The Quorum

Update: The Challenge In Tracking CHALLENGERS

Two weeks ago, when the terrific reviews for CHALLENGERS were released, The Quorum was projecting an opening weekend in the $6M – $8M range. At the time, we wondered if the reviews would lift the tracking data. 

The numbers somewhat improved down the homestretch. Awareness climbed 9 points since that story was published. And interest popped a little in the end, up 2 points in the final two weeks. 

Though not huge, these gains were enough to lift the opening weekend projection to $10M – $12M. But that’s not the projection The Quorum published to its subscribers on Thursday night. The official forecast was $10M – $15M. Why the extra $3M on the high side?

There’s more to the story. In the end, CHALLENGERS proved to be one of the, well, more challenging films to track. The film’s journey to release highlights a few things that tracking sometimes struggles to pick up. 


Over the past year, PLF and IMAX theaters has played an increasingly important role at the box office. Premium large format screens continue to grow in share of overall tickets sold. The growth of the format and the higher ticket price means that films booked on these screens have a meaningful upside advantage over non-PLF titles.

We capture that to some extent at The Quorum. In our surveys, we ask people if they would buy a premium ticket for a film or if they would see it on a traditional screen. That data is available to subscribers. Opening weekend projections rise for films with outsized PLF interest. Though PLF interest for CHALLENGERS was well below that of larger blockbusters, just being in IMAX is enough to add additional box office dollars. 


Consumer promotions can take on multiple forms. Right now, folks who buy an IMAX ticket for KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES through Fandango are entered into a contest to win a trip for two to New Zealand. Those who bought a ticket for a GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE received a $5 off coupon for GHOSTBUSTERS five-film movie collection. 

What’s less common are discounted ticket prices. On Tuesday, T-Mobile made tickets for CHALLENGERS available for $5 if purchased through Atom. For those on the fence about seeing the movie or who have price sensitivity, this likely increased ticket sales. And this will not be reflected in tracking, especially so close to release. 


Great reviews make a difference. Strong notices are enough to convert “maybes” to ticket buyers. Reviews, however, usually come out just days or even hours before a film’s release. In those cases, the impact of critical praise isn’t always reflected in the tracking. 

That was less of an issue for CHALLENGERS since MGM released the reviews two weeks before the film’s opening. The positive reviews undoubtedly impacted the gains in awareness and interest in the movie. Still, late-breaking reviews to the up or down side can be a challenge to capture in tracking 

For those reasons, The Quorum upped its official projection from the $10M – $12M that the data suggested to the $10M – $15M to account for the variables that tracking can’t capture. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.