2024 Box Office Off to Clunky Start With ‘Night Swim’ $12M+ – Deadline


SATURDAY AM: Refresh for chart and more analysis While the overall movie lineup was able to keep the two-week holiday box office frame above 2022’s, the lack of a mega tentpole carrying over into the New Year ala Avatar: The Way of Water is severely being felt as the first weekend’s box office of 2024 looks to be down -16% from the same period in 2023 with an estimated $89.7M. Last year, remember, also had M3GAN providing a cushion of which Universal/Blumhouse‘s Night Swim is not that hipster young female YA movie, now looking at a $12.5M opening (at the top of its projection range) in No. 2.

Warner Bros.’ Wonka is still on track to win No. 1 for the third out of four weekends in a row, now with an industry revised projection of $15.5M for a $165.2M running total. There are still kids off from school with K-12 at 42% on break yesterday heading to a Monday where they’re 16% off.

There’s apt to be a fight for third between Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom ($10.4M), Migration ($10.5M) and Anyone But You ($9.5M).

Night Swim landed a C CinemaScore which is middling for a horror film. CinemaScore is always harder on horror movie. But even more cynical are Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak audiences who drowned this latest title from Blumhouse and Atomic Monster with one star and a 45% positive and a 26% recommend, which translates into a don’t-recommend. Near even split between males and females at 51%/49%. Sixty percent of ticket buyers were between 18-34 with 18-24 year olds the biggest demo at 33%. Diversity demos were 37% Caucasian, 31% Latino, 19% Black, and 7% Asian. PLF screens are repping close to a third of Night Swim‘s ticket sales; the movie doesn’t have any Imax screens. Best markets for the Bryce McGuire directed movie are West, South Central and South with the AMC Burbank the top grossing venue stateside with $16K so far.

FRIDAY MIDDAY: Warner Bros’ Wonka is looking to rule its third out of fourth weekend at the box office with around $12M, -46%, though it won’t be shocking if Saturday matinees push the Timothee Chalamet movie even higher. Wonka is in play at 3,817 and is eyeing a Friday of $3.8M, -56%.

Blumhouse/Atomic Monster’s first movie since the merger via Universal, Night Swim, is breaking double digits with $11.5M in second after a $4.7M Friday that includes previews at 3,250 theaters. While financially speaking the $15M production will be OK, we’ve seen better by horror in early January, i.e. pre-pandemic, Escape Room did $18.2M in early January 2019, legging out to $57M. Night Swim just doesn’t have the stickyness on it ala M3GAN. If that was the case, Universal would have had dancing people in swimming trunks to promote this movie before Christmas showing up at the Empire State Building. When Uni’s got it, they strut it.

The social media universe per RelishMix for Night Swim is at 137.4M across Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok combined. That pales in comparison to the 488.5M social media universe of Five Nights at Freddy’s and 330.3M of M3GAN. Social chatter is mixed on the Kerry Condon-Wyatt Russell movie. Among the negative chatter, RelishMix spotted, “Some horror enthusiasts have found the new film to be underwhelming, commenting ‘Blumhouse scrapes the shallow end of the pool…’ — as fans chew through hypothetical scenarios regarding release dates and how the film will play.”

Illumination/Universal’s Migration booked at 3,712 is seeing a third Friday of $3M, 3-day of $10.7M, -37%, for a running total by the end of its third weekend of $78.2M.

Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is at 3,553 theaters and will near $100M. Friday is $3M and weekend 3 is $10M, -45%, with a running total by EOD Sunday of $99.5M.

Fifth belongs to Sony’s Anyone But You at 3,055 theaters, also in weekend 3, but with $9.5M, +9% — a very good sign– after a $3M Friday and running total of $43.7M. Anyone But You star Sydney Sweeney has been posting ecstatic fan reactions after they leave the cinema on her Instagram, however, the biggest advertisement for this romcom might just be SNL‘s Chloe Fineman and her impersonation of Sweeney!

Amazon MGM’s The Boys in the Boat at 2,687 theaters is 6th with a $1.5M Friday, 3-day of $5.25M, -37%, for a running total of $33.1M through 14 days.

FRIDAY AM: There’s always been a demand for horror in the New Year, and Universal, Blumhouse and Atomic Monster are meeting that this weekend with Night Swim which made $1.45M in previews at 2,750 theaters from showtimes that began at 5PM.

The $15M PG-13 horror movie aimed at 17-34 year olds isn’t expected to be M3GAN, the early PG-13 horror doll hit from last year, which overindexed to $30.4M in a hefty Avatar 2 marketplace, to a $95M-plus domestic take. Night Swim‘s outlook is in the $8M-$12M vicinity over three days.

Warner Bros’ Wonka in its fourth weekend is expected to prevail, down 40%, with a take in the teens. Universal chose this weekend given the lack of competition and so that the movie could play into a hold over the MLK weekend.

Interestingly enough Night Swim‘s previews are spot-on the same as M. Night Shyamalan’s R-rated Knock at the Cabin from late February 2023 which went on to post a $5.4M opening day and $14.1M opening. Reviews are awful for Night Swim with a Rotten Tomatoes critical score of 27%. Knock at the Cabin had better reviews at 67% fresh.

Night Swim, directed and adapted by Bryce McGuire, is based on the 2014 short film and stars Wyatt Russell (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) as Ray Waller, a former major league baseball player forced into early retirement by a degenerative illness, who moves into a new home with his concerned wife Eve (Oscar nominee Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin), teenage daughter Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle, this fall’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes) and young son Elliot (Gavin Warren, Fear the Walking Dead).

Secretly hoping, against the odds, to return to pro ball, Ray persuades Eve that the new home’s shimmering backyard swimming pool will be fun for the kids and provide physical therapy for him. But a dark secret in the home’s past will unleash a malevolent force that will drag the family under, into the depths of inescapable terror.

McGuire’s screenplay is from a screen story he wrote with Rod Blackhurst.

Timothée Chalamet in ‘Wonka’

Warner Bros Pictures/Everett Collection

Wonka led Thursday with $2.7M at 4,051 theaters, -14% from Wednesday, for a third week of $39.5M, -26%, and a running total of $150.2M. Until Dune: Part Two arrives, Wonka is Timothee Chalamet’s highest grossing movie as a solo star stateside, ahead of Dune‘s $108M.

Illumination/Universal’s Migration at 3,839 theaters was second yesterday with $2.09M, -17%, for a $30.4M second weekend, -18% from week one, and a total of $67.6M — note that’s higher than the running total of Disney’s Wish ($61.8M) which ended its sixth week.

Third goes to Sony’s Anyone But You with a second Thursday of $1.98M, -8%, and a second week of $18M, up a solid 12% from Christmas week one, and a running total of $34.1M.

Fourth on Thursday is Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, at 3,787 and day’s take of $1.9M, -15%, $31.2M second weekend, -47%, and running total of $89.4M. That’s 5% behind The Flash‘s at the end of its second week, that DC bomb finaling at $108.1M domestic.

Fifth yesterday at 2,557 theaters was Amazon MGM’s The Boys in the Boat with $1M, -8%, and a running total of $27.8M since Christmas.

Sixth is Warner Bros.’ The Color Purple at 3,203 theaters, a Thursday of $820K, -10%, and a running total since Christmas Day of $49.8M.


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