7th Writethru, Monday AM after Sunday, Saturday, Friday night, and mid-day write-thrus: Warner Bros.’ Crazy Rich Asians continues to be extremely robust. While industry estimates had the romantic comedy at $30M over four days in its third weekend, it’s now looking like $28.3M, with Warner Bros. reporting $22.1M for three-days, down a sweet 11%, on its way to $117M.
Many have been using The Help as a comp for Crazy Rich Asians, since that was another feature based on a female-targeted book. However, the Jon M. Chu-directed movie is outstripping that pic and will ultimately reach $175M, maybe more. Help ended its stateside run at $169.7M, and Crazy Rich Asians is $300K shy of overhauling the entire domestic run Lee Daniel’s The Butler ($116.6M).
Crazy Rich Asians four-day Labor Day haul is bigger than Help‘s ($19.9M), and Lee Daniel’s The Butler ($20.2M), two August releases aimed at adults which crossed over and became mass-appealing successes. At this point in time, we hear that Los Angeles and San Francisco is the strongest playing ground for Crazy Rich Asians, with some great numbers coming out of New York and Washington D.C. The flyover states cash for the film isn’t bad, we hear, but not at the same levels as what we just mentioned. That said, there is some broadening in markets such as Baltimore, Houston, Salt Lake City, Hartford, Cincinnati and Harrisburg, PA. Without the Crazy Rich Asians phenomenon, it would just be another sleepy Labor Day weekend at the B.O.
Warner Bros. owns the top two spots for a third weekend (and a No. 1 rank for the fourth consecutive weekend) thanks to The Meg’s second place take in weekend four of $10.5M, -18%, and $13.4M over four days for a running cume stateside of $123.4M. Thanks to Meg, Crazy Rich Asians, and, yes, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, August collected $855.3M, which though not a $1 billion month like 2014 and 2016, is a 29% surge over last August’s recession of $661.2M, the worst since 1997. Warner Bros. drove 26% of last August’s B.O. Next weekend with New Line’s The Nun, which is expected to draw between $35M-$40M, Warners will own the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office for five weeks in a row.
Labor Day weekend ticket sales from Friday to Monday per ComScore came in at $125.5M, the 11th best ever, which is a whopping 28% spike over last year’s holiday gutter of $97.8M, when distributors refused to release any new titles wide. However, the best Labor Day holiday stretch belongs to 2013, which racked up $161.9M, led by Lee Daniel’s The Butler in its third weekend ($20.2M four-day), along with four other titles (One Direction: This Is Us, We’re the Millers, Planes, and Instructions Not Included), which each grossed in the eight-digit range, thus providing more depth to the summer finale marketplace.
MGM’s $20M-budgeted political thriller Operation Finale, working off OK reviews of 61% fresh, is owning fourth place, with a revised three-day of $6M, four-day of $7.8M, and a six-day run of $9.5M. That’s just under another Labor Day political thriller, The Constant Gardener, which accrued $10.9M in four days, $12.7M in six. CinemaScore audiences gave the pic an A- on its opening Wednesday. The Chris Weitz-directed movie drew 51% males, with 65% over 35, 48% over 45. PostTrak exits for the 55+ crowd were 86% in the top two boxes, with a 65% recommend. Operation Finale was big in the big cities, led by the East Coast with New York, Los Angeles, Philly, DC, and Miami being the top.
Sony’s expansion of its indie acquisition Searching is now targeting $6.1M over three-days, and revised higher take of $7.65M over four-days, for 6th place and a $8.1M running total. The Asian-American community, after propelling Crazy Rich Asians to a #GoldOpen, has also thrown their passionate support behind this title and rented theaters. Despite last weekend’s A- CinemaScore in nine locations, PostTrak exit polls indicated only a 78% overall positive for the Asian American thriller with three-and-a-half stars. Pic drew females over 25 (37%), males over 25 (31%), females under 25 (17% who enjoyed the pic the most at 79% positive), males under 25 (15%). Caucasians repped 51% of Searching‘s audience followed by 20% Asian, 16% Hispanic, and 7% African American.
Crashing to earth this weekend is Lionsgate’s sci-fi Dennis Quaid-James Franco-Zoe Kravitz family pic Kin, which is being turned to moon dust with a $3M three-day and $3.66M four-day. A lot of this feels like Labor Day deja vu all over again. Remember when Fox released the Ridley Scott-produced sci-fi horror Morgan over the holiday two years ago? Like Kin, which has a 35% Rotten Tomatoes score, Morgan was pummeled by critics and went belly-up over four days, with a $2.5M opening and final domestic of $3.9M. The only difference is that CinemaScore crowds enjoyed Kin a bit better than Morgan, B+ to C+. On PostTrak, Kin only received two-and-a-half stars and 63% overall positive. Men 25+ turned up at 32% followed by females 25+ at 28%.
Lionsgate acquired Kin pre-packaged. We hear it’s a slow film and word is Lionsgate kept their P&A spend low here and focused ~$15M, knowing the tepid response. They’re bound to lose dollars. Some cast members like Kravitz (not Franco, who has a small role) actually promoted the film. The pic had to go wide so as to trigger its output deals, and given how a genre of any size (big or small) has a presence over Labor Day, it’s the best weekend for this film to catch any flies, even if it’s tanking, especially before New Line’s The Nun takes over next weekend with a now $40M-plus start.
Faring better for Lionsgate in its limited run is its Pantelion title Ya Veremos, which has already logged $9.9M in Mexico alone. Playing at 369 venues, the Pitipol Ybarra-directed drama is looking at a three-day of $1.8M and four-day of $2.2M, for a $6,1K theater average (versus Kin‘s $1,7K average). Pantelion historically has stoked family Hispanic audiences over the holiday frame, going back to 2013’s Instructions Not Included, which was a huge hit, amassing $44.4M stateside. In Ya Veremos, a pre-teen boy is weathering his parents’ divorce. A sudden operation to prevent his blindness turns out to be the child’s only hope of keeping his family together. The drama stars Fernanda Castillo and Mauricio Ochmann, who are both extremely popular film and television stars, but they have never been on-screen together. Pantelion is leveraging the pic’s Mexican success stateside while capitalizing on the duo’s pairing. As such, the studio has kept them together for every interview –including co-hosting national TV and radio shows– in a nine-city grassroots promo tour.
Two aging movie stars remain in their prime at the box office, as Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout jumps to $206.3M, the third-best in the franchise stateside behind Mission: Impossible II ($215.4M), and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol ($209.3M). Also, by Monday, Sony’s Denzel Washington title Equalizer 2 will finally cross the century mark ($100.7M), becoming the 13th title to do so this summer. For Washington, it’s his first sequel, and his sixth $100M-plus grossing title on his resume. For director Antoine Fuqua, it’s his second title to cross $100M after the first Equalizer. The sequel here repped the director’s best domestic opening of his career with $36M, and, if you remember, the pic shockingly beat Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again on its opening weekend after several forecasts predicted the ABBA musical sequel the anticipated champ of the July 20-22 weekend. Another milestone? Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2 shot past the six century mark with $602.3M, the pic has been the highest grossing animated title both on a domestic and global basis for a while.
Marvel Studios 10th Anniversary Film Festival, which is being hosted by Imax in 210 locations, looks to draw $396K over three-days, $509K over four-days in revised Monday figures. All 20 titles in the canon are being shown with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America: The First Avenger getting the Imax treatment for the first time.
Focus Features has the drama horror period feature The Little Stranger from Room director Lenny Abrahamson. Domhnall Gleeson and Ruth Wilson star in this story about a country doctor in 1948 who is called to tend to a patient in the manor where his mother once worked. He soon learns that the family’s story is intertwined with his own. The pic has a 61% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes (not the strongest), and the pic is earning an estimated $400K at 474 locations and $480K over four-days.
Studio-reported Labor Day weekend figures as of Monday AM:
2nd Update, Friday AM: MGM’s Operation Finale earned $726K on Thursday, and while it was -27%, it was only really down 11% when you factor in Wednesday’s $1M was propped by Tuesday night previews. Currently the Chris Weitz-directed Mossad spy thriller is keeping step with Focus Features’ Oscar winner The Constant Gardener which earned $1.7M in its first two days before legging out to a $8.7M 3-day, $10.96M for the 4-day.
We hear that Operation Finale is still playing best on the coasts particularly in the big cities and we hear that three theaters outside of New York and Los Angeles ranked among the top 15 runs (Two in West Palm Beach and one in Miami). Best markets here for the film include but are not limited to New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Phoenix, Philly DC, Miami, San Diego, Tampa. This film tested high in the 80s, and MGM decided to put here on Labor Day so that it has some breathing room in the fall.
Sony’s Searching started previews at 5PM at 1,119 venues in its expansion from 9 theaters to 1,207 and earned $425K, raising its running cume to $908K. The pic is expected to earn $3M for the weekend. Lionsgate’s James Franco sci-fi pic Kin is playing at 2,141 today and held previews that started at 7PM at 1,800 sites earning $250K.
Last year’s Labor Day box office stretch was the lowest since 1998 with $96.3M, and that was without any new wide releases. This weekend’s ticket sales should be substantially higher with Crazy Rich Asians expected to earn $20M in four days in its third weekend. MGM/Weinstein’s 2007 Halloween reboot still stands as the highest grossing opening for the holiday with $30.6M. Crazy Rich Asians made $2.4M yesterday, -7% from Wednesday for a running total of $88.7M. Pic will definitely cross $100M today.
1st Update, Thursday 7:48AM: MGM’s Mossad spy thriller Operation Finale opened yesterday to $1M at 1,818 locations, a solid start for a political thriller aimed at adults and in sync with similar titles that have played the last weekend of summer.
Yesterday’s results are ahead of the opening day of the 2011 Labor Day weekend political thriller, Focus Features’ The Debt ($970K which went on to a $8.2M 3-day, $12.8M 4-day) and ahead of Oscar-winner The Constant Gardener ($929K opening day, $8.6M 3-day, $10.9M 4-day). Rotten Tomatoes’ score on Operation Finale was 63% fresh, but CinemaScore audiences gave an A- to this Chris Weitz directed pic which stars Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Nick Kroll, Melanie Laurent, Lior Raz, Joe Alwyn, Haley Lu Richardson, Michael Aronov, Ohad Knoller, Greg Hill, Torben Liebrecht, Mike Hernandez, Greta Scacchi and Pêpê Rapazote. Operation Finale follows a team of secret agents in their pursuit of Holocaust Nazi architect Adolf Eichmann 15 years after World War II.
The box office this Labor Day looks to be in better shape than last year which lacked any new wide releases. In addition to MGM’s Operation Finale, Lionsgate has the action sci-fi pic Kin which tracking services have between a $5M-$7M opening at 2,141 locations. Previews start tonight at 7PM. The action-sci-fi thriller directed by Jonathan and Josh Baker stars Jack Reynor, Zoë Kravitz, Carrie Coon, with Dennis Quaid, and James Franco, and Myles Truitt. Kin is based on the short film ‘Bag Man’ by the filmmakers. Chased by a vengeful criminal (James Franco) and a gang of otherworldly soldiers, a recently released ex-con (Jack Reynor) and his adopted teenage brother (Myles Truitt) are forced to go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin as their only protection.
In addition, Sony is breaking their Asian American thriller Searching wide from nine locations to 1,200 sites. The movie directed by Aneesh Chaganty is expected to ring up $3M from Friday-Monday after grossing close to half million since Friday. Pic earned an A CinemaScore last Friday.
Warner Bros.’ Crazy Rich Asians will reign again for the third weekend in a row, earning an estimated $20M over four-days in its third weekend sending it well over $100M. The pic earned $2.7M yesterday, -38% from Tuesday for a running total of $86.2M. The Burbank lot’s China Gravity co-production The Meg will also stay strong with around $12M in four-days, the pic’s fourth weekend. Pic’s running total through yesterday stands at $109M.