Weekend Wrap Up - a look at this week’s Industry Updates

April 19, 2021

There were no new wide-releases this weekend because Warner Bros. previously delayed Mortal Kombat to give Godzilla vs Kong more leg room. For the third weekend in a row the big monster showdown takes the first spot at the box office with ~ $8M, now reaching an $81M total. The film will continue to be offered on HBO Max for another two weeks, but the 56% hold over last weekend’s box-office suggests that moviegoers prefer the big screen. Holdovers for the rest of the top five were also exceptional: Nobody’s second weekend (95% hold), The Unholy’s third (86%), Raya and The Last Dragon’s seventh (86%), and Tom & Jerry’s eighth (90%). As a reminder, pre-pandemic holdovers would average 40-50% (depending on the scale of the film).


Moviegoers will flock to the big screen for a turn-your-brain-off action film – whether it is a big monke punching a big lizard, or fast cars with flashy explosions. Looking at the box-office success this genre is practically guaranteed to bring, why not have both? Yes – Hollywood would certainly entertain a Fast and Furious x Jurassic World to rake in millions on the big screen. But before they mash Hot Wheels with dinosaurs, Universal dropped the new trailer to remind everyone that F9will be back (with magnets this time) and only in theaters June 25.


Notably, F9 will be released early in international markets – eyeing May 19-21 release dates in the East, a full five weeks ahead of the domestic schedule. Not only have the countries in Asia outpaced others in pandemic recovery, but it has already been demonstrated that audiences in those markets are eager to return to cinemas for event films. The Fast Saga is $6B global powerhouse, earning $4B across nine films internationally.


Stateside, forecasts for the summer remain optimistic despite Top Gun: Maverick moving down to November 19. The delay is not likely to uproot more tentpoles – studios have already filled in the gaps by moving up The Forever Purge and Snake Eyes into July. The decision was reportedly because Tom Cruise wants to do a world tour before the movie’s debut, something that is not possible in key European markets at the moment. Also, the delay lets Top Gun achieve social distancing from F9 and Black Widow. The start of this year’s blockbuster drumroll is still intact, with both Paramount’s A Quiet Place II and Disney’s Cruella set to debut May 28.


“People are less worried about catching the virus and ready to be themselves again and go out”, reported National Research Group. NRG’s weekly survey of moviegoer confidence hit a record Friday, with more than 60 percent of moviegoers saying they would feel comfortable returning to theaters, up from 52% a month ago. Deadline elaborates that 64% now feel ‘very or somewhat comfortable’, and that 60% of those polled expect to see a movie within the next two months – 70% within the next three. With the increasing theater attendance, Q2 2021 is forecasted to at least double Q1’s $240M domestic box-office (the best quarter since the pandemic started).


That projection is despite the unfortunate closing of the Los Angeles based Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres. The movie chains, owned by Decurion, had previously hoped to open for the Memorial Day weekend. By then, it is expected that theaters in LA would be operating at 100% capacity, but the Decurion properties will have to miss it. It is speculated that the movie theaters, particularly the beloved Cinerama Dome, will come back – it’s just a matter of who and when will pick them up from Decurion (who could remain as owners in some capacity). 


We are only a few days away from Mortal Kombat reeling in moviegoers with a “GET OVER HERE”, alongside the (overseas) record-breaking box office hit, Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train. A video-game adaption and an anime movie should resonate well with an audience that has been playing more videogames and watching more anime since the pandemic began. Both films have fanbases that should front-load their respective debuts this weekend. Mortal Kombat’s trailer previously broke the all-time record for the most-watched red band trailer in the first week (before Suicide Squad’s beat it with 150M).

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