This week’s report brings a bevy of major updates to end-of-year box office forecasts, including Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s record-breaking trajectory and our first public forecast ranges for Christmas releases The King’s Man, The Matrix Resurrections, Sing 2, A Journal for Jordan, and American Underdog.
- Multiple theater chains and ticketing portals crashed overnight Sunday and early Monday morning when tickets for the hotly anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home went on sale, sparking an overwhelming amount of online traffic not seen since before the pandemic. Across the board, the trilogy-capper generated early demand vastly ahead of every pandemic era release and on par with pre-pandemic mega-blockbusters in the Avengers and Star Wars franchises.
Social media footprints likewise blew away any comparison to films released in the last two years with Twitter traction specifically driving more conversation than any tracked title outside of Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
As a result, we are currently forecasting No Way Home to not only become the first $100 million weekend opener of the COVID-19 era, but likely the first $200 million-plus debut since May 2019’s Endgame. (Forecasts will continue to be updated as necessary over the next two weeks.)
- The King’s Man is benefiting from a steady promotional life cycle, with awareness considerably high given its frequent advertising before multiple pandemic release delays. The franchise enjoyed solid success with its 2015 and 2017 original entries, while the return of director Matthew Vaughn, his visual and storytelling style, and an ensemble cast led by Ralph Fiennes could again help this film attract the core fan base over the holidays. The film is also exclusive to movie theaters under Disney’s 20th Century Studios banner.
- Warner Bros.’ final tentpole employing their 2021 hybrid strategy, The Matrix Resurrections, is one likely to attract more demand for a cinematic viewing than most of its other releases this year outside of Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune. The long awaited fourth Matrix sequel is generating interest levels comparable to both of those films, as well as pre-pandemic films such as War for the Planet of the Apes and the John Wick sequels.
- Sing 2‘s built-in audience following the success of 2016’s first film is driving the strongest pre-release tracking of any animated title since Frozen II in November 2019, while Universal’s early sneak previews last week drew strong attendance.
The comedic and musical aspects, forging appeal to both kids and parents, alongside another all-star voice cast led by Matthew McConaughey should make for a perfect mixture since this sequel will be exclusive to movie theaters upon release and kids between the age of 5 and 12 have started receiving COVID-19 vaccines since November.
- A Journal for Jordan‘s preliminary marketing has tugged at the heart strings of adult moviegoers and claims the aid of both star Michael B. Jordan and Denzel Washington’s directorial credit to push mainstream appeal as a holiday counter-programmer. Sony’s film will also be exclusive to movie theaters upon release.
- Feel-good sports films have an inherit potential to become sleeper hits at the box office, and American Underdog is currently a candidate thanks to the well known story of Kurt Warner, a potentially strong faith-based audience segment, and the heart of football season coinciding with this release over the holidays. Lionsgate is releasing the picture exclusively in theaters.
- While virtually all signs continue to point due north for Spider-Man: No Way Home, every metric and forecast remains underscored by potential volatility and shifting consumer habits. Pre-sales for films like No Time to Die and Dune recently showed momentum upfront doesn’t always carry over into the final weeks and days before release, a lesson that could easily apply to such a fan-heavy franchise event like this Marvel Cinematic Universe title.
That said, pre-sale and social traction have remain strong in the days since tickets went on sale. Still, with an early 3pm start time on Thursday, it’s worth noting that trajectory comparisons to past mega-openers (which mostly began at 6pm or later) may prove somewhat skewed.
- Two key factors playing against The King’s Man include its nature as a prequel with an all-new cast — meaning fewer familiar elements outside of Kingsman fans — as well as the fact that it will be competing for the target male audience against the Spider-Man behemoth. The latter competitive aspect also applies to the Matrix sequel. Premium screen allotment is expected to be minimal given market competition.
- The Matrix Resurrections will likewise be fighting an uphill battle against Spider-Man: No Way Home, although it will enjoy at least a partial premium screen footprint. Still, the film’s simultaneous free streaming release on HBO Max is historically likely to cannibalize some portion of sales among older fans after the initial rush of opening shows.
The franchise itself also has to overcome the mixed reception of its early 2000s sequels. Reviews and word of mouth will be crucial to re-energize excitement outside die-hard fandom.
- As families remain cautious even with vaccines available for more kids, Sing 2 will still be at the mercy of parental comfort levels — particularly if news of the Omicron COVID-19 variant doesn’t wane or improve over the next few weeks. As an aside, animated sequels have shown a tendency for diminished returns more often than not in recent years.
- A Journal for Jordan represents the type of adult-driven, non-franchise drama that’s had a challenging time bringing back the cautious 35-plus audience during the pandemic. House of Gucci made strides toward improving that status quo over Thanksgiving, but it remains to be seen if this film (and others) can extend the momentum — especially with such a crowded slate of films over Christmas.
- Likewise, American Underdog will look to a broad audience if it hopes to achieve sleeper hit status. The target male audience will have a slew of options in theaters around release, meaning this film could be the third or fourth priority for them behind the Spider-Man, Matrix, and King’s Man franchise releases. That will put even more importance on the faith-based audience’s turnout.
Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2021 Calendar
(as of 12/3/21)
|Release Date||Title||3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range||Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week||Domestic Total Low/High Range||Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week||Estimated Location Count||Distributor|
|12/10/2021||Don’t Look Up||n/a||Netflix|
|12/10/2021||National Champions||$3,000,000 – $8,000,000||-21%||$8,000,000 – $35,000,000||-32%||2,400||STXfilms|
|12/10/2021||West Side Story (2020)||$14,000,000 – $22,000,000||$55,000,000 – $85,000,000||2,800||Disney / 20th Century Studios|
|12/17/2021||Nightmare Alley||$3,000,000 – $7,000,000||$10,000,000 – $22,000,000||2,500||Disney / Searchlight Pictures|
|12/17/2021||Spider-Man: No Way Home||$190,000,000 – $250,000,000||+41%||$520,000,000 – $690,000,000||+34%||4,300||Sony / Columbia / Marvel Studios|
|12/22/2021||The King’s Man||$10,000,000 – $15,000,000||$35,000,000 – $55,000,000||Disney / 20th Century Studios|
|12/22/2021||The Matrix Resurrections||$35,000,000 – $50,000,000||$95,000,000 – $135,000,000||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|12/22/2021||Sing 2||$25,000,000 – $35,000,000||$125,000,000 – $175,000,000||Universal Pictures|
|12/25/2021||A Journal for Jordan||$4,000,000 – $9,000,000||$25,000,000 – $55,000,000||Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures|
|12/25/2021||American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story||$8,000,000 – $13,000,000||$35,000,000 – $70,000,000||Lionsgate / Kingdom Story Company|
|12/31/2021||(no releases scheduled)|
All above figures represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation before release. These are not final forecasts.
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