Several new movies opened March 13-15, 2020, and none of them did as well at the domestic box office as they probably would have in a reality without the coronavirus. But our current reality is dealing with COVID-19 -- with some theater closures and others operating at reduced capacity for social distancing, in addition to films moving release dates away from this spring. Every returning movie in the top 44 films at the box office this weekend felt a drop ... except for three.
Some drops were sharp and others were more gentle. But the overall takeaway was domestic box office revenue hitting a 20-year low. (Things are even worse overseas.) Still, three lucky films managed to come away from the wreckage with upticks in their box office from last weekend to today. Let's talk about the winners, the losers, and the ones somewhere in the middle.
The Three Winners
If you look at Box Office Mojo's domestic chart for this weekend, it's just covered in red losses. However, three green upticks stand out, although they may be for films you've never heard of and they show up pretty low on the chart. As you might expect, these three films did better than last week because they actually added screens this week.
The first one is at #23 on the chart, called Hope Gap, starring Annette Bening and Bill Nighy. It added 114 screens for a total this weekend of 132. It made $55,650, a healthy jump of +79.6%. Most of the films on the chart saw negatives in that range so, well done, Hope Gap.
You have to head down to #28 for the second one. It's Burden, a drama starring Garrett Hedlund and Forest Whitaker inspired by true events and set in the backdrop of the KKK. It added 78 screens to get to 109, still a limited release, and a box office weekend of $46,536. That was 13.9% better than last weekend, giving it one of the rare plus-signs.
The third one is down at #34, The Burnt Orange Heresy -- starring Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Mick Jagger, and Donald Sutherland -- which added 11 screens to be at 15 total, making $18,066 an uptick of +11.8%.
The Biggest Losers
The sharpest percentage drop of the week was felt by The Gentlemen, which lost 266 theaters to play on 226 screens. It made $11,000 this weekend, a drop of -97.1%. That's not the most money lost overall, but percentage from week-to-week, a nearly 100% drop is rough. There were several films in that range, including Baaghi 3 dropping -89.8%, Downhill at -84.4%, and The Lodge at -86.4%.
Closer to the top of the chart, Birds of Prey has already had a tough box office run, and this weekend it lost 1,159 more screens. It just missed the top 10, coming in at #11 with $555,000, a -74% drop. Impractical Jokers: The Movie is at #12 after a -77.2% drop from losing 895 screens.
The Middle Ground
There are plenty of other movies to fill the biggest loser section, but also films that dropped a little but not as much as they could have. Top of that list might be horror hit The Invisible Man. Sure, it dropped -60.3% but it helped that it added 26 screens this weekend to play on 3,636. That helped it make place #4 on the chart with $6 million and suffer less of a drop than almost any other movie. If you head down to #24, Spies In Disguise "only" dropped -58.9%. At #27, Extra Ordinary dropped -43.5%. And down at #39, The Last Full Measure only dropped -42.6%. Oh, and #30, Wendy, only dropped a tiny -6.3%, making it very close to one of the winners. It added 96 theaters but still had a slight drop. Still impressive, though.
The scary thing, other than the real-life virus, is that we don't know when this will end. Many movies have been delaying production for a couple of weeks, but studios admit they'll have to reassess at that point because we have no idea if things will be better, worse, or the same in two weeks. So I called this "dismal coronavirus weekend" but that could also be the case for next weekend and later. A Quiet Place 2 and Mulan are not coming this month, so the real quiet place is the box office.