The Lost City From Crossing $100 Million
The Lost City similarly astounding staying power was somewhat lost in the justified huzzahs about A24’s Everything, Everywhere, All at Once shattering all reasonable box office projections and becoming one of the highest-grossing non-tentpoles of the Covid era. After 45 days in cinemas, Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s rom-com adventure has grossed $95 million domestically. From its $30.4 million opening weekend, that’s a 3.125x multiplier. Over its second to seventh weekend in cinemas, it dropped 51 percent, 38 percent, 31 percent, 30 percent, 12 percent, and 27 percent. However, in the new normal, day 47 implies it’s already available for purchase on Digital HD and “free” streaming on Paramount+. This weekend, we learned that Top Gun: Maverick would have a previously inconceivable 120-day timeframe. Tom Cruise is Paramount’s biggest movie star, and Mission: Impossible is the studio’s lone remaining A+ franchise. However, I believe it was a mistake to release The Lost City on streaming and EST so soon.
To be honest. Over the last year, films like A Quiet Place Part II from Paramount, No Time to Die from MGM, and Sing 2 from Universal have demonstrated that massive and popular theatrical releases don’t die as soon as they become accessible elsewhere. It’s possible that the fact that The Batman fell like a stone after coming on HBO Max on day 46 (after making $370 million) was a coincidence, as the WB superhero film had already lost the majority of its screens during the previous two weeks. Even leggy films make up to 90% of their money in the first 38 days. Furthermore, The Batman and Encanto, which had a 31-day window and had a larger Disney+ audience than Turning Red, which did not play in domestic theatres, demonstrate that simply being in a theatre creates awareness.
The theatrical exclusivity window should have been prolonged, both in terms of what The Lost City may still accomplish and what else is in cinemas this summer.
The $70 million original came up short of the $100 million milestone by $5 million. While I’m sure Paramount’s theatrical department would try again, it’s now less probable than it would have been if it had remained theatrically exclusive for another month.
Whether it’s a symbolic threshold or not, it’ll be the first live-action original since Knives Out in November of 2019. (or 1917 in January 2020).
It would be Sandra Bullock’s 11th $100 million-plus domestic grosser, following Minions ($336 million) and Prince of Egypt ($100 million), cementing her place with Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the remaining butts-in-seats attractions. Scarlett Johansson has twelve of them, eight of them are MCU flicks. Only Julia Roberts has more (12) without inflation among actresses. Top Gun: Maverick could place Tom Cruise alongside Tom Hanks with 21 nominations. Sandra Bullock, on the other hand, did not star in six Mission: Impossible films or four Toy Story films.
The Lost City is practically the only large theatrical this summer, and yes, it debuted in late March, that is oriented solely towards adult women, a demographic that is suffocated by systematic bias and gender-based disadvantages.
Summer 2022 is nearly totally headed by testosterone, to a degree not seen since 2013, when Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy’s The Heat was one of the few large “for women/from women” major studio theatricals during that season. Doctor Strange 2, Thor 4, Lightyear, Top Gun: Maverick, Bullet Train, Elvis Presley, and Minions: The Rise of Gru are among the titles available. Sure, Downton Abbey: A New Era is geared at both grandmother and grandpa, and Keke Palmer (along with Daniel Kaluuya) might be the protagonist in Jordan Peele’s Nope. In fact, it’s possible that Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt may star in Jurassic World: Dominion (as were the two previous entries). On the surface, though, there are virtually no “big-deal” female-fronted films this summer.
Some of this is due to factors unique to Covid. We witnessed a wave of “not a white guy” star vehicles (Wonder Woman 1984, Mulan, The Mitchells Vs the Machines, and so on) being sent to streamers or launched under extremely difficult conditions, such as reduced windows, day-and-date hybrid methods, and other factors. However, it’s not a good look that Hollywood crammed its summer schedule with F9, Candyman, Black Widow, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Shang-Chi, Jungle Cruise, Spiral, and Snake Eyes while waiting for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, No Time to Die, and eventually Spider-Man: No Way Home to happen.
Similarly, Disney released a succession of unique and/or varied animated films (Raya and the Last Dragon, Encanto, Turning Red, Soul, Luca, and others) to streaming services or cinemas under duress, only to release Lightyear as Pixar’s first full-fledged theatrical release since Onward. That isn’t totally accurate, considering Ryan Reynolds‘ Free Guy was released last summer, but it does highlight the present situation.
Between Lost City and both Viola Davis’ The Woman King and Florence Pugh’s Don’t Worry Darling in mid-September, Sony’s Where the Crawdads Sing (July 15) is the only mainstream female-fronted big studio movie. Last weekend, Lost City made $2.8 million domestically, so it’s not like it would have crept to $150 million if left alone.
We’ll see how the picture does in its individual demographics as the only game in town. This is especially true for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which has surpassed $170 million in ticket sales thanks to being the first big-budget kids film since Sing 2 in December. It was never going to break $200 million no matter how long its window was open, and transferring it to Paramount+ in a few weeks won’t help either. Sony enjoyed the benefits of having No Way Home theatrically exclusive, as its legs and grosses stayed strong. After an 88-day timeframe, it still established EST records. Flexible theatrical windows might be useful for a variety of dramatic results.