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

April 26, 2021

GET OVER HERE! After three weekends of dominating the box office, Godzilla vs Kong’s footprint has been overtaken by Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat and Sony/FUNimation’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train. Both films helped drive the overall box-office to $56.7M*the biggest overall weekend since the beginning of COVID mid-March last year.


Video game adaptions are largely hit (Sonic the Hedgehog) or miss (Assassin’s Creed), but Mortal Kombat drew the fanbase in with $22.9M this weekend, netting the highest R-rated opening to date for the pandemic. Warner Bros.’ day-and-date model has not convinced moviegoers to stay at home and stream these event-sized films. Only a few months into the experiment, Warner is already showing signs of regret – announcing the plan to return to a 45-day theatrical exclusivity window in 2022. “It’s not worth it. The tradeoff for all these guys is lost box office revenue versus lifetime value of subscribers added,” Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter told TheWrap, “However many streaming subs Warner gains is unlikely to offset the lost box office revenue.”


Demon Slayer came in second (with only 1,600 screens versus Mortal Kombat’s 3,073) with $21.2M – which would have exceeded expectations for an anime film even outside the pandemic. Japan’s biggest box office hit of all time had enough fans stateside to place in second among domestic anime box-office debuts (only behind 1999’s Pokemon: The First Movie’s $31M). Demon Slayer stands out from other films in the genre. Not only is it rated R, unlike recent anime movies from Dragon Ball and My Hero Academia – but it is also the immediate continuation of the Demon Slayer TV series, not a spinoff or side story meant to be more accessible to general audiences. 


With upcoming big pics like A Quiet Place II, F9, Black Widow, and more – the National Association of Theater Owners feel that The Big Screen is Back. Premiering during the Oscar Pre-Show, the PSA (part of NATO’s national campaign) is introduced by Matthew McConaughey with testimonials from the “unsung heroes who bring movie magic to the big screen”. The emotional reel invites viewers to come back to theaters this summer: “The movies, the way you’ve always loved them, is the way to see them again.”


Speaking of the Oscars (see all the winners here), Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color, the first Chinese woman, and the second woman ever to be named the Academy’s Best Director. Zhao became a front-runner early on, earning top marks at earlier award shows for Best Picture Nomadland. In case you missed it last week, she has another film coming out this year that is sure to be a huge hit – Marvel’s The Eternals. I personally cannot wait to see what the Oscar-winning director can do with a budget from Kevin Feige and a star-studded cast. Fans are certainly hungry for a trailer – the film is currently set for November 5.


We previously mentioned that Universal was launching F9 as early as May 19 in overseas markets, well ahead of the domestic debut of June 25. That does not mean, however, that there will not be Fast films in theaters before then. Starting this Friday April 30, Universal is also welcoming back moviegoers with free screenings of the first eight Fast & Furious films (one each Friday). Universal plans to launch in more than 500 theaters, eventually expanding to at least 900 with major chains – AMC, Regal, and Cinemark – participating in the screenings.


Amid the welcome-backs from theaters and studios, Screenvision’s network – now growing to 14,000 screens thanks to the efforts of Darryl and our Exhibitor Relations team 😊 – will be ready for new business.


Finally, this Friday also brings the debut of Briarcliff Entertainment’s horror film Separation. In favor of this weekend’s box office, capacity restrictions for New York theaters have been loosened to 33 percent starting today April 26.

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