According to Forbes, 65 million households have a dog. That’s a lot. It turns out that many of those canine lovers like to see dogs on the big screen. MARLEY AND ME represents a high point for the genre, grossing $143M in 2018. But since then, the relatively inexpensive to produce dog drama has been a steady winner at the box office.
Most recently, the succinctly titles DOG starring Channing Tatum opened to $15M on its way to $62M total. As you can see below, nearly all the dramas in this group have opened in the mid-teens. And they all played well past a 3.0 multiple. It is a surprisingly steady genre. Since MARLEY, these films have performed in a relatively narrow range with no enormous breakouts or epic failures.
ARTHUR THE KING, opening March 15th, looks poised to do the same. At least that’s what the tracking suggests. Based on the true story of a stray dog that joins a team of athletes on an endurance race, ARTHUR has had to endure a similarly long journey to release. Initially developed in 2019 at Paramount, the film was shuffled off to Lionsgate a year later. Not long after Lionsgate also bowed out.
Filming commenced in early 2021 meaning ARTHUR has been in the can for a few years now. Eventually Lionsgate came back on board and scheduled the film for a full theatrical release.
Looking at the numbers, ARTHUR is tracking nearly identically to DOG. The similarities are quite striking. At the same distance from release, awareness is identical for the two films at 31%.
The same is true when we look at interest. At 49%, ARTHUR is just one point below DOG at 50%.
ARTHUR is seven weeks from release, meaning The Quorum won’t be issuing a formal opening weekend projection for the film until next week. But based on the numbers here, you can probably guess where our initial forecast might land.
It’s worth noting that the R-rated STRAYS didn’t connect with audiences last year. The film opened to $8M and ended its run at $24M. It could be that audiences prefer their four-legged friends in a more PG or PG-13 environment. Given the genres ability to yield a steady return, it’s a bit curious as to why the film bounced around so much. Nor is it clear why more studios don’t make more dog dramas.