UPDATE, FRIDAY, 2:03 PM: With matinee grosses tumbling in, it appears at the moment that The Book Of Life is headed to a $4M-$5.2M Friday night with most of its audiences sure to come in on family moviegoing Saturday and Sunday for Fox. Currently, that puts it in the $11.5M-$15M range for the three-day week. Likewise, the Brad Pitt war movie Fury — which is expected to win the weekend — will see its R-rated audience come in later this evening and tonight for Sony and QED. Right now, it’ss tracking for a $8M-$9M+ Friday or a three-day debut in the $21M-$25M range. Word of mouth on this mostly positively-reviewed movie should help. The Best Of Me from Relativity, as previously noted below, is not expected to do much business and that is certainly the case in matinees. It may make around $3M-$4.5M today on track for a lackluster $8M-$10M weekend. Ho hum. But it’s waaay early. That’s a snapshot so far.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY, 8:38 AM: Thank you, Brad Pitt. Sony’s Pitt-starring war film Fury grossed a strong $1.2M from late-night Thursdays in 2,489 theaters on track for a very respectable box office weekend, while Fox’s animated adventure The Book Of Life grabbed a nice $300K from 2,150 locations last night. Both started at 7 PM. Numbers just came in a little after 9 AM for Relativity’s The Best of Me, which grossed $525K (starting at 8 PM). Now for the comps:
In comps for Fury, Monuments Men took in $550,000 in late night Thursdays this year when it began at 7 PM and went on to gross $22M, and Captain Phillips sailed in with $600K last October at this time (at 8 PM). Fury rolls into 3,155 theaters today.
In comparison with family fare, Focus Features’ animated The Boxtrolls grabbed less than $200K and ended up with $17.2M for its three-day and Disney’s Alexander (and the very, very long, terrible, horrible title) made a little under $150K and ended up with $18.3M in its debut. The audience for The Book Of Life will come out on Saturday and Sunday so matinees would be more relevant later today when it rolls out in 3,069 theaters.
In comparison to other YA and Nicholas Sparks titles, The Best Of Me did better on late nights than Sparks’ Safe Haven which managed to gross $250K for a weekend grab of $21.4M, however that launched around Valentine’s Day. Very different. By bowing now, Relativity is hoping to grab some of the female audience (counter-programming to a war pic, that’s for sure). Other YA titles: If I Stay had a front-loaded $1.1M Thursday and grossed $15.7M for its three-day opening when it bowed in the dog days of August this year. The Giver took in $750K on Thursday when it also bowed in August and ended the weekend with $12.3M. While it helps to have the Sparks brand in your corner, this title is not expected to do much business this weekend.
Good reviews for Fury (76% on Rotten Tomatoes), combined with the star power of Pitt and a strong ensemble cast that includes Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, and Michael Pena, Fury should do decently at the box office this weekend. The war picture, which screened in D.C. this weekend for World War II veterans, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and VP Joe Biden, is also winning in social media metrics with over 15M YouTube views and a 41M combined engagement over the Big Three social media universe (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter). The Book Of Life trails at $5.8M YouTube views or 34.1M combined while The Best Of Me with 4.3M YouTube views and only 5.2M combined engagement. So, to break it down further, the earned/owned ratio of reposting Fury, according to RelishMix, is an impressive 14 to 1 over Book Of Life at 7 to 1 and Best Of Me at only 4 to 1.
Gone Girl is still pulling in decent mid-week numbers and still seems to have some interest out there (although moviegoers are complaining about the end of the film). Fury overtook it on Wednesday of this week on social. The other Fox pic in the marketplace, the animated The Book Of Life, which skews heavily Hispanic, uses the voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, and Channing Tatum and also has wonderful reviews. This one has 74% on Rotten Tomatoes heading into the weekend. The social juggernaut for this film, according to RelishMix which tracks this kind of thing, is Tatum, with 16.3M Facebook and 6.5M Twitter followers which helps promote the film.
The Best Of Me doesn’t get the advantage of a Valentine’s Day opening or even a V-day adjacent opening from Relativity and doesn’t have the star power of other YA novels. It also is only 7% on Rotten Tomatoes.