MONDAY AM: Not a shock here, but Universal/Blumhouse’s Five Nights at Freddy’s is coming in at $80M over 3-days after a $16M Sunday that was -34% from Saturday’s $24.2M. The fans of this movie were always dead set on seeing it in a cinema, which made it an experiment for Uni by going day-and-date on Peacock so that they could spike paid subs beyond 28M. While the Emma Tammi directed movie is destined to be No. 1 again during the first weekend of November sans Dune: Part Two, all eyes on how much it drops. Many observed that Taylor Swift: Eras Tour was frontloaded, and she posted a -65% decline in weekend 2. That’s about what we’ll see here. At $80M, it’s still the fifth best opening of October behind Joker ($96.2M), Taylor Swift: Eras Tour ($92.8M), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90M) and Venom ($80.2M).
Apple and Paramount’s Killers of the Flower Moon came in slightly higher with a $9.3M second weekend and a $40.9M running total.
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SUNDAY AM: Universal/Blumhouse’s big screen version of nine-year-old videogame Five Nights at Freddy’s has hit an unprecedented $78M opening, $4.4M shy of what Uni wowed with earlier this summer in firing up Oppenheimer ($82.4M).
Rivals are spotting $80M. Some in the business, including exhibition, will argue that they saw this tidal wave coming, that they saw big numbers right in front of them — and you were right. Yet, while presales indicated a huge hit, the whole Peacock day-and-date of it all, which wound up knocking out projections on Halloween Ends a year ago (projected at $50M+, came in at $40M), was the swing factor here.
On the Peacock side, the studio exclaims that the Emma Tammi-directed Freddy’s had the biggest opening for the OTT service, and it’s the most-watched and most subscription-driving content title since it dropped on Thursday night.
Another reason this was hard to predict despite the robust estimated $25M (not $11M, as we first heard) presales boils down to the 13-17 demo, which can be finicky. Remember how everyone was projecting a $100M-$125M opening for Taylor Swift: Eras Tour concert film? And it came in under at $92.8M. While Thursday night came in higher than what many expected ($10M+ to $7M+), that 13-17 crowd exploded on Friday night after 6 PM, sending projections earlier at $68M to what the weekend looks to be settling in now.
Should Uni do another day-and-date release again? No doubt money was left on the table here, despite the fact that 23% of the moviegoers who watched Freddy‘s have Peacock. Some $25M in presales indicates a $100M opening. Sans Imax and with the Peacock of it all, sources tell me that $5M-$10M was potentially missing from Freddy‘s. But again, the tradeoff of that for Uni is any growth in paid Peacock subsccribers.
It’s best that we learn the right lesson here from Freddy‘s day-and-date. It’s not a recipe, proof that it can be replicated: The video game’s fandom wasn’t going to be deterred by the movie playing at home (81% 13-24 showed up). Furthermore, Peacock’s penetration in homes is so low (28M), so box office was protected even more than a day-and-date release from a streamer with bigger subs. A bigger streamer service like Netflix couldn’t pull off a day-and-date release like Freddy’s without denting ticket sales and exhibitors crying ire.
Whenever you have day-and-date, you’re also cutting off your repeat business in theaters. Interesting to note here that while Freddy’s box office start is the best for a Peacock day-and-date, beating Halloween Kills ($49.4M), it’s near the opening of Marvel Studios’ Disney+ day-and-date (even though subs were charged an extra $25) of Black Widow ($80.3M). That movie fell -68% in weekend 2 and made its way to $183.6M, a 2.2x multiple off its opening. Some are seeing Freddy’s journey ending at around $130M+.
A recap on revised records for Freddy’s:
–At $130.6M worldwide, Freddy‘s is the biggest horror WW bow YTD ahead of Nun II ($88.1M) and biggest Blumhouse global debut of all-time ahead of Halloween ($91.8M).
–Stateside, box office analytics corp EntTelligence says, Freddy’s clocked 6M admissions over three days–the most ever for a horror movie monitored by the stat org since their post-pandemic launch.
–Biggest opening weekend for a horror pic YTD, besting Scream VI ($44.4M)
–Second-biggest opening ever for a video game pic, behind Super Mario Bros ($146.3M) and ahead of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($72M)
–The biggest Blumhouse opening ever, ahead of 2018’s Halloween ($76.2M)
–Highest opening for a Halloween weekend movie, beating Puss in Boots ($34M)
–It’s also the 19th time a Blumhouse movie has bowed at the No. 1 spot, and will bring the genre label’s domestic box office to more than $3 billion.
–Second-biggest theatrical day-and-date debut, after Disney+’s Black Widow ($80.3M).
–The third-largest debut for any horror film ahead of Halloween ($76.222M) and behind only IT ($$123.403M) and IT Chapter Two ($91.062M)
–The highest opening for any PG-13 horror film, surpassing The Mummy Returns ($68.139M)
–The biggest opening weekend for a horror film directed by a woman, ahead of Candyman ($22.002M)
Beamed Universal Domestic Distribution Boss Jim Orr, “Blumhouse and director Emma Tammi successfully delivered a terrifying, exceptionally gratifying cinematic experience that remains faithful to Scott Cawthon’s incredibly popular video game. The phenomenal domestic and global opening weekend of Five Nights At Freddy’s serves as yet another example of our ability to capture the cultural zeitgeist.“
Saturday for Freddy‘s came in at $24.2M to Friday’s $39.7M, a -39% decline, similar to the frontloadeness of the YA-skewing Twilight.
EntTelligence says 65% of the foot traffic this weekend at the box office went to Freddy‘s, with an average ticket price of $12.93. The PG-13 horror movie had a very strong afternoon, which is atypical next to other horror movies. Ten percent of the audience came before 1PM yesterday, 33% between 1PM-5PM, 34% between 5PM-8PM and 23% after 8PM. Best admissions for the pic were in LA (8.9%), NYC (5.8%), Dallas (3.5%), Chicago (3.3%) and Houston (2.8%).
What happens next weekend? Freddy‘s holds No. 1 thanks to Dune: Part Two being off the schedule. Is it a -60% drop? 70%- drop? That’s the questions. Only notable title going wide next weekend is Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, which came in at $132,1K at four theaters in NYC and L.A. or $33K per theater with four sold-out Q&As in New York.
1.) Five Nights at Freddy’s (Uni) 3,675 theaters, Fri $39.4M, $24.25M Sun $14M 3-day $78M/Wk 1
2.) Taylor Swift: Eras Tour (AMC) 3,773 (-82) theaters, Fri $4.8M (-53%), Sat $5.8M Sun $4.1M 3-day $14.7M (-56%)/Total $149.3M/ Wk 3
3.) Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple/Par) 3,632 (+4) theaters Fri $2.67M (-72%), Sat $3.7M Sun $2.6M 3-day $9M (-60%)/Total $40.6M/Wk 2
That’s steeper than anticipated for Killers of the Flower Moon, no doubt that 3 1/2 running time being a factor despite the A- CinemaScore, which is one of Scorsese’s best. While the 3-hour Oppenheimer eased -43% in weekend 2, that is arguably a faster-paced film. Imax repped $1.1M this past weekend for a $5.3M running total. With the holidays and awards push of it all, some fell a $60M domestic endgame is in store here for Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro combo; their third movie together after 1996’s Marvin’s Room and 1993’s This Boy’s Life.
4.) After Death (Angel) 2,605 theaters Fri $2.1M, Sat $1.58M Sun $1.27M 3-day $5.06M/Wk 1
5.) Exorcist: The Believer (Uni) 2,717 (-606) theaters Fri $1M (-40%) Sat $1.3M Sun $750K 3-day $3.1M (-46%) Total $59.3M/Wk 4
6.) Paw Patrol 2 (Par) 2,746 (-618) theaters, Fri $540K (-52%) Sat $970K Sun $640K 3-day $2.15M (-51%) Total $59.2M/Wk 5
7.) Freelance (Relativity) 2,057 theaters, Fri $880K,Sat $705K Sun $475K 3-day $2.06M/Wk 1
8.) Nightmare Before Christmas (re) (Dis) 2,185 (+535) theaters, Fri $583K (-60%) Sat $821K Sun $596K 3-day $2M (-52%)/Total lifetime $85.8M /Wk 2 of re-release
9.) Saw X (LG) 2,141 (-615) theaters, Fri $537K Sat $705K Sun $443K 3-day $1.68M (-53%) Total $50.2M/Wk 5
10.) The Creator (New Reg/20th) 1,685 theaters (-805), Fri $300K (-60%) Sat $431K Sun $269K 3-day $1M (-63%), Total $38.8M/Wk 5
The Holdovers (Foc) 6 theaters Fri $92K Sat $62K Sun $46K $33K PTA/3-day $200K/Wk 1
SATURDAY AM: Universal/Blumhouse’s Five Nights at Freddy’s is meeting the expectations of all those crazy projections that were out there. Since yesterday midday, when we saw a 3-day of $68M, the Emma Tammi directed feature take of the video game, which is also cowritten by the game’s creator Scott Cawthon, is looking at $78M this weekend. Some have this movie at near Oppenheimer‘s opening ($82.4M), not that the movie will leg out to north of $300M in the end. But it’s fun to see how Universal is in its marketing, literally repeating that type of moviegoer turnout again. Another title here that’s harnessed the spirit of fans.
Friday for Freddy‘s is $39.4M, including $10.3M Thursday previews. Sources always told us it was frontloaded, and the outlook is a 39% drop today, which is close to what Twilight did on its Friday-to-Saturday. That said, Freddy‘s skews more male, 57% to 43% female.
It’s clear the under 24 set at 80%, doesn’t know or doesn’t care that this movie is on Peacock to watch at home. They want to see this movie together. Interesting to note that in Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak polls, only 23% of the audience are Peacock subscribers, compared to 63% Netflix, 47% Disney+, 44% Hulu, 35% Amazon Prime, 27% Max, 22% Paramount+, and 16% Apple TV+.
Some estimate that Peacock in its day-and-date of the movie could have stolen around 10% of Freddy‘s box office potential, and that it might lead to a big drop next weekend. However, Universal even surprised themselves with their expectations here. They always thought it was a niche play, hence why the pic went on Peacock. Despite any forecasts about next weekend’s drop for Freddy‘s, a massive 42% said they’d like to see the movie again in theaters, versus watching it at home.
Again, Blumhouse made this pic strictly for the fans, not older audiences, and that choice is paying off in spades, now with a CinemaScore of A-. How often do you see a horror movie get that type of grade? They’re typically Bs and Cs, and Freddy’s is in the neighborhood of Get Out (A-). Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak improved to 77% positive and four stars.
We knew presales were putting Freddy’s at full tilt. PostTrak was showing 51% of the audience snapped up their tickets in the last week or greater. However, 49% bought their tickets the day- of, indicative of big walk-up business and the huge Hispanic and Latino turnout at 40%, which is more than Caucasian 37%, Black 11%, and Asian 7%.
For exhibition, this is quite the unexpected blessing in a marketplace that lost fall tentpole Dune: Part Two, and one that’s been crimped by the actors strike, with actors not permitted to promote. While there are some original movies like The Creator and A Haunting in Venice which clearly required the bullhorns of their cast to make it known that they’re out there, Freddy’s thrives on its brand name alone, 53% of the audience telling PostTrak that they came for the franchise alone. Overall ticket sales for all movies are at $128.6M, which is up 90% over the same frame a year ago. That’s when Black Adam topped the box office in its second weekend with $27.4M.
Freddy’s was strong in the genre’s vibrant territories of the South, South Central & West. While Imax stayed with Apple and Paramount’s Killers of the Flower Moon, PLFs rep 19% of the gross to date for Freddy’s. AMC Burbank is the top-grossing theater currently through yesterday for the Blumhouse title, with around $74K.
Other diagnostics: 39% of those who watched Freddy‘s came in a group, meaning anywhere from 2+ friends. Best scores were from women under 25 (83%, 35% of the crowd), 13-17 (81%, 36% of the crowd) and 35-44 (81%, 3% of the crowd).
Other activity this weekend includes Angel Studio’s wide release of documentary After Death, about the afterlife based on real near-death experiences, conveyed by scientists, authors, and survivors. Friday was $2.1M at 2,605 theaters, for an estimated 3-day of $5.9M in fourth place. Pic is from the New York Times bestselling authors behind 90 Minutes in Heaven, Imagine Heaven, and To Heaven and Back. Audiences gave the latest pic from the Sound of Freedom distributor an A-, with PostTrak at 88% and a 62% recommend. Some 56% females leaning, with 56% of the audience over 45 and the largest demo being over 55 at 32%. This is a 100% faith-based draw. Diversity demos were 57% Caucasian, 24% Latino and Hispanic, 8% Black, and 10% Asian/other. Pic played best in the Bible Belt areas of the South, South Central and Midwest. Altogether those regions rep close to 60% of the gross versus the average for a pic like this, which is typically around 47%. The AMC Surprise Arizona is the top pic in the nation, near $5K so far.
There’s also the John Cena action comedy, Freelance, from Relativity Media this weekend, which is 0% on Rotten Tomatoes from 21 critics and a B- CinemaScore and low PostTrak of 58% and 27% recommend. Friday was $800K at 2,057 theaters, with an estimated 3-day of $2.1M in seventh place. Best areas for the movie were South and West, with The Regal North Hills (Raleigh NC) the best performer stateside with just over $3K.
In proper Halloween form, there’s the rerelease of The Rocky Horror Picture Show from 20th Century Studios in 90 theaters, with a $194K Friday and estimated $619K 3-day and $121.4M lifetime total.
Focus Features had the limited launch in NYC and LA of Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers at AMC Century City, AMC Grove, AMC Burbank, AMC LSQ, Alamo Brooklyn and Regal Union SQ with some good numbers. Friday is $93K, 3-day is $190K, with a theater average of $31,7K. AMC Century City is the best of the bunch with $24K-plus. As Deadline first reported, Focus snapped this Miramax financed movie up for $30M out of TIFF 2022. The awards contender is 96% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
A24 released their Lorenzo Mieli-produced, Sofia Coppola-directed Priscilla in four locations –LA’s AMC Century City and AMC Grove and NYC’s AMC Lincoln Square and Angelika– to solid numbers as well, with $67K Friday, and a projected 3-day of $164K, or a $41K theater average. The SAG-AFTRA interim agreement-cleared movie, which has allowed its cast of Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny to promote at festivals and premieres, is 91% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Priscilla counts a Gotham Award nomination for Spaeny, and a Volpi Cup Venice Film Festival win for the actress as well.
1.) Five Nights at Freddy’s (Uni) 3,675 theaters, $39.4M Friday, 3-day $78M/Wk 1
2.) Taylor Swift: Eras Tour (AMC) 3,773 (-82) theaters, Fri $4.8M (-53%), 3-day $15.6M (-53%)/Total $150.2M/ Wk 3
3.) Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple/Par) 3,632 (+4) theaters Fri $2.67M (-72%), 3-day $10M (-57%)/Total $41.6M/Wk 2
4.) After Death (Angel) 2,605 theaters Fri $2.1M, 3-day $5.9M/Wk 1
5.) Exorcist: The Believer (Uni) 2,717 (-606) theaters Fri $990K (-41%) 3-day $3.3M (-42%) Total $59.5M/Wk 4
6.) Paw Patrol 2 (Par) 2,746 (-618) theaters, Fri $540K (-52%) 3-day $2.2M (-50%) Total $59.2M/Wk 5
7.) Freelance (Relativity) 2,057 theaters, Fri $800K, 3-day $2.1M/Wk 1
8.) Saw X (LG) 2,141 (-615) theaters, Fri $544K (-49%) 3-day $1.86M (-48%) Total $50.4M/Wk 5
9.) Nightmare Before Christmas (re) (Dis) 2,185 (+535) theaters, Fri $583K (-60%) 3-day $1.85M (-56%)/Total lifetime $85M /Wk 2 of re-release
10.) The Creator (New Reg/20th) 1,685 theaters (-805), Fri $300K (-60%) 3-day $1.1M (-58%), Total $38.9M/Wk 5
FRIDAY AFTERNOON: It’s the biggest result ever seen at the end of October, with Universal/Blumhouse’s Five Nights at Freddy’s eyeing a $34M Friday after an Oppenheimer-sized Thursday night of $10.3M for a massive $68M opening. That’s with theatrical day-and-date on Peacock. It’s the biggest result for that dynamic rollout by the studio besting their openings of similar distributed titles with Halloween Kills ($49.4M) and Halloween Ends ($40M). Clearly, fans want to see this in a communal cinema setting. Theater average is a great $18,5K from 3,675 theaters.
Other poms poms for Freddy‘s:
–Biggest opening weekend for a horror pic YTD, besting Scream VI ($44.4M)
–Third biggest opening ever for a videogame pic, behind Super Mario Bros ($146.3M) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($72M)
–Second biggest Blumhouse opening, behind 2018’s Halloween ($76.2M)
–Highest opening for a Halloween weekend movie, beating Puss in Boots ($34M)
–It’s also the 19th time a Blumhouse movie has bowed at the No. 1 spot and will bring the genre label’s domestic box office to more than $3 billion.
–Second biggest theatrical day-and-date debut, after Disney+’s Black Widow ($80.3M).
Social Media monitor RelishMix shouts, “Social media universe awareness stats on Freddy’s are running at 2.3X over franchise horror comps at 375.2M across Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok combined. In addition to materials specific to the movie’s release, there’s music videos and game play views across YouTube over nine years on other platforms, with some clocking +100M views on several clips. PlayStation is lightly cross-promoting but there is the Blumhouse push to 3.2M fans. Also, the reposting viral rate of YouTube videos are high at 33:1 as fans have grown by 3X in last 3 months up to 1.1M fans on FNAF pages.”
As we reported Wednesday night, the social media fever for Freddy’s is through the roof. RelishMix: “Social chatter on Freddy’s meters positive as fans are screaming, ‘I actually CANNOT wait for this movie and I’m FREAKING over it’ while comping games that came to the big screen, Super Mario, Sonic and also referring to Nicolas Cage’s Willy’s Wonderland released in 2021. Josh Hutcherson also draws heat. ‘I’ve been a fan of Josh Hutcherson for 16 years and man, he never disappoints,’ said one respondent. The game audience is onboard, too: ‘I introduced my son to this game. Now he’s addicted and I’m terrified, lol. I’m totally taking him to see this.'”
While early PostTrak exits were in line with genre comps, which are normally tough, the Rotten Tomatoes audience score stands at 89%.
Don’t underestimate Taylor Swift: Right now the AMC-distributed Eras Tour at 3,773 theatres is seeing a third Friday of $5.1M for a $16.5M third weekend, -50% per estimates. This is after $2.6M second week Thursday. Running total by EOD Sunday is expected to be $151.1M.
Second Friday of Apple and Paramount’s Killers of the Flower Moon is around $3.5M for a second weekend between $11M-$12M at 3,632 theaters, -50% for a running total of $43.6M.
Angel Studios documentary After Death at 2,605 theaters counts a $2.3M Friday after $400K previews, and a $6.1M opening.
Fifth is the fourth weekend of Universal/Blumhouse’s Exorcist: The Believer at 2,717 theaters with a Friday of $1.1M, 3-day of $3.7M, -35% and a near $60M running total by EOD Sudnay.
UPDATED, AFTER EXCLUSIVE: Universal/Blumhouse’s Five Nights at Freddy’s was not slowed down last night by its day-and-date release on Peacock, making $10.3M at 3,050 theaters. That’s bigger than what our sources spotted last night, and not far from It Chapter Two and Oppenheimer which both grossed $10.5M in previews! Sources caution that Freddy’s preview figures are frontloaded, so don’t pin your hopes yet on openings of Oppenheimer magnitude which was $82.4M, or It Chapter Two ($91M). However, there are many who believe a $70M-plus opening is within reach.
Why the discrepancy in what we reported in previews and where they came out? Hispanic and Latino walk-up business at Cinemark theaters was huge in the South, with the demo winning the night at 42% to 38% Caucasian. The 18-24 sweet spot demo repped 45% of the crowd while the 13-24 set repped a massive 75% of the audience.
Easily, Freddy’s is the biggest preview for a theatrical-day-and-date release ever.
Why, oh, why did Universal go theatrical day-and-date with Peacock on this instead of Exorcist: The Believer? Again, the deal for Freddy‘s was always structured this way, and it was assumed the movie was for a finite audience: The movie was made strictly for Freddy‘s fans and not for anybody else. Typically, Hollywood wants to expand a film’s audience beyond an IP’s core demo. That was not part of the plan here, which is why the Uni content strategy bean counters put this day-and-date. Given the franchise that’s being born here, it wouldn’t be shocking if they keep the sequel strictly theatrical.
Other jaw dropping miles for Freddy‘s: It’s the third best preview for an October release behind The Joker ($13.3M) and Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($11.6M) and ahead of Venom ($10M) and even last October’s Black Adam ($7.6M). Freddy’s also buries the $7.7M preview cash of Universal/Blumhouse/Miramax’s Halloween back in 2018 which opened to $76.2M.
“Nothing like a cultural milestone to drive people to the box office, and to a streaming service,” says another insider connected to Freddy‘s. True, OTT services need pieces of IP like this to boost subs; Peacock recently celebrating 28M subscribers, +4M during Q3. Peacock lost $614M in the year-ago period with “peak losses” reducing from $3B for the year to $2.8B. Parent Peacock company Comcast also reported that streaming revs were $840M, +64% from a year ago.
More Freddy‘s geek-out from Wednesday night at AMC Burbank:
EXCLUSIVE: “We may have a big hit on our hands,” beamed one person close to the production of Universal/Blumhouse’s feature take of videogame Five Nights at Freddy‘s today. And while the movie, which hits theatrical-day-and-date today on screens at 2PM and on Peacock at 6PM is projected to do around $50M, there are some crazy projections out there between $55M to $90M. Everybody calm down, and let’s permit this brilliant branded IP for millennials in the oasis of the swamps of an actors’ strike play out.
Tonight, box office sources tell us that Thursday previews are racking up north of $7M but warn “are very frontloaded.” Universal did not respond to request for comment on our projections, so as always asterisk them. While this is solely a picture made for the under 25 crowd, behold other previews that clocked similar amounts, i.e.: Ant-Man ($6.4M previews, $57.2M opening), Aladdin ($7M, $91.5M bow), F9 ($7.1M, $70M) and Twilight ($7.5M, $69.6M). But wait, we should comp this to other Universal/Peacock day-and-dates, right? Well, Freddy’s fries the comps of Halloween Kills ($4.85M previews, $49.4M) and Halloween Ends ($5.4M previews, $40M opening).
Critics panned the Emma Tammi directed movie at 25% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, but those who are going don’t give a sh** how the reviews read. Last night at a very passionate Burbank, CA AMC preview I attended, fans were so over the moon, it reminded me of the time I first saw Twilight with a crazed crowd at what’s now the AMC Grove. Fans were cheering on the YouTube influencer cameos (peeps who are known for playing and theorizing about Five Nights at Freddy’s games) in the film, as well as “oohhh”ing and “aaah”ing at plot twists, and character appearances, and even the fan-made end credits song by music artist The Living Tombstone. If you weren’t dressed up last night, well then you were square. Get a lode of the get-ups above and below.
Wait, don’t many want to stay at home and watch this? Maybe, and we’ll assess the ding of Peacock on the box office later this weekend, but what’s extremely clear here is that the under 25 bunch want to see this movie together, and not in everyday clothing.
Freddy‘s is booked in around 3,500 locations this weekend including Imax and PLFs. Apple Original Films and Paramount’s Killers of the Flower Moon is expected to do around $12M, while the AMC-distributed Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is to continue crooning to around $13M. More details tomorrow AM.
CinemaScore was polling when we went last night; it will be interesting to see how this one comes in.
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