Saturday AM Update: There’s lots of good news ahead at the box office, but we’re not quite there yet.
The No. 1 box office market (over $900M in 2019), Los Angeles, won’t begin to wake up until really next weekend, and then the industry’s only headache is waiting for capacity restrictions to increase well beyond the current 25% which NYC and LA are currently capped. Of the 5,8K theaters in U.S. and Canada, only 51% are currently open this weekend. The New York DMA, including the recently reopened NYC five boroughs last weekend, is only 44% opened currently, but there are parts of Canada which are alive, i.e. Quebec at 73%, Saskatchewan at 55%, and Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut at 100%.
While the B.O. is still in repair, Disney’s second weekend of Raya and the Last Dragon, which is also available on Disney+ for an extra $30 to subscribers, is leading this weekend with $1.5M yesterday and an estimated $5.7M, -33% at 2,163 locations (+118) for a 10-day gross of $16M. Friday was off 42%. While we were very nervous about this new day and date theatrical Disney+ model, those with knowledge of Disney’s distribution maneuvers believe that it was merely an experiment, not apt to shake-up the entire future of theatrical releasing, and that day and date theatrical-streaming releases aren’t part of their longterm plans to make banks on their slate. Also, the Burbank, CA lot heard the message loud and clear from those exhibitors like Cinemark, Harkins, and others who refused to play Raya, and clearly the movie is suffering from those chains absence in its box office equation.
Warner Bros.’ Tom & Jerry is estimated to have grossed $1M in its third Friday, -37%, for a 3-day of $4M, -39% at 2,434 theaters (-129), and a running total of $26.9M. The pic is currently on WarnerMedia’s subscriber streaming service HBO Max for another 15 days before theaters have it exclusive in the pic’s second month run.
Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking in weekend 2 is ranking 3rd with a $642K Friday, -52%, and an estimated 3-day of $2.36M at 1,995 sites (+15), -37%, and a running total of $7M by Sunday.
Fourth is going to Focus Features’ Boogie in weekend 2 with $220K Friday, -50%, for a 3-day of $730K, -39%, at 1,272 theaters (+20) for a 10-day running today of $2.27M.
And fifth goes to the family pandemic sleeper that won’t stop, Universal/Dreamworks Animation’s Croods: A New Age which is seeing a Friday in weekend 16 of $120K, -41%, a 3-day of $500K, -37%, at 1,440 theaters (-164) and a running total of $54.2M.
While there aren’t any wide releases this weekend, we have Sony Pictures Classics’ Anthony Hopkins-Olivia Colman awards season contender The Father booked at 865 venues which according to industry estimates made $123K yesterday on its way to a 3-day debut of $380K in the No. 10 spot for a per theater of $439 . Sony is shielding its box office figures from rival distributors in Comscore. The pic, directed by Florian Zeller, is 99% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and armed with four Golden Globe noms, two SAG noms for Hopkins in lead and Colman in supporting, and six BAFTA noms. Audience exits on Screen Engine/Comscore’s PostTrak were strong at 84% positive and a 54% recommend. Guys showed up at 52%, with 76% over 35 with the single largest demo being 55+ at 39%. That’s very good news as some in distribution circles have been concerned about the older demo returning to the cinemas as Covid quells. Clearly here, it shows they want to get out. Diversity breakdown was 78% Caucasian, 11% Hispanic, 5% Black, and 6% Asian.
Big Sony has the Stephen Basilone-directed Long Weekend at 814 sites with an OK 71% fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating for this romantic comedy. Industry estimates see a Friday of $76,5K, 3-day of $220K in the No. 11 spot. Bad exits here at 55% and a 32% definite recommend on PostTrak. Fifty-eight percent females bought tickets, 81% over 25 with the single largest demo being 45-54 year olds at 24%. Diversity demos were 67% Caucasian, 12% Hispanic, 13% Black, & 8% Asian.
As we told you first, slowly today Cinemark is throwing open the doors to its Long Beach, CA followed by theater reopenings in Orange, Placer, Contra Costa and San Bernardino counties. The No. 3 chain will continue to eye reopenings in the near future in LA and by March 15, 90% of the national chain will be open. AMC is reopening its Burbank and Century City hubs Monday.
Some distributors speculate that we’ll be around 4,2K theaters by the time Disney’s Black Widow on May 7 opens. As we always said, it’s going to be gradual box office comeback, not an elevator lift, however, May, brings a tremendous amount of hope with Black Widow, Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II, 20th’s Free Guy, Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Disney’s Cruella. It’s that type of cluster of films on the marquee which is required to lure moviegoers back, not one singular film, ala Tenet.
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