend, with an estimated $25,5K at four theaters, or $102K. The Orchard’s We the Animals is second with $21.6K at $65K at three locations. Jesse Peretz’s Juliet, Naked starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd, is earning $15.3K at four theaters for a FSS of $61K. Roadside Attractions, with Lionsgate, took US rights to the dramedy out of Sundance.
Industry estimates for the weekend of Aug. 17-19:
UPDATE FRIDAY AM: In early morning estimates, Warner Bros.’ Crazy Rich Asians brought in $3.76M, -26% from Wednesday’s $5M, and taking its two-day take to $8.7M. This puts the Jon M. Chu-directed romance pic on track for a $25M-$27M five-day opening. Over three days, Crazy Rich Asians is looking at $16M-$18M, which may not be enough to beat Warner Bros./China Gravity’s shark movie, The Meg, in week 2 which is projected to post around $20M.
Meg drew $3.2M yesterday, -6% from Wednesday’s $3.4M, and taking its first week’s cume to $62.6M. The studio’s opening day figure of $5M for Crazy Rich Asians was above the $4.8M-$4.9M that rivals were spotting. The pic which stars a huge ensemble casts which includes Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina and Ken Jeong to name a few was reportedly made for $30M before P&A.
STX Entertainment held previews for the Peter Berg-Mark Wahlberg combo Mile 22 earning $1M at 2,600 locations. Pic expands to 3,520 including plays in Imax, PLF, Dolby Vision, Marcus Super Screens and RPX, and is projected to do between $14M-$19M. In the film Wahlberg plays James “Jimmy” Silva, an operative of the CIA’s most highly prized and least-understood unit. Aided by a top-secret tactical command team, Silva must retrieve and transport an asset who holds life-threatening information to Mile 22 for extraction before the enemy closes in. The action pic unfortunately has the worst reviews ever for a Berg-Wahlberg combo at 24% Rotten, far under Patriots Day (80% fresh certified), Deepwater Horizon (83% certified fresh) and Lone Survivor 76% certified fresh). Stateside wide breaks and openings for team Berg-Walhberg: Lone Survivor ($37.8M, $125M), Deepwater ($20.2M, $61.4M final) and Patriots Day ($11.6M, $31.9M).
Studio 8/Sony’s Alpha took in $525K for Thursday night previews starting at 5 p.m. in 2,303 locations. Tracking has the Ice Age adventure pic between $7M-$8M. The movie cost in the high $50Ms before P&A. Logline for Alpha: a young man struggles to return home after being separated from his tribe during a buffalo hunt.
UPDATE, THURSDAY AM: Warner Bros. is reporting that Crazy Rich Asians grossed $5M on its opening day with a super solid A CinemaScore. PostTrak exits show 85% overall positive, 4 1/2 stars and a great 68% definite recommend. This adjusts the 5-day box office to between $23M-$25M.
On CinemaScore there was a 68% turnout by females, and 32% males, both who gave the Jon M. Chu-directed movie an A. The under 18 bunch who turned up at 12% loved Crazy Rich Asians the most with an A+ while 66% over 25 gave the movie an A. Over 50 demo who turned out at 17% graded the movie an A-. PostTrak, which updates exit polls throughout the weekend, last night saw a 42% turnout from females over 25, with the second biggest demo being females under 25 at 24%. Asian audiences turned out in a huge way at 44%, while Caucasians repped 32%, African Americans 11% and Hispanic 10%.
We hear that the best markets for Crazy Rich Asians were New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Seattle, San Diego, Austin, Honolulu, Toronto and Vancouver.
Meanwhile, the studio’s Chinese co-production The Meg took second place on Wednesday with $3.4M, -43% from Tuesday’s $6M for a six-day running total of $59.4M. Box office analysts believe that Crazy Rich Asians can upset the shark for a weekend win around $20M. Still TBD. It will be close.
STX Entertainment’s Mile 22 is opening tomorrow and holding previews tonight. Tracking has the movie in the high teens. Studio 8/Sony’s Ice Age adventure Alpha is also opening, and expected to do between $6M-$8M.
PREVIOUS, WEDNESDAY: Warner Bros’ fantastic week at the box office continued with the Wednesday opening of Crazy Rich Asians. Early midday estimates show a $6 million-plus start, which would put the watershed film on a course for a $28M-$29M five-day total, and around $19M for Friday-Sunday.
The studio didn’t hold previews last night for Crazy Rich Asians because today is technically like a preview more or less. A week ago at 354 locations, Warners held sneaks for the Jon M. Chu-directed movie, which earned $450K-$500K. Crazy Rich Asians is the first studio-made movie (not acquisition or classic unit release) in 25 years to feature a mostly Western Asian cast, the last being 1993’s Joy Luck Club.
The studio’s China Gravity co-production The Meg is staying solid, looking at a projected $4M today after a $6M Tuesday that was 33% above Monday. Total cume through six days is estimated at $60M. On a local level, Regal’s first ScreenX auditorium is opening Friday at the Edwards Irvine Spectrum and will be showing the shark pic. ScreenX is a 270-degree, three-screen format that makes Cinerama Dome look like child’s play. It’s the first CJ 4DPlex’s ScreenX expansion into the U.S. in partnership with Regal’s exhib parent Cineworld.
The release of The Meg in ScreenX is part of a larger agreement with Warner Bros to release several of the studio’s upcoming titles in the format including The Nun, Aquaman and Shazam!
While Fandango already reported that advance ticket sales for Crazy Rich Asians were beating Girls Trip at the same point in time before that pic’s opening, Atom Tickets shows that the Warner Bros pic is outpacing Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again by 16%, in addition to Girls Trip, in presales.
In a recent survey of Atom users, 65% of the respondents are planning to see Crazy Rich Asians on the big screen despite the fact that only 8% of intended moviegoers read the book by Kevin Kwan. In an Atom poll, moviegoers said they plan on seeing the movie with their significant other (38%) or friends (32%), while 12% plan to see the movie solo.