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Another Dimension: The Value of 3D Beyond Box Office Numbers on March 24, 2015

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by Daniel Loria

In 2012, Ang Lee transfixed critics and audiences alike with his use of 3D in Life of Pi. The film became a global success, grossing $611.7 million worldwide. The following year, Alfonso Cuarón found the same warm reception with Gravity --grossing $716.3 million globally. If there was a 2014 release poised to continue that streak, it would have been Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. Nolan, however, decided to emphasize his preference for analog formats with the Interstellar release --scrapping the idea of 3D altogether in favor of promoting advance 70mm and 35mm screenings. Interstellar still succeeded globally, registering a $664.2 million haul, but the response from audiences ($186.9M) and critics in North America was somewhat muted when compared to the director's previous efforts. Despite its relative success, Interstellar still felt like somewhat of a missed opportunity, leaving 2014 without a defining 3D film to capture an audience's imagination. That isn't to say 2014 was devoid of blockbusters released in 3D; the format helped launch Guardians of the Galaxy and The LEGO Movie into the blockbuster category.

"3D operates as a kind of derivative of the cinema business; good slates and bad slates, up years and down years," explains Chad Aaron, president and CFO of MasterImage 3D. "And yes, 2015 is looking like a great year, but look at the anchor films we have coming in the next five years with the Star Wars and Avatar sequels." MasterImage remains positive at the outlook for 3D going into the future, seeing a potential for the format as international exhibitors rush to meet consumer demand. While several other 3D companies have begun to diversify their tech offerings, MasterImage remains exclusively committed to 3D. "If you look at what exhibitors have been involved with over the past five years, you have to notice exhibitors are sick of spending money --they're interested in making money now," Aaron says.

Like its competitors, MasterImage has been busy addressing a common complaint from audiences: the brightness levels of 3D. Their Mi-Horizon3D system, announced in late 2013, zeroes in on the issue and has already found eager clients in the growing international marketplace. MEGABOX, one of the leading exhibitors in South Korea with more than 450 screens, adopted MasterImage's high-brightness 3D system last year.

Brightness isn't only a concern for manufacturers of 3D system. Screen manufacturer Harkness launched its new Clarus XC series at last year's CinemaCon, while Port Window Glass offers their anti-reflective Opticlear glass for projection booths. LightSpeed Design introduced its DepthQ CineBright solution last summer, a 3D light recycling product that is already available outside the U.S. thanks to the growing demand of international exhibitors for more 3D screens.

The international demand for 3D becomes obvious when considering the sheer number of offices RealD has opened overseas. RealD has a presence in over 26,000 auditoriums across 73 countries, with local offices in Moscow, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro. China's booming exhibition market is central to RealD's strategy for the future; in 2014 RealD extended its agreement with Wanda Cinema to double the number of its auditoriums in the circuit over the next three years. As of November 2014, there are already more than 1,000 RealD screens being installed in Wanda Cinema locations across China. RealD also has deals in place with exhibitors in China and Russia to roll out their premium large-format brand, Luxe, in those markets. "It started recently," explains Anthony Marcoly, president of worldwide cinema for RealD. "They've sort of grown up with 3D, and that's really the way exhibition programs over there. When a movie is available in 3D, it gets programmed in about 95 percent of their cinemas that way, and that's how the audiences see the movie. As a 3D company, that's probably our most important territory right now, and the deal we just signed with Wanda confirms that."

RealD isn't the only company entering the premium large-format and luxury business. Dolby is entering the space themselves with Dolby Cinema, in which Dolby 3D will be a vital component of an offering that will include Christie laser projection, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. "As more 3D titles are released worldwide, our consistent relationships with filmmakers, studios, and exhibition allows Dolby to deliver premium cinematic experiences to consumers in Dolby 3D, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. Dolby has delivered some of the biggest Hollywood titles, such as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Guardians of the Galaxy, in Dolby 3D and Dolby Atmos," says Doug Darrow, senior vice president of cinema at Dolby Laboratories. "Our collaboration continues with members of the film industry to bring more Dolby 3D, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos titles to the cinema. It is likely to be a big year for 3D releases, and our goal with Dolby Cinema is to provide filmmakers the technology solutions to most accurately represent their vision."

While 2014 lacked the defining critical and commercial 3D hit of years past, it did produce one of the most compelling releases since the format's renaissance, Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language 3D. Indie distributor Kino Lorber had difficulty finding enough screens to carry the acclaimed title from the iconic French New Wave auteur, despite the fact the film had been awarded the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and named the best film of the year by the National Society of Film Critics. The film's widest release in the U.S. only covered 7 locations, and it was still able to pocket $335K from its theatrical run. Goodbye to Language is a prime example of how all theaters, not just the multiplex, stand to gain from embracing 3D. The format is nothing new at the art house; documentaries like Pina from Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams come to mind. Top film festivals already recognize 3D's potential to further cross over into the art house; the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals count on XPAND 3D as a technology partner at their events.

"People had always thought of 3D as that sort of eye-popping stuff that comes at you. What filmmakers have found is that 3D enables a storytelling mode that can bring the audience into the movie itself and make it immersive," says RealD's Anthony Marcoly. The continued adoption of the format by filmmakers, along with international consumer demand, makes it clear that 3D is much more than simply a trend. The support of the creative community is central to 3D's success, and the ensuing box office results are simply a byproduct of that endorsement. Meanwhile, as 3D technology improves, so will the consumer's experience. The future for 3D looks bright indeed.

NORTH AMERICA: Weekend Actuals: 'Insurgent' Arrives in First with a Solid $52.26M; 'Cinderella' Dances Past $100M Mark After $34.97M Weekend; 'The Gunman' ($5.03M) and 'Do You Believe?' ($3.59M) Both Fail to Make Noise on March 23, 2015

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By Daniel Garris

Lionsgate's The Divergent Series: Insurgent led the box office this weekend with a first place debut of $52.26 million. The second installment of the young adult series starring Shailene Woodley debuted on the low end of its pre-release expectations. Insurgent opened 4 percent below the $54.61 million start of last year's Divergent. However, it should be noted that Insurgent had the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions, while Divergent did not. With that said, Insurgent was still off to a very solid start of its own this weekend. It should also be noted that the film's overseas start was significantly stronger than that of Divergent.

Insurgent opened with $21.15 million on Friday (which included an estimated $4.1 million from evening shows on Thursday), fell 7 percent on Saturday to gross $19.69 million and declined 42 percent on Sunday to gross $11.43 million. That places the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.47 to 1. In comparison, Divergent had a ratio of 2.40 to 1. Insurgent having a slightly more back-loaded opening weekend performance than Divergent had could be a good sign for Insurgent going forward, though it could also be a sign of the film's initial audience being less fan-driven this time around.

The audience breakdown for The Divergent Series: Insurgent skewed towards female moviegoers (60 percent) and towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (55 percent). The film received a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore.

Cinderella placed in second this weekend with a strong $34.97 million. Disney's blockbuster fairy tale adaptation was down 48 percent from last weekend's debut. That represented a respectable second weekend hold, especially when considering the direct competition the film faced from Insurgent and that Cinderella lost most of its IMAX screens to Insurgent as well. Cinderella zoomed past the $100 million domestic mark this weekend and has grossed $122.52 million in ten days. That places the film a slim 4 percent behind the $128.18 million ten-day start of last year's Maleficent (which declined 51 percent in its second weekend to gross $34.33 million). Maleficent went on to stabilize very nicely later on in its run, and Cinderella will have a strong chance of doing the same, especially given the limited amount of new options for family audiences in April.

With Insurgent and Cinderella currently dominating the box office, the rest of the weekend's line-up made very little noise. It was an especially close race for third, with action thrillers Run All Night and The Gunman separated by an extremely slim $3,621 for the frame.

Warner's Run All Night finished in third place with $5.032 million. The Liam Neeson led action thriller was down 54 percent from last weekend, which represented a typical second weekend decline for a Neeson vehicle. Run All Night has grossed $19.64 million in ten days. That is a bit below expectations and places the film 6 percent behind the $20.83 million ten-day take of last year's A Walk Among the Tombstones (which fell 67 percent in its second weekend to gross $4.19 million).

Open Road's The Gunman debuted in fourth place with $5.029 million. The Sean Penn led action thriller opened a bit below its already modest pre-release expectations. Online activity for the film had been especially soft in the weeks leading up to its release and the film arriving so soon after Run All Night certainly didn't help matters either. The Gunman opened a significant 54 percent softer than the already soft $11.01 million start of Run All Night last weekend.

The Gunman started out with $1.77 million on Friday, increased 13 percent on Saturday to gross $1.99 million and declined 37 percent on Sunday to take in $1.26 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.84 to 1. The Gunman received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore and should fade away from theatres quickly.

Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service rounded out the weekend's top five with $4.63 million. The Matthew Vaughn directed graphic novel adaptation starring Colin Firth was down just 26 percent from last weekend, as the film continues to hold up very nicely. The 38-day total for Kingsman stands at a stronger than expected $114.59 million.

Do You Believe? arrived in sixth place with $3.59 million. The faith-based drama from Pure Flix opened a bit below expectations and failed to approach the $9.22 million start of last year's God's Not Dead, though it wasn't widely expected to do so. Do You Believe? grossed $1.21 million on Friday, increased a slim 9 percent on Saturday to gross $1.32 million and decreased just 20 percent on Sunday to gross $1.06 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.96 to 1. Do You Believe? will hope to hold up well going forward, thanks in part to the approaching Easter holiday.

On the platform front, It Follows continued its solid performance with $344,874 from 32 locations. That gave the critically acclaimed horror thriller from RADiUS-TWC a per-location average of $10,777 for the frame. It Follows has grossed $568,901 through ten days of platform release. Based on its performance thus far and on the strong critical buzz surrounding the film, It Follows is scheduled to expand into semi-wide release next weekend.

What to Expect from 3D this Year on March 23, 2015

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by Phil Contrino

3D may not be generating tons of headlines these days, but that doesn't mean it's not a vital part of our industry. Eight of 2014's highest-grossing films were released in 3D. (Technically you could say nine out of 10, considering that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1 received a 3D release in China but not North America.) Modern 3D is heading toward a period of maturity. Key lessons have been learned by distributors, exhibitors, and filmmakers about what works and what doesn't. The polarizing aspect of 3D hasn't gone away, but sometimes all it takes is one great film in 3D to change minds. We're betting that Gravity did just that last year. As long as filmmakers with exciting visions continue to value 3D, we'll stay confident about its potential.

Animated Films Will Continue to Connect in 3D

We firmly believe that Minions will become a member of the $1 billion global gross club when it opens in July this year, and a big reason for that will be strong grosses-both at home and overseas-from 3D shows. We are also bullish on Inside Out, Underdogs, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Peanuts Movie, and The Good Dinosaur.

3D Films Will Continue to Dominate the Box Office

The top 10 list in 2015 should be heavy on 3D releases. The heavy favorites to be No. 1 and No. 2-Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars-are both in 3D. That may sound like a no-brainer, but the continued success of films released in 3D is an important reinforcement of the collective gamble our industry has taken, and it's always a fact that should be celebrated. The mainstream media is quick to pick on 3D, and it's crucial to make sure that the good stories are told.

Franchise Reboots Try 3D on for Size

It'll be very interesting to see how Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens perform in 3D. We're betting all three will be very strong. When it comes to Jurassic World and Star Wars, it's clear that fans want to see those worlds with an added dimension, because 3D rereleases from both properties performed well at the box office.

More Oscar Recognition

There's a fact about 3D that goes underreported: back-to-back Best Director Oscars went to filmmakers who made critically and commercially successful 3D films: Ang Lee for Life of Pi and Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. There's a chance that 2015's crop of films could bring more Oscar recognition. The two main contenders are Robert Zemeckis for The Walk and Craig Gillespie for The Finest Hours.

Expect Surprises

Every year there's a 3D film that comes along and surprises audiences a bit. This is a good thing for the industry as a whole, because it trains consumers to expect the unexpected when they go to the movies. We can't wait to see what film (or films) will surprise this year.

 

Twitter Futures - 'Paper Towns' Surges Thanks To First Trailer on March 23, 2015

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By Alex Edghill

Sunday Morning Update: With the reign of Insurgent finally over a newcomer made its way into the top 5 for the first time this past week, shooting right to the top with its first trailer - Paper Towns. The latest film adaptation from author John Green's (of Fault In Our Stars fame) list of best-sellers. Paper Towns had an eye-popping 122,864 tweets on Thursday, making it the third largest trailer of the year on Twitter behind only Unfriended and Avengers: Age Of Ultron. The main comparison here of interest is Fault In Our Stars which managed an even bigger 145,233 tweets last January. Given the fact that Paper Towns has a much bigger scope on it because of Stars I'm going to go out on a limp here and say $50 million+ is highly unlikely (Fault In Our Stars opened to $48 million), however, its still going to be a massive success with $30 million+ very likely at this point. I'll be interested to see how its buzz tracks now that its first trailer is out and Fault In Our Stars continued to have huge volumes for months leading up to its release, enough to make it the most talked about film on Twitter for all of 2014.

The other big mover on the week was Insidious Chapter III which rose to just over 23,000 tweets last Wednesday after the release of its first trailer. By comparison, Insidious Chapter II had 36k+ tweets for its first trailer back in 2013, on its way to a $40 million opening. It would appear as though we need to lower our sights for the film given these trailer numbers, and with the horror genre being so busy this year this could be one that falls through the cracks when it comes to opening weekend. The first film opened to $10 million, second was $40 million and my guess is the third will land somewhere in-between.

Twitter Top 10 Movies for the week of March 13th to March 19th

Date Movie Tweets Rank Change
7/24/15 Paper Towns 185,415 1 (+3) 527.25%
5/01/15 Avengers: Age of Ultron 115,306 2 (-) 22.16%
4/03/15 Furious 7 98,534 3 (-) 31.57%
6/05/15 Insidious: Chapter 3 63,796 4 (+10) 408.21%
6/12/15 Jurassic World 32,719 5 (+5) 102.58%

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Please check the methodology page for information about our Twitter project or here for historic data.

GLOBAL REPORT: 'Insurgent' Takes $101M Day-and-Debut as 'Cinderella' Continues to Earn Overseas on March 22, 2015

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Insurgent enjoyed a $101 million global day-and-date debut across 76 overseas markets. It is the #1 film in 66 of those markets, including strong debuts in France ($5.8M), the UK ($4.5M), Brazil ($4.2M), Mexico ($3.7M), and Australia ($3.2M). The overseas haul netted $47 million, with overseas IMAX screenings contributing $1.7 million.

Cinderella grossed $41.1 million from 45 territories in its second weekend of release overseas. Italy has been performing particularly well for the princess film, taking $3.9 million in its sophomore frame to reach a $10.9 million cume. Cinderella's other top markets include a blockbuster run in China ($52.4M), along with strong results from Mexico ($10.9M) and Russia ($8.9M). The film has already grossed a total of $131.1 million overseas and $253.1 million worldwide with openings in top markets like France, Spain, the UK, Australia and Brazil scheduled for next weekend.

Home opened in 9 overseas markets ahead of its North American release. The film grossed $19.2 million from 4,659 in its roll-out, including a #1 finish in the UK from a $9.3 million bow at 1,183 screens. The film also took the top spot in Russia ($4.2M from 2,157 screens) and Spain ($2.4M from 573 screens), while settling for second place behind Insurgent in Australia ($2.3M from 247 screens) and Norway ($439k from 220 screens).

Taken 3 opened in second place in China with $18 million from 3,500 screens. The Chinese debut boosts the film's overseas cume up to $224.2 million. Taken 3 has grossed $312.8 million worldwide and still trails its predecessor's $378.2 million global cume.

Kingsman: The Secret Service earned $8.5 million from 3,787 screens in 47 markets. The film crossed the $40 million mark in South Korea this weekend as it lifts its overseas total to $181.3 million. Kingsman has grossed $295.8 million worldwide.

Focus found $7.9 million from from 4,578 screens in 64 territories. A strong hold-over in Brazil brought in $1.15 million from 578 screens ($3.3M cume). Top markets include the UK ($10M), Russia ($8.3m), Mexico ($7.2M), Australia ($5.4M), and Italy ($5.1M). Focus has earned a total of $71 million overseas and $120.4 million worldwide.

Big Hero 6 grossed $6.6 million in its latest frame overseas. The animated film has now grossed a total of $422.8 million outside of North America and $644.7 million worldwide. Top markets include Japan ($76.2M), China ($76M), the UK ($29.5M), Russia ($20.3M), and South Korea ($20.1M).

Run All Night opened in four new territories and made $5 million from 2,300 screens in 23 markets. The film premiered in South Korea to $1.3 million from 406 screens, while Australia opened to $573k from 174 screens. Run All Night has grossed $34.9 m million worldwide.

American Sniper added $5 million to its overseas tally this weekend, bringing its cume outside of North America up to $184.2 million. Top markets include Italy ($23.2M), France ($20.9M), and the UK ($20.6M). American Sniper has grossed $528.2 million worldwide.

Fifty Shades of Grey grossed $4.3 million from 60 territories as it nears the $400 million mark overseas. The weekend brings its cume outside of North America up to $394.5 million with a worldwide total of $558.3 million.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel welcomed $3.2 million from 2,186 screens in 33 markets. The film has now grossed a total of $34.4 million overseas and $58.5 million worldwide.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water grossed $3.2 million from 3,720 locations in 48 territories. The film has now grossed $280 million globally.

A $2.7 million debut in Japan lifts Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb to a $238.4 million overseas cume. The film has now grossed $351.2 million worldwide.

The Boy Next Door earned $2.4 million from 23 territories to reach an $8 million cume overseas. An expansion in 10 territories this weekend included premieres in Germany ($750l at 288 dates), Spain ($519k at 235 dates), and Mexico ($415k at 326 dates). The film has grossed $43.4 million worldwide.


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