Saturday Update: “Pixels”, “Paper Towns” Disappoint, “Southpaw” Surprises

Three films opened this weekend, two of which disappointed. Pixels took in just $9.2M on Friday for a weekend of around $25M, which was lower than even the most pessimistic of expectations. The real surprise, though, was how poorly Paper Towns performed, taking in just $6.3M on Friday. It’s followng a similar track of The Fault in Our Stars, with its Thursday grosses taking up around 33% of its opening day, suggesting a very front loaded weekend of only around $13M.

So why did both of these films do so poorly? Well, it is a bit of a head scratcher. Pixels had a fun concept that seemed like it should’ve done around $30M or more, so an opening this low shows that audiences may be getting tired of the Sandler shtick. It also received a B from Cinemascore, meaning word of mouth isn’t going to be doing it any favors. Paper Towns, on the other hand, tried to use the success of last years Fault in most of its marketing, but obviously this book is not nearly as popular given that it opened to around 25% of what Fault did last summer. It was obvious that it wouldn’t be as successful as the book is not nearly as popular, but the fact that its opening below $20M is fairly surprising. It received a B+ on Cinemascore, but word of mouth for a film so driven by its rabid young fanbase isn’t really going to affect performance one way or another.

Southpaw actually did a bit better than anticipated, with $6.2M on Friday, giving it an opening weekend of over $15M if it plays it’s cards right. No one could’ve suspected that Southpaw may actually open higher than Paper Towns, but unless it is extremely front loaded it seems that it could wind up with around $16M, a very solid start for the R rated sports drama. Word of mouth is excellent as well, with an A from Cinemascore implying word of mouth could help this get to over $40M through the rest of the summer.

Ant-Man was unable to translate strong word of mouth into a great hold, falling a whopping 69% Friday-to-Friday. It will likely even out through Saturday and Sunday but isn’t looking at more than $25M or so.

Trainwreck fell around 50% on Friday, likely giving it a weekend of around $17M this weekend.

Updated Predictions

1. Pixels – $24M

2. Southpaw – $16.5M

3. Paper Towns – $13M

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