Weekend Box Office: Examining Brave's Saturday Dip

Posted 12:12 PM June 25th, 2012 by Senh Duong

Things didn’t turn out as I expected at the box office on Saturday for “Brave.”

I thought “Brave” would enjoy a Saturday bump typical of family films from its Friday opening day box office of $24.5M, but that didn’t happen. It only made $23.5M on Saturday. Usually, a decline on Saturday means bad word-of-mouth, but it scored an “A” on cinemascore (audience members) and a solid 74% on Rotten Tomatoes (critics). What’s going on here?

Saturday dips tend to happen for horror films because fans of that genre tend to rush out to those films during the opening day. When any of these films do enjoy a Saturday increase, it’s a good sign because it means it’s able to reach beyond the core fans.

It appears this is happening now for Pixar too. They’ve developed a fan base who would rush out to see their latest offerings on the first day. The family audience is a good niche to be in.

Looking at Pixar’s filmography, they’ve had uncharacteristic Saturday dips for half of their films before “Brave” - “Cars 2,” “Toy Story 3,” “Wall-E,” “Toy Story 2,” “A Bug’s Life,” and “Toy Story” - which is a surprise to me. The sequels could be explained because they do have pent-up demand. “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story” opened on Wednesdays during Thanksgiving vacation, so parents didn't have to wait until Saturday to take their kids. “Wall-E” had no excuse.

The bad news for “Brave” is that if sequels are excluded, Pixar’s highest grossing films are ones with Saturday bumps: “Finding Nemo” ($334M), “Up” ($293M), and “The Incredibles” ($261M), “Monsters Inc.” ($256M) and “Cars” ($244M). Can “Brave” reach out beyond an audience of mothers and daughters? Pixar’s Saturday box office track record says no. It’ll still do respectably well but probably won’t end up being one of their higher grossing films.

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