Zac Efron’s buddy comedy “That Awkward Moment” has launched with $246,000 from Thursday night late shows in the U.S., opening in line with forecasts for $11 million to $15 million during the Super Bowl weekend.
Focus Features is aiming the film at female moviegoers and opening in 2,800 locations. Zombie comedy “Warm Bodies,” which also appealed to young, female audiences, took in just under $500,000 from late shows this time last year and went on to open at $20 million.
Here is a round up of all the box office predictions and the last cut, probably the most interesting thing, an evaluation of social media engagement from Variety:
THR.com - $10 to $12 million
Instead of trying to compete directly with Sunday's Super Bowl, Hollywood will attempt to do an end run around the big game by introducing a pair of new films targeting females.
The R-rated indie comedy is poised to open in the $10 million to $12 million range, a solid start considering the movie's $8 million budget. Schlessel acquired rights to Awkward Moment for roughly $1.5 million when he was running FilmDistrict and brought the title with him to Focus.
Box Office Mojo - $10 million plus
Counterprogramming is the name of the game over Super Bowl weekend this year. Both new releases—That Awkward Moment and Labor Day—are targeted at female audiences that may not be completely consumed by the insanely popular sporting event. Neither movie is poised to really break out, though, and it would be surprising if any title earns over $15 million this weekend.
Playing at 2,809 locations, That Awkward Moment could be in a tight race with Ride Along for first place...
Last Summer, FilmDistrict acquired domestic distribution rights to the movie for $1.5 million (at the time, it was called Are We Officially Dating?). Later in 2013, FilmDistrict merged with Focus Features, and That Awkward Moment marks the first release from the new Focus. The studio executed a targeted campaign geared toward younger women; while that's kept costs low, it also means the movie probably won't open too high. Still, it should earn at least $10 million this weekend, which is a fine start for a modest romantic comedy.
LA Times - $12 million plus
"That Awkward Moment," from Focus Features, is expected to gross $12 million or more in ticket sales through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada, which would be a solid result for a film that cost just $8 million to produce.
Variety - low to mid teens</b>
Super Bowl weekend at the box office historically has been sluggish, with femme-targeted films performing best on Sunday. This time around, Focus Features launches buddy romcom “That Awkward Moment,” tracking in the low- to mid-teens, while Paramount’s wide release of Kate Winslet-Josh Brolin weeper “Labor Day” is expected to gross $6 million-$8 million.
This time last year, the pigskin frame saw the typical date entry with Summit’s “Warm Bodies,” which ultimately overperformed grossing $20.4 million in three days. There is reason to believe “That Awkward Moment,” the first release from the newly consolidated Focus Features, could similarly outdo its pre-weekend predictions, despite its ‘R’ rating. Popularity of stars Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller should strike a chord with teen girls.
The film was budgeted at $8 million; Focus acquired the rights for around $1.5 million (not including P&A), meaning investors should break even, at least, with a projected domestic cume reaching north of $20 million.
ComingSoon.net - $13.7 million
This weekend sees two romance films of sorts, movies that will be of interest to women of different ages with no one really trying too hard to have any sort of Super Bowl weekend box office blockbuster. In fact, it will be surprising if anything makes more than $15 million this weekend.
The movie with the most potential is Tom Gornican's romantic comedy (of sorts) That Awkward Moment (Focus Features), starring Zac Efron from "High School Musical" with Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller, who both broke out with big Sundance movies in 2013, Fruitvale Station and The Spectacular Now. Originally called "Are We Officially Dating?" the movie deliberately looks a lot like one of those dating advice movies except that it's raunchier and it's from the male perspective, but because of Efron's presence, the movie's target audience is really only going to be women and girls under 25. Efron's mainly been doing smaller indie films in the last few years, things like Parkland and Liberal Arts, and it's been two years since he starred in Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Lucky One, which opened with $22 million and grossed nearly $91 million worldwide. Efron's still going to be the primary draw of the movie.
Guys probably won't have much interest in the movie nor will many over the age 25 - most of those demos will be focused on watching the Super Bowl Sunday anyway. Even so, there's a really good chance that young female moviegoers can help this one break out and do enough business Friday and Saturday to take the top spot… although there's just as likely a chance that Ride Along will just coast into a third week at #1 before next week's more anticipated movies.
BoxOffice.com - $15 million:
Forecast: $15 million
- Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan provide strong appeal for teenage and some young adult audiences.
- Twitter and Facebook activity have trended closely with that of Warm Bodies.
- Past youth-leaning films have done well over Super Bowl weekend, including Warm Bodies and Chronicle.
- The cast's appeal rests largely with audiences that will be too young to buy a ticket.
- Flixster activity is modest, significantly trailing that of 21 & Over, and online buzz in general is expected to be strong for a film of this nature.
- Early reviews haven't been kind.
The Wrap - $15 million
This weekend’s opening of “That Awkward Moment” will provide a box-office heat check for young stars Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan.
They’ll do just fine and knock “Ride Along” out of the top spot it’s held for the past two weekends, say analysts. They project an opening in the $15 million range for the R-rated romantic comedy from Focus Features.
With Efron, Teller and Jordan front and center in a movie about dating, the target demographic for “Awkward Moment” is young women.
“These guys definitely aren’t A-list stars now, but give them the right couple of movies and they could be someday,” said BoxOffice.com vice-president/chief analyst Phil Contrino. “This one won’t make or break them, but it could help.”
Variety - ‘That Awkward Moment’ Wins Over Social Media on Super Bowl Weekend:
You’d expect a movie named after an Internet meme to have great social stats, and “That Awkward Moment” does not disappoint. The raunchy romcom has a comprehensive social media presence, with millions of fans and followers across its different accounts. The movie’s marketing has concentrated on engaging the young female demographic, which is very active on social and represents the majority of lead Zac Efron’s fan base.
Efron has a huge social media presence himself, with 10.8 million Facebook fans, 7.5 million Twitter followers and 1.3 million Instagram followers, which he has engaged through regular updates and postings. The impact of the Efron factor will be limited by the R-rating — earned thanks to a sense of humor punctuated by dildos, toilet jokes and viagra pills, meaning approximately one third of Efron’s online fanbase won’t get to see the movie in theaters (without an accompanying adult, of course).
Nevertheless, Zac’s Instagram is full of candid images and Instavids from the “TAM” promotional tour, his Facebook has been used as a central place for varied “TAM” content and Twitter has concentrated on retweeting fan excitement and promo tour updates.
“TAM” has built an impressive fan base itself across Facebook and Twitter, with 430,000 fans and 500,000 followers, respectively. Facebook fans have been rewarded with a series of exclusive clips, while tweets have concentrated on punning on the title. The young female demographic has also been targeted through the official “TAM” Instagram account, as well as the creation of two official sites: one on Tumblr, where young females are highly active — just look at the dozens of Efron-themed blogs across the platform — while the other is aimed at the cheekier fan that’s interested in R-rated material.
The fan and follower numbers are ahead of “Don Jon,” a male-lead comedy which targeted a similar young female audience last year. “Don Jon” entered theaters with just 187,000 Facebook fans and less than 50,000 Twitter followers spread across different accounts, and was generating slightly less chatter with 45,000 release week tweets.
That said, “Don Jon” did have a lead on YouTube with 10 million views on release, but the “TAM” Facebook clips do not count toward the overall YouTube view count, which along with an exclusive iTunes featurette, would see the total go well north of the recorded 7 million views. “Don Jon” lead on search as well with a value of 138,000, and “TAM” is also behind 2012’s “This Means War,” which debuted to $17.4 million on 108,628.
While the social numbers for “TAM” are very strong, the low search value and Twitter activity outside of the official accounts indicate a lack of interest beyond “TAM’s” core young female audience. This suggests that ““TAM” will take more than “Don Jon”’s opening $8 million at the box office this weekend, but likely won’t outstrip the PG-13 rated “This Means War’s” opening. As encountered by “TAM,” wrestling with high fan and follower counts but comparatively low engagement is a recurring problem for marketing on social platforms.
Grades for “That Awkward Moment”
I'm honestly not sure what will happen. I do really hope it will open over $10 million. I'm still not convinced though because social media interest just doesn't seem hot enough. There have been some nice tweets from regular non-fan people who watched it already which is good. I do think that there is a generation or culture gap between the mindset of most critics versus the audience it is targeted to which accounts for some of the negativity in reviews. So perhaps audience word of mouth will provide some positive momentum despite the not-so-good reviews.
It is interesting that boxoffice.com notes that on Flixster TAM is slower than 21 and Over (also R-rated) given that on IMDB, TAM is quite a bit ahead of 21 and Over on the Moviemeter. 21 and Over made only $8.7 million on opening weekend (3/1/13). So hopefully the financials follow the IMDB trend, not Flixster.
One of the other comparisons referenced is Warm Bodies (2/1/13). It opened to $20.3 million and as Variety said, the midnight showings were almost twice TAM's. The Moviemeter for WB is also somewhat ahead of TAM's on a comparative timeline. I think a few points are important too regarding the comparability of these two movies. If WB had big names, it's Moviemeter would've been higher. Also it had way better reviews, it was PG-13 and it definitely overperformed. All of these things explain why TAM will NOT perform like WB. It just won't be as high and by a significant margin I think.
One other thing the analysts may be underestimating is how front-loaded star-driven movies tend to be, at least one like this with almost no other compelling reason to go except the stars. Fans go for Zac (and, to a lesser extent Miles and MBJ) which inflates the opening day number and can lead to over-estimated weekends. And with social media engagement flagging, it doesn't show signs of breaking out.
Anyway, all of this just boils down to what I said before, I'm not sure what will happen, lol. This film really isn't as clear cut as some of his others but I do think it is going to be closer to $10 million. But again, I just hope it is on the plus side of that number.