Devin Randall's picture

"Love, Simon's" Opening Weekend Numbers Were Unimpressive

Unfortunately, it looks like Love, Simon’s opening weekend box office is… just ok.

We’ve been talking to you about Love, Simon for some time now. We raved with you over the fact that the film is the first teen rom-com to be backed by a major movie studio (20th Century Fox).

But while media sources like Instinct and tv interviewers like Ellen were happy to talk about Love, Simon, it seems like moviegoers weren’t as thrilled.

With an expected box office number of $12 million, the film wasn’t expected to earn big in the first place. That said, the movie sadly didn’t earn that. After the film’s opening weekend, it looks like Love, Simon made around $11.5 million.

While this isn’t a washout, this isn’t a major success either. The film was produced with around $17 million, so 20th Century Fox didn’t lose much (if you consider $5.5 million not much).

In addition, the film also gained rave reviews and an A+ cinema score. As such, the film has a lot going for it, but sadly one of those things isn’t money in its wallet.

Though, the film's averageness was originally its selling point, with its creators hoping to open the door for future projects.

The question then becomes why more people didn’t go to see the movie.

While we on Instinct (readers and writers) would love for the film to succeed, there are also many who would like to see it fail.

The liberal-packed East and West coasts make up the majority of moviegoers, but the more conservative Middle America can still pack a punch when it needs to. Without conservative America’s support, this film needed the support of LGBTQ people and liberal viewers, which it seems to have not gotten.

Even the production company that created teen sensation The Fault in Our Stars, couldn't get teens (LGBTQ or otherwise) to race towards the film.

That said, Love, Simon could possibly continue to earn more within the coming weeks. That is, of course, before box office juggernaut Disney/Marvel comes up in late April.

We also have to consider the possible effects of this film’s performance for future projects.

Again, the idea was to use an average, so-and-so film to open the door, but will it?

While, I don’t think this will mean a halt to all future projects with gay leads or LGBTQ focuses, Love, Simon’s so-so box office numbers could be a tool for any executive wishing to push against such movies.

After all, Hollywood is a business industry focused on what makes them money. With a precedent like this, gay films of the future aren’t getting much help.

Comments

Devin Randall's picture
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For anyone interested, I've just published an additional article looking at "Love, Simon's" three week hold and social/cultural influence. 

http://instinctmagazine.com/post/lets-talk-about-love-simons-cultural-in...

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20th Century Fox hasn't lost anything. You do realize that films don't need to (or usually do) make back their production budget in one weekend, right? It came in pretty much on projection for it's initial outing, and only dipped 34% in it's sophomore frame. So, it's now at $24 million, and is projected to end it's domestic run at around $45-$50 million. I can assure you that 20th Century Fox will be very happy with those numbers, especially for a March release of this nature. 

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I saw it opening night in an SF East Bay audience at the first showing comprised of teenagers and gay men. They laughed hysterically and cried at different points, and not because they felt sorry for the characters' tragic dilemmas. At the end we stood up cheering and applauding. I stayed through the credits because I wanted to see who was on the soundtrack (which was perfect pop confection) and noticed most of the moviegoers at that performance remained behind also, to talk and laugh.

Two nights later I went with my BFF and although I assumed since I had already seen it, I would be immune to the humorous parts and especially to the ones that made me weep with joy, but no go. The BFF was a veritable waterworks and punched me more than once telling me I didn't warn her she would cry so much.

Yes it's a teen coming of age rom-com. But it's also a very important film.  I would say Don't Miss It.

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I think there's a huge number of closeted teens who would not be caught dead asking their friends to go see this film with them in a theater. But when it is released on Netflix, I bet they'll watch it, even if in private. This film will empower and strengthen them. 

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I saw it at 43 and enjoyed it. I was by far the eldest in the theater. It got me thinking that even in this day and age where it is more acceptable, it can't be all that much easier being gay in junior high and high school today than it was for me over 25 years ago in the '86 - '92 years although back then in the more rural community I grew up in, coming out as gay in high school was absolutely unheard of. Even to this day, I can't think of who else I went to school with may have been gay. There had to be at least a few or maybe I WAS the only one. It also sruck me that at 43 I'm not nearly as out of the closet as Simon came to be and as one of the other gay characters in the movie. Imagining being that open still makes me uncomfortable and I largely don't talk about it at work say or among acquaintences Hopefully, I'm just a product of my generation and that is on its way out with the generation Love, Simon adresses. So, even at my age I got somehting out of the movie. It reminded me of a made for TV coming out movie from the early 90s called "Doing Time on Maple Drive". Anyone remember this movie? I taped it on VHS and watched it countless times. I actually found I still have it and started watching it. It's far cheesier than I remember. Love, Simon is far better. 

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The film came close to its projected mark in its opening weekend against a surprise Christian film hit, a new Tomb Raider film, and the continued juggernaut that is Black Panther and the holding steady A Wrinkle in Time. It also opened on a weekend with a holiday that typically sees parades and a fair amount of partying consuming people's time. It's a gay film targeted to a dwindling cinema age group that is increasingly harder to get into the theaters (teens). It's got a 92% freshness rating on RottenTomatoes.com. To speak about the movie as though it's virtually dead in the water is a gross mischaracterization on anyone's part.

The film may have a white male lead, but it has a very diverse supporting cast (as opposed to its support material, the still excellent Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda). Yes, it is very mainstream and very much a teen rom com, albeit with a gay lead. While many of us may have seen stories like these before, they are typically lower budget, independent films where the characters often don't get a happy ending because they are too busy dying, or reacting to someone dying, or getting gay bashed, or getting sick, or dealing with close-minded and/or abusive family members, etc. The angst in this film is refreshingly free of much of that baggage, and centers more around universal themes like the fear of change, the nervousness about first love and how to navigate it, and the courage to be yourself and speak your truth, whether you're gay, angry at your parents, weird and awkward, inexperienced, or in love with someone who doesn't know.

When a film like this comes along, one that is enjoyable and has mainstream backing, it's exactly what many of say we've always wanted to see. If we then scoff, cynically pick it apart without seeing it, and don't support it with our money, then we run the risk of not getting more stories like it that branch out and tell bigger stories. The first successful mainstream gay rom com can lead to the first gay mainstream action hero, or sci fi storyline, or any number of other genres we don't usually get to see ourselves be the leads in. As a number of critics have pointed out, some film has to be the first to lead the way so we are taken seriously by major studios who ask whether or not we can carry films that don't show only in art houses or major cities. Love, Simon can be that film, but only if it gets support. Consider seeing it not just for its success, but for that next project we want to see that depicts us in all our variety and splendor.

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Lack of diversity.  The market is ripe with coming out stories about white males. Perhaps it's time to tap the rainbow and tell all our stories in a multiracial cast.

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... you didn’t watch the movie did you 

Devin Randall's picture
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While the film has a white lead, it also is very diverse in its cast.

Also, If you didn't see, I posted another article where the actor who plays Ethan (the Black gay character) spoke on the need for diversity in all forms. 

http://instinctmagazine.com/post/love-simon-actor-clark-moore-talks-stra...

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I saw the movie this weekend, as a gay man in my 50s I was very impressed with the movie. I loved the up to date version of coming out, and dealing with your sexuality in your own way and time. I laughed and cried. Go see it!!

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“Love, Simon”  worked well as a Y

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Not sure why most of my comments did not post. “Love, Simon” is  asked on a great YA novel and the movie adaptation is excellent. That being said, it’s not a movie most high school kids would spend money to see at the movies. They will watch it on Netflix, no question, but not at the theater, The demographic for the theaters would be older. Most adults do not rush out to see movies right away unless they are blockbusters. When it is no longer running in theaters, we’ll probably discover it was successful. 

CastleSF's picture
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Why are they still making coming out movies where the main characters are 17-21 years old?

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Sorry, I just wait until Netflix and Prime.  I haven't been to the movies in years and see no reason to go.

However, please don't discount this movie.  This was its opening weekend only and it did a very strong showing.  In fact, a write up in The Atlantic said that "Love, Simon" and the Christian movie "I can only Imagine" both came in the the top five spots for the weekend.  It should turn a profit in the coming weeks and "Love, Simon" still has yet to hit the foreign markets.  Slow and steady sometimes wins the race just like 2002's "My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding."

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You wonder why it didn’t do that well, then just like you said you (the site) had articles about the movie and mostly bashing it saying they didn’t need to see another coming out story.

Devin Randall's picture
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While I won't argue your point about the articles, I do have to clarify that Instinct has written at least 8 articles about Love, Simon (that I know of). The majority of them were in support of the film. Only two were opinion pieces (which granted, were negative).

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