Why is this film noteworthy?
Based on Bernard Waber’s beloved children’s book, first published in 1965, LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE stars Javier Bardem and is directed by Josh Gordon, and Will Speck as the follow up to their raunchy R-rated hit OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY.
Box Office Universe:
LYLE is scheduled to open on October 7th. With kids in school and prestige films ramping up, we don’t immediately think of October as fertile ground for a family film. The chart below shows that.
Looking at non-fully animated family films released in October over the past 20 years, the average opening is $15.4M. Three titles opened above $20M, with HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR being an outlier with a $42M debut. Can LYLE open above the $15.4M average? Will it be the fourth film to reach $20M? Let’s take a look.
Let’s start, as we always do, with awareness. When we first started tracking LYLE in early May, awareness was at 12%. It floated up to 13%, which is where it sat when the trailer was released on June 22nd (vertical gray bar).
There are two things worth noting. First, in most cases, a poster is released at the same time as the trailer. That wasn’t the case with LYLE. Sony didn’t put out a poster until six weeks later, on August 10th (“P” in yellow circle). Second, the trailer didn’t result in any meaningful gain in awareness. However, awareness has climbed from 14% to 17% since the poster came out.
Unfortunately, we don’t have many live-action family films to use as comps. We can compare it to SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, which opened to $72M, but this is not a fair comparison for several reasons. SONIC is a sequel. It has a larger budget, etc.
You can see the difference in scale when we graph them together. At the same distance from release, awareness for SONIC was at 49% before reaching 64% on the day of release. Apples and oranges.
So, how do we contextualize 17% awareness in the absence of good comps? To answer that, let’s look at other films with similar awareness at the same distance from release. LYLE is 57 days out. These are all the 2022 films that had awareness below 20% at 60 days out. None of these films opened above $10M. AMBULANCE, with an awareness of 19% at 60 days out, came closest with an $8.7M opening weekend.
It turns out that awareness at 60 days out is highly predictive of performance. Across all 2022 wide releases, there is an 84% correlation between awareness at 60 days out and opening weekend.
If the pattern holds, LYLE will be another film to open below $10M. That would put it at the low end of the movies in its box office universe.
But, LYLE has one thing working in its favor. No family films are scheduled to open theatrically between now and when LYLE arrives in October. Yes, HOCUS POCUS 2 debuts on Disney+ the week before, but that’s in the streaming world. That means LYLE is entering a very unsaturated theatrical market. If there is built up demand, that could be enough to lift LYLE above $10M making it the first film of the year to do so with awareness below 20% at 60 days out.