SATURDAY AM WRITETHRU, after Friday update at 5:02 PM: Universal/Blumhouse/Morgan Creek’s The Exorcist: Believer is opening to $28M at this point in time. While that’s in the mean range of successful horror films like Evil Dead ($24.5M), Smile ($22.6M), and The Black Phone ($23.6M), and just under tracking’s $30M, it’s very far from the $76.2M 2018 opening of David Gordon Green’s Halloween. And it’s an opening that doesn’t look very good next to the $400M that the studios shelled out for the franchise, which was in a competitive situation, meaning the price kept going up and up. We’re still making heads and tails of this.

I’m told at this time that was a franchise rights buy, not solely a deal for three movies that would each cost $133M. When have you ever heard of a horror film costing that much? Never. What we’ve told you is that The Exorcist reboot was made for $30M before P&A. Friday is coming in at $11.9M at 3,663 theaters, including Thursday night’s previews of $2.85M.

Also proving to be a bad first step for the studios with the franchise: Nobody likes it. In addition to critics giving it a 20% Rotten Tomatoes score, CinemaScore gave Exorcist: The Believer a “C,” with Screen Engine/Comscore PostTrak audiences hating it worse at 61%. Nearly even split of men to female at 51% male, with 58% of the audience between 18-34 and the largest demo being 24-34 at 32%, with another 34% of the crowd over 35. Latino and Hispanic audiences led at 41%, Caucasian at 30%, Black at 13%, and 15% Asian/other.

As is typical for a horror movie, Believer played best in South Central and West. IMAX and PLF screens are driving close to 40% of ticket sales so far, with the AMC Burbank close to $50K, the best in the country.

The weekend is shaping up to be $76.5M for all movies, less than $100M again. Taylor Swift, save us.

Other tidbits on specialty:

NEON’s The Royal Hotelwhich had a world premiere at TIFF, is seeing $120K Friday, $303K for the 3-day at 267 theaters. The 89% certified fresh with critics, Julia Garner-Jessica Henwick mystery thriller was Ok in NYC, L.A., and Austin, but flat elsewhere in 88 markets.

The Pedro Almodovar short, Strange Way of Life from Sony Pictures Classics, clocked an estimated $77K on Friday, for a $204K 3-day in 276 locations. Some are calling sales meh, but c’mon, it’s a 31-minute film.

'Dicks: The Musical' review
‘Dicks: The Musical’Courtesy of A24

A24’s Dicks: The Musical at seven locations  (AMC Lincoln Square, Angelika NY, Alamo Brooklyn, AMC Grove, AMC Burbank, Alamo San Fran & AMC Kabuki San Fran) didn’t see great numbers, unfortunately, for $50K yesterday and $133K for the weekend, or $19K per theater. The bawdy, raunchy musical played like gangbusters out of TIFF’s Midnight Madness, and with a SAG-AFTRA waiver, their cast was able to promote.

  1. Exorcist: Believer (Uni/Blumhouse) 3,663 theaters Fri $11.9M, 3-day $28M/Wk 1

2. Paw Patrol: The Might Movie (Par) 4,027 (+38) Friday of $2.88M (-58%), 3-day $11.65M, -49%, Total $38.7M/Wk 2

3. Saw X (LG) 3,262 theaters, Fri $2.4M (-70%), 3-day $8M, -55%, Total $32.4M/Wk 2

4.) The Creator (New Reg/20th/Dis) 3,680 theaters, Friday of $1.73M (-69%), 3-day of $6.12M, -56% Total $24.9M/Wk 2

5.) Blind (Fath) Fri $1M (-23%), 3-day $3.67M (-15%), Total $11M/Wk 2,

6.) A Haunting in Venice (20th/Dis) 2,425 (-360) theaters Fri $760K (-28%) 3-day $2.65M (-27%), Total $35.5M/Wk 4

7.) The Nun 2 (NL) Fri $725K (-47%) , 3-day of $2.6M (-46%), Total $81M/Wk 5.

8.) Dumb Money (Sony) 2,837 theaters, Fri $665K (-49%) 3-day $2.125M (-36%)Total $10.6M/Wk 4

9.) The Equalizer 3 (Sony) 1,526 (-658) theaters, Fri $515K (-33%) 3-day $1.825M (-33%) Total $88.8M/Wk 6

10.) Hocus Pocus 30th Anniversary (Dis) 1,430 theaters, Fri $540K, 3-day $1.67M, Lifetime Total $45.9M/Wk 1 re-release

 

FRIDAY AM: David Gordon Green’s The Exorcist: Believer kept the horror peace train going at the box office with $2.85M in previews Thursday night on its way to a potential high-$20M-to-$30M start.

Previews began at 5 p.m. in 3,050 theaters. Universal has Imax and PLFs on this one, which is booked at 3,663 theaters.

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