3rd Friday PM update/writethru after midday Friday post: New Line/DC’s Shazam! is staying put in No. 1 with a second weekend of $23.4M (-56%) for a 10-day of $93.1M, however, as far as the weekend’s other franchise, Hellboy from Millennium/Lionsgate, hot isn’t the word to describe that pic’s business, now looking like a 3rd place opening of $12.3M.
New Hollywood Podcast: ‘Little’ EP And Star Marsai Martin Is Making Big Moves
Guillermo del Toro did not direct the reboot, plus the film looks like a water-down version of its predecessors, so no one feels the need to rush out to see it. There was an earnest attempt here to tap Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall who was behind the episodes “Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall”, but critics have deep-sixed the movie at 15% Rotten (we hear the film wasn’t widely available to critics to be screened, so that tells you something right there) plus CinemaScore audiences have slapped Hellboy with a ‘C’ grade, lower del Toro’s first 2004 movie (B-) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (B). PostTrak audience like it less at 2 1/2 stars and a 44% recommend. Men over 25 repped 38% of the crowd, females over 25 were close to a third. Caucasians numbered 47% followerd by Hispanic audiences at 23%, Asian at 14% and African American at 11%. Millennium spend $50M to make the movie. “Millennium will be fine, they will always be fine,” said international distribution exec today, “when are they not?” Lionsgate though is bound to get the short-end of the stick here after acquiring UK and U.S. on the pic, and being on the hook for P&A. For a studio that needs more franchises, Hellboy doesn’t look like it’s the one.
Universal’s Little has the upper hand, eyeing a 2nd place opening of $14.9M, which is solid for a pic that cost $20M before P&A, standard for a Will Packer production. It’s a major win for diversity both at the box office and behind the camera as Little is a movie directed, starring, written and executive produced by African American women. CinemaScore audiences who are typically hard on comedy gave the movie a B+, while the Marsai Martin film gets four stars on PostTrak and a 62% recommend. African Americans repped 52% of the audience, followed by 22% Caucasian, 15% Hispanic, and 4% Asian. Half of the audience were women over 25 on PostTrak while 23% were under.
Uni began marketing Little in early January with its trailer drop earing 5M-plus views in its first day for 59M views to date. RelishMix cites that the trailer’s viral rate of 59:1 is high due to the fact that only one trailer was being ciruclated around the web.
Leading up to Little’s release, new content rolled out every week as a part of “Flawless Fridays”. There were user-generated challenges including the “Little Storytellers” contest, encouraging teens to create a short film imagining their adult selves as kids, the #LittleGlowUp challenge where users post side-by-side photos of their younger, more awkward selves next to their current-day look as well as a partnership with Chocolate City Comics for #LittleMovieArt.
Pic’s actresses Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin participated in a number of custom media integrations as well, across BET, Bravo, Freeform and other outlets. One standout was a themed alliance with RuPaul’s Drag Race, featuring breakout star Shangela performing in outfits inspired by the movie (a clip which has drawn just over a half million views). Television spots were featured in episodes of World of Dance, American Idol, The Voice, Black-ish, Boomerang, This is Us, Empire, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and the premiere of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.
The cast traveled to Atlanta for a blitz of promotion including an appearance at Spelman College, and Martin visited Miami for some Hispanic programming as well. Hall, Rae and Martin appeared on a variety of shows from Today and Good Morning America to Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Real.
Other openers: UA/Laika’s Missing Link is looking at an estimated $5.8M, the lowest opening ever for a Laika production out of its five theatrical releases; Focus Features’ Kubo and the Two Strings from 2016 repped a prior low opening of $12.6M. Stop motion animation is increasingly not an easy sell in this CGI era, plus this movie was sold younger than the regular hipster Laika pic, so it’s likely not pulling in the brand’s enthusiasts en masse. Kids under repped 43% of the audience followed by 42% general audience and 15% parents. Men over 25, who rep a third of the audience, love the pic the most on PostTrak at 81% positive and a 63% definite recommend. Missing Link gets a B+ CinemaScore like Laika’s Boxtrolls and Paranorma.
Aviron/Voltage’s After is seeing an estimated $7.7M weekend here in the U.S./Canada but we hear that this $14M financed production from Black Diamond, CalMaple, Wattpad and Voltage is doing very well in Italy, Portugal, Argentina and Germany. Aviron put up a small MG. Based on the popularity of the Anna Todd novel, we hear domestic should be doing significantly better, especially when sized up to the pic’s weekend foreign results. Females under 25 are out in full force on this film, but After gets 2 1/2 stars on PostTrak, but a B CinemaScore.
There were only 4% K-12 schools out on Friday and 1% colleges per ComScore, numbers that will grow respectively on Monday to 20% and 5% and explodes on Good Friday to 74% and 29%. Everyone is trying to get as much business in heading into Easter, and especially before Avengers: Endgame takes away all the business.
1st Update, Friday 7:46AM: Here’s how the rest of April looks before Avengers: Endgame blows up all box office records on April 26: There’s an avalanche of counter-programming going on over the next two weeks, and this week that includes Millennium Entertainment/Lionsgate’s R-rated reboot of Hellboy, Aviron/Voltage’s feature take on Anna Todd’s new adult novel After, Universal’s kid comedy Little and United Artists release of Laika’s Missing Link.
This is different from the event film-a-weekend release pattern that occurred throughout most of March and into last weekend with Captain Marvel, Us, Dumbo and Shazam!. Plus there’s not a four quad blockbuster opening over the next Holy Weekend, a period in recent years which has been RSVP’ed by blockbuster launches such as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Furious 7. Instead, we have another R-rated horror pic, The Curse of La Llorna.
Again, all of this is due to Avengers: Endgame being on the calendar, and distributors rushing product out to nab whatever bucks remain from the Spring Break crowd. Not to mention, it’s in the best interest of those distribs with wide entries this weekend to play into Good Friday, which has increasingly proven to be a lucrative box office day and this year there’s 74% K-12 schools off and close to a third of colleges.
The latter New Line/DC superhero is expected to step on the throat of Millennium Entertainment/Lionsgate’s Hellboy reboot for the weekend win, $20M-$22M to $15M-$17M. Hellboy will play at 3,303 locations this weekend.
Yesterday, Shazam! made $2.3M at 4,217 theaters, -9% from Wednesday, ending his first week at $66.4M, $69.7M with previews. Meanwhile, Hellboy made $1.38M last night from Thursday previews at 2,700 sites. Screen Gems 2017’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a comp here with $1M preview, $5M opening day and a $13.6M weekend. In second place among those films already in release was Paramount’s Pet Sematary with an estimated $1.2M, -11%, for a first week total of $31.1M.
Hellboy‘s Thursday is in line While estimates started high earlier in the week for Hellboy at around $20M, those critics who’ve seen the reboot have crucified the movie with an 11% Rotten score. We heard that the film wasn’t screened widely for press which is unfortunately a telling sign right there. The first 2004 movie and its 2008 sequel based on the Dark Horse Comics character is one of many gems for Guillermo del Toro fans, and this one arrives to theaters challenged by the fact that he’s not attached. Millennium financed Hellboy and Lionsgate took U.S. and UK rights. Hellboy 15 years ago opened to $23.4, finaled at $56.3M domestic off a B- CinemaScore, and ended its global run at $99.3M off a $66m production cost. Hellboy II: The Golden Army released by Universal actually did better at the box office with $34.5M July 11 stateside opening, $76M domestic off a B CinemaScore and final WW of $160.3M, but it also cost more at $85M.
Despite Shazam! being a body-switch movie, Universal has a Big of their own in Little which minted $735K in previews last night from showtimes that started at 7PM from 2,220 sites. Pic is expected to open in the mid-teens. Little was conceived by Black-ish star Marsai Martin who also stars and executive produces here. Back in February Universal pacted with the 14-year old star’s Genius Productions company in a first-look deal. Kenya Barris, Will Packer and James Lopez are the producers of Little. Drumline‘s Tina Gordon directed off a script she co-wrote with Girls Trip scribe Tracy Oliver. Reviewers were tough on Little at 52% Rotten, but being a family pic, the movie is expected to buck critical naysay.
UA’s Missing Link, another stop-motion pic from the Oscar-nominated toon house of Laika, follows Mr. Link, an ape (voiced by Zack Galifianakis) who after living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, recruits fearless explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) to guide him on a journey to find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. The pic is expected to open between $10M-11M at 3,413 theaters. Last night Missing Link made $230K, which is just under the $375K that Sony’s Smurfs: Lost Village did in April 2017; that pic opened to $13.2M after a $4.1M Friday.
We’re hearing that After made $550K in previews last night, which isn’t too shabby for an indie teen movie, especially on a night when only 2% K-12 schools are off. Compare this to a big studio spend teen movie like WArner Bros.’ If I Stay which made $1.1M. Is it front-loaded? We’ll see. After will play in 2,100 theaters and is set to make in the low single digits, akin to such indie teen pics like Midnight Sun ($4M) and Before I Fall ($4.6M) which did not hold previews.