In what can only be considered an upset, Space Jam: A New Legacy over-performed expectations and won the weekend box office title by grossing $31.7M. Black Widow stumbled badly in its second weekend, dropping a staggering 67% when compared with its opening weekend results. The first Friday vs. second Friday decline of 80% may be the largest drop in history for a major title. After setting pandemic records in its first week, the second weekend was expected to be another victory lap for the Scarlett Johansson vehicle.
No one saw this coming. The industry consensus was that Black Widow would easily win the weekend as the two films that opened – Space Jam: A New Legacy and Escape Room: Tournament of Champions – were only expected to have three-day grosses of $20M-$25M and $10M respectively. Even with a 60% drop for the weekend, Black Widow would have grossed $32M and still won the weekend. A strong first week for Black Widow followed by the huge drop in week two is a cause for concern. Per Rotten Tomatoes, both critics (80%) and audiences (92%) liked the picture. Could the fact that it streamed on Disney+ have taken some of the luster off the film in the public’s eye? Marvel titles have an unquestioned record of success and have been reliable event programming for movie theatres. The fact that the title was available to stream on day one might have made it seem not-so-special. The industry will be performing an autopsy on this one.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF JULY 15, 2021
Black Widow grossed over $100M last week, resulting in a weekly performance of 83% of the box office from the same week in 2019. This is by far the best comp for any week during the pandemic era. This helped the third quarter rise to 58% of the same two-week period of 2019. After 28 weeks, the year-to-date 2021 stands at 23% of the same period from 2019, a jump of 4% over the last two weeks. Perhaps the most important data comes from the run rate dial coming in at 44%. This four-week measurement shows marked improvement from the teens and twenties that were consistent earlier in the year. This trend line must continue to rise to hit 75% or more, the point at which exhibitors will be better able to operate profitably. The 29th week that began on Friday provides a very difficult comp when compared with the same week in 2019, when Lion King brought in $270M during its opening week from 7/19/19 through 7/25/19.
NORTH AMERICAN BOX OFFICE RESULTS 2021 VS. 2019
This week we have added three more dials to track the significant trends in our comparison of 2021 vs 2019 North American box office results. The newest dials show the third quarter after two weeks, year to date after 28 weeks and a run rate of the most recent four weeks.