2020 At The Boxoffice

Colin Jacobson

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Absolutely but it needed to make $600 million to turn a profit and that's the kind of ridiculous amount of money that alot of these tentpole movies need to make so if Tenet didn't come close to that kind of money, I can see how studios would be very hesitant to release a movie and risk losing hundreds of millions of dollars.
But again: the risk is lower for the movies under discussion.

IMO, "Tenet" is easily the basement for box office related to the movies we're talking about here.

It came out pretty quickly after theaters reopened and it lacked the "sellability" of "Black Widow" or "NTtD".

Honestly, at this point, I think it's a given that these movies will never approach the receipts expected when made, and as I've said, it may be years before the situation returns to prior norms - if ever. If theaters collapse between now and "normal time", those $100m+ weekends are gone and nothing's making $600m US again.

Put out "NTtD" in November, make $100m US total and $300m+ overseas, give US theaters a shot in the arm, hope for better days.

Keeping these movies on the shelves and putting them all out in 2022 after AMC, Regal and the others have shuttered seems like the worst solution.

No one wants to lose money on movies, but sometimes you gotta lose the battle to win the war.
 

TravisR

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No one wants to lose money on movies, but sometimes you gotta lose the battle to win the war.
I agree but that would show a level of long term thinking that I think is missing in alot of the world today. I think they're more concerned with looking at what a movie did right now than how the business will be in a year or two or five.
 

Tino

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MovieDistrGross%LWThrThr
Chng
Per
Thr
Total
Gross
W
1(1)TenetWarner Bros.$3,400,000-28%2,850-80$1,193$41,200,0004
2(2)The New Mutants20th Cent…$1,147,000-30%2,305-213$498$19,459,1585
-(4)UnhingedSolstice …$1,000,000-22%2,182-142$458$17,189,5477
-(-)Star Wars Ep. V: The …20th Cent…$908,000 2,097 $433$908,0002,106
-(3)InfidelCloudburs…$745,000-46%1,724n/c$432$2,674,5992
-(5)The Broken Hearts Gal…Sony Pict…$470,000-41%2,141-80$220$3,238,4233
-NShortcutGravitas …$305,000 725 $421$305,0001
-NThe Last ShiftSony Pict…$235,000 871 $270$235,0001
-NKajillionaireFocus Fea…$215,000 529 $406$215,0001
-(10)The Personal History …Searchlig…$57,000-61%512-495$111$1,783,0175
-(-)On the Basis of SexFocus Fea…$55,000 829 $66$24,677,00092
-(11)The Secrets We KeepBleecker …$42,000-52%449-22$94$212,0002
-(12)No EscapeVertical …$28,000-65%39-6$718$128,5122
-(-)Foster BoyGravitas …$11,500+89%15+14$767$19,0462
-(-)The Way I See itFocus Fea…$8,000-68%84-40$95$45,0002
 

Jake Lipson

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So what's the solution? Sit on movies for a year or 2 and watch theaters die in the interim?
I think the solution is to get creative.

Theaters are going to hate it. They probably will never go for it. But if they want a big movie like a Black Widow to be released now, the best way to get that to happen is to give the studio multiple ways to make their money back on it. Let Disney take the film to PVOD at the same time as it rolls out in theaters so that they get access to money from people who will go out now and people who won't.

I have in the past been a really staunch defender of theatrical exclusivity because I agreed with the theater chains' assessment that it would encourage people to stay home. But now that a lot of people are staying home anyway, the time has come to think outside the box.

The biggest "new release" at my theater this weekend was a 40th anniversary re-release of The Empire Strikes Back. Millions of people have that on physical media, and it's also streaming on Disney+, but they still showed it. The first showing yesterday attracted five people. But the first showing of Tenet yesterday attracted zero, so they still got more people to come for the catalog film they could have just as easily seen at home.

I don't think the theater chains will agree to allow this (although AMC and Universal do have that 17-day window agreement now, which only covers AMC theaters and not the other chains at present.). But I think at this point, the situation is dire enough that they should seriously consider it.

It says something when theaters are officially back open and The Empire Strikes Back is in the top 5.
And in the top five with less than a million dollar gross.
 

Jake Lipson

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Or at least have a 30 day theatrical window for the remaining duration of the pandemic.
That could work too. It annoys me that I haven't seen Tenet yet. I would pay to be able to do that on VOD in October without hesitation.
 

Colin Jacobson

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I agree but that would show a level of long term thinking that I think is missing in alot of the world today. I think they're more concerned with looking at what a movie did right now than how the business will be in a year or two or five.
Probably. Hollywood needs to think about that, though.

Would a new blockbuster-ish movie once every 4 weeks truly save theaters, even if those movies made much less than in Ye Olden Dayes?

Maybe not "save", but they could be enough to keep the lights on until things do go back to some form of semi-normalcy.

I just don't see "let's hold everything until theaters are 100%" as practical...
 

Colin Jacobson

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I think the solution is to get creative.

Theaters are going to hate it. They probably will never go for it. But if they want a big movie like a Black Widow to be released now, the best way to get that to happen is to give the studio multiple ways to make their money back on it. Let Disney take the film to PVOD at the same time as it rolls out in theaters so that they get access to money from people who will go out now and people who won't.

I have in the past been a really staunch defender of theatrical exclusivity because I agreed with the theater chains' assessment that it would encourage people to stay home. But now that a lot of people are staying home anyway, the time has come to think outside the box.

The biggest "new release" at my theater this weekend was a 40th anniversary re-release of The Empire Strikes Back. Millions of people have that on physical media, and it's also streaming on Disney+, but they still showed it. The first showing yesterday attracted five people. But the first showing of Tenet yesterday attracted zero, so they still got more people to come for the catalog film they could have just as easily seen at home.

I don't think the theater chains will agree to allow this (although AMC and Universal do have that 17-day window agreement now, which only covers AMC theaters and not the other chains at present.). But I think at this point, the situation is dire enough that they should seriously consider it.
I think the theaters might go for the 17-day window as a stopgap. Agree to it until some agreed-upon benchmark is reached.

As you noted, the 5th biggest "hit" was "ESB", so it's clear people are going to movies who will go even when said movie is out on video.

Might some people say "I won't bother with 'Black Widow' in the theater because it'll be on home video in 17 days"? Maybe, but it's clear the people going now will go no matter what.

And 17 days of tentpole exclusivity beats the zero days of those movies now.
 
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Jake Lipson

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I think the theaters might go for the 17-day window as a stopgap. Agree to it until some agreed-upon benchmark is reached.
I'd be fine with waiting 17 days. It's a lot better than waiting this indeterminate amount of time for Tenet to come out at home.

And, speaking personally, having access to films at home in a shorter window during the pandemic would not impact my willingness to return to the movie theater after this finally ends. I would only choose the VOD option until I know I can go out without risking my health.

I am very much looking forward to the day when it is safe to see a movie in the theater on a big screen with an audience again, and without having to wear a mask. I do believe that day will come eventually, although clearly not as soon as any of us would like.
 
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Malcolm R

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As you noted, the 5th biggest "hit" was "ESB", so it's clear people are going to movies who will go even when said movie is out on video.
Also provides some weight that people want to go to theaters, but are just not that interested in Tenet or New Mutants.

No one wants to lose money on movies, but sometimes you gotta lose the battle to win the war.
Yes, and the studios have to be willing to share in the sacrifice. They cannot just take all their toys and go home until things are rosy for them again while the theatrical circuit fails.
 

Jake Lipson

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Also provides some weight that people want to go to theaters, but are just not that interested in Tenet or New Mutants.
Sure. Or they saw those already and don't want to make a return visit. The Empire Strikes Back was at drive-ins earlier this summer for a bit, but it hasn't been in general release on indoor big screens since 1997. So that might make the experience worth it to people in a way that already repeating Tenet and New Mutants might not be.
 
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Colin Jacobson

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Also provides some weight that people want to go to theaters, but are just not that interested in Tenet or New Mutants.
Sure. Or they saw those already and don't want to make a return visit. The Empire Strikes Back was at drive-ins earlier this summer for a bit, but it hasn't been in general release on indoor big screens since 1997. So that might make the experience worth it to people in a way that already repeating Tenet and New Mutants might not be.
That was my thought. If you're willing to venture to a multiplex for "ESB", you probably just love to see movies on the big screen and already saw those other movies.

Both "Tenet" and "NM" have been out for weeks. Viewers could already have seen them 2-3 times and are eager for something "new"!
 

Colin Jacobson

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I'd be fine with waiting 17 days. It's a lot better than waiting this indeterminate amount of time for Tenet to come out at home.

And, speaking personally, having access to films at home in a shorter window during the pandemic would not impact my willingness to return to the movie theater after this finally ends. I would only choose the VOD option until I know I can go out without risking my health.
I do think theaters would agree to the short window as long as it's clear it's just a stopgap. Better 17 days of Bond or MCU exclusivity vs. no movies at all!

I am very much looking forward to the day when it is safe to see a movie in the theater on a big screen with an audience again, and without having to wear a mask. I do believe that day will come eventually, although clearly not as soon as any of us would like.
I've been to 5 or 6 movies since reopening and I've gotten used to the mask. Worst part was that my glasses would fog, but I got an "anti-fog" cloth that works pretty well, and comfort-wise, I forget I'm wearing the mask.

Heck, I took 2 5-hour flights over the last week, so that was a much more extended mask-wearing period since I needed to keep on the mask the whole "airport experience"! No biggie, IMO!
 
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Jake Lipson

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comfort-wise, I forget I'm wearing the mask.
I should clarify. I am high risk and therefore have not been going out much. I support wearing a mask when you need to go out, but I don't need to go out. I have been outside of my house three times since the beginning of the pandemic for a total combined time of around a half an hour or maybe less.

So, even though I do wear a mask in situations where I have to leave the house, I'm not comfortable in them. I don't need them when I'm going from my bedroom to the kitchen and back again, which describes my activities most days. So there is no way I would be comfortable wearing a mask for the length of a movie. I'd rather wait to see it at home than have to wear a mask for three hours. (Tenet, being two and a half hours of actual running time, would round to about three with the assorted junk my theater usually shows beforehand.)

If I had to be out and about wearing a mask all the time, I might mind the idea of wearing it for the duration of a long movie. But that's not my experience with it because I am in a position where I can stay home almost all the time. Therefore, the idea of wearing a mask for an extended period sounds extremely uncomfortable to the point where it would distract me from paying attention to the film.

I absolutely agree that masks should be required at theaters right now, but I'm not going to be comfortable (either literally or figuratively) attending again until it is no longer necessary.
 

Malcolm R

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I forget I'm wearing it after a minute or two (unless my glasses start to fog up).
 

TravisR

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I forget I'm wearing it after a minute or two (unless my glasses start to fog up).
Yeah, the fogging of my glasses are the only inconvenience that I experience.

That and a couple times, I've been places where I see people I know and I've hoped that they wouldn't recognize me due to a mask so I didn't have to talk to them but I've yet to have a mask save me from a conversation. :)
 
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Adam Lenhardt

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So what's the solution? Sit on movies for a year or 2 and watch theaters die in the interim?
I know we disagree on this point, but I think putting movies out that underperform is more harmful to theatrical exhibition long term than having the theaters closed for a year or two.

Cinemas, especially multiplexes, are not easy to convert for other uses. Some or all of the major chains may go under during the shutdown period, but that doesn't mean the cinemas themselves cease to exist.

If Regal, AMC, etc. go out of business, some enterprising force on the other side will step in to snap up their theaters and reopen them under new branding.

The bigger danger from my perspective is that the studios become discouraged with the performance from theatrical exhibition and move away from it in a major way for good. I'd rather theaters be closed for a year or two and then come back strong than limp along with a string of underperforming movies that cause the studios to reassess the revenue potential of the North American box office.

But "Tenet" has made 100s of millions WW. As I've noted, it seems likely to finish around $300m.
Most other countries outside the United States aren't experiencing hundreds upon hundreds of deaths a day. The domestic situation and the international situation are apples to oranges. Psychologically, going to the movies is a bigger lift in the United States than it is in many parts of the world. I know I would feel a lot more comfortable risking going to the movies in Germany than I would in the US.

There are also the inherent limitations with theaters still closed in so many parts of the country, and attendance so sharply curtailed in many parts of the country where theaters have reopened. The ceiling for an opening weekend currently is a lot lower than the ceiling for an opening weekend before the pandemic.
 

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