Hedging Your Bets
Paramount’s family action-comedy Sonic the Hedgehog 2 raced to an estimated $71 million domestic debut, setting a record for the biggest opening weekend of all-time for a video game adaption in North America.
Paramount’s pair of Sonic movies provide a bookend to the pandemic-era box office. The first title opened to $58 million over Valentine’s Day weekend in 2020, one of the last films to open in North America without being directly impacted by public health concerns. Green-lit, produced, and released during the pandemic, the sequel exceeded all pre-release expectations by coming in +22% above the 2020 original.
“At some point we’re going to have to stop talking about the pandemic,” Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at Paramount, tells Boxoffice Pro. “We’ve done a great job, if I can pat ourselves on the back, of bringing films into the marketplace that either have a targeted audience that we have found, or as in this case, a very broad audience that cuts across a number of different demographics. But I don’t think we’re really going to know where we are in the recovery until we get into summer, when there’s a more steady and consisten diet of new films cutting across a number of different demos. Only then we’ll be able to evaluate, see where the marketplace really is.”
Among other comparable titles, it’s:
- +20% above 2019’s fellow family sequel Jumanji: The Next Level ($59.2M)
- +30% above 2019’s fellow live-action/CGI videogame adaptation Pokemon: Detective Pikachu ($54.3M)
- +34% above 2017’s The LEGO Batman Movie ($53.0M)
- +60% above 2015’s The Peanuts Movie = ($44.2M)
- +81% above 2020’s Onward ($39.1M)
- +86% above 2016’s fellow videogame adaptation The Angry Birds Movie ($38.1M)
- Slightly more than double 2019’s fellow videogame adaptation sequel The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($34.1M)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 also earned $37M across 53 overseas markets over the weekend, approximately half of its planned international footprint, after having opened in select territories earlier this month. The overseas total now stands at $70M, led by the United Kingdom ($14.0M), France ($9.0M), and Mexico ($6.3M).
[Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with Sonic the Hedghog 2 director Jeff Fowler here.]
- Sonic 2 marks Paramount’s best three-day opening weekend (excluding extended holiday weekends) since 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction with $100.0M.
- The film over-indexed among Hispanic audiences, which comprised a larger share of the audience (38%) than did white audiences (35%). The Asian-American audience also over-indexed as well at 16% of the audience, more than double their share of the U.S. population.
- The audience was also 57% male, to be expected from an action videogame adaptation.
- Notable cities which over-indexed were Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, and San Antonio. Notable cities which under-indexed were the only top markets were Denver, San Diego, and Toronto.
Fantastic Beasts Opens Overseas
Ahead of its domestic debut next weekend, Warner Bros.’ fantasy sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore waved its magic wand to a $58.0M overseas opening in 22 markets. The film is currently tracking +9% ahead of Dune and only slightly behind The Batman over the same batch of markets using today’s currency exchange rates. IMAX screenings contributed $4.3 million across 500 screens in that group of markets. Top countries include China ($10.0M), Germany ($9.4M), Japan ($8.6M), and the U.K. where the movie actually takes place ($8.0M). The film expands to 44 additional markets release next week including France, Italy, Korea, Brazil, and Mexico.
‘Mor’ or Less
The Sony Pictures / Columbia dark villain origin story Morbius opened atop the box office last weekend with $39 million. This weekend it took the runner-up spot with a -73% decline to $10.2M.
That’s steeper than the sophomore-frame drops for other similar films including:
- 2020’s Birds of Prey (-48%)
- 2018’s Venom (-56%)
- 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage (-65%)
- 2016’s Suicide Squad (-67%)
- 2021’s The Suicide Squad (-71%)
Starring Jared Leto, most recently of House of Gucci and with a previous villainous turn as Joker in Suicide Squad and an Academy Award-winning role in Dallas Buyers Club.
[Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with Morbius director Daniel Espinosa here.]
A Bumpy Start
Universal’s action thriller Ambulance started below expectations, opening under the $10 million mark with an estimated $8.7M fourth place debut. Most pre-release projections had it in second place with around $12M.
This opening was notably behind Michael Bay’s prior (non-sequel) theatrical releases, -46% behind 2016’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi ($16.1M) and -57% behind 2013’s Pain & Gain ($20.2M).
Universal is nevertheless optimistic about its theatrical run, citing the film’s A- Cinema Score and 88% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes as indicators of positive word of mouth. “Michael Bay is an absolute master of the genre and Ambulance is an absolute thrill ride from start to finish,” Jim Orr, president of domestic distribution at Universal, tells Boxoffice Pro. “Our audience reaction scores are not only enthusiastic, but incredibly consistent across all demographic groups. Take that with a very favorable domestic landscape coming up in front of us and I think it points to a long and successful run at the box office.”
Compared to other action (or action-adjacent) movies starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ambulance opened:
- +20% above 2015’s Everest ($7.2M)
- -30% behind 2017’s Life ($12.5M)
- -48% behind 2015’s Southpaw ($16.7M)
- -58% behind 2013’s Prisoners ($20.8M)
The Ambulance audience was 58% male and 50% under age 35 in its domestic overseas weekend. Overseas, the film has already grossed $22.4M from 68 markets.
Give Me ‘Everything’ Tonight
Two weekends ago, A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once opened with $501K on 10 screens. That $51,131 per-screen average was the biggest of 2022 so far, beating the $34,606 average of Neon’s The Worst Person in the World on four screens February 4.
It was also the fourth-highest average in the pandemic/post-pandemic era, behind the first two frames for United Artists’ Licorice Pizza (with $86,289 and $60,426, both on four screens last November 26 and December 3) and the debut of Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home with $59,995.
Last weekend, in its second frame, Everything earned an estimated $1.01M, breaking into the top 10 in ninth place. It also expanded slightly from 10 to 38 screens. The film’s $26,631 per-screen average remained the best at the box office for the second straight weekend.
This weekend, the film surged from 38 screens to 1,250 – still less than one-third the reach of the top films in the marketplace, but large enough to count as a “wide” release. And it earned an estimated $6.0M, good for a $4,847 per-screen average and sixth place.
The genre-defying film is directed by Daniels – the joint nickname of directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, who previously helmed Swiss Army Man – and stars Michelle Yeoh (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Crazy Rich Asians).
Home for a While
Still ranking eighth place with a -56% drop to $625K, despite now being available on digital platforms, Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home has now spent all 17 of its weekends in the top 10.
When it reached 16 such weekends last frame, that marked the most since Frozen also spent 16 such weekends in late 2013 and early 2014. And the last time a film spent 16+ weekends in the top 10 before Frozen? Chicago, which also spent 16 such frames in late 2002 and early 2003.
What was the last time a film spent 17+ weekends in the top 10? My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which spent 19 such frames in 2002. And the last time before that? A little movie called Titanic, with a (probably unbeatable) 26 such frames in 1997-98.
2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming spent 11 weekends in that tier, while 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home spent seven.
No Way Home’s $803.8M domestic total ranks #3 all time, behind only 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens with $936.6M and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame $858.3M.
Total box office this weekend came in around $116.2M, which is:
- +46% above last weekend’s total of $79.5M, when Morbius led with $39.0M.
- 2.6x the equivalent weekend in 2021 with $44,066,217, as the box office was taking its first pandemic-era steps back to normalcy as Godzilla vs. Kong led with $31.6M.
- -20% behind the equivalent weekend in 2019 with $146.9M, when Shazam! led with $53.5M.
YTD box office stands around $1.58B. That’s:
- 5.1x this same point in the pandemic recovery year of 2021 ($309.7M).
- -11% behind this same point in 2020, with $1.78B. (The box office was essentially shut down at this point in 2020, so the 2022 YTD comparison will exceed 2020’s not long from now.)
- -39% behind this same point in 2019 ($2.61B).
As has been the case all year so far, the leading distributor in the domestic market remains Sony Pictures with $442.8M. Warner Bros. ranks #2 with $370.1M.
Paramount currently claims third with $281.4M and Universal claims fourth with $140.7M.
Disney seems poised to take the crown at some point this summer or possibly fall, particularly when including their subsidiary 20th Century Studios releases.
Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates: April 8-10, 2022
|Sonic The Hedgehog 2||$71,000,000||4234||16,769||71,000,000||1||Paramount|
|The Lost City||$9,165,000||3797||2,414||68,854,159||3||Paramount|
|The Batman||$6,500,000||3254||1,998||359,002,148||6||Warner Bros.|
|Everything Everywhere All at Once||$6,059,263||1250||4,847||8,446,441||3||A24|
|Jujutsu Kaisen 0||$825,000||850||971||33,140,000||4||FUNimation Films|
|Spider-Man: No Way Home||$625,000||1009||619||803,815,848||17||Sony|
|Dog||$532,611||1007||529||61,214,968||8||United Artists Releasing|
|Selena 25th Anniversary||$402,280||427||942||402,280||1||Iconic Events|
|Galwakdi||$275,000||60||4,583||275,000||1||Rising Star Entertainment|
|UFC 273: Volkanovski vs. The Korean Zombie||$180,012||350||514||180,012||1||Iconic Events|
|You Won’t Be Alone||$50,000||147||340||235,175||2||Focus Features|
|Death on the Nile||$45,000||130||346||45,571,626||9||20th Century Studios|
|Outfit, The||$40,000||140||286||3,318,065||4||Focus Features|
|Inland Empire (2006, Re-Release)||$22,308||2||11,154||22,308||1||Janus Films|
|The Rose Maker||$13,423||20||671||26,569||2||Music Box Films|