Updated Sunday AM after Saturday 7:51 AM post: Warner Bros.’ day and date release of Tom & Jerry in theaters and on HBO Max has scored the second-best opening during the pandemic since theaters reopened in August, with $13.7M at 2,475 theaters. Warner Bros. also holds the domestic box office opening record during the pandemic with its Christmas release of Wonder Woman 1984, which did $16.4M. Worldwide, Tom & Jerry did $38.8M. The pic, I hear, before marketing costs, carried a production budget of $79M.
That number also beats the 3-day of Universal/Dreamworks Animation’s Croods: New Age, which took in $9.7M over the 3-day weekend Thanksgiving weekend.
“This is evidence that people are willing to go back to the movies when there is something they want to see,” said Warner Bros. Domestic Distribution Boss Jeff Goldstein about this weekend’s success with Tom & Jerry.
The Tim Story-directed, Chris DeFaria-produced animation live action hybrid also posted an opening day of $4M on Friday. Warners observes there was a big number of private party theatrical auditorium rentals by families. Warners says Tom & Jerry has over 10k auditorium bookings to date.
Warners posted these numbers on Tom & Jerry in a current exhibition landscape where just under 50% of all 5.8K United States and Canadian theaters are open, with No. 2 chain Regal still closed. On the upside, New York City is set to open this coming Friday with 25% capacity limits in time for the second weekend of Tom & Jerry, Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon (which will also be available on Disney+ for $30 a pop), and Lionsgate’s YA sci-fi feature Chaos Waking. More positive news this weekend: 11 out of 58 counties in California have reopened cinemas at 25% capacity, including Humboldt, Marin, San Mateo, Shasta, and Yolo. Trinity County has moved from the Orange Tier to the more restrictive Red Tier (25% capacity). Quebec also reopened on Friday.
No HBO Max viewership figures, numerical or anecdotal, were reported. Again, we’ve been saying this for the past couple of months, but Warners is really trying to make these movies work in those areas of the country where cinemas are open, despite the day-and-date strategy. I hear that the markets where HBO Max is strong isn’t impacting theatrical ticket sales in a negative way. But again, nothing drilled down is available. Most of the time, Netflix and Amazon movies don’t make any money in their limited theatrical run-up to being on those respective streamers (in regards to the latter, they began adopting this limited theatrical/streaming strategy with their Scott Z. Burns Sundance acquisition, The Report), and clearly that isn’t the case with HBO Max theatrical releases. Note, one of Warner Bros. weekend strategies, which worked wonders on driving The Meg to a $45.4M opening in August 2018, is pushing ticket sales online and on social media, literally zip code-by-zip code.
There was a fear when cinemas first reopened in some parts of the country that families would not venture out. But clearly, with vaccinations increasing, the fear about returning to the movies is slowly subsiding.
Moviegoing is only going to get better: Los Angeles is expected to reopen within the next month as well, and then we only have to wait on capacity restrictions easing.
Again, let’s not get ahead of ourselves: These box office numbers aren’t at pre-pandemic levels. But it shows that the financial tide at the domestic box office is turning.
Tom & Jerry, in early estimates, posted $3.2M in China on Sunday, for a running total of $12.3M. The movie was beat out by local titles Hi, Mom! and Detective Chinatown 3. Nancy will have more intel soon.
CinemaScore is great at A- and Cinemascore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak updated clocked in at a 79% positive rate and four stars. On CinemaScore, Story’s movie saw 70% of the audience under 35-years-old who scored the film an A, and 17% of the guys under 18 demo giving it an A+.
Tom & Jerry earned a good 60% recommend for the general audiences and a 66% recommend from kids. Kids under 12 also gave the cat and mouse feature 4 1/2 stars and a 90 positive rating. Female-male ratio was 51% to 49%, with 46% under 17 years old on PostTrak. Diversity turnout showed 35% Hispanic, 33% Caucasian, 21% African American and 11% Asian/Other.
The expectation is that if Universal can have a slow burn on Croods: A New Age, which hit $52.3M stateside this weekend and has been No. 1 five out of its 14 weekends running, then so can Tom & Jerry.
The top 10 locations this weekend for Tom & Jerry were: 1. Cinemark North Canton (Ohio), 2. Cinemark Pharr Town Center (Texas), 3. West-Wind Sacramento Drive-In, 4. AMC Garden State (Paramus, NJ), 5. Santikos Casa Blanca (San Antonio), 6. Cinemark Egyptian (Hanover, MD), 7. West-Wind Solano Twin Drive-In (Concord, CA), 8. Cinemark West Jordan (Salt Lake City), 9. West-Wind Glendale Drive-In (Phoenix), and 10. Cinergy Odessa (Texas).
The top 10 DMA markets for the animated feature was 1. Dallas, 2. Greater New York Metro area (including top theatres from nearby New Jersey, Long Island, etc.), 3. Chicago, 4. Houston, 5. Phoenix, 6. Salt Lake City, 7. Atlanta, 8. Detroit, 9. Denver, and 10. Boston.
In regards to the social media wattage on Tom & Jerry, RelishMix reports, “During this experimental phase of re-dating and day/dating, we’re seeing titles that run quick campaigns and streamline their marketing spends knowing the move to VOD and streaming will trigger quickly. But on Tom & Jerry, there’s an element that stands out. Tom & Jerry playlists on YouTube, which are perfect for parental- managed kids viewing, have viewing metrics that are usually only seen on Vevo music video channels.
The top Tom & Jerry compilation video has clocked 546M views for one video. And the top ten Tom & Jerry videos combined, most all on the Warner Bros Kids YouTube channels, have more than 2.1 billion views (yes, billion). Note, the WB Pictures YouTube channel with 15 years of marketing materials has 9.5M subscribers, and the Warner Bros Kids channel has 16.3M subscribers. The target for HBO Max is crystal clear.”
Tom & Jerry counted a social media footprint across YouTube views, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter just under 42M heading into the weekend. Over on TikTok, videos and posts around Tom & Jerry are “moderate and scattered,” per RelishMix, “without significant stand-outs”. Note, Warner Bros, used TikTok greatly with the HBO Max debut of Scoob back in May, a result that yielded 4 billion global views; that movie originally dated to go theatrical before Covid.
Star Chloe Grace Moretz counts 20.3M followers on Twitter and Instagram, clearly the pic’s social media star. She interviewed Tom the cat and posted the video on Instagram:
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar also gave a shoutout to Tom & Jerry on his Twitter Friday:
Searchlight didn’t report numbers on Nomadland. But even with its availability on Hulu, industry estimates peg the Chloe Zhao-directed drama at $333K in its fourth weekend at 1,200 locations. A $3M final domestic B.O. is pegged as its likely endgame in the US and Canada. Again, it will be interesting to see what impact NYC arthouses have on that movie, including Warner Bros.’ awards season contender Judas and the Black Messiah, as well as Focus’ contenders, Land and Promising Young Woman.
The top 10 chart:
1.) Tom & Jerry (WB) 2,475 theaters, 3-day: $13.7M/Wk 1
2.) The Croods: A New Age (Uni) 1,912 theaters (-1), 3-day: $1.2M (-30%)/Total: $52.3M/Wk 14
3.) The Little Things (WB) 1,853 theaters (-208), 3-day: $925K (-23%)/Total: $12.9M/Wk 5
4.) Wonder Woman 1984 (WB) 1,534 theaters (-110)/3-day: $710K (-12%)/Total: $43.6M/Wk 10
5.) The Marksman (Open) 1,414 theaters (-229)/3-day: $700K (-10%)/Total: $12.3M/Wk 7
6.) Judas and the Black Messiah (WB) 1,350 theaters (-556), 3-day: $500K (-45%)/Total: $4.1M/Wk 3
7.) Monster Hunter (Sony) 1,238 theaters (-73) 3-day: $460K (-12%)/Total $14M/Wk 11
8.) Land (Focus) 1,349 theaters (+98)/3-day: $355K (-29%)/Wk 3
9.) Nomadland (Searchlight) 1,200 theaters (+25), 3-day: $333K (-33)/Total $1.1M/Wk 4
10.) News of the World (Uni) 992 theaters (-169), 3-day: $200K (-17%)/Total: $11.96M/Wk 10