‘Aquaman’ Charges Into 2019: DC Pic Will Hit $300M Domestic Around MLK With Potential $1B Final Worldwide
5th Update, Wednesday AM: Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman stayed very strong throughout the New Year’s Eve and Day holidays respectively earning $10.1M and $16.78M raising the pic’s stateside total to $216.2M at the domestic box office. In regards to the movie’s New Year’s Day haul, that’s more than what Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($16.2M) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi posted a year ago ($14.2M) on the holiday. Industry sources believe that Aquaman should clear $300M around MLK holiday. Prior to the arrival of Universal/BVI/Blumhouse’s Glass, there’s plenty of play in the market for the film. Aquaman will join other DC properties such as Wonder Woman, Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises in clearing the three-century mark at the domestic box office. Film finance experts believe Aquaman will definitely pass $900mm and if it plays well this month it should reach $1B, which would be the third time DC has hit that mark after globally after Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises.
Disney is celebrating the $200M global gross for Mary Poppins Returns this morning after domestic hit $114.5M through yesterday after a New Year’s day of $8.6M, and New Year’s Eve of $6.6M. The musical remains 110% ahead of The Greatest Showman‘s running cume at the same point in time ($54.4M); that musical made $5.3M last New Year’s Day.
Paramount’s Bumblebee made $4.2M on Monday and $7.2M yesterday for a running total of $78.6M.
Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was fourth with $4M on Monday, $6.2M on New Year’s Day and a running total of $114.3M. The studio’s critic-and-audience panned comedy Holmes and Watson counts $23.3M in its first eight days after a holiday take of $2.1M, +46% from Monday, in 9th.
Annapurna’s Vice has been performing steadily with daily grosses (outside of its Christmas day opening) averaging $2.4M. New Year’s Day saw $2.2M in 8th place, +5% from Monday with a running eight-day take of $21.97M.
STX’s Second Act made $2.42M yesterday in 6th place, +49% from Monday for a 12-day take of $25.96M. The romantic comedy is pacing 17% behind STX’s spring rom com I Feel Pretty at the same point in time which ended its run at $48.8M stateside.
Universal/DreamWorks’ bomb Welcome to Marwen made $788K yesterday in 11th, +35% from Monday for a 12-day of $9.1M. The studio can celebrate that the domestic gross for their Illumination title The Grinch, which earned $1.1M yesterday in 10th (even with Christmas over!) has officially beat the $260M U.S./Canada sales of Ron Howard’s 2000 live-action version of the Dr. Seuss yuletide tale with $267.4M.
4th Update Sunday 9:35AM final after Sunday 8AM and previous weekend posts w/chart: Warner Bros. is calling the pre-New Year’s weekend of Aquaman at $51.6M, -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 $6.2M off Aquaman, for a running total of $25M, or 13% of the domestic total.
All-in, the pre-New Year’s weekend grossed an estimated $185M per ComScore, -5% from the same frame a year ago. But get this: Domestic 2018 box office is at $11.8 billion, which beat 2016’s all-time high of $11.38B last weekend.
Industry sources do not consider Disney’s $130M musical sequel Mary Poppins Returns a home run, but rather a double for the studio of franchise hits (the Burbank lot set an industry record this year at the domestic B.O. with $3 billion-plus). A lot of rivals’ animosity stems from the fact that they believed a few months ago that Poppins would be a real threat at the holiday box office. However, Poppins is a Disney double that others can envy. The female-skewing musical is filing an estimated second weekend of $28M, which is one of the few films in the top 10 to make huge gains in its second weekend, with +19%. Rivals snipe that the Poppins package is too British, too Caucasian in its draw (on PostTrak, that demo reps 70% of the general audience), and that there was a missed opportunity here by not having Hamilton Tony and Grammy winner Lin-Manuel Miranda pen the songs.
Despite all this naysay, it’s a musical, which means it’s a sleeper, and Poppins, with a $98.9M running cume, remains 102% ahead of The Greatest Showman’s $49M at the same point in time. She is also close to even with the first 12 days of Les Miserables ($99.3M, final domestic $148.8M). Poppins will easily cross $100M by tomorrow in its 13th day.
Poppins could wind up the second-highest grossing musical at the domestic B.O. with $200M, behind Beauty and the Beast ($504M), if not third with $175M. Should Poppins land key Oscar noms, that’s another cloud that will lift her at the B.O. Really, what’s to complain about here? (By the way, that’s for original song musicals, not jukebox biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody). Poppins cost $46M more than the Greatest Showman. Still, TBD on how well this property fares overseas in the end. Greatest Showman earned 60% of its $434M WW total abroad.
One film finance source believes Poppins is in fine shape and will profit; it won’t be a money-loser like Solo, Wrinkle in Time, or Nutcracker.
Paramount’s Bumblebee beat Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for 3rd place, each respectively grossing $20.5M and $18.3M. 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 performer of the franchise 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. Meanwhile, Spider-Verse hit $103.6M.
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.
Sony’s Holmes & Watson is battling with a first FSS of $7.3M, in 7th place with a six-day take of $19.7M. 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. Nicole Kidman appearance at Q&As last night drove sold-out sales. Destroyer is just beginning its run and over six days, the pic boasts a screen average of $38.6K.
Annapurna’s If Beale Street Could Talk jumped 60 screens to 65 for a $760K third weekend and the biggest surge for any title in the top 25 with +595%. Exits are great for the Barry Jenkins-directed movie with 84% positive in the top two boxes and a huge 72% definite recommend. Female are leading at 66% and the movie is drawing a 53% African American audience, which is bigger than the share for Jenkins’ best picture Oscar winner Moonlight. Beale Street will next expand to the top 70 markets in roughly 325 theaters or more.
Estimates from Friday PM:
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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