ELVIS facing mixed tracking, big challenges at the Box Office this weekend
UNI sets release plan for Spielberg pic / CAA-ICM deal finally closing / Murdoch divorcing for 4th time
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on THURSDAY June 23, 2022.
Where here is the GOT prequel poster for your dorm room this Fall 🚩. (that’s still a thing right? Please don’t tell me I’m that old…)
PLUS: A judge ruled Paul Haggis is to remain under house arrest in ITALY while the investigation into the alleged sexual assault continues.
ALSO: A Rest In Peace goes out to former NFL player and TV personality Tony Siragusa, who died at 55 years old yesterday. Cause of death not immediately available.
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📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
JUST 2 THINGS
Reading the tea leaves on the eve of “Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis”
Ok I guess it’s not the “eve” since the film is out tonight in “previews” 🙄 (yeah we gotta get a better name for this newly widespread
scam tactic used to goose Box Office #s).
But I thought it was worthwhile to set the stage WB is facing since:
A) A lot will likely be made about the Box Office results on Monday in terms of “adults coming back to movie theaters” (first hint: they’ve already been coming for 3 weeks to see “Top Gun”)
B) It’s another quiet day in HOLLYWOOD this week and we have a little time (was there a Fred Segal sale or something?)
THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE
The film is tracking around “$20+ Million” according to DEADLINE, and “$30 Million” if you read VARIETY so… yeah. Kinda feels like even the polling doesn’t knows where the $85 Million-budgeted pic is gonna land.
It’s very wide in 3900 theaters… but - it runs 2hr 40mins which is going to limit potential Box Office returns no matter how you cut it.
Plus this is a dogfight not even Iceman would think was a good idea to enter (sorry, I have OG “Top Gun” on in the background while I write this - and still not exactly sure who these guys are fighting in the final battle or how they got to the Indian Ocean so fast):
“Top Gun” is likely to do at least another $30-35 Mil.
“Jurassic World” probably another $30 Mil-ish
AND: The other new movie this weekend “The Black Phone” will take a big part of the younger demo and is tracking at $15-20 Mil itself.
PLUS: While a vastly different demo… “Lightyear” should still do around $25 Mil worth of revenue.
IN TERMS OF COMPS:
Yeah this is also tough - Baz’s studio Box Office track record:
“Romeo + Juliet” (1996): $11 Mil opening, $147 Mil global
“Moulin Rouge” (2001): $14 Mil opening, $180 Mil global
“Australia” (2008): $15 Mil opening, $215 Mil global
“The Great Gatsby” (2013): $50 Mil opening, $353 Mil global
And… that’s it. His last project was the NETFLIX flop “The Get Down” in 2016.
So. Your (very bad) comp is a DiCaprio movie from 9 years ago I guess.
In terms of films released in this decade… “House of Gucci” may be the best and most recent comp - it did $14 Mil in November with the same duration, but was rated R. And Covid was a far different situation.
Or perhaps “West Side Story” which also had the “older IP” thing, music factor, and a 2hr 36min duration and had a… $10 Mil opening. But in the true throws of Omicron.
So. still not a lotta great comps.
OK, OK… how about a PRO / CON list?
This always works.
PRO: “Elvis” is arguably the most famous music IP in the world.
CON: Not to anyone under 35 years-old. Ok fine 40. Err anyone born 1980 onward.
PRO: It has one of the biggest movie stars of all time.
CON: He’s not playing Elvis, but rather is in a pretty unrecognizable supporting role with an accent that… kinda creeps me out (I always change the station when I hear him say “he’s a forbidden fruit” in the radio ads). I’m sure it’s fine in the context of the movie but… in the marketing it’s been a bit jarring.
PRO: Music biopics are on a run - “Rocketman”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Straight Outta Compton” etc (even if “Respect” didn’t take off last summer).
CON: These movies have little to do stylistically with “Elvis”.
Look I’d love to see this movie do well, and it could be a movie with legs this Summer with great word of mouth etc. even if this weekend isn’t great, Ie. “The Greatest Showman” of 2022 if you will.
Doesn’t change the fact that this weekend is very tough… and I’m just not sure how many people are excited about an “Elvis” movie. Granted - that could be a NYC bias and this could play very well / strongly overindex in some parts of the country to help the cause.
But as much as pundits don’t like to acknowledge this - the 18-34 crowd still goes to the movies, and it’s hard to see this movie being a “4 quadrant” pic… especially when it’s up against a strong Horror pic in “The Black Phone” (horror tends to heavily draw 18-34 year olds).
The important thing to NOT take away from the weekend - if “Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis” opens in 3rd (or 4th) and/or under $20 Million it’s not because “movies for adults” are over, or that adults are not coming back to the movie theater (again - see “Top Gun”, like everyone over 35 did. and under for that matter).
There are a lot of very legit, specific factors above working against “Elvis” that are far more likely to effect its verdict, the most pressing being an overcrowded marketplace.
ONE FOR THE ROAD: WB just released one final… final trailer for it last night that I actually think is the best spot they’ve done so far, really touting both the pedigree, scope and heart of the story. Granted, may be a little late.
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📺 THE TV SET
JUST 2 THINGS
IN THE HOLLYWOOD BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Another TURNER Networks exec out: SVP of Original Programming Adrienne O’Riain is departing. /Deadline
The CAA-ICM Merger is done and set to be announced by end of week. About 10 months after the initial news. /The Ankler
Variety asks what’s up with ADELE’s Vegas residency whose 24 sold-out dates… still have not been rescheduled as “absolutely” promised now 6 months ago, just as she’s about to play some huge concerts at London’s Hyde Park.
Ok not business affairs per se, but… kinda: Rupert Murdoch is splitting from Jerry Hall and thus getting divorced for the 4th time. “Next on Fox&Friends…”. 🤐 /NY Times
📝 IN OTHER WORDS…
“(a buyout) is always a reality, so we have to be wide-eyed about that.”
- TED SARANDOS when asked about a sale in his CANNES Lions fest talk with Kara Swisher, where he doubled down on the ad-supported launch by end of year… but no new specifics on that.
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
JUST 2 THINGS
Here are the latest few details on that new journalism / news outlet thing (?) called SEMAFOR that former NY TIMES / BUZZFEED exec Ben Smith and BLOOMBERG NEWS head Justin Smith are building. /NY Times
Will start this Fall after raising $25 Million with… a website and newsletters - Huh now where have I heard that concept before (although doing so with far less investor money to have to recoup).
MASTERCLASS lays off 20% of staff, roughly 120 people. Yup, due to economic trends. The company raised $225 Mil about a year ago, at a $2.75 Billion valuation. /Variety
MINIONS X THE OFFICE
Ok this does technically fall under Media Marketing strategy so I’m just putting this here for big props on this killer synergy idea. 👏 UNI + PEACOCK Marketing
🏦 STOCK NOTES
It was a relatively quiet Wednesday.
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
PARAMOUNT+ “Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe” - PAR+ and the google-able links… not so much.
Plus 200 original remastered B&B-H episodes with original music videos
ABC & ESPN NBA Draft at 8p
HBOMAX “Menudo: Forever Young” docu - STREAM HERE
HBOMAX “The Gordita Chronicles” - STREAM HERE
FX ON HULU “The Bear” - all episodes - STREAM HERE
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🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
APPLE TV+ “Five Days at Memorial” limited series teaser - About the 5 days after Hurricane Katrina at a NOLA hospital that became cut off from… well pretty much everything. Promising teaser. PREMIERES FRI AUG 12
NAT GEO FILMS “The Territory” trailer - Docu on whats really going on and the battles being fought inside the communities living in BRAZIL’s AMAZON. IN THEATERS IN AUGUST 19
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
Feels fitting to go out getting ready for“Elvis”
tomorrow tonight - EMINEM teamed up with CEE LO for a track, “The King & I”
If you need some new tunes:
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