Thursday, November 24, 2016


It was a weekend of binge-eating, bargain shopping, and also trying to find ways to fill time with the family. And it seems the movie of choice for those headed to the multiplex was an all-ages offering from Disney.
The studio’s dominance over Thanksgiving weekend continued with “Moana” opening to $55.5 million, giving Disney nine out of the 10 all-time best openings over the holiday (the figure is $88.1 million if you include the dollars accrued between Wednesday and Friday). The numbers put the film in “Big Hero 6” territory, with that film winding up at over $220 million domestic, as part of a $657 million global total. The international rollout for “Moana” has started small with only 12 markets so far, but Disney are successful veterans at this game, and it’s clear they have another huge hit on their hands with “Moana.”

The rest of Hollywood could only look on with envy as their offerings all struggled. The star power of Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard did little to stir much excitement for the middlingly received WWII flick “Allied.” Debuting with a tepid $13 million ($18 million since Wednesday), Pitt hasn’t had an opening this small since he was still a young man on the rise in David Fincher‘s “Se7en.” For director Robert Zemeckis, it’s his second-straight whiff following “The Walk,” and you gotta imagine he’s not going to be getting another $85 million to play with for his next movie.
The year of audiences rejecting sequels they didn’t really want continues, with “Bad Santa 2” underwhelming with $6.1 million ($9 million since Wednesday). That’s below the $12 million launch of the original in 2003, and it seems the cult audience that formed around that movie didn’t much care for more. For Broad Green Pictures, it’s the final nail in a dismal year that has seen them release a string of flops including “Knight Of Cups,” “The Neon Demon,” “The Dressmaker,” and “The Infiltrator.” Here’s hoping they regroup for a better 2017.


Disney’s “Moana” sailed to the top of the Thanksgiving box office, earning a mighty $81.1 million over the five day holiday period and $55.5 million for the weekend.
Its success builds on the studio’s hot streak. Disney has released five of the year’s ten highest grossing films, is the leader in terms of market share, and is poised to set a new record for annual grosses. Its hits include “Zootopia,” “Doctor Strange,” “Finding Dory,” “The Jungle Book,” and now “Moana,” with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” waiting in the wings.
The other new releases weren’t as fortunate. Paramount’s “Allied” earned $18 million over the five-day period, a disappointing result given its $85 million budget. The film stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as spies who marry only to have their love affair become entangled in a larger conspiracy. Robert Zemeckis (“Flight”) directed the picture. Paramount is coming off a series of bruising failures such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and “Zoolander 2.”
As its parent company, Viacom, prepares to merge with CBS, there are questions about studio chief Brad Grey’s leadership of Paramount. Last month, Grey hosted a preview of the studio’s film slate for media, during which “Allied” was positioned as a key component in Paramount’s revival. The studio did enjoy a hit with “Arrival,” a brainy sci-fi thriller, but after “Allied’s” struggles, it will now have to look to “Fences” and “Silence,” two awards hopefuls from Denzel Washington and Martin Scorsese, to close out the year on a high note.
Broad Green and Miramax’s “Bad Santa 2” also failed to ignite. The follow-up to the 2003 cult comedy “Bad Santa” earned $9 million over the five day stretch and $6.1 million for the weekend. It cost $25 million to produce and had been tracking to open in the mid-teen millions. Broad Green, a newcomer to film distribution, has also been floundering of late. It has released a number of flops and disappointments such as “The Infiltrator,” a thriller with Bryan Cranston, and “99 Homes,” a drama with Andrew Garfield, and has only had one true breakout hit with “A Walk in the Woods,” a Robert Redford comedy that debuted last year.


Robert Zemeckis' World War II spy thriller Allied fared the best after Moana, but even it disappointed after failing to win over many critics and earning a B CinemaScore. The Paramount film, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, opened to $18 million from 3,160 theaters over the five days. Allied, which cost $85 million to make, placed No. 4.
In the pic, Pitt plays a U.S. intelligence officer living in London who discovers that his French wife (Cotillard) may not be the kindred spy he thought she was. Allied is the first test of Pitt's star status following his divorce from Angelina Jolie. Overseas, the movie debuted to a $9.4 million from its first 23 markets representing 34 percent of the marketplace, including a $2.8 million launch in the U.K.


7TH Writethru, Saturday AM after Black Friday 11:27 PM: Black Friday, the highest grossing day of the Thanksgiving stretch, grossed an estimated $71M from the top 26 titles, which is even to last year’s biggest shopping day of the year.

Disney’s Moana easily crested to its highest daily take in its three-day run with an estimated $21.8M, +127% from its Thanksgiving haul of $9.9M. This shifts Disney’s Hula girl to $80.4M over five days, making her their second best Thanksgiving opener, currently behind Frozen‘s $93.6M all-time opening record, and nickels above 1999’s Toy Story 2 which made $80.1M. Of the top 10 Thanksgiving 5-day debuts, Disney will own nine of them with Moana (Warner Bros.’ Four Christmases at $46M 5-day ranks as No. 7 in the top 10). Will Saturday take Moana higher? Typically Disney animated fare like Frozen, The Good Dinosaur and Toy Story 2 falls between 5%-6% from Black Friday into Saturday, and bean counters are expecting the same for Moana. Pic’s opening day of $15.7M was Disney’s highest opening Wednesday for an animated movie, beating Frozen‘s $15.1M. Moana counts $48.1M through three days.
In addition to Moana‘s A CinemaScore, she received a glowing 89% positive on PostTrak with 71% definite recommend. Thirty-six percent of those who were polled watched it in 3D. A very small percentage at 3% said it didn’t meet their expectations while 40% claimed Moana was far better than what they were expecting.

Despite the fact that Paramount’s Allied is expected to inch out Arrival over five days, $16.9M to $15.5M, it’s the latter film that’s faring better in its third weekend. The Amy Adams film has caught on with a three-day that’s expected to be down -7% taking its total cume to $62.3M.
Next to its $85M production cost, Allied‘s start isn’t strong enough. On Friday morning, Paramount projected that the Robert Zemeckis title could get to $18M in five, but it’s looking lower than the $18.6M that Bridge of Spies drew in five days.
Allied and Bridge of Spies pulled in similar demos with men slightly over 50%, and more than 84% over 25 according to CinemaScore (PostTrak shows women at 51% leading, 78% over 25). But that’s where there similarity stops. Bridge of Spies cost less than Allied ($40M before P&A), and earned an A CinemaScore, 91% fresh Rotten Tomatoes reviews and a final domestic of $72.3M. Allied is battling a B grade and a 66% middling fresh rating in a Moana-Fantastic Beasts world. Did we mention Allied is Pitt’s third WWII movie in seven years after Inglorious Basterds ($38M opening) and Fury ($23.7M FSS)? Low recommend rates per PostTrak of 56% definitely. Overall positive score is 79%.
Distribution chiefs often say that glossy magazine affairs don’t impact the average moviegoer’s decisions to buy a ticket to a certain star’s movie, so in that regard, Pitt’s pending divorce from Angelina Jolie wouldn’t be a factor. However, on social media, RelishMix observed before Allied opened that the movie was benefiting from the fans’ fascination with Pitt, his co-star Marion Cotillard and his recent separation from wife Jolie: “Fans love likening this situation to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a similar film and personal situation for Pitt years ago.”

Near male-to-female split of 51%/49% showed up tonight to watch Pitt and Marion Cotillard’s chemistry with 85% over 25. Pic’s WWII subject matter at 46% was a driver along with Pitt who pulled in 41% of the audience to Cotillard’s 8%.

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