Seemingly every aspect of American life has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the weekend ritual of watching a movie in the dark with strangers has been no exception. Most U.S. cinemas remain open, with the two biggest chains, AMC and Regal, reducing seating capacity in auditoriums by 50% so that people could leave at least one empty seat between them.
But fears about the coronavirus kept the masses at home: Domestic ticket sales totaled about $55.3 million, a 44% drop from last weekend despite three new films — "Bloodshot," "The Hunt" and "I Still Believe" — arriving in wide release.
It was the worst period for movie theaters in two decades, according to comScore, which compiles box office data. The next lowest weekend was Sept. 15-17, 2000.
Hollywood may have just had its worst weekend since ticketing data started to be independently compiled in the 1980s.
The No. 1 movie was a holdover: "Onward," the Disney-Pixar fantasy about two elf brothers who have an accident with magic, collected an estimated $10.5 million at 4,310 theaters in the United States and Canada — a 73% drop from its first weekend.
Overseas, where theaters have been closed in some countries in Europe and Asia, "Onward" took in $6.8 million. The animated film's global total now stands at $101.7 million, Disney said.
In a surprise — at least for Hollywood — an under-the-radar new release rooted in religion, "I Still Believe," sold the most tickets of the newcomers. It collected about $9.5 million from 3,250 theaters. "I Still Believe" (Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Co.) cost less than $10 million to make. The film stars KJ Apa ("Riverdale") and Britt Robertson ("Under the Dome") and is based on the true story of Christian singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa Henning-Camp, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer while on their honeymoon.
NEW YORK TIMES