SUNDAY AM: Twentieth Century Fox’s The Day The Earth Stood Still opened to an excellent $11.5M Friday and $11.8M Saturday (+2%) and an estimated $7.6M for Sunday for a solid $31M weekend. IMAX accounted for 12.5% of the opening weekend gross with $3.8M from 123 screens. Internationally, the day-and-date release opened in 90 markets (but only 11 of the top 16) and made $39M.
So that’s a worldwide total after its first weekend of $70M. However, rival studios tell me that the pic’s Cinemascore was the hard-to-achieve “C-” (when it’s rare to see anything below a “B”), with moviegoers over age 25 giving it a “D”. No wonder the PG-13 pic has only 21% positive reviews by top critics on Rotten Tomatoes, despite starring Keanu Reeves, and Oscar winners Jennifer Connelly and Kathy Bates.
Since the sci-fi film has this weekend all to itself (after Will Smith’s Seven Pounds vacated the date), it had a veritable guarantee of getting past $30M if not a total stinker. For weeks now, this reimagining (no one ever calls it a remake anymore) of the 1951 black-and-white sci-fi classic had been tracking well. Encouraging, since Fox was running only 35% of its TV ad money at the time. There was “very strong” wanna-see with older males followed by younger males, even registering a solid “first choice”. On the other hand, there was virtually no female appeal. But the studio then spent 65% of its TV ad money over the last 8 days, and interest among gals picked up going into Friday’s release.
The studio had other reasons to be bullish: it had 120 Imax runs, and 12:01 AM Friday plays in about 500 locations of its overall 3,560 theaters, and a day-and-date release into 90 overseas markets this weekend. So the pic should break the studio’s losing streak that began at the start of the summer. “Fantastic opening, better than we were looking for. We’re in for a great run because its $80M negative cost means a very profitable pic,” one Fox exec gushed. But the concensus in Hollywood is that The Day The Earth Stood Still is unlikely to get to a $100M box office lifetime domestically with all the competition coming up — including Fox’s own Marley And Me which is tracking like a blockbuster.