Let’s give credit where credit is due. Sony has done a very nice job of building awareness for FATHER STU. As STU arrives in theaters today, it has 45% awareness. That’s higher than AMBULANCE, which hit theaters last week with a 38% awareness.
Now, I don’t think anyone is expecting STU to light up the box office this weekend, but there is a groundswell of support for the film. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.
STU, which opens today, is getting a two day head start on FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE, which opens on Friday. Here’s how the two films compare side-by-side. Awareness for BEASTS is six points higher but look at the interest numbers. The two films are nearly identical.
Does that mean STU is on pace to open to the same number as BEASTS? Let’s drill down into that.
We don’t talk too much about the location metric, but it’s a vitally important stat. In fact, for all the films released this year, there is an 87% correlation between location and opening weekend.
The location number represents the percentage of people who would prefer to watch the film in a theater instead of at home. Here’s where the two films diverge, with 61% of respondents saying they’d prefer to watch BEASTS in a theater, whereas that number is only 50% for STU. In other words, people know about STU. They have an interest in watching STU. But it’s not a film that will drive people to the theater.
Speaking of AMBULANCE, when that film opened last week, it had a location score of 51%.
Returning to the interest scores, BEASTS with a 5.8 is just ahead of STU at 5.7. But look what happens when we break it down by demo. As you can see below, interest for BEASTS skews much younger. It has a 6.1 score among people under 35 years old, whereas STU is at 5.2.
When we add demos, you can see the big disparity among men under 35 (red). BEASTS is at 5.9 versus 5.0 for STU. That’s the real problem for STU. A score of 5.0 for young men is among the lowest of any film this year.
The bottom line, STU is skewing older. Older audiences are going to the theater less often. And respondents are showing a greater propensity to watch STU at home rather than in a theater. These factors will put downward pressure on the film despite some very nice awareness numbers.