The Quorum

Will 65 be a missed opportunity?

There’s a lot to like about the upcoming Sony film 65. It was written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the duo that wrote the A QUIET PLACE films. And it stars Adam Driver, a two-time Oscar nominee who is unafraid to try new things. It reportedly has a production budget near $90M, meaning this is no inexpensive genre film; this is a decent-sized swing for the studio. And yet, looking at the tracking, it feels like 65 is a missed opportunity.

That’s because interest in the film has always been high. At least among those who know about the film. The problem is that awareness has remained low. Yes, there has been an uptick in awareness over the last two weeks – as we would expect for a film about to open – but the gains have been slower than expected for a film of this profile.

Let’s take a look at the interest chart. First, let’s look at our comps. We’re using BULLET TRAIN ($30M opening) and THE WOMAN KING ($19M) – both were original Sony films and had mid-sized budgets.

As this chart shows, interest for 65 (dark blue) currently sits at 5.9 after hovering just below 6.0 for several weeks. It is shy of the 6.2 score for BULLET TRAIN (light blue) and well ahead of the 5.2 score for THE WOMAN KING (black).

Interest for 65 started to rise in late December when the trailer was released. Gains like this from a trailer are rare, so, at the time, there was reason to think the film was on a path to box office success.

Quite frankly, things looked even more encouraging when we looked at awareness. The trailer launched the film from an awareness of 7% to 25% (dark yellow) in the span of one month. It shot right past THE WOMAN KING (brown) and, for a moment, climbed as high as BULLET TRAIN (light yellow).

But then the film plateaued, and awareness stayed mostly the same for over a month. Eventually, THE WOMAN KING passed it, and now 65 is playing catch up with the other two films. Yes, 65 may reach THE WOMAN KING by this Friday, but BULLET TRAIN is out of reach. And with that, the box office prospects for 65 have dimmed despite substantial interest. That’s because, last year, not a single film with awareness below 40% grossed over $20M.

It’s hard to say precisely what’s happened. Perhaps the film doesn’t work. Maybe it’s not commercial. Is the title confusing? Or is it that Sony isn’t putting its full weight behind the film?

What we do know is that the studio has yet to give the film the same push when it comes to artwork. We firmly believe that the scope of the one-sheet campaign often mirrors a film’s success.

We know, for example, that Sony loves character posters (we do, too!). Just look at the ones created for BULLET TRAIN and THE WOMAN KING.

With less than a week to go, this image is all we’ve got for the film.

65 is a film that we’d like to see make money. As M3GAN and COCAINE BEAR showed, mid-budget originals can succeed. Quite frankly, the future of theatrical depends on films like this, especially as we see a continued diminishment in the grosses for superhero titles. 65 is especially frustrating because we can see that there is interest in the movie. So let’s hope awareness kicks in this week. And if not, we’d love to see 65 become the first film to crack $20M with awareness under 40%.

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