Analysts: Into Darkness ‘Solid’ Domestic & ‘Strong’ International Open – But Why Not Even Better? May 20, 2013by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Star Trek Into Darkness , trackback
The final weekend results are in and Star Trek Into Darkness is the #1 movie in the world, bringing in over $110M over the weekend giving it a global gross of over $164M. Analysts mostly agree the film had a solid domestic performance (but behind expectations) and impressive overseas sales. More details and analysis of the analysis below.
Star Trek off to a ‘solid’ performance domestically + ‘strong’ internationally
After the softer sales on Friday, Star Trek Into Darkness rallied with stronger domestic sales on Saturday and Sunday to end the 3-day weekend with $70.2M and a cumulative total of around $84M. Paramount’s view is that the film is outperforming the sequel by 6% domestically, but they are comparing the 2009’s 3-1/4 day returns with Into Darkness’ 4-day returns (+ IMAX previews), so there is a bit of apples to oranges.
STAR TREK VS. INTO DARKNESS
|Domestic $M||Star Trek
|Open Wkd Total.||$75.2||$70.2|
|*limited release Source: BoxOffice.com|
While it ended the weekend a bit ahead of where the 2009 Star Trek movie, it didn’t meet the $100M projections from Paramount. However the film did meet the $85M projection that Paramount was talking about three weeks ago (before they moved the release date). There is a consensus that the last-minute move of the release date did not achieve Paramount’s goals of boosting sales and may have just moved hardcore fans from Friday to Thursday without bringing in more regular filmgoers.
It is hard to predict where the film will go from here but domestically it looks like Into Darkness may not outperform the 2009 Star Trek film (which brought in a domestic total of $258M making it the 7th highest grossing film of 2009). So this time around Into Darkness probably won’t break into the top 5 but it still has a shot at the top 10. Even using the lower $70.2M figure, the Into Darkness opening weekend would be ranked 7th best for either 2011 or 2012 and 6th in 2010. And 7th ranked films have brought in $210-$260M (domestic) in the last 3 years.
On the international front, Into Darkness brought in an estimated $40M over the weekend, opening in over two dozen new territories. This brings the overseas total to 80.5M. The film continues to significantly outperform the 2009 Star Trek film in each market, in come cases very significantly. For example in Russia it opened with an $8M weekend, compared to just $1.9M for Star Trek in 2009. We don’t have the final country-by-country data yet so we can’t do a full Into Darkness vs. Star Trek breakdown, but Paramount is projecting that in the end Into Darkness could as much double Star Trek’s $128M total international take.
So it looks like any potential shortfall (vs. Star Trek) domestically could be more than made up for internationally so that in the end Into Darkness will likely outpace the $386M global gross of the 2009 film. Of course with a bigger budget, 3D tickets and inflation it was expected to perform better, so the big question now is how much better will it do?
As of May 19th, Star Trek Into Darkness global cumulative gross was $164.2M.
Analysts: Sales "Solid" but Paramount over-predicted domestic
Analysts seem to agree that Into Darkness was a solid performer domestically but that Paramount was over-zealous in their predictions. There is also agreement that the studio is hitting their target internationally. Here is some of the commentary…
…a truly solid number for [Into Darkness]. It’s only perhaps Paramount was a little too eager for a hit, setting its Stateside expectations too high at $100 million-plus.
The iconic space tentpole grossed a lot of money worldwide…But came nowhere near the $80M weekend and $100M total predicted.
Star Trek Into Darkness topped the box office chart — even if it didn’t engage warp speed and hit $100 million.
– Hollywood Reporter
"Star Trek Into Darkness" opened atop the U.S. box office, though its debut didn’t quite make the jump to warp speed that Paramount Pictures executives expected.
– LA Times
The Enterprise encountered some choppy air in North America over the weekend — namely strong holdover ticket sales for “Iron Man 3” and “The Great Gatsby” — but hit warp speed in foreign markets…
– NY Times
Fans leading the way
Analysis also shows that fans – such as readers of TrekMovie.com – are leading the way and a key part of the Paramount’s hopes for the continued strong returns. Here is what Variety says of Trek fan contribution to Into Darkness:
[Domestically] the film played above average with Trekkies, who contributed a higher-than-usual percentage of the pic’s total gross.
With franchise fans driving online chatter for “Into Darkness,” word-of-mouth should be especially strong for the sequel.
Reuters also picks up on this, noting:
Paramount said the film’s audience was comprised largely of longtime "Star Trek" fans, but was optimistic that good reviews and word of mouth would bring in a broader audience in coming weeks.
More interesting IMAX sales data:
- Imax contributed 16% of the film’s bow (with $13.5 million), compared to “Iron Man 3,” which had less than 10% opening weekend come from Imax. (Variety)
- There were many IMAX sell outs, a strong Friday to Saturday uptick and 17 of Trek’s top 20 domestic locations have IMAX runs (BoxOffice.com)
Should it have done better? And why didn’t it?
So even if it is "solid" domestically and "strong" internationally, clearly Paramount was hoping for more on the domestic side. And the analysis from Forbes takes this on saying that not meeting these higher expectations is a disappointment:
There is no way around it, Star Trek Into Darkness pulled in fewer ticket buyers than the 2009 Star Trek. For the record, I do not want to scream “FLOP” over a $82 million four-day gross and potentially lucrative overseas final results, but this is indeed a case where a rather large opening can be considered a ‘disappointment’ in relation to realistic expectations and/or budgetary demands.
The reasoning for Into Darkness not making big (domestic) gains over the 2009 movie had analysts scratching their heads, as noted by BoxOfficeGuru:
The underperforming numbers of Into Darkness were downright baffling. Paramount made a good product and picked a fine time to release it giving it two weeks distance from the summer’s other action tentpole Iron Man 3. Reviews were mostly positive (more than good enough for a sci-fi sequel) and audiences also liked the film with opening day ticket buyers giving an A grade from CinemaScore. The marketing push was strong and normal for May action tentpoles.
Guru offers a suggestion, pointing to the four year gap between films, but also noting that maybe it is competition more so:
Most franchises in recent years have not taken [4 years] off in between installments including Twilight, Harry Potter, Iron Man, Transformers, and the Star Wars prequels. Even newer ones like Hobbit and Hunger Games have told fans that they will get a new chapter every year. Last year, however, there were a pair of films that came out exactly four years after their last installments and opened bigger without even needing 3D – The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall. Both were threequels to a reboot and followed sequels that were also very successful so audiences were more hooked to the brands. The love shown for 2009’s Star Trek could have been somewhat of an anomaly. It certainly brought in a broader more mainstream crowd, but many may have lost the excitement this time around especially with popular alternative options from Mr. Stark and Mr. Gatsby out there right now.
Box Office Mojo also focuses on competition was more of a factor, noting:
It seems more likely [Into Darkness] fell victim to the incredibly competitive May schedule. There’s only so much money to go around, and following the strong performances of Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby—and a week ahead of a jam-packed Memorial Day—Star Trek Into Darkness just wasn’t a compelling enough proposition for casual moviegoers.
Trek’s demographics tell an interesting story that contributes to that theory: the audience skewed heavily male (64 percent) and older (73 percent over the age of 25). In comparison, the first movie did a better job reaching women (only 60 percent male) and younger audiences (only 65 percent over 25).
Another issue may be demographics. Deadline reports exit polling shows that 64% of the audience was male and only 27% was under the age 25. For the 2009 Star Trek movie, 35% were under 25. And in comparison Iron Man 3 had 45% under 25. So with all the talk of this not being your father’s Star Trek, there may be too many fathers in the audience. Speaking to The Wrap, Exhibitor Relations vice-president and senior analyst Jeff Bock said:
It didn’t grab the attention of young moviegoers, and you’re not going to get your movie over $100 million with just older folks. It’s tough to figure, because with Abrams doing it, it’s really not your father’s ‘Star Trek.’ But it needs to find that young audience in a hurry.
More to come
TrekMovie will continue to monitor box office results globally for Into Darkness along with the industry analyses as the film moves into its second weekend and beyond.