Audiences staying away from cinemas
Courtesy photo Andrea Riseborough stars in the upcoming sci-fi horror film Possessor, which opens on Oct. 2.
September 16, 2020
Two weekend ago, the U.S. Top 10 at the movies grossed just under $27 million. This past weekend’s Top 10 titles grossed just $12 million.
So no, Hollywood and movie theater companies, I don’t think people feel comfortable going back to the movies yet.
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the movie that was supposed to bring people back to the theaters, has grossed just $29 million in the U.S. over its first 10 days of release.
That’s about 12 percent of what the past five Nolan films have grossed over their first 10 days of release.
And the other new movies currently playing at theaters (The New Mutants, Unhinged, The Broken Hearts Gallery, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Words on Bathroom Walls, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, and The Personal History of David Copperfield) aren’t selling many tickets, either.
We’re just not there yet, Hollywood.
And so the theaters and studios panic. What should we do, guys? This doesn’t seem to be working but we’ve already spent a fortune on marketing and distribution. Do we hold off, do we scrap this one, do we jump to video on demand?
This past weekend, while entranced by live football, I saw a commercial that tried to convince viewers that “big movies are back at the theaters.” Big movies, it said. Like Tenet, it suggested. The commercial mentioned Tenet worldwide sales numbers (about $200 million), but not the dwindling U.S. sales for the film.
The release schedules have already changed. The tentpole movies are back on hold. In their places, we get a whole lot of smaller films, some reissues, documentaries and a small handful of broad (but probably bad) comedies.
September 18’s sole wide release is Infidel, while smaller flicks like Ravers, No Escape, Life Exposed, The Nest, and The Way I See It will see limited releases.
September 25 currently doesn’t have any wide releases planned, though we will see a decent-sized release for the much anticipated new Miranda July film, Kajillionaire. Also out that week in limited release: Greenland, The Artist’s Wife, Ava, Shortcut, Misbehavior, and LX 2048.
(Sidenote: Reading about all of the planned limited releases for these smaller films makes me happy. Hopefully this means that these filmmakers are making some money they wouldn’t otherwise make if the studio tentpole films were out there, same as always, sucking up all the oxygen.)
October 2 will see the limited release of four smaller films, including Save Yourselves!, La Belle Epoque, A Call to Spy, and Possessor. That last one is looking like a must-see, for sure.
And, finally, October 8 will see the wide release of three films, including The War with Grandpa, Aggie, and Honest Thief.
Something tells me these are all movies that will quickly move to VOD streaming services.
Of the films mentioned above, there are several I’ll personally look forward to streaming, including Kajillionaire, Possessor, The Artist’s Wife, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Sponge on the Run, and The Nest.
And, I suppose, Tenet.
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