The Quorum

What Happened to KING RICHARD?

Men chose GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE over RICHARD by a 10:1 clip

Poor Will Smith. He gets the best reviews of his career, and yet he still struggles in the winter. 

In a perfect world, RICHARD would have opened above $15 and had enough juice to play through the holidays. But with a debut under $6M, there simply isn’t enough gas in the tank. 

On paper, it could be argued that RICHARD looked like FORD V FERRARI. They both center around sports, feature likable lead actors and opened the weekend before Thanksgiving. FERRARI was a huge hit in 2019, debuting to $31M. That’s six times as much as RICHARD. There are as many similarities as differences, but at least FERRARI shows how well a modestly budgeted film can perform in mid-November.

So what went wrong? How did RICHARD end up with such a soft opening? 

Sure, we should probably start by pointing out that RICHARD debuted simultaneously on HBO Max. Without question, that suppressed the box office for RICHARD as it’s done for all Warner Bros. titles this year. 

However, to get to the kernel of truth about RICHARD, you have to look at the demos. According to an internal study, nearly half of the people who went to the theater before the pandemic have stopped doing so. The people who are still going skew heavily male and are between the ages 25 and 45. Conversely, we know that those not currently going to the theater skews more female. 

This weekend, male audiences made a choice, and that choice was GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE. According to PostTrack, the audience for GHOSTBUSTERS was 59% male, while the audience for RICHARD was the mirror opposite at 41% male. 

The problem is, if women aren’t going to the theater, you need the men to keep the grosses afloat. And if those men go elsewhere, you’re left with not much of an audience. 

Going back to FERRARI, the audience for that film was 62% male. 

Let’s extrapolate out a bit from here. RICHARD grossed about $5.7M. That means, if the audience was 41% male, men spent approximately $2.3M in ticket sales. GHOSTBUSTERS made about $44M in total, with an audience that was 59% male. That means men contributed $26M in ticket sales. 

Side by side, we can see that men chose GHOSTBUSTERS over RICHARD at a 10:1 clip. 

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