With theaters already starting to close-up shop around the country — and others reducing capacity by half — and moviegoers already wary of heading to theaters where social distancing is difficult, the weekend box office fell to a 22-year-low, earning about $54 million. Depending on how low that number is officially, it’s either the worst weekend in 11 years or since the weekend after 9/11 or even worse, a September weekend in 1998 in which Matt Damon’s Rounders topped the box office with $8 million. It’s going to get a lot worse in the coming weeks, too, as theaters continue to shutter and studios postpone release dates. America will survive the Coronavirus, but the theater industry has a very bumpy road ahead of it.
In any respect, Pixar’s Onward did top the box office again, although it suffered a significant 73 percent drop in its second weekend. It earned $10.5 million to bring its total to $60.3 million, and while that is hugely disappointing, there’s no sense in trying to compare it the performance of other films, because nothing like this has ever happened to the film industry.
Interestingly, however, there was one film that seemed to do OK despite Coronavirus concerns, and that was the faith-based I Still Believe with Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, Melissa Roxburgh, and Gary Sinise, which earned $9.5 million. I Still Believe likely benefited from presales from church groups, and it also performed better in the Midwest and the South, where Coronavirus concerns may not yet be as high. It did receive an A Cinemascore — typical for Christian films — and a middling 40 percent from critics on Rotten Tomatoes but a 99 percent from audiences on RT.
Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot was probably hit the hardest by the. Coronavirus. It earned only $9.3 million, but the real hurt came overseas. Diesel is a big star in China and Europe, and Bloodshot won’t even get a chance there. It only earned. $13 million overseas. The $45 million film is going to be big loser for Sony, and it has little to do with the bad reviews (31 percent on RT) or middling Cinemascore (B).
Universal/Blumhouse’s Invisible Man is slowing down quicker than it should, earning $6 million to bring its total to $64 million. The film dropped 60 percent this weekend, but to the film’s credit, that was the small drop of the weekend. Another Universal/Blumhouse film, The Hunt came in fifth place with $5 million on a $14 million price tag. First, Donald Trump tried to kill the film, co-written by Damon Lindelof and directed by Craig Zobel, and then it was delayed because of a mass shooting, and when it’s finally released, The Hunt got clobbered by a pandemic. If Blumhouse were smart, he’d immediately make it available on streaming platforms, because while I wasn’t willing to brave the Coronavirus to see it in theaters, I’d definitely watch The Hunt at home.
The bottom five were all holdovers, none of which did much business because moviegoers who didn’t bother to see them on their opening weekend certainly weren’t going to make the effort to go out during a pandemic. Sonic the Hedgehog earned $2.7 million to bring its total to $145 million. Ben Affleck’s The Way Back fell a steep 69 percent, as even fewer people wanted to see it after the cancelation of the NBA season. It earned $2.5 million to bring its 10-day total to $13.6 million.
Harrison Ford’s Call Of The Wild earned $2.4 million to bring its total to $62 million. Emma has now earned $10 million after adding $1.39 million. Bad Boys for Life completes the top ten, earning $1.1 million to bring its total to $204 million.
There are no new wide releases next weekend hitting theaters. It’s uncertain if theaters will even be open, and it may be awhile before studios put another big movie into the marketplace. In fact, this may be the last regular box-office report for a while, if I have nothing to report in the coming weeks. Who knows, maybe the next time we file a box-office report, it will be about the top streaming movies of the week.