The Quorum

OLD did OK. Will any of the upcoming originals do better?

Last week, OLD debuted to $18M. It easily topped the $8M opening for WRATH OF MAN, making OLD the largest opening for an original film during the pandemic era.

It’s usually around this time of year — the tail end of the summer — when we get lower-budget original films. These are not sequels. They are not remakes. They are not based on previous IP.

OLD was the first in a string of originals that includes STILLWATER, debuting this weekend, as well as FREE GUY and RESPECT, both opening on August 13th

What remains to be seen is if any of these films will top the $18M opening for OLD. Let’s take a look at the numbers. Let’s start with awareness.

The chart below shows awareness over time for OLD (yellow) against the three upcoming originals. When OLD opened, it had an awareness of 34. STILLWATER, which opens in two days, is heading into its opening with an awareness of 36.

STILLWATER happens to be tied with FREE, though FREE has another two weeks to go before opening, so it should rise even higher in the days to come. The Ryan Reynolds pic should have no trouble crossing 40 by release.

Though it’s a bit hard to see here, awareness for RESPECT is at 34. It too has another two weeks before opening, so that score should also go up.

If that bears out, all three will open with a higher awareness than OLD on its day of release.

On the interest side, there’s little separation between the four films. OLD opened with an interest score of 5.6, STILLWATER is at 5.7, FREE is at 5.6, and RESPECT is at 5.4.

An interest score above 6.0 is amazing, though rare. At the very least, we like to see a score above 5.5 at opening. In other words, they all have decent but not spectacular interest scores. Of the four, RESPECT is on the low side.

OK, so that’s a lot of data. What does it all mean? Of the three upcoming originals, GUY is the best-positioned. It has the best chance of reaching 40% awareness by opening, and it has a solid interest score of 5.6.

The numbers for STILLWATER are very similar to OLD, so does that mean an $18M opening is in-store for the Matt Damon film? Not necessarily. Focus is releasing STILLWATER in about 1,000 fewer theaters than OLD. And a study conducted by The Quorum shows that the rise in the Delta variant is causing some people to avoid going to theaters. Those two factors will put some downward pressure on the open grosses.

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