When the studio gets rich on a box office hit, exhibition shares in that and there was certainly a downpour of cash for the latter thanks to the $90M pandemic domestic opening record of Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and also the $119M launch of MGM/UAR/Universal’s No Time to Die.
The No. 1 circuit in the world, AMC Entertainment, announced this morning that they posted a new post-reopening record for weekend attendance as well as new post-opening records for ticket admission revenues and concessions thanks to both films.
Between Thursday Sept. 30 and Sunday Oct. 3, 2.4 million-plus people watched movies at U.S. AMC multiplexes while 1.4M took in movies at AMC overseas for a total of 3.9M WW, a new post-reopening attendance record for the circuit.
As we told you yesterday, No. 3 chain Cinemark saw its highest opening weekend as well during the Covid era, and its strongest ticket sales for its PLF XD auditoriums. For the Plano, TX exhibitor, it was their biggest October weekend overall, with Venom 2 being their biggest opener for the month.
Twenty-five percent of Venom 2‘s weekend gross was made by AMC, 17.7% came from Cinemark, while Regal theaters delivered 17%.
No Time to Die posted the highest Saturday ever for a James Bond movie in the UK for AMC. The Daniel Craig swan song as 007 opens Friday in the U.S. Venom 2 hits Europe this week on Oct. 15.
Meanwhile, Imax saw its biggest global box office weekend since December 2019 and shattered its best October weekend record of $30M from No to Time to Die, Venom 2 and a trio of local Chinese titles. Imax grossed $6.8M from 284 screens in 50 markets off No Time To Die, which was filmed with the large format exhibitor’s cameras. The pic scored several Imax records including Best Opening Weekend results for a Bond feature in 24 countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Spain, S. Africa, Ecuador, and Best Pandemic Era Opening Weekend in 21 countries, including UK, Hong Kong, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Argentina. Incredible per screens averages, with standout PSAs in UK ($47K from 50 screens!), Denmark ($119K), Norway ($106K), Sweden ($100K) and Hong Kong ($54K).
Venom 2 reaped $9.6M WW, with $8.6M of that coming from their stateside 402 screen count, repping the best domestic opening Imax weekend during the Covid era as well as the third best domestic October opening ever. Russian Imax screens yielded $1M from the Andy Serkis-directed sequel with pandemic era opening weekend records set in Russia, Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan.
Adam Aron, Chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment, said in a statement early this AM, “Yet again, AMC is celebrating an important milestone as we continue striving to generate a full recovery for our movie theatre business both at home and abroad. A new post-reopening global weekend attendance record of approximately 3.9 million moviegoers is important, as is the fact that this weekend’s success is due to two different blockbuster movies, each driving terrific business for AMC Entertainment on different continents. In the United States in particular, the movie-going response to Venom: Let There Be Carnage brought moviegoers to AMCs in droves, and on Saturday helped AMC to enjoy its best single-day revenue level since the pandemic forced us to close our U.S. theaters more than 18 months ago. On the other side of the Atlantic, James Bond is as effective and popular as ever, as No Time to Die set records of its own, driving huge business at our ODEON Cinemas.”
Aron added, “The success of these two new blockbuster movies, and of our theaters both at home and abroad, demonstrates the huge pent-up demand we see in moviegoers who are ever so eager to return to movie theaters. To the self-proclaimed sages who routinely and mindlessly predict the demise of cinemas, it is my view that it is simply wrong to underestimate the enormous consumer appeal and resilience of movie theaters.”
Among the top grossing theaters stateside for Venom 2 were the AMC Burbank ($239K), Santikos San Antonio ($169K), Regal Southgate in LA ($163K), AMC Universal Citywalk ($161K), AMC Ontario Mills ($159K), and Cinemark Tinseltown El Paso ($158K).
“This weekend was an unqualified success, proving what today’s box office is capable of — not just with select regions or releases, but with a diverse offering of great content across every key region,” said Megan Colligan, President of IMAX Entertainment. “The perception may be that these films are overperforming, but the reality is that many people are underestimating just how excited global consumers are to get back to the movies.”
In regards to Venom 2, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said Sunday, “This film really resonated with our moviegoers, delivering results that significantly outpace the industry performance and set multiple all-time Cinemark records, including largest-ever October box office weekend. This is another strong example that people want and need to get out of their homes for an immersive entertainment experience. Congratulations to our partners at Sony and all the talent involved on delivering such a fantastic film for our moviegoers to see exclusively in a movie theatre.”
In regards to Imax’s other weekend highlights: In China, new National Holiday titles The Battle of Lake Changjin (China Film Group), My Country, My Parents (Bona) and Water Boys (Enlight) grossed $13M altogether, the best ever National Holiday opening weekend for the large format exhibitor. Battle of Changjin repped the bulk of that tally and was also the third best Imax opening weekend of any local Chinse title behind The Wandering Earth and Detective Chinatown 3. Warner Bros./Legendary’s Dune made $500K in Imax raising its total to $10M. Next week, No Time to Die hits 510 additional Imax screens in 20 new markets, including North America, Russia and France.
At the time of this publications, those U.S. publicly trade exhibitor stocks seeing gains included Imax at $20.47 (+3.9%), Cinemark at $21.11 (+6%) and National Cinemedia Group with $3.82 (+4%). Meme stock AMC stood at $37.18, -3.3%.