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Superhero genre pic The New Mutants opened to $7 million from 2,412 theaters in North America as struggling cinemas reopen amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
From 20th Century and Disney, the long-delayed horror movie is one of the first titles to launch nationwide after a five-month theater shutdown across the U.S. The film came in on the lower end of expectations, although projections are tough in this climate. Analysts had put the domestic film’s debut at $7 million to $10 million (poor reviews certainly didn’t help).
About 62 percent of the U.S. marketplace is now reopen.
“It is very early and we are encouraged by this start,” says Disney film distribution chief Cathleen Taff. “We are optimistic about a return to the movies.”
North America includes Canada, where New Mutants had to compete with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Canada among the 41 international markets where Tenet launched this weekend with a rousing $53 million-plus for Warner Bros.
The U.S. box office is still facing significant challenge due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Hurricane Laura was also a concern in parts of the south.
Solstice Studios’ Russell Crowe road-rage thriller Unhinged, which debuted over the Aug. 21-23 frame to a solid $4 million, placed second in its sophomore session with an estimated $2.6 million for a domestic total of rouhgly $8.8 million. It expanded its theater count by more than 500 to 2,331 locations.
New offering Orion Pictures’ Bill & Ted Face the Music did a healthy $1.06 million from 1,007 theaters despite the fact that it debuted simultaneously on premium VOD.
Both films did robust business in drive-ins.
Searchlight’s adult-skewing The Personal History of David Copperfield, opening in 1,360 locations, grossed an estimated $520,000. The well-reviewed specialty film stars Dev Patel and made its premiere at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival.
Where allowed, cinemas across the U.S began opening in earnest last weekend; as of Friday, roughly 2,800 out of 5,500 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 3,000.
Cinemas in New York and California remained off-limits this weekend. Some will be allowed to reopen in parts of California this week, including in San Francisco and San Diego.) New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, New Mexico and parts of Arizona also remain dark.
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.
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