EXCLUSIVE: Sony’s worldwide box office weekend for $106.4 million Unexplored was another reminder to a streaming-obsessed entertainment industry that the tried-and-true business model of motion pictures still works and that there is an audience for them.
Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, underscored this in a company-wide email today following the success of Tom Holland-Mark Wahlberg, who starred in a Ruben Fleischer film last weekend, while praising the employees for a blockbuster hit.
Rather than sell the $120 million production out of financial desperation during the pandemic, Sony believed in the event film, protected it and bided its time to release.
The checkout results from such actions? Unexplored was expected to gross $30 million at the domestic box office over four days; it ended up making $51 million, sending its current worldwide earnings to $139 million. Key words in Rothman’s note below are that it has already been explained Unexplored “A new successful film franchise.” When we spoke to Fleischer, he was hopeful for a sequel.
While other studios have been filming day and night or shaved off the cinema window, Sony continues to protect the 45-day window for big event films such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Ghostbusters: Afterlife Unknown, and since cinemas reopened last year, Covid has generated huge revenues of over $3 billion at the global box office.
Unknown, as Rothman explains here, was the first major production to be shut down entirely by Covid. Fleischer told us about it on Deadline’s Hero Nation Podcast Unknown, from pre-production to post took two years.
Sony also had more bragging rights over Presidents Day weekend than BO Spider-Man: No Way Home ranked 3rd in its tenth weekend of release, earning $9 million and taking its running US gross to almost $772 million. Industry estimates assume so Spider-Man: No Way Home has a good chance of reaching a final domestic total of $800 million.
Here is Rothman’s memo:
It’s Presidents Day in America, but we’re open today in most places around the world and we have another global triumph to celebrate.
With over $100 million in the global box office in just one weekend and a 90% positive audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Unexplored is a new hit film franchise for the company.
This is a huge win for every single department of the company as the film was our first major production to be completely halted by the advent of Covid, but we have worked doggedly to complete a film that audiences love and share with them strategically marketed and distributed worldwide. despite the pandemic.
The resulting impact proves once again the unsurpassed cultural power of real films. On the heels of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Ghostbusters: Afterlifeand Spider-Man: No Way Home, Unexplored is another blow to the theatrical naysayers and further proof of the effectiveness of our model.
I want to thank all the filmmakers, the wonderful cast and crew, and especially our friends at PlayStation Studios and Sony Interactive Entertainment for their support. And of course I want to thank each and every one of you for your creativity, your dedication and your faith.