Refresh for chart and more analysis After all the hallelujahs about the return of theatrical at CinemaCon this past week, the major studios skipped out on programming any new wide releases this weekend. All of this is resulting in a marketplace which is seeing an estimated $64M in total ticket sales, down 33% from last weekend. Ugh. In regards to when the majors will sit on the sidelines again this year, it’s set to happen on June 3 and possibly Aug. 12 (Searchlight is holding the date for an untitled wide entry).
If it feels like a desert at the multiplex, getting ready for the monsoon starting Thursday night with Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Friday which is expected to rain down anywhere from $150M-$200M. Tracking sees it at $150M at least; it wouldn’t be shocking if the pic gets to $200M, but Disney doesn’t want to get over its skis. Already Doctor Strange 2 is seeing the best presales of the year, higher than The Batman, with $42M. This is all the start of a very rich summer, and after the response of Top Gun: Maverick out of CinemaCon, Tom Cruise has to be in store to see the biggest global and domestic opening of his career, overtaking War of the Worlds ($64.8M, his highest domestic) and The Mummy ($172.3M, the 2x Oscar nominee’s biggest worldwide debut).
As such, this weekend will see Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys at No. 1 again in the weekend 2 with $14.4M, -40% for a ten-day total by tomorrow of $42.7M. With nothing else on the marquee, wouldn’t be surprising after matinees today if this goes higher. And all the other family fare is holding onto their top spots, ie Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is eyeing a fourth weekend of $9.7M-38% for a running total of $159.3M and Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore with an estimated $7.5M in weekend 3, -46%, with a running cume of $78.8M by EOD Sunday.
Continuing to show proof that there’s an appetite for original fare at the box office, is the amazing hold being posted by A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once which is seeing $5.3m in weekend 6, dipping a great 2% for a running total of $35.2M. This pic is easily headed to $40M+. Forget that, some say $50M, which could possibly topple A24’s highest grossing movie of all-time, Uncut Gems ($50M).
Open Road is zigging to the major studio’s zagging, putting out their wide entry of Liam Neeson’s action movie, Memory, from Martin Campbell, which is eyeing $3.1M at 2,555. While I’m sure exhibition is thankful always for new product, what’s upsetting here is that in an improved marketplace, the feature is doing similar business to what other Neeson Open Road pics were doing when NYC and LA were closed during Covid, ie The Marksman ($3.1M) Honest Thief ($4.1M).
Memory‘s top five markets yesterday, in a day that took $1.1M, were Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Dallas – Ft Worth and Chicago, with the day’s top grossing cinema being the iPic Theater at Fulton Market in Manhattan. Well, it’s all about home ancillaries and dudes for these Neeson cookie cutter action titles. Critics have had enough of the Neeson with a gun pics at 29% Rotten, and those who decided to show up and sit in the dark for close to two hours gave it 66% and a 49% on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak. Jeez. Turnout was men at 51%, 84% over 25, and 46% over 45. Diversity demos were 49% Caucasian, 20% Hispanic and Latino, 20% Black, & 11% Asian/other. Most amount of money this pic is seeing came from West and Southeast. RelishMix says that social media awareness on Memory “are well under genre norms for action thrillers at 18.6M across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.”
Ahead of opening, the social media analytics corp said, “Chatter runs mixed with expectations that are crystal clear — on any Neeson film with the assumption that someone will be kidnapped and that ‘we’ll bring them back’. The storyline and filmmaking components are incidental for these super fans who also feel that Neeson would make for a perfect Batman with his voice plus other chatter about his stockpile of burner phones. Super fans also put Neeson and Denzel Washington as ‘unironically the best action stars in recent time’. Fans are exposing the secret algorithm behind this film; Taken+Unknown=Memory… and, Memento ÷ Unknown = Memory.”
Focus Features’ Viking epic The Northman is seeing a second weekend that’s -51% with $6M for a ten-day of $22.5M.
Lionsgate’s Nic Cage satire Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is looking at $3.6M in weekend 2, -49%, for what appears to be a $20M endgame. Some thoughts coming away from this at CinemaCon: Despite the movie’s upsetting opening following its vibrant world premiere at SXSW, rival distributors who’ve handled similar product the movie stand to overindex in home entertainment which is Cage’s bread and butter. Even though Cage is arguably on upswing career wise post his critically acclaimed Big, he has been in a funk at the box office for quite some time, his last live-action tentpole being 2007’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets ($220M domestic, $459M WW). Hence, the limited play for this great comedy which stokes audiences who see it, and is 87% Certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. If Liam Neeson did a self-parody comedy, we’d expect similar results. Still, thumbs up to Lionsgate for putting this movie out theatrically, and not jettisoning it to PVOD or streaming, because odds are history will be on this pic’s side as a cult classic in the same breath as This Is Spinal Tap ($4.7M domestic by 1984 standards) and The Big Lebowski ($18.2M in 1998 bucks).