No one knew how big this was going to be, or is going to be, but Universal/Blumhouse’s feature take on beloved horror video game, Five Nights at Freddy‘s is eyeing a $50 million-plus start and possibly even more. At that level, it would make it the second-best domestic box office opening of the fall behind Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour ($92.8M).
Note the pre-Halloween weekend isn’t known as a robust time for launching films, with the frame’s biggest openings Puss in Boots with $34M back in 2011 and 2006’s Saw III with $33.6M.
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Presales have grown to a crazy amount on this $20M production since we last reported (some saying well north of $11M), with some exhibitors projecting a tentpole-type opening of $85M. However, what should give one pause here is the whole theatrical day-and-date of it all on Peacock (note the movie is only available on a paid tier). Last year, many swore $50M+ on Halloween Ends and that wound up crashing at a $40M opening, as the sequel wound up scoring record weekend viewership on Peacock simultaneously.
While presales are higher now than M3GAN for Freddy’s ($30.4M), many notice that the pic is frontloaded, fueled by a passionate under-25 demo. Remember what happened with Taylor Swift: Eras Tour recently: Many exhibition and distribution sources swore the t film would open to $100M-$125M+ over three days, only to see $92.8M. Such is the nature of millennial moviegoers when they decide to make a date to an event in packs ahead of time; by Saturday, it’s passé.
Universal has a theater count between 3,500 to 3,600 for Freddy‘s with PLFs included. Previews start at 2 p.m. Thursday for the PG-13 genre title. The movie hits Peacock on Thursday at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.
If Freddy’s numbers were so high, why did Universal opt to go day-and-date with this? I understand it simply boiled down to the movie being originally packaged as such. Will money be left on the table due to Peacock? Probably, though the debate is that the streamer’s penetration isn’t as big as Disney+ or Netflix. In the end, Freddy‘s is a driver to the OTT service.
Black Widow with an $80.3M opening is arguably the biggest box office opening for a day-and-date streaming title, despite the fact it was offered to Disney+ subscribers at a $25 charge. Halloween Kills in a day-and-date on Peacock debuted to $49.4M.
Freddy‘s, directed by Emma Tammi, follows Mike (Josh Hutcherson; Ultraman, The Hunger Games franchise), a troubled man caring for his 10-year-old sister Abby (Piper Rubio; Holly & Ivy, Unstable), and haunted by the unsolved disappearance of his younger brother more than a decade before.
Recently fired and desperate for work so that he can keep custody of Abby, Mike agrees to take a position as a night security guard at an abandoned theme restaurant: Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. But Mike soon discovers that nothing at Freddy’s is what it seems. With the aid of local police officer Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail; You, Mack & Rita), Mike’s nights at Freddy’s will lead him into unexplainable encounters with the supernatural and drag him into the black heart of an unspeakable nightmare.
Pic also stars Mary Stuart Masterson as Mike’s icy Aunt Jane; Kat Conner Sterling as Abby’s caring babysitter, Max; and Matthew Lillard as Steve Raglan, Mike’s smug career counselor.
Other diagnostics on the weekend: AMC’s Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour in weekend 3 looks to be down a steep 60% again but could peg second place with $13.3M.
Apple Original Films and Paramount’s Killers of the Flower Moon, after a solid $2M Monday following its $23.25M opening (current B.O. is $25.25M), hopes to hold around -45%, possibly better, for around $12.8M in weekend 2.
Focus Features is rolling out its fall film festival darling and awards-season contender The Holdovers from Alexander Payne this weekend in limited release. The 1970s-set prep school feature starring Paul Giamatti is at 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes from 77 reviews currently.
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