‘Onward’ managed to stay on top of the box office charts, but as you already know, cinema attendance was very low overall for the weekend, as the COVID-19 coronavirus has crippled the entertainment industry. The Regal and AMC chains had instituted a policy of only selling 50% of the seats to any screenings to place distance between people to hopefully curb the spread of the virus. And in areas that have been hit the hardest, including Washington state, nearly all theaters are closed. Globally, theaters remain closed in China, Italy, and France.
The weekend box office topped out at approximately $58.5 million, a 22-year low. ‘Onward’ managed to take in $12.5M, fending off newcomers ‘I Still Believe’, ‘The Hunt’, and ‘Bloodshot‘. Even though they came in under non-virus expectations, the three newbies performed differently than expected. Faith-based romantic drama, ‘I Still Believe’ starring ‘Riverdale’s K.J. Apa bested the more action-based pictures, with $10.9M. As is typical with Christian-themed movies, the only ones going to see it are already poised to like it, thus its A CinemaScore.
‘Bloodshot’, starring Vin Diesel, based on the Valiant Comics character, pulled in $9.3M. Audiences gave it a not-terrible B CinemaScore, better than Diesel’s flop ‘The Last Witch Hunter‘, which got a B-.
But speaking of that, it’s been a pretty widely-held belief for some time that Diesel seems to only work in established ensemble franchises like ‘Fast & Furious’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘.
Along those lines, what’s really killing this picture is the loss of China and other Asian markets. Heck, foreign markets period. They eat up this kind of mindless CGI action. Diesel has already publically declared that this movie was being put out in the face of the coronavirus almost as an act of defiance. That’s all well and good, but this type of movie is so heavily reliant on the markets where theaters are shut down entirely. Maybe it’ll recoup some losses when those areas start to recover… whenever that happens.
‘The Hunt’ is a risky move, coronavirus or not. This politically-charged Red State vs. Blue State flick was already pulled from release last year after mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. And it won’t leg out, as the people that saw it didn’t like it. It only managed a C+ CinemaScore.
In fact, it was beaten by ‘The Invisible Man‘ (also from Universal and Blumhouse), which has already been out for three weeks. That movie made an additional $6.2M, while ‘The Hunt’ came in with $5.7M.
In the weeks to come, the multiplexes may remain quiet. ‘A Quiet Place – Part II‘ was supposed to open next week, but it, and a number of other films, have been postponed due to the coronavirus. It appears that theater owners are okay with the delays, as many people aren’t headed for the theater either way. They’re either locked away like hermits or buying the last roll of toilet paper or case of water at Walmart. Rather than have a would-be hit underperform, it is better to wait and put it out at a time when more people are willing (and able) to show up.
- Onward (Disney) – $12.5M
- I Still Believe (Lionsgate) – $10.9M
- Bloodshot (Sony) – $9.3M
- The Invisible Man (Universal/Blumhouse) – $6.2M
- The Hunt (Universal/Blumhouse) – $5.7M
Next week… nothing. There is nothing opening.
And after that? As the Magic 8-Ball says “Cannot predict now.” ‘Mulan’ was supposed to open on March 27, but it isn’t now.