Christmas AM writethru with updated chart: For the most part, it looks like a divide between the “Haves” and “Have-Nots” at the box office, with family and all-audience pics like Disney/Lucasfilm’sStar Wars: The Last Jedi, Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungleand Universal’ Pitch Perfect 3 leading, and complex adult titles (Downsizing) and the raunchy Father Figures receding.
All titles on Christmas Eve earned $41.4M in ticket sales, a 41% slide from Saturday with Christmas Day expected to jumpstart moviegoing today by 93% with $80M in ticket sales. While not a record breaker, that will be in the healthy range of Christmas day grosses. Still, you can see the damper at the weekend B.O. due to Christmas Eve on a Sunday, with all titles grossing an estimated $175M over three days, according to ComScore, down close to four percent from a year ago.
Note, Christmas 2015 holds the industry record for all titles at the B.O. with $103.3M, spurred by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, followed by 2009 ($86.8M), when Avatar was in play. Last year, Christmas rang up $83.2M per comScore, the fourth-best, fueled by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Today also will see the arrival of Sony’s All the Money in the World at 2,068 locations; Focus Features’ The Phantom Thread in four NY/LA locations; and STX’s Molly’s Game in 250-plus theaters.
Given the crazy multiples that this year-end period can generate for films — sometimes as high as 6x, 8x or 13x of a movie’s opening — CinemaScore does not offer any final domestic B.O. projections for pics opening at this time of year. It’s too crazy to predict. What we do know is that every day is like a Saturday for about a week after Christmas, with people seeing anywhere from two to four movies. Fandango told us that 86% of all millennials plan to see two or more movies over the holidays, while 34% will pay to see four or more. Exhibitors, are you happy yet?
An assessment of the top grossers and openers:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($71.7M 3-day, $103.1M 4-day) continues to pace behind 2015’s Force Awakens (-30%)and significantly ahead of last year’s Rogue One (+26%) with a $399.7M running total by Monday. Typically, Christmas Day, today, counts a number of advance ticket sales for Star Wars movies, so this could conceivably go higher. Is the Star Wars pic soaking up all the air in the holiday box office? Some say no, and point to the robust openings for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Pitch Perfect 3. However, if we compare the four-day holiday’s present projections to the same period a year ago, last year looked so much better, with seven titles grossing north of $11M. This year, there’s only four titles that will gross double-digits or more. Some will attribute that annual erosion to Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday. Still, with Disney and Fox merging, rival studios will have to shrewdly counter-program a Star Wars movie or an Avatar sequel in the years to come. Next December we get a break, so to speak, with Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman. But 2019 has Star Wars: Episode IX (December 20), 2020 has Avatar 2 (December 18), and 2021 has Avatar 3 (December 17). There are no huge event titles scheduled for 2022 and 2023 yet, but December Avatars will continue in 2024 and 2025.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (3-day cume: $36.5M/4-day: $53.8M/6-day: $70.4M): Many box office analysts throughout the industry knew this sequel would succeed, with $60M-plus through six days, but nobody ever saw this adventure comedy hitting $70M-plus. A much different Christmas for Sony from a year ago when they struggled with the Jennifer Lawrence-Chris Pratt sci-fi romance Passengers which climbed its way to $100M after a lower than expected launch of $29.7M over six days. Like Sing a year ago, Jumanji is a solid piece of family counter-programming to a Star Wars movie. Sony is benefiting from all those moviegoers who’ve already seen Jedi.
We detail here how Sony and producer Matt Tolmach finally pulled off a second Jumanji movie after the studio tried to make one for the past 22 years. But here’s what’s amazing about the success of Jumanji: No one was begging for a sequel to the 1995 title. Remakes are hard, and this one was so execution-dependent. Sony sold the movie on its body-swapping concept and stellar ensemble cast of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, and Karen Gillan. And while we argue there’s no such thing as stars opening movies any more, an ensemble of stars does (read Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express). Most of the cast leveraged their social media accounts to promote the film to their millennial followers. Out of the gate, Sony sold the movie as adult as possible and made the promos more broader as they got closer to the release date in a multi-prong campaign.
Sony says it only spent $90M net before P&A on this movie. Others tell me that just can’t be true, especially for a VFX event title of this magnitude, and that the budget was around $110M net after Hawaii and Atlanta tax credits, which came in under $15M. Still, some in the industry give high praise to Sony for the Jumanji sequel at that budget, because at the end of the day, it’s going to be huge. By the end of the year, Welcome to the Jungle will beat the original gross of the 1995 movie ($100M) and come close to doubling it by the end of its domestic run.”That’s very economical for an event film. If any other studio like Warner Bros. did this film, they would have spent over $170M, easy,” said one film finance suit regarding the pic’s cost. ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak audience polls show an 84% overall positive.
Beamed Josh Greenstein, Sony’s worldwide marketing and distribution chief, “If you’re looking for holiday cheer, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the all-audience film for the holiday season.”
Pitch Perfect 3 (3-day cume: $19.9M/4-day: $26M) was always going to play like a threequel. While Universal advertised it as the final one, it will be interesting to see if the studio spins it off into future installments, especially if it pulls off a 4x multiple. At 65% fresh, critics tolerated the 2015 sequel directed by Elizabeth Banks, and the studio made a lot of noise about her attachment as director. However, she dropped off the threequel. She only makes a cameo here, with Trish Sie taking over the directing reins. Still, the movie gets an A- CinemaScore, which is the same grade it reaped off its previous two chapters. In the shadow of Last Jedi, it’s a franchise that’s providing an option to younger females, who are the smallest quadrant of the Star Wars crowd.PostTrak reports females under-25 in attendance at 38%, followed by older females at 33%. CinemaScore shows 77% females in attendance, with 59% under-25. One analyst believes the pic is front-loaded, which is typically the case with young-skewing female features of this nature, however, the film’s prime demo is off from school from this point on for the next week and a half.
Says Jim Orr, who becomes Universal’s president of domestic distribution on Jan. 1, “For a very busy time of year, we had a great weekend pulling in younger females. With excellent word of mouth, we’re poised to do well as that demo breaks from school in the coming week and into the new year.”
The Greatest Showman (3-day $8.8M/4-day: $14M/6-day: $18.9M): The film is looking better than it did at the start of the weekend. Fox was hoping for a $20M six-day start, but don’t count this musical out yet, as the pic’s older female audience will come out in droves tomorrow. Already the pic counts a 73% female audience on CinemaScore and glowing word-of-mouth polls that will give this film a slow burn: an A CinemaScore, 70% definite recommend from women, and 82% from older audiences.
But here’s the lowdown: There were many mixed signals from Fox when it came to marketing this P.T. Barnum musical. At CinemaCon, the studio had us convinced this was a year-end holiday event title, touting its La La Land awards season chip from its exclusive footage and a dazzling live showstopper number from the film. Heck, the songs here are from La La Land‘s Oscar-winning songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. But as we journeyed deeper into awards season, Fox got cold feet, and we hear that’s because it knew critics weren’t going to warm to the pic (now at 50% Rotten).
As a result, Fox skipped doing any type of presentation for the movie at TIFF like it did with Hidden Figures a year ago. Word is that execs didn’t know if they were going to sell Greatest Showman as a family film or go after an older, Broadway audience. One of the final promo pushes included a live commercial for the film during Fox’s A Christmas Story Live (which was aimed at both families and Broadway lovers). Pete Hammond called Greatest Showman a four-quadrant family musical. Then after sitting out of many awards-season races, the movie suddenlypicked up three Golden Globe noms for best musical/comedy, best actor Jackman and best song (“This Is Me”).
Downsizing (3-day: $4.96M/4-day: $7.2M) Paramount launched three ambitious movies during the September fall film festival circuit which also doubled as risky box office propositions: the audacious mother! ($17.8M domestic final),the confusing and sleepy Suburbicon ($5.7M final) and this befuddling absurdist comedy from Alexander Payne. It’s arguably the director’s first critical and commercial dud at a reported estimated production cost of $68M. When a Payne movie is great, it’s platformed during awards season, and the fact that Paramount is going very wide with this at 2,668 theaters during the holiday season, shackled by a RT score of 52%, means it has to get whatever portion of its budget cost back as soon as possible.
Payne has delivered relatable comedies before that resonate — read Sideways and The Descendants — but this offbeat title about the middle-age lives of people who prefer to shrink themselves is all over the map at 2 hours and 15 minutes. A source close to production told Deadline that the filmmakers were trying to find it in the editing room. The one bright spot for the film during awards season has been Hong Chau, who has picked up best supporting actress nominations for the Globes, SAGs and Critics’ Choice. Downsizing gets a C CinemaScore. Those under-25 hated it with a D+ (20%), while females (51%) gave it a C.
Father Figures (3-day cume: $3.28M/4-day: $4.9M), formerly Bastards, stars Ed Helms and Owen Wilson and was directed by The Hangover franchise DP Lawrence Sher. The Alcon movie first was scheduled to open on November 4, 2016 (it was dated back in 2015, per ComScore). Then the comedy was rescheduled for January 27, 2017, and then finally this weekend. Given how timing is so important when it comes to comedy, it’s never a good idea to see them delayed on the calendar. Sense of humor, audience tastes, etc. change like the wind, and that can significantly impact business.
In the case of Father Figures, we understand that it was delayed because the final scene was re-shot. This was in an effort to make the conclusion funnier and congruent with the rest of the picture. It took time for the actors to return for the re-shoot, hence the pic’s further delay. Following the re-shoot, testing scores increased to the 90s in the top two boxes. Unfortunately, during that time span, audiences’ attitudes toward R-rated raunchy comedies soured (which is too bad, because the red band trailer Alcon cut for Father Figures is hysterical (watch it below).
Despite this time of year being a lucrative one, some question why an R-rated comedy such as this is in this corridor, given how family titles are mowing Father Figures down. Social media monitor RelishMix saw awful word-of-mouth for the film heading into the weekend “leaning toward the negative, with fans mostly referencing the ‘been there, seen this’ feel of the plot. Some moviegoers have likened Father Figures to a male version of Mamma Mia! Many also have pointed out the fact that they’ve seen the trailer last year under the title Bastards, which many feel was a better title. “They’re trying too hard,” writes one fan, and many others have expressed that the film just doesn’t look good.” Father Figures gets a B- CinemaScore with a 53% turnout by men, 75% over- 25. Production cost was an estimated $25M, financed by Alcon. Warner Bros. gets a distribution fee on this one.
Studio and industry estimates as of Monday AM for the weekend of Dec. 22-25:
1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (DIS), 4,232 theaters / $24.7M Fri /$29.1M Sat/ $17.9M Sun/$31.4M Mon/3-day cume: $71.7M (-69%)/4-day: $103.1M/Total:$399.7M/ Wk 2
2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 3,765 theaters / $12.46M Fri / $14.8M Sat/ $9.2M Sun/$17.3M Mon/3-day cume: $36.5M/4-day: $53.8M/Total: $70.4M/ Wk 1
3. Pitch Perfect 3 (UNI), 3,447 theaters / $10.6M Fri (includes $2.1M previews)/$6.7M Sat/ $2.6M Sun/ $6.1M Mon/3-day cume: $19.9M/4-day: $26M/ Wk 1
4. The Greatest Showman (FOX), 3,006 theaters / $3.1M Fri /$3.5M Sat/$2.1M Sun/$5.2M Mon/ 3-day cume: $8.8M/4-day: $14M/Total: $18.9M/Wk 1
5. Ferdinand (FOX), 3,630 theaters (+9) / $2.7M Fri /$3M Sat/$1.56M Sun/$2.37M Mon/3-day cume: $7.3M (-46%)/4-day: $9.67M/Total: $29.1M/ Wk 2
6. Coco(DIS), 2,111 theaters (-1,044) / Fri: $1.85M /$2.2M Sat/$1.3M Sun/$2.2M Mon/ 3-day cume: $5.36M (-46%)/4-day: $7.6M/Total: $163.7M / Wk 5
7.Downsizing (PAR), 2,668 theaters / $2M Fri /$1.7M Sat/ $1.1M Sun/$2.3M Mon/3-day cume: $4.96M/4-day: $7.2M/ Wk 1
8. Darkest Hour (FOC), 806 theaters (+722)/ $1.4M Fri /$1.5M Sat/ $942K Sun/$1.7M Mon/3-day cume: $4M (+360%) /4-day: $5.7M/Total: $8.5M/ Wk 5
9. Father Figures (ALC/WB), 2,902 theaters / $1.3M Fri /$1.1M Sat/ $730K Sun/$1.6M Mon/3-day cume: $3.28M/4-day: $4.9M/ Wk 1
10. The Shape of Water (FSL), 726 theaters (+568) / $1.1m Fri /$1.1M Sat/$735k Sun/ 3-day cume: $3M (+78%) /4-day: $4.3M /Total: $8.9M/Wk 4
The Post (FOX), 9 theaters / $158K Fri/$193K Sat/$175K Sun/$304K Mon/3-day cume: $526k /PTA: $58,4K /4-day: $830k/ Wk 1
Hostiles (ENT), 3 theaters / $7K Fri/$10K Sat/$6k Sun/$8K Mon/3-day cume: $23k /PTA: $7,6K /4-day: $31k/ Wk 1
Happy End (SPC), 3 theaters / $8K Fri/$8K Sat/ $7k Sun/$12K Mon/3-day cume: $23k /PTA: $7,9K /4-day: $35k/ Wk 1
*********Estimates as of Saturday AM for the weekend of Dec. 22-25:*******
1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (DIS), 4,232 theaters / $25M Fri (-76%)/3-day cume: $71.7M (-67%)/4-day: $102.5M/Total:$399.1M/ Wk 2
2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 3,765 theaters / $12.5M Fri /3-day cume: $32M/4-day: $44.3M/Total: $60.8M/ Wk 1
3. Pitch Perfect 3 (UNI), 3,447 theaters / $10.6M Fri (includes $2.1M previews)/3-day cume: $25.2M/4-day: $35.6M/ Wk 1
4. The Greatest Showman (FOX), 3,006 theaters / $3.1M Fri /3-day cume: $8.2M/4-day: $12.1M/Total: $16.7M/Wk 1
5. Coco(DIS), 2,111 theaters (-1,044) / Fri: $2.4M / 3-day cume: $7.1M (-28%)/4-day: $9.8M/Total: $165.9M / Wk 5
6. Ferdinand (FOX), 3,630 theaters (+9) / $2.76M Fri (-23%)/3-day cume: $7M (-48%)/4-day: $9M/Total: $28.4M/ Wk 2
7.Downsizing (PAR), 2,668 theaters / $2M Fri /3-day cume: $5.1M/4-day: $7.1/ Wk 1
8. Darkest Hour (FOC), 806 theaters (+722)/ $1.4M Fri /3-day cume: $4.3M (+416%) /4-day: $6.1M/Total: $9M/ Wk 5
9. The Shape of Water (FSL), 726 theaters (+568) / $1.1m Fri /3-day cume: $3.5M (+106%) /4-day: $5M /Total: $9.5M/Wk 4
10. Father Figures (ALC/WB), 2,902 theaters / $1.3M Fri /3-day cume: $3.3M/4-day: $4.78M/ Wk 1
11. Wonder (Lionsgate), 1,130 theaters (-1917)/$805k Fri /3-day cume: $2.2M (-58%)/4-day: $3M/ Total: $115.9M/Wk 5
The Post (FOX), 9 theaters / $158K Fri/3-day cume: $500k /PTA: $55,5K /4-day: $725k/ Wk 1
Hostiles (ENT), 3 theaters / $7K Fri/3-day cume: $19k /PTA: $6K /4-day: $27k/ Wk 1
Happy End (SPC), 3 theaters / $6K Fri/3-day cume: $16k /PTA: $5,4K /4-day: $23k/ Wk 1
UPDATED, Friday midday: This year it is a tricky holiday to project at the North American box office, especially with Sunday being Christmas Eve, and business expected to nosedive beginning Saturday then spike considerably Christmas Day. Here’s a look at how everything is doing now, but it looks like if you’re a family film, you’re in the top six. New adult titles Downsizing and Father Figures are coming up short based on atrocious reviews. Currently, Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi looks to be 23% higher than Rogue One over its four-day Christmas Day spread a year ago.
In CinemaScore audience reports, Jumanji drew 51% males to 49% females, with 54% over 25. Those under 25 at 46% gave the film a solid A. The original 1995 movie starring Robin Williams drew 58% men, 55% under 25. Like the reboot, it also received an overall A- CinemaScore.
The Greatest Showman counts all the Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron fans, or 73% females. Fifty-three percent were 25 and up, with 22% over 50. ‘A’ grades throughout all demos for this film with an overall A CinemaScore, except who gave it an A-. We’ll have more updates for you later tonight.
Industry estimates as of midday Friday:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (DIS), 4,232 theaters / $28.3M Fri (73%)/3-day cume: $83.6M (-62%)/4-day: $118M/Total:$414.4M/ Wk 2
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 3,765 theaters / $10M-$11M Fri /3-day cume: $26M-$28M/4-day: $34M-$40M/Total: $53M-$55M/ Wk 1
Pitch Perfect 3 (UNI), 3,447 theaters / $9.5M Fri /3-day cume: $23M-$25M/4-day: $31M-$35M/ Wk 1
Ferdinand (FOX), 3,630 theaters (+9) / $3.2M Fri (-11%)/3-day cume: $8.6M (-%)/4-day: $11.4M/Total: $30.8M/ Wk 2
The Greatest Showman (FOX), 3,006 theaters / $3.2M Fri /3-day cume: $8.3M/4-day: $10.7M-$11M/Total: $15M-$19M/Wk 1
Coco(DIS), 2,111 theaters (-1,044) / Fri: $2.9M / 3-day cume: $8.2M (-18%)/4-day: $10.5M/Total: $166.M / Wk 5
OUTSIDE TOP 6
Downsizing (PAR), 2,668 theaters / $2.3M Fri /3-day cume: $5.75M/4-day: $8.2M/ Wk 1
Father Figures (ALC/WB), 2,902 theaters / $1.7M Fri /3-day cume: $4M/4-day: $5.9M/ Wk 1
The Post (FOX), 9 theaters / $230K Fri/3-day cume: $715k /PTA: $79K /4-day: $1M/ Wk 1
UPDATED, Friday AM writethru after Thursday update: There were more K-12 schools out Thursday than Wednesday, (39% vs. 24%) and they’ll be even more out today (61%) before all schools and colleges are off through New Year’s Day. Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is coming in much higher than we originally saw with an estimated $7.55M while Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi continued to soak up most of the day’s business with $17.9M and a running cume of $296.6M, 24% behind Force Awakens at the same point in its play period and 34% ahead of last year’s Rogue One. Jumanji‘s running B.O. now stands including previews at $16.6M. Industry projections have it in the $50Ms through end of Monday.
20th Century Fox’s The Greatest Showman took in an estimated $2.1M yesterday, -12% from its opening day. Industry projections are still in the $20M through end of Christmas.
Universal just reported $2.1M in Thursday night previews for Gold Circle’s Pitch Perfect 3 at 2,600 locations that started at 7PM. Paramount’s Downsizing made $425K in previews last night at 1,900 sites. The Alexander Payne-directed comedy carries a 53% Rotten Tomatoes score. Pitch Perfect 3 has a lower RT at 27% Rotten, but it will likely have zero effect on ticket sales given the franchise’s femme fandom. Alcon/Warner Bros.’ Father Figures also held previews last night. Critics can’t stand the R-rated comedy at 14%.
The theory by box office analysts if there’s any clash between demos, it’s with young females on Pitch Perfect 3 and Jumanji.Many estimate that Pitch Perfect 3 can take in north of $20M by Christmas. Two years ago, the Elizabeth Banks’ directed sequel of Pitch Perfect 2 drew $4.6M from Thursday night previews and surprised at the box office earning $69.2M and overpowering Warner Bros.’ event pic Mad Max: Fury Road for No. 1.
RelishMix reports on the social media wattage that’s been power the word of mouth on Jumanji: The reboot has a social media universe of 568M which is double that of the average family pic. Online promo clips have been going viral at an insane rate of 66:1, beating the average of 40:1. Jumanji has some of the best social media stars in the world with Dwayne Johnson (167.3M), Kevin Hart (115M), and Nick Jonas (36.4M).
In addition, Sony has partnered again with Adexe & Nau, two singers/filmmakers who own 5.3M YouTube subscribers, on Jumanji. Back in the summer, the duo were also involved with Spider-Man Homecoming.
RelishMix says, “This duo is great at cutting music videos specific to Sony’s films – and subsequently, sharing their on-set, behind-the-scenes clips and good example of Sony’s social playbook, as Adexe & Nau obviously speak to an elusive tween audience.” While Jumanji has earned an A- overall CinemaScore, those under 25 gave the Jake Kasdan directed movie an A.
When it comes to Pitch Perfect 3, RelishMix notes that heading into the weekend that, “long time Pitch Fans are all over this for this third, and allegedly final, chapter in the series. Convo is very positive, with Fans at a fever pitch to see the Bellas one last time – even if they’re sarcastically convinced this last film won’t hold up to the previous two.” Led my Anna Kendrick’s 20.5M fans across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the Pitch Perfect 3 cast has over 70M followers. Further tubthumping comes from castmembers Ruby Rose (18.9M SMU) and Hailee Seinfeld (9.5M SMU). Some of the notable materials that went viral include a performance by the Bellas that was dropped on NBC’s The Voice on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving which accumulated 4.7M views (see below). In addition, since the beginning of the year, Uni has been dropping behind the scenes clips. Total social media universe across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the threequel numbers at 317M.