3rd Update: Refresh for updates and chart …Joker‘s second weekend is more powerful than imagined, busting past its low $40M projections to what is now looking at $58.7M, the best second weekend for a film in October, easily beating that of Warner Bros.’ Gravity ($43.1M). All the factors–comic book movie, great reviews and solid exits–are putting this film higher. Even with a $138M Ang Lee-directed Will Smith action film in the market, adult moviegoers are opting for Joker, the DC villain origins film they’ve never seen before, and much of that has to do with literally the Rotten Tomatoes score: Joker‘s 68% certified fresh to Paramount/Skydance Media’s Gemini Man‘s 26% Rotten. The aggregator site is literally telling people to shell out their $15-$20/ticket for one film over the other. Gemini Man is heading to a $20M domestic opening in 3rd place–horrible for a film this size–and I’m told by finance sources that the movie would need to gross $275M worldwide to reach break-even which would occur two years after all material ancillary markets play out. We’ll see how overseas looks on Sunday, but many have their doubts.
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Usually when a tentpole film goes sideways at box office, we point to production problems on the set, bad testing or a botched marketing campaign, but Gemini Man didn’t have these. In fact, Life of Pi with its two-and-half months in a water tank was a more challenging production than Gemini Man. It was simply a bad pairing between cinema technology and a low-stakes, we’ve-seen-it-all-before concept of twins rivaling each other. Why was it made? Well, why wouldn’t a studio bet on an auteur like Lee? Filmmakers like him, Christopher Nolan, Baz Luhrmann, Quentin Tarantino, James Gunn are the saving graces at the box office when it comes to original material that can actually pop. That said, I hear the whole old vs. young Will Smith is what people responded to when marketing materials were tested. Potential audience interest in the pic nosedived when people started seeing more on social, and when reviews finally hit. Given the Lee and Smith factor, plus the fact that the film was shot in 120 frames per second in 4K, 3D, the plan was to show off the pic to the press early, like any major studio would do with a tentpole. However, fact is the frame per second rate thing is unsettling to audiences, as well as the shaky technology in regard to making Smith younger. The script for Gemini Man dates back to 1997 after a number of fizzled attempts with such big names as Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery and Mel Gibson attached. Such lengthy development “indicates problems” says one rival film finance source.
Says social media monitor Relish Mix, “Folks that saw the film are certainly leaning negative, claiming that the storyline and the special effects were not convincing. They are wondering how long a star like Smith will continue doing action films – and whether or not effects like these will last as they seem predominantly ‘basic’ to a wide group of naysayers.”
Lee and Smith were very proud of this film with the latter promoting to his 122.3M social media followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Social media universe for the movie was strong per RelishMix with over 243M followers across all social media channels. “The usual film in the genre has an SMU of 110.5M by opening week, so Gemini is ‘strong’ because its reach is so far ahead. But, for context, Will Smith alone makes up 50% of the movie’s reach – and Paramount’s reach contributes another 15M,” says the social media analytics corp.
“It’s also worth mentioning that the majority of the film’s top clips are internationally distributed,” wisely notes RelishMix, which makes sense because with the dim stateside prospects, Paramount and Skydance have to make this pic’s cost up overseas.
Also following in the wake of Joker really doesn’t help Gemini Man. However, before Warner Bros. even dated its Village Roadshow/Bron Studios production, Paramount called dibs on the first weekend of October with the Smith film. But when Joker moved on, Gemini Man moved off. The film couldn’t go any further in the fall due to the fact that Paramount/Skydance Media’s Terminator Dark Fate is coming out on Nov. 1, so that’s why the pic is here.
57% males turned up at Gemini Man with 61% under 35 years old. Pic was solid with African American audience at 32%, followed by 32% Caucasian, 24% Hispanic, & 12% Asian/Other. Pic played best in the West and the South, but even there it was disappointing. It’s possible that African American moviegoers may still come and push the opening for this film higher.
CinemaScore audiences were much kinder than PostTrak ones giving Gemini Man a B+ to 3 1/2 stars.
MGM/UAR’s The Addams Family is to be applauded in how an old piece of IP can still generate interest on the big screen with $31.5M in second place. That’s a bigger opening than the $24.2M opening of the 1991 live-action Paramount movie starring the late Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston, which catapulted the 1960s TV black and white TV series into the modern era (that CGI Thing hand!), and launched former Coen Brothers’ DP Barry Sonnenfeld as a bankable director (yes, commenters, I know — it was a different exhibition era and the film only opened at 2,411 theaters). Addams Family gets a B+ CinemaScore and 4 stars from kids under 12 and 3 1/2 stars from parents. Two of the big reasons on PostTrak why people went to see the Addams Family was because it’s an animated feature (34%) while 28% said it’s part of a franchise they like. Of the marketing materials that persuaded audiences to go to the film were the pic’s in-theater trailer (34%), TV spots (25%), in theater one sheets (24%), and the YouTube trailer (22%).
Females repped 59% of the crowd, with 44% under 17, the latter demo expected to swell tomorrow. Diversity breakdown was 46% Caucasian, 26% Hispanic, 15% Asian/Other, 13% African American. The pic played best in West, Mid-West and South.
CBS Films/Lionsgate’s Jexi is the casualty of a film studio turning its lights off, specifically CBS Films with a 9th place take of $3.1M. It received a B- last night and 2 1/2 stars on PostTrak.
MORE ANALYSIS AND CHART COMING…
2nd Update: Joker in all of its controversy continues to remain strong, expected to be down -52% in weekend 2 with $45.8M after a Friday of $12.9M, -67% at 4,374 venues. Dark? Who says it’s too dark for business? That’s what the complaint was about Warner Bros.’ Batman V. Superman, which dropped -69% in weekend 2 off a B CinemaScore. However, Joker‘s B+ (which some debate is akin to an A-), coupled with solid exits last weekend of 4 stars on PostTrak are the indicator here of the want-to-see for this Todd Phillip-directed movie.
A great opening from MGM/UAR’s The Addams Family with $9M (including $1.25M previews) and a $30M start at 4,007, at the top of industry forecasts. Some even think the animated feature can do more. The pic earned a 69% definite recommend from parents, 58% from kids, with girls outweighing boys last night 57% to 43%, on PostTrak.
It’s looking extremely grim for Paramount/Skydance Media’s $138M (some say the pic was sent around in finance submission packets with a budget of $158M) Will Smith movie Gemini Man here in the U.S. and Canada with a $7.3M Friday, including $1.6M previews, and a $19M-$20M forecast in 3rd place at 3,642. That’s with 3D tickets sales and Imax which Joker largely doesn’t have. Joker and Addams Family I hear are sharing PLFs.
Dreamworks/Pearl Studios/Universal’s Abominable takes 4th with $1.8M in weekend 3 at 3,496 theaters for a $7.7M 3-day, for a total of $49.5M.
Focus Features’ Downton Abbey is seeing $1.3M today and $4.4M in weekend 4, -45% for a total of $82.1M.
CBS Films’ R-rated, man-in-love-with-his-phone comedy Jexi, dying with $3M-$3.3M for the weekend after $1.25M today.
1st Update: Paramount/Skydance Media’s Ang Lee directed Gemini Man starring Will Smith rang up $1.6M in Thursday night previews that started at 7PM from 3,000 showtimes. Also, MGM/UAR’s animated feature The Addams Family had a great start with $1.25M at 3,000 locations that started at 4PM.
That figure is just under what The Magnificent Seven pulled in back in September 2016 in its previews with $1.75M (for a $12.7M opening day, $34.7M opening weekend) and ahead of Millennium/Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen ($1.5M previews, $7.95M opening day, $21.3M opening) and Ad Astra ($1.5M previews, $7.1M opening day, $19M opening weekend). Among Will Smith’s fresh IP titles, Gemini Man blows away 2015’s crime noir Focus ($900K) and 2013’s After Earth ($1.1M) though that was at a time when Thursday night previews weren’t as potent as they are now.
Gemini Man (watch the trailer here) is expected to debut to $24M-$27M this weekend as Warner Bros./Village Roadshow/Bron Studios Joker which is projected to do around $42M. Co-financed with China’s Alibaba and Fosun Pictures, the latter which is distributing in China, Gemini Man cost $138M. The pic uses the 120 frames per second technology, and is ideally seen in 3D, which a third of its 3,642 theater count is accommodating. The pic follows Smith as a hitman who hunts down a younger clone of himself.Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures
There were 8% K-12 schools out yesterday, rising to 19% today and 42% on break for Columbus Day Monday. That bodes well for Addams Family (trailer here), which is looking at a $25M-$30M start. General audiences only repped 48% of the crowd while parents and kids combined repped 52% of Thursday night’s attendance per Screen Engine/Comscore’s PostTrak. Previews were higher than the $850K made by Warner Bros. Smallfoot last year ($6.4M opening day, $23M opening weekend) as well as the $840K made by The House With a Clock in Its Walls ($7.7M opening day, $26.6M opening). Critics weren’t kind to the Addams at 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, however, kids animated pics are largely deflective of the aggregator site’s power over moviegoers.
Who’s going to get hurt more potentially in ticket sales is Gemini Man which reviewers have slammed with a 29% RT score. Audiences gave it 3 1/2 stars on PostTrak last night. Men over 25 repped half of the crowd, followed by females over 25 (25%), men under 25 (14%), females under 25 (11%). Big turnout last nights for Gemini Man by Hispanics (30%) followed by African Americans (27%), Caucasians (26%) and Asians (12%).
There’s also CBS Films/Lionsgate/eOne’s comedy Jexi from Bad Moms directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. That’s expected to tank in the low single digits as CBS Films’ final theatrical release. Previews were around $235K at 1,900 locations. Low exits at 3 stars, a 40% definite recommend and Men over 25 mostly there (47%), followed by 31% females over 25, 14% men under 25 and females under 25 at 8%.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Joker ends its opening week with $137.7M after an $8.3M Thursday, -14%. Focus Features’ Downton Abbey was second yesterday by a distance with $905K, -11% for an estimated running total in week 3 of $77.7M. Dreamworks Animations/Pearl Studios/Universal’s Abominable chalked up $640K, -52% for a running two total of $41.8M. STX’s Hustlers with $550K, -13% was in 4th place and an estimated total in week 4 of $94.1M. Roadside Attractions/LD Entertainment’s Judy counted $530K, -17%, for a two week tally of $11.7M.