5th Update Monday: Quick update to let you know that Paramount’s Like a Boss beat Warner Bros.’ Just Mercy for 4th place after both called the spot yesterday. Actuals showed the Paramount comedy with $10M, while Just Mercy came in with $9.7M. Including its limited run since Christmas, the Michael B. Jordan-Jamie Foxx movie count $10.1M.
Universal’s morning figures show 1917 with $37M. The Amblin/New Republic co-production’s 4-day figure should be around $27M+ for the upcoming MLK weekend which Sony’s Bad Boys for Life will win with $42M+ or more. There’s a wide swing on the movie with one tracking service seeing $48M. Armed with 10 Oscar nominations including Best Picture and being the freshest of the awards season contenders in release, look for 1917 to land between $120M-$125M by Oscar night on Feb. 9. Fox’s Underwater came in at $7M per Disney in actuals.
4th Update, Sunday AM writethru final with chart: After Saturday AM update It’s another win for original movies, and this time around with a fresh face cast, as Amblin/New Republic/Universal’s 1917 jumps to a $36.5M wide opening, putting its running total at $39.2M since its limited Christmas debut. Those are official Sunday AM estimates from Uni after a $13.7M Saturday that was -2% from Friday’s $14M, which included previews $3.25M previews.
Uni says 1917 is the No. 1 pic in the world over the weekend with $56.2M. Look for a 4-day over the MLK holiday in the mid-to-high $20Ms. Anything over that next weekend is “a runaway freight train” for 1917, per a rival studio exec this morning, giving full praise to Uni and Amblin.
Sure, that Golden Globe win for Best Drama Picture has something to do with the halo here. But that’s why prestige movies are released during awards time, so that they can ride that wave. Also, keep in mind that this movie was solid on tracking before the Globes, with at least a $20M start (bumped up to $25M on Monday).
Universal domestic distribution boss Jim Orr said this morning, “1917‘s expansion performed well beyond expectations, as this incredible film gathered a very broad audience. This amazing achievement in filmmaking by Sam Mendes is captivating all audiences across North America, as proven by both the commercial and critical success it’s rightfully enjoying. We and our partners at Amblin could not be prouder of the film and are thrilled by the domestic market’s extraordinary response this weekend.”
Should 1917 get a Best Picture Oscar nomination tomorrow, and should it ultimately win, that will rep the second year in a row that Universal and Amblin have together taken the top prize, following last year’s Best Pic success with Green Book. DreamWorks is where it all started for Mendes, going back to his five-time Oscar-winning American Beauty.
Amblin Partners won the rights to produce the project under its DreamWorks banner, a sign that the studio is willing to spend the resources necessary to bring in the right material. It’s also an indicator that Amblin is in the market for high-concept projects from big names, and with the Universal distribution marketing machine behind them, they can punch above their weight in terms of competing around town for material. Amblin Partners CEO Jeff Small and co-president Jeb Brody were huge advocates and shepherds of the movie internally, I hear. Later this year, Amblin has the Tom Hanks sci-fi movie Bios.
Said Small today, “We and our partners around the world are so gratified to give audiences the chance to experience Sam’s groundbreaking vision. If ever there were a film that represented a team effort, 1917 is it. From the filmmakers to New Republic to Universal, eOne and our amazing network of global distribution partners, we’re fortunate to have such an incredible team supporting this film. Its performance is a testament to the work done by everyone involved.”
Also, don’t underestimate war pics at the box office: There’s something about the themes of wars that continue to resonate with the masses. 1917 is also another testament to British war films sans any major stars working at the box office, but in the hands of great filmmakers. Christopher Nolan was the marquee draw on Dunkirk, with the rest of the film’s dazzle doing the rest of the lifting ($189.7M domestic, $526M+ WW), and 1917 will no doubt go to greater heights, thanks to the talent of Skyfall and Spectre filmmaker Sam Mendes, plus the unique suspense fueled by Oscar-winning DP Roger Deakins in making a battleground film that’s one continuous take. Wide polled-CinemaScore was A- for 1917, with an updated 4 1/2 stars on PostTrak and a 69% definite recommend. 1917 played best in West, Mid and South-West, but was solid throughout.
Sunday AM exits show 18-34 being the biggest quad with 47% of the audience, but the 55+ demo was the same as the 18-24 at 18%, which shows promise as older folks will continue to come out for this movie.
A final note on 1917 and the success of original movies working on the big screen in a world where streaming encroaches and there’s less major studios: Mendes said last Sunday at the Globes backstage that he’s “optimistic” this wave of originality will continue. “I think it’s in the hands of filmmakers more than anything else,” said the American Beauty Oscar-winner. “They need to make movies that need to be seen on the big screen. If you don’t see them on the big screen, you’ll miss out. That’s the big challenge…Filmmakers need to be ambitious (about the big screen): Use Surround Sound, and Imax in every fiber of their being.”
1917 was one of four wide entries this weekend, as studios aim to get whatever cash is available out there from the post holiday and pre-MLK crowd.
As of this morning, both Paramount and Warner Bros. are calling No. 4 for themselves, as they see their respective releases Like a Boss and Just Mercy making $10M. The industry estimates shows Like a Boss ahead with $9.99M to Just Mercy’s $9.87M. Both titles are expected to decline in the 30% range today.
I hear Like a Boss played quite well with testing audiences, who had a great time. But Thursday night PostTrak exits looked scary, with moviegoers giving the Tiffany Haddish-Rose Byrne-Salma Hayek $29M comedy 2 1/2 stars. That improved slightly overnight to 3 stars plus a B CinemaScore (which is typical for comedies, B or B+). As we all know, comedy is the hardest genre to pull off theatrically, and critics, who are always jaded toward the genre, aren’t helping here, giving it a 21% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Like a Boss over-performed over-indexed in the West, South Central, and Southeast and under-indexed in the Northeast, Midwest, and Canada. Top 20 markets that were vibrant were Dallas, Houston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Sacramento, Miami, Detroit, San Antonio, and Tampa. Top grossing theaters came from NY, San Antonio, LA, Corpus Christi, Phoenix, Pharr TX (Rio Grande Valley), Orlando, Atlanta, Sacramento, Albuquerque, San Jose, and Tampa. Canada’s overall marketshare this weekend was 8.09%.
Why isn’t Like a Boss being more dominant?
RelishMix spots the online chatter: “Convo is mixed, but leaning decidedly to the negative. Fans of raunchy comedies, Rose Byrne, and Tiffany Haddish see the trailers and love what they’re seeing. The core segment for this R-rated comedy has been reached, and like Byrne and Haddish’s other comedic outings, fans are ready for this one.
“But many other moviegoers making up the majority of discussion ask why we need another raunchy comedy amid the guise of female empowerment? The tone and subject matter of Boss seems off to them. And the sentiment suggests that those who have seen the film in early screeners think all the jokes were revealed in trailers – and even for those who haven’t seen it yet, they feel that way (all the jokes are ruined/trailer tells too much).”
Social media activity was nothing to scream about for Boss, with a low video viral rate of 6:1, which is “half the usual earned/owned ratio of re-posted clips for a targeted comedy by opening week,” says RelishMix, further adding, “This raunchy rated-R comedy has no substantially unique social materials to speak of.” This, despite the fact that Haddish, Hayek and Byrne are doing their part to promote the movie big on social, Haddish below, giving a big thumbs up to Common for buying out a screening in his Chicago hometown.
Updated Sunday AM demos for Like a Boss show 60% females, 65% over 25 with 64% of the crowd between 18-34. Caucasians repped 45%, African Americans 25% with 21% Hispanic and 5% Asian.
Like a Boss follows Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which falls to 2nd place in weekend 4 with $15.05M (-55%, cume $478.1M), and Sony’s non-stop Jumanji: The Next Level, which grips-on to 3rd place in weekend 5 with $14M (-47%, cume $257.1M) per each studio’s estimates today.
Warner Bros.’ Just Mercy continues to be a grand slam with audiences, with its updated wide CinemaScore sustaining at an A+ throughout all demos, and 4 1/2 stars on PostTrak, with a 73% definite recommend. Saturday was $3.66M, -1% from Friday’s $3.68M per Warners.
After Warner’s losing streak in 4Q with dramas like Motherless Brooklyn, Good Liar, The Goldfinch and Richard Jewell, Just Mercy is a high water mark. The pic is opening in the realm, though just under, other African American dramas like Harriet ($11.6M) and Selma ($11.3M wide break). Should Just Mercy land key Oscar nominations on Monday for Jamie Foxx (he has a SAG nomination for supporting actor) or Michael B. Jordan, the pic will certainly get a bounce, and it will be a theatrical distribution plan well-played by the Burbank lot after launching Just Mercy at TIFF.
Just Mercy‘s Friday was $3.65M. Counting its limited-run cash since Christmas, the social justice drama’s running total will be at $10.6M by tomorrow. Those who bought tickets were 56% females, 52% over 35 years old with 33% over 45. The diversity mix was 36% African American, 39% Caucasian, 16% Hispanic, and 9% Asian/Other. Just Mercy‘s best markets were on the East Coast, along with the South.
RelishMix gives Warner Bros. high fives on “a strong social media universe of 154M heading into opening weekend with 50.7M Facebook fans, 700K Facebook video views, 16M Twitter Followers, 50.2M YouTube views and 36.4M Instagram Followers. Compared to the typical drama, Mercy is well ahead of the 109.2M SMU average, no doubt credited in part to its soft release on Christmas and excellent word-of-mouth.”
Viral video rate of 22:1 for materials is ahead of the 15:1 average for a drama. An added plus is the social media power of Jordan and Foxx’s combined 30.3M followers. One piece of social media marketing that RelishMix gives thumbs-up to is a “small but effective one” – just a simple photo of Foxx, Jordan and Kobe Bryant shared by Foxx on his Instagram account earlier this week, which has 91,2K likes currently.
“The shot was taken at a screening followed by a Q&A, and is a great example of two things. First, a social star taking up his own IG feed with promotional shots from whatever parts of the campaign he feels strongly about – and yielding nice engagement from fans as a result for both Foxx and the Mercy campaign. Second, it’s an indication of how the campaign for Mercy is slow and patient, working its way through the ‘shout’ of the holiday season with a soft release, and now sharing more and more materials before opening weekend,” says the entertainment social media analyst.
“There are strong feelings from those on social who read the book in college, are familiar with this story, and/or love the cast. Many who have seen the screenings early or limited release are praising the film’s dramatic moments and performances as awards season worthy,” adds RelishMix.
Disney/Fox had the TSG/Chernin Entertainment Kirsten Stewart action movie Underwater, and it’s two duds in a row for the Twlight alum after Charlie’s Angels, with this $50M production from Sundance Film Fest alum William Eubank hitting rock bottom with $7M in the No. 7 spot according to Disney this morning. Global weekend including 22 territories such as France, Mexico and Brazil was $14.1M. Saturday stateside was $2.76M, up from Friday’s $2.5M — but that’s nothing to get excited about.
The one piece of good news for this movie, which Fox sat on heading into the new Disney regime, is that it didn’t get an ‘F’ CinemaScore like The Grudge last weekend. But it received a C, the lowest grade of the new entries. On PostTrak, Underwater has 2 stars and a 35% definite recommend, while Grudge in weekend 2 on the Comscore/Screen Engine audience exit service has declined to no stars. Essentially, if you’re going to release bad movies, a studio has to do so at times when there is at least access to good traffic so they can try and make as much back in the first revenue stream as possible.
From what I hear, Underwater happened thanks to independent financing (meaning TSG) and the belief in its producers to get the film off the ground. However, the pic from the onset was besieged in being too similar to other sci-fi films, and this notion that the pic had to begin by thrusting the audience into the action, rather than having it be set-up. This confused plotting dogged the pic throughout testing, and the exits indicate the audiences didn’t like the direction which was taken. Also, the pic is way too similar to movies we’ve seen before, like Alien, and in this day and age, it’s crucial to break and bend tropes. Says social media monitor RelishMix, “The comparisons are to films like The Abyss, Alien, Megladon and Deep Star Six, all of which are a two-edged sword. Some feel like giving these a re-watch instead of seeing this latest attempt at the genre.”
Some may obviously argue that Stewart’s brand has waned greatly since Twilight, especially with the crashing of Sony’s latest Charlie’s Angels reboot. Credit should be given to her for attempting to get back into the popcorn space after her critically acclaimed run in arthouse fare like Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria. At the end of the day, bad movies don’t work, and good movies do (look how 1917 is doing without any stars in it), so there’s an argument to be made that we shouldn’t count Stewart out.
“Stewart is a 50-50 element for moviegoers, too. As discussed, with last Fall’s Charlie’s Angels, some like the actress from Twilight and her indy roles, while some fans ask how she keeps getting booked,” adds RelishMix. Making marketing more of a hassle, it hurts that Stewart isn’t on social media to engage what’s left of her fan base. In addition, as one rival studio executive yelled to me, “C’mon, man, Kristen Stewart and Elizabeth Banks together didn’t open Charlie’s Angels!”
If Underwater had any chance to breathe, it was in the West and Southwest. The few who bought tickets on Friday were females at 52%, with 75% under 35 years old, and the widest quad being 25-34 year olds at 38%. Diversity breakdown was 53% Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, 11% Asian/other, and 15% African American. Updated exits from Disney show 50/50 males and females, with 63% over 25.
Overall, 2020 isn’t off to a horrible start, with the domestic box office through its first 12 days seeing $417M per Comscore, +6.7% over the same amount of days in 2019. This weekend clocked $132M, +8% from a year ago.
Studio-reported Sunday morning estimates:
Weekend B.O. For Jan. 10-12
Saturday AM estimates:
Box Office For Jan. 10-12
UPDATED, 12:30 PM Friday: Amblin/New Republic/Universal’s 1917 is off to a fantastic start with a Friday in the $12 million-$13 million range and a three-day total of between $32M-$34.6M. That opening exceeds the January wide start of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down ($28.6M) and is just shy of Universal’s Mark Wahlberg Taliban hunt movie Lone Survivor ($37.8M). I understand the movie cost $90M before P&A.
Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will take in around $17M in Weekend 4 for the No 2. spot, -51%. Its running total will be $477.9M by Sunday.
Paramount’s Like a Boss is seeing between $11M-$14M after a $4.7M Friday which includes its $1M Thursday night. Sony’s Jumanji: The Next Level may upset Like a Boss‘ chances for No. 3 with a fifth weekend of $13M, -50%, with a running tally by Sunday of $255M.
Warner Bros’ Just Mercy follows with an opening around $10.5M after a $4M Friday, including $800K previews.
And Fox’s Underwater is sinking with $2.2M today (including $500K previews) and $6.4M opening outside the top 5.
PREVIOUSLY, 7:27 AM Friday: Golden Globe Best Picture Winner for Drama, 1917, got off to a bang Thursday with $3.25 million in previews that began at 7 PM in 2,900 theaters.
The Sam Mendes-directed WWI pic, which debuted in 11 theaters in cities like New York, Los Angeles and DC on Christmas Day, goes wide today in 3,434 theaters. The movie is expected to win the weekend with $20M-$25M, and potentially more, unseating Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker which has held on to the No. 1 spot for the pasts three weekends.
Since Christmas, 1917 has made $2.7M. Following the pic’s surprise win at the Globes last Sunday, where many were expecting Netflix’s The Irishman to win, 1917 promptly began seeing a spike in advance ticket sales on Fandango.
1917‘s Thursday night is under Dunkirk‘s $5.5M previews, and American Sniper‘s $5.3M wide previews, but while these war pics targeted the same older male audience, Dunkirk had the benefit of summer play, and Clint Eastwood’s Bradley Cooper movie as we all know was an anomaly playing in the flyover states like a superhero movie for the right wing.
In limited polling over Christmas, 1917 earned an A CinemaScore. Amblin and New Republic Pictures financed 1917, which is being distributed by Universal. Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak crowds agree last night giving the Mendes movie, known for its one continuous shot throughout the film, 4 1/2 stars and a huge 71% definite recommend. Men over 25 came out at 52%, followed by women over 25 at 30%, men under 25 at 12% and females under 25 at 6%. Everyone loved it with 90%-plus scores, males under 25 being the highest with 96%.
Disney’s Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker led all movies in regular release Thursday with an estimated $2.1M, -10% from Wednesday, and a $46M third week. Current running domestic cume of $463.1M is running 16% behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi through three weeks which was at $549M at this point in its run. Skywalker looks to have a fourth weekend between $17M-$19M.
Paramount’s Tiffany Haddish-Rose Byrne-Salma Hayek comedy Like a Boss earned a solid $1M at 2,428 locations yesterday from shows that began at 7 PM. That’s higher than Haddish’s Paramount comedy Nobody’s Fool ($600K), which opened to $13.7M, and a tad under last February’s What Men Want starring Taraji P. Henson, which earned $1.25M in Thursday previews and a $18.2M opening. The Miguel Arteta-directed movie is projected to open to $10M-$12.5M.
Warner Bros is also going wide with its Michael B. Jordan-Jamie Foxx social justice drama Just Mercy, about civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson’s case to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner. The pic made $800,000 last night off 7 PM shows, a take that’s above the $600K that Focus Features’ Harriet made and 2014’s Selma ($400K). Selma, which like Just Mercy had a limited run before going wide in early January, posted a first wide weekend of $11.3M at 2,179 theaters. Harriet posted a similar opening during the first weekend of November last year with $11.6M. Warners has been very high on Just Mercy since its Toronto Film Festival premiere.
In limited exits over Christmas, Just Mercy earned an A+ CinemaScore throughout all its demos. Similar to 1917 that audience goodwill carried over to PostTrak exits, where the drama scored a perfect 5 stars, and a 69% definite recommend. Forty-seven percent of the audience was Caucasian, 31% African American, 11% Hispanic, and 8% Asian last night. Men and women over 25 both repped 44% each, men under 25 at 6%, and women under 25 at 5%.
Heading into the weekend from four NY and LA runs, the Destin Daniel Cretton-directed movie, which is also produced by Jordan’s Outlier Society and Participant Pictures, counts $436K since Christmas. Estimates for Just Mercy were between high single digits and $10M at 2,375 theaters.
TSG Entertainment/Chernin’s Underwater, which is being distributed by 20th Century Fox (meaning Disney), was low as expected in previews making $500K. The action drama starring Kristen Stewart from Sundance wunderkind William Eubank is not expected to do well, with a three-day in the single digits at 2,791 locations. The pic, which cost $50M before P&A (not $80M as some others have it) was completely financed by TSG, with Disney/Fox getting a distribution fee. The pic, I hear, has been ready for a while, but remained in limbo due to the merger and when Disney got it, they dated the pic.
Critics are split over the movie at 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. Thursday night audiences hated it at 2 stars with a low 37% definite recommend. Demo breakdown was men over 25 (34%), females over 25 (27%), females under 25 (21%) and males under 25 (18%). Bad grades throughout with young females hating it the most at 42% and females over 25 liking it a bit more, but not by much, at 65%.