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Apr 10th
08:41 pm
'The Lucky One' Box Office Speculation  
As I usually do with Zac's upcoming films, I wanted to look at the potential box office performance. I don't really know where to start with this movie though, because there isn't really a solid indication one way or another how it will do. Normally I feel a little more secure in predicting this kind of stuff but there are a ton of variables right now going in different directions.

My biggest concern overall right now is that this is a one-quadrant film. The only group expressing big interest is under 25 females and this demo is more temperamental… more likely to show and verbalize interest but not to follow through and attend. This lop-sidedness is clear in two ways… the first is social networking.

Tweets about or expressing interest in the film are decent in number (though for comparison, comparing eleven days out from release, The Vow tweet count was three times as high). But Twitter skews to that under 25 demo. So lots of tweets alone, isn't enough. Plus there are some concerns regarding these numbers.

For one, the tweet count was a lot higher after the first tv ads hit but they have declined significantly. Likewise the ratio of positive to negative, while still not bad, has declined. Some of this is to be expected after the initial splash of the ads. And these numbers have started to recover which is good since, obviously, they should continue to increase as we head towards the release date.

But I'm concerned that tweets are still mostly happening in great numbers right when a tv spot airs, indicating people are not consistently thinking or talking about the film. And recently they've been surpassed by another film that opens the same weekend, Think Like a Man, and the gap between the two films seems to be slowly widening. (More on Think Like a Man later.)

Another concern, Zac's twitter can easily create false bounces in tweet counts. His account retweets meaningless chatter about people interested in the film. Then fans retweet that. In theory this is supposed to encourage viral growth, but it is debatable how much these tweet count increases represent new eyes or just the same fans expressing an already accounted for interest (which actually may negatively influence friends if they are annoyed by this chatter).

Also his twitter follower count isn't really exploding like one would maybe hope if he were generating a fanatical interest in the film and himself. I feel a little unsound judging that because I don't have much to compare it to. I wish I knew, for instance, exactly how Channing's twitter follower numbers grew. I can say that the twitter reaction to Zac's appearance on Leno was pretty flat, much like his hair. We didn't even get the typical numerous, "He's so hot," tweets. So something is not connecting.

These potential signs of weakness may mean something or (hopefully) may not . But what really bothers me in the realm of social networking is Facebook.

There are just NOT that many 'likes' and there is just not that much growth on the The Lucky One Facebook which to me indicates the older female demographic (which uses Facebook more than Twitter) is not as interested or engaged. This is a big problem.

What is interesting is I don't even think the younger audience is 'liking' the Facebook page that much. I say that because comparing the Facebook 'likes' from Charlie St. Cloud to this film is eye-opening.

If you compare both films' Facebook 'likes' 14 days out from their respective openings (July 17, 2010 and April 6, 2012 ~5pm), Charlie St. Cloud had 240,000 'likes' and The Lucky One had 158,000 likes. Part of this may be explained by the fact that Warner Bros. did not start advertising on Facebook as early as Universal did. They had been coordinating 'shares' through other Sparks' pages (like for The Notebook or Dear John), but they only just started general ads a few days ago I believe.

But even setting aside over all numbers to examine day-to-day growth, Charlie St. Cloud was much stronger, gaining 'likes' at two times the rate of The Lucky One. This could be attributed to Zac being a hotter commodity in 2010 or even something like Universal's ads were better or more extensive. Either way, such weak growth is not a positive sign.

I wish, again, I had something better and more recent to compare it too, for instance complete numbers on The Vow. I do (randomly) have their 'like' number from ten days before opening which was ~750,000 and one day before which was 908,718. I am also not certain what Facebook's overall inflation rate (i.e. the overall growth of users and rate of their use from 2010 to 2012) is. But at the rate they are going, there is no way The Lucky One's page will get anywhere close to The Vow's number, or even Charlie St. Cloud's number.

I am a nerd, so I made a chart:

I don't think you can make a direct correlation that because The Lucky One's Facebook likes are below Charlie St. Cloud's that the box-office will be lower. But it is discouraging.

The other indication that the film is one-quadrant only comes from the Nielsen tracking numbers. Between two weeks ago and last week, overall awareness and definite interest for the film has increased which is good. The percentage of females under 25 likely to choose this film first to see over any other also increased from 5% to 12%. But male interest is still basically nil and females over 25 grew from 4% to 5% only. I am curious to see how these numbers change this week. At that point I can compare them to the tracking for The Vow.

I do think the IMDb Moviemeter is decently strong for the film. It has shown good bounces in response to marketing. Back in December, the trailer in particular had a stronger jump to a higher number than any other Sparks' trailer. The TV spots, once they finally hit, pushed the number up nicely as well. I was worried it might decline this week, based on the tweet counts declining, but it did stay virtually the same (went from 52 to 48) which is good.

Sparks's ability to promote will definitely help the film, at least compared to Charlie St. Cloud. But while Sparks is a benefit, Taylor Schilling is not that well-known and a lot of people feel she reads too old compared to Zac. Personally I don't see this but the sentiment is there. Also a lot of devotees to the book feel like Zac is just not Logan. And reviews probably won't attract interest because, well, they'll probably be mediocre like most Sparks movies.

But I do think Zac can win people over and I also think Taylor expresses herself well in interviews and is charming, drawing people into her storyline. Plus, imo, they have an endearing rapport together; it was a good idea pairing them for promotion. I think WB is also utilizing their players well having Sparks and Taylor on the ground all over the country leaving Zac to some of the higher profile stuff. That said, WB could've started overall promoting a lot early and maybe thought more outside the box. It isn't as much of a mess as Charlie St. Cloud but The Vow and Dear John were early and very thorough.

Maybe the most important thing giving me hope, the box office this year has been really hot compared to 2010-2011. A lot of movies have been over-performing. If that trend holds, it could really help push The Lucky One several million dollars higher than it would've gone last year.

Back in the day, I explained how a late April date was the best option. I still think that is probably true though Titanic was a big threat and seemed especially daunting after The Lion King over-performed. It is somewhat of a relief that Titanic's opening weekend numbers weren't massive but there is still a chance that next week the film will have good legs, i.e. continue performing well. So the threat hasn't totally passed. Plus the four-quadrant behemoth The Hunger Games is still doing really well with crazy good legs for this type of fan-driven movie.

Even without Titanic or The Hunger Games, there is still a chance of some competition with other female-skewing films.

The romantic comedy Think Like a Man opens the same weekend as The Lucky One. Historically films like this featuring black casts have done well independently of "mainstream" cinema. This is partially because the audience demand is higher than the production of these films and partially because they advertise and distribute in very focused markets. Screen Gems has been pushing those markets hard and the tracking shows it, according to a Vulture article about the film, "Almost 85 percent of black audiences are aware of the film, and a whopping 70 percent have 'definite interest' in seeing it." But on the other hand, "Only slightly more than one in three white moviegoers (37 percent) were aware of the film, and only one in four (23 percent) expressed 'definite interest.'" So, in theory, it shouldn't poach The Lucky One's audience in the usual way overlapping-demographic films might. (The Vulture article, by the way, has a lot of good information on the traditions and challenges of selling this "urban cinema" genre.)

However, as the Vulture article explains, Screen Gems is trying very hard to overcome the hurdle that white audiences think films with black casts are, by default, not for them. And, given their recent success with marketing in general, if anyone can do it, Screen Gems can.

What is certainly going to help them is that this film has been testing through the roof, even with diverse audiences. Shadow and Act at Indiewire wrote first about this and now Vulture added, "Audience research numbers leaked to Vulture show that the film has scored some of the highest marks ever recorded at audience research screenings, with 95 percent favorable at a preview in the largely black neighborhood of Inglewood, California, and 99 percent in the more diverse Long Beach area."

But, that said, I'm pretty sure in the liberal but mostly-white enclave I live in, nobody even has a clue this movie exists. Like the test results indicate, they might like it if they ever saw it, but, like the tracking indicates, they just don't know about it. But if Screen Gems can reach enough of the white audience, it could represent a legitimate threat to The Lucky One's audience share.

Twitter and other indicators suggest a lot of interest (as I said, it has recently has been topping The Lucky One's tweet counts). And while we may not be able to guess how much of an audience share might shift away from The Lucky One, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Think Like a Man wins the weekend with the heat it is generating… even if it can't move outside the black audience.

The week after The Lucky One, The Five-Year Engagement is released. The film is a rom-com which probably increases its appeal instantly, especially to males. Early tweets indicate positive things about the quality (though supposedly, like Apatow films, it could've used some paring down). Its awareness and definite interest are already high, though it is not first-choice for many moviegoers yet. If that changes, that could impact The Lucky One's audience the week prior.

So all that said, lol, I'm not sure I can even guess at how much The Lucky One will take in. Last year, Water for Elephants, with two big stars, opened on the same weekend at $16.8 million. Traditionally these films have averaged around $13-14 million. Overall lately that there has been an upswing in the opening weekend box office, with The Time Traveler's Wife at $18 million, Dear John at $30 million, The Vow at $41.2 million, and that has driven the average up to $16 million. (You can, of course, see a theme there with recurring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.) Hopefully that upswing can hold. And, again, the box office has been over-performing so hopefully it will here too. But I just don't know. BoxOffice.com has estimated $23 million but I'm not sure I feel like the heat the film is generating is enough to get that big of a win. So I guess, in the end, I'd be happy with even $16-18 million and anything over $20 million, imo, would be fantastic.
Mood: tiredtired
47 47 comments Comment
Beejeezbee on April 11th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
Obviously, I'm with you on this. I just hope that the chatter will pick up soon again. With CStC I had the feeling the interest peaked one week too early, so hopefully WB is better with the timing of their marketing activities.

As for reaching the older women demo... I think a lot depends if they (WB and Zac) can make them feel not guilty for being interested but sell it as a legitimately ok movie for their demographic. For them I think it would help if he would try to look a bit older in his public appearances and interviews.

Edited at 2012-04-11 02:56 am (UTC)
annabelle83 on April 11th, 2012 03:09 am (UTC)
I think TLO will do better than Water for Elephant, but it may lose number one spot to Think Like a Man. Anyway, I'm glad Titanic underperformed. Hehe.

I hope Warners focus more on romance aspect of the movie, instead of highlighting Zac's hotness. To be honest, my favorite part from the trailers is the scene where Taylor is stealing a look at Zac while washing the dishes. That scene is so cute and sweet that it gives me goosebumps. I don't think it's a good idea to emphasize on its star's sexiness to sell a movie. It makes people to think the movie is only for the star's fans. Brad Pitt's Meet Joe Black comes to my mind.

Edited at 2012-04-11 03:11 am (UTC)
Miranda gives everyone a chancemirandagirll on April 11th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
I think if Leo had promoted Titanic then it wouldn't have underperformed. I think the fact that Leo didn't really promote Titanic was good for TLO.
(no subject) - annabelle83 on April 11th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 11th, 2012 03:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jeezbee on April 11th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - abigail80831 on April 11th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - annabelle83 on April 11th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mirandagirll on April 11th, 2012 03:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kleth on April 11th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Miranda gives everyone a chancemirandagirll on April 11th, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
This has me worried now.
annabelle83 on April 11th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)
I still think TLO will do respectable numbers. The marketing should pick up once Zac returns to the US and starts making TV appearances. Just make sure to go see it on the opening weekend! I can't contribute to its box office since TLO is not yet scheduled to release in my country. :(
(no subject) - mirandagirll on April 11th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
abigail80831: pic#113712706abigail80831 on April 11th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
I've never even heard of "think like a man" lol. I don't know anyone that has. O_o
Miranda gives everyone a chancemirandagirll on April 11th, 2012 03:25 am (UTC)
imo I feel the white demographic doesn't know about "think like a man" and tbh that's probably the more important demographic since it's a larger demographic than it's target black audience.
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 11th, 2012 03:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mirandagirll on April 11th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - abigail80831 on April 11th, 2012 03:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mirandagirll on April 11th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 11th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - countessm3 on April 11th, 2012 10:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Writers Denmusewriter on April 11th, 2012 03:35 am (UTC)
One thing that I never really understood with CStC was how they seeming under-used Amanda Crew in promo. Maybe that was just my perception but, to WB's credit, they do seem to be playing off of Zac and Taylor's rapport (and it's a great one) to promote TLO. Whether that will translate to $$ is of course yet to be seen, but I hope it does.

As far as Titanic I was somewhat surprised that it came in at #3. It seems like the attitude from the people I've talked to is 'why would I want to pay upwards of $11 to see something I've already seen or have on DVD.' So that makes me a bit less worried as to how it will impact TLO but I'm still concerned.
Beejeezbee on April 11th, 2012 03:42 am (UTC)
My biggest concern comes from that fact that the demo which went to Titanic this weekend were actually young women - exactly the main demo for TLO. I hope that they won't skip TLO because they've been served quite a bit with female-skewing movies over the last 2 months - starting with The Vow over The Hunger Games to Titanic. The market is reasonably saturated by now.
(no subject) - annabelle83 on April 11th, 2012 03:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 11th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - annabelle83 on April 11th, 2012 04:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sapphia on April 11th, 2012 09:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 11th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - abigail80831 on April 11th, 2012 05:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Writers Denmusewriter on April 11th, 2012 04:01 am (UTC)
I just looked back at the opening weekends of the last two Nicholas Sparks films on BoxOfficeMojo (forgive me Cady if you've already covered this, been a long day lol)

Dear John: $30,468,614 (including a $13,000,000+ Friday a $12,000,000+ Saturday) in 2,969 theaters. Ranked #1 at the Box Office.

The Last Song: $16,007,426 for the weekend in 2,673 theaters. Ranked #4 at the Box Office.

This probably doesn't mean much but Sparks fans are loyal, though in my opinion TLO is his weakest book. The question is, will his fans opt for THG and Titanic instead.
abigail80831: pic#113712706abigail80831 on April 11th, 2012 04:06 am (UTC)
You do have that right about Sparks fans being loyal.

The thing that makes me think they won't pick THG over TLO is the fact that if you REALLY wanted to see that movie chances are you've already seen it (when TLO comes out it will be THG's 4th week at the BO, right?) I know people are seeing THG's more then once but I would think by the time TLO comes out most would have seen it already (maybe more then once).

As for Titanic I'm not really sire. Like Candy said, most people have already seen that movie or already have it on DVD so why go spending more money just to see it in a theater?
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 11th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
Nicole Millerkellycefron on April 11th, 2012 04:08 am (UTC)
First I wanna give you a viral pat on the back because this post was very well done and well thought out. In all I would say I agree with around 23 million just because I do feel the film as a lot of good things going for it, and it might not be the critical mess that we were expecting because apparently Scot Hicks put as much merit as he could into the film, and Taylor and Zac seem to work well together. And on a side note how can anybody complain about Zac not fitting the character of Logan when all the damn book says is he's 28, has long hair and a beard, and is 6ft tall. That's not in depth characterization LOL.
abigail80831: pic#113712706abigail80831 on April 11th, 2012 04:11 am (UTC)
I have to agree. I mean after all, Zac IS very much in the age group of most deployed Marines. So I don't understand why someone would think he doesn't fit the character.
(no subject) - kellycefron on April 11th, 2012 04:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - musewriter on April 11th, 2012 04:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - abigail80831 on April 11th, 2012 05:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sapphia on April 11th, 2012 12:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 11th, 2012 04:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kellycefron on April 11th, 2012 04:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
countessm3countessm3 on April 11th, 2012 10:37 am (UTC)
Don't underestimate the power of the Sparks. While to me he is the devil, to everyone else he is the shining angel in sheeps clothing.

You'd do better to look at Sparks demographics and marketing statistics for a more accurate picture of how TLO will perform. He has a very dependable fan base. This movie is going to succeed because Sparks is popular, not because Zac is a hottie.

I'm an over 25 female but you can't depend on me to represent my demographic because I'm weird. That said, I'd rather watch grass grow than watch TLO. Since I consider myself a dude on the inside, you can bet that's the way dudes feel too (except for gay dudes, lol.)

The difference is I'm going, however, because I'm determined to make Zac a success. Damnit, I'm going to have to finish this book and sell it to somebody and get it to press just so Zac can act in something other than horrible chick flicks.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 11th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
lol people always say this about sparks' fan loyalty and yet the numbers for his films just don't rival the success of his books. i have looked extensively at how well the sparks (and sparks-like) movies have done. i didn't just come up with the averages out of thin air. in fact, i was even somewhat generous with the pre-ttw/dear john/the vow average.

but, if you'd like to see part of my chart that led me to those averages...

if it isn't clear, OW = opening weekend.

i will add the caveats that i left off any pre-2000 movies in this genre, including the sparks' 'message in a bottle'. the box office dynamic has changed a lot since 1999 so those numbers aren't as helpful. i do also think 'a walk to remember' is pushing it age-wise, but i left it in for now.
(no subject) - countessm3 on April 11th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jeezbee on April 11th, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Sapphirasapphia on April 11th, 2012 10:48 am (UTC)
I want to thank you for the analyst to each Zac's film. (Now I'm reading all your archives)
Unfortunately you and the rest of the girls have expressed my thoughts and doubts.
But I still have hope...
It's Audrey not Aubreyaudrey_za on April 11th, 2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
~*#1 in my heart*~
activismbadlands on April 11th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
i have seen promotion increase lately. i was at the mall of america yesterday and the screens above the mall directories were playing the commercial non-stop, every time i walked past one it was showing. i think they waited too long to really start promoting but hopefully this increase will put it in people's minds to see it next weekend. i do think they're not utilizing taylor and the connection between logan and beth enough while promoting it and most of it being on zac and his looks which i think to a lot of people who are skeptical of seeing this isn't helping. they should focus more on the movie, the acting and the chemistry they have to convince people and open it up to more groups such as men who have served, etc.