Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started its weekend last night with a strong $4.6 million Thursday gross.
It’s a pretty crowded weekend, but there really was only one movie where the Thursday grosses will have much impact on the overall weekend. Not to be rude, but I don’t think Walt Disney’s DIS +1.57% The Hundred-Foot Journey burned up the advance-night preview crowd. For what it’s worth, New Line Cinema’s Into the Storm earned $800,000 on Thursday setting the stage for a $16-$18m debut weekend. But the big new release of the weekend is Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which earned a rock-solid $4.6 million last night from showings starting at around 7:00pm. The bad news is that since it is an August release and since there hasn’t been a TMNT feature film in seven years nor a live-action entry in 21 years, there isn’t much precedent to compare it to. Needless to say, the midnight screening/Thursday preview business was not a roaring one back in 1993.
Offhand, the most likely comparison is last year’s The Wolverine, which earned $4 million on its Thursday debut in late July and ended up with $53m for the weekend. Also of note,Maleficent earned $4m on its opening Thursday in late May of this year and went on to open with $69m. Now does that mean I think that Jonathan Liebesman’s TMNT reboot is going to earn $55m-70m this weekend? Doubtful, although I won’t necessarily rule it out. The Wolverine was well-reviewed and part of a trusted brand. The Wolverine earned just 7% of its opening weekend on Thursday, which would have been considered front-loaded just three years ago when 5%-6% was the norm but is now considered leggy when 9%-11% is relatively normal. Maleficent was the only big-game in town for females at that point in the summer, and as such boasted huge mother/daughter matinee business. One advantage of having so few female-centric blockbusters is that the ones that do pop up have the advantage of grabbing the whole pie for itself. [Read more…]