Weekend Wrap Up - a look at this week’s Industry Updates

July 19, 2021

Ready to feel old? I remember when this classic was the party song throughout my grade school. I never liked basketball growing up (I could never dribble the ball) but you can bet I had a Space Jam themed birthday! So I am glad that Space Jam: A New Legacy was well-received by moviegoers. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes were harsher on this film – compared to the 1996 original (31% vs 44%) – but it was a hit among general moviegoers (81%). The film markets itself thanks to broad appeal among families with children, adults who are nostalgic about Space Jam, and fans of superstar NBA player Lebron James.


Space Jam leads this weekend’s total box-office of $90.2M. Even with the movie being available at home on HBO Max, the opening weekend dunked on expectations with $31.7M – the best 3-day we’ve seen for a family film since the pandemic. The Lebron James reboot outplays the first Space Jam’s $27.5M and the previous 3-day high for Warner Bros. studio (Godzilla vs Kong with $31.6M). It is also the best opening for director Malcolm D. Lee, whose previous box-office hit was Girls Trip with a $31.2M open.


Second place went to last week’s headliner Black Widow with a $26.3M sophomore weekend. It is rare for movies to remain number 1 during the summer blockbuster drumroll. Out of the six MCU movies released in July, only two (Ant-Man and Spider-Man: Far From Home) dominated the box-office for more than one weekend. Despite being available at home on Disney Plus Premier, Black Widow did not lose ground during the week. Widow posted the best non-holiday Monday and the best Tuesday for the Covid era at $7.16M and $7.6M. Unsurprisingly, it crossed the $100M milestone in just six days – two days faster than F9 – with the running total now at $132M.


While Black Widow’s theatrical presence continues to rack up box-office, Disney has remained silent about her second weekend on Disney Plus Premier Access. Is it because the drop-off among streaming audiences was worse than what we saw among moviegoers? Deadline reports that a study by industry analysts concluded the number one way people watch movies at home was on piracy sites, not Disney Plus or any other streamer. In fact, Black Widow was the number one most-pirated movie reported by TorrentFreak last week.


Despite the fanfare for last week’s $60M global PVOD number, it continues to seem like the day-and-date strategy is not viable for studios long-term. Warner Bros already plans to shift back to theatrical exclusivity in 2022, and as of now, Jungle Cruise (coming 7/30) is the only upcoming releases confirmed for day-and-date by Disney.


The National Association of Theatre Owners point out: “Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life”. It hurts not just the box office, but the movie’s revenue streams from traditional PVOD revenues. 2019’s Spider-man: Far From Home made an estimated $62M from DVD and Blu-Ray domestically after it left theaters. With the hybrid release, Widow will likely struggle to do the same after it’s theatrical run.


Sony’s Escape Room: A Tournament of Champions also opened this weekend, digging up $8.8M in an exclusive theatrical release. The follow-up to 2019’s Escape Room, it is one more horror sequel among those release in the past two months – A Quiet Place II, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and the Forever Purge.


Perhaps moviegoers are burnt out from the horror genre releases – we’ll see once Old hits theaters this Friday 7/23. The alternative will be the high-action thriller, Snake Eyes.

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