As a prequel to HBO’s THE SOPRANOS, fans are used to seeing these characters on the small screen.
Those familiar with The Quorum know that we sort all films into one of seven groups. One of the smaller groups is “Known IP.” As we note on the site, films in this group fall into two subgroups:
1. Original films based on well-known IP (IN THE HEIGHTS, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG).
2. Sequels, prequels, remakes, or re-imaginations of previous films that are either evergreen in that they are brought back to theaters for different generations (CINDERELLA), feature a new cast (GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE), or have been away from theaters for at least ten years (WEST SIDE STORY).
The great thing about this group is that it can be a complete mixed bad. For example, in the next few weeks, we will get one movie based on a beloved TV series (THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK) and one based on a Broadway musical (DEAR EVAN HANSEN). Speaking of musicals, the last high-profile film from this group to hit theaters was IN THE HEIGHTS. That film opened to $11.5M back in June.
As you may remember, HEIGHTS was a day-and-date release on HBO Max. The same is true for NEWARK. EVAN, on the other hand, will get an exclusive theatrical release.
In the case of NEWARK, a hybrid release may work to its advantage. Making a film based on a TV show is always risky since you don’t always know if audiences will follow characters from the small screen to the big screen. It certainly worked for SEX AND THE CITY — also from HBO — and more recently DOWNTON ABBEY. But every now and again, you get a BAYWATCH or a CHIPS that doesn’t translate at the box office.
When it comes to NEWARK, that question almost becomes mute. The hybrid release serves those that want to see it on the big screen and those that love the characters but don’t feel the need to see them in a theater.
The data suggests that EVAN may be at a disadvantage with a theatrical-only release. As you can see below, a clear majority of people would prefer to watch NEWARK (#42) and HANSEN (#53) and home. That’s not unusual. Only a handful of films have a score above 50 for theatrical viewing, but in this case, the split between home and theater is vast.
With just a few weeks to go before release, how do these two films look? The chart below shows that awareness over time for EVAN (light yellow) and NEWARK (brown) against HEIGHTS (dark yellow). HEIGHTS saw big gains in awareness in the final few weeks before peaking at 39 when it opened.
At the moment, EVAN is starting to see noticeable gains. Awareness is on the rise at 26. NEWARK, on the other hand, is stuck in the low 20’s. What remains to be seen is if either one of these will see the same 11th hour pop in awareness like HEIGHTS. If they don’t, they may have trouble matching the already soft $11.5M opening for HEIGHTS. Of course, if that turns out to be the case, EVAN will likely be at a disadvantage for not having the home streaming to prop up the returns.