How Dragon Ball Super Became This Weekend's Widest Release

How Dragon Ball Super Became This Weekend's Widest Release ...

Cineworld, the owner of Regal Theaters, released a bleak near-term analysis of their financial situation: Lower admission rates are due to a limited film slate that will last until November 2022 and are expected to affect trading and the group's liquidity position in the near future.

No soft sell there: AMC Entertainment's literal bottom line warned investors and stockholders of a rocky financial period to come. Despite its own long-term debt problems, summer results are significantly improved, but theaters are still far from solvent.

Regal Cinemas is a cinema that has been around for quite some time.

Which brings us to this week, with two new wide openings that should generate more revenue than last weekend's $65 million. First, there's Beast (Universal) with Idris Elba and a lion, and then Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (Crunchyroll), an anime franchise based on a top-selling Japanese manga series. Beast might earn $10 million to $112 million, but Dragon Ball is expected to win the weekend.

With their modest budgets, these films are a good start. For cinemas, it would be a weekend of $75 million to $80 million. (The same weekend in 2019 saw $120 million.)

Beast is the studios 12th theatrical release this year. That's an average of three every two months, well ahead of all other studios (and does not include titles from their specialized unit, Focus). They include two of the year's top five titles, Jurassic World: Dominion and Minions: The Rise of Gru, as well as lower-budget titles.

Universal Pictures has announced that it will release a sequel to Universal Pictures in the coming weeks.

Beast, with a $38 million budget, international appeal, and like all Universal titles eligible for early PVOD release, should be #2 for the weekend. Elba plays a widow who returns to South Africa with his two daughters where they discover themselves prey to a vicious lion.

Reviews are mixed to positive (58 at Metacritic). It's more about how the marketing connects with an action-loving audience. The Meg opened in mid-August 2018, with the marine predator film making $45 million in its first weekend.

Dragon Ball is a less predictable series due to a lack of products and exhibitors eager to perform niche films that have a chance. Its predecessor, Broly, launched on a Wednesday in January 2019 in 1,250 cinemas for a five-day gross of $20.2 million, with a third of it on opening day.

The number of theaters has tripled in two years, while the quantity will increase as higher-price premium screens. In April 2021, when theaters were open but struggling, anime Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train opened to $21.2 million and at only 1,614 theaters.

Super Hero's price is $15 million, which is unjustified due to precedence and the absence of competition. Dragon Ball is a lesser franchise in the anime universe, although it makes a record profit for the genre. Also this represents a historic high for the franchise, although most of the earnings will come from those that previously performed its franchise predecessor.

Both of these wide releases are a make-or-break film, but the success of non-franchise titles (such as Elvis, Where the Crawdads Sings, and Nope) is perhaps more important than blockbusters that are practically guaranteed production and theatrical release.

If results are above expectations, it would have implications beyond the raw numbers. A real normal for theaters is how programs are performed, as much as the sensational performances of a title like Top Gun: Maverick. Theaters' prospects would greatly improve if Universal was not an outlier.