The doldrums of December are here and is standard following the lucrative Thanksgiving-Black Friday period most major distributors abstain from opening any wide entries, except for STX which is handling animated feature Playmobil, which isn’t looking so hot with a 3-day of $905K, one of the lowest openings ever for a pic north of 2,000 runs — even lower than Universal/Blumhouse’s Jem and the Holograms which tanked with a $1.37M opening (and final of $2.1M domestic).
The intention of course by STX was to nab any families who still want to take their kids to the movies after the whirlwind of Frozen 2 (they even offered up $5 tickets to experiment with pricing), but everyone is still going to see the Disney sequel which is still going to crush it for the third time this weekend with a $40.3M opening, -53% with a running total by Sunday of $343.2M. For a Disney pic in the post Black Friday weekend, that’s a high besting the takes of its previous animated pic holdovers like Frozen ($31.6M, -53%), last year’s Ralph Breaks the Internet ($25.5M, -54%), Moana ($28.2M, -50%) and Coco ($27.5M, -46%).
Playmobil is a service deal for STX and they’ll be collecting a distribution fee. Global Road was originally set to release this, also in a service deal, before they went belly up. STX aimed to have very little skin in the game here, so as not to get hurt, and I hear P&A, which is not backstopped, is in the low single digits, mostly in-theater driven especially through exhibs moviegoer loyalty clubs (and many rivals agree — that sounds about right given what they’ve seen). The pic based on the 45-year old German toy and featuring the voices of Anya Taylor-Joy, Jim Gaffigan, Gabriel Bateman, Adam Lambert, Kenan Thompson, Meghan Trainor and Daniel Radcliffe; cost around $40M. But the pic, made in Canada, was co-financed by a pool of distributors and co-financing partners including Telemünchen, DMG, Pathé, Studio Canal, Leda Film, Belga Films, Kinoswiat, and others., National Bank of Canada and Coficiné backed the international sales. I hear that STX had to go wide with the movie based on the overseas movie deals in place on the pic. Overall, business here is nothing to brag about in a Frozen 2 controlled marketplace. I understand 4pm previews were extremely low last night in the $40K range leading to a $230K Friday (of course, most kids are back to school). If critics loathed this movie at 23% Rotten, then the few who saw it last night agreed with 1 1/2 stars and a 28% definite recommend on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak. General auds made up 37% while parents and kids under 12 repped 63% of those in seats. Parents had zero patience for Playmobil at 2 stars while the kids under 12, mostly boys at 52%, gave it a big hug with 4 stars. 52% of the audience was between the 7-9. Note these demos could change over the weekend.
The reasoning for STX wasn’t to set the world on fire with Playmobil, but to experiment with variable pricing, and test the waters with the model, particularly on a title where they had little skin. It wasn’t to be hamstrung by the results, but to see what happens down the road. They went to exhibs, asked what the proper variable pricing was, and 97% of most exhibs are charging a flat $5 ticket price for all showtimes (exceptions are theaters in Canada, ArcLight and Landmark).
Here’s how the rest of the top pics are looking. Man, is Lionsgate/MRC’s Knives Up holding up well.
- Frozen 2 (Dis)/4,348 theaters/Fri $9.3M (-73%), 3-day $40.3M (-53%)/Cume $343.2M/Wk 3
- Knives Out (LG/MRC)/3,461 theaters/ Fri $4.4M (-58%)/3-day $15.2M (-43%)/Cume $64.5M/Wk 2
- Ford v Ferrari (Fox/Dis)/3,746 theaters/ Fri $2M (-63%)/3-day $6.6M (-50%)/Cume $89.5M/Wk 4
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/TriStar)/3,491 theaters/Fri $1.575M (-68%)/3-day $5.35M (-55%)/Cume $43.2M/Wk 3
- Queen & Slim (Uni/MakeReady/Bron)/1,715 theaters/ Fri $1.6M (-63%), 3-day $5.2M (-56%)/Cume $25.5M/Wk 2
- Dark Waters (Foc)/2012 screens/ Fri $1.3M (+483%), 3-day $3.9M (+528%)/Cume $5M.