The 3D concert movie One Direction: This Is Us failed to get even close to the $20 million mark at the North American box office this Labor Day weekend (Fri-Sun) despite relatively strong opening-day grosses. Featuring One Direction band members Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson, and directed by Morgan Spurlock, whose Super Size Me was shortlisted for the 2004 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, One Direction: This Is Us debuted at 2,735 locations, pulling in a not inconsiderable $8.9 million on Thursday evening / Friday, August 29-30, 2013, which should have meant approximately $20 million by Sunday evening – especially taking into account that Monday is a national holiday. But it was not meant to be.
Whereas Justin Bieber: Never Say Never debuted with $13.1 million at 3,105 sites on opening day in February 2011, eventually collecting $29.51 million over the weekend, One Direction: This Is Us' U.S. and Canada weekend gross is expected to top only $17 million according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
But why? A 54.4 percent Friday-to-Saturday drop-off rate helps to explain why. Talk about a movie being frontloaded. Clearly, those who wanted to watch Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson strut their stuff bought tickets for midnight and/or first-day showings. In fact, as Box Office Mojo's Ray Subers explains, One Direction: This Is Us suffered the steepest Friday-to-Saturday drop of any movie (since at least the early '80s) outside of December.
For comparison's sake: Justin Bieber: Never Say Never was down only 13 percent on Saturday, while back in February 2008 Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour was actually up 51 percent.
The way things are going, One Direction: This Is Us should end up raking in only $19-$20 million by the end of Labor Day, one of the times of year Americans and Canadians are too busy stuffing their faces and getting drunk to find time (or energy or sobriety) to go watch movies. Of course, that figure is not bad when you consider the One Direction movie's reported $10 million budget (and somewhat modest marketing campaign), but it's downright disappointing if one takes into account the movie's Thursday/Friday figures and its 3D surcharges.
Note: One Direction: This Is Us also grossed a modest $14.5 million from 53 international territories. The 3D One Direction movie's worldwide total currently stands at an estimated $31.5 million.
3D concert movies: One Direction vs. Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson
The biggest three-day opening in the 3D concert genre belongs to Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, which earned $31.11 million from 683 locations in February 2008. Next is Justin Bieber: Never Say Never with the aforementioned $29.51 million and Michael Jackson's This Is It, which opened on a Wednesday, with $23.23 million in early November 2009. Needless to say, One Direction: This Is Us is lagging behind these titles.
The good news: at least the One Direction movie is well ahead of Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience's $12.51 million from 1,271 theaters in February 2009, and Katy Perry: Part of Me's terrible $7.13 million from 2,730 sites in July 2012.
Besides One Direction-ers Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles, One Direction: This Is Us features Dan Richards, Sandy Beales, John Shone, and Josh Devine. The One Direction movie currently has a 59 percent approval rating and 5.7/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.
Worst Friday-to-Saturday drop-off rates ever
Six of the twelve movies that suffered the steepest Friday-to-Saturday drop-off rates have been December releases. Blame that on Christmas Day celebrations, as all six movies opened on December 24. Also of note, three are Twilight Saga movies. Blame that on Twihards who simply had to see their idols on the Twilight movies' first day out – whereas most other moviegoers weren't all that interested in what Bella, Edward, Jacob, and the gang were up to. Also, keep in mind that the Twilight Saga movies had huge midnight grosses that inflated Friday figures.
Here are the top twelve Friday-to-Saturday drop-off rates ( percentages have been rounded out):
- Barry W. Blaustein's The Ringer, down 72 percent (Dec. 24-25), with Johnny Knoxville, Katherine Heigl, Brian Cox
- Steven E. de Souza's Street Fighter, down 55 percent (Dec. 24-25), with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia
- Morgan Spurlock's One Direction: This Is Us, down 54 percent (Aug. 30-31), with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson
- David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, down 53 percent (July 16-17), with Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
- Dean Parisot's Fun with Dick and Jane, down 52 percent (Dec. 24-25), with Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni
- Adam Shankman's Cheaper by the Dozen 2, down 50 percent (Dec. 24-25), with Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Tom Welling, Piper Perabo
- Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey's African Cats, down 49 percent (Apr. 23-24), documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson
- David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, down 46 percent (Dec. 24-25), with Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig
- Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha, down 44.17 percent (Dec. 24-25), with Zhang Ziyi, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li
- Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, down 44.13 percent (Nov. 19-20), with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
- Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon, down 41.83 percent (Nov. 21-22), with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
- Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, down 41.77 percent (Nov. 17-18), with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson in One Direction: This Is Us movie photo: Tri-Star / Sony Pictures.