For all the headlines about Omicron, in many ways the Christmas box office isn’t unlike others pre-pandemic, where one film is driving the majority of business. With the 3-day for all films estimated to ring up around $154M, Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home is driving 53% of that figure. It has a 3-day of $81.5M, with only one other event film expected in the long run, that being Illumination/Universal’s Sing 2, which is notching a $41M 5-day start.
All of this is quite similar to Christmas 2015 when Star Wars: Force Awakens was the big star atop the holiday box office, and Paramount’s family film Daddy’s Home the only other movie to make it past $100M in the long run. Global for Spidey is finally at $1.05 billion WW, the first pic to cross that milestone during the Covid era, with domestic being $467.3M of that figure as of EOD today.
Thanks to great film options and safety-first protocols at theaters, moviegoing confidence continues to grow. Attendance is pacing at an increase of 50% since the last 5-day holiday period, Thanksgiving. That means for every two tickets sold over Thanksgiving, three are being sold over the Christmas weekend, according to box office data firm EntTelligence.
They report that Spider-Man: No Way Home has sold 38M tickets since opening, a figure that’s close to the entire population of California. The most-attended films during the five day period Dec. 22-26 were No Way Home (12.6M), Sing 2 (4.1M), The Matrix Resurrections (1.76M) and The King’s Man (920K).
With the third-highest grossing Christmas Day ever at the B.O. with $31.7M, after Force Awakens’ $49.3M and Rise of Skywalker‘s $32.1M, Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t being slowed by Omicron. If you were expecting bigger numbers on No Way Home, note that Christmas falling on a Saturday also impacts the amount that can be generated: Essentially, a day-and-a-half of ticket sales are impacted (Friday and a majority of yesterday) since business doesn’t fire up until after Christmas dinner on Saturday evening.
It’s arguable for certain older-skewing adult films that omicron is slowing their ticket sales, i.e. West Side Story, Nightmare Alley, A Journal for Jordan, although UAR/MGM’s Licorice Pizza showed signs of life, making a similar amount of money to its predecessors, but in significantly less theaters —$2.33M in 786 locations, for a $3K theater average–66% of its audience being spurred by 18-34 year-olds.
West Side Story in its third weekend did $2.8M (-23%) at 2,810 theaters, Denzel Washington’s drama A Journal for Jordan saw $2.2M at 2,500 theaters, while the second weekend of Searchlight’s Nightmare Alley did $1.3M, -54% at 2,135.
Illumination/Universal’s Sing 2 did $8.42M on Christmas Day, +61% over Christmas Eve, for what looks to be a $23.76M 3-day, $41M 5-day. Universal Domestic Distribution Boss Jim Orr exclaimed, “Audiences have shown us by this fantastic box office result, and our incredible audience reaction scores, that Sing 2 is the perfect movie to see this holiday season. The music, the performances, the fun and energy brought to the screen by Chris Meledandri and Illumination are helping to make the world a bit brighter.”
Geographically, the sequel played evenly across North America, with Mountain, Midwest, and South Central family regions robust. The top ten markets were LA, Dallas, NY, Salt Lake City, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco, Denver, and Atlanta. Per PostTrak, women led at 58%, 56% under 25, and 44% 17 and under. Diverse spread for a family movie with 39% Hispanic and Latino, 35% Caucasian, 15% Black and 7% Asian.
RelishMix says that the voiceover cast of Sing 2 are driving 31% of its 100.1M social media reach across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, led by Reese Witherspoon at 33.6M, Nick Roll at 2.7M, Matthew McConaughey at 18.5M and a non-activated Halsey at 27.6M. Overall social media universe, including YouTube for the Illumination sequel, stands at 393.1M, 24% above norms for pre-Covid family animation, and higher than recent releases Encanto (272.6M), Addams Family 2 (236.6), Tom & Jerry (159.2M), Sprit Untamed (111.1M) and Croods: A New Age (238.5M). Illumination Studios feeds YouTube owned materials to 3M subscribers and cross-promoted to Universal channels.
Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s Matrix Resurrections saw $4.65M yesterday, +72% from Friday, for a not-so-good $12M 3-day, $22.5M 5-day for the fourthquel in the 22-year old franchise — far lower than the $40M the studio was expecting over five days. Blame HBO Max, blame lackluster audience reactions, blame Christmas falling on a Saturday, blame everything. The 3-day on Matrix Resurrections is, gulp, lower than the 3-day on Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984, which opened over that Christmas weekend with $16.7M at 2,151 theaters; also a day-and-date HBO Max release, but in a marketplace where significantly more theaters were closed, including NYC and LA. Yikes. This is the last of theatrical-day-and-date Warner Bros. event titles to hit HBO Max.
It’s not like fans weren’t aware of Matrix Resurrections. The fourthqel counted over 600.6M followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, per RelishMix. HBO Max grew 4X over the last year, up to a near 6M social media universe, next to Warner Bros. Pictures SMU at 57.4M, with a studio YouTube channel now crossing 10M subscribers. “All of these stats run 2X over the norm for the genre as far as awareness and reach,” says RelishMix, which noticed excitement for the sequel heading into the weekend, with fans asking on social “‘What took so long?’ and questions swirling about Neo’s return and the original Morpheus.” We’ll see the Samba TV numbers tomorrow as to whether all that excitement translated into HBO Max viewers.
Matrix played best in the West, with Imax and PLF repping 22% of its business, with most of those screens going back to Spider-Man: No Way Home tomorrow after the Burbank, CA studio had to share ’em with Sony.
Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company’s American Underdog blitzes its way into 4th place, with $6.2M for its two days of release at 2,813 theaters, which is in the $4M-$7M range the studio was expecting. There’s seriously a wait-and-see on this A+ CinemaScore movie, as it’s apt to play in the red states, where the unvaccinated adult audiences have few fears about omicron (versus the Northeast, scroll down for NRG’s take). The box office was driven by 52% men, with the 25+ moviegoers being 79% over 25. There’s also a faith-based halo working in the movie’s favor as well.
However, the biggest casualty of Christmas is 20th Century Studios/Disney’s Matthew Vaughn-directed/MARV produced prequel The King’s Man, with $6.35M over 3-days and $10M over 5 days at 3,180 theaters. Did anyone know this movie was a prequel to Vaughn’s Kingsmen movies? And did any of the fans care, given how it takes place around WWI? Promos for this movie have been running for the last two years, and the film, because of the pandemic, had several release date changes, moving from Feb. 14, 2020 to Sept. 18, 2020; Feb. 26, 2021; March 12, 2021; Aug. 20, 2021; before landing on Dec. 22.
While there’s a lot of money for movies to make over the year-end holiday, I don’t think the latest release date served this left turn in the 20th Century Studios’/MARV franchise. Previous dates for this movie arguably allowed this prequel to stand on its own, sans the noise of a big guy film like Spider-Man: No Way Home distracting from it. If there was any care to be provided to King’s Man, it was to truly harp on its connection to the previous two contemporary movies, which the trailers didn’t provide loudly enough. Back in December 2019, King’s Man trailers were playing in theaters alongside 1917, providing confusion as to which WWI movie was which. However, the latter ultimately distinguished itself with its Oscar momentum and one-track shot action, while King’s Man became the movie which was delayed.
Of course, the tried and true question is, why didn’t King’s Man go to a streamer, and likely that’s because these 20th Century Studios’ event pics, like Free Guy, were tied to a previous pay one TV window commitment the studio had with HBO. Even with the Armie Hammer scandal hanging over Death on the Nile, that 20th movie is sticking to a theatrical window release of Feb. 11, 2022.
The King’s Man skewed 65% men, 54% between 18-34, and 40% over 35. Advance social media buzz was mixed for this prequel, according to RelishMix, and while a social media universe state of 155.2M was on par for the genre, “re-dates have distracted fans,” says the analytics corp. Further pouring water on any buzz for The King’s Man is that it doesn’t boast a cast with social media handles, the exception being “a well activated Djimon Hounsou with 1.1M fans” says RelishMix.
1.) Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony) 4,336 theaters, Fri $19.65M (-33%)/Sat $31.7M/Sun $30.1M/3-day $81.5M (-69%)/5-day $138.6M/ Total: $467.3MWk 2
2.) Sing 2 (Uni/Ill) 3,892 theaters, Fri $5.22M/Sat $8.42M/Sun $10.1M/3-day $23.76M/5-day+previews: $41M/Wk 1
3.) Matrix Resurrections (WB) 3,552 theaters, Fri $2.7M/Sat $4.65M/Sun $4.65M/3-day $12M/5-day $22.5M/Wk 1
4.) American Underdog (LG) 2,813 theaters, Sat $4.2M/Sun 2M/2-Day: $6.2M/Wk 1
5.) The King’s Man (20th/Dis) 3,180 theaters Fri $1.2M/Sat $2.6M/Sun $2.55M/3-day $6.1M/5-day $10M/Wk 1
6.) West Side Story (20th/Dis) 2,810 (-10) theaters, Fri $546K (-48%)/Sat $1.2M/Sun $1.05M/3-day $2.8M (-23%)/5-day $4.19M/Total $23.9M/Wk 3
7.) Licorice Pizza (UAR) 786 (+781) theaters, Fri $7K/Sat $1.22M/Sun $1.1M/ 3-day $2.34M (+2622%)/5-day $2.36M/Total $3.6M/Wk 5
8.) A Journal for Jordan (Sony) 2,500 theaters, Sat $1.2M/Sun $1M/2-day: $2.2M/Wk 1
9.) Encanto (Dis) 2,800 (-375) theaters, Fri $496K (-70%)/Sat $727K/Sun $777K/ 3-day $2M (-69%), 5-day $3.86M/Total $88.3M/Wk 5
10.) ‘83 (Reliance) 500 theaters, Fri $716K/Sat $548K/Sun $523K/3-day $1.78M/Wk 1
11.) Nightmare Alley (Sea) 2,135 theaters, Fri $233K (-81%)/Sat $525K/Sun $542K/ 3-day: $1.3M (-54%)/5-day $1.87M/Total $5.5M/Wk 2
12.) Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) 1,728 (-1,567) theaters, Fri $265K (-72%) /Sat $505K/Sun $465K/3-day $1.2M (-65%)/5-day $2M/ Total: $120.5M/Wk 6
13.) House of Gucci (UAR/MGM) 907 (-1,000) theaters, /Fri $157K (-73%)/Sat $392K/Sun $372K/3-day $922K (-54%)/5-day: $1.39MTotal: $47.1M/Wk 5