“Creed III” delivered a powerful box office knockout, with its $58.6 million domestic debut, clobbering expectations and franchise records in the process.
There is more good news for theater owners starving for compelling content. “Scream VI” (March 10), “Shazam: Wrath of God” (March 17), “John Wick: Chapter 4” (March 24) and “Dungeons and Dragons: March’s Good Luck Looks Like Honor Among Thieves” (March 31).There’s at least one big release every weekend throughout the month, providing the consistency that’s been missed during top box office resets.
“Momentum is everything, and it’s only as good as next weekend’s openers,” says Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro. “There is a pre-pandemic consistency of a wide range of attractive, high-quality theatrical releases this March, which will establish an exciting foundation for more to come in the summer.”
March ticket sales have topped $1 billion only once in modern history, according to ComScore — but this year’s 31-day stretch is poised for tradition. In any case, box office earnings are likely to improve in March 2022, with the likes of “The Batman,” “Uncharted” and “The Lost City” taking in $598 million. Those ticket sales rose dramatically from 2021, bringing in $117 million that month, and in 2020, $256 million a month as the virus began closing theaters. However, in pre-COVID times, it managed to pull back $968 million in March 2019, $902 million in 2018 and $1.17 billion in 2017 — the latter benchmark-setting run thanks largely to Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” remake. and Hugh Jackman’s superhero adventure “Logan.”
A successful March at the box office will continue a strong start to the new year. According to ComScore, overall ticket sales are up 37% from the same point in 2022. That’s because several films have encouragingly successful predictions, including Universal’s killer-dall thriller “M3GAN,” Sony’s Tom Hanks drama “A Man Called Otto,” Paramount’s octogenarian comedy “80 for Brody” and Lionsgate’s faith-based “Jesus Revolution.” There is a note of irony in this symphony of triumph. Disney’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania” didn’t live up to Marvel’s stratospheric standards, falling hard due to poor reviews and mediocre word of mouth. However, the film crushed the opening weekend expectations and managed to make more money in three days than most releases hope to make in their entire theatrical run.
“It’s about having more frequent films on the slate. That’s what keeps people coming back, because more people are exposed to theatrical marketing,” said senior ComScore analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
Box office experts believe that the global appeal of “Creed III” led to higher returns in its opening weekend. The crowd was predominantly male – which has been a fairly consistent demographic for ticket-buyers – while 55% were aged between 18 and 34. Of that audience, 23% are white, 28% are Latino, 36% are black and 13% are Asian, according to PostTrak data.
“The makeup of the audience [for ‘Creed III’] “Incredibly diverse, and it’s a common denominator when movies beat expectations by a wide margin,” says Robbins.
While teenage boys and grown men are more likely to fill the seats, there are some understandable concerns about cannibalism in March releases. Most of the films in the calendar compete for the attention of male moviegoers. But offerings like “Shazam 2” and “Dungeons and Dragons” are hoping to expand their reach to a smaller demographic of family audiences.
“There’s some inherent danger in audience overlap,” Robbins says. “But that comes with the territory of having a healthy overall market. The cream usually rises to the top. Word of mouth usually dictates which films can work together.
For the past three years, the Hollywood block has been plagued by problems. There were 36% fewer releases in 2022 than in 2019, and total collections were relatively low. when it is there were With big blockbusters on schedule, competing studios are clearly distracted, leading to one-off hits and many underwhelming periods at the box office. But the number of broad releases is expected to improve in 2023. This is a big relief for exhibitors.
“Film is returning to normal in terms of consistency and number of images being released,” says Tergarabedian. “Theatre owners should feel better now.”