While the female demographic has shown to be one of the more reluctant to return to cinemas during the pandemic, that is about to change this weekend with Paramount’s The Lost City which is eyeing a mid $20M start, possible $30M+ take at 4,228 theaters.
The Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum-Brad Pitt-Daniel Radcliffe romantic adventure comedy is the first of six major studio releases, one of which will largely open every Friday through April 22. Remember, how vibrant October was with a major opener every weekend? Well, that’s what’s in the cards as we head into April with Sony/Marvel’s Morbius on April 1, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on April 8, Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore on April 15, and two on April 22, Lionsgate’s Nicolas Cage satire The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and Universal/Dreamworks Animation’s The Bad Guys. Morbius, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Fantastic Beasts 3 stand to open to at least $50M, I hear. This all before Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness lights the summer box office on fire.
Exhibitors and rival distributors are hopeful that The Lost City will finally draw in female audiences. Yesterday, NRG reported that moviegoers’ comfort levels during the pandemic are at an all-time high with 83% being very or somewhat comfortable. Also, women over 35, who are part of Lost City‘s target, grew to 78% very or somewhat comfortable level, +3 points from a week ago. Those women under 35, also a hot audience for the Aaron and Adam Nee directed title, stand at 88% positive in regards to being very or somewhat comfortable at the cinema now, while men over 35, who are expected to tag along with their wives or dates, stand at 79%.
Back over Valentine’s Day weekend, two female-centric movies didn’t exactly dazzle in their openings: 20th Century Studio’s Death on the Nile ($12.8M opening) and Universal’s Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson romantic comedy Marry Me, which was further reduced by its same day availability on the paid tier of streaming service Peacock; that title debuting to $7.9M. For the most part, the female demographic in the current pandemic marketplace hasn’t had a lot of direct content targeting in what has largely been filled with male-heavy action/sci-fi/comic book titles. What’s been noticeable about female moviegoers’ tendencies during the pandemic, is that while they’re more comfortable about heading back to theaters, they’re still aware of the risk and often look to avoid busy showtimes or even attend during a pic’s opening weekend.
The Lost City made its world premiere at SXSW on March 12 where the movie played like gangbusters with lots of laughs and applause, punctuated by Bullock, Radcliffe and the Nee Brothers showing up.
Paramount held paid sneaks with Fandango over the weekend, the money of which will be rolled into the Thursday night previews which kick off at 4PM.
Other things to look out for this weekend: Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home will hit $800M, still the third highest at the domestic box office after Star Wars: Force Awakens ($936.6M) and Avengers: Endgame ($858.3M), but a nice round number.
Warner Bros.’ The Batman made close to $3M in its third Monday yesterday, -70% from Sunday for a current U.S./Canada cume of $303M. The Matt Reeves-directed DC superhero title is estimated to make $20M in weekend 4, -46%.
Also opening this weekend is A24’s martial arts fantasy Everything Everywhere All at Once from the Daniels, which also played through the roof at SXSW on the fest’s opening night, and Sony Pictures Classics’ British period romance Mothering Sunday in New York and LA.