‘Gran Turismo’ Revs $17.4M, ‘Barbie’ $15.1M In Warner Bros & Sony Battle During National Cinema Day Weekend – Box Office

Monday AM: In one of the dullest weekends of the year, there was a lot of melodrama. However, Sony’s Gran Turismo won the weekend with $17.4M — and rival studios, except for Warners Bros, see it that way too.

Barbie came in with $15.1M, not $17.1M, to no one’s shock. “It was never going to do that kind of business,” said one rival distribution cappo this AM. Warners was throwing furniture all weekend long because Sony included nine days of previews in its Friday total, propelling Gran Turismo to No. 1, stopping Barbie‘s collection of No. 1 weekends. It will be interesting to see how the dust settles next weekend: Will Sony have the No. 1 and 2 movie in Equalizer 3 (which is expected to do $30M+ business over four days) and Gran Turismo?

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Barbie‘s Sunday came in at $5.7M, +6% over Saturday’s $5.4M, while Gran Turismo‘s Sunday was $4.7M, +15% over Saturday’s $4.1M — both juiced by National Cinema Day $4 tickets. We’ll have more stats on that day soon. Barbie did 1.42M admissions yesterday to Gran Turismo‘s 1.17M, which if you scroll down, you’ll see that’s where the industry saw the former in terms of ticket stubs — not 1.937M.

Again, rival studios are acting like cats with birds in their mouth over this whole Gran Turismo and Barbie war because everyone has stuffed previews into their opening days before — just not to the degree that Sony has. Why not call B.S.? Because, you too Warners, will one day get to put nine days of previews into your opening day number.

Sunday AM: With National Cinema Day today and all tickets for all movies $4 –a celebration which brings mixed emotions to those in the industry–many are seeing Sony’s Gran Turismo waving the checkered flag with around $17.3M after a $4.1M Saturday that plummeted due to the fact that it was up against an $8.5M Friday chock full of nine days of previews.

C’mon ‘Gran Turismo’ c’mon! Bring it on! ‘Barbie’ believes it has a shot at No. 1 due to National Cinema Day $4 ticket sales.
C’mon ‘Gran Turismo’ c’mon! Bring it on! ‘Barbie’ believes it has a shot at No. 1 due to National Cinema Day $4 ticket sales.

Warner Bros. is calling Barbie‘s sixth weekend at $17.1M while rivals show it at a $15.1M take after a $5.3M Saturday that was +33% over its Friday. As we mentioned Warners are irate over Sony’s handling of preview box office accounting on Gran Turismo. Warners believes that Sony should back out all the non-Thursday previews out of Gran Turismo‘s Friday ($3.9M) so that Barbie can be No. 1 for a fifth time in a row. No rival studio’s internal box office chart sees it that way. Where is Warner getting the logic that Barbie gets to $17.1M this weekend? Read on, as it’s all about National Cinema Day.

Meanwhile, Oppenheimer is expected to hit $300M by EOD today.

Now the Cinema Day of it all…

While we won’t have hard admission stats until tomorrow, box office analytics firm EntTelligence is currently seeing committed 3.1M ticket purchases (not box office, that’s admissions people) for today in presales. Will walk-up business get us to a level of last year’s National Cinema Day, which fell on a Saturday during Labor Day weekend, and clocked 8 million? One studio is betting that we do 8.75M in admissions today.

Barbie, as expected, is leading Sunday in admissions with over 504K. Now Warner Bros is projecting that they’ll do $7.75M worth of business today for Barbie. That means Barbie will have to do 1.937M in admissions off of $4 ticket sales. Some don’t see how that’s possible as they believe Barbie will do around $5.8M in National Cinema Day admissions which means 1.45M admissions.

Other top presellers in terms of admission so far today are Blue Beetle (501K+), Gran Turismo (391K), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (322K+) and Oppenheimer (302K).

Gran Turismo is projected to do $4.45M today (and rivals agree) which would mean 1.1M admissions.

As of this weekend during her entire domestic run, Barbie will have over 50M tickets sold or $594.8M per EntTelligence.

EntTelligence says that 40% of National Cinema Day sales so far are for movies playing between 1PM and 5PM while 27% are between 5PM-9PM.

While exhibition is happy about National Cinema Day as more bodies bring concessions dollars, studios aren’t yippy skippy as it means less box office, especially this year when there’s premium product on the marquee. This wasn’t a big deal last year as there weren’t any new studio wide releases due to the Covid post-production logjam, just re-releases like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Jaws. The thinking by some is that we needed National Cinema Day more last year than this year in regards to encouraging people to return to cinemas, particularly at a time when there was no product and people still hesitant from Covid. The whole day boils down to a fight between admissions and dollars: Do you generate enough in admissions that still yields big box office? At the end of the day, didn’t you just crater business on Friday and Saturday in favor of Sunday? One rival studio projection is that National Cinema Day will ring up $35M for all titles (or 8.75M admissions), which is 13% above Saturday’s $31M, and 22% ahead of Friday’s $28.6M for all titles in what’s looking like a $94.6M weekend, +79% over the same frame a year ago.

Other news:

Rachel Sennott Ayo Edebiri Bottoms
(L-R) Rachel Sennott as PJ and Ayo Edebiri as Josie in ‘Bottoms’

MGM’s Bottoms looks to hit a theater average of $51,6K for $516,2K, which could beat Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s $50,1K opening theater average. Next weekend, the film will expand to approximately 700 additional theaters across North America. The Emma Seligman directed and written title, and produced by Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman is 93% positive. Women under 25 rated it 98% with a 96% definite recommend on PostTrak. The opening night audience was young (86% between 18-34), LGBTQ+ (59%). Diversity demos were 67% Caucasian, 20% Latino and Hispanic, 7% Black and 14% Asian. The studio reports “that attendees were avid, smarthouse moviegoers who came to see the film because of its fresh/original take on the high school, coming of age genre.”

Really?! These Liam Neeson movies profit?
Really?! These Liam Neeson movies profit?

A note about the Liam Neeson movie Retribution. This is the nth recent Neeson action film that’s coming in with an opening in the lower single digits after last year’s Marlowe ($1.8M), Memory ($3.1M), Blacklight ($3.5M) and 2021’s The Marksman ($3.1M). But get this, these movies are profitable or else they wouldn’t get made. “I wish I had a Liam Neeson action film,” drooled one foreign sales boss to me. It remains to be seen at the fall film festival troika who’ll actually snap up acquisition titles with the Byzantine legalese of SAG-AFTRA agreements. There could be booby traps. We won’t know until an acquisition is made; and what the aftermath of that is for the buyer in regards to downstreams. However, a Liam Neeson movie (if one was in the marketplace) is well worth whatever SAG-AFTRA termed deal is. Retribution, made by StudioCanal and the Picture Company, was made for a price around $20M. Neeson gets a payday in the upper single digits. Lionsgate bought U.S. for $6M, (Memory finaled domestic at $7.3M) and they keep the P&A low in the high single digit range. PVOD is where this movie overindexes. Between foreign sales and Lionsgate, that’s covering about $18M of the production cost. StudioCanal already has its own territories that they’re reaping box office and ancillaries off of with France, Germany, Australia, UK and Poland. Everyone comes out of the wash OK, I’m told by sources. For foreign sales folks and distributors, is being in business on a Neeson pic similar to that of a Nicolas Cage movie? “It’s better,” says another foreign sales exec.

The chart…

1.) Gran Turismo (Sony) 3,856 theaters, Fri $8.65M (includes $5.3M previews) Sat $4.2M Sun $4.45M 3-day $17.3M/Wk 1

2.) Barbie (WB) 3,736 (-267) theaters, Fri $4M (-37%) Sat $5.35M Sun $7.75M 3-day $17.1M (-19%)/Total $594.8M/Wk 6

3.) Blue Beetle (WB) 3,871 theaters, Fri $2.6M (-74%), Sat $4.1M Sun $2.28M 3-day $12.7M (-49%)/Total $46.3M/Wk 2

4.) Oppenheimer (Uni) 2,872 (-449) theaters Fri $2.28M (-25%),Sat $3.2M Sun $3.45M 3-day $9M (-16%)/Total $300M/Wk 6

5.) Teenage Mutanta Ninja Turtles…(Par) 3,145 (-332) theaters Fri $1.53M (-35%) Sat $2.4M Sun $2.16M 3-day $6.1M (-29%), Total $98.1M/Wk 4

6.) The Meg 2: The Trench (WB) 2,932 (-470) theaters Fri $1M (-43%) Sat $1.76M Sun $2.28M 3-day $5.1M (-25%)/Total $74.4M/ Wk 4

7.) Strays (Uni) 3,232 (+9) theaters, Fri $1.16M (-66%) Sat $1.66M Sun $1.83M 3-day $4.65M (-44%)/Total $16.1M/ Wk 2

8.) Retribution (Road) 1,750 theaters, Fri $1.29M Sat $1.08M Sun $975K 3-day $3.348M/Wk 1

9.) Talk to Me (A24) 1,789 (-x) theaters Fri $971K Sat $1.26M Sun $890K 3-day $3.12M (-38%) Total $37.3M/Wk 4

10.) The Hill (Briar) 1,570 theaters Fri $805K Sat $830K Sun $880K 3-day $2.515M Wk 1

Golda (BST) 883 theaters, Fri $782K Sat $522K Sun $418K 3-day $1.72M /Wk 1

Saturday AM: Sony’s Gran Turismo counted a Friday that included $5.3M in previews, plus another $3.2M yesterday in pure dollars, for what’s being called an $8.5M day. This will translate to a $16.5M opening weekend. However, National Cinema Day could see a big rally for Barbie, despite figures showing a $4M Friday and $15.7M sixth weekend. We’ll have a better idea of presales for Sunday tomorrow.

'Barbie' Max premiere date

Warner Bros is still having a really big problem with Sony stuffing their weekend with an extra $3.9M of previews (when you back out Thursday’s $1.4M) on Gran Turismo. For, in their eyes, no studio has ever done that before with an extensive string of previews. Why is Warners so upset? Because then that would mean Barbie is No. 1, and she’d be able to count five weekends at No. 1. Warners should wait until Monday AM, when the dust settles from National Cinema Day, because it could greatly work in Barbie’s favor.

Many have stuffed their opening weekends with advance previews, and rivals perceive this as common practice because they’ve done it before (and they don’t want to upset or reverse what’s been a calculation in their favor.) That’s why some aren’t calling B.S. on Sony. More to the point, Sony isn’t making these ticket sales up: Gran Turismo‘s cash is right there in Comscore, with the preview box office included in Friday. They were also upfront in the press that they were holding advance previews for Gran Turismo.

This isn’t a scenario of Angels Studios and Sound of Freedom — which many perceive has $10M-$20M bloated in their $180.5M running domestic cume due to double-counting off the distributor’s own side ticket sales web portal.

Read: many distribs’, off Comscore numbers, saw Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny beating Sound of Freedom on its July 4th opening day, $11.6M to $11.1M, despite Angels calling the Jim Caviezel pic’s first day at $14.2M.

At the end of the day, did this advance preview stunt for Gran Turismo work? Not really. But Sony believed in the movie, just like Paramount believed in Dungeons & Dragons and sought to create buzz. Especially at a time when the actors can’t promote the film because of the SAG-AFTRA strike. You can’t fault Sony for trying. No filmmaker, producer, or agent connected to the film can. The exits on Gran Turismo are spectacular at a 90% grade and an A CinemaScore.

Despite this, there’s no great rush to see Gran Turismo. Part of the problem is that there aren’t any big stars in the film, outside of David Harbour from Stranger Things and Lord of the Rings‘ Orlando Bloom. It’s also a race car movie, and those have spotty records (remember Ron Howard’s Chris Hemsworth-starring Rush? That was a platform release, but only $26.9M in its domestic run).

Gran Turismo isn’t Ford v. Ferrari, which opened to $31.4M with big stars like Matt Damon and Christian Bale and the brand names of the automakers in the title. Plus, that movie further won audiences over with its jaw-dropping race car scenes. Maybe Gran Turismo finds an audience in a fall that will dry up come late September. Through Friday, Gran Turismo counts $30M at the foreign box office.

The overall penultimate weekend of summer is heading toward an estimated $85.2M. While not a $100M weekend, it’s still +61% over the same period last year, when there was a lack of big studio product.

From left: Rachel Sennott, Ruby Cruz, Ayo Edebiri © United Artists
From left: Rachel Sennott, Ruby Cruz, Ayo Edebiri © United Artists

Amid this weekend’s box office accounting fuss between Gran Turismo and Barbie, it looks like there’s a phenomenon happening at the arthouse, and that’s with the MGM teen LGBTQ+ comedy, Bottoms. The movie, which was championed by Orion Boss Alana Mayo, is heading toward a great theater average of $48K from ten bookings in four markets, including NYC, L.A., San Francisco, and Austin. That per theater isn’t far from the $50K posted by Everything Everywhere All at Once in its ten theater first weekend opening, and it’s also close to the theater average of Searchlight’s Theater Camp, which did the same, but in six theaters. The Alamo Brooklyn, Angelika NY & AMC Grove grossed $30K+ apiece on Friday, which is translating to $225K Friday, $481K opening weekend. The movie is currently 95% fresh with Rotten Tomatoes critics and a platinum 100% with RT audiences. Bravo, Bottoms.

© Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection
© Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

Indie wide releases are filling any gaps in the marketplace, but with droplets of bucks. Roadside Attractions/StudioCanal/Picture Company’s Liam Neeson movie Retribution is seeing $3.3M after a $1.29M Friday at 1,750 theaters. Critics and audience are excited by it, with a respective 29% on Rotten Tomatoes and a C CinemaScore and 54% on PostTrak. Guys bought tickets at 61%, with 36% of the audience between 18-34 and the largest quad being 25-34 years old at 24%, with another 59% of the audience coming in at 35+ years. Diversity demos are 56% Caucasian, 16% Latino and Hispanic, 11% Black, and 18% Asian/other. Retribution played the best in the South and the West. The Regal Manchester in Fresno currently counts the best gross in the country with $5K.

GOLDA, Helen Mirren as Golda Meir, © Bleeker Street Media /Courtesy Everett Collection
GOLDA, Helen Mirren as Golda Meir, © Bleeker Street Media /Courtesy Everett Collection

Bleecker Street/ShivHans’ release of Guy Nattiv’s Golda, about the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, posted $770K for Friday for what’s shaping up to be a $2.6M opening. Booked at 883 locations in 173 markets, I’m told good numbers in NYC, LA, Miami, Chicago, Palm Beach, DC, Philly, and Cleveland.

THE HILL, Dennis Quaid, 2023. © Briarcliff Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection
THE HILL, Dennis Quaid, 2023. © Briarcliff Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

Briarcliff Entertainment’s faith-based title The Hill drew $800K yesterday for what’s shaping up to be a $2.52M opening at 1,570 theaters. South, Midwest, and Mountain regions were the best for this Dennis Quaid title. PostTrack audiences gave it 80%, with a 58% definite recommend while RT critics hated it at 32%. Faith-based demos here with 66% women, and 65% of the audience over 45 and the largest demo being 55+ at 46%. Caucasians repped 75% of opening day with 16% Latino and Hispanic, 3% Black, and 6% Asian/other. The South & South Central is accounting or close to 50% of the pic’s gross versus the norm of 29%. The Harkins Arrowhead Fountains in Arizona is the top for The Hill with over $3K.

1.) Gran Turismo (Sony) 3,856 theaters, Fri $8.5M (includes $5.3M previews) 3-day $16.5M/Wk 1

2.) Barbie (WB) 3,736 (-267) theaters, Fri $4M (-37%) 3-day $15.7M (-25%)/Total $593.4M/Wk 6

3.) Blue Beetle 3,871 theaters, Fri $2.6M (-74%), 3-day $10M (-60%)/Total $43.5M/Wk 2

4.) Oppenheimer (Uni) 2,872 (-449) theaters Fri $2.25M (-26%), 3-day $8M (-25%)/Total $299M/Wk 6

5.) Teenage Mutanta Ninja Turtles…(Par) 3,145 (-332) theaters Fri $1.53M (-35%) 3-day $5.6M (-34%), Total $97.6M/Wk 4

6.) The Meg 2: The Trench (WB) 2,932 (-470) theaters Fri $1M (-43%), 3-day $4.1M (-39%)/Total $73.4M/ Wk 4

7.) Strays (Uni) 3,232 (+9) theaters, Fri $1.15M (-67%), 3-day $4.05M (-51%)/Total $15.5M/ Wk 2

8.) Retribution (Road) 1,750 theaters, Fri $1.29M 3-day $3.39M/Wk 1

9.) Golda (BST) 883 theaters, Fri $770K 3-day $2.6M /Wk 1

10.) The Hill (Briar) 1,570 theaters Fri $800K 3-day $2.52M Wk 1

Friday Midday: Realize that National Cinema Day on Sunday is a wild card for all movies at the weekend box office, so consider these estimates carefully. It’s already clear that business on National Cinema Day Sunday will be significantly up over Saturday with EntTelligence reporting Sunday ticket presales +700%-plus over Saturday. It’s possible that Warner Bros’ Barbie and family features will see significant spikes.

Gran Turismo at 3,856 theaters is seeing $8M for Friday which includes in total $5.3M in previews from not just Thursday, but ten days of previews. The outlook for the weekend is $15M-$16M. Clarification here: on Shazam, Warners rolled that advance screening money into the pic’s total so the 3-day came out to be $53.5M with a total of $56.8M (meaning they didn’t roll that cash into the pic’s first Friday). In regards to some distributors’ pearl-clutching over Sony rolling the advance previews into Friday, others aren’t balking because this is the ‘Code Red’ (to use a term from A Few Good Men) that many studios have adopted in the millennium preview era of gross reporting: They typically load advance monies into Friday. There’s nothing unusual here. C’mon, studios, you’re starting movies on Thursdays at 12noon and calling it Friday.

Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Now even though Barbie per industry estimates is seeing $4M today and around $15.8M (-25%) at 3,736 for the weekend, she could very well go nuts on National Cinema Day Sunday and wind up winning the weekend, even with Gran Turismo‘s advance monies built into its Friday-Sunday. By Sunday, Barbie is looking to stand at $593M at the end of her sixth weekend, $7M shy of the six century domestic mark.

Warners has third place bragging rights with Blue Beetle at 3,871 theaters with an estimated $3M in his second Friday, -70%, for an estimated second weekend of $10.5M, -58% for a running total of $44M. By the way, that second weekend take is better than that of Shazam: Fury of the Gods which did $9.3M.

Universal’s Oppenheimer at 2,872 theaters is seeing a sixth Friday of $2.2M, and a 3-day of $7.8M (-27%) putting the Christopher Nolan’s running total by Sunday at $298.8M, becoming his third highest grossing movie at the domestic B.O., ahead of Inception ($293M) and behind The Dark Knight ($530M) and The Dark Knight Rises ($448M).

Fifth goes to Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem with a $5.9M fourth weekend at 3,145 theaters, -31%, after a $1.5M Friday. Running total looks to be near $98M.

'Retribution' review
Liam Neeson in ‘Retribution’

Roadside Attractions’ Liam Neeson movie, Retribution, is seeing $1M today for a $3M weekend in industry projections at 1,750 theaters. Critics loathe it at 30% Rotten, but audiences on the RT meter like it better at 72%.

Friday AM: “You’re not actually going to allow them to do that, are you?”

Such are the gripes across the City of Angels from rival distributors about Sony’s public-facing acknowledgment that they’ve previewed Gran Turismo over the last two weekends, lagniappe box office which will be included in Friday’s total.

Yesterday starting from 2PM showtimes, the feature take of the Sony Playstation game earned $1.4M at 3,156 theaters, including PLF and Imax monies. The Neill Blomkamp-directed movie has a shot at No. 1 this weekend making $12M-$15M at 3,800 theaters.

Sony at the end of July decided at the last minute to move Gran Turismo‘s wide opening from Aug. 11 to Aug. 25. This was for several reasons: one, to get away from the heat of Barbenheimer and also to create word of mouth on a movie that doesn’t have its stars to promote due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. Sony was transparent with the town that they were holding previews. It’s not always public knowledge when a studio is holding advance screenings for a movie.

In major markets such as LA, cinemas have been playing Gran Turismo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; two weekends back-to-back. We’ve heard that preview cash has amounted to $3M+, but Sony hasn’t verified that yet.

As far as those rivals whining about Sony including the cash in this weekend’s gross — let he without sin cast the first stone. Y’all have juiced your weekends and Fridays with preview money going back to forever. Hello! New Line’s Shazam back in 2019 boasted a preview figure of $9.2M which included a robust advance Fandango-sponsored screening. Paramount and eOne’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves made $5.6M in previews which included Thursday showtimes (starting at 3PM), as well as Amazon sneaks among other pre-screenings. That studio was holding advance screenings for Dungeons and Dragons because they believed in the film and also wanted to get the word out. The Batman preview figure included $4M Tuesday previews in its overall preview figure of $17.6M back in March 2022. I can keep listing and boring you.

The Rotten Tomatoes critics score is now 60% fresh on Gran Turismo, however, audiences love it: Comscore/Screen Engine Postrak exits show 5 stars for general audiences, five stars from parents and 4 1/2 from kids under 12. Thursday audience saw 87% general audience, 6% parent and 7% kids. Guy leaning at 68% yesterday with the 18-34 set at 50%. Guys over 25 (46%) and women over 25 (22%) were the leading demos and respectively gave the pic its best scores of 90% and 96%. Gran Turismo before P&A cost $60M.

How much does the second annual National Cinema Day on Sunday dilute the box office? That’s the question and while we will have some indicators soon, the overall verdict will be known on Monday morning. All showtimes for all movies and formats are $4. Who’s going?

Briarcliff Entertianment’s faith-based Dennis Quaid movie The Hill did $110K last night in previews. That pic, along with other wide entries Roadside Attractions/StudioCanal/Picture Company’s Retribution and Bleecker Street’s Golda are all expected to do in the single digits.

The rest of Thursday went as follows, ranked by Thursday gross:

  1. Barbie (WB) 4,003 theaters Thurs $2.3M (-10% from Wed) Week $31.9M (-40%), Total $577.7M/Wk 5

  2. Blue Beetle (WB) 3,871 theaters Thurs $1.34M (-35%) Week $33.5M/Wk 1

  3. Oppenheimer (Uni) 3,321 theaters Thurs $1.28M (-4%) Week $16.3M (-44%), Total $291M/Wk 5

  4. TMNT: Mutant Mayhem (Par) 2,312 theaters, Thurs $770K (-14%), Week $12.3M (-46%), Total $92M/Wk 3

  5. Strays (Uni) 3,223 theaters Thurs $628K (-9%), Week $11.4M/Wk 1

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