Dreamworks Animation-Pearl Studios Abominable Bigfoots B.O. With Near $21M Opening Weekend

SUNDAY AM FINAL: w/chart After a $9M Saturday that was up 58% over Friday, Dreamworks Animation/Pearl Studios Abominable is looking at a $20.85M opening and $30M worldwide. As we mentioned before thats the 7th No. 1 opening for Universal, 8 if you count last weekends Downton Abbey, and its the most No. 1s for any major studio this year to date, more than Disney. Abominable also reps the the 22nd No. 1 opening for DWA as they celebrate their 25th anniversary next month.

“Dreamworks Animation is known for creating quality family entertainment with global appeal and Abominable is a perfect addition to their impressive library. Yi, voiced by Chloe Bennet, is a standout as the newest beloved character in the Dreamworks family, adding to their long list of unapologetic, courageous heroines,” exclaimed Universal domestic distribution chief Jim Orr this morning.

Abroad the pic opened in 27 markets including Mexico, Germany, and Brazil. Abominable led in 10 offshore markets. Its also the third No. 1 opening for an original movie at the domestic B.O., and that streak is also owned by Uni with Us and Good Boys preceding Abominable. Overall a huge win for a female directed movie, and a film thats rich in diversity in its Chinese tale. Hispanic, African American and Asian audiences drove ticket sales here, repping all together 56% of all moviegoers to Caucasians 44%. Females were dominant here at 56%, Moms at 53%, with kids under 10 at 17% and kids between 10-12 also at 17%.

While Sonys Hotel Transylvania 2 ($48.4M) and their Hotel Transylvania ($42.5M) remain the top two openings for animated pics in September, Abominables start is respectable for the genre. Last years Smallfoot, another Yeti movie, from Warner Bros. opened to $23M and ended with a 3.6x multiple at $83M+ off an A- CinemaScore and 76% Rotten Tomatoes fresh score (Abominable earned 80% fresh), so it wouldnt be surprising if we see the same stateside trajectory here with the DWA movie. Notice that with Warner Bros. Joker expected to swallow up the market next weekend with a record $80M+ October start, none of the majors went with any adult counter-programming this weekend (or even next). It was more prudent to counter-program an R-rated superhero villain movie with a kids film, and there hasnt been something for families since Sonys Angry Birds 2.

Abominable was in development going back to when DWA had their distribution deal at Fox. There were fits and starts for their this $75M production, the delay largely due to the Comcast purchase of DWA. Former DWA Boss Chris DeFaria resuscitated Abominable and tapped director Jill Culton. Culton we hear had a very strong personal connection to Abominables story, a great, articulated take on the character of Yi that crossed cultural bridges, and saw the movie through an intimate lens. The pic was originally set to be co-produced via DWAs co-partnership Oriental Dreamworks. Given how Universal has a strong footing in the Middle Kindgom, they opted to divest from Oriental Dreamworks which was purchased by China Media Group and re-branded Pearl Studios. They co-financed around 60% of Abominable, are handling distribution in China, but Uni will co-share in the 43% film rental there. Uni also gets a distribution fee. Global P&A is estimated at $75M. At $200M global B.O., Uni is in the black, past breakeven.

Universals Focus Features can claim the second spot as well this weekend as Downton Abbey landed $14.5M, -53% for a 10-day of $58.5M. Understand that decline is actually softer if you back out the pics $4.3M previews from its $31M opening (more like a -46% hold for Downton, which is great).

STXs Hustlers is 3rd with a fantastic -32% hold in weekend 3 with $11.5M and an $80.6M running total.

Judy

Roadside Attractions Renee Zellweger-as-Judy Garland movie, Judy, had a solid start with $3M at 461 locations, playing strong on the coasts and in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, DC, Atlanta, Phoenix, Miami, San Diego and Toronto. Judy received an A- Cinemascore in private polling attracting 60% female and 40% male, with 79% of the audience 35+. ​Saturday was +35% over Friday indicating terrific word-of-mouth, (+50% when Thursday previews are backed out from Friday).

RelishMix saw promising buzz off the 16:1 viral video rate for Judy video materials, which were well ahead of an indie dramas average 14:1 rate. “Thanks to the one million-plus viewed Ellen interview with Renee Zellweger, who is not activated on social media, and other engaging clips, the average daily YouTube views for top clips are coming in at 17,5K – ahead of the drama genre standard 11,1K,” reports the social media org.

Adds RelishMix about the online chatter for Judy, “Ever since the teaser in May, Garland fanatics have been rallying and sharing materials made available to tell their friends. Many commented early on how much Zellweger nailed Garlands likeness and idiosyncrasies. These feelings were only expanded upon once the film debuted at Telluride and TIFF earlier this month. For those who have seen Judy, they absolutely love it.”

Studio reported estimates as of Sunday AM:

SATURDAY AM UPDATE w/chartDreamWorks Animation/Pearl Studios yeti film Abominable is looking at a $20.2M opening weekend after a $5.7M Friday. Today should be up 50%, thanks to matinees and great audience response, with an A CinemaScore and 4 Stars on Screen Engine/Comscores PostTrak. With Abominable, Universal will have seven films that hit No. 1 at the domestic box office (eight, if you count last weekends Downton Abbey from Focus), surpassing Disney for the most No. 1s of any studio this year.

While Universal covered their exposure on this movie with Pearl (formerly Oriental Dreamworks) taking as much as a 60% equity stake, this is a solid opening for an animated pic in the fall season. Had this movie come in at the low end of its projections in the high teens, optically that doesnt look so good for DWA, and you have to go back to 1998s Prince of Egypt ($14.5M) and 2002s Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron ($17.7M) in regards to the last time the studio opened a film in that range. This is the first time that DWA has opened a movie in the September corridor.

As many call for diversity on the big screen, Abominable is a beautiful Chinese generational family story, with great animation directed by a female director, Jill Culton. Pic follows teenager Yi, who encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building. Yi and her friends, Jin and Peng, name him “Everest” and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth.

DWA and Pearl aimed to be true to the material in casting a largely Asian voiceover cast versus the standard DWA movie star one. Abominable had an appropriate worldwide premiere at TIFF, not just because its an audience appeasing title, but it could very well have a spot this awards season alongside the Glendale, CA studios How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Close to 100% of pic was made at the Glendale DWA campus. PostTrak exits show Asian audiences repping 13% of the audience yesterday compared to 40% Caucasian, 30% Hispanic and 12% African American. Families repped 58% of all business yesterday to 42% general audiences. Abominable played best in the West and South-West. All audience demos showed a turnout by females under 25 (33%), females over 25 (24%), males under 25 (24%) and males over 25 (19%). Girls and boys under 12 were nearly even at 51% to 49%, with 48% of the audience being between 7-9, and the 10-12 segment repping 39% of the audience.

Only four movies a year in the Universal portfolio get the Comcast Symphony marketing push, whereby movies are promoted throughout the media congloms arms, and this year those are DWAs How to Train Your Dragon 3, Illuminations The Secret Life of Pets 2, Hobbs & Shaw, and the upcoming Working Title musical Cats.

Uni made a push with multi-cultural moviegoers on Abominable. They partnered with Gold House to engage key Asian-American press, celebrities, and community leaders to ultimately drive theater buy-outs on #GOLDOPEN family day today, during which theaters in top markets will pack out. Uni created a targeted campaign around the second-most celebrated Chinese holiday, the Mid-Autumn Festival, which included a custom digital video greeting featuring the cast, a branded mailer containing a traditional mooncake that was distributed to press and influencers, and a presence at large scale grassroots Mid-Autumn events in LA and NY. Universal teamed with TheaterEars to offer Chinese-speaking moviegoers and their families the chance to experience Abominable in Mandarin via their app during the theatrical run. The partnership marks the first time that a nationally released Hollywood movie has offered a Chinese audio option.

In hooking Hispanic audiences, Uni created an immersive branded experience on Telemundos highly-rated program Exatlon, consisting of a customized course introduction delivered by show host Arasmo Provenza, with “parkour” course branding seen throughout the episode and a :60 special look of the film. Univisions Reina de la Cancion integrated a custom Abominable segment into the shows premiere, leveraging show host Alejandra Espinoza and the show judge, reggaetón star Natti Natasha, in a vital moment that interwove themes of female empowerment with the films young heroine.

The Abominable campaign kicked off in February, when Everest made his debut on pettable fuzzy one-sheets in theaters. The trailer debut in May clocked close to 80M global views.

Custom content and digital programs included a Buzzfeed Tasty video featuring a Grandma and her Granddaughter making Chinese bao, and a series of Tik Tok “air violin” challenges. Additionally, Bebe Rexha released a lyric video of her new single from the film, “A Beautiful Life,” to her nearly 10M followers. Digital outreach included Twitter emojis, an interactive map on the official Abominable Instagram page, and a Snapchat world lens where users could liven up their surroundings by placing Yi and Everest in background photos and videos.

TV spots for Abominable ran during premiere episodes of such female and mom-skewing shows as Greys Anatomy, This Is Us, The Voice, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the finales of Beverly Hills 90210 and The Hills: New Beginnings, as well as other high traffic events like the 71st Emmy Awards.

Overall social media universe on Abominable was low, with 92M across Twitter, Instagram, YouTube views, Facebook likes and views, while the average animated family pic counts 338M. However, that largely speaks to how Uni was targeted in their approach to this film. Social media stars on Abominable are lead voice Chloe Bennet and Sarah Paulson, who together count over 7.1M on all their handles. Social media monitor RelishMix points to DWA/Universals promotional effort with East West Bank as getting a nice bump on social media with a commercial that earned 1.2M views.

Judy

While Abominable is the only wide entry this weekend before Warner Bros. Joker laughs all the way to the bank with an expected record October start of $80M+ starting Thursday, Roadside Attractions had their awards season blue chip pic Judy, with Renee Zellweger in the title role of Judy Garland. At 461 theaters and a top 10 crack, Judys $2.75M is a pretty solid start. She played best on the coast and in big cities, with solid numbers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, DC, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and Toronto. Heading into awards season, if Zellweger continues to get the accolades she deserves for this performance, analysts figure that Judy sings all the way to $12M at the domestic box office. The pic follows Garland in the last act of her life when she was performing in a posh dinner theater in London, demons and all.

While 2017 remains the best September ever with over $700M at the domestic B.O., per Comscore, we could be looking at the second-best September ever beating last SepRead More – Source