SUNDAY AM Update: Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, despite being No. 1 this weekend, didn’t make enough money in the US to justify its $185M production cost before P&A. It came in with $36M, an opening that’s 48% below the original 2014 movie’s $69.4M. The live-action sequel to the Sleeping Beauty spinoff also didn’t wow in China, where it opened to an estimated $22.4M, another sour showing in PRC next to Paramount/Skydance’s Gemini Man, which also paled with $20.9M. Social media ratings for both of those titles weren’t great, with respective Douban ratings of 6.2 and 7.1. In regards to Maleficent 2, Maoyan was much higher than Douban with 9.1 and TPP an 8.8.
The global take for Maleficent 2 is $153M. Now I’ve been informed from finance sources that it’s a safe start worldwide to get this movie to break-even (which is around $400M), highly contingent on legs overseas. However, not enough to demand a sequel. The first movie made a $190M+ profit after all ancillaries, with overseas boasting 68% of the global $758.5M take, and China only 6% of that.
Maleficent 2 is, unfortunately, another case of Disney overestimating and over-saturating their princess pics and animated IP, which don’t scream for sequels. This happened last year with the haggard $120M production The Nutcracker, which took an estimated loss of $66M, and even previously with the mega dud Alice Through the Looking Glass. True, much like the first movie, there’s a divide between critics who loathe Maleficent 2 and the loyal audiences who gave it an A CinemaScore and 4 1/2 stars. However, they’re not showing up in bulk. Also, sorry Disney, but what did marketing do here to distinguish the sequel from the first movie? The difference stateside wasn’t felt or clear in one sheets (they did put more characters in the poster for the sequel). The images in the first trailer looked too similar to the first film. What were the increased stakes that this sequel had to offer for big horns? That wasn’t communicated. Still, given the sour critical response to this, it’s possible the movie was a hard sell. Obviously, efforts worked abroad. While Marvel ensures that their titles win both on critical and audience fronts, that idea of –as Walt Disney called it, “plus-ing” which is making a product better than the first or to its highest quality– wasn’t in effect here. While we mentioned that the pic could have grabbed a bit more cash in the summer space, I don’t think it would have changed the sequel’s fortunes so dramatically, given the response here. Also another reason I understand for the move to October is that there’s a lot of female-driven competition next summer with Black Widow, Legally Blonde 3, and Wonder Woman 1984. People largely do make their movie-going decisions based on Rotten Tomatoes, and I’m sure if reviewers blessed this movie, we’d see better ticket sales here.
Yes, yes, as we always write whenever Disney takes a spill at the box office, they can certainly take it on the chin, with the Marvel and Pixar pics offsetting their losses. However, the whole ‘licensing’ defense, that these family pics are worth more than their box office in their parks and products ancillary life, doesn’t make sense here. It does make sense for a phenomenon like Frozen, but not here. Maleficent 2 played best in the West, South Central, and South, with final domestic projections at $95M for the film. Saturday wasn’t robust enough, with a $14.1M Saturday, +13% over a $12.5M Friday (that included $2.3M previews). Imax in US and Canada accounted for 8% of Maleficent 2‘s weekend with $3M.
Disney exits on the sequel show 56% females, 44% males, 53% adults, 39% families, and 8% teens. Under 25 set repped 46% of the audience.
Warner Bros.’ Joker continued to hold on to second place throughout the weekend with a third frame hold of -48% and 3-day of $29.2M, for a $247.2M domestic take onto what many rivals believe will be a $300M domestic steal for the DC villain.
Sony’s mid-budget $48M Zombieland: Double Tap had a respectable opening of $26.7M after $9.7M yesterday, and $10.5M on Friday (which included $2.85M previews). This is also a win for R-rated comedies, the last solid one being Universal’s Good Boys ($21.4M, and legged out to $82.8M). Zombieland 2‘s opening was slightly ahead of the original pic’s $24.7M start, and the sequel will wind up in the same place stateside with $75M domestic, with overseas accounting around a third of the global total. All ancillaries will put this $48M production in the black, I’m informed. The Ruben Fleischer-directed sequel is playing best in the West, Mid-West, Mountain and South Central.
Interesting elements of the marketing campaign included the Black Girls Run, an interactive Zombieland: Double Tap-themed 5K run with black woman fitness group, ‘Black Girls Run’ in Atlanta. Runners dressed up in Zombie attire and painted their faces like ghoulish Zombies while generating social chatter on the grassroots level. Final diversity demos were 53% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic, 14% Asian/Other and 10% African American.
Sony Pictures Television Games, Tilting Point and Metagame Studios launched Zombieland: Double Tapper, a mobile RPG for the iOS and Android. In the game, players embark on a wacky road trip across the post-apocalyptic wastelands of America that have been overrun by the undead. They can play as favorites Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock.
On ESPN, there was a three-part 30 for 30 parody piece created titled “Gunslinger: The Legend of Tallahassee”, in which ESPN host Scott Van Pelt and the cast from the film spoke on the rise and fall of Woody Harrelson’s character Tallahassee. On MTV, there was a “Zombieland Reunion Show” vignette in which MTV personality Josh Horrowitz interviews the cast about what it was like to be back on set ten years later.
Overall, the cast was out in full promoting this pic: they made an appearance and screened the sequel at LA’s Comic-Con, Harrelson hosted SNL, the four stars (Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Jesse Eisenberg and Harrelson) were guest editors on IMDB, Rosario Dawson & Luke Wilson did voice-over intros on FOX/FS1 for ACLS MLB Playoff Series (on-air) Games 1, 2, 6 and 7, while Stone and Eisenberg did intros for last Thursday night’s NFL game between the Chiefs and Broncos. Overall, a heavy presence in live sports aimed toward older males, including NASCAR, as well as high-impact digital presence on the ESPN mobile app. There were also long-form ad pieces that aired during The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin, FX’s American Horror Story and AMC’s The Walking Dead.
NEON’s awesome Parasite wormed its way into 11th place with $1.24M from 33 sites, repping a +30 theater jump and a 10-day total of $1.8M. The movie created a lot of buzz at ShowEast this past weekend, I hear. TBD if this Bong Joon Ho Cannes Palmes d’Or winner crosses over in its expansion.
A24/New Regency’s The Lighthouse at 93% certified fresh was packing in audiences at the 8PM Arclight Hollywood show last night. The Robert Eggers-directed movie, which he wrote with his brother, Max, racked up $419.7K at eight sites in NY, LA, Boston, DC and San Francisco for a very healthy $52K theater average.
Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit at five theaters (Lincoln Square, Alamo Brooklyn, Union Square, Arclight Hollywood & Landmark) scored a $350K weekend, a $70K theater average which is the 4th best opening average of the year (behind Parasite, The Farewell and Avengers: Endgame), and A CinemaScore with females at 51% giving the pic an A+ and guys enjoying it with an A. This is with critics at 77% fresh on RT. Half of the crowd was under 50 and they gave it an A+ too. Next week Jojo Rabbit marches into eight new markets (Denver, Austin, Phoenix, Wash. DC, Boston, Toronto, San Francisco, and Chicago) and expands in NYC and LA bringing theater count to around 50-60 locations. Fifty more markets will happen on Nov. 1 for a 350-400-plus theater break. FSL’s goal is to be north of 600+. Go Jojo.
Comscore says that weekend ticket sales for all titles are off 18% from a year ago, counting $137M. The domestic box office this year finally crossed $9 billion, but still lags 5% behind the same period in 2018 which was already at $9.5B.
Studio reported figures as of Sunday morning:
WEEKEND B.O. FOR OCT. 18-20
SATURDAY AM Update: w/chart There’s money to be made in this weekend at the box office, as Universal/Miramax/Blumhouse’s Halloween proved a year ago with the month’s current third-best best opening record of $76.2M. But instead of one movie making that amount this weekend, it’s being roughly split up between Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil ($37.7M), Warner Bros. third weekend of Joker ($28.3M), and the opening of Sony’s Zombieland: Double Tap ($26.5M) (actually the trio are making more than Halloween did with $93.8M).
For Maleficent 2, it’s current forecast opening is a disastrous stateside result for a $185M feature — and it has the support of 2,300 3D locations, 380 IMAX screens, 600 Premium Large Format screens and 135 D-Box/4D theaters. Right now, the pic’s 3-day is below tracking’s $40M+ projections and 46% off the original pic’s $69.4M opening. If this film is going to do any better, it comes down to matinees today and tomorrow, as only 36% of families showed up yesterday, to 64% general audiences in Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits.
Similar to the first movie, there’s a disparity between critics, who slammed it at 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences who, like the first film, gave the sequel an A Cinemascore. On PostTrak, all audiences gave Maleficent 2 4 1/2 stars, with parents and kids under 12 both awarding it 4 stars. We also hear that Maleficent 2 in China, along with Paramount/Skydance/Fosun/Alibaba’s Gemini Man, isn’t doing so hot with $15M, even though the former is leading the day’s box office over there with $9.7M. Gemini Man made $7.7M today, but has a higher two-day cume of $16.2M.
Gemini Man is playing on 25% of the screens in China, while Maleficent 2 is playing on around 19% of screens. Like here in the states, the hope is that the kids come out. Putting two big budget Hollywood pictures against each other cannibalizes their business. I hear from finance sources that if Maleficent 2 can do $135M-$140M worldwide this weekend, it should be fine, profit-wise, in the long run. Maleficent opened to $22M in China and ended its run there with a less than dazzling $47.7M.
Sony’s Zombieland 2, off a $48M production cost and estimated $60M global P&A spend, will have a profitable tale to tell for the Culver City, CA studio despite the pic ranking third this weekend. The sequel to the ten-year-old action/horror/comedy received a B+ last night, just under its first chapter’s A-. The pic in Friday night PostTrak exits nabbed four stars and a 64% definite recommend. Men enjoyed the Ruben Fleischer-directed sequel a tad more than females, 84% positive to 80%. M25+ led in attendance at 30%, Men under 25 at 25%, with females both under/over 25 at 22% each. Diversity demos were 51% Caucasian, 24% Hispanic, 11% African American, and 10% Asian.
But back to Maleficent 2. It’s quite unprecedented to see Disney move up a franchise pic out of a lucrative corridor such as the post Memorial Day weekend to the third weekend of October. The pic was moved up, I understand, as the conglom took into account the whole Disney-Fox combined schedule, the lack of competition during this time (though Addams Family is in the marketplace doing $14.2M in weekend 2, -53%), plus the pic is in the groove of the Halloween spirit with Angelina Jolie’s evil queen. Had Maleficent 2 stayed on May 29, it would be playing in the Memorial Day holiday wake of Paramount’s Spongebob Movie and Universal’s Fast & Furious 9. What Maleficent 2 gives up by playing this side of the year is that there’s less kids out of school versus the summer runway. There were 17% K-12 schools out yesterday when Maleficent 2 made $12.5M. That K-12 figure drops to the single digits next week. Sounds like summer would have been the better launch for Maleficent 2.
That said, as all critics have observed, no one was asking for a sequel to Maleficent, while noting that the sequel’s quality pales greatly in comparison. The first film, for some, broke the mold on the whole idea of a Disney female villain and its notion of girl power. But when a Disney live-action IP makes three quarters of a billion dollars worldwide, the Burbank, CA lot will respond to the marketplace. At the same time, Maleficent 2 serves as a warning to Disney: This is what happens when you hit and abuse your animated IP catalog too much on the live-action front, and they’ve done this countless times before, with lackluster results from Dumbo and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Unless the whole grand plan is to just fill a menu on Disney+ with titles when it launches.
Girls under 12 outweighed boys yesterday, 67% to 33% with more moms than dads, 68% to 32%. Leading demos for the sequel from Oscar-nominated Kon-Tiki filmmaker Joachim Ronning were females over 25 (33%), females under 25 (31%), men over 25 (21%), and men under 25 (16%). Diversity breakout was 40% Caucasian, 28% Hispanic, 14% African American, and 13% Asian.
Heading into the weekend, social media monitor noticed the social convo on Maleficent 2 reporting, “Discussion on social media for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is what you might expect with a Disney sequel for an alternative star character. Half the audience is composed of Disney fans who enjoy everything from the Marvel movies to The Lion King – and are excited to see their latest Disney installment. Sure, Jolie has her fans as well, and they’re hoping this sequel lives up to the fun they had with 2014’s original live action effort. But plenty of others on social don’t like the focus on an evil character. Even if this contingent will eventually see the film, they’d rather go to Addams Family or some other “safer” fare for their kids. And, Jolie is a polarizing, double-edged sword like a lot of stars, and has a contingent of naysayers who aren’t interested in supporting her films with a theater visit.”
Making up for its non-social media star Jolie, Disney ran a number of interviews with her, plus highlighted the pic’s soundtrack, with a behind-the-scenes Jolie getting-into-makeup-clip, which amassed 35M views on Facebook alone.
In regards to Zombieland 2‘s social media heat, RelishMix says, “Fans of the first film, Walking Dead, zombies and action/adventure are all rallying together to go see this sequel ten years in the making. They’re fascinated by such a long break between films, and are reminiscing about the first one, the incredible cast still intact, not to mention the interesting additions to that cast. The fans have noticed copy crediting the Deadpool writers, and it’s one more reason to catch this sequel in theaters for the louder, positive-skewing side of social convo heading into opening weekend.”
Social media universe for the sequel was good, per RelishMix, with 155M, just exceeding the action comedy genre’s 152.6M average. Average daily YouTube views are at 19.2K, ahead of the genre’s usual 14.4K – and represent a wide variety of looks at the film, not to mention interviews with the predominantly non-social and/or non-activated cast. The only stars on social are Avan Jogia who plays Berkeley (6.2M) and Zoey Deutch (2.5M) who absolutely steals the movie from Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody Harrelson.
Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit made $139K last night at five theaters in NYC and LA, on its way to a $415.6K opening or a great $83K opening theater average, the third best opening weekend average of the year behind last weekend’s Parasite ($128K) and summer’s The Farewell ($88,9K). A24/New Regency’s Robert Eggers black and white ghost story Lighthouse at 8 venues made $170K last night, beaming toward a $504K opening and $63K per theater average.
BOX OFFICE FOR OCT. 18-20
2ND FRIDAY UPDATE, MIDDAY: Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is leading the weekend with a less-than-expected result of $35.5M after a $11.75M Friday. The expectation here is that overseas will recoup any domestic shortfall for this $185M production, with global projections now at $135M-$140M.
Last night’s PostTrak exits show 32% of families out vs. 68% general audiences. Parents gave the movie a 59% definite recommend, while kids under 12 gave it 52%. Females turned out at 61% to guys’ 39%. The under-25 crowd repped 43% of the pic’s moviegoers last night. As is typical for a Disney family pic, it boils down to Saturday’s business whether this Angelina Jolie sequel spikes back up into its $40M+ projected range.
Right now, Warner Bros./Bron/Village Roadshow’s Joker is keeping Sony’s Zombieland: Double Tap in third place, with the former’s Weekend 3 beating the newcomer $30.1M to $26.6M. Joker is seeing $9M today, while Zombieland 2 is eyeing $10M, including last night’s $2.85M previews. Joker‘s running total by Sunday looks to stand at $248.1M. Wouldn’t that be interesting if it beats Maleficent 2 altogether?
There’s a 54% definite recommend for Zombieland 2. Many expect business to be frontloaded this weekend, with fans turning out Thursday and Friday, though a profitable ancillary life is expected for this action comedy that will reap most of its bucks here in U.S./Canada. Zombieland 2 drew 31% males over 25 — who enjoyed it the most at 89% positive — 26% males under 25, 22% females over 25 and 20% females under 25.
MGM/UAR’s The Addams Family is seeing $3.9M today and $13.5M in its second weekend in fourth place, -55% for a 10-day of $54.3M.
Paramount/Skydance Media’s Gemini Man is looking at a second Friday of $2.1M, and second weekend of $7.4M, -64% for a 10-day of $35.4M.
FIRST UPDATE and corrected: Sony’s Zombieland: Double Tap made $2.85M on Thursday night, while Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil came in at $2.3M per studio sources. Both started previews at 7PM.
Both are sequels, one a decade-old fan IP and the other to a five-year-old Disney live-action spinoff of its animated classic Sleeping Beauty. Tracking sees Maleficent 2 at $45M, the industry higher at $50M, and those two groups have Zombieland 2 opening at $25M and $30M, respectively.
The first Maleficent off 9PM shows grossed $4.2M when it played during the final weekend of May 2014. The sequel is 45% lower, but school is heavily in session now. The pic’s Thursday night isn’t that far from Dumbo‘s $2.6M off 6 PM starts, which opened to $46M earlier this year, but right on the nose with Cinderella, which made $2.3M off 8 PM previews and danced to $68M. The first Maleficent won over audiences with an A CinemaScore, while critics wished it black magic at 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. The same effect could be in play for Part 2 with its 41% RT score. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil reportedly cost $185M after UK tax credits, a tad above the first chapter’s $180M before global P&A spend.
Zombieland: Double Tap is the $48M sequel to the 2009 R-rated action comedy that reunites filmmaker Ruben Fleischer whole gang of Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin. It played at 3,052 theaters. Thursday night’s preview figure decimates the $500K preview cash of the first movie, which opened on October 2 a decago ago. But those were different times for previews, when they began at midnight and weren’t as wide. The first Zombieland was 90% certified fresh on RT, while critics are less amused 10 years later at 67% fresh. Among recent previews, box office comparisons that are being looked at in regards to Zombieland 2 are Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which made $3.4M back in September 2017 and opened to $39M, and even last fall’s The Predator, which made $2.5M on its Thursday night and debuted to $24.6M.
In regards to holdovers, it’s just a great marketplace. First, there’s Warner Bros./Bron/Village Roadshow’s Joker, which ended its second week with $80.2M for a $218M running total. It wouldn’t be a shocking if this R-rated, serious DC villain movie makes it to $300M. He made $4.1M on Thursday night, -15% from Wednesday.
MGM/UAR’s animated feature The Addams Family ended its first week with $40.76M, after a $1.48M Thursday that was -1%.
Paramount/Skydance Media’s tired Gemini Man saw $1.07M Thursday night, -22% for a first-week take of $28M — still bad for this $138M production that has Chinese co-financing from Alibaba and Fosun Pictures.
And today, STX will clock its second $100M-plus grossing title of the year with Hustlers, after the Kevin Hart-Bryan Cranston movie The Upside earlier this year, which ended its domestic run at $108.2M. In total STX counts three $100M-grossing movies in its five year history, the other being Bad Moms with $113.2M. Hustlers, directed by Lorene Scafaria, is the second film directed by a female director this year, after Captain Marvel, to gross over $100M.