MONDAY AM: According to data this morning, Warner Bros.’ Elvis wins No. 1 this weekend with a $31.1M opening beating the fifth weekend of Paramount/Skydance’s Top Gun: Maverick which did $29.6M.
It’s the third No. 1 opening for Warner Bros. YTD after The Batman‘s $134M and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore ($42.1M).
Sunday for Elvis came in at $8.5M, -14% from Sunday’s $9.9M. Interesting to note here is that if you back out the $3.5M previews from Elvis, the pic’s 3-day is $27.6M, meaning Top Gun 2 took the 3-day on a pure Friday-Sunday basis. Top Gun 2 made more on Sunday than Elvis with $9.25M, -23% from Saturday. Top Gun 2‘s fifth weekend is the fourth best ever after American Sniper ($64.6M), Avatar ($42.7M) and Titanic ($30M). As Nancy told you yesterday, Top Gun 2 continues to fly to higher stratospheres at the box office, becoming Tom Cruise’s first $1 billion grossing movie at the global box office.
Film finance sources tell me that Elvis start here at $31.1M stateside, and $51.1M WW is OK in regards to its negative cost. Again, can’t emphasize enough what a big deal the opening is here for Elvis in regards to getting older females out and older moviegoers, especially for a movie with a two-and-half-hour plus running time. For 28% of those over 55, they’ve only seen one movie in the last two months before Elvis. This is according to Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak exits. It’s just more proof after streaming swallowing up theatrical genres during the pandemic that adult skewing movies, when packaged right, can work on the big screen. The question is whether young people will keep coming to Elvis: Older demos over 45 on PostTrak scored the film in the 90 percentile, however, the younger you go, the numbers ease, i.e. the 13-17 (turnout 6%) gave it a 76% while the 18-24 (15% turnout) graded it an 83%.
Of those who bought tickets to Elvis, PostTrak says that 49% came because of the subject matter/plot, while 25% came for Tom Hanks. In regards to the most influential piece of Elvis marketing from Warner Bros., 22% said it was the in-theater trailer that pulled them in, while 14% say it was TV spots, for 9% it was the online trailer, with good word of mouth (9%) also being a factor.
Universal/Illumination’s, Minions: The Rise of Gru, which was originally scheduled to open on July 3, 2020, and then pushed due to the pandemic, finally arrives on Friday for what will be a 4-day holiday weekend.
Also coming in higher this weekend was Universal’s third weekend of Jurassic World Dominion with $26.7M, -55%, after a $8.25M Sunday (-61% from Saturday) with a $303M running total. And, the studio’s Blumhouse opening title, The Black Phone came in with $23.6M, after a $5.85M Sunday (-22% from Saturday).
SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick are in a dead heat for No. 1, with both Warner Bros and Paramount respectively calling each film at $30.5M for the weekend.
If you boil this face-off down to admissions, box office analytics firm EntTelligence is calling the weekend in favor of Top Gun Maverick, with 2.5M admissions to Elvis’ 2.4M admissions.
Industry average weekend estimates show Elvis ahead of Top Gun: Maverick, $30.1M to $29.965M.
Top Gun: Maverick had a slightly lower average ticket price over Elvis, $12.47 to $12.52.
Paramount is calling the 5th weekend for Top Gun: Maverick at -32% dip from weekend 4, after a Saturday night that beat Elvis‘, $12M to $10M.
Warners believes Elvis‘ first Sunday will decline by 23% from Saturday to $7.7M. Paramount is saying Top Gun 2‘s Sunday will be at $10.2M, -15% from Saturday.
Still with fierce numbers like this, it’s a rich man’s problem. As one industry marketing executive couched the weekend, “Craziness, but a rising tide to lift all boats for sure.” The top four films grossed over $20M apiece. In addition to Elvis’ opening here and Top Gun 2‘s fifth weekend, Universal is claiming third and fourth place with the third weekend of Jurassic World Dominion at $26.4M and the opening of Blumhouse’s R-rated horror movie The Black Phone, which overperformed to $23.3M. That’s off the backs of the 18-34 crowd, which showed up at 64%; 53% under 25 and 51% female.
The last time that box office feat occurred was over Thanksgiving weekend 2018 (Ralph Breaks the Internet $56.2M, Creed II – $35.5M, The Grinch – $30.3M, Fantastic Beasts 2 – $29.3M) and before that during a non-holiday weekend it was July 21-23, 2017 (Dunkirk – $50.5M, Girls Trip – $31.2M, Spider-Man: Homecoming – $22.1M, and War for the Planet of the Apes – $20.6M).
Big cheer here to Warner Bros. for getting much older out, which in updated Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits is 31% over 55, 48% over 45. Not to mention, Elvis reps a breakthrough at the box office for a long-running time pic at 2 hours and 39 minutes. It’s also been over-written how cautious older women were to return to cinemas during the pandemic. However, Elvis pulled in a huge 45% women over 25 (who gave the pic its highest grade at 92%). The success here with Elvis is that it shows these adult skewing movies can still open on the big screen to very good numbers. Everything that’s non-tentpole doesn’t have to be sent to streaming. Amen.
Warner Bros. Domestic Distribution Boss Jeff Goldstein was over the moon: “Our marketing team went all out. This team was in the field for 30 days straight, on the road. They’re absolutely everywhere, doing surprise and delights in theaters. Baz Luhrmann is a spokesperson to the theatrical experience.”
Luhrmann rallied folks to get out to theater, not just for his film, but all films:
Warner Discovery CEO David Zaslav has much to be proud here with Baz Luhrmann’s $85M production. We hear that outgoing Warner Bros Motion Pictures Group Boss Toby Emmerich was a big champion of Elvis, and the results here are a nice send-off as he transitions to a producer role on the Burbank, CA lot.
Excellent buzz for Elvis to keep it going at 4 1/2 stars, 88% positive, 72% definite recommend on PostTrak, and a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 94% that beats that of Bohemian Rhapsody (85%), Rocketman (88%), and A Star Is Born (79%). Also indicating word-of-mouth is working is the fact that 63% bought their tickets on Saturday on the same day, per PostTrak. Proof that the older crowd showed up is in the EntTelligence admission shares, which showed 50.9% of moviegoers watching the pic before 5PM.
This was a passion project of Luhrmann’s that defied the odds when the Covid pandemic hit, with Tom Hanks catching the virus “six days from starting principal” and production shutting down for months. Luhrmann took the time to refocus the screenplay, particularly from Hanks’ Colonel Tom Parker pov, and Austin Butler stayed in Australia, where the pic was shot, to work on his Elvis from head to toe during the Covid downtime. Warners world premiered the movie at the Cannes Film Festival last month. That’s where Luhrmann launched his filmmaking career with Strictly Ballroom back in 1992. Elvis received the longest standing ovation at Cannes this year, clocked at ten minutes by Deadline.
What did family audiences think of Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear in weekend 2? Well, it took a 65% tumble ($17.66M), which is arguably the second-worst decline for a Pixar movie after Onward‘s -73% second weekend, which was when the pandemic was roaring up in early March 2020.
Back to Black Phone. Not only did the Blumhouse title have great reviews, but great exits, with 86% positive on PostTrak and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes’ audience poll, to pair with its B+ CinemaScore. Evidence that the younger demos turned out for this movie is in its post 9PM business, which repped 30.9% of admissions yesterday, per EntTelligence, the largest share among the top five movies for that time frame.
Exclaimed Uni Domestic Distribution Chief Jim Orr, “Blumhouse and Scott Derrickson brought Joe Hill’s frightening story to theatres this weekend and terrified audiences across North America. This is a tremendous, well-deserved debut for The Black Phone, and our terrific critical reviews and audience reaction scores point to a very healthy run through the summer.”
There’s really no other genre movies on the calendar like Black Phone until Jordan Peele’s Nope on July 22, and New Line’s Salem’s Lot on Sept. 9. Top markets were LA, NYC, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Phoenix, Philly, and D.C. At $1.7M over the last two days, LA is a strong market for Black Phone. The pic overperformed on the West Coast, South Central and Northeast regions.
1.) Elvis (WB) 3,906 theaters, Fri $12.8M, Sat $10M, Sun $7.7M, 3-day $30.5M/Wk 1
2.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 3,948 (-87) theaters, Fri $8.3M, Sat $12M, Sun $10.2M, 3-day $30.5M (-33%), Total $521.7M/Wk 5
3.) Jurassic World Dominion (Uni) 4,233 (-464) theaters, Fri $7.5M, Sat $10.8M, Sun $8.1M, 3-day $26.44M (-55%)/Total $302.77M/Wk 3
4.) The Black Phone (Uni) 3,150 theaters, Fri $10.2M, Sat $7.5M, Sun $5.6M, 3-day $23.3M/Wk 1
5.) Lightyear (Dis) 4,255 theaters, Fri $5.4M, Sat $6.95M, Sun $5.3M /3-day $17.66M (-65%), Total $88.7M/Wk 2
6.) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Dis) 1,855 (-610) theaters, Fri $521k, Sat $704K, Sun $500K, 3-day $1.72M (-61%), Total $409.1M/Wk 8
7.) Jug Jugg Jeeyo (Moviegoer) 318 theaters, Fri $235K, Sat $287K, Sun $203K, 3-day $725K, Wk 1
8.) Everything, Everywhere All at Once (A24) 524 (-155) theaters, Fri $144K, Sat $216K, Sun $173K, 3-day $533K (-44%), Total $66.1M/Wk 14
9.) Bob’s Burgers (20th/Dis) 590 (-760) theaters, Fri $156K, Sat $203K, Sun $154K, 3-day $513K (-56%), Total $31M/Wk 5
10.) The Bad Guys (Uni) 1,033 (-461) theaters, Fri $140K, Sat $170K, Sun $130K 3-day $440K (-56%), Total $95.4M /Wk 10
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: In an amazing feat for an adult-skewing, 2 hour and 39 minute running movie at the box office, Warner Bros’ Baz Luhrmann directed Elvis is heading toward an estimated $31.5M opening, looking to truly top the box office.
Outside of superhero tentpoles like Spider-Man: No Way Home at 2 hours and 28 minutes, lengthy movies have largely seen their openings capped during the pandemic, i.e. House of Gucci at 2 hours and 38 minutes did a 3-day of $14.4M while West Side Story at 2 hours, 36 minutes opened to $10.5M.
In addition, it’s an embarrassment of riches for most of the majors this weekend as at least four movies look to clear $20M+ apiece.
Elvis skewed heavily female at 58% with a massive 30% over 55 years old. Women and older adults have been the hard demos to pull out during the pandemic, and it’s clear in the wake of elder demo movies, such as Top Gun: Maverick cracking past the half billion point this weekend with $521.2M, everyone is feeling a lot of more comfortable about moviegoing. It’s always been said that it was the older demo tentpoles such as Top Gun 2 and No Time to Die that would pave the way for adults to come back, and to keep coming back, especially for a movie like Elvis.
Note, while some tracking services had Elvis at $30M, others took the under in projecting this stylized version of the King of Rock and Roll, believing that Top Gun: Maverick would lead the box office. That Tom Cruise movie isn’t far behind with a fifth weekend of $30M, -33%. Some believe that Paramount could have final bragging rights for No. 1.
Doubt loomed in regards to whether the truly older fanbase of the legendary singer would come out (Note if you’re 50, you’re still young for an Elvis Presley fan; he died when you were 5 years old); and that . There was a gap between the definite interest to see Elvis, and its unaided and total awareness.
In regards to the social media chatter ahead of opening, RelishMix noted, “Skeptics and worshipers of The King, feel that anyone who is a lover of Elvis usually tends to steer away from movies about him. Reason being, he is untouchable, no one can come close to representing him. But, that seeing clips make them want to see it, and hearing Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley’s reactions and approval have fans excited.”
RelishMix also observed that there were online “debates about the look of Austin Butler in the title role — most are sold on how his resemblance to Elvis; his hair, eyes, lips, gaze, voice and vibe draws viewers into their experiences and concerts they watched.”
Presales were hovering around where Paramount’s Rocketman were yesterday. That Elton John movie turned in a first day with previews of $9.1M for a $25.7M opening while Elvis posted a first day, including $3.5M in previews, of $12.7M.
While critics have waned to 79% certified fresh on Elvis, audience exits are great enough with an A- CinemaScore (higher than Luhrmann’s last big feature, 2013’s Great Gatsby which did a B) and a great 89% positive and 72% definite recommend in PostTrak exits. Elvis pulled in a crowd that was close to 80% over 25, 61% over 35 and close to half over 45. Both those over 50 (43%) and the 35+ crowd (60%) on CinemaScore gave Elvis a solid A. Diversity demos were 62% Caucasian, 20% Latino and Hispanic, 7% Black, and 11% Asian/other. Elvis triumphed in the South, where the movie notched five out of its ten runs. PLF Screens have driven 21% of the box office to date; those screens split among three other titles. Disney has all the Imax for Lightyear.
Also beating expectations this weekend is Universal/Blumhouse’s horror movie The Black Phone, with a $23.2M take after a $10.2M Friday (which included $3M previews) in 4th place. Uni also owns 3rd with the third weekend of Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion, which is posting $26.1M, -56%. The Rotten Tomatoes score on Black Phone remains healthy at 83% certified fresh with a B+ CinemaScore (very good for horror movies, which tend to get Cs), and great exits of 88% positive and a 67% recommend on PostTrak. The pic’s top ten theaters came from the coasts and the Southwest. A handful of PLF screens repped 5% of business to date.
The ticket sales are besting any mixed pre-weekend chatter seen by RelishMix, which was comprised of Blumhouse super-fans, die-hard Ethan Hawke followers, and those who believed “the whole movie is in the trailer.” “There were mentions about the date changes and comparisons to It, plus encouraging call-outs to writer Joe Hill and busy director Scott Derrickson, who helmed Doctor Strange and Sinister parts 1 and 2,” reported RelishMix.
Disney’s second weekend of Lightyear stands between $17M-$19M, in 5th place. If it clears $20M, it will be the first time in six years that five movies have cleared that benchmark at the weekend B.O. The last time was July 22-24, 2016, and that’s when Star Trek Beyond led with a $59.2M opening, Secret Life of Pets second with a third weekend of $29.6M, Lights Out opening with $21.7M in third, Ice Age: Collision Course debuting with $21.3M and the second weekend of Ghostbusters with $21M. All in, this weekend is amounting to an estimated $138.2M, which is off 32% when compared to the corresponding weekend 25 in 2019 (which happened to be Father’s Day weekend) and -9% off when compared to the weekend after Father’s Day. But four or five titles over $20M each — exhibitors and studios will certainly take it.
Also cracking the top 10 is the Hindi title Jug Jugg Jeeyo, booked at 318 theaters in 104 markets. The romantic comedy directed by Raj Mehta, follows an estranged couple, Kuku and Naina, who come to India from Canada, looking to tell their family about their impending divorce after their huge wedding. However, a bigger shock awaits them. OK results we here in NY, Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto, for what looks to be a $235K Friday, and $604K opening.
1.) Elvis (WB) 3,906 theaters, Fri $12.7M, 3-day $31.5M/Wk 1
2.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 3,948 (-87) theaters, Fri $8.25M (-26%), 3-day $30M (-33%), Total $521.2M/Wk 5
3.) Jurassic World Dominion (Uni) 4,233 (-464) theaters, Fri $7.4M (-53%), 3-day $26.1M (-56%)/Total $302.4M/Wk 3
4.) The Black Phone (Uni) 3,150 theaters, Fri $10.2M, 3-day $23.2M/Wk 1
5.) Lightyear (Dis) 4,255 theaters, Fri $5.4M (-74%)/3-day $17-$19M (-64%), Total $90.1M/Wk 2
6.) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Dis) 1,855 (-610) theaters, Fri $521k (-53%), 3-day $1.76M (-60%), Total $409.1M/Wk 8
7.) Jug Jugg Jeeyo (Moviegoer) 318 theaters, Fri $235K, 3-day $604K, Wk 1
8.) Everything, Everywhere All at Once (A24) 524 (-155) theaters, Fri $144K (-44%), 3-day $531K (-44%), Total $66.1M/Wk 14
9.) Bob’s Burgers (20th/Dis) 590 (-760) theaters, Fri $156K (-55%), 3-day $511K (-56%), Total $31M/Wk 5
10.) The Bad Guys (Uni) 1,033 (-461) theaters, Fri $130K (-56%), 3-day $440K (-56%), Total $95.4M /Wk 10
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