The big July 21st showdown between OPPENHEIMER and BARBIE is now only six weeks away, which means it’s time for The Quorum to make its initial box office projection. As of today, we are projecting an opening weekend of $30M-$35M for OPPENHEIMER (subscribe to our Six-Weeks Out Film Tracking Report to see projections for BARBIE and all the other titles scheduled to open in the next six weeks).
Here are the variables behind the projection:
Low Awareness: Back in February, we reported that awareness for OPPENHEIMER was surprisingly low, despite the fact that the first teaser trailer came out in July of last year. Today, six weeks away from release, awareness is still low at 24%.
Non-Superhero Openings – It’s worth noting that outside of his BATMAN trilogy, Christopher Nolan’s largest debut is $63M for INCEPTION (see below). In other words, we tend to equate Nolan with enormous openings when that’s not necessarily the case. It’s also worth noting that Nolan’s films are not about the opening weekend, but rather the total gross, as nearly all his movies have multiples well above 3.0. In fact, it’s not uncommon for his films to reach a 4.0 multiple.
Premium Large Format – As PUCK first reported, OPPENHEIMER was shot using IMAX cameras and given an unusual three-week run on IMAX screens, much to the dismay of Tom Cruise. These premium large format screens will boost the total gross.
The Box Office Universe (BOU) – The BOU for OPPENHEIMER (below) ranges from a high of $50.5M to a low of $17.0M. What is the BOU? It is a list of comp titles based on various factors, including the month of release, rating, genre, theater count, etc. The variables used in selecting the BOU can change from film to film. For OPENHEIMER, these are larger budget, non-sequel, non-superhero movies that opened in July between 2013 and 2022.
The BOU provides context on how OPPENHEIMER might perform at the high and low end of the box office. It’s also helpful in identifying the sweet spot where most of these films perform.
Let’s take a closer look at the tracking. Currently, OPPENHEIMER is tracking in line with both ELVIS ($31M) and BULLET TRAIN ($30M). At the same distance from release, awareness for OPPENHEIMER (dark yellow) is just shy of BULLET TRAIN (light yellow) and several points behind ELVIS (brown).
It’s a similar story on the interest side where OPPENHEIMER (dark blue) is just behind ELVIS (light blue) and BULLET TRAIN (black).
If this forecast seems low, perhaps it is. With six weeks to go before release, there is time for that projection to rise, but based on where the film is today, we are forecasting an opening between $30M and $35M. We update our forecasts each week. Subscribe to see how the numbers change.