Forget the Jets. This summer we’ve got the Sharks vs. the Turtles. In a curious bit of scheduling, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURLES: MUTANT MAYHEM and THE MEG 2: THE TRENCH—two films targeting the same demo—will go head-to-head in early August.
TURTLES gets a two-day head start by opening on Wednesday, August 2nd before MEG arrives on the 4th.
The Ninja Turtles have a surprisingly storied history at the box office. These pizza-loving chelonians have grossed nearly $1.1B worldwide across six films, with 2014’s succinctly titled TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES pulling in an impressive $191M domestically and $484M worldwide. Now, nearly a decade after that smash hit, the Turtles return to the big screen in highly-stylized animation thanks to writer/producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
As for THE MEG, it’s easy to forget exactly how big the first film was when arrived in theaters in August 2018. It debuted to $45M and stayed in the top five for five weeks enroute to a $145M total here at home and $530M worldwide.
Bottom line: These are two big properties that both need young guys to succeed. And that’s why it’s odd that they’d be going up against each other.
Some of this is a game of chicken. THE MEG was released on August 10, 2018, while TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, the most successful film in the franchise, opened on August 8, 2014. Early August worked for each film, and you can’t blame Warner Bros. and Paramount for wanting those dates again.
But, we also know that the greatest chance for success comes when two films on the same weekend appeal to complementary, not overlapping, audiences.
Ok, so how do the two films look? How are they tracking? When looking at the big four tracking metrics, the TURTLES have a clear advantage.
Awareness for TURTLES is at 39% versus 32% for MEG 2. Interest in TURTLES is outpacing MEG 2 46% to 42%. TURTLES also has an advantage in Location with 45% of respondents saying they want to see the film in a theater versus 40% for MEG 2. And, 57% say they would pay to watch TURTLES either in a theater or at home versus 53% for MEG 2.
But in this case, we’re especially interested in the demos. Specifically, we want to know which film is likely to attract young men. And here, TURTLES has a commanding advantage.
As the chart below shows, interest among men under 35-years-old is at 54% for TURTLES versus 42% for MEG 2. In fact, TURTLES also has a big lead among men over 35-years-old, with 51% interest to 41% for MEG 2.
Yes, TURTLES is in a good spot relative to MEG 2. But there’s another variable worth noting and that is the fact that TURTLES opens two days earlier on Wednesday August 2nd. That’s not inconsequential. That could mean that young men rush out to TURTLES on Wednesday and Thursday then return to theaters over the weekend for MEG 2. In this scenario, both films are winners.