Weekend Box Office (August 28 - 30, 2020)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The North American box office finally returned to some small level of normalcy after five months of most theaters being closed with the first movie generating opening weekend numbers that resemble what some past number one films have done. The Marvel Entertainment production The New Mutants debuted on top with an estimated $7M delivering the biggest gross of any film since the weekend of March 13 - 15 which was the last fully operational frame for the industry. Also entering the marketplace this weekend were the new comedies Bill & Ted Face the Music and The Personal History of David Copperfield.

Because of our new social distancing norms, theaters are enforcing seating capacity limits for all shows so grosses and averages for all films will be a fraction of what they might normally be. Plus many moviegoers are just not comfortable yet with engaging in indoor activities with strangers, especially in regions with higher current infection rates. Major states like New York, California, and New Jersey are still closed but reopenings may happen soon, as with parts of California in the coming week.

Boldly launching nationwide and kickstarting the box office in the biggest way yet, New Mutants averaged $2,902 from 2,412 locations marking the widest release of any film since March. The 20th Century thriller is connected to the X-Men franchise but has also been delayed many times. The daily flow on opening weekend was $3.1M for Friday (including $750k in Thursday pre-shows), followed by a 21% drop on Saturday to $2.45M and then an estimated 41% decline Sunday to $1.45M. With millions of people stuck in their homes for months, the appeal of outdoor activities on the weekend is still strong. April 3 was the fright pic's most recent release date.

Studio research showed that the audience for the PG-13 film was 66% male while the 18-34 age group led the way at 61%. Young adults have often led the way in social activities in recent months and they are also expected to be a major factor at the box office too. Reviews were mostly negative for Mutants and word of mouth has been mixed. An additional $2.9M this weekend from 10 international markets puts the global take for this weekend at $9.9M. Not bad given all the challenges. 20 new markets open next weekend including Italy, UK, Russia, Australia and Mexico.

Taking second place was the Russell Crowe road rage thriller Unhinged with an estimated $2.6M dropping 35% from last weekend. The Solstice Studios release is now in its third weekend of play in Canada and second weekend in U.S. theaters. Cume to date for the violent R-rated pic is $8.8M.

The comedy sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music opened in both theaters plus premium VOD platforms this weekend allowing all fans to choose the method they are most comfortable with. On the theatrical side, the PG-13 film grossed an estimated $1.06M from 1,007 locations for a $1,053 average. Major theater chains do not play day-and-date releases which are also available in the home so the box office footprint was more limited than it would have been if it were a theatrical-only title. BT3 was originally set by United Artists for an August 21 release pre-pandemic so the delay was only one week as opposed to the months seen by most films.

Searchlight released the critically-acclaimed comedy The Personal History of David Copperfield and grossed an estimated $520,000 from 1,360 locations for a $382 average. The PG-rated film headlined by Dev Patel was previously set for release on May 8 before the pandemic postponed dozens of films. An additional 75-100 theaters will be added next weekend for the Labor Day holiday frame.

Paramount has The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run playing in Canada only at 314 locations. Its third weekend saw an estimated $400,000, off just 32%, for a $2.9M cume and $1,274 average. In the U.S. it will release digitally next year.

Next weekend is sure to be more active with this Thursday's long-awaited release of Christopher Nolan's Tenet which has been the most anticipated movie of the summer and finally releases after multiple postponements from its original July 17 date. Warner Bros. hopes to both capture a sizable audience for its own film, but also help get overall moviegoing jumpstarted as more people learn that multiplexes have started to open up again.

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Title Aug 28 - 30 Aug 21 - 23 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
The New Mutants $ 7,037,017 2,412 1 $ 2,918 $ 7,037,017 20th Century
Unhinged 2,600,000 4,000,000 -35.0 2,331 2 1,115 8,800,000 Solstice
Bill & Ted Face the Music 1,125,007 1,007 1 1,117 1,125,007 United Artists
The Personal History of David Copperfield 475,800 1,360 1 350 475,800 Searchlight
Words on Bathroom Walls 441,166 432,968 1.9 1,395 2 316 1,071,411 Roadside Attr.
The SpongeBob Movie 2 (Canada Only) 424,544 585,385 -27.5 314 3 1,352 2,969,145 Paramount

Last Updated: August 28, 2020 at 12:35PM ET

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