October 20, 2021

I scream, you scream, we all scream for SCREAM

Eight days ago, we got the first trailer for the upcoming SCREAM reboot, and based on The Quorum data, the film looks to scare up some big business.

For those of you too young to remember, the original SCREAM debuted in December 1996 and remained in the top five for eight weeks en route to a $103M haul. That was good enough to rank as the 13th highest-grossing film of that year.

At the time, horror films simply weren’t connecting at the box office. In the years leading up to SCREAM, horror fans were being fed a staple of uninspired sequels, including JASON GOES TO HELL, CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH and TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON NIGHT, to name just a few. At the high end, these films would maybe crack $20M at the box office. 

When SCREAM came along, it proved to be a game-changer. It ushered in a new wave of horror films that added smart comedic elements and a knowing wink-of-the-eye towards the traditional genre tropes. It was quickly followed by I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and, naturally, SCREAM 2, which also crossed $100M. 

This time around, SCREAM is entering a marketplace where horror is as healthy as ever. And it certainly looks like the new SCREAM will add to the genre’s success. As you can see below, the trailer resulted in a 15 point gain in awareness. 

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Amazingly, it now ranks 4th in awareness among all the films currently being tracked by The Quorum. It’s ahead of big-time upcoming releases like DUNE, ETERNALS, and THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS. 

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October 18, 2021

NEW: Trailers now added to The Quorum

Even in this new pandemic-era film world, trailers still remain the most effective tool in promoting a film. Today, we are pleased to announce that you can now see when trailers were released for all films being tracked by The Quorum. Just click on any film title, and you will see a vertical gray line with a “T” at the top designating when a trailer was released. 

Trailers, of course, are designed to build awareness and interest in upcoming releases. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Case in point, THE LAST DUEL, which opened to a slim $5M this weekend, saw no gains in awareness when its trailer was released on July 20th. 

As we pointed out back then, the failure to see gains in awareness can be from numerous things: poor publicity, lack of trailer distribution, or just consumer apathy. Regardless of the cause, it can be a big red flag when the numbers don’t increase. 

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October 14, 2021

New to The Quorum: THE TENDER BAR

It’s been a while since we’ve seen George Clooney on the big screen. He hasn’t appeared on the big screen in over five years. We lost saw him in HAIL, CAESAR back in 2016. Clooney is returning with THE TENDER BAR, but it’s as the director. So we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see him as an actor. 

Clooney made a big splash with his directorial debut, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK. That film earned six Oscar nominations, including one for Clooney for Best Director. Since then, his record behind the camera has been spotty. LEATHERHEADS, THE IDES OF MARCH, THE MONUMENTS MEN, and SUBURBICON didn’t exactly light the world on fire. 

Still, whatever Clooney we can get, we will take. And in December, we will get THE TENDER BAR, which will have a theatrical release in December before going to Amazon in January. The film co-stars Ben Affleck, another actor turned auteur. The two mega-stars go way back. It was Clooney who produced – and won the Best Picture Oscar – for Affleck’s ARGO. 

While we wait to see if these two can capture magic once again, we welcome THE TENDER BAR to The Quorum.

October 13, 2021

30 Day Alert: CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG

Three films, all slated to open the weekend of November 12th (CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG opens two days earlier on the 10th), are now within 30 days of release — the prime marketing window — which means if they’re gonna take off, this is when it will start to happen. 

For this report, we will be taking a closer look at CLIFFORD. 

For CLIFFORD, we will compare it to PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE and THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2. Like CLIFFORD, the two comps were made available in theaters and on streaming services simultaneously.

Theatrically, PAW made $13M in its opening weekend, while ADDAMS debuted at $17M. 

Two weeks later, CLIFFORD will have to compete with ENCANTO, but the hope is that the big red dog will have enough strength to play alongside ENCANTO through the family-friendly Thanksgiving holiday.

We start by looking at awareness. As you can see below, at opening, PAW (dark yellow) had an awareness of 35, and ADDAMS (light yellow) was at 49. 

At 37, CLIFFORD (brown) has already surpassed PAW. But with a month remaining before release, can it reach ADDAMS up at 49? It’s worth noting that ADDAMS experienced a surge in awareness in the final 30 days. In fact, it was a bit lower than CLIFFORD before it made its big ascent. Over the next 30 days, we will be watching to see if the big red dog can mirror or surpass the climb made by ADDAMS. 

Things look very similar on the interest side. CLIFFORD (medium blue) has a higher interest score than PAW (light blue) but lower than ADDAMS (dark blue). 

The big difference here is that we really like to see an interest score above 5.0. At 4.6, CLIFFORD is much lower than you’d like to see. It ranks 60th among the 76 films being measured by The Quorum

The purpose of the 30 Day Alert is not to forecast where the film will be but to give context for where it needs to go. There is work to be done on both the awareness and interest sides, but that’s what the final 30 days are for. 

October 8, 2021

The SPENCER posters are royally gorgeous.

Can we pause for a second and acknowledge the beautiful and evocative poster campaign for SPENCER?

We were first treated to this beautiful, luxurious and unsettling teaser poster. Even if you don’t know that SPENCER refers to Princess Diana, it’s clear that this is her. 

Lately, studio marketing departments have been creating excellent character posters. The DUNE and THE LAST DUEL 1-sheets come to mind. But this week, Neon knocked it out of the park with these SPENCER posters. The fractured faces – half on, half off – capture the duality of the stoic public face of the monarchy and Diana’s private turmoil. 

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October 6, 2021

Does the success of VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE forecast a “normal” 2022?

One of the more surprising stories of 2021 has to be the resilience of the box office in the face of the summer Delta surge. SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, F9, BLACK WIDOW all had huge openings while Covid cases were rising. FREE GUY, another huge success story, spent seven weeks in the top three at the box office. 

Clearly, though, the strongest indicator of the health of theatrical is VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE. The first VENOM broke the record for the largest October opening when it debuted to $80M in 2018. Given that critics didn’t love the first one and didn’t hold very well after opening weekend, the smart money was on CARNAGE opening to less than VENOM. And yet, in the face of a pandemic, CARNAGE roped in $96M. 

The enormous opening for CARNAGE on the heels of solid peak-surge openings should leave no doubt that theatrical is back. Furthermore, it looks like audiences have found a way to go to the theater in the face of a pandemic. With forecasts for Covid cases on the decline combined without our growing ability to coexist with theater-going during a surge, could it be that 2022 will return to something resembling the pre-pandemic movie business?

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New to The Quorum: MARIO

Truth be told, we don’t actually know the name of this movie. According to IMDb calls it the UNTITLED ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT PROJECT (“I want to see that!”). The trades, and just about everyone else, are calling it SUPER MARIO BROS. 

ComScore, however, currently has it listed as just MARIO, so that is the title we will use going forward. 

While the film’s title seems somewhat uncertain, what is clear is that not everyone is on board with Chris Pratt voicing the title character. “He’s not even Italian!!!” seems to be the marching cry among critics. Sure, Danny Devito would have been a great choice, but let’s give Pratt and the film the benefit of the doubt. 

Until we know more, to MARIO or the UNTITLED ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT PROJECT, we say welcome to The Quorum

September 28, 2021

HALLOWEEN KILLS is finally looking like a box office slayer.

Too bad Universal decided on a day-and-date release

Way back in July, the very first post published on The Quorum was about HALLOWEEN KILLS. Back then, we were lamenting the fact that the film was tracking well below its paygrade. Both awareness and interest were much lower than one would expect for a film of its pedigree.

As we pointed out then, the last installment of HALLOWEEN opened to $76M in 2018. That film still has the 3rd largest horror opening ever, and it is the highest-grossing horror film to open in the month of October. So, yeah, KILLS has big shoes to fill.

Despite the low tracking, it was still shocking when Universal announced on September 9th that it would be shifting KILLS from pure theatrical to a simultaneous release on its Peacock streaming service. This was especially surprising in light if the fact that a week earlier, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN RINGS resoundingly proved that audiences are seeing movies in theaters again.

On top of that, horror has always been a theatrical-forward, communal genre. With QUIET, CANDYMAN, and THE CONJURING: TDMMDI, horror films were an important part of the early theatrical recovery. It was a move that continues to confound.

Three weeks later, the decision seems even more unfortunate given that since that announcement, KILLS has been on a Bryce Harper-worthy ascendance.

We still consider A QUIET PLACE PART II (dark yellow) to be the gold standard for horror. That film opened to $48M back in May when far fewer theaters were open and the box office was just beginning its recovery. But, as noted above, one would expect KILLS to perform at a similarly elevated level.

Back in July (yellow dashed line), when KILLS (brown)was four months from release, awareness was on the rise but had yet to break out of the 28 to 32 range. It was barely above CANDYLAND (light yellow) and well below QUIET, which was nearing 40 at the same distance from release.

For quite a while, KILLS continued to hover in the low 30’s until this month. But boy has it taken off since then. Today, awareness has shot up seven points in less than two weeks. It now sits at 42, just a hair behind QUIET when it opened. And, with another two weeks before release, there’s plenty of time for KILLS to rise above QUIET.

As you can see below, we’re seeing the same phenomenal rise on the interest side. Back in early July, the interest score for KILLS was at 5.0. Today it’s up to 5.6 and is charging towards the rarefied air of 6.0.

On top of that, interest in seeing the movie in a theater (rather than at home) has climbed since our July profile. Today more than half the people interested in seeing the film want to see it in a theater.

That may not seem so great, but most people would rather watch a film at home. Only a few movies are above 50% for a theater. As you can see, KILLS ranks 5th among all films being tracked by The Quorum for theater viewership.

Back in July, KILLS looked surprisingly soft. But in the past few weeks, the film has begun to reflect its earlier promise. It is now tracking on par with QUIET, as it should. Not only are awareness and interest on the rise, but the desire to watch in a theater is strong.

Universal’s day-and-decision didn’t make much sense when it was announced earlier this month. Now it looks like the studio will be leaving some theatrical dollars on the table.

September 23, 2021

Holiday Box Office Preview

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME looks like a sure thing, but what else will join it at the top of the box office?

The summer box office has wrapped, and the fall equinox has passed, which means it’s time for us to look forward to the holiday box office. This year, there are 11 films that either open or expand wide from December 10th through the end of the year.

If you think it’s too early to be looking at the holiday box office, consider that nine of those 11 films have had trailers released. In other words, for most of them, the material is out there for building awareness.

Before looking at those films, a few historicals. When we discuss the holiday box office, we do so in terms of total gross, not opening weekend. That’s because the window between December 23rd and January 2nd functions like one extended weekend. As a result, holiday releases have huge multiples, well above the 2.8 industry average. 

Before the pandemic, the holiday box office fell into neat clusters. In any given year, there would usually be one or two huge movies that grossed over $200M (in teal). In 2017, we got STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI and JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE. There was only one in 2018 with AQUAMAN, though SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SIDER-VERSE came close. The following year the top two performers were sequels to the top two from 2017.

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September 21, 2021

New to The Quorum: FINCH

Swap out a volleyball named “Wilson” for an adorable dog and somewhat functioning robot and you have FINCH. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, though the trailer does hint at some similarities between CAST AWAY and FINCH. Add in the fact that FINCH was produced by CAST AWAY director Robert Zemekis and, well, you get it.

We began tracking this movie a year ago when it was called BIOS and was set to get a theatrical release from Universal. But last spring the film was sold to Apple TV+. Now that we have a poster and a trailer, we have begun actively tracking the film again and we have officially added the film to The Quorum.

So, to FINCH, we say welcome. Always nice to have Tom Hanks back.