The 355 Femme Action Ensemble Collects $350K In Thursday Night Previews

Universal and FilmNation’s greatly panned (24% on Rotten Tomatoes), but star-studded female spy movie The 355 is not off to the best of starts with $350K from Thursday night previews which started at 7PM yesterday at 2,300 theaters.

This will result in likely a single digit opening for the weekend for the Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o, Bingbing Fan, and Diane Kruger title. The 355‘s Thursday night is slightly ahead of Paramount/Eon’s January 2020 disaster The Rhythm Section ($235K Thursday night, $2.7M opening; and below 20th Century Studios first month of 2020 failure, Underwater, which saw a $500K Thursday night, $7M 3-day.

Meanwhile, Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home fell to its lowest daily gross with an estimated $3.9M yesterday, -11% from Wednesday. Daily grosses have slowly fell Monday through Thursday for the movie. The pic’s running total stands at $635.7M, the 8th biggest movie at the domestic box office, behind Jurassic World‘s $652.3M, and ahead of The Avengers ($623.3M) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($620.1M)

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Now, now, before you streaming heads begin to yell “Look what Omicron is doing to the box office!”, realize that Spider-Man‘s daily dip here is par for the course for a big Christmas event title in the New Year. Recent Star Wars movies saw their weekday grosses fall to single digits promptly after New Year’s weekend with the Thursday before their fourth weekend hitting their initial low point, i.e. Force Awakens ($5.9M on Jan. 7, 2016), The Last Jedi ($4.3M on Jan. 4, 2018), Rogue One ($3.8M on Jan. 5, 2017), and Rise of Skywalker ($2.1M on Jan. 9, 2020). Comscore reports that most K-12 schools were already in session yesterday with only 8% off and 84% colleges still on holiday break.

The fourth weekend of No Way Home, after a $56M third weekend, is expected to be down around 46% to hopefully $30M. Previous fourth weekends for the Star Wars movies include Force Awakens ($42.3M), Last Jedi ($23.7M), Rogue One ($22M) and Rise of Skywalker ($15.1M). In other words, don’t assume the floor is falling from the box office just in case Spider-Man files a $20M-$30M weekend.

Distribution sources are giving me mixed messages: Yes, Omicron is to blame for the slowdown at the box office; no it’s not to blame; that Covid isn’t the reason why some studios pushed titles. Like all things stalling the business, yes, Covid, is the reason why Morbius moved despite Spider-Man‘s success and Sony keeping its Imax and PLF screens. Why is that? The next Sony/Marvel movie was poised to open at the end of the month, and the studio didn’t want an unpredictable business situation after the success of Spider-Man. Best to have the Jered Leto title launch during a warmer and hopefully healthier time on the calendar.

All eyes are on Warner Bros.’ The Batman on March 4. If that movie pushes further in the calendar, then we know we’re in a Covid deja vu like 2020 where a release calendar shuffle occurs, but I’m hearing that is not expected to happen. So rest easy, and remember, in case I haven’t said it enough, box office is product driven and January is notoriously a horrible time for theatrical releases.

The rest of Thursday’s top 5 according to industry estimates: Uni’s Sing 2 ($1M, -11%, $97M total), Disney/20th’s The King’s Man ($455K,-5%, $21.8M total), Warner/Village Roadshow’s Matrix Resurrections ($299K, -6%, $32.5M), and Lionsgate’s American Underdog ($290K, -5%, $16.3M).

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