Three studios made a valiant effort to take on ‘Avengers: Endgame’ at the weekend box office, but all three came up extremely short in the face of Marvel’s Goliath (and I don’t mean Bill Foster). Lionsgate’s comedy ‘Long Shot’ was aimed at older Caucasian women, while Sony’s ‘The Intruder’ targeted older African American women, and ‘UglyDolls’, STX’s first foray into animated features, was aimed at girls under 12. Perhaps what these studios missed, is that ‘Endgame’ is the epitome of a four-quadrant movie– it appeals to EVERY demographic. Despite what Bette Midler says, Marvel flicks aren’t just for “young men.”
And movies aren’t just for the weekend in a case like this. ‘Endgame’ has been drawing larger-than-average audiences during the week, as well, and unlike ‘Avatar’ and ‘The Force Awakens’, it isn’t being bolstered by a holiday– No schools are closed and people aren’t off from work.
Adding those funds to the additional $145.6M it earned this weekend, ‘Endgame’ stomped past $600M at the domestic box office in 10 days, which set another record, besting ‘The Force Awakens’ (12 days), ‘Infinity War’ (26 days) and ‘Black Panther’ (31 days). (Same as last week, the $145.6M figure comes from Disney, with outsiders speculating that once all the money is counted, ‘Endgame’s 3-day haul will be closer to $148M.)
As of Sunday, ‘Endgame’ has made $2.189 billion globally, making it the #2 movie of all time, surpassing ‘Infinity War’, ‘The Force Awakens’, and now, ‘Titanic’. ‘Endgame’ is only the fifth movie to top $2B (and the third for Disney), and accomplished this feat in 11 days. If ‘Endgame’ is to become the #1 movie of all time, it still needs to beat ‘Avatar’, but this seems manageable because it took ‘Avatar’ 47 days to hit $2B, and currently, only about $600M stand between them. ‘Endgame’ has also taken in $120.8M for international IMAX screenings, so it has already beaten ‘Avatar’ in that area.
It is also on the verge of making $1B in 3D ticket sales. It will be the third picture to do so, following– you guessed it– ‘Avatar’ and ‘The Force Awakens’– and once again, ‘Endgame’ accomplished this faster than either of them.
Bad news for this week’s new releases, as well as older flicks that are still lingering– some cinemas are still selling out of ‘Endgame’ tickets and are pulling weaker-performing flicks, in favor of additional ‘Endgame’ screenings. On opening weekend, that would seem natural, but in a second frame? That’s remarkable!
Quite similarly to last weekend, the gap between ‘Endgame’ and its closest runner up, was well over $100M. ‘Long Shot’ and ‘The Intruder’ were nearly neck-and-neck, with $11M going to the Seth Rogan/Charlize Theron romcom, and $10M going to the suspense thriller starring Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, and Dennis Quaid.
‘Long Shot’ premiered at SXSW and also screened at CinemaCon, where it was warmly received. Critics have been favorable, with it sitting at 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences gave it a strong B CinemaScore, and 3½ stars on PostTrak. Its social media impact is mild, perhaps because it skews older than most typical R-rated comedies.
Though ‘The Intruder’ was targeted at older African American women, its audience is actually breaking down to 34% African American, 34% Caucasian. But women over 25 outnumbered all other age/gender breakdowns. Critics have panned it, at 27% on RT, and unfortunately, viewers don’t seem that impressed either, giving it a poor 2½ stars on PostTrak. (CinemaScore did not publish its grade.)
Even though ‘The Intruder’ trailed just behind ‘Long Shot’, it’s a bigger winner in that it cost a scant $5M to make. ‘Long Shot’s production budget is in the $40-$50M range.
STX had hoped to launch a franchise with ‘UglyDolls’ (which at one point, had Robert Rodriguez attached), but going into the weekend, ‘UglyDolls’ was projected to bring in $12-$14M, which was pretty weak to begin with, but it actually managed to fall short of even that, earning just $8.5M. Audiences gave it a pretty strong B+ CinemaScore, but only a so-so 2½ stars via PostTrak. Critics knocked the stuffing out it, with a poor 35% on RT.
This was an experiment for STX, a fairly small studio, who wanted to make an animated movie in less time than usual (under a year) and for under $100M (reportedly between $45M-$53M). They succeeded in making the picture, but that’s about the only thing successful about it.
STX chose to release ‘UglyDolls’ in the wake of ‘Endgame’ because it is targeted at girls under 12, which they felt would not be that into ‘Endgame’. True, the audience that turned out for ‘UglyDolls’ was made up of 63% girls under 12, but 49% of the ‘Endgame’ audience was also girls under 12.
Regardless of its poor theatrical performance, Hulu already has a 26-episode ‘UglyDolls’ animated series set to premiere next year, and Hasbro snapped up the universal licensing rights for the brand. But after this poor performance, both of those seem like bad investments.
Rounding out the Top Five, ‘Captain Marvel’ continues to hang tough, earning an additional $4.3M.
- Avengers: Endgame (Disney) — $145.6M
- Long Shot (Lionsgate) — $11M
- The Intruder (Sony) — $10M
- UglyDolls (STX) — $8.5M
- Captain Marvel (Disney) — $4.3M
AMC held free screenings of ‘Detective Pikachu’ at 50 locations for members of its AMC Stubs program, and the tickets were snapped up in no time. Free screenings are being offered in other ways as well. Usually, a studio only offers advanced screenings when they know they have something rock solid, and they can use the positive chatter from viewers to inspire others to pay to see it when it opens. Sure enough, ‘Detective Pikachu’ has a healthy 70% ranking on RT.
It opens this weekend, and Warner Brothers and Legendary are hoping that fans will have gotten their fill of ‘Endgame’ by then. If not, it could take a huge bite out of ‘Pikachu’, as there is a lot of overlap within their fanbases. At this time, ‘Detective Pikachu’ is expected to open around $50M. It is also expected to do well in Asia, where the brand originated.
Another bit of counterprogramming hoping to appeal to female viewers (y’know the ones who like superheroes too, despite stereotypes to the contrary) is ‘The Hustle’, a reinvention of ‘Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels’ starring Anne Hatheway and Rebel Wilson. It’s possible that this film could do better than ‘Long Shot’ because its stars appeal to a younger audience.
Check back to see if ‘Avengers: Endgame’ can fend off these new arrivals!