Today, theaters in Los Angeles county have the greenlight to re-open (at 25% capacity), marking another milestone for cinema’s recovery on the other side of this pandemic. The announcement came last week as the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses in California hit 2 million. So, how far is that light at the end of the tunnel now? While plenty of factors have yet to play out – it is getting closer! Experts project that the U.S can safely reach the herd-immunity threshold by mid-summer, if the current pace of vaccinations hold. That falls right in-line with the slate of blockbusters – highly-anticipated films from 2020’s calendar like Top Gun Maverick and new entries like Space Jam 2 – that await moviegoers this summer. Once the nation can finally tighten the leash on this pandemic, headlines about box-office wins like we’ve seen from countries overseas will follow.
Also coming this summer is the launch of an advertising-supported tier of the HBO Max subscription. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar indicated that the lower-priced version will not include access to the day-and-date theatrical films. The next film to debut in theaters and HBO Max will be Godzilla vs Kong, opening on Wednesday March 31st.
While we wait for the two titans to hit the big screen, another set of giants – Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame and James Cameron’s Avatar – continue their ongoing battle. Thanks to a reissue in China over the weekend, Disney reports that Avatar hopped over Endgame to once again claim the highest-grossing film of all time at the global box office. The sequel to 2009 blockbuster is scheduled for Dec. 16th, 2022 – with subsequent installments to the series planned for 2024, 2026, and 2028.
The lights are back on in Los Angeles, but it will take a couple weekends for theaters to truly warm-up. In the meantime, New York DMA continued to be the top-grossing market at the box-office.
This past-weekend brought in $17.8M at the box-office; Raya and The Last Dragon took the lead with another $5.5M, retaining 65% of its box-office from last weekend. As reported last week, Black Widow will still release in theaters on May 7th – with no mention of a day-and-date release on Disney Plus, yet. Perhaps Disney wants to avoid major exhibitors like Cinemark and Harkins refusing to play the film altogether (as they did with Raya). The weekend’s other top titles included Tom & Jerry (which will be on HBO Max for another 15 days before theaters have exclusivity), Chaos Walking, Boogie, and Croods: A New Age.
Up next, The Courier starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel Brosnahan will enter theaters this Friday March 19th.