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Sometimes the weather sucks and instead of going to a movie you just want curl with Netflix, Hulu, or one of myriad other streaming services available to make going outside less and less appealing. This has been a thorn in the side of movie theaters and studios as their market share slips away, and it could be even more pronounced this weekend as Winter Storm Jonas could disrupt business in the Northeast for the new movies opening this weekend, like Dirty Grandpa, The 5th Wave, and The Boy. (There must a Game of Thrones/winter is coming joke in here somewhere.)
Jonas could wind up being one of the worst storms in recorded history, and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio issued a state of emergency as blizzard conditions are expected. Similar measures have been taken up and down the eastern seaboard, including in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland, where the storm will make landfall first. According to The Hollywood Reporter, at the moment no theaters have announced that they are going to remain closed this weekend, but with the potential for such terrible weather, if workers and moviegoers are unable to get to the metroplex, they will almost have to close.
This could have a significant impact on overall box office receipts for the weekend, as the trade reports that the region makes up approximately 20 percent of the domestic total, with New York accounting for 7 to 8 percent of that on its own.
Even before the storm, all three of the biggest new releases this weekend—the Robert De Niro/Zac Efron road trip comedy Dirty Grandpa, the young adult sci-fi invasion yarn The 5th Wave, and the doll-centric horror tale The Boy—were tracking around the $9 to $11 million mark, and unlikely to topple the reigning box office champ, Ride Along 2. With another slate of movies set to open next weekend, this could take a serious bite out of their overall earnings.
As THR notes, both The 5th Wave and The Boy have a slight advantage, as their target audiences are younger than Dirty Grandpa, and younger crowds are generally less impacted by inclement weather. Fronted by The Walking Dead star Lauren Cohan, The Boy has the chance to come out of Winter Storm Jonas the best, as it has a relatively modest budget of approximately $10 million. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, The 5th Wave cost a reported $38 million, and was already tracking the lowest of the three, despite being based on a popular series of young adult novels—it was also the only one that screened in advance for press, though the reviews have not been particularly kind.
It will be interesting to see how Winter Storm Jonas impacts this weekend’s box office numbers, and for all of you in areas where this will hit, stay safe.