Universal’s estimates for DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age didn’t veer greatly from what we were seeing yesterday for the weekend, with a $9.7M 3-day, $14.2M 5-day and global grab of $35M. On a 3-day U.S./Canada basis, this is the biggest opening during the pandemic since theaters re-opened, even beating Warner Bros. Tenet. The 3-day of Tenet‘s full domestic over Labor Day was $9.35M according to Comscore.
As we mentioned all along, by historical Thanksgiving B.O. records, these numbers are awful. But by pandemic standards, these are some of the best B.O. figures we’ve seen, and that’s largely because Universal spent to promote the movie. Also, families came out. Back when exhibition was re-opening, studies showed that families would be the slowest and most cautious to return to the cinemas. It appears Universal has busted a leak in that dam this past weekend: Croods 2 brought in 54% females (moms) and an audience that was 70% under 25. As one distribution executive put it this past weekend about forecasting numbers, “Nowadays you have to look ahead five minutes in the future, not five days” about the market’s unpredictability, with B.O. hubs like Los Angeles, most of California, NYC, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and New Mexico still closed.
Said Universal US distribution Boss Jim Orr about Uni’s commitment to Croods 2 even as theaters began to close nationwide in recent weeks, falling out of the studio’s grasp, “We unleashed the best in industry marketing to drive as many people to as many opened theaters as we possibly could, and the results speak for themselves.”
Typically, wide releases of late have had marketing spends in the $1M-$10M range, and iSpot shows that around $27M was spent in US TV ads for Croods 2 by Uni. Marketing spend here for Croods 2 is weighted differently than the typical theatrical release due to the pic’s PVOD release on the horizon.
Adds Orr about the family turnout this past five days, “When you have an incredible charming film, people want to come out and want to be together in a theater. Those that do, did, and enjoyed the Croods: A New Age very much.”
Social media monitor RelishMix noticed the results of Uni’s big push for Croods 2, reporting, “Over the last year, with the birth of Peacock and the convergence of the DreamWorks family of YouTube channels and the Universal Kids portfolio, the new and improved Peacock Kids on YouTube (8.1M subs) has become an ideal launchpad for family titles. Given the Covid-19 state of the biz, the Social Media Universe campaign intensity for Croods: A New Age sits on par (301.7M norm SMU), with genre norms for Family Animated, with 283.5M reach and engagement across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. The greatest reach is driven by the Uni Facebook, with 30.5M fans, and biggest driver of activity is the well-boosted Official Trailer on Peacock YouTube with 45.5M views.
Total views on YouTube crossed over to 103.9M on 80+ clips, the EOR viral reposting rate is strong at 21:1, and additional Facebook videos are at 47.6M for 35 videos. On TikTok, Croods 2 has 458k followers and 31 nicely viewed videos, as all studios cautiously explore the platform.”
Notable materials on social included Croods 2 stars Leslie Mann, Kelly Marie Tran, and Emma Stone participating in a Zoom on the Peacock Kids YouTube channel, which targets 8.1M subscribers. The channel is a mash-up of Universal Kids, Dreamworks animation, and digital TV channels over the last 7 years. Stone appeared on The Tonight Show, revealing how Monica from Friends was her inspiration for voice-acting in Croods. Also, Atlanta Hawks hoopster Trea Young stepped in for a Croods 2 spot, “Get Your Sloth On,” which aired on ESPN.
China fueled the bulk of Croods 2‘s overseas at $19.2M at 10K locations, with the starting result there being triple that of the first Croods movie, which ended its box office at $63.3M. On Sunday, Croods 2 beat ($7.3M) local titles Caught in Time ($4.6M) and One Second ($3.2M), respectively. Imax theaters numbering 868 delivered $2.6M to Croods 2‘s global tally; $500K of that from 175 U.S. venues, $2M from 671 China sites.
Orr further adds about the notable results here for the sequel during the pandemic, “The Croods: A New Age further solidifies Dreamworks Animation’s impeccable reputation of creating beautifully animated films and quality family entertainment with global appeal. We are very proud of our ability to continue to support our exhibition partners in whatever ways we can as we look to bring audiences a sense of normalcy during these uncertain times, making this holiday weekend debut of The Croods especially gratifying in this difficult theatrical landscape.”
Where does Croods 2 go from here at the domestic B.O. now that there’s a PVOD release in near sight? (I hear the movie is getting a jump ahead of Disney+’s Christmas Day drop of Soul). Analysts believe the pic has at least a 3x multiple of its 3-day domestic opening result (~$42M). Croods 2 before P&A cost $65M, which is 52% lower than the cost of the first Croods ($135M) under then-DWA boss Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Uni’s absorption of DWA entailed cutting down the cost of its movies. Uni is quite excited to see the end results of Croods 2 in their financial ledgers, given their new dynamic window approach, with the pic playing roughly three weeks in theaters exclusively before PVOD. As has been reported, this past April’s PVOD release of DWA’s Trolls World Tour minted close to $100M domestic.
As far as how Croods 2 played across a broken exhibition nation: I hear the top theaters were largely indoor, with only two drive-ins. Drive-ins, given the cold weather, are becoming less prominent at the box office, their numbers dwindling from 320 at a season’s high to about 183 locations currently open. Croods 2 played best in the South and the Mountain area, the latter typically a solid region for family films. Top markets were Salt Lake City, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Orlando, Atlanta, Austin, San Antonio, Tampa, Kansas City, Las Vegas, among others.
The top 10 as we see it for this past weekend:
- Croods: A New Age (Uni)2,211 theaters, 3-day: $9.7M, 5-day $14.2M/Wk 1
- Freaky(Uni)1,735 theaters (-322), 3-day: $770K (-40%), 5-day: $1.1M/Total: $7M/Wk 3
- War With Grandpa(101) 1,500 (-188) theaters, 3-day: $644K (-14%)/5-day: $892K/ Total: $17.2M/Wk 8
- Let Him Go (Foc) 1,447 theaters (-460), 3-day: $453K (-37%)/5-day: $670K, Total: $8.7M/Wk 4
- Come Play(Foc) 1,029 (-335) theaters, 3-day: $387K (-31%)/5-day $520K, Total: $8.7M/Wk 5
- Honest Thief (Open) 975 (-279) theaters, 3-day: $350K(-22%) 5-day: $465K/Total: $13.5M/Wk 8
- Elf( NL) 700 theaters (+425), 3-day: $315K (+75%), 5-day $427K,Total: $175M/Wk 3 of re-release
- Tenet(WB) 656 theaters (-208) 3-day: $300K (-16%), 5-day: $440K Total: $57.4M/Wk 13
- The Santa Clause (Dis) 1,090 (-491) theaters, 3-day: $170K/5-day: $245k/Total $145.6M/Wk 2 of re-release
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (WB) 325 theaters, 3-day $169K, 5-day: $218K/Total: $72.9M /Wk 1 or re-release
Vanguard (Gravitas) 800 (-575), 3-day: $165K (-59%)/5-day $240K/Total: $694K/Wk 2