The Quorum

New To The Quorum: JOKER: FOLIE A DEUX

When JOKER opened to $96M in 2019, it set a record for the largest October opening, a benchmark that stands to this day. The film was also a critical darling, scoring 12 Oscar  nominations, including Best Picture. Joaquin Phoenix walked away with the Best Actor Oscar.

This week, The Quorum began tracking its  follow-up, JOKER: FOLIE A DEUX. DEUX certainly has big shoes to fill. And given that Warner Bros. has already been sneaking out still images a year before release, it’s clear the studio considers the film a top priority. This photo was released last April, a full 18 months before the film arrives in theaters.

While Warner Bros. has struggled with its DC properties, this superhero-adjacent property should be immune to the current superhero malaise. In fact, at The Quorum, we assigned DEUX to the Tentpole group rather than the DC/MCU group. That means DEUX sits alongside titles like TOP GUN: MAVERICK, BARBIE, and NO TIME TO DIE.

Can the sequel, which is scheduled on the same date as the first film, top the original and break the October record? Let’s look at the numbers.

The average opening for Tentpoles is $77M, roughly $20M less than the opening for the first JOKER. That means DEUX will have to overperform against the group average. Early tracking suggests that DEUX is well positioned to do that.

Let’s start with interest. Currently, interest in DEUX sits at 57% versus 50% for the group average at the same distance from release. Remarkably, DEUX ranks third among all films being tracked by The Quorum, behind DEADPOOL 3 and BEETLEJUICE 2. That’s quite an impressive start.

DEUX is also easily outpacing the group averages for the theater and fee metrics. These three metrics suggest that DEUX should easily top the average $77M opening for the group. Things go slightly sideways when we look at awareness. At 35%, awareness for DEUX is quite a bit lower than the group average of 41%.

How can that be? It seems strange, given that the studio has been aggressively dropping set photos over the past few months. In all likelihood, the title is suppressing awareness. Had the film been called JOKER 2, the score would likely have been higher. That shouldn’t be a problem as the campaign kicks in its first trailer. Over time, people will become accustomed to the title. That’s why we don’t see the low awareness as being a problem.

Also, low awareness and high interest is not a bad place to be. That means the people who know about the film want to see it. As awareness grows, the film should be well positioned to rival the first film’s opening.

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