SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With the exit of New Line’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot in what has been a lucrative post Labor Day weekend pre-pandemic, Disney swooped in and booked its 20th Century Studios horror title Barbarian. That pic, directed and written by Zach Cregger, follows a woman staying at an Airbnb, who discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems. The movie grossed $3.8M on Friday (including $850K Thursday night previews) and is poised to make around $9M, possibly double digits at 2,340 theaters.
Why did Disney keep this film theatrical instead of sending to Hulu? They were wowed by the test screening scores and knew the critics would love it as well (they graded it 92% certified on Rotten Tomatoes) and rolled the dice. We punched Sony in the nose two weeks ago for not getting behind The Invitation, which saw a $6.8M start (and current running total of $18.6M. However, the situation with horror films more often is not is that studios go lean on P&A in their spend on these titles (under $20M) in seeking a greater upside. If there’s not great heat in the walk-up, they don’t spend. With this film, Disney is hoping to profit off of word of mouth with Barbarian. Tonight will determine if Barbarian tips north of $10M. Audience scores aren’t as great as the critical scores at 70% positive on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak with a 54% recommend and a C+ CinemaScore. Guys showed up to the R-rated title at 59% with 74% between 18-34. Diversity mix was 45% Caucasian, 25% Latino and Hispanic, 16% Black and 14% Asian/other. Barbarian had most of its bucks on the coasts and in the Southwest. The top ten theaters were in New York and LA with PLFs driving a third of ticket sales sans Imax.
Meanwhile, Disney’s Star Studios‘ Brahmastra Part One: Shiva, which I’m told is akin to a Marvel movie over in India, is booked at 810 theaters in 172 markets and seeing $1.9M today (including Thursday night previews of $700K that started at 5PM) and a 3-day of $3.5M to $4.5M. PostTrak is 70% positive and a 60% recommend. Prints were in Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil. Guys turned out at 55%, 71% between 18-34, with Asian and other audiences showing up at a massive 88%. The Northeast and Canada saw most of the business with nine of the top ten runs. Strong ticket sales in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Austin with Toronto and Vancouver also delivering.
Also opening in the top 10 is Fathom’s Lifemark at 1,560 theaters which is a Kirk Cameron faith-based movie from director Kevin Peeples. Loglin: David’s comfortable world is turned upside down when his birthmother unexpectedly reaches out to him, longing to meet the 18-year-old son she’s only held once. Decent runs we here in Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Charlotte, Nashville, Kansas City, San Antonio for a $855K Friday and an estimated 3-day of $2.2M.
Still low single digits on these new openers is putting the weekend at an estimated $39.9M for all movies, which will wind up as the second lowest grossing weekend of 2022 to date after Jan. 28-30 which only produced $34.9M.
We’ll have more updates for you soon.