AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron announced in an open letter to Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley that the nationwide theater chain will no longer screen Universal’s films following comments by NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell that the studio plans to release more films day-and-date both theatrically and on video-on-demand.“It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice,” Aron wrote. “Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East. This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat.”Shell made the comments in a Wall Street Journal story Thursday morning that reported the animated film “Trolls World Tour” made $95 million in digital rentals in the 19 days since its release. The film was initially planned for theatrical release but was moved to day-and-date with digital release in March as thousands of theaters were forced to shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.Also Read: AMC Theatres Plans to Raise $500 Million in Private Debt Offering“The results for ‘Trolls World Tour’ have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD,” Shell said. “As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”This hint that Universal will be abandoning the long-held theatrical window prompted a response from the National Association of Theater Owners, who insisted that the unique changes in moviegoing habits brought by the coronavirus lockdown are more responsible for the success of “Trolls World Tour” than any perceived changes in customer habits.“Universal does not have reason to use unusual circumstances in an unprecedented environment as a springboard to bypass true theatrical releases,” said NATO president and CEO John Fithian. “Theaters provide a beloved immersive, shared experience that cannot be replicated – an experience that many of the VOD viewers of this film would have participated in had the world not been sequestered at home, desperate for something new to watch with their families. We are confident that when theaters reopen, studios will continue to benefit from the global theatrical box office, followed by traditional home release.”Also Read: Could 'Trolls World Tour' Digital Success Open the Floodgates for Studio Films to Skip Theaters?AMC’s termination of its relationship with the studio means it will no longer screen Universal blockbusters that need a theatrical release to make back their enormous production and marketing costs, such as “F9,” the ninth “Fast & Furious” film that was moved to May 2021 because of the pandemic.A rep for Universal tells TheWrap, “Our goal in releasing ‘Trolls: World Tour’ on PVOD was to deliver entertainment to people who are sheltering at home, while movie theatres and other forms of outside entertainment are unavailable. Based on the enthusiastic response to the film, we believe we made the right move. In fact, given the choice of not releasing ‘Trolls: World Tour,’ which would not only have prevented consumers from experiencing the movie but also negatively impacted our partners and employees, the decision was clear.”The statement continued, “Our desire has always been to efficiently deliver entertainment to as wide an audience as possible. We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary. As we stated earlier, going forward, we expect to release future films directly to theatres, as well as on PVOD when that distribution outlet makes sense. We look forward to having additional private conversations with our exhibition partners but are disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt from AMC and NATO to confuse our position and our actions.”Also Read: Universal Responds to AMC: 'We Absolutely Believe in the Theatrical Experience'Aron also warned that the chain is willing to do the same to other studios that make similar moves.“AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” Aron wrote. “It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us. It also presumes that Universal in fact can have its cake and eat it too, that Universal film product can be released to the home and theatres at the same time, without modification to the current economic arrangements between us.”Responding to Universal, NATO said in a statement Tuesday night: “Earlier today NATO issued a statement regarding Universal Studios’ public comments in the Wall Street Journal regarding that studios’ evaluation of the results of releasing the movie Trolls World Tour directly to the home without a theatrical release, and specifically that Universal would release future movies both theatrically and to the home.”“Also today, according to various public press reports, AMC released a letter that company sent to Universal stating AMC’s individual company reaction to Universal’s public statement earlier in the day in the Wall Street Journal. NATO and AMC did not coordinate those statements in any way. Indeed, AMC had no comment on NATO’s draft statement when sent to NATO’s Board of Directors, nor did AMC participate in the Board deliberations regarding that statement. Regarding AMC’s reported letter to Universal, NATO had no involvement with nor knowledge of that letter before reading about it in the press.”“Without any knowledge of the facts, or the common courtesy to inquire about those facts, Universal nonetheless made the reckless charge this evening that the company is “disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt from AMC and NATO to confuse our position and our actions.” Unfortunately Universal has a destructive tendency to both announce decisions affecting their exhibitor partners without actually consulting with those partners, and now of making unfounded accusations without consulting with their partners.”For more on what the success of “Trolls World Tour” could mean for Hollywood, check out our analysis on WrapPRO. Read the full letter from AMC below…Dear Donna,At this time of national emergency and the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the entire world, I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. I worry – and I wish the best for – the health of all of our industry colleagues. Never in our lifetimes has there been a more challenging time.Amidst a global pandemic as a backdrop, I wish we were spared from also having to address a different issue that arises from Universal actions currently underway.For 100 years, AMC Theatres has served as a strategically critical and highly profitable distribution platform for movie makers, and for all that time the exclusivity of the theatrical release has been fundamental. When a movie is “Only in Theaters,” consumers perceive it to be higher quality entertainment. Countless filmmakers and moviegoers believe that their creative works are best enjoyed by consumers on the big screen. And we all know that those theatrical releases indeed boost publicity, positive word-of-mouth, critical acclaim and downstream revenues.For much of the past four and a half years, I have been in direct dialogue with Jeff Shell and Peter Levinsohn of Universal about the importance of a robust theatrical window to the viability of the motion picture exhibition industry. Throughout that time, AMC has expressed a willingness to consider alternatives to the current windowing strategy common in our industry, where the aim of such alternatives is to improve both studio profitability and theater operator profitability.Universal stated it only pursued a direct-to-home entertainment release for “Trolls World Tour” because theaters were closed and Universal was committed to a lucrative toy licensing deal. We had our doubts that this was wholly Universal’s motivations, as it has been a longstanding desire by Universal to go to the home day and date. Nonetheless, we accepted this action as an exception to our longstanding business practices in these unprecedented times.In today’s Wall Street Journal, Jeff Shell is quoted as saying that:“The results for ‘Trolls World Tour’ have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD,” Mr. Shell said. “As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”This radical change by Universal to the business model that currently exists between our two companies represents nothing but downside for us and is categorically unacceptable to AMC Entertainment, the worlds largest collection of movie theatres.Going forward, AMC will not license any Universal movies in any of our 1,000 theatres globally on these terms.Accordingly, we want to be absolutely clear, so that there is no ambiguity of any kind. AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies. It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us. It also presumes that Universal in fact can have its cake and eat it too, that Universal film product can be released to the home and theatres at the same time, without modification to the current economic arrangements between us.It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice. Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East. This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat. Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes. Currently, with the press comment today, Universal is the only studio contemplating a wholesale change to the status quo. Hence, this immediate communication in response.AMC has invested significant time and energy with Universal executives over the past few years trying to figure out a new windows model that would be beneficial both for your studio and for our theatre operations. While Universal’s unilateral pronouncements on this issue are unpalatable to us, as has always been the case, AMC is willing to sit down with Universal to discuss different windows strategies and different economic models between your company and ours. However, in the absence of such discussions, and an acceptable conclusion thereto, our decades of incredibly successful business activity together has sadly come to an end.Sincerely,Adam Aron CEO and President AMC EntertainmentRead original story AMC Theatres Won’t Book Universal Movies Anymore After ‘Trolls World Tour’ VOD Release At TheWrap
After Hollywood studios pulled virtually all their upcoming spring releases from release in response to the coronavirus, the impact on the ongoing pandemic is beginning to hit the box office hard. While Pixar’s “Onward” is still expected to repeat at No. 1 this weekend, it is taking a steep 68% drop, a sign that audiences are starting to stay away from theaters as officials urge social distancing to prevent the virus’ spread.“Onward” is currently projected to earn $12.5 million in its second weekend, down significantly from its $40 million opening. While a previous Pixar film, “The Good Dinosaur,” fell to $15.3 million in its second weekend in 2015 after a similar $39.1 million 3-day opening, “Onward” opened to far better word of mouth and critics review with that film.Between its strong reception and its release in March as schools head out for spring break on a staggered basis, an animated film like “Onward” would typically keep its hold to 50% or even better. With an estimated 10-day total of $62 million and the virus expected to get worse in the U.S. before it gets better, it will be a tall order for “Onward” to just pass $100 million in domestic grosses.Also Read: The Week the Coronavirus Changed Hollywood | PodcastMeanwhile, this weekend’s three new releases are reaching the modest figures set by independent trackers, though only one of them is showing healthier ticket sales. Lionsgate/Kingdom’s “I Still Believe” is projected for an $11.6 million opening from 3,250 screens. That’s good news for the Kingdom Story Company, the new faith-based studio launched by directors Jon and Andrew Erwin following the success of “I Can Only Imagine” in 2018.While coronavirus erased any chance of the mild crossover success that pushed “I Can Only Imagine” to a $17.1 million opening, “I Still Believe” still appears to be bringing out core audiences that tend to be located in more rural areas of the U.S. where reported cases of the virus so far remain low. Critics were mixed with a 42% Rotten Tomatoes score, but as typical with faith-based films, “I Still Believe” earned an A from mostly evangelical audiences in CinemaScore polls.The outlook for the other new films is not so strong. In third is Sony’s Valiant Comics adaptation “Bloodshot” with an estimated $9.3 million opening from 2,861 screens, meeting pre-weekend projections of a $8-10 million start. With a $45 million budget, the Vin Diesel vehicle is likely to flop between a lack of widespread interest domestically and coronavirus shutting down key theatrical markets overseas. Audiences gave the film a B on CinemaScore to go with its 31% Rotten Tomatoes score.Also Read: AMC, Regal Cinemas to Reduce Theater Capacity by 50% Amid Coronavirus ScareCompleting the top 5 are two Universal/Blumhouse films: “The Invisible Man” and newcomer “The Hunt,” both of which are currently estimated to earn $6.3 million this weekend. “The Invisible Man,” which cross $100 million in global grosses this weekend against a $7 million budget, is expected to push its domestic total to $64.7 million after three weekends.“The Hunt,” which was pushed to this release date after school shootings and public backlash led Universal to take it off its initial September 2019 opening, received mixed reviews from critics with a 54% Rotten Tomatoes score. Audiences were also split, giving the film a C+ on CinemaScore. The gory political satire has a reported budget of $14 million.Read original story ‘Onward’ Sees Sharp Box Office Drop as Coronavirus Begins to Drain U.S. Cinemas At TheWrap
What was supposed to be a weekend that kept January’s brisk box office pace going turned upside down quickly as Warner Bros.’ “Birds of Prey” failed to take flight on its opening weekend. With a $33 million debut, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn fell well short of the $55 million projections that independent trackers had set this past week.Much like “Doctor Sleep,” a Warner Bros. film that got strong reception from its audience but failed to grow that audience enough, “Birds of Prey” did well with those who saw it. Critics gave it a 83% Rotten Tomatoes score while audiences gave it a B+ on CinemaScore and a 4/5 on Postrak. While that word of mouth may help reduce the film’s drop next weekend, it will now take incredible legs and help from an overseas market hit hard by the coronavirus for this film to do more than break even.Hindsight is always 20/20, but it seems that the obstacles that appeared to be easy hurdles for “Birds of Prey” to clear ended up being much more damaging to the film’s ticket sales than we previously thought. Here are some of those hurdles:Also Read: 'Birds of Prey' Misfires With $33.7 Million Debut, DC's Worst Opening in a Decade1\. Blockbuster buzz vs. Oscar buzzIt’s fashionable to not care about the Oscars, but it’s possible that “Birds of Prey” might have had trouble gaining word of mouth because of the talk surrounding this year’s awards contenders and Oscar Sunday’s earlier-than-usual date. Not only are the Academy Awards taking place earlier in the year than ever, but this is first time since 2013 that five Best Picture nominees have grossed over $100 million in North America, and the two front-runners, “1917” and “Parasite,” are still in theaters.While in past years the Oscars has relied on one or two popular contenders like “Black Panther” to curry interest while only one or two late releases like “The Revenant” are still major factors in theaters, this year’s field is far more widely known and has had more contenders bringing audiences to theaters and keeping them talking throughout January. That could have split away some moviegoers over the age of 35 from “Birds of Prey” as they were distracted by the awards race and instead bought tickets to whatever Best Picture contenders they haven’t seen yet.On paper, there was nothing wrong with the release slot that WB picked out for “Birds of Prey.” Early February has yielded success for them in the past, most notably with “The Lego Movie” in 2014 and its Batman spinoff in 2017. But it may be possible that instead of getting the usual buildup that these blockbusters get in the final week prior to release, “Birds of Prey” had to share space in the film media and social media conversation with Oscar week, weighing down casual moviegoer awareness and interest.If Warner had waited another week to release the film, it might not have had the wide release slate all to itself but still would have provided something unique. Next week’s Valentine’s Day releases, which also extend into Presidents’ Day on Monday, include the family focused “Sonic the Hedgehog,” the romance “The Photograph,” and the horror film “Fantasy Island.” While it would have been a crowded fit, “Birds of Prey” might have been able to stand out among new releases without having to worry about the Oscars diverting attention.Also Read: 'Birds of Prey' Producer Sue Kroll on the 'Big Responsibility' of Making a Harley Quinn Movie2\. The R ratingThat adage about hindsight really applies here. If there’s one thing Warner Bros. has been really good at lately, it’s defying conventional wisdom about the box office limitations of R-rated films. The two “It” films have grossed over $1 billion worldwide combined while “Joker” made history last fall as the first film with that rating to hit $1 billion globally on its own. Also, February was the month where the R-rated “Deadpool” made a mint four years ago. Since “Birds of Prey” shares that film’s irreverent sense of humor and snarky narration by its antihero protagonist, there was little reason to believe that it couldn’t have similar success.But the CinemaScore demographics show that the R rating may have shut out teen moviegoers that really would have been a strong audience base for this film. While audiences over the age of 25 gave the film a B+, moviegoers under 25 gave the film an A- — as did those under 18, who only accounted for 14% of the audience.While it would be difficult to say how much of the film’s content and joke material would have to change to make it PG-13, getting that rating might have helped bring in a larger number of teen and college-age moviegoers that would have helped both word of mouth and opening numbers. As it is, the over 35 moviegoers that responded positively to “It” and “Joker” did not turn out as widely or have as positive a reaction as they did for those films.Also Read: 'Birds of Prey' Director Cathy Yan Wants to See a Harley Quinn - Poison Ivy Film as Much as You Do (Video)3\. The lackluster trailersIt’s understandable that Warmer would focus its marketing on Margot Robbie’s antiheroine Harley Quinn. Despite the tepid reaction to 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” Robbie’s performance as Joker’s girlfriend was well received and helped elevate the actress’ career immensely.But with a film called “Birds of Prey,” casual audiences who don’t read DC comic books may have been confused as to who the Birds of Prey actually are. Aside from the final trailer, the promos for the film don’t do much to explain who Huntress, Black Canary or Renee Montoya are; and while their costumes work well in the context of the film, they are not as immediately memorable as any of the outfits worn by lesser known superheroes in past Marvel or DC films like “Suicide Squad” or “Guardians of the Galaxy.”The success of films like “Guardians” showed that with the right marketing and visual hooks, a comic book movie can sell any obscure superhero, even a talking raccoon, to the masses. But aside from Harley and Ewan McGregor’s comically villainous Black Mask, none of the characters in “Birds of Prey” likely stood out in the minds of mainstream audiences long after they saw the trailers online or in theaters.4\. That bird-brained title While we and the rest of the media have called the film “Birds of Prey” for convenience, the full title of the film is “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” with the part in parentheses written out in tiny, scratchy handwriting on posters and billboards for the movie.That title might have hinted at the movie’s irreverent and feminist tone, but it also furthered the confusion that casual moviegoers felt about whether this film was about Harley Quinn or about a superhero team they hadn’t heard of before. That’s especially true since Harley is not a member of the Birds of Prey squad — either in the movie or in the comics. For those of you who don’t know, the Birds of Prey are Batgirl’s team (and she’s not also MIA in the film).5\. Maybe Harley isn’t as big a draw as we thought Harley Quinn has come a long way. She debuted as a new sidekick for the Joker not in the comics, but on “Batman: The Animated Series” in the early 1990s. Since then, she’s become incredibly popular with Batman fans, and Margot Robbie has helped push her to new heights of notoriety in mainstream pop culture.But fans might have overestimated how much of a draw she is to casual audiences compared to the likes of Wonder Woman and even Captain Marvel. “Birds of Prey” was never expected to reach the heights of films featuring those two heroines, but neither was she expected to yield such a low turnout in a film that puts her front and center.The confusion from the marketing might have dampened such interest in her as a comic book movie protagonist, but audiences might not have been clamoring for a solo vilm despite liking her as part of an ensemble in “Suicide Squad.”Speaking of Wonder Woman, DC Films is counting on the lasso-wielding heroine in this summer’s “Wonder Woman 1984.” Warner’s summer slate also includes the May family film “Scoob!” and the June adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights,” both of which have received very strong social media buzz from their trailers.The studio will also try for a surprise breakout with “Tenet,” the mysterious Christopher Nolan film that will try to repeat the success that the director found at the box office with “Inception” 10 years ago. But all of these films are more than three months away, meaning that there’s going to be a long time for the Warner team in Burbank to figure out just what went wrong with Harley Quinn’s big party.Read original story 5 Reasons Why ‘Birds of Prey’ Didn’t Take Flight at the Box Office At TheWrap
Despite strong critical and audience reception, Warner Bros./DC’s “Birds of Prey” is proving not to be the February box office success industry observers had hoped. After grossing $13 million on Friday from 4,236 screens, the film is now estimated to earn an opening weekend of $34 million, which would be the lowest start for a DC Comics adaptation since the $5.3 million opening of the box office bomb “Jonah Hex” in 2010.Heading into the weekend, trackers had been projecting an opening weekend of $55 million while Warner Bros. was more conservative with a $45 million start. An opening at that lower figure might not have been the foundation for a particularly strong February box office, but still would have been a decent return on investment for Warner. Reports on the budget for “Birds of Prey” have varied but have tended to be around $85-95 million.Also Read: Why Harley Quinn Became a Bernie Sanders Supporter in 'Birds of Prey'But a $32 million opening would make it difficult for “Birds of Prey” to even cross $100 million domestically, something that should be a given for any DC film and especially one that has a known star in Margot Robbie returning to her breakthrough role as Harley Quinn after 2016’s “Suicide Squad.” Reception for the film has been generally positive too, with an 83% score on Rotten Tomatoes along with a B+ on CinemaScore and a 4/5 on Postrak.Instead, “Birds of Prey” is turning out to be similar to “Doctor Sleep” in that both Warner Bros. releases earned thumbs up from those who saw it but fell well short of both analyst projections and studio investment. With no other major films coming until May, Warner Bros. faces more pressure on summer releases like “In the Heights,” “Scoob!” and “Wonder Woman 1984” to deliver.Also Read: 'Birds of Prey' Director Cathy Yan Wants to See a Harley Quinn - Poison Ivy Film as Much as You Do (Video)“Birds of Prey” was the only new wide release this weekend, so holdovers fill up the rest of the charts. Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” is estimated to earn $12 million in its fourth weekend to bring it to a total of $166 million, while Oscar favorite “1917” is projected to earn $9 million in its sixth wide weekend, giving the Universal/Dreamworks film a total of $132 million.Universal’s “Dolittle” is in fourth with $6.5 million in its fourth weekend and a $63.8 million total, while Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” is on the verge of crossing $300 million domestically with $5.5 million in its ninth weekend in theaters. Another Sony film, Oscar nominee “Little Women,” became the fifth film in this year’s Best Picture race to cross $100 million in North America this past Wednesday and is projected to add $2.4 million this weekend.Read original story ‘Birds of Prey’ Lays an Egg at Box Office, Set for Worst DC Opening Since ‘Jonah Hex’ At TheWrap
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will take its third No. 1 on the box office charts, grossing $34.5 million to bring its domestic total to $453 million after three weekends.While the result was slightly lower that the $40 million result analysts were expecting, the film is still on pace to become Disney’s seventh 2019 release with over $1 billion grossed worldwide. After a global third weekend of $84 million, it sits at $918 million grossed so far.Holiday holdovers completed the rest of the Top 5 except for the first wide release of 2020, Sony/Screen Gems’ “The Grudge.” The Sam Raimi-produced horror film has earned an estimated $11.4 million opening against a $10 million budget, meeting pre-weekend projections. However, it is far below the $39 million opening of the 2004 version of “The Grudge and the $20.8 million opening of its 2006 sequel. It also opened below the $18.2 million start of “Escape Room,” the horror film Sony released in this slot a year ago.Also Read: Box Office Year In Review: Disney Conquers, But Who Else Had a Good 2019?In addition, the film became the 20th release ever to receive an F from CinemaScore audience polls. The last film to receive that grade was Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” in September 2017. Critics also panned the film with a 16% Rotten Tomatoes score.The good news for Sony is that their two December releases, “Jumanji: The Next Level” and “Little Women,” are showing strong holdover numbers. “Jumanji” is second on the charts this weekend with $26.5 million, giving it a $236 million total after four weekends. Globally, the Dwayne Johnson-led blockbuster has passed $600 million worldwide with a total of $610 million.“Little Women” is in third with $13.5 million in its second weekend, giving it a total of $60 million after 12 days in theaters. The film has also grossed $20.4 million from six early international markets, with a release in Brazil and Italy next weekend.Also Read: 'Frozen II' Takes All-Time Animation Box Office Record From the Original 'Frozen'Completing The top 5 is Disney’s “Frozen II,” which today will pass the original “Frozen” to become the highest grossing animated film of all time. The film was released in Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia this weekend, posting the highest openings ever for Disney Animation in those markets. With $53 million grossed worldwide this weekend, “Frozen II” now has a total of $1.325 billion, putting it $75 million away from passing the $1.4 billion global run of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and joining the top 10 all-time list.Finally, the Golden Globe-nominated “Knives Out” is now expected to pass $150 million in domestic grosses after earning $9 million in its sixth weekend to bring its North American total to $130 million. In addition to reaching that mark, it will also pass the domestic run of another 2019 original hit: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” which grossed $141 million.In anticipation of the Golden Globes, Lionsgate expanded the screen count of both “Knives Out” and fellow contender “Bombshell,” which is now up to a total of $24.6 million after earning $4.1 million this weekend. “Knives Out” earned nominations for Best Comedy or Musical and for lead stars Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas, while “Bombshell” earned acting nominations for stars Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie.Read original story ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Earns $34 Million in 3rd Week at No. 1 at Box Office At TheWrap
Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is completing the extended Christmas box office period with an estimated 5-day total of $135 million, bringing its 10-day domestic total to $361.8 million.After the Skywalker Saga finale earned $32 million on Christmas Day, some industry estimates were projecting that J.J. Abrams’ film could pull ahead of the domestic pace of its predecessor, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” despite having a significantly lower opening weekend. But as the weekend progressed, those estimates were quickly dialed down. “Last Jedi” had a 10-day total of $368 million, and that was before a Christmas Day surge that saw the film’s domestic total rise to $464 million after a full two weeks in theaters.Still, “Rise of Skywalker” took in $72 million for its Friday-to-Sunday second weekend, a 59% drop from its $177 million opening that is consistent with other blockbusters that have opened at that level. Globally, the film now has a total of $725 million with domestic market share still nearly even with an overseas total of $363 million.Also Read: Billie Lourd Pays Tribute to Mom Carrie Fisher on 3-Year Anniversary of Her Death (Video)Taking second is Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level,” which is proving to be a strong alternative to “Star Wars” as its distributor had hoped. With a $35.3 million 3-day/$59 million 5-day weekend, the “Jumanji” sequel now has a domestic total of $175 million.Adding to Sony’s big Christmas is the success of Columbia/Regency’s “Little Women,” which opened on Christmas Day on 3,308 screens and took the No. 4 spot on the charts with a $29 million 5-day opening. That beats industry projections for an opening in the low $20 million range and puts Greta Gerwig’s likely Best Picture Oscar contender in strong position to leg out to a domestic total of over $100 million. Word of mouth has been incredibly strong with an A- on CinemaScore and critics and audiences scores on Rotten Tomatoes of over 90%.Also opening this weekend and taking the No. 5 spot is Disney/Fox’s “Spies in Disguise,” which came in slightly below industry projections with a $22 million 5-day opening from 3,502 screens and a $38 million global opening. Reception has been strong for the Blue Sky/Chernin-produced animated film with an A- on CinemaScore and 72% Rotten Tomatoes critics score.Also Read: 'Spies in Disguise' Film Review: Will Smith and Tom Holland Do Espionage in Run-of-the-Mill Animated AdventureHowever, “Spies” is facing competition for families from “Jumanji” and the still surging “Frozen II,” which took in $26 million over the 5-day period to take third on the box office charts. “Frozen II” has now passed the domestic run of the original “Frozen” with $421 million and is $57 million away from passing the global total with $1.21 billion grossed after six weekends.The final big Christmas release of the weekend was “Uncut Gems,” which is setting new records for distributor A24. After providing their studio with a record $105,000 per screen average in its limited opening, the Safdie Brothers crime thriller has earned an $18.8 million 5-day wide opening from 2,348 screens. The film has a total of $20 million and is now expected to become A24’s highest ever domestic grosser, passing the $48.9 million earned by “Lady Bird” in 2017.Among holdovers, Lionsgate had some mixed results with their two current releases, “Knives Out” and “Bombshell.” “Knives Out” is showing strong legs in its fifth weekend, earning $16.6 million over the extended weekend to bring its total to $110 million. “Knives Out” now joins “John Wick: Chapter 3” as Lionsgate’s second $100 million-plus release in 2019 after not having any for the entirety of 2018. The Rian Johnson mystery has also crossed $200 million worldwide thanks to strong performance in China ($27.9 million) and the U.K. ($13.7 million).Also Read: 'Knives Out' Director Rian Johnson and Stars on Chris Evans' Viral 'Eat S-' Moment| Video“Bombshell,” meanwhile, is having a rougher time this weekend thanks mainly to stronger than expected competition from “Little Women” for female moviegoers. The film took in $8.4 million over the 5-day weekend, giving the $32 million production a domestic total of $15.6 million after two weekends. The film still has a chance to leg out in January, especially if stars Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie earn victories at the Golden Globes and help fuel interest.But that’s nothing compared to the struggles facing Universal’s “Cats,” which was removed from the studio’s FYC page earlier this weekend and is set to bomb with $17.8 million domestic and $38.2 million worldwide after two weekends against a $95 million budget before marketing costs.Read original story ‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’ Pulls In $135 Million During Extended Box Office Weekend At TheWrap
It might not have wowed critics, but the latest 'Star Wars' film is still breaking box office records.
Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has earned the second-highest total ever for a film on Christmas Day, taking in $32 million at the box office, according to industry estimates.That total only trails the Christmas record of $49.3 million earned by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. It is also 17.5% higher than the $27.5 million earned by “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Christmas Day, as industry estimates now have the trilogy finale matching or slightly ahead of the pace of Rian Johnson’s installment in North America. The film has also crossed $500 million worldwide after eight days in theaters, as its $516 million running total is almost evenly split between domestic and overseas grosses.From Christmas Day through Sunday, “Rise of Skywalker” is projected to earn a stunning five-day total of $166 million, fueled by family audiences who were not yet on school break and were not present during the film’s $177.3 million domestic opening. With such a result, the film would have a 10-day total of $393 million. “The Last Jedi,” which was scheduled for release so that Christmas Day fell on its 11th day in theaters, grossed $395 million in its first 11 days.Also Read: 'Star Wars': Slain UNCC Student Who Tackled Campus Gunman Immortalized as Jedi MasterBut Disney and Lucasfilm aren’t the only studios having a Merry Christmas. Sony had a strong Christmas Day as well with “Jumanji: The Next Level” and its newly released awards contender, “Little Women.” “Jumanji” took in an estimated $12.5 million on Wednesday and is projected to earn $59 million over the five-day weekend, which would give it a domestic total of $175 million through three weekends. That puts the family blockbuster on pace to become only the fourth non-Disney release in 2019 to gross over $200 million domestically, joining “Joker,” “It: Chapter Two,” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”“Little Women,” meanwhile, was the top new release on Christmas Day with $6.4 million grossed from 3,308 screens. Since its early industry screenings kicked off last month, Greta Gerwig’s take on the Louisa May Alcott novel has earned critical acclaim with a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score, and now audience reception is just as strong with a 5/5 on Postrak and a 94% verified RT audience score. A CinemaScore grade of A or A+ is now expected when it comes in on Friday.Also Read: 'Little Women' Film Review: Greta Gerwig Puts a New Spin on a Beloved TaleWith this start, “Little Women” is now projected to earn a five-day opening of $22 million, meeting pre-holiday projections. The overwhelming word of mouth and likely status as top Oscar contender should give this film long legs through January, with a $100 million-plus domestic run a strong possibility.Also releasing on Wednesday are A24’s crime thriller “Uncut Gems” and Fox/Blue Sky/Chernin’s animated film “Spies in Disguise.” “Uncut Gems,” which stars Adam Sandler and took in $1.1 million in a brief limited release run, grossed $5.8 million on Wednesday from 2,341 screens. “Spies in Disguise,” which Disney pushed back to Christmas after acquiring Fox, grossed $4.8 million from 3,502 screens.Also Read: 'Uncut Gems' Film Review: Adam Sandler Is a Memorable Mess in Safdie Brothers' Wild Ride“Spies in Disguise” is expected to have the highest five-day opening of the wide Christmas releases once families turn out for weekend matinees. The animated film starring Will Smith and Tom Holland is estimated for a $26 million extended launch, meeting pre-release projections. “Uncut Gems” is also expected to meet projections with a $16.5 million five-day wide start.Finally, Universal released DreamWorks Pictures’ Oscar contender “1917” on 11 screens in seven cities on Wednesday, grossing $251,262. The studio now projects a five-day total of $975,000, which would equate to an average of $88,000 per screen. Universal plans to expand the World War I film wide on Jan. 10, three days before the Oscar nominees are announced.Read original story ‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’ Grosses $32 Million, Second Highest Total Ever on Christmas Day At TheWrap
Disney’s “Frozen II” has become the third movie this year to stay No. 1 on the box office charts for three weekends. With an estimated total this weekend of $34 million, it will easily take the top spot over Lionsgate’s “Knives Out” on a weekend that traditionally is a quiet period before the Christmas release period begins in earnest.The two other films that have earned three No. 1s are Universal’s “Glass,” which took advantage of a historically slow period in the early part of this year’s release slate, and “Avengers: Endgame,” which the rest of the industry steered clear of as it became the biggest box office hit ever. Warner Bros.’ “Joker” almost took a third No. 1 in late October, but was edged out by the second weekend of “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”“Knives Out” will take the No. 2 spot for a second weekend, holding well with an estimated $14 million total. That’s down 47% from the $26.7 million the whodunit movie made from Friday to Sunday last weekend, and gives the film an estimated two-weekend total of $63 million.Also Read: 'Frozen II' Breaks Thanksgiving 5-Day Box Office Record With $123.7 MillionAfter “Knives Out,” the effects of the slow early December period can be seen on the charts, with no film grossing above $6.5 million. Fox’s “Ford v Ferrari” and Universal/Makeready’s “Queen & Slim” are in a virtual tie for third with approximately $6.3 million grossed. “Ford v Ferrari” will see its domestic total rise to $91 million after four weekends while “Queen & Slim” rises to $26 million after two weekends.Sony/TriStar’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is in fifth with $5.2 million, giving it a three-weekend total of $43 million. Just below it is Focus Features’ true story drama “Dark Waters,” which is going wide this weekend to 2,012 screens after grossing $1.1 million in a two-weekend limited run. The film has earned a $4.2 million wide opening and an A- from CinemaScore polls, continuing the strong word of mouth that began with the film’s 92% Rotten Tomatoes score.Way down the charts in the No. 13 slot is the sole new release of the weekend, STX’s “Playmobil: The Movie.” With families still flocking to see “Frozen II,” this animated film has gone largely ignored with just an estimated $811,000 opening weekend from 2,337 screens. The good news for STX is that they won’t take a financial hit on this release, as “Playmobil” is a distribution-only deal with marketing costs kept low. The film has a B+ on CinemaScore and a 20% Rotten Tomatoes score.Read original story ‘Frozen II’ Becomes Third 2019 Release to Stay No. 1 at Box Office for Three Weekends At TheWrap
As the Thanksgiving box office heads into the main portion of the weekend, Disney’s “Frozen II” has already crossed $200 million in domestic grosses with an estimated total of $202 million after one week in theaters. The sequel made $14.7 million from 4,440 screens on Thanksgiving Thursday, as industry estimates now have its 5-day weekend total finishing at $130-135 million.Lionsgate/MRC’s “Knives Out” is also performing well as word-of-mouth is helping push its opening weekend estimates well above its original $30 million point. After grossing $6.2 million on Thursday from 3,392 screens, the Rian Johnson mystery has a total of $14.6 million and is estimated to earn a $45 million 5-day opening against a $40 million budget. Critics have praised the film since its Toronto premiere with a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score, and now it has an A- on CinemaScore to go with it.Also Read: The Death of Movie Theaters? Not So FastThird on the Thanksgiving charts is Sony’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” with $3.1 million from 3,325 screens and an estimated $21 million 5-day total. Fox/Chernin’s “Ford v Ferrari” is just behind with $2.9 million from 3,585 screens and an estimated $20 million 5-day total. Completing the top 5 is Universal/Makeready’s “Queen & Slim,” which made $2.3 million on Thursday and is estimated to make $15 million by Sunday against a $20 million budget.Overall, Thanksgiving Day box office totals finished at $35.3 million. While that is down approximately 16% from the $41.9 million total earned during the holiday last year, but consistent with the $35.4 million earned on Thanksgiving Day 2017. Black Friday box office is projected to total $77.5 million, down 7% year over year, while 5-day overall totals are currently estimated for $280 million, which would be down 11% from last year’s record $315 million holiday total but would rank fourth on the all-time charts.Read original story ‘Frozen II’ Adds $15 Million on Thanksgiving, Weekend Estimates at $134 Million At TheWrap
Disney has once again kicked the box office into high gear with the release of “Frozen II,” which earned an estimated $127 million opening from 4,440 screens. But even with that long-awaited revenue boost for movie theaters, the industry is still behind the record pace set last year.This weekend’s other two releases, Sony/TriStar’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and STX’s “21 Bridges,” both did solid openings against their mid-level budgets, but “Frozen II” accounted for roughly 65% of all box office revenue generated this weekend. Total weekend grosses are set at $200 million — the highest they’ve been in a month — but that is still behind the $211 million total earned by this same weekend last year, meaning that annual domestic totals will remain roughly 6.4% behind last year’s pace, as the trend of Disney being the only studio to replicate its 2018 success continues.Also Read: How 'Frozen II' Songwriters Stopped Thinking About 'Let It Go' to Write Songs for the SequelWhile “Frozen II” hasn’t had quite as strong reception as the first “Frozen,” reaction to it is still positive with a 75% Rotten Tomatoes score and 4.5/5 on Postrak. It should be well on its way to a $400 million domestic run, especially with many families waiting to see the film during Thanksgiving weekend. The film stands among the top 5 opening weekends for both animated and November releases and has the largest opening of any animated film released outside the summer.Overseas, “Frozen II” opened No.1 in all 37 markets it was released in and grossed $223 million, including $53 million in China and $31.5 million in Korea. That gives the film a new global animated record opening of $350 million, putting it well on pace to become Disney’s 24th $1 billion release.Thanks to the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney also has a 1-2 finish on the charts this weekend, as “Ford v Ferrari” took the No. 2 spot with $15.5 million in its second weekend. The Chernin-produced racing biopic now has a total of $57.4 million domestic after 10 days in theaters.Also Read: Dear 'Mandalorian' Fans: Buy Baby Yoda Merchandise, You Now CanIn third is “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which is meeting box office projections with a $13.5 million opening from 3,235 screens. Reception has been overwhelmingly strong with a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score and an A from CinemaScore audience polls. Combine that with a likely Oscar nomination for Tom Hanks, and the pieces are in place for a long, steady theatrical run for this Mister Rogers biopic.“21 Bridges” is fourth with a $9.2 million opening from 2,665 screens. The film, which had a $33 million budget co-financed by MVM Studios and Huayi Brothers with STX, had a B+ on CinemaScore and a 45% Rotten Tomatoes score. Lionsgate’s “Midway” and Paramount’s “Playing With Fire” are in a near-tie for fifth, each grossing an estimated $4.7 million in their third weekend.Down in eighth is Sony’s “Charlie’s Angels,” which bombed last weekend with an $8.35 million opening and fell to $3.1 million in its second weekend for a 10-day total of just $14 million against a $48 million opening.Finally, Lionsgate held early screenings for Rian Johnson’s murder mystery film “Knives Out,” grossing $2 million from 936 screens. The film opens this Wednesday and is projected to earn a $25 million 5-day opening against a $40 million budget. Universal’s “Queen & Slim” will also open during the holiday weekend, with trackers projecting a $12 million 5-day launch against a reported $20 million budget.Read original story ‘Frozen II’ Soars With $127 Million Opening, but Overall Box Office Still Lags Behind 2018 Pace At TheWrap
This weekend’s box office charts were expected to be a log jam among the September releases, but one film has risen clear above the others: Focus Features/Carnival’s “Downton Abbey,” which earned a $31million opening weekend from 3,079 screens.“Downton Abbey” was projected before the weekend for an opening in the high teens and expected to leg out with older audiences well into October. But now it has passed the $23.6 million of “Insidious: Chapter 3” for the highest opening ever for a Focus release, setting it up for possibly an even longer run as a milder alternative to films like “Joker” that come out next month.“Audiences were clearly ready to come back to Downton and visit the Crawleys and all the familiar faces upstairs and downstairs,” said Focus President of Distribution Lisa Bunnell. “At its core, it’s a story about family and audiences, both original fans and newcomers, are uplifted by that laughter and joy of the film.”“We’re thrilled to be a part of something that began nearly 10 years ago with our friends and colleagues at NBC International and Carnival Films, and to have it remain with the NBCUniversal family with us now and do so well is amazing.”With fans of the ITV/PBS series making up the overwhelming majority of its audience, reception has been predictably strong with an A on CinemaScore and a 4.5/5 on Postrak, joining an 85% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audience breakdown was overwhelmingly female at 74%, with 60% over the age of 35.Overseas, the film opened in 15 more countries and took in $10 million, including $3.6 million from the U.K. in its second weekend. It’s global total now stands at $61.8 million.In a virtual tie for second this weekend are the other two new releases, Fox/Disney’s “Ad Astra” and Lionsgate/Millennium’s “Rambo: Last Blood.” Both films are estimated for a $19 million opening, meeting pre-weekend expectations.With an $80 million budget before reshoots, “Ad Astra” is extremely unlikely to match that figure in domestic grosses given its tepid audience reception. While critics praised the film with an 82% RT score, Postrak polls sat at 2.5/5 and CinemaScore surveys yielded a B-, the lowest among this weekend’s new releases.Overseas numbers were somewhat better with $26 million from all international markets except Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, where Disney is not handling distribution. That gives the film a global start of $45 million, 49% ahead of the pace set last year by “First Man,” which grossed $105 million worldwide.A $19 million opening is better for “Rambo: Last Blood,” as it just edges the $18.2 million opening earned by the last “Rambo” released in 2008. The action film was panned by critics with a 30% RT score but did solidly with a B on CinemaScore and an 85% RT verified audience score. Audience demographics were 66% male and 42% men over the age of 30.September holdovers complete the top 5, as STX’s “Hustlers” and Warner Bros./New Line’s “It: Chapter Two” each grossed $17 million. While “Downton Abbey” brought a bit more competition than expected for female moviegoers, “Hustlers” still held well with a drop of just 49% in its second weekend and a 10-day total of $62.5 million. “It: Chapter Two” has a total of $179 million domestic after three weekends and a global total of $385 million.More to come…Read original story ‘Downton Abbey’ Crowned No. 1 at Box Office With $31 Million Opening At TheWrap
'The Fanatic' has been savaged by critics, and John Travolta's latest isn't exactly raking in the dollars over the Labor Day weekend.
Looks like Disney doesn't want the film to be second to Avatar as the highest grossing movie of all time.