4th Update Sunday AM: Refresh for chart and more analysis Sony’s Bad Boys for Life easily arrested the Super Bowl weekend box office with $17.9M according to industry estimates, -47% in early AM estimates. Sony is reporting $17.7M for weekend 3. As expected the new stuff — Orion/UAR’s Gretel & Hansel at $6.05M and Paramount/IM Global/Eon’s $50M The Rhythm Section with a God-awful $2.8M –were no match for the reteam of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Not only that, but holdovers, such as Universal/Amblin’s 1917 and Uni’s Dr. Dolittle, were also whipping the new competition in the second and third spots, with $9.66M and $7.7M, respectively. At $2.8M, Rhythm Section is the worst opening for a movie that’s opened on 3,000 screens, lower than the previous low of New Line’s 2006 Hoot ($3.4M).
Last year repped the lowest Super Bowl weekend in 19 years at the box office, with $75M, after 2000’s $66.3M weekend. This year’s Super Bowl weekend at $85M is +13% according to Comscore this morning. 2008 remains the banner B.O. year as far as Super Bowl weekend goes, with $128M propelled by Miley Cyrus Hannah Montana concert movie, which, at $31M, remains the top opener for the frame. On the downside, grosses are so low this weekend that it’s a close race between spots 4 through 6 and spots 8 & 9. All pics will see a drop today as millions make their way in front of the TV set. However, despite the bad reputation that Super Bowl weekend gets at the box office, people will still find their way to the cinema on Friday and Saturday when there’s something that they find worth while on the marquee.
In regards to the lackluster results of the wide entries, several execs have griped to me: You can’t beat the Rotten Tomatoes scores on either wide entry (Gretel with 56% and Rhythm with 30% Rotten, respectively). For all the hell we give to STX, they at least opened Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen to a good $10.65M last weekend, higher than what these studios are opening their movies to. Not to mention, Gentlemen is having a good hold of -44% in weekend 2 with $6M.
Big win here for Will Smith’s box office prowess (especially in the wake of the disastrous The Gemini Man) with three consecutive No. 1 weekends for Bad Boys for Life. His Aladdin last summer held No. 1 for two weekends, en route to becoming Smith’s highest-grossing movie of all time with $1.05 billion WW. Bad Boys for Life by Saturday will best Bad Boys II ($138.6M) and should reach $148.2M by today. Smith was a producer on Bad Boys for Life as well. A couple of other details I should add that I forgot to include in my first write-up about the threequel: former Sony exec-turned producer Doug Belgrad was really key in pushing Bad Boys 3 through the Culver City studio throughout the years. Not only did his 2.0 Entertainment co-finance the pic, but he was on set every day. Also, it was franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer who first put Belgian filmmakers Adil and Bilall on the radar of Sony, Smith (who was a continual big voice about the script), et al.
While $6M is nothing to brag about on Gretel & Hansel, the low overhead on the picture will leave minimal bleeding next to Rhythm Section (read on for that). Orion typically makes these genre pics at a low cost, and with digital marketing, so there’s responsible costs here at least. The fantasy horror movie made $2.3M on Friday, including Thursday’s $475K. Like last weekend’s The Turning, it’s another case of artsy genre pics simply not working at the box office. Horror fans hate those, and this pic’s CinemaScore stands at C-. On PostTrak, the Sophia Lillis (It) movie drew 30% guys over 25, 29% women over 25, 25% women under 25, and 16% guys under 25. Very low grades overall here. Diversity make-up was 49% Caucasians, 24% Hispanic, 13% African Americans, and 14% Asian/other. Gretel & Hansel played best in the West and South. End game here for Gretel & Hansel is high teens. Overall, 73% of Gretel & Hansel‘s attendees were under 35 years old.
Largely a digital push here for Gretel & Hansel, according to RelishMix, with a social media universe across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram of 87.6M before opening, just ahead of the horror pic average of 82.1M, “thanks mostly to paid-buy support on YouTube” says RelishMix.
“The campaign for this title, similar to other January releases, was brief and to the point, resulting in good activity. While the movie’s average daily new Facebook fans are only a few hundred, the score for YouTube activity is much higher. Gretel & Hansel is earning about 43.5K average daily YouTube views across its top clips – which is ahead of the 27.7K benchmark for the horror genre, thanks to big paid-buy support from Orion over the past couple weeks.”
However, despite Lillis’s push on her social media channels (2.2M across Instagram and Twitter), RelishMix says the online chatter for the film has “plenty of snarky conversation making up the negative side, as in, ‘you switch the names and that’s supposed to be new?’ This side of the discussion claims this is another example of feminism entering their beloved genre, and it’s unnecessary. Even if these opinions are in the minority, there are enough in volume to call out here. As a side note, fans and non-fans poking fun at the title in switching other film titles has been fun to observe, from King The Lion to Oz the Wizard.“
Unfortunately, it’s official: Despite an earnest attempt here by 007 producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson to make a dark Euro noir, Rhythm Section will go down as Blake Lively’s worst wide opening ever, lower than 2005’s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants ($9.8M).
Overall CinemaScore is C+ with a PostTrak exit of 2 1/2 stars and a lowly 35% definite recommend. Men over 25 came out at 45%, females over 25 at 36%, females under 25 showed up at 11% (and liked it the most at 81%), while guys under 25 repped 9% of all ticket buyers for the pic. Seventy-five percent were over 25. Diversity breakdown was 60% Caucasian, 17% Hispanic, 13% African American and 8% Asian. Poor performance overall, but those markets that over-indexed were Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa, Orlando, San Diego, and Sacramento.
With Paramount shelling out $30M for most of the world on this $50M production, the studio is going to get hurt here, as well as those who took foreign i.e. Germany. China, I heard, was initially taken by Donald Tang, but then I heard there was a default on the rights in the wake of Global Road shuttering. So as of right now, the bank is trying to find a new distributor for China. Friday’s figure looks to be $1.2M, including Thursday night’s dismal $235K. Big upset here for Lively, as she’s been a dependable star of low-budget fare, i.e. A Simple Favor ($97M+ WW box office) and The Shallows ($119M).
She’s receiving praise for her turn as a British proper girl-turned-prostitute-turned assassin, but the problem is that Rhythm Section is boring Jason Bourne; a La Femme Nikita we’ve seen all too much before. Moviegoers agree with critics, according to RelishMix, which reports, “Discussion on social for this movie is leaning negative, as the overall sentiment reflects an audience that has seen the ‘bad-ass chick’ before, and there is little to nothing new here.”
“For reasonable action/adventure fans, they are asking two things that indicate their interest in Rhythm Section is mild to nil. First, why do we need another super-spy/assassin female lead film, as movies mentioned above have done it so well – and this movie offers what exactly in freshness? Second, how and why is it reasonable in a ‘real movie’ that a 100-pound woman can toss around 250-pound villains? Much the same sentiment was voiced for last fall’s Terminator installment, and suggests that this action is acceptable in a superhero film, but not this genre.”
Lively broke her knuckle during production, which was then stopped for six months. Insurance took care of the cost gap, I hear. P&A at minimum here is $20M-$25M. No reason for Paramount to spend on this when it knew it was destined to die; this wasn’t a scenario like Crawl, where the studio went thrifty, betting that the critics would deep-six a genre pic (turned out reviewers loved it at 83% certified fresh, even though Paramount didn’t screen for them. Nonetheless, Crawl was profitable for Par at $91.5M WW box office and $13.5M production cost; it’s just that it could have made much more). Rhythm Section was supposed to come out a year ago, on Feb. 22. The pic was moved to Nov. 22, then moved again to this weekend. I understand the last release date push to this year for the film had to do with Lively being able to promote the film in the wake of welcoming her third child.
RelishMix also notes that the pic’s campaign started late, with the second look at the film debuting only last week – which has been noted in conversation online. “What Rhythm Section lacks is the dazzling partnership or spot that has galvanized fans,” says RelishMix. Despite the OK social media universe of 75.1M, which is under the average 90M for an action/adventure title, “the key social metrics for Rhythm Section offer a challenging look for a substantial opening weekend. The movie is adding a handful of new Facebook fans on a daily basis, and many of the video views on the platform are from the last couple weeks, often indicating a paid buy. As for average daily YouTube views, Rhythm is scoring a light 3.3K, which is far below the usual 14.2K for the genre.”
Below Lively trying to push the film on Twitter:
Among notable specialty releases, there’s Bleecker Street’s Harvey Weinstein inspired drama The Assistant. The pic made its world premiere at Telluride and played Sundance last weekend. On four NY (Angelika and Lincoln Square) and LA screens (Landmark, Arclight Hollywood), the pic did $18K on Friday night, and grossed $84K for the weekend or $21,1K per screen off an 84% Certified Fresh score. Lincoln Square and Angelika did quite well with $18,8K and near $20K respectively. LA runs weren’t as robust.
Watch our interview with star Julia Garner and director/writer Kitty Green out of Sundance here:
******Sunday AM chart coming******
Estimates as of Friday:
Below are industry estimates for Super Bowl weekend 2020:
1st Update, 9:26AM: All the action over Super Bowl weekend will be in the Hard Rock Stadium down in Miami, not at the box office.
Two wide entries will enter the marketplace, IM Global/Paramount/Eon’s Blake Lively R-rated femme assassin movie Rhythm Section and Orion/United Artists Releasing’s PG-13 fantasy horror Gretel & Hansel, but neither are expected to make any kind of excitement at the multiplex. Rhythm Section, which cost $50M before P&A, is expected to die according to tracking with a single digits gross over 3-days at 3,049 locations, while Gretel & Hansel could see $10M at 3,007 theaters in a weekend that will be ruled again by Sony’s Bad Boys for Life in its third go-round with $15.3M. If Hollywood is going to have any eyeballs this weekend, it will be for their movie trailers during the Big Game on Sunday.
Gretel & Hansel took in $475K at 2,500 sites from showtimes that began at 7PM. I’m told that the box office comparisons for the movie is Paramount’s 2017 horror reboot Rings ($800K) and 2018’s CBS feature Winchester which made $615K in previews both on the Thursdays before their Super Bowl weekend openings. Rings opened to $13M, while Winchester did $9.3M in its debut. Directed by Oz Perkins and written by Rob Hayes, Gretel & Hansel the classic fairytale siblings as they venture into a dark wood in desperate search for food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil. Rotten tomatoes score is at 59% Rotten which is better than Rhythm Section at 28% Rotten. The pic I hear cost around $10M before P&A, which is in the financial wheelhouse of Orion’s genre pics.
Last night off 7PM shows, Rhythm Section made $235K from 2,256 theaters. Paramount shelled out $30M for domestic rights, and most foreign territories except for China and Germany. The pic reps the first big studio action film by The Handmaid’s Tale Emmy winner Reed Morano who helmed the Sundance dystopian future pic I Think We’re Alone Now, which made its premiere two years ago at Sundance, and the Olivia Wilde 2015 drama Meadowland. Based on Mark Burnell’s drama, Rhythm Section follows a woman who seeks revenge on those who killed her family in a plane crash.
Bad Boys for Life made an estimated $1.97M yesterday at 3,775 theaters in the top spot, even with Wednesday’s gross, ending its second week with $43.7M and a running total of $130.3M. The pic is $8.3M away from besting the $138.6M lifetime domestic of 2003’s Bad Boys II. The threequel continues to top Fandango’s weekend sales with the online-mobile ticket retailer reporting that the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence movie is their best-selling title ever for the month of January (not counting December holdovers like Force Awakens or Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle).
Amblin/New Republic/Universal’s 1917, nominated for ten Oscars including Best Picture,ranked 2nd with an estimated $1.24M, -1% from Wednesday for a fifth week of $21.5M and running total of $109.6M.
STX/Miramax’s Guy Ritchie Brit action movie The Gentleman earned $790K in third, -3% from Wednesday, for a first week of $14.4M.