SATURDAY AM: Final with chart Some parts of the weekend box office are alive, and some are dead, and that which is vibrant is Paramount’s second weekend of Smile, which — as we mentioned during the weekend preview — was apt to steal No. 1 away from newcomers Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and Amsterdam.
The Parker Finn R-rated horror film is set to post one of the best holds ever for a horror movie at an amazing -26%, after 2017’s Get Out, which eased -15% with $16.8M. Some rivals think Smile could shine as bright as $18M. This puts the 10-day total at $49M.
For all the talk that the marketplace hasn’t had a family film, and that Lyle, Lyle would organically overperform, we have yet to see that with $12M-$13.3M after a $3.5M Friday. What can we say? It’s not an IP that creates a stampede, clearly. Those buying tickets for Lyle, Lyle aren’t complaining at 4 stars and 80% positive and 62% recommend on ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak. Kids under 12 are more bullish at 88%. Demos are 54% women, 46% men, with close to half the audience under 25, and the largest quadrant being 18-24 year olds at 33%. Diversity demos were 47% Caucasian, 21% Latino and Hispanic, 12% Black, & 20% Asian/Other, with the best plays for the pic being in the South, South Central, and Midwest. The top gross for the Josh Gordon-Will Speck animation hybrid was the Cinemark in Frisco, Texas. Premium large format screens rep 14% of weekend ticket sales to date.
New Regency/20th Century Studios/Disney’s Amsterdam is still DOA with $2.6M Friday, including previews, and an estimated $6.9M third place debut. The Russell fans who showed up gave the movie a B CinemaScore (Russell’s Oscar nominated all-star American Hustle earned a B+) and harsher reactions on PostTrak at 3 Stars and 72%. Pic skewed toward men at 56%, with the largest demo being 25-34 at 37%. Diversity demos were 57% Caucasian, 17% Latino and Hispanic, 12% Black, and 14% Asian/other. Men over 25 at 47% and women over 25 at 37% gave Amsterdam its best response at 75%. But the rest of the audience wasn’t on board, i.e. men and women under 25, who each showed up at 9% respectively and gave the movie a 61% and 55% grade.
If this all-star affair saw any business, it was on the coasts, with half of its top ten runs coming from Los Angeles. Premium large format upcharged tickets are responsible for 33% of the pic’s business. The talkaway lesson here is not to send such overpriced fare at $80M to streaming, just to make theatrical movies at responsible prices for the big screen. Wes Anderson films don’t even cost this much, and that’s the best comp out there for Amsterdam (Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou was Anderson’s most expensive movie at $50M before P&A. That movie was deemed a dud back in 2004 with a $4.5M wide break opening, $24M domestic, and $34.8M — but the pic is now a cult classic. Alas, the legacy of a big screen launch. Amsterdam, in its all quirkiness and stars, deserves to be seen on the big screen, not a mobile phone. Also, this comedy runs at 2 hours and 14 minutes.
As we mentioned, this was a hard one for Disney to market: You can only promote what one can explain succinctly from the film materials at hand, and this wild, heady tale is up there with a plot that sounds like it’s from playwright Eugene Ionesco. Disney went with the boom-boom listing of all the stars in the pic’s trailer, moved the title’s opening to a better weekend where it won’t get steamrolled by Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Amsterdam was originally suppose to open during the first weekend of November) in its second weekend, and grabbed all the Imax screens.
What else can a major studio do to better position this offbeat tale? Many like to complain that Disney doesn’t know what to do with these titles. However, Amsterdam was a critically panned title, which avoided a film festival launch (there was buzz it was going to Toronto, then didn’t, which was likely the best choice for the movie). Disney has been in this position before with another period comedy, the Coen Brothers’ The Ladykillers starring Tom Hanks, back in 2004. That opened to $12.6M and ended its domestic run just under $40M.
Sure, it’s a sign of the times of how things have changed for these types of movies, and how hard it is at the box office for them. But period is always difficult. You need that critical love and awards momentum to cross over such fare. Let the record show, your honor, that Disney is releasing 11 movies between September and December from all its brands. It’s not just all about Disney+, even though Hocus Pocus 2 was the most-watched movie ever on the OTT service (many out there still scream, why didn’t that go to theatrical?!).
NEON’s pic-up of Cannes Palme d’Or winner The Triangle of Sadness from filmmaker Ruben Ostlund is seeing an estimated opening of $230K from ten runs in NYC, LA, San Francisco, and Toronto, for a $23K theater average, which I’m told is solid. Alamo Brooklyn and Alamo New Mission in San Francisco lead the way with 15K and 14K respectively yesterday. The movie, which is 72% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and played to raucous laughs at Cannes, runs 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Todd Field’s return to feature directing after a 16-year hiatus, Tar, starring Cate Blanchett, is posting a solid $37K theater average or $150K opening weekend from four locations: NYC Lincoln Square, the Angelika, and AMC Century City and The Grove (LA’s arthouse market is on its knees with the closings of Arclight Hollywood and Landmark on Pico). While it’s not the opening $50K theater average posted by A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once (different audience), and the $86K opening theater average of last year’s Licorice Pizza (still, a different younger audience than Tar), it’s good enough for a 2 hour 38 minute running title about a stuffy classical composer, besting the pre-pandemic $10K opening weekend average of Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life which was booked at five theaters. Juicing grosses a bit this weekend was a Q&A at AMC Century City with Blanchett and Field yesterday. Focus believes in this movie so much that they’re platforming it throughout awards season rather than going wide over 17 days and segueing it onto PVOD and Peacock ultimately. Critics love this movie at 97% fresh which since its Venice and Telluride festival debut has propelled Blanchett to frontrunner Oscar Best Actress contending status.
It’s another $60M+ weekend at the box office for all titles, the third straight in a row, with $62.2M, -4% from last weekend, and off a massive 59% from 2019, when Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Bron’s The Joker conquered October with a $96.2M opening. Even next to last year, when Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage opened to $90M, this weekend is down 52%.
1.) Smile (Par) 3,659 theaters (+14), Fri $5.4M (-34%), $16.8M (-26%), 3-day $49M/Wk 2
2.) Lyle, Lyle Crocodile (Sony) 4,350 theaters, Fri $3.5M, 3-day $12M-$13.3M/Wk 1
3.) Amsterdam (Dis) 3,005 theaters, Fri $2.6M, 3-day $6.9M/Wk 1
4.) The Woman King (Sony) 3,342 (-162) theaters Fri $1.75M (-23%), , 3-day $5.1M (-27%)/Total $54M/Wk 4
5.) Don’t Worry Darling (NL/WB), 3,324 (-797) theaters, Fri $1.15M (-50%), 3-day $3.5M (-48%)/Total $38.5M/ Wk 3
6.)Avatar (re) (20th/Dis) 2,040 theaters (+180), Fri $655K (-44%) 3-day $2.6M (-47%), Total $783.7M (re-issue running total through ten days is $23.3M)/Wk 3 of re-issue
7.) Bros (Uni) 3,356 theaters (+6), Fri $670K (-64%), 3-day $2.3M (-53%)/Total $9M/ Wk 2
8.) Barbarian (20th/Dis) 2,160 theaters (-560), Fri $629k (-22%), 3-day $2.1M (-24%)/Total $36.4M/Wk 5
9.) Ponniyan Selvan: Part One (Sar) 500 locations, Fri $264K (-87%), 3-day $918K (-78%)/Total $5.7M/ Wk 2
10.) Terrifier 2 (Iconic) 875 theaters, Fri $337K, 3-day $771K, Total $1.17M/Wk 1
FRIDAY MIDDAY UPDATE: Paramount has everything to be happy about heading into the weekend as their horror movie Smile is coming on strong with $3.85M today for what is now looking at a $13.1M second frame at 3,659 theaters, -42% – spectacular for a horror movie considering they typically drop 60% or more in weekend 2. This will put the 10-day gross of the Parker Finn-directed and -written genre title at $45.4M.
In second place as of right now is Sony’s Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile with $3.3M today and an expected $11M opening at 4,350 theaters. This fight between Lyle, Lyle and Smile boils down to Saturday (doesn’t it always?) and how many moms and kids come out for this feature take of the 1965 Bernard Waber book. Again, this type of family film has a cap age-wise — likely below 9 years of age in regards to those who want to see it, plus, while a classic title, it’s not as marquee as say Sony’s Peter Rabbit which opened to $25M back in 2018, or Weinstein Co’s Paddington which saw a near $19M start in 2015. Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes at 82% is higher than Peter Rabbit‘s (56%) and Paddington (80%).
And Amsterdam is going up in smoke. Friday’s estimated $2.5M includes last night’s previews putting the David O. Russell directed period comedy between $6.6M-$7.3M at 3,005 locations. No amount of star power in this movie including Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor Joy, Rami Malek, Taylor Swift, etc. could save it. More deconstruction of this period 2-hour-and-15 minute arthouse comedy later. While it’s been customary for adult skewing movies to not necessarily breakeven as moviegoers have come back from the pandemic, this is a huge bomb for New Regency/20th Century Studios; even by pre-pandemic standards an $80M production cost on a movie of this type is uncalled for. Too much for absurdist comedy. Rotten Tomatoes audience score at 67% is currently higher than critics’ 34%, but even that isn’t good.
Weekend 4 of TriStar’s The Woman King at 3,342 theaters is seeing $1.3M today, -27%, and a 3-day of $5M, -26%, for a running total of $53.8M.
New Line’s third sesh of Don’t Worry Darling booked at 3,324 locations is eyeing a $1M Friday, -57% from a week ago, and 3-day of $3.35M, -51% for a running total of $38.3M.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Not exactly the flashiest of Thursday nights for previews as Sony’s feature take of the classic children’s book Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile saw $575K off showtimes that began at 3 p.m. in 3,453 locations, while New Regency/20th Century Studios/Disney’s Amsterdam baked $550K off previews that began at 6 p.m. in 3,005 locations.
Here’s the thing: Sometimes studios with family movies don’t even hold previews outside of summer. There were only 15% of K-12 schools out Thursday. Sony didn’t hold previews for the first Peter Rabbit, which debuted in February 2018, but held them for Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, which did $900K on June 10 last year at 2,572 theaters. Lyle, Lyle‘s numbers are above that of another live-action/CGI hybrid based on a classic kids book, Paddington 2, which did $325K back in January 2018. Lyle, Lyle also is higher than the $175K cashed in from 8 p.m. showtimes of the first Paddington in January 2015.
It all comes down to Saturday matinee business, and Sony is betting low on Lyle, Lyle at $11M-$12M, while industry estimates are much higher between $15M-$18M. Sony put the movie here because it’s the Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday weekend, and 42% of all K-12 schools are off Monday per ComScore. Lyle, Lyle is 67% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Disney was hoping that David O. Russell’s absurdist period comedy would do around $10M. It might be in the high single digits if business doesn’t pick up — and the movie has all the Imax screens. The pic’s previews are ahead of the R-rated Bob Odenkirk action movie Nobody, which did $410K on its Thursday in March 2021 before filing a $6.8M opening, and they’re below Michael Bay’s Ambulance, which saw $700K in its preview night before a $8.6M opening in April. Amsterdam is suffering from bad reviews at 35% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ouch, this is an $80M movie, twice as much as Russell’s American Hustle, which boasted the star power of Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.
Taylor Swift, who also stars in Amsterdam, is doing her part to get the Swifties out to see the film:
Paramount’s Smile had a rich week with weekday grosses averaging $2M+ at 3,645 theaters. Thursday was $2.1M, off 13% from Wednesday bringing the horror movie’s first week total to $32.29M, 21% off from the first week of Bullet Train, which did $41M in its first seven days. Yeah, odd comp, but it just goes to show you the power of Smile — the fact that it’s $8.7M off from a Brad Pitt action movie. Smile is expected to do around $11M in weekend 2.
New Line’s Don’t Worry Darling finished second on Thursday with $555K at 4,121 theaters, -13% from Wednesday, for a second week of $9.5M and running total of $34.97M.
TriStar’s The Woman King at 3,504 theaters did $506K, -17%, for a $9.1M third week and running total of $48.8M.
Popping into fourth place with a full-on opening Thursday at 886 sites was Damien Leone’s Terrifier 2, which did $403,9K. Logline for the Leone-penned movie: After being resurrected by a sinister entity, Art the Clown returns to the timid town of Miles County, where he targets a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween night. The sequel is being handled by Iconic Events Releasing.
Universal’s Billy Eichner comedy Bros did $380K at 3,350 theaters for 5th Thursday, and a $6.74M first week at 3,350 theaters.