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August 12, 2017

‘Baby Driver’ Zooming Past $100M At Domestic B.O. As Originality Prevails At Listless Summer B.O.

The Edgar Wright-directed action movie ballet will break the $100M threshold by tomorrow according to rival estimates. Baby Drivermade by Sony/TriStar, Working Title and Media Rights Capital to the tune of a net production cost of $34M, has been a breath of fresh air at a summer box office given its originality amid a litter of Nth franchise sequels, many of which have fallen short of providing any gas at the B.O. (take your pick: Alien: Covenant, The Mummy, Transformers: The Last Knight, etc.)

Baby Driver is a clear example of Sony Pictures motion pictures group chairman Tom Rothman’s mandate at the studio: Make ambitious, original fare at a reasonable price so that there’s plenty of upside. In addition, Baby Driver is a big win for Hannah Minghella’s TriStar Pictures.

Much like Jordan Peele’s Get Out before it, what Baby Driver proves in this streaming age, is that audiences will drive to the multiplex to watch riveting, original, lower budget fare. Just because a film is considered niche and risky, doesn’t necessarily mean it should just be destined to home audiences. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have another brilliant summer film like Netflix’s $50M-plus budgeted Okja, which despite its grand launch at the Cannes Film Festival, isn’t continuing to generate great buzz because it’s been shackled to the small screen. The way that Wright coordinates car chase sequences with punctuating sound and the rhythm of hard rock songs like Queen’s “Brighton Rock” or Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bell Bottoms” is something to behold on the big screen, not a 70″ 4K television. Top this off with Ansel Elgort and Lily James’ smoldering chemistry, and you have a movie. Sony has been great about putting its below the line contenders out there during awards season, and Baby Driver should be in the mix.

Currently, Baby Driver is playing at 865 locations and looks to take in $1.4M this weekend (and if it doesn’t clear $100M by tomorrow, then it will on Monday). In the pic’s seven weekend run, Baby Driver has averaged a -36% week-to-week hold, a number any distributor would envy. Sony is currently planning to take the movie wide again during the weekend of Aug. 25. Worldwide, Baby Driver stands at $157.7M. Sony started the engines on this movie back at SXSW with a marketing/publicity campaign led by Danielle Misher, EVP of TriStar marketing. Baby Driver earned great reviews and slotted a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score before opening, and leveraged that in their trailers. Damon Wolf, the head of creative advertising for TriStar, led the charge on creating the high octane, retro-style promos for the film with colorful vintage design posters and award-winning million-plus-view trailers (Best Action Trailer at 2017 Golden Trailer Awards).

From the onset, Baby Driver has been Wright’s highest grossing title of his career both on an opening and running total basis. He hatched the feature from an idea he formulated years ago. Originally, the industry saw a $20M take for Baby Driver in its five-day opening, but the pic trumped expectations during an Independence Day stretch with $29.6M, and $39M in its first week of release. According to ComScore/Screen Engine, Baby Driver, rated R, drew mostly males at 57%, 54% over 25.

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