MONDAY AM UPDATE: Below is the full chart for this past weekend, per industry estimates. While The Rental is slightly lower, it’s still a commendable showing by a new independent feature to best all these catalog titles that have been dominating the box office during the pandemic.
I hear that the theaters which are currently open coast to coast number closer to 1,500 (out of the nation’s 5k), but it’s hard for distribs to keep track of venues as they continually reopen and close due to local COVID-19 restrictions. Drive-ins, as we’ve been writing all along, remain the backbone and the pulse to moviegoing right now. The states which continue to remain challenged and unclear about when they’ll reopen are New York, California, New Jersey, Arizona (which pushed back reopening theaters another two weeks to mid-August before they reassess), Pennsylvania, and Maryland. AMC plans to reopen in mid-August where it’s feasible to do so, and I hear other big circuits are on their way.
Earlier today, NATO reported that 200K letters have been sent to Congress by moviegoers calling for more relief measures for cinemas as part of a #SaveYourCinema campaign launched in mid-July. The campaign urges Congress to enact the RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481), which will give cinemas access to partially forgivable seven-year loans covering six months of expenses. The Act is a lifeline for theaters that have been left behind by existing loan programs. The campaign also calls on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to implement more relief programs under the CARES Act to help movie theaters.
“The passionate response to this campaign has exceeded our expectations, and this week is especially crucial for moviegoers across the country to show support,” says Esther Baruh, Director of Government Relations for NATO in a statement. “Theaters are the beating hearts of the communities they serve. They drive local economies and boost neighborhood businesses. But without more help from Congress, we fear for the future of the industry.”
Below is the top 10 per industry estimates:
1..The Rental (IFC) 250 theaters, 3-day: $403,9K/lifetime cume: $403,9K/Wk 1
2…The Karate Kid (Sony) 367 theaters, 3-day: $225K, lifetime cume: $91.2M/wk. 1,884
3…The Goonies (WB) $176K (-13%), 126 theaters (-12), lifetime cume: $67.1M/wk 1,834
4…Jurassic Park(Uni) 243 (-3) theaters, 3-day: $173K (-8%),lifetime cume: $407.1M /wk no. 1,416
5…The Big Ugly (Vert) 68 theaters, 3-day: $150K/wk no. 1
6…Zootopia (Dis) 137 theaters, 3-day: $124K (-)/cume: $341.6M/Wk 230*
7…Avengers (Dis), 203 theaters, 3-day: $121K, lifetime cume: $623.6M/wk no. 430*
8….Greatest Showman (20th/Dis) 175 theaters, 3-day: $120K, lifetime cume: $174.5M/wk 136*
9…Gremlins (WB), 59 theaters (-5) 3-day: $119K (-22%), lifetime cume: $154.8M/wk no. 1,886
10….Back to the Future (Uni) 113 theaters (+5), 3-day: $115K (+14%), lifetime cume: $215M/wk. no. 1,830
*returned to the top 10
UPDATE SUNDAY AM, AFTER PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: IFC’s Dave Franco horror movie The Rental is clearing $420,871 for the weekend from 251 theaters. Per theater average is $1,677. The movie is a solid 72% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. What’s amazing here is that this is arguably the second time during the massive exhibition pandemic shutdown that a new release after Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, has topped the weekend box office. More impressive, it’s an indie movie.
Make no mistake, those movie theaters that are open and braving a marketplace of capped capacities are truly grateful for a new title like this.
“I have been truly fortunate to have a partner in IFC Films whose agility and creativity during this time has allowed us to have this incredible moment for our film,” said Franco in a statement. “As a first time filmmaker, I’m beyond grateful to the audiences who supported us this weekend.”
Deadline first reported IFC’s acquisition of U.S. rights on The Rental back in April. The movie was produced and financed by Black Bear Pictures.
Speaking about this weekend’s success with The Rental, IFC Films EVP of Film Acquisitions and Production Arianna Bocco said, “We acquired this movie when we already knew there was a shutdown, and when we pitched Dave (Franco), (producer) Teddy (Schwarzman) and everyone our plan, we weren’t going to let the virus control. We’re going to do the best that we can in a hybrid drive-in, PVOD model. We treated the film as we would with any other title, booking talent on Fallon and doing press. We had the first pop-up premiere in LA, and we thought outside the box. The one goal was to get as many people to see the movie and the result was best case scenario, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Bocco praised the drive-ins which have been driving business, venues which are new partnerships for IFC, working relationships the distributor looks forward to maintaining once studio movies come back online.
While drive-ins have been banking money on family catalog titles, horror pics like IFC Midnight’s The Rental, The Wretched and Relic “fulfills that drive-in tradition. It’s scary and it’s dark. People are looking for entertainment that’s escapism,” Bocco tells Deadline.
Updated flash grosses, not from IFC, show about $160K on Friday, and then around $95K last night. Catalog titles are filling spots 2, 3, 4 and 6 respectively with Columbia’s Karate Kid ($135K so far from industry estimates), Warner Bros.’ The Goonies (around $130K so far for weekend), Uni’s Jurassic Park ($129K) and Disney’s Zootopia (about $98K).
Landing in the No. 5 spot is Scott Wiper directed and written Vinnie Jones-Malcolm McDowell-Ron Perlman Vertical Entertainment action feature The Big Ugly. Pic actually played the states this past weekend with the distributor reporting a weekend of $150K at 68 sites.
EXCLUSIVE: According to box office figures we’ve gotten our hands on this morning, IFC’s Dave Franco-directed horror feature The Rental is leading at the weekend box office, having logged roughly an estimated $130K yesterday at 251 locations. The movie should rake in north of $400K for the 3-days. The Rental, Franco’s feature directorial debut, is also available in homes to rent this weekend.
A majority of that is from drive-in theaters, which continue to be the leading exhibitors at the weekend box office, despite the fact that they only make up about a third of the current number of theaters open (between 1,2K-1,5K).
These numbers do not come from IFC, which the distributor will make official tomorrow. Note, IFC has been one of a few indie distributors to publicly report their official weekend box office numbers throughout the exhibition pandemic shutdown, and they’re on their way to making over $3M from the mid-March to current July span, something to applaud in what is sadly a very distressed business right now.
IFC has figured out how to maneuver and make these indie movies work. The majors have stepped back from reporting any official numbers, even though they’re making some cash from catalog titles and certain theatrical-PVOD releases (like Trolls World Tour, Irresistible, etc).
Because IFC was the only distributor reporting figures, many media outlets assumed for a stretch that the distributor’s horror movie The Wretched was leading at the weekend box office for several weeks back in the spring, despite the fact that it was quietly Universal’s Trolls World Tour. Still, The Wretched, from IFC Midnight, racked up $1.7M, while the label’s other genre pic, Relic, has made $902K though Thursday.
Franco directed and produced The Rental, and he co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Swanberg. The pic was produced and financed by Black Bear Pictures. The movie stars Franco’s wife Alison Brie. Pic follows two couples who rent a vacation home for what should be a celebratory weekend get-away. Among one of The Rental‘s stunts, the movie had a pop-up drive-in screening in partnership with Arclight Cinemas on June 18 back in Hollywood.
Brie recently appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, sharing how Franco and she first met and fell in love. The two have been working on a romantic comedy screenplay during quarantine (watch her interview below).
No. 2 for the weekend, so far, is Columbia Pictures’ re-release of 1984’s The Karate Kid, which grossed around $70K last night at 293 locations. The pic’s re-release has clocked around $221K to date, and should bring in around $200K this weekend.
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