By definition, movies that are front loaded will have a low internal multiplier, with more people seeing the movie at midnight shows and on Friday than over the rest of the weekend. They will also have a low delist multiplier, as audiences lose interest in the movie after its opening weekend, making them profitable post-adjust shorts.
The types of movie that tend to be front-loaded include:
- sequels, prequels and other franchise movies
- movies that have a GFB fan-base
- movies aimed at teenage audiences
- horror movies
- Tyler Perry movies
Movies aimed at adult audiences and children tend not to be front-loaded.
Obviously these are indicators about what to expect, not rules. There are plenty of sequels and franchise movies that sustain fan interest beyond the opening Friday night and delists above adjust price - say, when a movie has very positive word of mouth, or it breaks out from its target audience to attract other demographics.
To get an idea of whether a particular movie is front-loaded, you can look at a range of factors, such as:
- comparing the movie's opening Friday and Saturday box office figures. If a movie has a lower Saturday than Friday - once midnights are factored out - it is likely to be front-loaded
- comparing the movie's Monday box office to its opening weekend box office. The average Monday gross is about 10-11% of the weekend figure.
- comparing the movie's second weekend box office gross with that of its opening weekend. The average second weekend of box office is about 40-45% lower than opening weekend. You can also compare the movie's second Friday with its first Friday - the average drop is about 35%
These numbers are all guidelines, and not hard rules, and you should take other factors into account such as the movie's genre and target audience. For example, some movies - particularly movies aimed at children - are far more popular to see on weekends than during the week, and can suffer very steep drops on Monday without being front-loaded.
You can also look at other non-box office factors, such as:
- the film's Cinemascore rating, which indicates how well the movie was received by its target audience. Anything B+ or under is not good. There is more information on Cinemascore in this column
- the film's ratings on rottentomatoes.com, including the Tomatometer which gives a summary of how well the movie was received by critics, and the Flixster audience rating. These ratings are also available through Flixster
- how similar movies have performed on opening weekend and the next three weeks of release