Despite all the bad news about the delta variant, there are parts of the box office which held up quite well, while the rest of it played like a normal August.
Showing some amazing holding power, Disney/20th Century Studios’ Free Guy eased -34%, for a 3-day of $18.8M, putting its 10-day total at $58.8M. Percent-wise, that’s the best second-weekend hold for any wide release this summer (meaning, for any movie opening Memorial Day weekend and thereafter). Free Guy‘s second weekend bests the holds of Peter Rabbit 2 (-40%), Boss Baby 2 (-45%), Forever Purge (-43%), and Stillwater (-45%). Among those Ryan Reynolds’ movies that opened to north of $20M in their first weekend, Free Guy clocks the best second weekend hold of the actor’s career, percent-wise (live action and animated), besting the weekend 2’s of Turbo (-36%), Croods (-39%), Safe House (-41%), Amityville Horror (-42%) and The Proposal (-45%), and even his late August 2017 hit Hitman’s Bodyguard (-52%). Imax pulled in $750K for Free Guy, repping a 39% dip, the best second-weekend hold for the large format exhibitor YTD.
In addition, despite being available for free to 42M streaming subscribers on Paramount+, the Melrose lot’s little kid pic with Spin Master, Paw Patrol, came in ahead of its single digit expectations with $13Mat 3,184 theaters, and that’s without No. 2 circuit Regal Cinemas in its count. The exhibitor and studio was not able to see eye-to-eye on terms for this theatrical-day-and-date release. Business was even up for Paw Patrol on Saturday by 9% over Friday, with close to $5M.
Meanwhile, the rest of this weekend’s wide releases tanked, and that would have still been the case if there wasn’t a pandemic to blame. We’re talking Lionsgate/Millennium’s The Protege ($1.1M Friday, $2.93M 3-day, B), Searchlight’s The Night House ($1M Friday, $2.869M 3-day, C-) and Warner Bros.’ Hugh Jackman future romance noir Reminiscence(also on HBO Max) (estimated from industry figures at $680K Friday, $2M 3-day, C+).
Again, don’t blame the vaxx card policy, blame the product. The vaxx card policy is there for moviegoers to feel more comfortable. All of this said, total weekend ticket sales are estimated to be around $64.1M, -41% from the same late August weekend in 2019, which was $108.7M. See, it’s that overall weekend number which indicates we’re still not completely out of this pandemic yet at the domestic box office, even though there is a drive to see product, as the top of the chart indicates.
Out of the new stuff, Paw Patrol, based on the TV series, has the best CinemaScore with an A-, and great reviews at 84% certified fresh. The most immediate comp here due to being a day-and-date animated pic is The Boss Baby: Family Business, which debuted to $16M in theaters, along with a drop on Universal’s 54M subscriber streaming service, Peacock.
Paw Patrol over-indexed in the Midwest and South Central US, and was slightly above norm in the Northeast and under-indexed in the Southeast, Rockies, and the western U.S. Canada, home of Spin Master Entertainment- the creators of Paw Patrol, clocked a great 14.38% while Canada’s overall market share this weekend was 11.64%. The movie is being released by Elevation in the Great White North. Top markets that over-indexed include Toronto, Philadelphia, Montreal, Minneapolis, Vancouver, St. Louis, Edmonton, Calgary, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. Top 20 markets that under-indexed include LA, NY, San Francisco, Wash DC, Seattle, Denver, Miami, San Antonio, Orlando, Tampa, Las Vegas, and San Diego.
Top theaters hailed from Montreal, Baltimore, LA, Vancouver, Sacramento, Nashville, San Antonio, Toronto, NY, Cleveland, Harrisburg PA, Odessa TX, Quebec, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Edmonton.
Families repped 88% of the audience, with females and girls 56%. Sixty-three percent were under the age of 25, while 47% were under 18, and 53% over 18. By ethnicity, Caucasians were less than half the audience at 41%, with both Hispanics (34%) and African Americans (20%) over-indexing relative to other family films. The pic clocked 4 1/2 stars out of 5 on Screen Engine/Comscore’s PostTrak audience survey with 81% overall positive, 66% definite recommend and kids are 12 giving it a 91% positive score and a 74% definite recommend. Per EntTelligence, 75% of those tickets purchased for Paw Patrol were for shows before 6PM.
Breaking down Paw Patrol‘s social media reach, analytics corp RelishMix counts 4.9M from the show’s YouTube channel, which “runs like a view factory for children, with over 2.6B cumulative views for the franchise.” Film-related, the social media universe is massive at 583.4M, with 99.2M YouTube views and a lighter 1.1M views on Facebook. The awareness total over-indexed, with several ultra-social cast members, including Kim Kardashian with 347.3M fans, Adam Levine with 38.5M, Tyler Perry 27.7M fans and Jimmy Kimmel with 15.8M. “Paw Patrol took a page out of the Sesame Street playbook by casting stars who have young children, all of whom want to impress their little kids,” says RelishMix.
Kimmel also wanting to impress his kids with the film:
Despite the positive news at the box office, major studios are taking precautions with family films in the immediate fall schedule as the delta variant continues and kids under 12 not vaccinated. Late Friday, MGM decided to go day-and-date theatrical and on PVOD with their highly anticipated sequel The Addams Family 2 after holding strong against Sony for a theatrical release during the first weekend of October, after the Culver City lot moved Hotel Transylvania 4 onto that date. In the end, Sony decided to get into talks with Amazon to license the fourthquel to the streaming service in a deal that’s being estimated at $100M. I hear that most theaters, which are enforcing the vaxx card policy in New Orleans, San Francisco, and NYC, are allowing kids under 12 in as long as they’re wearing a mask — with, of course, a vaccinated parent. The pandemic continues, and with that, the dynamic window experimentation.
According to Market Insights firm EntTelligence, while Free Guy dominated the box office, Paw Patrol‘s impressions aren’t far behind, thanks to a lot of afternoon shows with an average ticket price of $10.28, compared to $12.90 for the Reynolds movie. The turnout for Paw Patrol was 1.3M admissions to Free Guy‘s 1.6M. “Overall the industry continues to rebound with an estimated 5.3M moviegoers heading to the cinema this weekend to see one of the top 10 movies,” reports EntTelligence. The cinema data org uses proprietary technology, machine learning and movie-goer analysis, which includes on-site ticket price verification to create its metrics and insights.
How many times have we seen this femme action shoot-’em-up movie before? The Protege‘s weekend is under Lionsgate’s Luc Besson’s female assassin movie, Anna, which tanked pre-pandemic with a $3.6M start and finaled at $7.7M domestic. Protege stars Maggie Q, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson, and is directed by Martin Campbell, and despite OK critics score of 61% fresh, saw a blasé audience recommendation of 50% recommend and 76% positive. Older guys turned out at 61%, 81% over 25, with slightly more than half of the pic’s ticket-buyers falling between 25-44 years old. Diversity demos were 47% Caucasian, 25% Black, 16% Latino, and 12% Asian/other. Most notable markets were the West and South.
Night House, despite having great reviews of 84% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, divided genre audiences, given that it’s an arthouse horror pic, two tastes which rarely go together. PostTrak is low here with 61% positive, 38% recommend. Those who dared to show up were 52% males, 61% over 25, and 67% between 18-34. Diversity mix was 50% Caucasian, 20% Latino, 14% Black, 16% Asian/other. Lackluster results on the coasts and in the South here for the Rebecca Hall movie. Searchlight shelled out $12M for the global rights to Night House at Sundance 2020. Still, it’s product for the arthouse. Audiences responded more to Searchlight’s pre-pandemic gory feature Ready or Not, which logged a B+ CinemaScore. Hardly any social media push here reports RelishMix given the non-socially activated cast.
Reminiscenceis another star adult-geared drama from Warner Bros. to wilt this year, after Angelina Jolie’s Those Who Wish Me Dead ($2.8M opening, $7.3M final). Two things here with Warner: They had the foresight to notice that the pandemic would last this long with their HBO Max theatrical plan, but also the concern going forward is whether they take some of these risky adult titles either day-and-date on the service, or over a short theatrical window. This despite their commitment to a 45-day theatrical window next year. Note, that’s a concern for the entire industry as to where arthouse and adult fare will wind up going forward. MGM/UAR’s Respect, for example, fell -57% in weekend 2 here with $3.8M.
Audiences didn’t get this Jackman package priced at an estimated $68M (before P&A and talent recoup, the latter which I hear was huge), which Warners snapped up at auction out of Berlin, at 67% positive, 44% recommend. 56% guys, 74% over 25, and 60% between 18-34. Diversity demos were 54% Caucasian, 15% Latino, 14% Black, 17% Asian/other. The most activity the movie saw was in the West and Southeast.
This’s weekend’s top 10 films — refreshing with Sunday AM numbers
1.) Free Guy (20th/Dis) 4,165 theaters Fri $5.2M/Sat $8M/Sun $5.6M/3-day $18.8M (-34%)/Total: $58.8M/Wk 2
2.) Paw Patrol (Par/Spin) 3,184 theaters Fri $4.5M/Sat $4.95M/Sun $3.5M/3-day $13M/Wk 1
3.) Jungle Cruise (Dis) 3,575 (-325) theaters, Fri $1.7M (-34%)/Sat $2.8M/Sun $1.7M/3-day $6.2M (-31%)/Total $92.5M/Wk 4
4.) Don’t Breathe 2 3,005 theaters (Sony/SG) Fri $1.5M/Sat $2.1M/Sun $1.4M/3-day $5.05M (-53%)/Total: $19.7M/ Wk 2
5.) Respect (MGM/UAR) 3,207 theaters Fri $1.08M (-70%)/Sat $1.55M/Sun $1.17M/3-day $3.8M (-57%)/Total $15.8M/Wk 2
6.) The Suicide Squad (WB) 2,926 (-1,093) theaters Fri $980K/Sat $1.4M/Sun $1M/3-day: $3.4M (-54%) /Total $49.2M/Wk 3
7.) The Protege (LG) 2,577 theaters Fri $1.1M/Sat $1M/Sun $767K/3-day $2.93M/Wk 1
8.) The Night House (Sea) 2,240 theaters Fri $1.08M/Sat $1.06M/Sun $737K/3-day $2.869M/Wk 1
9.) Reminiscence (WB) 3,265 theaters Fri $680K/Sat $755K/Sun $565K/3-day $2M/Wk 1
10.) Old (Uni) 1,547 (-1,084) theaters/Fri $330K (-54%)/Sat $490K/Sun $320K/3-day $1.14M (-52%)/Total $45.1M/Wk 5