Long Range Forecast: THE BIKERIDERS Looks to Rev Up the Specialty Market

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Long Range Forecast — June 21, 2024

The Bikeriders | Focus Features
Domestic Opening Weekend Range: $8 – $15M

Singled out by specialty exhibitors in our annual State of the Art-House panel as one of the year’s most promising titles to crossover with general audiences, Jeff Nichols’ The Bikeriders enters the summer as a box office wildcard with breakout potential. The 1960s-set ensemble drama about a motorcycle club’s gradual descent into the world of organized crime is heavy on star power—with the likes of Tom Hardy and Aron Butler headlining a promising list of performers. The film originally premiered at the 2023 Telluride Film Festival with a planned theatrical roll-out by Disney’s 20th Century Studios in December. The SAG-AFTRA actor’s strike threw a wrench into those plans, preventing promotional appearances for a film anchored by its ensemble cast. The Bikeriders vacated its 2023 awards season release due to the strike, with producers eventually settling on a new distributor, Focus Features, to handle a theatrical launch in 2024.

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes (83% Fresh from 36 reviews) paints a positive picture of the film’s critical reception thus far, a key factor for a film of this scope to pick up word-of-mouth interest in a crowded summer movie season. The Bikeriders will need all the help it can get to stand out in a release corridor that follows Sony’s action sequel Bad Boys: Ride or Die (June 7) and leads into Warner Bros.’ Horizon: An American Saga and Paramount’s A Quiet Place Day One (June 28). We don’t expect direct competition from Disney’s Inside Out 2 in terms of ticket buyers, but it will still contend against the family title for screens and showtimes in the marketplace. Screen count and showtime market share will be critical for this film’s box office success on a national level, especially with its pedigree as a former festival title that won’t receive a bump from Premium Large Format screens. Presenting this film as a summer blockbuster is misguided for those very reasons—this is a Focus Features release, skewing to the specialty market, rather than a Universal title vying for PLF auditoriums. A wide release from Focus and crossover potential based on its stars and critical reception doesn’t turn last year’s awards contender into this year’s next summer blockbuster. Success will be primarily judged by how it performs at art-house and specialty theaters across the nation, theaters that traditionally don’t carry PLF auditoriums and aren’t concerned with a national performance.

Our primary comps are wide releases from its distributor, Focus Features, in the post-pandemic era. Traditionally known for platform and limited release roll-outs in awards season, Focus has tried its hand at wider releases for select titles as it adjusts to a business model where most of its films only receive 17 days of theatrical exclusivity before being made available on Premium Video on Demand (PVOD). Ultimately, The Bikeriders will have difficulty securing and maintaining screens in a crowded summer window—particularly after its third weekend in the market.

The highest screen count for a Focus Features release in the first half of the year was 3,144 for the opening weekend of Lisa Frankenstein in February. We expect a similar roll-out in terms of availability to exhibitors, as opposed to the softer 2,000-screen debut of Focus’ Back to Black in May. While Lisa Frankenstein faltered in the market, similar Focus titles to receive a major wide release in the last couple of years include 2023’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 ($10M opening weekend from 3,650 screens, $28.4M domestic total), 2022’s Downton Abbey: A New Era ($16M from 3,820 screens, $44.1M domestic total), and 2022’s The Northman ($12.2M opening weekend from 3,234 screens, $34.2M domestic total).

We expect The Bikeriders to perform along the lines of those titles based on the marketing and distribution plans for a film of this scope rather than a direct comparison with the demographics of the titles we just mentioned. The Bikeriders won’t be a blockbuster behemoth at the multiplex in June—it was never meant to be. Its real contribution to the box office comes in adding to the diversity of the summer slate: a buzzworthy new title with major stars and great reviews that won’t rely on PLF screens to drive audiences.

Tracking Updates [as of 5/23]

  • The pre-sales period for Deadpool & Wolverine is underway and has already scored record revenue benchmarks for Fandango. We’ll reveal our initial public forecast for the title in the coming weeks; an early look at our tracking for the title is currently available to all NATO members and corporate clients subscribed to our forecasting services.
Release DateTitleOpening Weekend RangeDistributor
6/7/24Bad Boys: Ride or Die$55-$75MSony
6/7/24The Watchers$12-$20MWarner Bros.
6/14/24Inside Out 2$80-$110MDisney

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