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The Anchor Recap: July 2023

R.J. Hottovy, Thomas Paulson, and Caroline Wu
August 14, 2023
The Anchor Recap: July 2023

This blog explores some of the past month’s highlights from’s executive intelligence report – The Anchor – published weekly by the analytical research team. To view full articles from The Anchor or sign up to receive the full report before it goes online, visit

Box Office: What Barbenheimer Means for the Future of Movie Theatres

After a softer-than-expected ending to Q2 2023, social media and culture lit up in that uniquely American way on “Barbenheimer,” with Barbie and Oppenheimer producing $235M in box office over the opening weekend. Combining “Barbenheimer” with all the other films playing produced the 3-day weekend box office of $311M – the biggest box office weekend post-pandemic. This opening weekend was the fourth-biggest of all time after Avengers: Endgame (April 26-28th, 2019; $402M), Avengers: Infinity War (April 27-29th, 2018; $314.8M), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December 18-20th, 2015; $313M). 

Moreover, the viral nature of the “Barbenheimer” idea created a cultural moment in which many viewers likely opted for more than just one film or screening. The weekend marked by July 13th-16th, 2023, when Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One opened, only 2.2% of AMC Theaters’ visitors visited more than once. The following weekend of July 20th-23th – which included the releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer – the share of AMC repeat visitors increased to 3.9%. 

This suggests that both films, and hopefully Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, will fill seats in the weeks ahead as consumers take advantage of all three well-rated and well-produced big-screen productions.

Nordstrom: Tracking the 2023 Anniversary Sale

Nordstrom’s anniversary sale is eagerly awaited by fashionistas, and the increase in baseline visits to the chain revealed the retail event’s capacity to drive foot traffic. 

During the weeks of July 10th and 17th, 2023, Nordstrom visits spiked approximately 35% compared to the week of April 3rd, 2023 (the first full week of Q2 2023), coinciding with sale access that began for cardmembers on July 11th and for everyone else on July 17th. The Nordstrom anniversary sale continued through August 6th, 2023.

Chipotle: Smaller Market Growth Strategy Hitting the Incumbents

Chipotle’s small market strategy is one of the ways the brand plans on expanding to 7,000 locations in the U.S. And when Chipotle enters a market, it also has a significant ripple effect across other restaurants.

Analysis of Chipotle’s recent openings in three smaller markets – San Angelo, TX (opened December 2022), El Centro, CA (March 2023), and Pasadena, MD (April 2023) – and the year-over-year (YoY) foot traffic impact on the most-visited competing quick-service and full-service restaurant chains revealed that the existing restaurants see a decline in visits when the new Chipotle opens up.

Cross-shopping data indicated that visitors to the new Chipotle locations tend to frequent full-service restaurants more than QSR locations (which aligns with Chipotle management's statement about catering to a more affluent audience), but the new Chipotle had a greater impact on visits to QSR chains, meaning that visitors likely swapped out QSR visits when Chipotle arrived in the market. There certainly could be other variables impacting visitation trends in these markets, but it does seem that Chipotle has a significant impact when it enters a new small market.

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