Weekend Box Office (September 4 - 7, 2020)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Since the early days of the pandemic, with blockbuster after blockbuster being postponed, Christopher Nolan's new thriller Tenet was looked at by the industry as the must-see motion picture to be experienced in movie theaters, whenever they are safe to reopen. With nearly 70% of the North American marketplace now active and open for ticket sales, Warner Bros. was able to offer audiences here the much anticipated experience and the result was a total overall gross of $20.2M for the entire domestic run to date which includes 8 days of play in the US (3 of which were early access previews) and 12 days in Canada.

The studio did not breakout the weekend portion even though all other distributors with films out now are doing just that with their own box office reporting. Given how the Canada release started a week early, it can be estimated that the Friday-to-Sunday figure this weekend was in the mid teen millions. Playing now in 2,810 North American locations, the per-theater average for the weekend was likely near the $5,000 mark which is not too bad in a pandemic with auditorium capacity limits.

Of course, comparing box office figures between films from today and pre-pandemic times is basically pointless given the number of cinemas that are still closed now (such as in major markets NY and LA), capacity limits, and audience uncertainty over stepping back into indoor multiplexes. But comparing to films from recent weeks has some level of merit. The Friday-to-Sunday gross was likely double that of The New Mutants which bowed to $7M just a week ago from 2,412 playdates.

In a normal world, Tenet probably would have opened bigger than the director's 2010 smash Inception with its original July launch of $62.8M. But today's Covid world dashed those hopes months ago.

Overseas, Tenet enjoyed a good second weekend of release with a take of $57.8M from 44 markets led by a strong $29.8M debut in China. Holdover markets on average dropped 36% which was encouraging for long-term playability. Through Monday, the overseas total is $132.1M making the global gross $152.3M.

The super hero thriller New Mutants dropped sharply in its second weekend falling to $3.7M over the four-day holiday frame. With weak reviews and mixed word-of-mouth from fans, the 20th Century release has banked $12.5M to date and may be headed for a final of around $17M.

Russell Crowe followed with $2.2M for his road rage film Unhinged which has now collected $11.8M thus far for Solstice. Comedy sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music took in $879,450 in its sophomore frame upping the cume to $2.4M for United Artists. The Keanu Reeves pic has also been available at home on Premium VOD.

Kidpic The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run continued its Canada-only run and took advantage of their Labour Day holiday to grab $470,000 over the four-day session boosting the cume to $3.7M for Paramount. The Searchlight comedy The Personal History of David Copperfield delivered a four-day holiday gross that was slightly below its opening three-day weekend tally coming in at $425,342. The well-reviewed film has collected $1.1M so far.

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Title Sep 4 - 7 Aug 28 - 30 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
Tenet (8 days US, 12 days Canada) 2,810 1 $ 20,200,000 Warner Bros.
The New Mutants 3,700,695 7,037,017 -47.4 2,754 2 1,344 12,453,322 20th Century
Unhinged 2,200,000 2,600,000 -15.4 2,402 3 916 11,800,000 Solstice
Bill & Ted Face the Music 879,450 1,125,007 -21.8 953 2 923 2,373,914 United Artists
The SpongeBob Movie 2 (Canada Only) 470,000 424,544 10.7 304 4 1,546 3,668,000 Paramount
The Personal History of David Copperfield 425,342 475,800 -10.6 1,550 2 274 1,088,815 Searchlight
Words on Bathroom Walls 354,180 441,166 -19.7 1,168 3 303 1,613,718 Roadside Attr.

Last Updated: September 9, 2020 at 12:00PM ET

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