Movie Chains Open for Month, and the Report Card Is In

Americans are not returning in big numbers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 21, 2020 7:43 AM CDT
After One Month, Outlook for Movie Theaters Still Weak
Elizabeth Debicki, left, and John David Washington in a scene from 'Tenet.'   (Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)

About three quarters of the country’s movie theaters are open, but Americans are not going back in significant numbers in the COVID-era, even with new films coming into the marketplace weekly, per the AP. The biggest movies continue to limp along. According to studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros.’ Tenet earned $4.7 million in its third weekend from nearly 2,930 locations, Disney’s The New Mutants added $1.6 million in its fourth weekend, Unhinged brought in $1.3 million, and Sony’s rom-com, The Broken Hearts Gallery, picked up an additional $800,000 in its second frame. Newcomers aren’t faring any better. The faith-based Infidel, which stars Jim Caviezel, did the best with $1.5 million from just upward of 1,700 theaters.

“There’s no question that this is an extraordinarily challenging marketplace, especially for North America,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore’s senior media analyst. “It's going to take some time.” The biggest chains have been open for about a month after nearly six months of being closed. But since reopening, they haven’t gotten the infusion of business they were hoping for. Indoor theaters are still not open in two of the country's biggest markets, New York and Los Angeles. The North American earnings have not been promising for studios with theatrical releases on the horizon either. Christopher Nolan's Tenet has only earned $36.1 million from North American theaters. The performance has led some studios to push back releases even further and some wonder whether more will follow. The next major release is Disney and Marvel’s Black Widow on Nov. 6.

(Read more box office stories.)

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