Sunday AM UPDATE FINAL: With the No. 1 $31.5M opening success of Ford v Ferrari this morning and an overall $52M global debut, high praise is to be given to 20th Century Fox Film president Emma Watts and execs Mike Ireland and Steve Asbell, who have been shepherding and advocating this project through all its iterations for years.
Chernin Entertainment also produced. A $120M endgame, if not more, is in store for Ford v Ferrari at the domestic box office. Finally, a great start for Fox in the new Disney empire after misfires Ad Astra, Stuber, and Dark Phoenix, to name a few. On Friday, Disney planted flags in the 2020-2023 release schedule for big Fox with 12 titles next year (not counting Searchlight) going to 7 pics in 2023.
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Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold told me at a recent Awardsline screening for the film, “They showed a lot of faith, because of the gamble on this film; it had to be decent for them to have a shot, that’s why the team at Fox – Emma Watts and Steve Asbell — and others there deserve credit there because this is the type of movie you get in trouble for making when it doesn’t work. It’s the kind of movie that you go ‘Why did you make it? The P&L shows it will do sh** work. By the numbers, it shouldn’t work, based on who goes to the movies these days. So they deserve a lot of credit.”
Mangold also told me, “It was a movie that I was stalking that existed in other forms with other packages of talent attached to it. Not exactly this script, but this period and story. I kept having it explained to me that it either wasn’t available or wasn’t for me. It started in 2010. After every movie, I would check in at Fox, if it sprung available. After every movie it would seem a new group that were not me were involved.” One earlier version had Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt circling, with Joseph Kosinski attached to direct. Ireland developed the project over the years, which ultimately landed Mangold with Asbell boarding thereafter.
Mangold continued, “After Logan, whether it was the success of Logan or just good luck, after that movie, I asked again, and it was suddenly possible. And I jumped in with Jez and John-Henry Butterworth and we started writing like crazy.” Mangold made the movie because he enjoyed the colorful friendship between Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles in the movie. He wanted to give audiences an inside look at the decisions being made in building these race cars, and the goings-on inside these racing pits.
“The reason why the movie hadn’t happened was cost. I’m sure you’re well aware, it’s hard to get a movie — an adult-oriented movie with adult themes in it…it’s hard to get these movies made now. We exist in a segregated world of movies which are under $30M for adults, and the rest for 13-year-olds or streaming,” added the filmmaker, “The idea of making a theatrical picture for grown-up people that is not cheap is a real, hard, uphill climb.”
Screenwriter William Goldman famously wrote that when it comes to the success of making a movie in Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything.” But Mangold has another rule of thumb from the scribe which relates to the mounting adult pics like Ford v Ferrari. “Every studio plans on the finances of a movie based on you making a sh***y movie, the assumption you’ll make a bad movie. They’re computing whether they’ll make money if your movie sucks…It makes sense – they don’t want to gamble on your doing great when the odds are like 20% that maybe the movie comes out excellent,” says Mangold.
“They have to think what happens if this movie isn’t good, ‘Can we cash out on this thing?’ A movie like this is hard to come up with a computation where you’re going to make money if it isn’t good. Because people over 30 don’t leave their home unless they hear it’s good.”
Well, James, moviegoers did leave their homes this weekend for Ford v. Ferrari, and they definitely heard the movie was excellent, giving it an A+ Cinemasore with Screen Engine-Comscore exits showing 55% over 35 and 78% over 25 years old for this 62% male-driven film. Industry estimates show Saturday at $12.3M, +13% over Friday’s $11M (which includes $2.1M previews). Imax delivered $5.5M to Ford v Ferrari worldwide, $3.8M of that coming from domestic screens.
“From the get-go, we loved this film. Everywhere we showed it, people were falling in love with it, so it’s not surprising to see the positive response. Every time we showed it, we received the same reaction,” says Cathleen Taff, Disney president of Distribution and Franchise management. Anecdotally, the response for our Ford v Ferrari Awardsline screening was very well received in the 300-plus seater at LA’s Landmark on Pico.
“One of the takeaways was how much women loved it as much as men,” says Taff. “That wasn’t necessarily a given, that women would show up, but they obviously did.” Overall, females turned out at 38%, with females over 25 making up a third of all moviegoers this weekend, praising the Christian Bale-Matt Damon pic with a 67% definite recommend.
There seems to be some jockeying for second place between Paramount’s Playing With Fire, Lionsgate’s Midway, and Sony’s Charlie’s Angels. Lionsgate is reporting a second weekend for Midway of $8.75M. Sony is over- confident that Charlie’s Angels opened to $8.6M, while Paramount is reporting a $8.55M second weekend for the Walden Media-John Cena family film. While it’s not clear how much Midway, which is -51% in weekend 2 with a 10-day of $35.1M, will over-index, industry estimates do show Midway in 2nd with $8.56M, but Playing with Fire in 3rd with $8.548M and Charlie’s Angels in 4th with $8.466M.
For our entire deep dive on how Charlie’s Angels went sideways, click here. Final B.O. stateside for the Elizabeth Banks movie is bound to be $23M, one of the worst results in memory for a reboot of a once notable franchise.
Hardly anyone showed up to New Line/Bron’s $10M thriller The Good Liar, which Warners is reporting at $5.656M after a Saturday that was +45% over Friday’s $1.6M. Everyone likes to whine, ‘Why didn’t Warner Bros. platform the movie?’ In no defense of them, they can’t when your critical score is low at 64% fresh. Years ago, in a pre-Rotten Tomatoes era, you could hide the overall critical result of these upscale adult movies by driving business with pull-quote critic full-page ads in the New York Times and USA Today, thus platforming. But not now, when you have heavy hitters like NEON’s Parasite and Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit securing beefy per-screen biz propped up with very strong reviews. Those who showed up to Good Liar were 59% female, 61% over 35, with the single largest quad being 55+ at 28%. Diversity breakdown was 71% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic, 10% Asian/Other, and 6% African American. Good Liar played best on the East coast and South-East but not to wowing results.
Total weekend ticket sales came in at $109.1M per Comscore, -38% from a year ago, which was the pre-Thanksgiving weekend when Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald led the box office with a $62.1M opening. Year to date, 2019 continues to lag 6% behind 2018 for Jan. 1-Nov. 17 with $9.685 billion.
WEEKEND B.O. FOR NOV. 15-17
UPDATE, Saturday AM: w/chart Wave a flag for original movies at the box office, as Disney’s release of 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s Ford v. Ferrari is racing to a $30M win after a $11M Friday (including $2.1M Thursday previews). That buried Sony’s franchise reboot of Elizabeth Banks’s Charlie’s Angels, which dropped well below $12M-$14M expectations with a $8.2M debut in 3rd place.
James Mangold’s Ford v. Ferrari gets an A+ CinemaScore, and 4 1/2 stars and a 68% definite recommend on PostTrak. With a boost like that, it’s a great blast off for FvF in a fierce awards season and Thanksgiving holiday, which is about to get swallowed up by Disney’s Frozen 2 with a $100M-$120m opening next weekend. Lionsgate’s Midway is also beating Charlie’s Angels in second place with a second weekend take of $8.8M, -51% for a 10-day of $35.1M.
Meanwhile, New Line/Bron’s The Good Liar is seeing an 8th place opening with $5M. The pic cost $10M, with Warners’ exposure at 75%. As of this minute, it’s another autumn adult-skewing dud for Warners, after The Goldfinch, Motherless Brooklyn and Doctor Sleep. We’ll see if business picks up today from matinees for this B CinemaScore, 4-Star PostTrak pic.
At 2 hours and 32 minutes, Ford v. Ferrari doesn’t play slow like Doctor Sleep (which is looking at $5.7M in 6th place, -57%). But, yes, fast with audiences literally cheering at the end. The Christian Bale-Matt Damon film about renegade race car driver Ken Miles and sports car designer Carroll Shelby as they’re tapped by the button-ups at Ford to make a car that will out-speed Enzo Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans tour, sells itself. Out of all the polished pics that Disney inherited from Fox, I’ve always heard they loved this one a lot and even showed off a trailer for the pic for exhibitors at CinemaCon back in April
That first trailer which we saw at CinemaCon became available to the public on June 2 when it debuted on Jimmy Kimmel. The second trailer hit online on Sept. 15, with several clips and custom content releasing throughout October and November. Ford v Ferrari trailered in theaters on big pics and adult skewing ones like Spider-Man: Far From Home, Crawl, Dark Phoenix, Stuber, The Lion King, Hobbs & Shaw, Blinded By The Light, It: Chapter Two, Ad Astra, Downtown Abbey, Joker, Jojo Rabbit, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
A world premiere at Telluride and play a TIFF put gas in Ford v Ferrari‘s tank with a 92% Certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the moderate social media engagement with a universe of 123M views across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube views, Instagram per RelishMix, positive skewing convo on social has taken over with a groundswell from early screenings.
“Fans call out the fact that the second trailer and recent materials have won them over, that what they’re hearing from social chatter is swaying them. That said, the unlikely duo of Damon and Bale has piqued plenty of folks’ interest. While most are unfamiliar with the true story the movie is based upon, they do have their favorite cars – and they are debating them along with those who are familiar with the story. Le Mans, the merits of Ford, Ferrari, Chevy Aston Martin – they’re all up for discussion surrounding this thriller. And, the music from the official materials is also getting plenty of adoring convo,” reports RelishMix. One online highlight was a custom AR experience with Instagram/Facebook enabling fans to place the Ford or Ferrari race car from the film into their own augmented reality environments and share across social. Pic’s actors Josh Lucas, Tracy Letts, and Jon Bernthal contributed songs for a customized Spotify playlist supported socially on global channels.
TV spots ran for Ford v Ferrari during guy programs like the ESPY Awards, TIFF surround, Talladega surround, NCLS/ACLS/World Series, NFL (several games), CNN Democratic Presidential Debate (Oct) surround, NBA season opener game 2, ESPN, NCAA, Walking Dead, Family Guy, Simpsons and female skewing series like Grey’s Anatomy, This is Us, The Masked Singer, The Good Doctor and older skewing 60 Minutes, NPR, National Geographic, etc.
Damon appeared on Jay Leno’s Garage to talk about Shelby’s legacy (near 1M views) in addition to such programs as CBS Sunday Morning, and the Today Show with Bale.
Exciting gearheads was of course in Disney/Fox’s plan with Damon and Bale being the honorary starters with the green flag at the Indy 500, followed by a press conference where the trailer was shown. There was also a drive-influencer screening event in Hollywood where the audience were seated in vintage Ferrari and Ford cars to watch the movie “drive-in” style followed by a cocktail hour featuring five Shelby cars from the film.
Updated PostTrak numbers on Friday showed close to half of the audience being men over 25 for FvF followed by 30% females over 25, 13% guys under 25 and 8% females under 25. The diversity mix was 66% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic, 14% Asian/Other, and 7% African American. Ford v Ferrari played best in the West, mid and south-west with solid plays throughout the nation.
Good Liar drew 35% over 55 who love the film the most at 94%. They’ll take their time to get to this film so hopefully Warners can hold it over. On CinemaScore, 64% of the over 50 crowd gave the Bill Condon-directed thriller a B+. With an overall 54% definite recommend, 52% of Good Liar‘s crowd were females over 25, 30% males over 25, 11% guys under 25 and 8% females under 25. Best business for Good Liar was on the East coast, particularly the South-East but even there it was meh. Even the older-skewing audience for Good Liar, social media isn’t where you would promote the pic despite star Ian McKellan counting close to 11M across FB, Twitter and Instagram. At 93.6M, the social media universe is below the average for a thriller which is at 109M by opening weekend.
Reports RelishMix, “The volume of discussion for The Good Liar is less than the typical drama/thriller. But, that said, social convo is definitely leaning positive for this star-studded suspense tale. Fans love both Helen Mirren and McKellen, and they are calling out these stars’ best roles as examples of why they’ll see the film. The data suggests that Liar is more of an international play, with most video views coming from international territories. But, fans of the genre and the cast are universal. The materials are also given credit for ‘not giving too much away.’ In the spirit of other recent Warner Bros. pictures, the campaign’s theme seems to be a less-is-more approach, and social discussion suggests this tactic is working. And, for those who read the book, the movie adaptation looks very promising — which is not always how it turns out.”
BOX OFFICE FOR NOV. 15-17
UPDATE, Friday Midday: As expected, in early midday estimates, which could change, 20th Century Fox’s Ford v Ferrari is off to a smooth start with $10 million Friday (including last night’s $2.1M) and an anticipated $28M opening. It would be great to see if the non-frequent moviegoers come out. Expect this $96M production to be great counter-programming for guys in a Frozen 2 Thanksgiving marketplace.
As expected, Charlie’s Angels is tanking big time with an estimated $4M today (including $900K from previews –and not all from last night as there were showtimes Wednesday) and a $10.5M opening, which is below what Sony was seeing at $12M-$14M. The pic reportedly cost $48M with co-financing from Perfect World and 2.0 Entertainment; we’ve heard more in the mid $50Ms. The first two Charlie’s Angels movie in 2000 and 2003 opened respectively at $40.1M and $37.6M and finaled at $125.3M and $100.8M domestic.
Below Charlie, it’s a dog of a weekend with Lionsgate’s Midway at $8M, off 55% for a 10-day total of $34.4M.
Warner Bros’ Doctor Sleep in weekend 2 is seeing $6.25M, -56%, for a 10-day of $25M.
Universal’s Last Christmas also in weekend 2 is eyeing $6.2M, -46%, for a 10-day of $22.1M.
Paramount’s Playing With Fire in weekend 2 looking at $1.4M today and $5.2M for the frame -59%, for a 10-day of $22.1M
New Line’s The Good Liar, co-financed by Bron Studios which has a 25% stake in the $10M-budgeted film, is also not working with $1.2M today and $3.8M for the weekend. This film’s audience won’t come out after 8 PM, so expect matinees tomorrow and Sunday to be prime times.
PREVIOUSLY, Friday AM: James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari from 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment put $2.1 million in the tank from Thursday box office previews that began at 6 PM. Projections expect the pic being released by Disney to exceed $20M this weekend, maybe even as high as $30M.
Great exits for the Christian Bale-Matt Damon movie last night: 4 1/2 stars on Screen Engine/Comscore’s PostTrak and a 60% definite recommend and an 87% positive score. Leading demos were males over 25 (56%, 88% grade), females over 25 (26%, 84% positive), males under 25 (11%, 86% positive) and females under 25 (8%, 93% grade).
Ford v. Ferrari is booked at 3,528 locations including 350 Imax screens, 650 branded Premium Large Format screens, and 330 D-Box/4D/ScreenX enhanced locations. Ford v Ferrari has a 91% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which will encourage non-frequent moviegoers to flock.
Sony’s Charlie’s Angels started showtimes early at 4:30 PM at 2,968 sites, earning only $900,000. The reboot from filmmaker-actress Elizabeth Banks is expected to come in between $10M-$12M this weekend. Over in China, the third pic in the Sony series was second at the Friday box office behind local pic Somewhere Winter, making $2.9M (that includes previews) to the latter’s $4.1M. Pic received low exits last night from the few who turned out, with 3 stars, 46% definite recommend and a 69% positive. Females over 25 led (33%, 63% grade), males over 25 (30%, 70% grade), females under 25 (29%, 78% grade) and males under 25 (8%, 60% grade) followed. The first two Charlie’s Angels movies, directed by McG and starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, respectively earned an A- and B+ CinemaScore. Banks’ Charlie’s Angels is 58% Rotten.
Charlie’s Angels, starring Kristen Stewart in her first popcorn movie since arguably 2012’s Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (she starred in a ton of prestigious indies and the low-grossing American Ultra in between), opens in 27 markets this weekend with the majors being China, Russia, Brazil, Australia/NZ (also opening in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia). Pic is expected to open to around $20M offshore.
New Line has the Bill Condon-directed Helen Mirren-Ian McKellen thriller The Good Liar, which did not hold previews last night. Pic is booked at 2,439 locations. Opening is looking like the low-single digits. The pic has a 61% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score.
Among regular pics in release at the domestic box office this frame, Lionsgate Midway led the week with $26.3M after a $1.3M Thursday, off 11% from Wednesday. Universal’s Last Christmas was second yesterday with $800K, -1%, but third for the week with an estimated $15.8M. Warner Bros’ Doctor Sleep is still dreary with a $775K Thursday, -12% for a first week of $18.8M. Paramount/Skydance Media/Fox’s Terminator: Dark Fate ranked fourth with $620K, -15%, a second week of $14.9M and and awful $52.5M two-week cume. Focus Features’ Harriet saw $605K, even with Wednesday, a $10.9M second week and 14-day running tally of $27.1M.
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