4th Update, Sunday 10:17 AM Writethru: With chart As we were the first to say yesterday very early in the morning, it’s the lowest Easter weekend at the box office in well over a decade – actually, since 2003, per ComScore this morning (when it hit $107.1M), with the last three days totaling $110.8M in US/Canada ticket sales. This despite the fact that New Line’s $9M James Wan horror production, The Curse of La Llorona, over-performed and kicked its $15M-$17M tracking to the tune of $26.5M.
This weekend’s domestic B.O. is also off 12% from the comparative three-day frame a year ago ($125.55M), which was also the pre-period prior to Avengers: Infinity War debuting.
All of this speaks to the power of Avengers: Endgame, or specifically, a hands-down, must-see Marvel movie on the calendar: no major studio wants to program a tentpole and spend a $100M-plus global P&A to launch a movie in the weekend preceding a Marvel movie, even if it’s during a lucrative holiday period at the box office. At least that’s the attitude this year.
True, folks may curb their movie ticket spending at the B.O. in the weekend prior to a Marvel or Star Wars movie, but c’mon — it’s Easter weekend, and three-quarters of the nation’s K-12 schools were on break. Previous Easter weekends, when Furious 7 and Batman v. Superman played, have amassed north of $224M. Not to mention, studios have proven before that two tentpoles, launched next to each other in subsequent weekends, can live in the marketplace at the same time.
Surely among some in the industry and exhibition, there’s a “So what?” attitude about this weekend at the B.O.: Next weekend will probably deliver one of the biggest thee-days of all-time at the domestic box office with Endgame.
Nonetheless, the 2019 domestic box office according to ComScore still lags greatly behind last year at -16% with $2.9 billion through today, a difference of $568M. Endgame isn’t going to fix that gaping hole in just one weekend of its opening; it could take well into June before we make up that difference. Much of this has to do with how pics were dated between last year and this year. Then again, there were some movies like Universal/BVI’s Glass and Fox’s Alita which didn’t work as they were intended to do. Marvel launched Black Panther in mid February last year and amassed $688M by the time when Avengers: Infinity War opened. Compare this to Captain Marvel which just became the 7th Marvel move to cross $400M in its 45th day of release today. The pic saw a 6% spike in business despite shedding 322 screens as fans prep for Endgame next weekend. Captain America: Civil War took 44 days to hit $400M, Iron Man 3 reached that threshold in 47 days.
Warner Bros. hit the demos they were expecting for La Llorona with 49% Hispanic audiences and 30% females under 25, along with 26% men under 25. She played best in the West and South-West, with 17 of the pic’s top 20 runs coming from these regions. The pic is safe counter-programming at a minimal estimated domestic P&A spend around $35M-$40M, which can be the second choice next weekend when Avengers: Endgame potentially sets another opening weekend record, beating Infinity War‘s $257.6M.
Llorona also didn’t ding New Line’s own Shazam! that much. In his third weekend, that film is expected to gross $17.3M, a very sweet -29% hold in second place at 4,183 theaters. CinemaScore audiences gave Llorona a B-, which is less than both Annabelles’ Bs and higher than The Nun‘s C. PostTrak gave the pic a low 2 1/2 stars and a 48% definite recommend. Friday made $11.8M (including $2.75M Thursday night previews), and the Michael Chaves-directed movie was frontloaded with a Saturday that was down 26% with $8.7M. The 13-17 set who were able to get into Llorona liked the movie the most at 79% positive, but they only repped 12% of the crowd. Caucasians came out at 27%, African Americans at 11%, and Asians at 8%.
Says social media analytics corp RelishMix about Llorona, “There are a lot of fans sharing stories of this legend and how it was an integral part of their childhood, with some being told by friends, others by their Grandma — the point is it’s seen as a legend that just might be true. That said, James Wan’s contribution and the scary clips from the film have horror fans convinced this effort is worth seeing in theaters. Another element that fans like is that the movie is rated R, which many horror fans see as a good sign. One of the best things La Llorona has going for it is the simple suggestion or rumor that it might be related to the Conjuring universe.” Llorona is not directly connected to Conjuring, as it doesn’t involve, nor is it connected to, the paranormal investigators, the Warrens.
RelishMix considers Llorona‘s social media universe at over 137M very strong for a horror genre. Broken out, that’s 33.8M Facebook Fans, 14M Facebook video views, 9.2M Twitter Followers, 66.1M YouTube views and 14M Instagram followers. Video materials both organic and bought are at 44:1, well above the typical horror film’s 25:1 viral rate. Similarly, the average daily views for Llorona‘s top YouTube clips are coming in at 50.3K, once again exceeding the benchmark of 27.7K for the genre.
Disney/Fox’s faith-based Breakthrough drew $11.1M over the 3-day and $14.6M since its Wednesday opening at 2,824. While that’s slightly lower than the $14.8M 3-day and $18.3M made by DeVon Franklin’s Miracles From Heaven, it’s not a disaster off the pic’s estimated $14M production cost. These faith-based titles have a home entertainment life for their demos. As typical with faith-based films, they earn great exits based on their demos, and PostTrak shows 49% females over 25 being the dominant quad, and 51% over 35, with an overall 4 1/2 stars and a very notable 69% definite recommend. Overall audience diversity breakdown was 48% Caucasian, 28% Hispanic, 15% African American, & 9% Asian/Other. Breakthrough played strong in the Mid-West and South, with the top 10 theaters in that area. Missouri and Tennessee had seven of the top ten runs. Meanwhile, anti-abortion film Unplanned from PureFlix in its fourth weekend made $650K off 839 theaters for a running $17.2M cume.
RelishMix says that the social media universe for Breakthrough “is exceptional” at 161.5M across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, with positive word of mouth into the weekend from the faith-based crowd. For context, the next largest SMU RelishMix has seen in recent history for a faith-based pic was for 2017’s The Shack at 89.4M. Big social media movers here for the film are This Is Us star Chrissy Metz with 1.7M, who is pushing a 7:30pm free screening at the Burbank, CA AMC 16 today. “The campaign also benefited from Metz’s duet with Carrie Underwood at the Country Music Awards last Sunday of ‘I’m Standing With You’, which has added 11 clips to its social media push. the “earned” bucket of social media. While it’s common to have a film support a live broadcast to build awareness, it’s such a bonus to have one of the movie’s stars actually perform there – and reap the benefits on social.”
Universal’s Little in its second weekend eased -45% with $8.45M and a 10-day take of $29.3M.
Disneynature’s Penguins plopped outside the top 10 in the No. 12 spot with around $2.3M over three days and $3.3M for the five days at 1,815. Even though much isn’t expected from these nature docs at the B.O. Penguins is the worst opening for a Disneynature doc ever. 2012 Chimpanzee‘s $10.6M posted the biggest three-day in the nature canon, and the previous low before Penguins was Monkey Kingdom at $4.5M in 2015. The last Disneynature movie to open over 5-days was Penguins co-director Alastair Fothergill’s Earth in April 2009 which posted a $8.8M FSS at 1,804 theaters and a $14.4M five-day opening.
As we mentioned the pic nabbed an A CinemaScore, however PostTrak exits were moderate at 78% positive and a 52% definite recommend from the general audience while kids under 12 gave it a 77% positive and 60% definite recommend. Friday’s gross was around $900K. Not that much is ever expected from these nature docs at the box office; there’s goodwill vibe to these big-screen presentations. Those who showed up to Penguins were 55% female with 52% under 25 and 35% under 17. Diversity demos were comprised of 63% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic, 11% Asian/Other, and 3% African American.
Bleecker Street’s expansion of Teen Spirit from 4 to 696 theaters earned an estimated $250,5K in weekend 2 for a running total of $305,3K.
It Follows director David Robert Mitchell has the comedy crime drama Under the Silver Lake from A24 at two locations and it minted a theater average of $20K or $40K over three days. Starring Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough and Topher Grace, pic follows a guy (Garfield) who meets a mysterious woman in his apartment’s swimming pool. She disappears and he embarks on a quest to find her across Los Angeles. Rotten Tomatoes is 53% Rotten. NY and LA runs were at the Angelika & ArcLight Hollywood. At the latter, the pic was the top grossing film in the complex while at the Angelika we hear ti was soft.
WEEKEND B.O. FOR aPRIL 19-21
Chart as of Saturday AM with industry estimates:
BOX OFFICE FOR APRIL 19-21
2ND UPDATE, Friday 1:12 PM: Here’s what we know at this point in time and we’ll have further updates: New Line’s The Curse of La Llorona is eyeing a $9.1 million-plus Friday for a $19M-$20M opening at 3,372 theaters The studio’s Shazam! will settle for second for the Easter frame at $15.7M (a 36% dip), at 4,183 theaters, off a third Friday of $6.3M and a running total by Sunday of $119.7M.
Since Llorona is an R-rated horror, expect this movie to play into the late hours, natch. Llorona‘s production cost before P&A was a thrifty $9M net, hence a solid result here. That $9.1M today includes last night’s $2.75M previews.
Llorona‘s Friday bests Escape Room‘s first day plus previews ($7.6M), and it’s just under Pet Sematary‘s $9.9M and right on the money with Lights Out‘s $9.1M.
The last time in recent memory New Line made a genre pic on a shoestring budget was 2014’s Annabelle, made for $6.5M before P&A, which opened to a huge $37.1M and finaled at $84.2M domestic, $257M global.
Meanwhile, Disney-Fox’s Breakthrough is seeing an estimated $3.5M today for a three-day total of $10M, and a five-day cume of $13.5M.
Disney will own spots four and six as well, respectively, for the frame, with Captain Marvel ($7M, -18% and $398M cume) and Dumbo ($5.9M, -37%, and a $100.3M).
Universal’s Little is seeing a second weekend of $6.8M, -56%, for a 10-day total of $27.7M in fifth place.
Disneynature’s Penguins is eyeing $650K today, $1.77M over FSS and $2.7M over five days.
PREVIOUSLY, Friday 7:32 AM: Before Avengers: Endgame snatches away the under-25 demo next weekend, Warner Bros is looking to hook them over the Easter weekend with New Line’s James Wan-produced horror pic The Curse of La Llorona, which made $2.75 million last night from previews that started at 6 PM.
That figure is slightly higher than the $2.3M Paramount’s Pet Sematary posted in previews two weeks ago, as well as Escape Room‘s $2.3M Thursday night back on January 3 and the Wan-produced 2016 horror pic Lights Out ($1.8M). On the Thursday after Labor Day last year, The Nun previews rang up a record Thursday night for The Conjuring universe with $5.4M off 7 PM showtimes.
Llorona is billed as being from The Conjuring producers Wan and The Nun EP and Annabelle scribe Gary Dauberman. It is not a part of that genre series universe, but Warners is hoping those credits on the Llorona one sheet will draw fans of that franchise. Even though Annabelle priest Father Perez (Tony Amendola) makes a cameo, Llorona is not part of The Conjuring series. (Essentially, anything that’s part of that horror universe specifically involves, or is connected to, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.)
Tracking has Llorona opening between $15M-$17M, making a run at Shazam!‘s two-weekend streak at No. 1. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if Llorona hits $20M-plus given Wan’s name on the pic and the fact that it’s Good Friday, a huge moviegoing day with 74% K-12 schools off and another 29% from colleges. As such, most pics in the top 20 yesterday saw gains over Wednesday.
Among Wan’s producer credits, he has had only one movie open below $20M, and that was Saw VI ($14.1M). In regards to Llorona‘s Thursday night comps, both Pet Sematary and Lights Out continued on to posts three-days that were north of $20M with $24.5M and $21.6M, respectively. Also, Monday boasts 37% K-12 off and 8% colleges on break, so there should be an extra B.O. cushion on Easter Sunday.
Among regular releases yesterday, Shazam! led all titles with $2.55M, +33% from Wednesday for a two-week running total of $104M. The DC superhero is expected to post a third weekend around $15M.
Disney’s Fox faith-based release Breakthrough held quite well in its second day earning $1.54M at 2,764 in the No. 2 spot, -18%, for a running total since its Wednesday opening of $3.4M. The DeVon Franklin-produced movie is pacing very close to the $3.55M two-day running total of his March 2016 faith-based title Miracles From Heaven, which made $18.3M in its first five days of release, $14.8M over Friday-Sunday. Breakthrough carries an estimated net production cost of $14M before P&A.
Disney’s Captain Marvel was No. 3 yesterday with an estimated $1.3M, +37% from Wednesday, for a running total through six weeks of $390.9M.
Universal’s Little was fourth yesterday with an estimated $1.23M, +19% over Wednesday, for a first-week total of $20.9M.
Disneynature’s Penguins fell outside Thursday’s top 10 in the No. 11 spot with $456,000 in its second day of release, -9% from Wednesday, for a running total of $956K at 1,815 theaters.