Focus Features asked for the usual exit-polling to be done regarding last weekend’s opening of Phillip Noyce‘s Catch a Fire. Viewers exiting L.A.’s AMC Palisades Center and Pacific Sherman Oaks Galleria, Baltimore’s Muvico Egyptian 24, Houston’s AMC Studio 30, Seattle’s AMC Pacific Place and Kansas City’s AMC Studio 30 were polled and the usual ironies prevailed.
Everyone who saw it liked it quite a lot, but not enough people saw it overall. So who or what do we blame? The material, obviously — nobody wanted to see an ’80s apartheid movie. I half-felt that way when I went to see it the first time, but I came away enthused. Everyone’s been having the same reaction, it seems. You just have to see it.
Catch a Fire “died” last weekend — a gross of $2,023,397 for the three-day weekend on 1,306 screens, for a per screen average of $1550 — and yet (a) the film drew a well-above-average response with rating/recommend scores spread somewhat evenly across all four quadrants, (b) 56% of the audience described the film as “better than expected”, (c) the performances were rated “excellent” by 62% of the audience and “very good” by an additional 30%, (d) the film “played better to non-Caucasians (who made up 60% of the audience) vs. Caucasians although scores among the latter were still above average, and (e) the film played above-average in all six markets.
In terms of demographics, the audience was ethnically mixed and split fairly evenly between male/female and over/under 35. Specifically: 52% were 35-plus, 53% were female, 44% were African American (highest in Baltimore at 69%), 40% were Caucasian (the whitest audience being in Kansas City at 65%), 7% were Hispanic, 5% were Asian, and 53% had college degrees. What’s with the fucking Hispanics and Asians?
The primary sources of the audience’s information were TV spots (38%…overweight guys channel-surfing while sitting in Lazy Boys), the trailer (22%), word-of-mouth (15%), reviews (14%), newspaper/magazine ads (7%), radio spots (5%), and the internet (3%). This shows you how hip and plugged the over-35s are with the internet….not!