Superhero genre pic The New Mutants earned $3.1 million from 2,412 theaters at the Friday box office for a promising $8 million-plus weekend as moviegoing resumes in North America. That’s by far the biggest gross in the U.S. since the novel coronavirus began.
From 20th Century and Disney, the long-delayed movie is one of the first titles to launch nationwide after a five-month theater shutdown across the U.S.
Because of significant challenges facing the marketplace due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — Hurricane Laura is also a concern — Disney isn’t giving an official opening weekend forecast. Based on Friday’s gross, the film is now expected to deliver a solid weekend opening of around $8 million.
A handful of other titles also debut this weekend, including Searchlight’s The Personal History of David Copperfield, Orion Pictures’ Bill & Ted Face the Music and Picturehouse’s faith-based Fatima (the latter two are launching simultaneously on premium VOD).
Bill & Ted, playing in 1,007 theaters, grossed $400,ooo on Friday for a projected $1.07 million, a strong showing for a dual PVOD title.
David Copperfield, starring Dev Patel, grossed $171,000 on Friday from 1,360 theaters, for a projected $475,000 opening.
Heading into its second weekend is Solstice Studios’ Russell Crowe road-rage thriller Unhinged, which debuted over the Aug. 21-23 frame to a solid $4 million. Unhinged marked the first wide release to hit the big screen since the pandemic struck. It looks to earn roughly $2.2 million in its second weekend after upping its theater count by more than 600 locations.
Where allowed, cinemas across the U.S began opening in earnest last weekend; as of Friday, roughly 2,800 out of 5,5oo in-door locations were once again welcoming customers. By Sept. 3 — when day Christopher Nolan’s Tenet rolls out — that number is expected to be well north of 3,o00.
Cinemas in New York and California remain off limits for the time being, however. Ditto for New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, New Mexico and parts of Arizona.
Those theaters that have flipped on the lights are operating at reduced capacity in order to promote social distancing, and are implementing a host of safety protocols, including requiring patrons and employees to wear face masks.
Roughly 40 percent of moviegoers feel comfortable returning to cinemas, according to a new poll cited by Disney.