At least year’s ShowEast in Miami, when Universal Pictures screened DreamWorks Animation’s “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish” the auditorium at the Regal South Beach was mostly full, though there a good number of delegates who rolled their eyes and decided to stick around the Loews Hotel to take meetings and await that evenings reception. Those who did attend the film reported how pleasantly surprised they were with the latest installment of a franchise most had assumed had used up all its nine lives.
Yet last week during the weekly Dine-In Cinema Summit conference call (which is always well worth dialing into) the exhibitors in attendance all commented on how “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish” was still one of the most popular films playing in their cinemas. For most it was third behind “Scream VI” and “Creed III,” sometimes even outpacing “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” For others the animated film starring Antonio Banderas as the fairy tale feline was doing even better.
Even though curiosity may be a well known health concern for cats, I was intrigued enough to start making a few inquiries with exhibitors around the globe to see how Shrek’s old sidekick was fairing in different territories. The story was the same everywhere. While “Avatar: The Way of Water” may be pulling in more in box office thanks to its premium ticket prices (from formats such as Dolby Cinema and 3D), “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish” has been bringing in more attendees. Both films were released at the end of December 2022. Some exhibitors even dared compare it to the unexpectedly long running 2017 release “The Greatest Showman,” which played in theatres for at least six months and in some cases up to a year.
Was it not so long ago exhibitors and distributors were duking it out over the ever-decreasing length of theatrical release windows? Now we have an animated family film swashbuckling its way into a fourth month in cinemas. As of last weekend, “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish” had earned over USD $461 million globally making it the ninth biggest 2022 Hollywood film release.
When asked why they believed the Dreamworks Animation film was still performing so well in theatres, every cinema operator expressed the same reasoning; there is currently a dearth of family movies on a release schedule that used to be littered with them. So while exhibitors are publicly lobbying for distributors to send more titles their way, its worth underscoring how important it is that at least some of them be geared toward those that require parents to buy their tickets (i.e. children).
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