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A24’s ‘Civil War’ Plotting $18M-$24M Opening Boosted By Imax – Box Office Preview

A24’s Alex Garland dystopian U.S. movie Civil War is looking at an $18 million-$24 million opening frame when it hits North American theaters over April 12-14.

In this oddball marketplace, ya gotta figure downside as we’re still limping away from the strike. While Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is eyeing a $45M opening this weekend, I hear presales on that title are low. If that Jason Reitman-produced movie is going to hit the mid-$40M range, it really needs a big turnout by Latino moviegoers and walk-ups.

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Further boosting projections on Civil War is A24’s grab of Imax screens. The current Rotten Tomatoes critics score on Civil War following its electric SXSW world premiere is 91% fresh.

“A24 has a hit on their hands,” beamed a rival studio distribution boss. The movie starring Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny has a strong definite interest among older males, followed by older females; it’s the older females that has rivals’ eyebrows raised on this title. The expectation on this movie is that it won’t play just the coasts, but in the middle of the country as well.

A24 spends late in their campaign, so look for a spike later on.

Comps are wild on Civil War as an A24 movie is always the square peg that doesn’t try to fit a round hole. Tracking has the movie comped to Nope, Get Out, Bullet Train, Killers of the Flower Moon, Garland’s own sci-fi movie Annihilation ($11M), Sicario and The Beekeeper. Of those, many tell me Beekeeper, despite the fact that it’s a Jason Statham title, is the best comparison because it’s an older-male-skewing action movie (opening $16.5M, current domestic B.O. is $66.1M).

Of all the movies Civil War should be comped to (but can’t statistically) is Blumhouse/Universal’s The Hunt. That movie was also set against a Red State vs. Blue State backdrop. The movie had originally planned a fall 2019 theatrical release before it was delayed to March 2020. Universal put the brakes on that movie’s marketing campaign in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, TX, Dayton, OH and Girloy, CA. The Hunt opened over March 13-15, 2020 days before all of exhibition would shutter due to the pandemic.

The Hunt followed 12 strangers who wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen for a very specific purpose — to kill each other.

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