Shop Talk: The Father's Day Bounce
By Jason Barney
June 19, 2013
The summer movie season is dominated by conversations relating to the big picture. How much money can a film make? Can a flick have a huge opening weekend? How big is the competition? These questions are appropriate and are based on the news of the day. It is what we follow. It is how success is measured.
There are, however, smaller stories. Like the impact Father’s Day had at the box office. Think of your dad. Did you go see him this weekend? Did it cross your mind that he might want to enjoy a movie? A number of folks did and the numbers bear this out.
To set the stage for this analysis, we need to understand the tendencies of a typical box office weekend. Friday evenings represent the coveted end of the work week and time off, and that is reflected in box office numbers. Saturday is the best performer of any particularly movie week. Sunday numbers are solid, but below the Saturday take.
Summer is filled with examples of this trend.
Iron Man 3, which opened over the first weekend of May, had a Saturday-to-Sunday drop of 30%. Then it was Great Gatsby, experiencing a 26% Saturday-to-Sunday decline. For Star Trek it was 19%. Even over the family-friendly Memorial Day frame, the openers behaved the same. Fast and Furious 6 had a dip of 15%. For The Hangover III it was 14%, and Epic suffered a 19% fall. It happens all the time. It’s a product of math, people’s schedules, and the calendar.
So what about the Father’s Day bounce? Did families offer to take dad to the movies? You bet. Not every film received the attention of good old daddy. But some did.
America’s #1 film over Father’s Day was Man of Steel and it is the perfect example of Father’s Day viewing. Superman’s origins are based on comic books from generations ago. How about seeing the superhero dad grew up reading? Its opening was already going to be huge, but enough American families went to the cinema for the reboot to pull in $36 million on Saturday, then another $36 million on Sunday. The Man of Steel did not experience a Saturday-to-Sunday decline. Zip. Zero.
Did all films enjoy an uptick in Sunday ticket sales?
Some dads probably saw Now You See Me, one of the early success stories of the 2013 movie season. But it still suffered a notable and almost normal 11% drop. A few were likely drawn to see This is the End, but that drop was a typical 18%. Fast and Furious 6? Dad likes cars, right? Well not this Father’s Day. FF6 fell a predictable 16%. Not even Stephen King’s kids took him to see the horror flick, The Purge, as that one suffered an alarming 29% drop. Not too many were interested in reliving past work experiences, because the Internship had an embarrassing 24% tumble.
So does this Father’s Day bounce really exist? Did other movies benefit?
Grandfathers were apparently dragged by their grandkids to Epic. It had the lowest Saturday-to-Sunday fall of its run. The children/family friendly offering had a slight decline of 6%.
The bump worked for three other films in the top 10.
After Earth, the father/son science fiction story involving Will and Jaden Smith has been an afterthought during its entire box office run. It underperformed, was panned, and disappointment fans. However, perhaps because of the father/son angle, After Earth enjoyed a slim Saturday to Sunday decline of 3%. The film is doing horrible in theaters. It cost $130 million to make and hasn’t earned half that at the domestic box office. But some people went to see it on Father’s Day.
Perhaps the last two examples are the best.
Iron Man 3 was released about 45 days ago. It set records, was embraced by fans and critics…but is at the end of its run. Last weekend more people saw Iron Man 3 on Sunday than on Saturday. Yup. Iron Man 3 surged almost 10%. That is unheard of. To put it in perspective, nearly as many people saw Iron Man 3 on June 16th as the previous Sunday.
Finally, we have Star Trek Into Darkness. The franchise came about in the 1960s with the original series. It survived throughout the 1970s with reruns. Kirk and Spock had their big screen adventures throughout the 1980s. Then TNG came along. Picard and Riker had their movies. Three more TV shows. And now new generations can enjoy the reboot. Fathers and sons.
Into Darkness had an out of this world 20% rise in viewership on Father’s Day. The numbers indicate it was so helped by families that its weekend ranking changed as Sunday played out. For the weekend it was eighth. It has, after all, been out a month. The strong Father’s Day showing propelled Kirk and crew all the way up to fifth on Sunday. Moving up the charts over the course of a weekend….that is the bounce at work.
BOP hopes you and your family had a nice Father’s Day. If you grilled, watched the NBA/NHL Finals, went to the movies, or simply visited dad, hopefully it was pleasant.
And if you didn’t take your father to the movies, there is always next year.