Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife is off to a promising start at the pre-Thanksgiving box office with $4.5M, ahead of Sony’s 2016 all-femme reboot which posted a Friday of $3.5M. While Sony was projecting $27M-$28M, and the industry higher $30M-$35M, Thursday night’s ticket sales (which started at 4PM at 3,450 locations) puts the Jason Reitman-directed feature in a position to potentially excel both those projections. Any added propulsion here at the box office is off pure word of mouth. The sequel is booked at 4,300 theaters.
The previous Paul Feig version of Ghostbusters went on to earn a $17.1M Friday, including previews, a $46M domestic opening and finaled at 2.8x multiple off a B+ CinemaScore with $128.3M. That audience score was down from the 1989 Ivan Reitman-directed sequel Ghostbusters 2 which had an A-. Ghostbusters: Afterlife will have all the Imax and PLF theaters this weekend at its service.
In regards to promotion, social analytics corp RelishMix reports that Ghostbusters: Afterlife dropped its first trailer on Dec. 9, 2019 and began to build momentum to the July 2020 date only to hit the Covid pause button.
For the next full year — until this past April — the studio dropped weekly clips onto the movie’s Facebook pages as the industry re-set. Afterlife, has 105 videos for 7.6M predominately organic views “which is strong” says RelishMix.
On YouTube, 11 videos reposted at a viral rate of 41:1 have amassed 94.3M views “with an exceptional load of review spots.” Sony’s 40.9M social media universe is cross-promoted with the movie at 3.2M fans and Playstation at 104.2 fans — which are all rolled into the sequel’s total social media universe of 275.6M.
Conversation for Ghostbusters: Afterlife leans positive “with enthusiasm for new cast members Finn Wolfhard and Paul Rudd — and joyous references of the original from 1984 with the return of Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts,” says RelishMix. “The second redo is intensely nostalgic for fans and their memories of New York in the 1980s and feeling that Ghostbusters are here to save the day.
Wolfhard fans are pointing out the obvious connection when the cast of Stranger Things dressed up as Ghostbusters in an episode. Gozer the Gozerian and the Stay Puff (sic.) man along with chatter about the video game also leads to cross promotions which are seen within the PlayStation universe. Skeptics touch on the first reboot from 2016 and now, with a kids driven episode and how that will play.”
The pic’s social media stars include Dan Aykroyd with 1.8M fans, McKenna Grace at 1.6M. and Wolfhard with 20.9M on Instagram. Jason Reitman counts over 228K between his Instagram and Twitter handles.
Grace with the Ghostbusters:
Also opening today is the Warner Bros. Richard Williams biopic King Richard about Venus and Serena Williams’ father, in 3,250 theaters and on HBO Max. The pic is hoping to lob a $10M start.
Disney’s Eternals ended its second week with an estimated $33.7M in first place in 4,090 theaters, after a $1.3M Thursday, -19% from Wednesday, putting the MCU title at $124.9M. The movie is expected to ease 50% in weekend 3 with around $13M for a No. 2 slot, that is unless King Richard greatly overperforms.
Paramount’s theatrical release of Clifford the Big Red Dog, which is also available in homes on Paramount+, saw a $655K Thursday at 3,700 sites, -8% from Wednesday and a running total of $25.4M. Clifford looks to be at least 40% from its three-day of $16.6M with just under $10M. Clifford‘s last seven days at the B.O. came in at $19.8M.
Warner Bros./Legendary’s Dune, which is in its final weekend on HBO Max before it’s exclusive to exhibition in its second month, continues to hold, notching third place with an estimated $7.5M fourth week in 3,282 movie theaters, an estimated $450K Thursday, and a running total just over $95M. The pic will clear the century mark at the domestic box office this week, Warner’s second to do so during the pandemic after Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong.
In fourth is UAR/MGM’s No Time to Die, which is also in homes on PVOD, which earned $385K yesterday at 2,867, -2%, for a $6.1M sixth week, and a running total in the U.S. and Canada of $152M.
Fifth place belongs to Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, booked at 2,538 with a Thursday estimated at $250K, off 7% from Wednesday, for a 7th week of $5M and running total of $203.7M.