EXCLUSIVE: In a weekend where Warner Bros.’ Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was expected to reopen the major circuits, Disney’s reissue of 2017’s Beauty and the Beast led all titles with an estimated $467K at 527 locations. Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man was second with $430K at 462 sites. Beauty and the Beast, produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman and directed by Bill Condon, ranked No. 1 in its first weekends of the box office, opening to $174.7M on March 17, 2017. The movie continues to hold the March record for the best domestic opening ever; its running lifetime cume now at an estimated $504.5M.
What’s occurring recently in regard to reissues is that studios like Universal, Warner Bros, and Sony are keeping their catalog titles weekly in the marketplace whereas Disney seems to be releasing certain titles widely for a given weekend, i.e. last weekend’s champ Empire Strikes Back made just under $1K this past weekend, ditto for last weekend’s No. 2 Black Panther.
Eighteen weekends since AMC, Regal, and Cinemark closed, it’s the same old story week in and week out: Drive-ins ruled and are accountable for the bulk of the grosses you see below. IFC gets a thumbs up for making their fresh genre product work on the circuit, The Wretched now at $1.7M and the Relic soon approaching $1M. Per a Comscore report, the leading drive-ins over the weekend were the Fort Wyoming in Dearborn, MI; Cine-Drive in Saint Eustache, Quebec; the Mission Tiki 4 in Montclair, CA; the Van Buren 3 in Riverside, CA; and the Starlight 4 in Atlanta, GA.
Even distributors are getting into the drive-in fever when it comes to premiering, and previewing their product. A few weeks ago, IFC’s Dave Franco directed horror pic The Rental got a pop-up drive-in screening in partnership with Arclight Cinemas on June 18. This past weekend Bob and Jeanne Berney’s Picturehouse began previews for their upcoming new feature Fatima from director Marco Pontecorvo at the Palladium in Hollywood last night. There’s also another drive-in of the faith-based movie on Tuesday night in Santa Susana, CA.
I’m told that between 1,2K and 1,5K movie theaters were open this past weekend out of the nation’s 5K supply. And the states with the most theaters open, aren’t necessarily the ones you typically hear of when assessing a pic’s performance at the box office (i.e. NY, California, Boston, Chicago). Juxtaposing those states with the most theaters open, and their COVID-19 cases and deaths, here’s what such stats look like as of tonight: Texas (100 theaters open, 341K total cases, 4k total deaths), Ohio (70 theaters, 76K cases, 3,1K deaths), Minnesota (60 theaters open, 47K cases, 1,6k deaths), Pennsylvania (60 theaters open, 101,7K cases, 7k deaths), Iowa (50 theaters, 39,2K cases, 797 deaths) and Kansas (47 theaters, 22,6K cases, 310 deaths). Compare this to California, which has zero hard-tops open, just Drive-ins at close to 395K cases and 7,7K deaths and New York which has largely drive-ins open as well, and 407,3K cases, and 32,5K deaths to date. Despite New York moving to phase 4, movie theaters remain closed.
The top three major circuits have yet to announce what their new reopening plans are in the wake of Warner Bros.’ taking Tenet temporarily off the release schedule this morning. We’ll know soon in the next few days how they’ll pivot. From what I understand, Warner Bros., and other studios, have come to realize that there won’t be an ideal time when all multiplexes coast-to-coast will be open. The circuits will reopen in those areas of the country where it’s safe to do so, and Warners will release Tenet accordingly, enabling viewers to discover the movie on their time; the plan being a long theatrical tail (even if NYC and LA aren’t open). It’s a nostalgic and retro approach, reminiscent to how movies rolled out during the 1970s and even early 1980s, and it will be interesting to see how the millennials, who’ve gotten their movie quick fix from streaming, respond.
The top 10 pics per industry estimates for the weekend of July 17-19:
1..Beauty and the Beast (Dis) 527 theaters, 3-day: $467K/lifetime cume: $504.5M/Wk no. 1 of re-release
2…Iron Man (Dis) 462 theaters, 3-day: $430K, lifetime cume: $319M/wk. 1 of rerelease
3…Bohemian Rhapsody (20th) $240K, 376 theaters, lifetime cume: $216.7M/wk no. 1 of re-release
4. ..Jurassic Park (Uni) 246 (+19) theaters, 3-day: $210K (-6%),lifetime cume: $406.8M /wk no. 1,415
5…Goonies (WB) 138 theaters (+4), 3-day: $202K (-5%), lifetime cume: $66.8M/wk no. 1,833
6…Relic (IFC) 133 theaters (+7), 3-day: $177,5K (-25%)/cume: $825,6K/Wk 3
7…Gremlins (WB), 64 theaters (+5) 3-day: $155K (+11%), lifetime cume: $154.1M/wk no. 1,885
8….Ghostbusters (Sony) 175 theaters (-98) 3-day: $105K (-14%), lifetime cume: $243.5M/wk 1,885 (or week 3 of rerelease)
9..Most Wanted (Eone/Saban) 80 (+8) theaters 3-day: $103K (-25%)/Cume $317,6K/Wk 2
10….Jaws (Uni) 179 theaters (0), 3-day: $102K (-27%), lifetime cume: $265.2M/wk. no. 2,353