‘DC League Of Super-Pets’ Flying To $23M Opening

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: The expected summer slowdown is taking its expected course with Warner Bros. animated film DC League of Super-Pets grossing a $9.3M Friday, for an expected $23M+ opening at 4,314. Warners was initially eyeing around $25M for the film, and some earlier week industry speculation higher, so hopefully there’s some lift from matinees today off the buzz from the A- CinemaScore and 4 Stars on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak.

Understand, we were originally suppose to get Warner Bros./DC’s Dwayne Johnson movie The Black Adam this weekend, which would have rained a significant amount of cash on the box office. But that pic was pushed to late October because of the backlog of VFX tentpoles at post-production houses. The plus for Warners with that movie is that they were able to give it a big blast at Comic-Con last weekend with Johnson, which only helps excitement for that pic in the long run. The most previous release date for Super Pets was May 20 before it landed here. Why another animated movie in the summer space? Kids are still off from school, and why waste that opportunity when you have a wide release?

Here’s the upside, the pic’s $89M negative cost aside: For an original piece of animation during the pandemic, DC League of Super Pets is opening close to where Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys did, which was $23.95M. That film, off an A CinemaScore, is currently at $96.6M at the domestic box office in weekend 15, and currently available to watch on Peacock.

Again, in this environment of whether movies are prime for streaming or the big screen, a pic with the loud speaker promotional wattage of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart and this kind of production cost, is meant for a global theatrical audience. With these types of facets, a theatrical release raises a movie’s patina, which will carry it through its subsequent windows and make it more of a driver on a streaming service like HBO Max vs. merely going day-and-date.

This is the new philosophy over at the David Zaslav-run Warner Discovery, and it’s a business axiom which, believe or not, is shared increasingly among the motion picture studios, as theatrical bounces back during the pandemic. Some studios with streaming services, such as Warners, find that the production of $100M+ movies for the streaming service just doesn’t make solid business sense. People can subscribe to the service, and then cancel it after they watch a movie; vs. the appeal of a series like House of the Dragon which can keep current subs content and attract more subs. This despite all the rah-rah for WarnerMedia spiking HBO Max subs off the 2021 theatrical day and date pandemic plan, which cost the conglom crazily in regards to talent relationships and the massive outlay of bucks. An insane plan, which I hear will never be attempted again in the history of the company.

Yes, streamers believe making a $100M+ movie is essential to keep current subscribers happy with new content. But seriously, at that cost? What’s the reasoning if it’s not on the big screen? There’s arguably no lucrative ancillary window with a straight to streaming $100M+ pic. It’s simply a vanity spend.

Super-Pets drew 51% men, with 73% under 35 and 44% under 25; the largest demo being 25-34 at 29%. Diversity demos were 41% Caucasian, a hearty 26% Latino and Hispanic, 14% Asian, and 11% Black. The pic played best in between the coasts,with the South Central the strongest. AMC Burbank was the No. 1 theater in the country so far with close to $20K. No Imax auditoriums here, but PLFs are accounting for 13% of weekend ticket sales to date.

More deep dive demos from PostTrak: Women over 25 repped 29% of the audience, guys over 25 drew 27%, men under 25 were 24% while women under 25 were 20%. On CinemaScore, 36% of the under 18 demo gave Super Pets an A, while 47% of of the under 25 gave it an A, and 58% of the under 35 also graded the Warner Bros title an A. Again, hopefully all of this works to bigger numbers today.

Focus Features’ has BJ Novack’s Blumhouse murder mystery dramedy Vengeance at 998 theaters for a $1.6M opening in 10th place. While not super, again, the way to look at any movie at the box office is: Thank, God, it received a theatrical release, it’s what the filmmaker wanted, and it only makes the title more attractive and stand-out in a streaming and PVOD menu. This title will hit PVOD in 17 days.

Vengeance received a B+ CinemaScore and lower PostTrak exits at 76% in the top boxes and a 57% recommend. Guys decided to buy tickets at 57% with 54% between 18-34 and the largest demo being 34% for those 25-34. Diversity demos were 66% Caucasian, 16% Latino and Hispanic, 10% Asian/other and 8% Black. Best markets for Vengeance were West and South Central, with seven of the top ten theatres coming from California and Texas, the latter where the Novack pic takes place.  In the end it will be easy to algorithm this title on the Peacock streaming service to those soaking up The Office.

Universal’s Nope is having a better than expected second weekend hold of -57% at $19M taking its 10-day total through Sunday of $81M.

Total weekend box office (weekend 30) looks to clear $100M from all titles, which is 42% ahead of the same period a year ago, but 39% below the same weekend in 2019, which was when we had the second frame of Disney’s remake of The Lion King.

The CDC currently counts a 7-day rolling average – 0.9% this week to 126.72k new cases/day.  Hospitalizations were +1.7% to 6.340 new admissions/day last week.  Daily death rate was down to 364 a day last week. The total number of Americans who have died from Covid is at 1.02M. Those fully vaccinated are at 67.2% of the population with 48.3% eligible to have at least one booster shot and 30.9% eligible for a second shot.

1.) DC League of Super-Pets 4,314 theaters, Fri $9.3M, 3-day $23M/Wk 1

2. ) Nope (Uni) 3,807 (+22) theaters, Fri $5.8M (-70%)/3-day $19M (-57%)/Total $81M/Wk 2

3.) Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney) 3,650 (-720) theaters, Fri. $3.75M (-41%), 3-day $13.1M (-41%)/Total $301.5M /Wk 4

4.) Minions: Rise of Gru (Uni) 3,579 theaters (-237), Fri $3.3M (-37%), 3-day $11.36M (-37%), Total: $320.8M/Wk 5

5.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 3,008 (-152) theaters, Fri $2.4M (-11%), 3-day $8.5M (-17%), Total $650.4M/Wk 10

6.) Where the Crawdads Sings (Sony) 3,526 theaters (-124), Fri $2.3M (-26%) , 3-day $7.5M (-27%)/Total $53.5M/Wk 3

7.) Elvis (WB) 2,901 (-204) theaters, Fri $1.7M (-7%), , 3-day $6M (-9%) Total $129.1M/Wk 6

8.)  The Black Phone (Uni) 1,638 (-417) theaters, Fri $750K (-31%), 3-day $2.47M (-30%)/Total $83M/Wk 6

9.) Jurassic World Dominion (Uni) 1,747 (-420) theaters, Fri $580K (-33%), 3-day $2.05M (-34%), Total $369.4M/Wk 7

10.) Vengeance (Foc) 998 theatres, Fri $650K, 3-day $1.6M/Wk 1

FRIDAY AM, PREVIOUS: Warner Bros is looking to excite family audiences that have OD’ed on Minions: The Rise of Gru with a new animated movie this weekend, the Dwayne Johnson- and Kevin Hart-voiced DC League of Super-Pets. The pic directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine made $2.2M in Thursday night previews at 3,200 theaters.

Industry estimates earlier have been optimistic for the film, seeing $25M-$30M at 4,300 sites, which easily would send DC League of Super-Pets to top of the weekend box office. That would be a super start considering Warner Bros.’ DC previous entry into the animated space, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies ended its domestic run with $29.7M back in summer 2018 after a $10.4M opening. The comp here for DC League of Super-Pets is Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s spring pic The Bad Guys, which opened to an $8M Friday and a 3-day of $23.95M after $1.15M in Thursday night previews, which Super-Pets easily beats.

The difference between the commercial results of Teen Titans and DC League of Super-Pets is that the latter is fueled by the combined social media promotional superpowers of Johnson and Hart, who count a combined 624 million-plus followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

The $89M production follows Krypto the Super-Dog (voiced by Johnson), Superman’s dog, who is tasked along with Ace (Hart) with rescuing the Man of Steel. The pic also is opening in 63 international territories, repping 76% of its box office potential. Major markets not going this weekend include South Korea, Japan, Italy and Australia.

DC League of Super-Pets counts a 71% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, and though not in the 90-percentile range, middling reviews won’t keep families away from this Johnson/Hart family package.

Last weekend’s No. 1 movie, Jordan Peele’s R-rated genre pic Nope, looks to ease 60% with a $17M-$18M take in Weekend 2. That’s the average drop for a horror movie in its second session. Nope ends its first week with $62M. Nope made $3.55M on Thursday, -8% from Wednesday at 3,785 locations.

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Disney’s Thor: Love & Thunder ended its third week with $34.3M for a running total of $288.5M. The Taika Waititi-directed Marvel sequel grossed $2.5M on Thursday at 4,370, -4% from Wednesday.

In third was Illumination Entertainment/Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru, which did $2.3M on Thursday at 3,816 theaters, -9%, for a fourth week of $29.3M and running total of $309.5M.

Fourth belongs to Sony/TriStar’s Where the Crawdads Sing, which grossed $1.7M at 3,650 theaters, -5% from Wednesday for a second week of $18M and a running cume of $46M.

Paramount’s ninth week of Top Gun: Maverick is unstoppable with $16.3M, and a running total at $641.9M. On Thursday, it made $1.4M from 3,160 theaters, +4% from Wednesday.

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