After a week that brought another slew of release-delay announcements, current results suggest the studios were right to do so. There’s a few more open theaters, but with no new wide films and most also playing at home, grosses remain depressed. The top 10 totaled $8.3 million, with all films taking in around $9.5 million. That’s down about 25 percent from last weekend, and $110 million less than the same one last year.
Warner Bros. reports that 43 percent of domestic screens are open, but represent areas that constitute about two thirds of the population. The absence of major films, the home availability of those in release (including seven of the top 10), and the audience’s reluctance to visit theaters are a deadly combination.
Multiple top titles remain in the prime May-July period for now, but it appears that theaters may face reduced product and operations until fall — all told, 18 months. Even after the crisis ends, theatrical exclusivity will be greatly reduced and even eliminated; not only do studios have the upper hand, but the public is increasingly familiar with the at-home option. It seems impossible that pre-March 2020 box-office levels will return.
For now, we continue to see the pattern of current films holding better with little competition. Though last weekend was boosted by a holiday, holdovers dropped 22 percent or less (other than #1, “The Marksman,” which saw a normal drop in its second week).
The most curious aspect of these results is there is no discernible difference in the drops between films available at home and those that are theater exclusive. That has to be disconcerting for exhibitors, particularly since grosses are bad all over.
Next weekend will see the opening of “The Little Things” both in theaters and on HBO Max. The crime thriller with Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto is the first post-“Wonder Woman 1984” test of whether theaters will play the studio’s titles as the streamer’s subscribers get to see it at no extra cost.
As planned, today is the last day that HBO Max subscribers can see the superhero sequel in its 31-day initial run at home; it remains in theaters. Next weekend might give evidence of whether that strategy drives viewers to theaters. As of now, it is #3, behind the longer-running “The Croods: A New Age,” which has been on Premium VOD for a month. The DreamWorks Animation film has passed $40 million, with 40 percent of that coming after its home debut.
The sole new film in the top 10 is “Our Friend,” which stars Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson, and Jason Segal in a fact-based drama based on Matthew Teague’s National Magazine Award-winning article. The 2019 Toronto Film Festival premiere is a day and date Premium VOD release, with 543 theaters willing to play it. It grossed a minor $250,000, but appears to be seeing an at-home response.
The Top 10
1. The Marksman (Open Road) Week 2; Last weekend #1
$2,030,000 (-35%) in 2,018 theaters (+43); PTA: $1,006; Cumulative: $6,094,000
2. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) Week 9; Last weekend #2; also available on Premium VOD
$1,820,000 (-9%) in 1,876 theaters (+21); PTA: $970; Cumulative: $41,830,000
3. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) Week 5; Last weekend #3; also streaming on HBO Max 2201
$1,600,000 (-20%) in,2,013 theaters (-188); PTA: $; Cumulative: $37,700,000
4. Monster Hunter (Sony) Week 6; Last weekend #5
$820,000 (-9%) in 1,661 theaters (-33); PTA: $; Cumulative: $10,195,000
5. News of the World (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #4; also available on Premium VOD
$810,000 (-19%) in 1,874 theaters (-79); PTA: $432; Cumulative: $9,650,000
6. Fatale (Lionsgate) Week 6; Last weekend #6; also available on Premium VOD
$415,000 (-12%) in 1,130 theaters (-45); PTA: $367; Cumulative: $5,274,000
7. Promising Young Woman (Focus) Week 5; Last weekend #7; also available on Premium VOD
$400,000 (-10%) in 1,236 theaters (-97); PTA: $324; Cumulative: $4,000,000
8. Our Friend (Gravitas Ventures) NEW; Metacritic: 56; also available on Premium VOD
$250,000 in 543 theaters; PTA: $460; Cumulative: $250,000
9. The War With Grandpa (101) Week 16; Last weekend #9; also on VOD
$163,944 (+1%) in 507 theaters (+85); PTA: $323; Cumulative: $19,469,000
10. Pinocchio (Roadside Attractions) Week 5; Last weekend #11
$122,260 (-22%) in 602 theaters (-58); PTA: $204; Cumulative: $1,528,000