Universal has the most high-grossing titles, but one catch: early PVOD. It's not enough to keep the theater running.
Even though COVID-19 infections seem to be reaching new heights every day, theater revenues have remained stable. The top 10 accounted for a little less than $ 11 million. With any other macrostatics, however, the results are not sustainable.
Of the current 3,000 complexes, roughly half with eight or more auditoriums, average weekend sales are $ 5,000 to $ 6,000. In normal times, the average would be $ 50,000. The total income is between 10 and 15 percent of normal. This weekend last year there was a top 10 of $ 90,000.
The disappointments this weekend start with "Freaky". I'm trying to predict what the Blumhouse Prods. Horror comedy would do was an imprecise science; In the past few weeks, $ 4 million has been the limit for a full release. The hope was that a mainstream entry like this one could see $ 6 million or better.
At $ 3.7 million, it wasn't. Is it the increased resistance to going out? Do you know it will be available on PVOD in three weeks? Horror movie burnout? Lack of interest?
Most likely a combination of all four – but the net impact makes it an argument that it is suicidal to get a movie out in theaters unless it is intended as a loss-leader strategy.
This could be the case with "Freaky" as well as two other Universal titles that have taken first place in the past two weeks: "Let Him Go" and "Come Play", both of which will soon also be PVOD. Those three titles made up about 60 percent of the total gross that weekend.
Amid the disappointing numbers, “The War with Grandpa” is a relative exception. It held on to third, with comedy falling just 12 percent and exceeding a total of $ 15 million. It has a chance of reaching $ 20 million, which is what three titles (led by Tenet) have achieved this year. The exposure of the theater will certainly help turn it into a profitable release in difficult circumstances.
In addition, there is currently no case of releasing films. Whether they are waiting for better times or looking for alternative platforms is catastrophic. The trade association NATO has made it clear that the theaters are on the verge of collapse and bankruptcy.
Another view of the insensitive market lies in several important special versions. This weekend was an attempt by Neon, Sony Pictures Classics and Netflix – all top providers of adult, award-winning films – to reach art house audiences and beyond. Despite generous coverage in the press, they met with almost complete disinterest.
According to exhibit and distribution sources, all three new art house releases – David Fincher's "Mank" (Netflix), "The Climb" (Sony Pictures Classics) and "Ammonite" (Neon) – did similar deals. These are not good news.
With 408 theaters and a total volume of 104,000 US dollars, "The Climb" was the widest of the three theaters. "Ammonite," starring Kate Winslet and Saorise Ronan, was 280, for $ 85,000, a slightly higher average per theater. As usual, Netflix did not report any income and blocked the publication of individual theater results. It played about 75 theaters, about half in Canada, but none in New York or Los Angeles (the closest being Hoboken and Orange Counties, respectively). All were in the range of $ 300 per theater or less for the entire weekend.
Above-average releases published nationwide in the first week have diluted the totals. Under normal circumstances, they would likely have opened in four theaters in the two key markets with an average of over $ 30,000 per theater.
In the case of "Ammonite" there is logic for a loss leader strategy with the PVOD release on December 4th (the same day that "Mank" appears on Netflix). "The Climb" has not announced any such plans, but the precedent is three weeks, the window now accepted.
Here's what makes these results even more worrying: The Prestige title debuts have been surpassed by genre releases, some of which are weeks old. The faith-based sequel "True to the Game 2" (Faith Media) grossed $ 289,000 in 281 theaters. "The Late Shift" (Sony) was expanded to 135 locations for around 150,000 US dollars. The children's fantasy "Come Away" (Theory of Relativity) managed $ 475 with $ 108,000. "Fat Man" (Saban) starring Mel Gibson, which went on VoD this Tuesday, fetched $ 259 for $ 108,000.
"Mank", "The Climb" and "Ammonite" are canaries in the coal mine for short-term award winners. Either way, attention will be paid and others may reconsider the best way to get their top titles published. Those studios sticking to their release dates may see theaters as a promotional tool for PVOD and streaming availability in the near future. Even if the films cater to starving theaters, this approach does nothing to their long-term viability.
The top ten
1. Freaky (Universal) NEW
$ 3,700,000 in 2,472 theaters; PTA: $; Accumulated: $ 3,700,000
2. Let him go (Focus) week 2; Last weekend # 1
1,800,000 USD (-55%) in 2,458 theaters (+4); PTA: $ 732; Accumulated: $ 7,000,000
3. The war with grandpa (101) week 6; Last weekend # 3
$ 1,326,000 (-12%) in 2,145 theaters (-203); PTA: USD 618; Accumulated: $ 15,229,000
4. Come on, play (Focus) week 3; Last weekend # 2
$ 1,100,000 (-39%) in 1,966 theaters (-217); PTA: USD 560; Accumulated: $ 9,290,000
5. Honest thief (Open Road) Week 6; Last weekend # 4
$ 800,000 (30%) in 1,843 theaters ($ 374); PTA: $ 434; Accumulated: $ 12,382,000
6. Teaching (Warner Bros.) week; Last weekend # 5 1412
$ 735,000 (-21%) in 1,223 theaters (-189 USD); PTA: USD 601; Accumulated: $ 56,300,000
7. Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney) REISSUE
$ 406,000 in 1,560 theaters; PTA: USD 260; Cumulative: $ (adj.) 363,400,000
8. Faithful to the game 2 (Faith Media) Week 2; Last weekend # 8
USD 287,819 (+ 4%) in 281 theaters (+37); PTA: $ 1,024; Accumulated: $ 610,710
9. Toy Story (Disney) REISSUE; Last weekend # 7
$ 222,000 (-58%) in 1,360 theaters (-642); PTA: $ 163; Cumulative: $ (adj.) 223,900,000
10. Eleven (Warner Bros.) REISSUE
$ 270,000 (-%) in 212 theaters; PTA: $ 1,274; Accumulated: $ (adj.) 255,300,000
Register: Stay up to date with the latest movie and TV news! Register here for our email newsletter.