‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Repeats Atop Domestic Weekend Box Office Concurrent With Disney+ Access

Walt Disney Studios’ strategy of simultaneously releasing films in theaters and on its branded subscription streaming service, at an additional cost, appears to be working.

Despite its availability on Disney+ at a $29.99 purchase price, Raya and the Last Dragon topped the domestic box office for the second weekend March 14 with a reported $5.5 million in projected ticket sales from more than 2,100 screens nationwide. That’s down just 35% from $8.5 million in domestic ticket sales in the previous-week period. So far, the animated Raya has generated $15.8 million in U.S. ticket sales and $52.6 million globally since debuting March 5.

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The remaining top theatrical releases mirrored the previous weekend, with Warner Bros. Pictures’ Tom & Jerry generating $4.1  million ($26 million total) from 2,434 screens; Chaos Walking (Lionsgate) with $2.25 million ($6.9 million total) from 1,995 screens; and Boogie (Universal/Focus Features) with $730,000 ($2.2 million) from 1,272 screens.

Impressively, The Croods: A New Age (Universal/DreamWorks Animation) continues to resonate across multiple platforms with $530,000 ($54.3 million) in weekend ticket sales. The title, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Feb. 23, currently ranks as the top-selling packaged-media release in 2021, according to The NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service.

In the meantime, with Los Angeles area theaters slated to re-open next weekend at 25% capacity, the box office is expected to continue a slow but steady return to normalcy as moviegoers get vaccinated. More than 101 million arms have received the COVID-19 vaccine through March 12, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The domestic box office was up 16.5% last weekend (March 5-7) from the previous-year period with $22.95 million in revenue; and up 166% Feb. 26-28 with $19.74 million.

Warner Bros.’ ‘Tom & Jerry’ Tops $13.6 Million Domestic Weekend Box Office — Second-Highest Debut in Pandemic Era

Following a $4 million Feb. 26 domestic box office debut, Warner Bros. Pictures saw its live-action animated feature Tom & Jerry, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, generate a projected $13.6 million across more than 2,400 screens through Feb. 28. The tally, which surpassed the studio’s $12.5 million projection, is the second-highest theatrical weekend debut during the pandemic, after the studio’s opening $16.4 million Christmas weekend for Wonder Woman 1984. Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age held the original pandemic box office record with $9.7 million over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The animated sequel generated $1.2 million in a distant No. 2 position — the only other theatrical release to break a million in domestic revenue. Croods: A New Age has now generated $52.4 million in 14 weeks of release. The movie is also available on digital and packaged media retail.

Rounding out the top 5, Warner’s The Little Things had $925,000 in ticket sales ($12.9 million since launching Jan. 29); WW84 had $710,000 ($43.6 million since Christmas Day);  and The Marksman, generated $680,000 in ticket sales ($12.3 million since mid-January debut).

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Tom & Jerry, like WW84, The Little Things and last weekend’s Judas and the Black Messiah, had a concurrent debut on subscription streaming platform HBO Max. With 50% of domestic screens still closed due to government restrictions, Warner is releasing its entire 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously on Max.

No. 2 theatrical chain Regal, which has been closed since last year, is expected to open select screens next weekend as coronavirus infections decrease nationwide and potential vaccinated moviegoers increase.

Analyst: Theatrical Return Could ‘Normalize’ in July

With President Biden predicting 1.5 million daily COVID-19 vaccinations nationwide by mid-spring, the return of the domestic box office could be right around the corner. Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter believes the box office could “normalize” as early as July as vaccinations roll out, and virus infections/deaths decline.

“We maintain that most people will remain reluctant to attend the movies until they receive their vaccine, or in the case that the
transmission rate significantly falls,” Pachter wrote in a Feb. 22 note. “Simply stated, we do not expect attendance levels to begin to normalize until July at the earliest.”

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Pachter contends AMC Theatres and Cinemark have taken the right precautions — installing high-quality air filtration systems, implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, reducing seating capacity, and block seating to preserve social distancing. Regal, which remains shuttered, has taken similar steps.

The analyst bases much of his optimism on the strong return of the Chinese box office — the second-largest in the world — which saw a major boost from a record Lunar New Year weekend with action comedy Detective Chinatown 3 opening to $393 million.

“Chinese box office bodes well for Imax, global theatres post-COVID,” Pachter wrote. “There was clearly pent-up demand in China as audiences returned en masse once theaters re-opened, and in Q4 Imax revenue was down only 4% YoY in the region. Through Feb. 14, Imax is trending up 471% from [the previous-year period].”

That said, Pachter estimates the Q1 U.S. box office is trending
down 93.6% through Feb. 21, with ticket sales down 88.1% year-over-year, and 2021 trending up 122.5% over 2020 (down 59% over 2019). More than 50% of theaters in major markets remain closed.

“We expect 2022 to return to 2019 levels on pent-up demand for long-delayed films,” he wrote.

Universal’s ‘Croods 2’ Again Tops Pandemic Weekend Box Office; Narrowing Revenue Gap to ‘Tenet’

Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age again topped the domestic weekend box office Feb. 19-21, generating an estimated $1.9 million across more than 1,900 screens — the fifth time the title has been No. 1 in its 13 weeks of release. A New Age now tops $50 million in U.S. theaters and more than $154 million worldwide. The numbers, which don’t include PVOD and TVOD sales, suggest the A New Age is approaching Warner Bros.’ pandemic king Tenet at $57.9 million ($363.1 million globally).

In second is Warner detective drama The Little Things, with $1.2 million in ticket sales across more than 2,000 screens. The title, co-starring Oscar winners Jared Leto, Denzel Washington and Rami Malek, has totaled $12 million ($18.5 million worldwide) since debuting in theaters and on HBO Max Jan. 28.

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Similar Warner theatrical/HBO Max release Judas and the Black Messiah finished No. 3 with more than $900,000 in ticket sales, $3.3 million overall since its Feb. 12 bow, followed by DC superheroine Wonder Woman 1984 at No. 4 with more than $800,000; $42 million total ($158 million globally).

Finally, Open Road Film’s The Marksman rounded out the top five with $725,000 ($11.4 million) across 1,643 screens. The Liam Neeson-starrer has generated more than $15 million worldwide since its Jan. 15 debut.

Universal’s ‘The Croods: A New Age’ Returns Atop Domestic Box Office

Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age re-emerged atop the pandemic/winter weather challenged Presidents’ Day domestic weekend box office (Feb. 11-14) with an estimated $2.66 million in ticket sales across 1,890 screens. The movie has been a perennial draw during the COVID-19 pandemic, topping the domestic box office five consecutive weekends, beginning with its debut last Thanksgiving (Nov. 25-29, 2020). A New Age, which is also available on PVOD, has tracked $48.9 million in the U.S.; more than $150 million worldwide. The title releases on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on Feb. 23.

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LaKeith Stanfield in Warner Bros.’ Judas and the Black Messiah

Other top weekend draws included Warner Bros. Pictures’ trio The Little Things ($2.4 million), the debut of Judas and the Black Messiah ($2.4 million), and Wonder Woman 1984 ($1.1 million). Black Messiah and Little Things are both available free to subscribers to stream on HBO Max. Open Road Film’s The Marksman, starring Liam Neeson, generated a projected $1.1 million, while Robin Wright’s directorial debut, Land, from Universal/Focus Features, tracked about $1 million.

The total box office tally, which includes Monster Hunter, News of the World, The War with Grandpa, Golden Globe nominated Promising Young Woman and Willy’s Wonderland among the Top 10, ranges from $10.6 million to $11.6 million depending on the length of the extended weekend.

 

Liam Neeson Continues Pandemic Box Office Run with ‘The Marksman’

Open Road’s The Marksman topped Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman 1984 at domestic box office Jan. 15-17 with an estimated $3.7 million in ticket sales across 1,975 screens. The movie starring Liam Neeson is the second Open Road feature film after last October’s Honest Thief released theatrically during the ongoing pandemic that has resonated with consumers willing to frequent the box office.

Thief generated $14.1 million in the United States; $28.3 million worldwide before being released into on DVD/Blu-ray Disc by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on Dec. 29.

WW84 ended its run atop the box office with $2.6 million in the No. 2 spot. The DC superhero movie starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Kristen Wiig, has generated $35.8 million at the domestic box office since its Christmas Day debut; $141.7 million worldwide. It was released concurrently on streaming video service HBO Max.

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Ongoing pandemic hit The Croods: A New Age actually gained box office revenue from the previous week with more than $2 million to finish No. 2. The Universal/DreamWorks Animation title has generated $130 million at the global box office and is slated to bow on disc Feb. 23.

Rounding out the estimated $10.3 million weekend box office includes the usual run of titles including Tom Hanks western News of the World with $1 million ($8.5 million total); Screen Gems’ Monster Hunter with $920,000 ($16 million global); Lionsgate’s Fatale ($500,000; $8.4 million); Focus Features’ Promising Young Woman ($410,000; $4.1 million); 101 Studios’ The War With Grandpa ($182,000; $34 million); Roadside Attraction’s Pinocchio ($149,000; $21.9 million) and Walt Disney Studios’ re-release of The Emperor’s New Groove with $173,000.

Universal Pictures (Again) Leads Pandemic Weekend Box Office

Universal Pictures continues to drive the domestic weekend box office with a larger slate of new releases than any other studio — including seven of the top eight revenue-generating titles from Dec. 4 to 6.

That’s more than a little ironic, considering that Universal was the first studio to significantly cut the theatrical window on new movie releases in exchange for expedited premium VOD access into consumer homes.

The move, followed by threats of a boycott and then a landmark revenue-sharing deal with theater chains, was the pandemic-related entertainment story of 2020 until Warner Bros. decided to shelve the theatrical window altogether, beginning with Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day and continuing throughout 2021

The DreamWorks Animation sequel The Croods: A New Age, distributed by Universal, again led ticket sales the first weekend of the month, generating an estimated $4.4 million across more than 2,000 screens, according to industry data. The title has generated $20.4 million in revenue domestically ($41 million worldwide) since debuting Nov. 25.

Other titles, included Focus Features’ Half Brothers with $670,000 across 1,369 screens; and Vince Vaughn-starrer Freaky with $450,000 across 1,502 screens, bringing the film to $7.7 million in tickets sold in the U.S., and $12.6 million globally.

Additional Universal/Focus titles included All My Life ($350,000); Come Play ($231,000), the latter generating $11 million globally since launching Oct. 30; Let Him Go ($210,000; $9.6 million worldwide since Nov. 6 debut); and 2018 re-release The Grinch ($59,000; $512 million globally since original debut), starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, rounded out Universal’s top performers.

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101 Studios’ The War With Grandpa was No. 5 with $335,000 in revenue from 1,285 screens. The Robert De Niro comedy has sold $26.1 million in tickets globally since debuting Oct. 9.

The weekend box office totaled $7.2 million, down about 45% from $13.2 million during the previous-week period, Nov. 27-29.

‘Freaky’ Box Office Reality: Top-Performing Weekend Movie Sees Revenue Plummet 66%

Domestic weekend box office results are beginning to mimic home entertainment: The same number of select number of titles playing musical chairs as the pandemic wreaks havoc on new releases and wary moviegoers.

Universal Pictures’ horror comedy Freaky again finished atop the box office Nov. 20-22, generating $1.2 million in ticket sales across 2,057 screens, or a quiet $593 per screen, according to industry data. That was 66.1% less than the $3.54 million the Vince Vaughn starrer generated in its debut the previous weekend. With $5.59 million in total domestic revenue ($9.2 million globally), Freaky would appear headed to PVOD release on Nov. 30 — 17 days after its theatrical debut.

The weekend box office finished down 45% at $6.23 million, compared with $11.33 million in the previous period.

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Top 10 holdovers included 101 Studios’ The War With Grandpa at No. 2 with $733,000 in revenue — down 44.5% from the previous weekend. Focus Features’ Let Him Go and Come Play finished No. 3 and No. 4 with $710,000 and $553,000 in revenue, respectively.

Top new release: The Santa Clause, a 2020 Disney re-release, which generated $461,000 across 1,581 screens at No. 5. Open Road Films’ Honest Thief and Warner Bros.’ Tenet finished No. 6 and No. 8 with $452,000 and $360,000 in revenue, respectively. Tenet has generated $56.9 million in domestic ticket sales; $356 million worldwide.

No. 7 featured Gravitas Ventures’ Vanguard with $400,000 in first-weekend revenue across 1,375 screens. Rounding out the Top 10: The Last Vermeer and animation fantasy drama Gekijouban Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel — III. Spring Song with a combined $425,000 in ticket sales.

Vince Vaughn’s ‘Freaky’ Thriller Tops Another Slow Pandemic Box Office

The Universal Pictures horror thriller Freaky topped another pandemic-addled weekend domestic box office Nov. 13-15, generating $3.7 million from 2,472 screens, or an underwhelming $1,500 per screen, according to BoxOfficeMojo.

The good news for Universal is that the Blumhouse Productions thriller — which stars Vince Vaughn as a high school janitor/serial killer and Kathryn Newton as his shrewd teen nemesis — is slated for early PVOD release as part of the studio’s COVID-19 release strategy.

The movie generated $1.9 million across 20 markets internationally to reach $5.6 million total in its first weekend of release, and near its $6 million production budget.

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Previous No. 1 Let Him Go (Focus Features) dropped 55% in revenue with $1.8 million in ticket sales across 2,458 screens, or $732 per screen. The Kevin Costner/Diane Lane drama has totaled nearly $6.9 million in ticket sales since debuting Nov. 6.

Rounding out the podium: The War With Grandpa, which took in $1.32 million across 2,145 screens, or $618 per screen. The 101 Studios release starring Robert De Niro has generated $22.9 million worldwide since launching Oct. 9.

Previous podium finishers Come Play, Honest Thief and Tenet generated $1.1 million, $800,000 and $735,000, respectively. Chrstopher Nolan’s Tenet has sold $53.6 million in domestic tickets; $353.5 million worldwide since launching Sept. 3.

Universal/Focus Features Top Plodding Weekend Box Office as Trade Group Warns of Exhibitor Bankruptcy Without Congress Help

Universal Pictures’ specialty films unit Focus Features saw two of its releases — Let Him Go and Come Play — top another sluggish domestic weekend (through Nov. 8) undermined by wary moviegoers and scant major new studio titles due to the ongoing pandemic.

The yearly domestic box office topped $1.978 billion through the weekend — largely based on theatrical releases prior to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down all screens in mid-March. That’s down more than 75% from last year.

New release Let Him Go, which stars Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as a Montana couple who seek to rescue their grandson from a dangerous living situation, topped the weekend with $4.1 million in ticket sales. It was followed by $1.7 million in box office receipts for horror film Come Play, which has generated $5.6 million after two weeks of release.

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Both titles are earmarked for early PVOD release as part of Universal’s landmark agreement with AMC Theatres enabling the studio to offer theatrical releases to consumers in the home three weekends after their big screen launch. AMC gets a share of the direct-to-consumer revenue.

Rounding out the podium was The War With Grandpa, the 101 Studios’ family comedy starring Robert De Niro that took in $1.5 million to reach $13.4 million after three weeks. Liam Neeson drama Honest Thief grabbed $1.1 million to help the Open Road Films title reach $11.2 million after four weeks of release.

Disney/Pixar Animation’s catalog title Toy Story finished fifth with $500,000 in ticket sales — nearly 25 years after the animated classic was first released.

In a media interview, John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, warned that without an immediate fiscal lifeline from Congress, the exhibitor industry could face a wave of bankruptcies. The industry is pushing “Save Our Stages,” a bipartisan addendum to a larger stimulus bill languishing on Capitol Hill.

“Even though we’re allowed to open in 48 states, without a substantial slate of big movies, and with people still worried about the virus, our revenues have been decimated,” Fithian told Variety. “We’re losing money while operating. And we were shut down entirely for many, many months. It’s life or death for many, many, many theater companies.”