‘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 to $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 & 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 & 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.”

Domestic Weekend Box Office Revenue Drops 19%

U.S. movie theaters continue their sputtering existence, with consumers spending just $8.9 million at the box office the weekend ended Nov. 1. That was down 19.1% from $11 million in ticket sales the previous weekend. The top draw was Come Play, the horror drama from Universal Pictures’ Focus Features, which generated $3.1 million from more than 2,100 screens nationwide in its debut.

The runner-up was Honest Thief, the Liam Neeson actioner from Open Road Film, which generated $1.35 million from more than 2,300 screens — down 42.7% from the previous weekend. The film has collected more than $17 million at the global box office, including $9.5 million in the U.S.

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That tally surpassed The War With Grandpa, which generated $1 million at the box office, down 43.5% from the previous weekend, to finish third for the weekend. The Robert De Niro comedy has sold $16.8 million in tickets worldwide.

Finally, the Warner Bros. espionage thriller Tenet took in another $885,000 (down 31.9%) to bring its domestic gross past $53 million. So far the film has generated $347 million in ticket sales worldwide.

Rounding out the Top 10: The Empty Man ($561,000); re-release Hocus Pocus ($456,000); The Nightmare Before Christmas ($386,000); Monsters, Inc. ($232,000); Spell ($210,000), and The New Mutants ($145,000).

‘The War With Grandpa’ Supplants ‘Tenet’ Atop Stagnant Domestic Weekend Box Office

The Robert De Niro comedy The War With Grandpa from 201 Studios wrested the top spot from Warner Bros.’ Tenet at the domestic weekend box office with a projected $3.6 million in ticket sales in its theatrical debut, according to industry reports. Tenet generated $2.1 million in its seventh week of release. The Christopher Nolan espionage thriller has generated $48.3 million in the United States and $323.3 million globally.

Despite 86% of U.S. screens operating, albeit under strict social distancing and public health safeguards, the exhibition business continues to be devastated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, wary consumers and theaters closures in major markets such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Just seven Regal Cinemas locations remained open after the No. 2 exhibitor re-shuttered all North American operations indefinitely Oct. 8, citing a lack of major studio new releases.

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Without a COVID-19 vaccine and major blockbuster titles, moviegoers in the U.S. seem cautious about returning to the cineplex.

“People aren’t dying to see movies,” Michael Pachter, media analyst at Wedbush Securities, said in an email.

Warner’s ‘Tenet’ Leads Slumping Weekend Domestic Box Office With $3.4 Million in Ticket Sales

The U.S. box office continues to suffer under constrained openings due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Despite the release of three significant studio titles, exhibitor revenue remains down 75% from the previous-year period.

Warner Bros.’ Tenet, the international espionage thriller from Christopher Nolan, remained the top draw, generating $3.4 million in revenue from 2,800 screens through Sept. 26, or $41.2 million since it debuted in the U.S. four weeks ago. That was down 26% from $4.59 million generated during the previous-weekend three-day period, according to industry numbers.

The movie has generated $283.2 million worldwide — leading some observers to wonder when Warner would release the movie on HBO Max or a third-party platform via PVOD or transactional VOD. The movie has generated 85% of its box office abroad.

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Notably, the top domestic screens for Tenet included largely drive-ins and Imax theaters such as Paramount Drive-In in Los Angeles; Capitol 6 Drive-In and Solano Twin Drive-In in San Francisco; Regal Irvine Spectrum Imax and AMC Block Orange with Imax (Orange County, Calif.); Cinemark Redwood 20 in San Francisco; Alamo Drafthouse in Ashburn, Va.; Cinemark Huntington Beach (Calif.) Bella Terra; and Sacramento (Calif.) Drive-In.

Meanwhile, Disney/20th Century’s The New Mutants finished second with exhibitors, generating $1.1 million in ticket sales, which was down 31% from $1.59 million during the previous weekend period. The movie has tallied $19.4 million over the the past five weeks.

Disney’s live-action Mulan, which has only been released in theaters outside the U.S., and on Premier Access via Disney+ domestically, generated $3.4 million, or $64 million globally since its Sept. 4 debut. Disney has not disclosed the movie’s PVOD revenue numbers.

Exhibitor Stocks Tumble Following Lackluster Box Office Weekend

Top domestic movie theaters closed down Sept. 21 at the end of Wall Street trading following a disappointing weekend box office. Shares of AMC Entertainment, Cineworld (which owns Regal Cinemas) and Cinemark fell 6%, 7.8% and 3.7%, respectively. Imax dipped 4.8%, while National CineMedia dropped 15.1%, and Marcus and Reading International each fell 5.1%. Studio parents AT&T (which owns Warner Bros.) and The Walt Disney Co. closed down 1% and 2.5%, respectively.

The culprit: Warner’s Tenet, which continues to underwhelm in the U.S., while thriving internationally. The Christopher Nolan-directed thriller was supposed to jumpstart domestic screens, and instead saw ticket sales plummet 30% to $4.7 million following the previous weekend’s $6.7 million. The movie has generated $36.1 million over three weekends, compared with $203 million internationally.

Meanwhile, Disney’s The New Mutants sold $1.6 million in tickets at 2,518 theaters through Sept. 20 to bring its total box office to $17.7 million in the U.S., $35 million worldwide.

With the coronavirus pandemic still a major concern for indoor venues such as movie theaters, exhibitors are finding consumers unwilling to take the risk.

New data from Morning Consult found just 18% of 2,200 responses from a survey conducted Sept. 10-13 felt comfortable going to a movie theater.

“It seems that people want to see changes in the news with cases and policies,” Alyssa Meyers, brand and marketing reporter at Morning Consult, said in a statement. “It’s not enough for places to just be reopening.”

Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter remains bearish on the movie theater business, arguing exhibitors’ aggressive plans to re-open screens during a lull in the coronavirus pandemic is wishful thinking.

“People may be eager to visit the theaters once they feel safe doing so, but we think it is unlikely crowds will return to any semblance of normal before a vaccine is widely distributed, particularly in urban and suburban markets,” Pachter wrote in a recent note.