4th Update Sunday AM Writethru after Saturday AM and Friday night posts: Refresh for chart and more analysis Warner Bros. is calling the pre-New Year’s weekend of Aquaman at $51.5M, -24%, for a 10-day running of $188.8M that’s 10% ahead of Justice League at the same point in time (which ended its run at $229M), 24% ahead of the ten-day cume of Doctor Strange (final B.O. $232.6M) and 7% ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy (final B.O. $333.1M). The DC superhero is expected to hit $200M by EOD tomorrow, and $215M by New Year’s Day at the domestic B.O. Unlike Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve day isn’t a downer day at the B.O.; some people include the movies as part of their year-end festivities.
The DC’s fish man hit $748.8M WW, eclipsing the entire global life of Justice League ($657.9M) and Marvel’s Doctor Strange ($677.7M). Yes, it’s true: Warners has resuscitated DC. Aquaman propels Warner Bros. worldwide for 2018 past $5.3 billion.
On Screen Engine/ComScore’s PostTrak, which continues to poll into a film’s second weekend, found that women over 25 at 21% are still Jason Momoa’s biggest fans, giving Aquaman its best gender score of 84%. Moms are out-numbering dads in attendance, 52% to 48%, and they’re smitten with this DC superhero by a wide gap, 82% to 60%. Families are repping close to a third of the crowd, and guys under 25 make-up the biggest portion of moviegoers at 31%. Aquaman drew $10M globally on Imax screens for a $65M running total. In U.S./Canada the large format exhibitor made $4M off Aquaman for a running total of $40M or 21% of the domestic total.
Paramount’s Bumblebee is now in a fight with Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for 3rd place, each respectively grossing $20.5M and $19.3M (updating). Rivals say that a film like Bumblebee, which has a great 4 1/2 stars among general audiences on PostTrak and fantastic reviews with a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, should be elsewhere on the calendar, especially if Paramount was trying to revamp this brand. The VW bug is being stalled by too much fanboy clutter and needs to breath. Bumblebee should be able to drive past $100M-plus, but the bigger question is whether he makes more than the last Transformers movie, The Last Knight, which is the lowest-grossing at the domestic B.O. with $130.1M. Bumblebee through 10 days should total $66.8M, which, versus the first 10 days of Last Knight, is 26% behind. But remember, with Transformers movies, it’s all about China in the end. Spider-Verse, meanwhile, is expected to hit $104.6M.
Annapurna’s Dick Cheney movie Vice, from Oscar-winning filmmaker Adam McKay, made $7.8M over FSS in 6th place. Downside: The movie cost a reported $60M before P&A, about twice as much as McKay’s Oscar-winning star ensemble comedy The Big Short, and that’s a big hole for Vice to climb out of.
On the upside, the first six days of Vice at $17.7M is pacing ahead of the first six wide release days of The Big Short, which made $16.4M and Oliver Stone’s W. ($12.8M, $25.5M final) about former President George W. Bush. The Golden Globe and SAG-nominated movie has been over-indexing on both coasts and performing well in major cities. On PostTrak, Vice is beating other awards contenders, with 3 1/2 stars and a 49% definite recommend, to Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite (2 1/2 stars, 37% definite recommend) and Focus Features’ Mary Queen of Scots (2 1/2 stars and 38% definite recommend).
Vice is a movie about a notorious Republican power figure, so the fact that it’s dividing audiences is to be expected. Those over 25 are the biggest crowd at 78%, and they’re enjoying it with a 74% positive, while Men over 25 at 41% give the pic a 77% positive, its best grade among males and females.
RelishMix notices that Vice is being sold on Christian Bale’s sublime transformation into Cheney. “Vice has been pretty straightforward with its social media campaign since its first trailer’s debut in early October. Essentially, the tagline to the social effort has been, ‘It’s Christian Bale with his typical zeal for authenticity, it’s Adam McKay’s comedy, and it’s a host of comedic actors contributing to a great film – enjoy.’ That said, the social media metrics are on-par or above for the movie’s opening. The movie’s viral video rate of 30:1 is far ahead of the typical 14:1 for an indie drama,” says the social media agency, adding that “the campaign’s messaging (with a social media universe of 55M) has worked, as Vice has earned positive-skewing discussion,” with fans shouting out about Bale and Amy Adams performances. “The movie has that mix of comedy and authentic presentation of historical chapters that have piqued most of the audience’s interest,” says Relish Mix.
(Updating)Sony’s Holmes & Watson is battling with a first FSS of $7.6M, in 8th place with a six-day take of $20M. The film, unfortunately, was destined to fail. We heard test scores were quite poor, and that’s not a surprise, since the movie earned one star and a 30% recommend in its PostTrak exits, and a D+ CinemaScore. However, Sony is trying to make the most money it can by booking it in this money-making period (we heard that the studio tried to unload the feature to Netflix, but the Bird Box streaming service didn’t bite). The studio says the pic cost a $42M net before P&A, and it’s highly unlikely that this movie breaks even down the road. Since Holmes & Watson is a comedy, it relies on stateside ticket sales. The only nice thing to say here is that Holmes & Watson has already made more at the domestic B.O. than the lifetime cume of Alcon/Warner Bros.’ disastrous comedy from last holiday season, Father Figures ($17.5M).
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly don’t have any social media handles, but they took advantage of the late night talk show circuit, which, in turn, raised their social media profile in promoting this last-minute comedy of the year. For example, Ferrell participated in a ‘Spill Your Guts’ bit on The Late Late Show, where he had to answer embarrassing questions or eat disgusting foods. The clip hit 6.1M views on YouTube. Both stars’ appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live drew 3.8M views.
Social media monitor RelishMix noticed that the movie had mixed buzz, leaning negative, heading into the weekend: “There are legions of Ferrell and Reilly fans and they don’t care about reviews or ‘haters’ disparaging comments about the movie, they’re going. Some of the moviegoers who saw the film did enjoy the typical show from Ferrell and Reilly, but these voices are in the minority. However, for the majority of holiday moviegoers and comedy fans, Holmes & Watson looks like a disappointing effort. And for those who have already seen it, they are taking to social to voice their frustration. For example, several note that all the funny parts are in the trailer [Editor’s note: Sony took out ads on Facebook showing hysterical bits], and the rest of the film is a slog.”
Other notables: Focus Features’ On the Basis of Sex is looking at a FSS of $689K, for a six-day of $1.5M. The Felicity Jones-Armie Hammer drama can boast the best screen average of the weekend of $20,8K from 33 locations. Sony Pictures Classics is opening Stan & Ollie at five NYC and LA locations, with a projected 3-day of $79,6K, or $15,9K screen average. Annapurna’s Nicole Kidman LA cop noir Destroyer at the Arclight Hollywood and New York’s Landmark 57 and Angelika grossed $58K over FSS for a $19,4K screen average and a running six-day cume of $116K.
1st Update Friday 8:09AM: Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman finally swam past Justice League with a first week of $137.2M (that includes previews) after a Thursday of $14.6M, -13% from Wednesday.
Justice League made $130.8M in its first week which included the Thanksgiving holiday in November last year.
Second weekend projections for the James Wan-directed film are at $54M which will bring the superhero to $191.2M stateside by Sunday. Overall, we hear that Aquaman will beat the the global take of Justice League this weekend ($657.9M); Nancy Tartaglione will have more details soon. Today, Aquaman will beat Wan’s The Conjuring ($137.4M) to become his second-highest grossing film of all-time at the domestic B.O. after Furious 7 ($353M). As we wrote before, film finance sources say that this $200M DC movie will profit in its theatrical window.
Warners also had success last night with Peter Jackson’s WWI documentary They Shall Not Grow Old which broke another Fathom Events record with $3.375M from around 1,000 theaters off two showtimes yesterday to become the company’s best single-day ever for a documentary, and one of the top-grossing single-night presentations of any kind for Fathom. Yesterday’s tally for They Shall Not Grow Old breaks the $2.3M Fathom record earned from the doc’s Dec. 17 showing. The pic will be released in limited engagement on Jan. 11 in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC with a further expansion on Feb. 1. The doc ranked 5th yesterday coming in ahead of this week’s openers Holmes & Watson from Sony ($2.4M yesterday in 7th, -29% from Wednesday for a 3-day cume of $12.4M) and Vice from Annapurna (8th place with $2.2M, -22% for a near $10M over 3-days). Both Christmas Day wide entries are looking at FSS of $9M.
Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns stayed planted in second with $10.1M, -7% from Wednesday for a running total of $70.9M. Yes, the film is ahead of The Greatest Showman by 112% in its first nine days at the B.O., but the sequel to the 1964 Oscar-winning film also cost more than the original Fox musical, $130M to $84M. United Kingdom numbers weren’t stupendous last weekend with $10.3M and industry analysts believe what was intended to be a big Disney IP play will have to rely on stateside results. Industry projections are at $25M for Poppins’ second weekend, which will float her close to the century mark.
Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse had a great hold, nearly even, between Thursday and Wednesday with yesterday taking in close to $5.9M for third place. The animated Marvel superhero property (not part of Disney’s MCU) counts $85.5M and is bound for a third weekend of $16M, with a running total of $101.5M.
Paramount’s Bumblebee was fourth yesterday with $5.7M and a first week with previews of $46.2M. He is expected to take in $21M in weekend two for a 10-day north of $67M.
STX’s Jennifer Lopez comedy Second Act ranked 10th on Thursday with $1.95M, -5% from Wednesday for a first week of $14.55M. Universal/DreamWorks’ Welcome to Marwen still unwelcome in 14th place with a $655K Thursday, -11% and a first week of $5.5M. As we wrote previously, the Robert Zemeckis-directed film will lose around $60M.
On the limited side, Annapurna’s Destroyer is up to $56K at three NY/LA sites over three days while Focus Features’ On the Basis of Sex is at $776K over the same period at 33 theaters after a Thursday of $160K, -8%.
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