Day two of The Amazing Spider-Man was far from the box office triumph that day one had been. After debuting to an impressive $35.9 million, including $7.5 million worth of midnight sneaks, the fourth Spider-Man movie fell to $23.4 million July 4th. While a two-day take of $59.3 million exceeds most projections for the comic book reboot, this is a troubling step back in terms of box office.
Daily Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
July 5, 2012
In yesterday’s analysis, I mentioned that July 4th as an American holiday negatively impacts all movies in release when the calendar configuration falls on a weekend. On weekdays, it helps as more people than normal go to the theater. To wit, almost every other movie in release increased from Tuesday to Wednesday. Out of the major titles in the marketplace, only Ted declined a modest 5% while Magic Mike is estimated at a 45% free fall. And as I mentioned yesterday, every film in the top ten during the same calendar configuration in 2007 increased. The Amazing Spider-Man is the (non-stripper) outlier.
If we remove the $7.5 million in sneaks as well as the newly announced $900,000 earned Monday that was previously unreported, Spider-Man grossed $27.5 million in its first full day in theaters. On its second full day in theaters, that total dropped significantly. We could describe it as a massive 35% decline but I feel it’s more accurate to remove all the extra Monday exhibitions and their related box office fluff, leaving a true decline of 15%.
While this may not seem like much, I mentioned yesterday that the previous iteration of this release pattern, Transformers, increased from $27.9 million to $29.1 million on July 4th, 2007. Sony execs had grown bullish on the continued popularity of Spider-Man. They raised their internal projections from the $110-120 million range over six days to the $150-$160 million range. Correctly, yesterday’s results have caused further tinkering with those projections. The current guesstimate is now $120-$130 million.
The amount of fluctuation over the past couple of days indicates just how difficult it is to anticipate consumer behavior on this particular release. A studio wouldn’t bounce around with $50 million dollar swings if they had a clearer idea of a product’s demand. The Amazing Spider-Man is particularly tricky in this regard because there are so many factors at play. Spider-Man 3 was a franchise killer, but Spider-Man as a character is among the most proven of the 2000s. Tuesday’s box office indicated a larger than anticipated demand for the reboot. Wednesday’s box office probably better reflects the actual consumer interest in the project.
The current belief is that Tuesday’s numbers were frontloaded by the comic book crowd who forgive and forget more easily. Even that conclusion is tenuous, though. With the movie releases on this July 4th performing less impressively overall than in 2007, there is a chance that The Amazing Spider-Man recovers a bit. Personally, I am dubious about this.
Most of the other releases performed as expected with four titles increasing in the 10-20% range (Brave, Madagascar 3, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection and Prometheus) while others saw even more substantial growth (Moonrise Kingdom, People Like Us and The Avengers all increased at least 32%). What appears to have happened is that two heavily frontloaded releases from last weekend, Ted and Magic Mike, are down some in spite of the holiday. Had it not been for the July 4th holiday, Ted’s drop would have been more significant. I am not reading a lot into Magic Mike as its Tuesday and Wednesday totals are both studio estimates. I presume that these are shaky numbers to use as fact at the moment.
In other words, everything we see in the top ten makes at least some sense. Because of this, I believe that The Amazing Spider-Man has demonstrated the standard performance for a frontloaded film. We will monitor this further tomorrow as we learn how far it drops from the July 4th holiday to an ordinary Thursday. Transformers fell 34% from $29.1 million to $19.2 million in the same situation in 2007. I would be stunned if Spider-Man suffered such a stiff drop on top of the 15% loss already sustained.
Instead, I expect that the more interesting data point is how close to $19.2 million the Sony title reaches today. As long as it approaches that range, it should be fine. Anything lower than that is indicative of a title with very short legs. The Cinemascore is A- for The Amazing Spider-Man. Along with its 72% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I have to believe that it has better word-of-mouth than what yesterday’s drop would herald.
Overall box office was stellar yesterday with a grand total of $50,799,160 for the top ten. This is down from July 3rd’s $63,747,537, with the difference being almost entirely Spider-Man plus the odd Magic Mike estimate. Most titles in release will fall 20-30% today, which means that there is still going to be a crowd at the movie theater. This is one of the best weeks of the year for exhibitors.