Once again, while the movie star may be an endangered species, the rock star is alive and well. “Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé” earned a robust $5.06 million in Thursday screenings in advance of its opening weekend, nearly double the $2.8 million netted by “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” in its pre-show screenings last October. While this doesn’t mean the concert film will open on par with the $95 million netted by the Swift flick over its Fri-Sun weekend, it does mean that we could see a domestic debut far above the over/under $20 million projections. Or, since the preview screenings weren’t announced at the last minute this time, the film may just be noticeably frontloaded with the fans all showing up over the next 24 hours.
Even a $20 million launch would be among the top 5 highest openings for a concert film in unadjusted domestic earnings, beneath the likes of “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” ($29.5 million in 2011) and “Michael Jackson: This Is It” ($23.5 million in 2009). Whether “Renaissance” can get closer will depend largely on general audiences and casual moviegoers choosing to sample the nearly three-hour concert film.
Either way, “Renaissance” is another solid showing for the notion of a pop star’s concert flick as a theater-worthy event film. It is also yet another example of how AMC’s plans to distribute concert films themselves via a partnership with indie distributor Variance Films is providing theaters with some extra revenue during weekends when the major studio release slate is lacking.
Toho International reported that “Godzilla: Minus One” had already amassed $2.1 million from this week’s pre-release preview showings on Wednesday and Thursday evening. The picture, which many fans and critics are hailing as the best Godzilla movie ever (or at least the best since the 1954 original), will play in 2,308 theaters this weekend, including 750 premium format screens and — among them — 250 Imax screens.
The Takashi Yamazaki-directed post-World War II period piece has amassed a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score with an average critic rating of 8.1/10. Anecdotally, lifelong kaiju fan Ethan Mendelson, age 12, would agree with that consensus.
The picture has already outearned the $2 million domestic total of “Shin Godzilla” in 2016, and was projected to open with around $8 million for the weekend. Like the Beyoncé concert flick, either it’s going to come in way above expectations or — and not a criticism — it’ll be exceptionally frontloaded with the fanbase racing out as early as possible.
Lionsgate offered up “Silent Night” to the tune of $250,000 in Thursday preview earnings. The Joel Edgerton-starring actioner, about a man who loses his son (and his vocal chords) in an act of random violence and spends the next year methodically plotting vengeance, marks action maestro John Woo’s first Hollywood film in 20 years.
As is often the case for Lionsgate, the film is a domestic distribution pick-up and thus it doesn’t need to make much money for them to make money. That may be small comfort to theaters, but the refreshingly robust legs thus-far shown by “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” should soften that blow.