The anticipated Ready Player One may still be a few weeks from its March 29 release date, but the overall tracking isn’t looking too hot. As of this writing, Steven Spielberg’s latest outing is tracking anywhere from $35M to $45M in its opening weekend.
While the actual budget figure for this movie isn’t really out there, it seems safe to assume the movie has a budget north of $100M (my personal guess would be closer to $150M, but that’s pure conjecture on my part, admittedly), and given the marketing, that’s likely another $100M. As such, the movie will likely need to make more than $350M in order to be successful.
As such, a soft opening like $35M wouldn’t cut it. Heck, it’s possible that $45M wouldn’t even cut it. According to THR, Warner Bros. and Spielberg are both hoping for at least $50M in its opening weekend. While Warner Bros. is encouraged by male interest, it looks like getting females interested is proving to be a bit difficult. But is the movie doomed to fail? ComScore analyst Paul Dergarabedian doesn’t think so.
“There’s still time to build buzz. Three weeks is an eternity to build an audience. In three weeks, we could be looking at a whole different environment.”
One advantage it has is its spring opening. While March certainly has strong contenders like Tomb Raider, A Wrinkle in Time, and Pacific Rim Uprising, the overall competition on its own release date is fairly slim.
Dergarabedian embellished on that advantage.
“In the summer, you’re lucky to even get one week between films to pass the baton to one film from another. It’s like a foot race. Every week audiences are migrating from one big blockbuster to the next. You get a narrow window to make your mark and to make an impression.”
One such problem I think the movie has is that it’s relying too much on its pop culture references. Let the story stand for itself, and don’t make too many TV spots that make Warner Bros. look desperate. Audiences are fed up with being spoon-fed fan service, so just let the work speak on its own.
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