Friday, April 29, 2011

Fast Five scores $3.7 million in midnight screenings, could open between $19 million and $82 million for the weekend.

Fast Five (review), unofficial summer 2011 kick-off film, has grossed $3.7 million in midnight screenings. It's the biggest midnight debut in Universal history, so they have that going for them. What that means for the opening weekend is somewhat up to debate, but this is the kind of franchise that plays more to the general 'wait until the weekend' moviegoer than the hardcore 'must see it NOW' genre fans, so this number is pretty promising. With the exception of uber-frontloaded genre films, midnight screenings generally account for 5-6% of opening weekend business. Under that best-case scenario model, Fast Five is on track for a $74 million opening weekend. If it plays like Avatar (4.5%), then it gets an opening weekend of $82 million. However, for insanely anticipated films and/or heavily geek-centric franchises (think Twilight or Tron), the midnight numbers can account for 11-19% of the weekend box office. Under that worst-case scenario, Fast Five would only gross $19-34 million. In this case, I think we're clearly looking at a popular franchise that fans didn't quite feel the need to rush out and see right at midnight, meaning that the former scenario should apply. Of course, the last picture, Fast and Furious pulled a 2.5% midnight screening haul, turning a $1.8 million midnight showing into a $72 million opening weekend. That COULD happen here ($148 million opening weekend if it does), but I think we can presume that this fifth film is a bit more anticipated and front-loaded. We'll know soon enough once the Friday numbers start trickling in, but it appears that, pardon the obvious conclusion, Fast Five is off to a fast and/or furious start. For those who want a detailed look at the math regarding midnight screenings, go here.

Scott Mendelson

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