Samba TV: Netflix’s ‘Tiger King 2’ Debut Tracked 1.3 Million U.S. Households

The premiere of the second season of Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” showcasing the dysfunctional world of big cat collectors, generated more than 1.3 million U.S. households following its Nov. 17 debut, according to new data from Samba TV.

The data firm, which tracks more than 46 million opted-in televisions globally, including 28 million in the United States, said the episode topped the launch of Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard, the Will Smith-starring biopic about the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams.

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The movie tracked 707,000 U.S. households on HBO Max while simultaneously screening in theaters, where it sold $5.4 million worth of tickets domestically, $7.8 million worldwide.

Samba said the U.S. “Tiger King 2” audience skewed slightly female (+2%), younger (44 years and younger), and white (+9%). The King Richard audience skewed female (+7%) and black (+54%).

Finally, 116,000 U.S. households streamed the first episode of “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip” on Peacock, with 102,000 households streaming episode two. The third episode was streamed by 92,000 homes, with 100,000 households streaming episode four. The audiences skewed female and white.

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Busts Box Office Projections With $44 Million Haul

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s bet delaying tentpole theatrical releases until the pandemic waned continues to pay off. The studio’s family sci-fi comedy movie Ghostbusters: Afterlife generated more than $44 million in projected opening weekend ticket sales across more than 4,000 North American screens the weekend of Nov. 19-21. Sony had projected around $30 million in ticket sales. Media reports suggest 3.5 million went to see the movie.

The fourth film in the “Ghostbusters” franchise saw director Jason Reitman continue the storyline of the original 1984 film with a return to a family-themed fantasy starring Paul Rudd and a young ensemble cast (making it the third film in that arc, after 1989’s Ghostbusters II).

The box office tally is slightly below the 2016 remake Ghostbusters: Answer the Call ($46 million), which didn’t have a COVID cloud hanging over it. With Afterlife heading into the Thanksgiving week/weekend, the movie is projected to have strong legs with children out of school for the holiday.

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The movie follows Sony’s successful Oct. 1 release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which ranks as the year’s No. 2 at the domestic box office with $204 million in revenue.

Separately, a competing new release, Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard, a biopic about tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams and their driven father Richard Williams, played by Will Smith, realized about $5.7 million in ticket sales across 3,300 screens. It’s no grand slam, but par for Warner’s $5 million to $10 million projection. The movie is concurrently streaming for no extra charge to subscribers of HBO Max — a release strategy some observers say has undermined Warner’s non-tentpole releases.

Richard was not able to fend off the third week of Disney/Marvel’s Eternals at $10.8 million ($135.8 million North American total) or the second week of  Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog, ($8.1 million/$33.5 million total).

Weekend Box Office: Is There a ‘Ghostbusters’ Afterlife?

The 2016 theatrical release of Ghostbusters featured an all-female cast, mixed reviews and underwhelming box office.

For the pandemic delayed Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Sony Pictures Entertainment has gone back to the franchise’s roots with director Jason Reitman looking to emulate the family-friendly appeal of his father, Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original Ghostbusters, starring Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver.

While Afterlife reviews have also been mixed, including a 66% Rotten Tomatoes social media score, the movie headlines Paul Rudd, who was just named People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive,” and a young supporting cast entering the pre-Thanksgiving week when family holiday get-togethers often include a trip to the cineplex.

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When combined with the nostalgia surrounding the franchise, Afterlife should push Disney/Marvel Studios’ Eternals from atop the weekend box office results. Sony, which has only recently returned select tentpole releases (Venom: Let There Be Carnage) to the COVID-era box office, is projecting upwards of $28 million in opening weekend sales.

The conservative estimate falls below the original’s $30 million opener, as well the last film’s $46 million debut, but underscores the ongoing reduced expectations and realities in the current exhibition marketplace.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard, the biopic about Richard Williams, the tenacious father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, has a strong social media score (92%), popular lead star (Will Smith) and strong crossover appeal beyond sports fans.

The movie is also concurrently streaming for no extra charge to subscribers of HBO Max as part of WarnerMedia’s soon-ending 2021 distribution strategy that some observers contend has undermined the box office of recent Warner releases The Many Saints of NewarkCry Macho and Reminiscent, among others. The movie is projected to open from $5 million to $10 million in ticket sales this weekend, which would put it behind projections for Eternals ($11 million) and Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog ($9 million) — the latter also streaming for subscribers on Paramount+.

AT&T’s John Stankey Doesn’t Expect Movie Theaters to ‘Snap Back’

With Georgia becoming the first state to publicly announce it would allow movie theaters to re-open on April 27, theater chains such as AMC, Regal and Cinemark remain optimistic business can return to some degree of normalcy by July. AT&T COO John Stankey isn’t so sure.

Speaking April 22 on the telecom’s somber fiscal call, Stankey said WarnerMedia is “rethinking the theatrical model,” adding a return to normal for exhibitors won’t “snap back,” and instead could take extended time as consumers slowly regain confidence that sitting in a cineplex isn’t hazardous to their health.

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“I think that’s going to be something that we’re going to have to watch the formation of consumer confidence, not just about going to movies, just in general about being back out in public and understanding what’s occurring there,” Stankey said.

Will Smith as Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard, in biopic ‘King Richard’

Indeed, Warner Bros. has pushed back release of its highest-profile summer tentpole — Wonder Woman 1984 — to August. Other titles have been delayed to 2021 while animated feature Scoob! is headed to premium VOD on May 15.

King Richard, the Venus and Serena Williams’ biopic starring Will Smith as their father, has been delayed to November 2021. The Many Saints of Newark, a “Sopranos” prequel movie, has also been delayed to next year.

Among other superhero movies, The Batman has been moved to Oct. 1; The Flash has been moved up to June 2, 2022, from July 1; and Shazam! 2 has been pushed back to Nov. 4, 2022, from April 1.

“The theater business is an incredibly stressed business [right now] … it’s hard to generate revenue,” Stankey said.

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