The latest new release, The Marksman, earned $3.2M over the 3-day weekend. That was enough to take first place away from Wonder Woman 1984, which landed in third with $2.6M. Despite the film being available on streaming, the box-office for Wonder Woman dropped only 13% from the weekend prior. In fact, the top performing films all retained at least 75% of last weekend’s box-office; The Croods a New Age even gained ~13%. While Wonder Woman continues a strong pace in theaters, there are still doubts about its success for HBO Max – from which the title departs on Jan 24th. WarnerMedia extended its 22% promotional discount for new subscribers who prepay for six months thru March 1st, which was previously set to expire this past Friday.
Interestingly enough, Warner Bros has moved Godzilla vs Kong up from May 21st to March 26th. The move may be taking advantage of the hole left when several films departed from March last week – Morbius, The Courier, and The Many Saints of Newark (which is also a WB film).
Last week, Comscore announced in a recent press release regarding the 2020 global box office: “the $12.2 billion global revenue in theaters demonstrated how with careful planning, adherence to local health regulations and must-see content, studios and exhibitors found a path to success even as the world continued to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.” There are strategies born from the pandemic that we can expect to stay once we reach the other side. These include reduced theatrical windows, private auditorium rentals, drive-in popularity, more robust health & safety procedures, etc.
There is growing confidence in the industry’s recovery – specifically for some of the country’s largest exhibitors. This past Friday, veteran exhibition analysts expect that Cinemark will not only stay “financially on track” in 2021, but also make gains in “market share and margin expansion” on the other side of this pandemic. CEO Mark Zoradi sees “a ‘modest’ recovery in the second quarter and a “stronger” third and fourth quarter as theaters and the broader economy begin to emerge from the pandemic.”
The fourth-largest circuit, Marcus are set up to outperform in the recovery due to a “level of liquidity [that] should be sufficient to sustain operations well into 2021.” Not only do they own real estate for the majority of its screens, but may have an opportunities to increase their theatrical footprint in the post-pandemic market. Currently, Marcus is concentrated in suburban locations, where they have an edge with “families and moviegoers staying closer to home” during the pandemic.
All eyes continue to be on No Time to Die and Black Widow in hopes of forecasting when the box-office will really ignite; similarly to how analysts eyed Tenet last year. In the meanwhile, as Broadway legend, André De Shields, puts it: “Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be. At the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.”