Conventional wisdom has long assumed that November’s two biggest releases would be Sony Pictures’ “2012” and Summit Entertainment’s “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” In theory, both pictures seemingly should be successful as they have little audience cross over. As the second installment in the “Twilight” series, “New Moon” should dominate with women and younger women especially. “2012” is an old fashioned disaster movie that should be a four quadrant sell (i.e., movie for everyone) that drives older audiences, teens and regular moviegoers. Based on the latest pre-release polling, however, one of the films is in much better shape to dominate the box office than the other.
A little over three weeks before opening, “New Moon” came on industry tracking today with a vengeance showing interest in the Stephanie Meyer’s vampire franchise hasn’t cooled whatsoever. With huge awareness already, the film has a staggering 40% plus first choice with younger women and over 15% with older women. What’s truly astounding is that older men (typically over 25) have almost as much interest as older women in seeing the sequel. For what is seen as a typically female subject matter, that’s a remarkable level of interest. To say that “Twilight’s” opening weekend number last year of $69.6 million will be surpassed by “New Moon” beginning on Nov. 20 is something of an understatement. And its domestic gross of $191 million? Don’t be surprised if it quickly gets shattered.
As for “2012,” opening a little over two weeks from now, the Roland Emmerich action flick is currently trending for an opening in the mid $40 million range. For early November, that’s nothing to sneeze at. However, with a rumored budget in the $250 million plus range “2012” is going to have to have strong word of mouth and a lucrative Thanksgiving weekend to sail into profitability. Sony’s biggest concern? Interest among older males is the same percentage as older males for “New Moon” and it opens a week earlier. That’s got to be disconcerting for those at the Culver City studio. No one is expecting “2012” to flop, but the company may need to rely on its excellent international distribution arm to make up the difference overseas to get the film to a “blockbuster” level. Considering the division’s stunning global success with the last two “Da Vinci” and 007 films, that’s well within their skill set.
Sony still has two weeks to try and blow “2012” out of the park and there is no reason they can’t spend through the nose to get a bigger opening than they are trending for now. Summit, on the other hand, wont rest on its laurels, but knows they have a self-sustaining publicity machine that has the core audience chomping at the bit for the next chapter. Recruiting young men and getting even more older men excited will be their job over the next few weeks (and no, we can’t figure out why that demo is into it either, that’s a lot of dads).
Other pictures trending for big openings in November at this point include “A Christmas Carol” and “The Men Who Stare At Goats.” But when all is said and done, a blood sucker should dominate the competition.
What movie are you most excited about next month? Share your thoughts below.