As expected, the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the box office hard, as many are under self-quarantine in an effort to flatten the curve. Some patrons are braving the outbreak, but as seen in preliminary box office numbers, it seems that many theaters are closing or limiting numbers. Patrons are opting to stay home, which is a good sign to see that people are taking precautions. However, the box office is seeing very low numbers and the specialty space is particularly feeling the impact.
New films being released in theaters are underperforming, landing between a low of 20% to a high of 35% in terms of projected numbers. Holdovers are also seeing a drop — more than usual. We have seen a handful of theater closings in New York, Philadelphia, D.C., Boston, and Seattle, and this may or may not continue in the upcoming week.
'The Secrets We Keep', 'The Nest', 'The Way I See It' And 'Alone' Bring Life To Specialty Box Office
The award-winning Focus Features film Never Rarely Sometimes Always from Eliza Hittman debuted this weekend, grossing an estimated $18,000 in New York at the Angelika and Landmark 57th, and in Los Angeles at the Arclight Hollywood and Landmark. With a per-theater average of $4,601, this is a fairly soft opening for the critically acclaimed drama that sits at a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. The numbers may be low, but the silver lining is that the film claimed the number 1 spot in every theater with the exception of Arclight, and had a good showing at the Angelika, which featured a Q&A with Hittman. There is hope that this film will rebound when coronavirus concerns lighten up.
The Focus Features period piece Emma. continued to expand this weekend to over 1,700 theaters despite coronavirus concerns, and managed to earn over $1.3 million to hit an estimated cume of $10 million domestic in its fourth week out, bringing its worldwide gross $25 million. Overall, things look good for Autumn de Wilde’s take on the Jane Austen classic, as it maintains its spot at number 9 in the top 10 for the week. But there is a noticeable drop in its expansion. Emma grossed $5 million last week, with an average of $3,199, compared to this week’s per-theater average of $1,360. The trajectory of this pic was gaining momentum, but the outbreak more than likely presented speed bumps.
Meanwhile, Sally Potter’s The Roads Not Taken, starring Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning, earned a low $3,853 in three locations, with a per-theater average $1,284. Again, the hyper-realistic father-daughter drama could very well be another victim of the outbreak. A film like this from a critically acclaimed director and starring an Oscar-winner and a celebrated young actress is expected to perform better, and is catnip for arthouse audiences.
Of all the releases, Greenwich Entertainment could be the most vigilant distributor when it came to the release of Human Nature, which grossed an estimated $3,000 in its debut. They took major precautions with the release of their science documentary in the wake of COVID-19. The docu about the CRISPR genetic editing revolution opened in New York’s Village East and in Landmark’s Shattuck in Berkeley. Even so, Greenwich and producers remained hypervigilant as they limited attendance. Considering the country is in a pandemic and the film was made by scientists and science advocates, this was the obvious and responsible thing to do. Greenwich was expecting at least a $12-15K screen average for the opening. But with all the cancellations, Human Nature weekend earnings include some no-shows that didn’t seek refunds.
Greenwich canceled Q&As with filmmakers and scientists in both locations after they had made extensive outreach and group sales to universities, AP high school, and biotech firms. Opening night in Berkeley that featured a Q&A with Jennifer Doudna, the UC Berkeley biochemistry professor who is a leading figure in the CRISPR revolution, was canceled, and the sold-out Thursday pre-show in New York featuring executive producer Dan Rather was also nixed. Greenwich reports that they have refunded 80% of the tickets sold.
Greenwich also took a hit with The Booksellers, which is now in its second week. After its opening at New York’s Quad, it expanded to Landmark 57 West and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), but all Q&As were canceled. In addition, BAM was closed, which further affected its second week gross, which came in at an estimated $2,000.
The company is still set to open the French black comedy Deerskin by Quentin Dupieux and starring Jean Dujardin on Friday in New York.
The Stephon Marbury documentary A Kid From Coney Island expanded in New York and Los Angeles after last week’s sneak peeks to the tune of $4,500. Directed by Coodie and Chike Ozah, the film comes from 1091 and superproducers Forrest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi, and saw strong turnouts for one-night-only event screenings in select cities last week. The film about the NBA superstar turned Chinese basketball icon saw decent numbers in the Monica in Los Angeles and softer numbers elsewhere with its expansion, as it banked $14,190 in its cume.
Elsewhere, we saw various ramifications due to the coronavirus. The Aaron Fisher-directed romantic dramedy Inside The Rain opened in New York to $8,000. STX Films was supposed to open My Spy in US theaters this weekend, but was pushed to April 17. Elevation still released the film in Canada, where it earned an estimated $278,000.
A24’s First Cow expanded to 25 theaters to earn an estimated $56,396 after it opened to $96,059 on four screens, a career-high for director Kelly Reichardt. Other holdovers stumbled, including Sony Pictures Classics’ neo-noir thriller Burnt Orange Heresy, which earned $18,066 in its second week. The Roadside Attractions marriage drama Hope Gap, starring Annette Bening and Bill Nighy, expanded from 18 to 132 screens and earned an estimated $55,650. The weekend gross is up from its opening. However, its per-screen average dropped from $1,814 to $421.
Angrezi Medium (Pen India Limited, Jio Studios) – Week 1 [185 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $130,181, Average $704
Chal Mera Putt 2 (Rhythm Boyz Entertainment) – Week 1 [78 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $367,000, Average $4,700
Heart of Africa (Purdie Distribution) – Week 1 [20 Screens] Weekend/Cume $24,175, Average $1,209
Human Nature (Greenwich Entertainment) – Week 1 [2 Screens] Weekend/Cume $3,000, Average $1,500
Inside The Rain (Sky Island Films) – Week 1 [1 Theater] Weekend/Cume $8,000
A Kid From Coney Island (1091) – Week 1 [3 Theaters] Weekend $4,500, Average $1,500, Cume $14,190
My Spy (STX Films/Elevation) – Week 1 [251 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $278,000, Average $1,109
The Roads Not Taken (Bleecker Street) – Week 1 [3 Theateres] Weekend/Cume $3,853, Average $1,284
Baaghi 3 (FIP) – Week 2 [257 Theaters] Weekend $51,928, Average $202, Cume $719,000
The Booksellers (Greenwich Entertainment) – Week 2 [2 Theaters] Weekend $2,000, Average $1,000, Cume $24,617
Burnt Orange Heresy (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 2 [15 Screens] Weekend $18,066, Average $1,204, Cume $39,712
First Cow (A24) – Week 2 [25 Screens] Weekend $56,396, Average $2,256, Cume $157,000
Hope Gap (Roadside Attractions) – Week 2 [132 Screens] Weekend $55,650, Average $421, Cume $99,338
Burden (101 Studios) – Week 3 [109 Theaters] Weekend $46,536, Average $427, Cume $133,922
Emma. (Focus Features) – Week 4 [1,732 Theaters] Weekend $1,370,000, Average $1,360, Cume $10,000,000
Greed (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 3 [249 Screens] Weekend $27,432, Average $110, Cume $359,904
Impractical Jokers: The Movie (WarnerMedia) – Week 4 [910 Theaters] Weekend $411,000, Average $452, Cume $9,646,000
The Last Full Measure (Roadside Attractions) – Week 7 [36 Screens] Weekend $9,540, Average $265, Cume $2,951,440
The Lodge (Neon) – Week 5 [19 Screens] Weekend $6,300, Average $332, Cume $1,677,225
Parasite (Neon) – Week 23 [330 Screens] Weekend $220,000, Average $667, Cume $53,367,847
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Neon) – Week 6 [333 Screens] Weekend $178,420, Average $536, Cume $3,767,474
Wendy (Searchlight Pictures) – Week 3 [165 Theaters] Weekend $44,000, Average $267, Cume $142,367
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