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THB #263: Glass Onion @ The Box Office
We’re not going to get reported numbers on Glass Onion, a movie that seems to be universally liked, and one could say, loved. Tonight, at 6:30p, there is a fully sold out show here in Los Angeles, at the Century City mall… with talent in attendance.
As I have written, I am dealing with COVID. The end of the illness part for me (I think and hope) with my wife and child following a day or two behind. So my energy levels have been all over the place. Point being, I started looking at this yesterday and, in trying to be as fair to Netflix and the film and the truth as I can, I am starting afresh today. Box office over a weekend can be a moving target.
For instance, as of yesterday, AMC Century City had 8 screenings set for today, plus the AMC Q&A screening… today, they added, taking the total for the day to 12. They also seem to have added screenings on Saturday as well.
They are on screens with seat counts of 135, 155, 160, 192, and 312. But that, too, changes daily. (scroll to the bottom for the actual seating charts.)
Tickets sold for the rest of today (not , as of 4pm, are 118, 75, 10 (overlaps the Live Q&A screen), 102, 73, 21, 76, 1… 476 seats out of 1389. (note again, this is not the full day and doesn’t include the sold out Q&A show)
This is actually a really good turnout. It’s better than anything else in the multiplex by any measure, aside from The Fabelmans, which is only on one screen.
Full day tomorrow (Saturday 11/26), there are 1976 available seats. No special screening. 548 tickets already sold.
1676 seats available Sunday, 399 seats sold.
Good numbers by many measures. But I don’t see these numbers as anything definitive. It should be noted that AMC Century 15 is one of the top theaters in the country. We are in Los Angeles, with more people and more people who know how to spell Rian Johnson’s name.
But make no mistake… these numbers are very good. Not overwhelming. And not disappointing.
At $18 a ticket and and an average of 600 tickets sold a day, that’s about $540,000 at this theater for the 5-day at the AMC Century 15. Excellent.
But then you duck into River East in Chicago and there isn’t a single sceening tomorrow (Sat) with as many as 50 seats sold… and the movie is on bigger screens there than here.
Dallas’s AMC Northpark has 65 tickets sold for 7:20p on Saturday night…. and 125 the entire rest of the day.
Better again in Boston, at the AMC Boston Common. 2 screens. 237 and 288 seat rooms. 456 seats pre-sold for Saturday of 1914 available.
Good numbers, especially next to some of the films tanking this weekend.
But in the context of this “experiment” by Netflix, it tells us almost nothing. A unanimously positively reviewed sequel to a nearly-universally loved surprise hit movie does event-style business for a one-week event run.
The original film Knives Out, did about what Glass Onion will do for the 5-day on both its opening Friday and Saturday. $10 million range. Much bigger screen count, yes. But it’s not like the film is not widely available in major markets. It’s in 10 different theaters within 10 miles of me.
If Netflix had gotten off Ted Sarandos’ high horse, they could have spent another $20 million in marketing and had a sure $30 million-plus opening and a $70 million-plus month followed by a Christmas release of Glass Onion on the victorious Netflix.
You don’t need the $15 million in profit against your $240 million spend on this movie on its way to your streaming customers in the U.S.? I hear you. It’s only money. So why keep dicking around with exhibition at all? Oh, ego/bait? Yeah. Okay. As long as you are willing to pay $240 million for a $60 million film, you will be able to buy most of what you like. Still unclear as to why… aside from ego/bait.
Netflix remains a remarkable company. What it does right, it does brilliantly. But being the Eve Harrington to the industry’s Margot Channing only really works until you become the Margot. Or in this case, before you “become HBO.”
Nice weekend. Seriously. But all it really seems to prove is that expectations and results are pretty much in alignment. The notion that word-of-mouth of under 750,000 people will move the bar an inch for Glass Onion on Netflix itself (and its 200m+ audience) is absurd. The real question for Netflix is bigger.
Netflix can qualify movies and chase awards all day and all night for years and years to come. But 5 - 10 movies a year that Netflix feels can do real numbers at the box office can create a significant impact on an increasingly challenging bottom line for this company. That is the choice.
And let’s be honest. They haven’t made 5 films in any year, so far, that so qualify. Streaming numbers mean nothing in this regard… just ask all the box-office-opening stars from YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok. So it’s not just Ted being stubborn.
Still… that is the choice. Glass Onion could have been the first. It isn’t. But it had the thing to be that film.
Fasten your subscriptions, it's going to be a bumpy 2023!