Up until around 6 PM on Sunday, the biggest movie story of the weekend was the terrific opening for THE LOST CITY.
With a $30.5M debut, CITY marked the first time women – especially those over 35 years old – went to the theater for a non-tentpole superhero movie. It was the strongest sign yet that the box office has reached a multi-demographic recovery.
To give that number some context, you can see that CITY had the 6th largest opening for a March comedy over the past 20 years. None of these films debuted above $40M, meaning CITY isn’t that far off from the top.
So, yes, this was a big win for theatrical. And we would like nothing more than to see this momentum continue – to see more films succeed by targeting a female audience. Do any of the upcoming releases hold such promise? Let’s take a look.
Before doing that, however, it’s important to note that CITY succeeded because it had broad interest beyond women. Here are the interest scores for CITY versus the average for all films. Yes, interest among women was much higher than the average (6.3 vs. 4.9), but with a score of 5.9, CITY was in line with the mean for men.
And when we look at the individual demos, CITY exceeded the average in all quadrants except for men under 35 years old.
With that in mind, are any upcoming releases in a position to do the same?
Below are the 20 films with the highest interest score among women. The list is dominated by tentpoles (JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, AVATAR 2), superheroes (THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER), and high-profile animation (LIGHTYEAR, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU).
It’s safe to say that a broad cross-section of people will show up for these titles. We’re interested in smaller films that have the potential to be event titles for women.
Unfortunately, it’s slim pickings.
Well, we should say it’s slim pickings on the theatrical side. That’s because the one film that immediately jumps off the page, HOCUS POCUS 2, is scheduled to be released on Disney+. With an interest score of 6.4 among women, it trails only JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION among films being tracked by The Quorum.
When we look at the other demos, the numbers for HOCUS among men are lower than CITY, but that’s ok. The film is still undated (though an October release has been hinted at), so there is still time for the guys to come around. Interest among men for CITY was quite a bit lower in the early days of the campaign, so the HOCUS numbers aren’t of too much concern.
We’ve written before about how Disney should give some consideration to a theatrical release for the film. Still, there have been no indications that the studio is moving in that direction, so let’s shift our focus to movies that we know will be available in theaters.
Looking again at the top 20 listed above, the other title that jumps out is WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING. With a July 15th release date, this has the potential to be a mid-summer, adult hit – the kind of film that acts as a palette cleanser after the onslaught of early summer tentpoles. July has been home to several adult-skewing movies like ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, DUNKIRK, and CRAZY STUPID LOVE, to name a few.
As for CRAWDADS, there’s good news and not-so-good news. On the plus side, the film has an incredible pedigree. It is based on one of the biggest novels of the past five years, Reese Witherspoon is producing it, and it features an original song by Taylor Swift. And, looking at the numbers, there is already a groundswell of interest among women over 35. It has an interest score of 5.4 in the demo versus the average of 4.8.
On the negative side, we see that interest in the other demos is light. In particular, the numbers among the men are well below the average. And given how far they are below the norm, it’s hard to imagine an about-face that brings men even close to the average.
In other words, CRAWDADS will likely live or die based on the number of women it attracts. And that’s what’s so exciting about this film. If this movie succeeds without the support of men, it will go a long way toward confirming that women will show up for elevated material.
It’s also worth pointing out that Sony just released a trailer for the film last week. That means these numbers are in flux. As you can see below, awareness has climbed four points in the few days since the trailer was dropped.
We refrain from passing judgments on the impact of a trailer until the film has had three post-trailer fieldings. We’re not there yet with CRAWDAD. So even though it’s starting from a position of low awareness and soft interest outside of the women over 35 demo, we will hold off on drawing conclusions about the trailer for now.
But, what we can say with confidence is that aside from HOCUS POCUS 2, there are no films scheduled to open over the next six months that show the same promise as THE LOST CITY. Hopefully, more female-skewing films will be greenlit, and a year from now, this will be a very different conversation.