Two weeks ago yet another bruhaha erupted over a shelved Warner Bros. title. This time the film was COYOTE VS. ACME. Warner Bros. announced they would be shelving COYOTE in favor of a $30M tax write-off. As David Zaslav told Deadline, “Should we take certain of these movies and open them in the theater and spend another $30 or $40 million to promote them?” Apparently, COYOTE was not worth the P & A spend.
Four days later, as first reported by Puck, the studio pivoted by allowing the filmmakers to shop it around town. At The Quorum, we wanted to know if Warner’s was making a mistake. So we surveyed 600 people and asked them about ten upcoming Warner Bros. releases, including COYOTE. For each film, we gave respondents a logline and some artwork.
First, we measured awareness. Are people even familiar with COYOTE? At 22% it came in on the light side. Given the long legacy of Looney Tunes and the Wile E. Coyote character, that seemed light to us.
Next, we asked people to measure their interest in seeing the film on a scale from 1 to 10. We consider any score of 9 or 10 as being interested. Again, COYOTE came in on the light side with only 39% saying they were interested in seeing the film.
Finally, we asked people how disappointed they would be if each of these films were shelved, never to see the light of day. Again, we used a scale from 1 (“It wouldn’t bother me at all”) to 10 (“I would be very upset. I really want to see this movie”). The scores below show the percentage of people who scored 9 or 10.
Among our respondents, 14% would be disappointed if COYOTE was shelved. Among the ten Warner Bros. titles, it ranked towards the bottom.
Does this mean the studio was justified in shelving COYOTE? After all, there doesn’t seem to be a massive groundswell of awareness, interest, or urgency for the film. The answer is, not necessarily. But, it does suggest that there isn’t much a built-in audience. Whichever studio chooses to release the movie, they will have to work extra hard to improve those metrics.
The COYOTE numbers are interesting, but what got us at The Quorum especially excited were the BEETLEJUICE 2 scores. The sequel, arriving 36 years after the original, is just over nine months away from release, which means it’s time for it to be added to The Quorum.
We have known for some time that there is a solid groundswell of support for this film. We see that in our tracking data in the unaided awareness. Each week, we ask people to tell us what upcoming films they are aware of. It’s rare to see people mention a movie that is more than a few weeks from release. Consistently, week after week, we see BEETLEJUICE 2 appear in our survey. That’s right; there is already measurable unaided awareness for a film that is nine months away. So, yes, we’ve had our eye on this one for a while.
Nothing, however, could have prepared us for the film’s monstrous debut. The film arrives on tracking with 53% awareness, which ranks it #4 among all films being tracked by The Quorum.
And it ranks all the way at the top in interest. And it’s not even close. DEADPOOL 3 is four points behind BEETLEJUICE 2. It’s possible that BEETLEJUICE 2 may sit at the top of this chart until its release next September. The next nine months may be a race for the runner-up spot.
So, keep an eye out for September 6, 2024. That’s when BEETLEJUICE 2 arrives in theaters. Currently, there is an untitled Disney film squatting on that date. It’s not hard to imagine that film moving off. Given where the numbers are today, it’s hard to imagine another studio being brave enough to go up against this one.