Sunday AM Update: By the calendar’s measure of recent box office years, it is the first weekend of summer. But because movie theaters are still closed in most of Europe and Brazil because of the pandemic, Disney decided to move Marvel’s Black Widow to July 9.
The good news is that we will finally have a semblance of a summer box office season, unlike last year, and United Artists Releasing is filling the vacancy left by Disney this weekend with the Miramax/MGM production of Guy Ritchie’s R-rated Jason Statham action title, Wrath of Man, which had a solid Friday at the B.O. during the pandemic with $3M (including $500K Thursday previews), then continued on to make the same amount of cash yesterday, and will see a 3-day opening of $8M at 2,875 theaters.
That’s a bit more than what Universal’s gritty R-rated Bob Odenkirk shoot-’em up Nobody scored over its first weekend, with $2.5M Friday and a 3-day of $6.8M (that movie, now in its 7th weekend, is bound to see its domestic cume at $24.6M by today off an A- CinemaScore).
All-in, Wrath of Man opened to $25.6M WW, $17.6M of that from 3,332 locations in nine territories, where eight of ’em ranked No. 1. Russia & CIS raked in $10M, exceeding the lifetime box office of Bad Boys for Life, John Wick 3, Man from UNCLE, and XXX: Return of Xander Cage. Australia and NZ took in $3.2M, Taiwan was $2.5M, while China counted $1M from limited previews which began yesterday before its May 10 launch.
Next to the meat-and-potato action movies aimed at older guys during the pandemic stateside since last August (we’re not counting videogame adaptation Mortal Kombat), Wrath of Man bests the debuts of Nobody, Unhinged ($4M), Honest Thief ($4.1M) and The Marksman ($3.1M).
Audience reaction for Wrath of Man was great, with Ritchie seeing an A-, which was better than the B+ earned by 2020’s The Gentleman, which repped a return to his kinetic, flashy action British capers. That movie, also a Miramax production, was released to 2,165 theaters by STX before Covid-19 hit in late January, and opened to $10.65M.
“This was a smart acquisition by MGM. Getting to work with Bill Block and Miramax was great. They were very supportive of the marketing and dating strategy. We took advantage of the Mother’s Day weekend as soon as Black Widow moved,” UAR President Erik Lomis told Deadline this morning.
“Gerry Rich and the marketing team created a super smart and innovative campaign, laser-focused and efficient, with a trailer launch only six weeks out. Guy Ritchie supported the plan and the marketing team every step of the way, and delivered a solid movie, very playable to his audience,” added Lomis.
Wrath of Man played strong on the west coast and southwest, with Burbank’s AMC the No. 1 theater in the country for the pic.
UAR ran 60-second spots for Wrath of Man across such cable networks as ESPN, FX, FXX, Discovery, SciFi, NBA and digital channels YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Search. There was an early spot which ran during the Walking Dead finale to kick off the marketing campaign. Prime demos were targeted on such shows as 9-1-1, NCIS, FBI: Most Wanted, Blue Bloods, and Chicago PD, with spots also booked during those sports in-season, the NBA, MLB, UFC, Boxing, and NASCAR, as well as guy-targeted cable networks Adult Swim, Comedy, Discovery, ESPN, History, AMC, and FX.
The Wrath of Man trailer launch on March 29 received 22M views and over 48K conversations in its first day. It trended on Twitter and reddit movies, and on YouTube for over 24 hours after launch. The pic’s red band trailer was dropped on April 29 with IGN and Reddit. RelishMix further reports that the viral rate was a solid 9:1, with close to 38M views on YouTube, another 18.2M on Facebook for 27 videos with high posting frequency.
UAR sponsored a Twitch Livestream for the movie featuring gaming influencers (Chica, Nick Eh 30, and Shiv) taking on three athletes (Richard Sherman, Darius Slay, Karl-Anthony Towns).
The film’s website (WrathOfMan.movie) included direct ticket sales for select theaters across the country, arguably a first for a major studio release stateside to consumers on a mass scale, as movie tickets are often sold via third-party sites.
In theaters, Wrath of Man trailers ran on Nobody (3/26), The Unholy (4/2), Mortal Kombat (4/16), Demon Slayer (4/16) and Separation (4/30). Theater circuits promoted through paid and organic social, push notifications, homepage web banners, e-blasts and app inclusions.
AMC specifically launched an exclusive content piece tied to tickets on sale (3/26) followed by a Ritchie behind-the-scenes piece on their social channels (4/23). There were also promotions with exhibition loyalty programs through targeted digital marketing; Bonus point offers with Regal, Marcus, Cinemark and Showcase Cinemas. In addition Harkins, Marcus, Dolby and Imax shared Wrath of Man content pieces on their social channels the week of opening tied to ticketing push.
RelishMix is very impressed with the social media on Wrath of Man, reporting “social star power is driving the movie’s social media universe, with 69% of its entire 209.4M footprint. The cast which counts 146M total followers spurred a strong launch over a shortened marketing runway.”
Wrath Of Man’s social media star was, natch, Jason Statham, who counts 100M fans, but Instagram is his preferred outlet at 26.4M. The pic’s other star, Scott Eastwood, counts 5.1M across social media, and he, too, is also posting on Instagram. In his film debut, Post Malone is partially activated on Twitter and Facebook with close to 40M followers, and credited as Austin Post as Robber #6. This behind-the-scenes piece below on Statham’s Instagram has clocked over 4M views:
Screen Engine/Comscore PostTrak moviegoers also rated Wrath of Man well with a 77% overall positive and a 57% definite recommend. Guys at 60% made up the overall audience, with 72% over 25 and 45% over 35. Diversity demos were 44% Caucasian, 23% Black, 21% Hispanic, and 12% Asian/other. Wrath of Man was strong in the West and Southwest. PLF and Imax repped 34% of Friday and Saturday’s ticket sales. Critics weren’t as high on Wrath of Man as The Gentlemen, 66% fresh to 75% certified fresh.
While an $8M opening is not what we’re used to in regards to opening summer, keep this in mind: We’re in much better shape and on a better path than we were a year ago. Currently, 63% of 5,8K theaters are operating. While that’s very good, the domestic marketplace isn’t at its full exhibition power. Over 1k theaters haven’t provided targeted reopening dates, No. 2 chain Regal only has 232 theaters of its 533 reopened, and three major provinces of Canada –Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta — are still closed.
There’s a chance that Cineplex, which only has 27 of its 162 theaters reopened, might open more in another week or two if local ordinances give the OK. But I’m hearing there’s a chance the two features, which are firing up summer, Paramount’s A Quiet Place II and Disney’s Cruella, may not have the full power of Canada when they open over Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31. We will see.
Also, capacity restrictions remain in force across the nation, even in areas where the capacity limits might be at 100%. AMC reportedly is operating its whole chain at 50% levels and enforcing mask wearing, even in those communities where face coverings have been lifted.
For all the good news about the yellow tier moving LA theaters to 75% capacity, again, that’s for those attendees who show proof of vaccinations. Several sources tell me there’s no way exhibition can or will enforce its attendees to show proof of vaccination, and therefore will opt to operate at 50%. That said, I’m told exhibition overall isn’t fretting about this loophole. Talks with CDC and local health authorities in LA and San Francisco remain positive, and all eyes are on June 15, when California Gavin Newsom has announced the state will be fully opened. The hope per exhibition sources is that NYC will be at 50% capacity levels by Memorial Day weekend.
In the No. 2 spot is Funimatin/Aniplex’s Demon Slayer which in its 3rd Friday grossed $851K, -53%, at 2,088 theaters (+183) for a 3rd weekend of $3.05M (-52%) and a 17-day running total of $39.6M. New Line/HBO Max’s Mortal Kombat at 2,973 locations (-141) did $700K on Friday (-62%) in its 3rd Friday in the No. 3 spot with a 3rd weekend of $2.375M (-62%) and a running total of $37.8M. Fourth place is also owned by Warner Bros. with Legendary’s Godzilla v. Kong (which is in a window now of pure theatrical play, not on HBO Max). That pic’s 6th Friday made $505K (-32%) at 2,705 theaters (-48) on Friday for a 3-day of $1.93M (-32%) and a $92.9M running total by EOD Sunday. 5th place belongs to Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon which grossed $420K in its 10th Friday at 2,315 theaters (+505) with a 3-day of $1.865M (+35%) and a running total of $43.8M. The pic is also available on Disney+ Premier for the extra cost of $30. Open Road’s Separation grossed $315K (-54%) in its second Friday on its way to a $1.065M weekend at 1,911 (+160) sites for a 10-day of $3.3M.
Sony and Stage 6 Film’s recent acquisition of Tiffany Haddish-Billy Crystal movie Here Today will be gone tomorrow. The studio doesn’t spend much to open these titles, and this is a moderate release booked at 1,200 locations. Friday according to Sony took in $257K, followed by $366K yesterday, and a projected $277K today for a 3-day the studio is calling at $900K, which is better than the $783K the industry was seeing on Saturday AM. Audience and critical reactions for this Crystal directed feature which he co-wrote with Alan Zweibel were low with a 52% Rotten Tomatoes rating and 65% overall positive from PostTrak and a 46% recommend. 57% females showed up with 57% over 25. Clearly this was a lazy play at the Mother’s Day audience without much marketing muscle. Audience make-up was 62% Caucasian, 17% Hispanic, 17% Black, & 4% Asian/other. Sony doesn’t spend on these movies with iSpot showing the pic’s TV spot spend was a paltry $320K with ads that ran on 60 Minutes, Today, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, SEAL Team and Haddish’s Kids Say the Darndest Things.
Here Today follows veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Crystal), who is going through a tough time in his life. He meets New York singer Emma Payge (Haddish) and they form an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of love and trust.
Social media was very light here, considering how the pic was aimed at older audiences. RelishMix noticed before Friday, “With the late re-date pivot into a one-week-ramp-up, the Here Today trailer was dropped on the Sony YouTube channel and another five videos on the Sony studio Facebook. Clearly, making unique pages for the film was skipped with a full Zoom blitz of the cast onto morning and late night talk shows. Trailers on both YouTube and Facebook are equally boosted and quickly approaching 2M views on each platform.”
“Convo from the trailer, theme and casting are mixed-positive-leaning, interwoven with extreme anticipation from Sony YouTube subscribers to the Venon 2 trailer plus, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Spiderman: No Way Home in their alerts from the Sony YouTube channel (4.6M subs) as movies get back to normal scheduling,” RelishMix adds.
Haddish retweeted to her 559K followers (not so much to her 6.6M Instagram followers) while Crystal has been actively pushing the movie to his 664K Twitter followers.
In a theater again! pic.twitter.com/LcmCvotEpV
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) May 7, 2021
The top 10 for May 7-9
1.) Wrath of Man (UAR) 2,875 theaters/Fri $3M/Sat $3M/Sun $2.1M/3-day $8M/ Wk 1
2.) Demon Slayer (Fun/Ani) 2,088 theaters (+183)/Fri $851K/Sat $1.26M/Sun $942,5K/3-day $3.05M (-52%)/Total: $39.6M/ Wk 3
3.) Mortal Kombat (New Line/WB), 2,973 locations (-141) /Fri, $700K, 3-day $2.375M (-62%)/Total: $37.8M/Wk 3
4.) Godzilla vs. Kong (WB/Leg) 2,705 theaters (-48),/ Fri $505K/3-day: $1.93M (-32%)/Total: $92.96M/Wk 6
5.) Raya and the Last Dragon (Dis) 2,315 theaters (+505), Fri $420K/Sat $775K/Sun $670k/ 3-day: $1.865M (+35%), Total: $43.8M/Wk 10
6.) Separation (OR) 1,911 theaters (+160), Fri $315K, Sat $450K, Sun $310K, 3-day $1.075M (-40%)/Total: $3.37M/ Wk 2
7.) Here Today (Sony) 1,200 theaters, Fri $257K/Sat $366K/Sun $277K/3-day $900K/ Wk 1
8.) Nobody (Uni) 1,931 theaters (-125) Fri $220K/Sat $330K/Sun $210K/3-day: $760K (-41%)/Total $24.6M/Wk 7
9.) The Unholy (Sony) 1,390 theaters (-148) /Fri $220K/Sat $315K/Sun $195K/$730K (-31%)/Total: $14.1M/Wk 6
10.) Tom & Jerry (WB) 1,831 theaters (+30), 3-day: $426K (-20%)/Total: $44.7M/Wk 11
The Water Man (RLJE) 311 theaters, 3-day: $183K/Wk 1