The Quorum

Q3 Preview: The good, the average and the ugly

The third quarter of the year is one of transition. By July, most of the superhero and big budget tentpoles have cycled through, such as MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONE. The first half of August usually has a few mid-budget franchises (TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM, MEG 2: THE TRENCH) before the box office cools towards the end of summer. September marks the return of dramas and more adult fare (A HAUNTING IN VENICE, DUMB MONEY).

Our quarterly preview aims to identify films poised for success and, conversely, those that could use some extra love on the road to release. Here’s the methodology we use to sort would-be winners from losers.

First, we look at a film’s score in awareness and interest and compare it to the average score for its group. Take a look at MISSION and BARBIE. Awareness for MISSION is 53%, which is 1 point higher than the average of 52% for all Tentpoles at the same distance from releases. With an awareness of 52%, BARBIE is tracking 16 points higher than the average of 36% for its group.

If you look at the chart below, you will see BARBIE with a score of 16 and MISSION with a score of 1. Films with scores above 0 are over-indexing in awareness, and those below 0 are under-indexing. To the far right, you can see that awareness for BLUE BEETLE is 23 points lower than the average for other DC films at the same distance from release. Awareness is strong for films to the left, whereas awareness is a problem for films to the right.

This chart works the same way but with interest instead of awareness. INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR, HAUNTED MANSION, and THE EQUALIZER 3 are over-indexing their group averages by 5 points. PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE is under-indexing by 17 points. BLUE BEETLE isn’t far behind at minus 13.

What to make of all this? By combining the charts, you start to get some insights. THE EQUALIZER 3 is over-indexing in awareness (+9) and interest (+5). That film is in good shape. MEG 2: THE TRENCH is under-indexing both metrics, with a -17 in awareness and -13 in interest. That film is in danger of underperforming. Then there are titles that have mixed results. JOY RIDE has decent awareness (-2) but lags in interest (-7).

Here are four films that are well-positioned for success, four that are performing in line with their group’s average, and four that could use some help before they arrive in theaters.

Let’s take a look, for example, at MISSION, which belongs to the Tentpole group. Other films in this group include JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION ($145M) and TOP GUN: MAVERICK ($127M) on the high side and FANTASTIC BEASTS: SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE ($42M) and SNAKE EYES ($13M) on the low side. The average opening for all films in this group is $79M. 

When we say that MISSION is indexing in line with the average for this group, we mean that it is much more likely to perform closer to $79M than either of the group highs or lows. 

EQUALIZER belongs to the Medium group alongside other films like CREED III, TICKET TO PARADISE and AIR. The average opening for this group is $21M. When we say that EQUALIZER is tracking above index, we mean it looks to open comfortably above that $21M average. 

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