It has been months since we’ve done a US box office report. And that’s because its been months since there has been a US box office. Well, a traditional one at least, as the COVID-19 lockdown closed cinemas and forced Hollywood to delay most new movie releases and debut a select few on VOD platforms. People still crave entertainment though – especially now – which is why drive-in theatres, those archaic throwbacks that most had forgotten about, suddenly started doing relatively good business again. Their business model of families watching movies from within their parked cars was perfect for a world of social distancing. The earning numbers were way, waaaaaay below what we would normally see on a weekend, but at least the industry was still ticking over.
The only thing was, what do you screen when all your movies are delayed? A look at Deadline’s top 10 box office report from this weekend past showed that of the 105 venues still operating in the US (102 of which are drive-in theatres), the top two earners on the charts were The Invisible Man ($383k) and Trolls World Tour ($275k). Those were two of the last released films in cinemas (and both made history when they were pushed to simultaneous VOD releases) which explains why they’re still around. But when you look further down the box office chart though, things get mighty interesting thanks to a handful of new releases. Well, “new”.
|No.||Movie Name||Weekend Total||Percentage Change||Theatrical Total||Weeks on Chart|
|1||The Invisible Man||$383 000||+37%||$67.8 million||16|
|2||Trolls World Tour||$275 700||-9%||$3.6 million||10|
|3||Back to the Future||$263 200||NE||$211.4 million||1|
|4||The Hunt||$227 800||+21%||$8.1 million||14|
|5||Jumanji: The Next Level||$212 700||+26%||$323 million||27|
|6||E.T.||$195 000||NE||$435.3 million||1|
|7||Becky||$187 600||-9%||$482 600||2|
|8||Infamous||$160 300||NE||$160 300||1|
|9||Jurassic Park||$158 700||NE||$403 million||1|
|10||The Goonies||$154 700||NE||$62.7 million||1|
Looking at that chart, I think I should let Robin Williams say it best:
Yes, Back to the Future, E.T., Jurassic Park, and The Goonies are all back in the charts despite most of them having been released over three decades ago. I mean, if you need to show some old movies because you don’t really have new ones, then you certainly could not pick better than these true classics. And what better retro way to experience them than at the drive-in? It’s absolutely perfect, and I have to admit I’m a little jealous right now.
I’ve always maintained that local cinemas here need to screen classic movies more during quiet periods. A few venues have held special screening evenings here and there featuring a classic like Beetlejuice or Gone With the Wind, and every single time I’ve attended one of these, they’ve been packed to the rafters. Maybe the recently announced Mother City Drive-In can follow suit and kick off their ventures with a couple of classic titles? I would definitely be down for that.
Back to the chart though, and there’s one other interesting fact about it. Out of the ten movies here, six of them – The Invisible Man, Trolls World Tour, Back to the Future, The Hunt, E.T., and Jurassic Park – were released by Universal Pictures. The same Universal Pictures who made the bold (some would say controversial) move of simultaneously releasing films in cinemas and on VOD where they also made money. With theatrical, drive-in and VOD revenues combined, The Invisible Man’s total earnings are standing just shy of $130 million of just a $7 million budget, making it currently the fifth highest-grossing film of 2020 and arguably its most profitable. While this lockdown has hit the entertainment industry hard, it’s clear that Universal Pictures has made all the right moves to ride it out.
Last Updated: June 18, 2020