The first full weekend of the New Year… 2021 had a rare 53rd film week that began on 12/31… started off VERY SLOWLY with only $65M in total box office for North America, which represented only 47% of the amount earned during the Week 1 of 2019. SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME topped all films for the fourth consecutive weekend by taking in $33M and dropping only 41%. SING 2 continued in second place by grossing $12M, also with a drop of 41%.
As we have highlighted over the last few weeks, there is no depth in the marketplace beyond these two titles. The only picture opening wide on 1/7 was THE 355, and it was only able to generate $4.8M for a rather meager third-place finish. In 2019, the period following Christmas got help with a $24M opening weekend for ESCAPE ROOM on 1/3/19.
To put that into perspective, the sum total of the rest of the top 10 films after SPIDER-MAN, SING 2, and THE 355 only grossed $12M. After 2021 finished the year with a very solid 86% comp to 2019 for its final two weeks, 2022 has kicked off with a disappointing 47% compared with 2019. We’ve now come to expect this week-to-week roller coaster as the new normal for the Exhibition.
Next weekend brings a glimmer of hope when Paramount debuts its 2022 take on the classic horror slasher pic SCREAM, some twenty-five years after the original. Other than the thin slate of studio releases that moviegoers actually want to see, the other dark cloud hanging over the exhibition is the reboot of COVID, now in its fifth wave.
As Omicron continues to spread, the threat that government health authorities will order another round of closures hangs over the industry. After renewed theatre closures ordered over the last two weeks in Quebec and Ontario, the two most populous Canadian provinces, will the state in the U.S. be able to resist the temptation to close theatres once again out of an “abundance of caution?”