Here’s a remarkable statistic. It’s possible that nine films from 2022 will open above $100M. If so, that would be the largest single year total in history.
So far this year, six films have opened above the century mark. And, it’s reasonable to think that BLACK PANTER: WAKANDA FOREVER and AVATAR: WAY OF THE WATER will bring the total to eight. That would put 2022 in a tie with 2015.
Talk about a recovery. Even tying the record would prove just how healthy theatrical is. Beating it would be incredible.
Could it be that there is another film that could push the 2022 total to nine? These two have the best chance: HALLOWEEN ENDS and BLACK ADAM. What’s the likelihood that either film will reach $100M? Let’s take a look.
Let’s start with HALLOWEEN ENDS. To date, IT holds the record for a horror film with an opening above $123M. It remains the only horror film to debut above $100M, though IT CHAPTER TWO came close with $91M. The 2018 refresh of HALLOWEEN ranks 3rd with a $76M opening.
So, there is precedent, but it is extremely rare.
Fast forward to 2021, and the second film in the current HALLOWEEN trilogy, HALLOWEEN KILLS, opened to $49M. That remains the largest pandemic-era opening for a horror film. However, it was a day-and-date release, meaning it would have had a larger opening had it not premiered simultaneously on Peacock.
Keeping in mind that the upcoming HALLOWEEN ENDS is the finale in the trilogy, and knowing that it will be getting an exclusive theatrical release, it’s not impossible to imagine that it could become just the 2nd horror film to reach $100M.
How do the numbers look?
At the moment, awareness for ENDS (dark yellow) is at 44%. Not only is it significantly higher than KILLS (light yellow) at the same distance from release (32%), but it already has the same level of awareness as KILLS on the day that film opened.
The story gets even better for ENDS when we look at interest. Currently, the interest score for ENDS is 6.1, which is significantly higher than KILLS. Based on these two metrics, ENDS looks well positioned to outgross KILLS. But can it get to $100M? We don’t have any pandemic era horror comps that reached those heights, so we’re in uncharted waters. And given that only one horror film has reached $100M, despite these numbers, we still think HALLOWEEN ENDS is a longshot to be the 9th $100M opener of the year.
That leaves us with BLACK ADAM.
BLACK ADAM is the rare DC standalone film featuring an entirely new character. Remember that Wonder Woman had appeared in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE before her standalone film, and Aquaman appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE before his solo movie.
BLACK ADAM has not appeared in any of the existing DC films. The lack of built-in awareness of the character may put downward pressure on the film’s opening weekend. It also makes it hard to find comps for ADAM. Given the choices at hand, we will use THE BATMAN and THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, the two most recent superhero titles, as comps. As you can see above, THOR opened to $144M, and BATMAN pulled in $134M. ADAM doesn’t need to reach those same heights to give us our 9th $100 opener of the year.
Currently, 44% of respondents are aware of BLACK ADAM (brown). After a slow start, awareness for ADAM has been on the rise in no small part due to the marketing campaign ramping up. It is now in line with THOR (dark yellow) and BATMAN (light yellow) at the same distance from release. Awareness above or near 65% by opening would be a good target for an opening above $100M.
Things get a little trickier on the interest side. As we’ve written before, an interest score above 6.4 is a strong indicator of an opening above $100M. While ADAM has seen nice gains in interest, it has since plateaued at 5.9. There’s still plenty of time for that score to climb above 6.4, but at the moment, it remains below the threshold for us to comfortably say it is on a path towards a $100M opening.
Both HALLOWEEN ENDS and BLACK ADAM are more than two months away from release, so there is plenty of time for these numbers to grow. We will continue to watch and root for them. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get to nine $100M films? Ten would be even better.