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Box Office: ‘Black Widow’ Should Top $100M Today

Black Widow jumped a decent 7% on its fifth day of release, earning $7.7 million on Tuesday to bring its cume to $95.219 million. So, yeah, barring a Wednesday crash, it should pass $100 million either today or at like 12:02 am tomorrow. The 7% jump is expected thanks to what I used to call in the pre-Covid days “cheap ticket Tuesday,” whereby most theater chains had discounts, bargains and related incentives for folks to show up in the middle of the week. That’s still in play, but I’m not shocked that it jumped less high than (among recent openers on this weekend) Minions (+30% in 2015 after a $115 million Fri-Sun debut) Spider-Man: Homecoming (+23% in 2017 after a $117 million launch) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (+43% in 2018 after a $76 million opening weekend).

Those films mostly dropped 30-35% on Wednesday save for Ant-Man and the Wasp which dropped 41%. A 35% drop would still be $4.99 million and enough to pass $100 million domestic today and $200 million worldwide tomorrow. Again, and this is important in case Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow drops 65% this weekend, both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man and the Wasp had frontloaded opening weekends (around 2.23x), dropped 62% on weekend two (the worst yet for the MCU) and then legged out over the season to solid 2.85x multipliers. We’re probably looking at a $104 million week-long total, with an over/under $30 million weekend for a $133 million ten-day total. Moreover, as it opens in Taiwan, Uruguay and Peru while presumably continuing the current 50/50 domestic/overseas split, we can expect around $265 million worldwide by Sunday night.

And yes, I’ll be damn curious to see if Disney gives us more Disney+ earnings, or if that was a one-time thing to divert attention away from the “smaller than F9” global debut and the frontloaded domestic launch. As you know, Disney claimed $60 million in global sales last weekend, including around $33 million in North America alone. Again, that’s a terrific supplemental income stream, but only because they had theatrical concurrently doing its thing. The alleged 1.1 million viewings (so says Samba TV) in America are about in line with Mulan (1.2 million on opening weekend )last August, but Mulan didn’t have a conventional theatrical release bolstering its earnings. Yes, Disney gets almost 100% of the Disney+ money (versus 50% with theaters), but that forever Disney+ ownership the revenue stream (EST, VOD, DVD, etc.).

That’s not to say Walt Disney made a mistake by offering the Disney+ lease. Quite the contrary, I will argue that earlier PVOD availability or concurrent day-and-date streaming/theaters availability is a viable path while the world is still reeling/recovering from a global pandemic. That’s especially true when kids are far less likely to be vaccinated than adults. But after the storm passes, I’d still expect Disney and Warner Bros. to recommit to at least a 45-day theatrical window. F9 and A Quiet Place part II have shown the value of at least temporary exclusivity. What makes sense during extremely specific circumstances does not make sense as new conventionally-accepted consumer behavior unless the studios (and shareholders) really want to trade theatrical profits (and the resulting post-theatrical revenue) to temporarily boost a $10-$15 per-month streaming platform.

Speaking of A Quiet Place part II, the Paramount release debuted on Paramount+ yesterday, right on schedule after a 45-day window. The film remains, for now, the year’s biggest domestic earner ($152 million) and the biggest domestic grosser since Bad Boys for Life ($204 million) in January of 2020. The film earned $212,000 yesterday, a mere 32% drop from last Tuesday and a 0% jump from Monday. I do not expect theatrical revenue for A Quiet Place part II to drop off a cliff once it has arrived on streaming and EST, unless of course it starts severely bleeding screens due to the Space Jam and Escape Room sequels and then (next weekend) Paramount’s Snake Eyes and Universal’s Old. Of note, A Quiet Place dropped 34% from its sixth Tuesday to its seventh Tuesday.

The second-ranked movie on Tuesday is not F9 but The Boss Baby: Family Business. The studio behind Fast & Furious 9 must be *pissed.* The DreamWorks toon earned $1.5 million (+29% from Monday and -37% from Tuesday) for a $37.7 million 12-day domestic cume. The Boss Baby opened with $50 million in March of 2017 and legged out to $175 million domestic (and $500 million worldwide), but nobody was expecting that here. Boss Baby 2 is still playing to theatrical consumers despite being available concurrently on Peacock for the next two months. Either consumers are making a specific choice to seek out theatrical or they don’t yet know how and where they can see the movie at whatever avenue offers it cheapest. Probably a little of both, as Universal’s The Forever Purge tops $30 million today.

But, yeah, F9 did earn another $408,000 (+7% from Monday but -53% from last Tuesday) to bring its 19-day domestic cume to $144.8 million. It should pass A Quiet Place part II as the year’s biggest domestic grosser sometime this weekend, while presumably holding off Black Widow as the year’s non-Chinese global champion perhaps permanently. Presuming Black Widow makes it to $200 million domestic (still plausible) and F9 makes it to $650 million worldwide (likely but not inevitable), those two may remain the respective champions for the near future. Shang-Chi and Eternals could both play like Ant-Man and the Wasp ($620 million) while even No Time to Die may run like Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace (over/under $595 million). Barring a happy miracle for, well, Spider-Man: No Way Home opens five months from now.

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