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

February 1, 2021

New release The Little Things (starring Denzel Washington and Rami Malek) opened to $4.8M this weekend in theaters – and marks the second Warner Bros. film to simultaneously release on HBO Max. After going a week without fresh content, theaters benefitted from a new face and saw an overall 52% box office increase from last weekend (as reported by Deadline). How about HBO Max? An EVP boasted that The Little Things “shot up to number one, where it currently remains” – without providing any numbers. As we see in cinema, it is typical that the new release becomes that weekend’s #1 performer.


Yes – without concrete financials attached to these vague reports about the HBO Max releases (see Wonder Woman’s  2.252 billion minutes), it seems increasingly unlikely that a fair comparison can be drawn up between the theatrical and streaming performances of the HBO Max day-and-date films. Not to say that it will not be attempted. Ultimately, we know that theatrical and streaming can co-exist (along with the dozens of other entertainment options). Pre-pandemic, whether it was a major sports game, or the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the theatrical box-office continued to post strong numbers. It is a bummer that we do not have better data for the streaming end of these day-and-date films.


Although The Little Things flies in a lower tier than Wonder Woman, it is worth noting that it has the highest opening during this pandemic for an R-rated film, and for an “older male action” film. Granted, we have had many of those lately – Unhinged, Let Him Go, Honest Thief, and The Marksman – but we know the biggest draws to the box-office come from movies made for the family.


Universal’s The Croods: A New Age – a film that has been on PVOD since December 18th – saw a 2% boost in box-office with another $1.84M earned in its 10thweekend. The family-oriented film’s continued growth demonstrates that where theaters are open, families are choosing to enter cinema to escape their often monotonous at-home routines. This fact drives optimism for the performance of Disney’s first theatrical release since the pandemic: Raya and The Last Dragon (set for March 5th with Premier Access on Disney+). The animated film should continue to prop up exhibition through March, alongside other films like Chaos Walking, The Courier, and Godzilla vs Kong (which moved down five days to March 31st).


It is a given: how the box-office recovers in the spring depends on how successfully we implement the vaccine distributions, how soon theaters are allowed to re-open with less restrictions, and how promising the box-office trends before then. As one example, Raya’s performance could have a sway on Disney’s decision to keep Black Widow to its May 7th release


While many of the year’s top-tier films have already moved into the summer season, Black Widow’s tie to the Marvel Cinematic Universe may make another delay problematic for the studio. Black Widow is one of four MCU films currently on the calendar – the others being Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings (Jul 9th), Eternals (Nov 5th), and the untitled “Spider-man 3” (Dec 17th). This may mean that Disney opts to give Black Widow a day-and-date release on Disney+ to, among other things, keep the timeline of the MCU stories intact.


We are one month into 2021. There is an ongoing blizzard outside my window, but for AMC the “sun is shining”. Up next, February brings three new films to the table: Focus Features’ Land (Feb 12th), and two films that will also be on HBO Max – Judas and The Black Messiah (Feb 12th) and Tom & Jerry (Feb 26th).

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