Sunday AM: Refresh for more analysis and chart While Crunchyroll’s Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is coming in at the lower end of what we saw yesterday with $20.1M (still significantly more than what we were seeing Friday AM), Universal’s Beast grew some teeth last night, improving its 3-day from $10.1M to now $11.57M after a $4.27M Saturday that’s -1% from Friday+previews’ $4.3M. Some rival distributors believe Super Hero made more at $21M.
What continues to impress rival distribution bosses is how Crunchyroll (ne Funimation) pulls off their fans out and post these robust openings and without a traditional TV spend. Whatever juice Crunchyroll is drinking, other major studios want it too. One of the bold box office feats Crunchyroll pulled off during the pandemic was coming close to stealing the No. 1 weekend opening of New Line’s Mortal Kombat ($23.3M) away from Warner Bros with their April 2021 release of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train which settled for second with $21.2M (that said, Crunchyroll had bragging rights to being No. for the week of April 23-29 with Demon Slayer at $27.7M). Even iSpot shows Crunchyroll underspending Universal’s Beast this past weekend in TV spots by a significant amount (like 3500% less). iSpot shows that Super Hero aired spots on Adult Swim (36.3%), Comedy Central (31.4%), FX (30.6%) and USA (2.2%) across such shows as South Park (17.7%), Black Panther (12.1%), The Office (11.8%), King of the Hill (8.2%) and American Dad (7.2%). But the superpower here for Crunchyroll’s marketing remains in social media. PostTrak shows that only 10% of those who bought tickets saw TV ads for Super Hero, versus 39% who had caught the YouTube trailer and the 22% who watched the Instagram trailer. Out of all the ads for Super Hero, 25% of those who attended this weekend said the YouTube trailer was the most influential versus TV (3%) and in-theater promotions (2%).
“We have this special one to one connection with our fans, talking with them on social media and at in-person events. They give us great feedback,” says Crunchyroll Head of Distribution Mitchell Berger who points to social, and the Super Hero‘s big footprint at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con and San Jose Crunchyroll Expo where the studio showed off 20 minutes of footage at each with the voiceover cast in tow.
Also required for a big weekend Crunchyroll win are all the premium ticket formats, i.e. Imax saw Super Hero as their highest grossing anime opening ever with $3.4M at 327 screens, repping close to 17% of the pic’s opening weekend. Imax and PLFs combined contributed close to 40% of Super Hero‘s weekend total.
Saturday AM: Thanks to two new wide releases, it’s not the lowest grossing weekend of summer, with all titles earning an estimated $77M, +14% from last weekend. However, we’re still way off from pre-pandemic times with the current weekend -36% from the same period in 2019. That’s when Universal’s R-rated comedy Good Boys opened to $21.4M and the top five films cleared over $10M+.
This weekend we have Crunchyroll’s anime title Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero rallying to a $21M-$23M. Why the range? Because these Crunchyroll (ne Funimation) movies are frontloaded and Saturday could easily drop. Friday clocked $10.74M, including $4.3M in Thursday previews. The fans are enjoying it at 85% on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak and a great 75% recommend, and critics aren’t ducking their heads with a 91% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Kids under 12 gave it 84% on PostTrak and a 65% recommend. Dads and boys in attendance here at 78% guys, 18% under 17 and 70% between 18-34. Huge turnout by Hispanic and Latino audiences at 37%, followed by 26% Caucasian, 21% Black and 16% Asian/other. IMAX and PLFs are driving close to 40% of business so far. Super Hero played best on the coasts and the Southwest.
There was some fear that Beast was so bad, it would sink below double digits this weekend. It’s staying above with $10.1M after a $4.27M Friday. Still, you’d think an Idris Elba movie would perform better, and the genre schtick of lions hunting people would be ripe for a mid-August audience, where horror typically does well. “‘Nobody likes to watch people getting eaten by lions’” exclaims one industry source, quoting what they heard the late Sumner Redstone say during his exhibition days after he caught a screening of the 1981 Tom Skerritt lion movie, Savage Harvest. I heard at the time there were exhibitors who loved the movie — but it was a bloody massacre at the domestic box office. Nobody came.
At this opening level, Beast is headed to PVOD in 17 days, and Peacock soon after. CinemaScore audiences were more forgiving with a B, while PostTrak was less at 65% positive, 46% recommend. Critics have soured to 68% on RT. Those brave enough not to cover their eyes at Beast included 56% guys, 51% between 18-34 and 44% over 35. Diversity demos showed 37% Black, 25% Caucasian, 22% Latino and Hispanic and 15% Asian/other. Beast played best in the Mid-West and South but half of its top ten runs were on the coasts.
Paramount has a day-and-date theatrical-Paramount+ release with eOne and Dark Castle’s Orphan: First Kill booked at 498 theaters in 126 markets. The horror sequel saw $670K yesterday for a $1.6M outlook. Some respectable numbers in NYC, LA, Chicago, Philly, San Francisco and DC. The pic is 68% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes with an even lower audience score at 65%.
1.) Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (Cru) 3,007 theaters, Fri $10.74M, 3-day $21M-$23M/Wk 1
2.) Beast (Uni) 3,743 theaters, Fri $4.27M, 3-day $10.1M/Wk 1
3.) Bullet Train (Sony) 3,781 (-576) theaters, Fri $2.2M (-42%), 3-day $7.7M (-43%)/Total $68.6M/Wk 3
4.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 2,969 (-212) theaters, Fri $1.55M (-21%), 3-day $5.6M (-21%), Total $683.1M/Wk 13
5.) DC League of Super-Pets (WB) 3,537 (-266) theaters, Fri $1.4M (-29%), 3-day $4.8M (-31%)/Total $66.5M Wk 4
6.) Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney) 2,755 (-420) theaters, Fri. $1.07M (-24%), 3-day $3.8M (-29%)/Total $331.8M/Wk 7
7. ) Nope (Uni) 2,381 (-379) theaters, Fri $1.03M (-35%), 3-day $3.58M (-33%)/Total $113.7M/Wk 5
8.) Minions: Rise of Gru (Uni) 2,654 theaters (-414), Fri $920K (-35%) 3-day $3.26M (-35%), Total: $349.8M/Wk 8
9.) Where the Crawdads Sings (Sony) 2,608 theaters (-308), Fri $900K (-25%), 3-day $3M (-25%)/Total $77.5M/Wk 6
10.) Bodies Bodies Bodies (A24) 2,541 (+1,251) theaters, Fri $727K (-44%), 3-day $2.3M (-25%), Total $7.3M/Wk 3
Friday Midday: Crunchyroll is on course to steal No. 1 at the box office with its anime sequel Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, which is looking at $8M-$10M today (including those $4M previews) for a $17M-$20M take at 3,130 theaters. Universal’s Idris Elba movie, Beast, is clocking $4.1M today and eyeing a $10M 3-day at 3,743 locations.
A year ago during Weekend 33, Disney released the Ryan Reynolds 20th Century action comedy Free Guy to a great $28.3M (it legged out to $121.6M domestic) — a reminder that it’s not the month that’s sluggish necessarily, as kids return to school, rather the lack of product now, duh.
Sony’s Bullet Train at 3,781 is seeing $2M today, -47% from a week ago, and a $7M-$7.5M third weekend, -44% on the high end, for a $68.4M running total at the high end.
Warner Bros.’ DC League of Super-Pets is fourth at 3,537 sites, with an estimated $1.4M Friday, -29%, and $5.1M fourth weekend, -27%, with a $66.8M running total.
Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick in Weekend 13 at 2,969 locations, is eyeing $1.4M today, also -29%, and a $5M 3-day for a running total of $682.5M by Sunday.
Friday AM: We’re hearing from industry sources that Crunchyroll’s sequel Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero notched an estimated $4M in Thursday night previews, trouncing Universal’s Idris Elba lion movie Beast, which did $925K at 2,900 theaters. Both began previews at 5 p.m. Thursday. Crunchyroll is sending out an official update tomorrow.
Super Hero‘s start last night has a shot at getting it near $15M, while the fate of Beast, despite being 72% fresh among Rotten Tomatoes critics, is likely in the single-digit range at 3,743 theaters. Ouch. Super Hero is on a 90-day theatrical window and booked in 3,100 theaters (3,900 screens) and has all the super powers of Imax, 4DX, Dolby and D-box.
Super Hero‘s Thursday night soars above the $2.88M Thursday grossed by Crunchyroll’s Jujutsu Kaisen 0 at 2,003 theaters back in March, which resulted in a 3-day weekend of $14.8M and total weekend-plus-previews figure of $17.6M. Super Hero is currently higher than Crunchyroll’s Demon Slayer from March 2020, which did $3.8M in previews, before a $21.2M opening.
Beast‘s Thursday is just below the $1M earned by Paramount’s alligator horror title Crawl in its preview night, which translated to a $4.3M Friday, and $12M opening in July 2019. That said the Elba title is ahead of Universal’s Michael Bay movie, Ambulance, which ran up $700K on its Thursday before a lackluster $3.2M Friday, and $8.7M domestic start.
In regular ranked titles, Sony’s Bullet Train had a second Thursday of $1.25M at 4,357 theaters, -18% from Wednesday for a $19.9M second week and running total of $61M.
Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick did $870K at 3,181, -10% in its 12th Thursday for a week’s take of $10.8M and running total of $677.5M.
Third on Thursday went to Warner Bros.’ DC League of Super-Pets with $710K at 3,803, down 15% from Wednesday and a third week of $10.5M, -39%, and $61.7M running cume.
Fourth belonged to Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder at 3,175 with a $580K Thursday, -6% from Wednesday and a sixth week of $8M, running total of $328M.
Universal/Illumination Entertainment’s Minions: The Rise of Gru at 3,068 saw a $570K Thursday, -14% from Wednesday, for a seventh week of $7.7M and running total of $346.5M, +1.2% ahead of the latter animation studio’s highest domestic grossing movie, Despicable Me 2 at the same point in time — however that sequel ended its stateside run at $368M.