October 4, 2020

With ‘Hocus Pocus’ Right Behind ‘Tenet,’ It’s Another Weird Box-Office Weekend

As Regal Theaters in the U.S. and U.K. parent Cineworld weigh closing their cinemas, this weekend’s box office offered little encouragement as this weekend’s top 10 came to about $8.2 million, and could be $10 million-$11 million for all films. That’s down from $9.6 million for last weekend’s top 10, which saw about $12 million overall. By comparison: This weekend in 2019, with the opening of “Joker,” brought in $150 million overall.



Warner Bros.

“Tenet,” by far the biggest contributor to domestic returns since it opened a month ago ,held well again, down 21 percent with $2.7 million. It has reached $45.1 million domestic so far, for $307 million worldwide.

The only country that is not reliant on “Tenet” is China, where local titles have driven the grossed to over $1 billion in the last six weeks. This weekend (a holiday there) showed two titles both gross over $150 million with “My People My Homeland” and the animated “Jiang Ziya.”

Stateside, anyone who might have bet that the 1993 title “Hocus Pocus” would be the #2 film this weekend film over of a 2020 weekend would be very wealthy. (Also in this weekend’s top 10: “Beetlejuice”and “The Empire Strikes Back.” Increasingly, the top 10 theatrical titles resemble a VOD chart. ).”Hocus Pocus” grossed $1,975,000 at 2,570 theaters; even though it ranks second, it still grossed only $749 per theater. This result is among the highest in recent reissues, but it was only a modest hit on initial release; nearly $2 million is a good result.

There are no new studio films of note opening until at the earliest November 13 (“Freaky” from Universal), and the grosses for “Tenet” (Warner Bros.) and other titles in play are inadequate to sustain the expense of keeping the days open.

Still, only four titles in the top 10 had a PTA of even $500, which represents about 60 people per film across a three-day run. Two films played in fewer than 400 theaters. The average cinema complex, which has at least six theaters, grossed less than $4,000 this weekend — and 50 percent of that goes back to distributors. That can’t possibly cover the expenses of beiong open, which is why Cineworld is considering closure. And with James Bond now in April, it’s nearly seven weeks before the next wide release with “Soul” on November 20 (presuming that date holds).

"The New Mutants"

“The New Mutants”


The absence of new films continues to boost the runs of “The New Mutants,” down 11 percent, and “Unhinged,” off 15 percent. Both are approaching $20 million, which is credible under the circumstances.

Brandon Cronenberg’s “Possessor Uncut,” a horror genre film not unlike his father David’s work, placed #9 as the leading new title this week. But that grossed only with $277,500 in 320 theaters.

These days call for improvising top 10 charts. Some companies hold back numbers, or report on Monday. Estimates might be less reliable. Our top 10 is based on our best estimates. Last weekend’s #3 film, BTS concert film “Break the Silence,” fell to #10 by our best guess. Based on numbers available to IndieWire, it grossed more than #11, “Shortcut,” an Italian-made horror film that reported $205,000 in 655 theaters.

Just below are two new titles. #12 is “Save Yourselves!” which, like “Possessor Uncut,” is a Sundance premiere; it took in $141,000 in 388 theaters. “The Call” with Halle Berry placed #13 with $140,000.

If Regal shuts down, and others follow, that would plunge the release schedule even deeper into the unknown.

The Top 10

1. Tenet (Warner Bros.) Week 6; Last weekend #1

$2,700,000 (-21%) in 2,722 theaters (-128); PTA (per theater average): $992; Cumulative: $45,100,000

2. Hocus Pocus (Disney) (reissue)

$1,925,000 in 2,570 theaters; PTA: $749; Cumulative: (adjusted) $90,500,000

3. The New Mutants (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #2

$1,000,000 (-15%) in 2,154 theaters (-151); PTA: $464; Cumulative: $21,000,000

4. Unhinged (Solstice) Week 8; Last weekend #4

$870,000 (-11%) in 2,023 theaters (-159); PTA: $430; Cumulative: $18,403,000

5. Infidel (Cloudburst) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$(est.) 420,000 (-45%) in 1,792 theaters (-93); PTA: $234; Cumulative: $(est.) 3,391,000

6. Beetlejuice (Warner Bros.) (reissue)

$(est.) 325,000 in 346 theaters; PTA: $939; Cumulative: (adjusted) $178,000,000

7. The Empire Strikes Back (Disney) (reissue) Last weekend #5

$335,000 in 1,655  theaters (-452); PTA: $201; Cumulative: (adjusted) $

8. The Broken Hearts Gallery (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #7

$275,000 (-45%) in 2,100 theaters (-41); PTA: $131; Cumulative: $3,733,000

9. Professor Uncut (Neon) NEW

$227,500 in 320 theaters; PTA: $711; Cumulative: $227,500

10. Break the Silence: The Movie (Trafalagar) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$(est.) 206,000 (-80%) in 491 theaters (-56); PTA: $420; Cumulative: $(est.) 1,400,000


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Source: IndieWire film