Last week I underestimated the performance of Underworld Evolution and likewise the week before. This week I did not make the same mistake with the same movie, but I did underestimate the draw of Harry Potter to the Lady in Black.
My predictions for the weekend were:
1. Chronicle: 23 million
2. The Grey: 10 million
3. Big Miracle: 9.1 million
4. Lady in Black: 9 million
|2||N||The Woman in Black||CBS||$20,874,072||–||2,855||–||$7,311||$20,874,072||–||1|
Based on a highly innovative viral marketing attempt involving remote control airplanes flying over New York that were shaped like human bodies and the successful integration of the hashtag #chronicle as both a promoted Tweet on Twitter and a virally spread and adopted tag in other tweets. It was the organic adoption of the #chronicle tag that clued me into the fact that there was much more momentum for seeing this film than some predictions were allowing for. Based on previous comps, it would have been easy to put the film down as maxing out around 19k. Kick Ass, for example was released in a similar time of year (April) and opened to about that. I’m not sure the instinct to compare Chronicle to other “found footage” films was very useful. Cloverfield, for example, had a similar demographic but came out at a totally different window and pulled in close to 40k.
Online conversation in the microblogs like Twitter for The Grey was still very robust moving through the week and I was fairly sure that it would not take too much of a hit in gross as a result. It seemed that folks who saw it as it opened were willing to talk positively about it, which in turn translated as additional interest in the next weekend. As a holdover I think it performed very well and outperformed the expectations of many, especially considering the high volumes of traffic brought in by the weekend’s other two major contenders.
Lady in Black:
I don’t know if it was really possible to find a comparable film to this film at all in order to use that comp to predict how Daniel Radcliffe’s first major feature after Harry Potter would perform. Certainly you could look at a few of the later Potter films and try to use those as a benchmark, but I’m not sure that would have been wise in the long run. In the end, I felt that the content was for a more mature audience and therefore would have (even though it was PG13) the behavior of a film that was rated R in a way that excluded some of it’s target audience. As it was, it was a good thing it maintained a PG13 rating for that very reason. Online discussions of Lady in Black were also very disjointed. There was no clear hashtag campaign around it and conversation about it didn’t seem coordinated at all. Certainly there was a good amount of press, but in order for buzz to build and delivered successfully, you have to create the proper vehicles for deployment and tell your audience how they are going to best help you promote your film in a way, and Lady in Black did not do a good job of that. As a result, that, mixed with the review cycle and conversations on blogs, should mean a fairly serious drop for it next weekend whereas I don’t anticipate such a drop for Chronicle.
It’s a feel good whale movie. Thank goodness it came out when there isn’t much else for “families” to see at the box office otherwise, I’m not sure it would have been able to get even what it did. I thought of We Bought a Zoo and how it did under similar circumstances (though closer to the holidays) and went with it as a comparable film. Turns out I was sorta right about everything but the total volume of the take for the weekend (and Lady in Black.)