Jasper Savage / Amblin Partners / Focus Features
That’s the new normal for a Hollywood movie braving to open during the ongoing pandemic and continued cinema closures in major markets New York City and Los Angeles.
Focus Features and Amblin’s Halloween offering Come Play filled its trick-or-treat bag with $3.2 million in domestic grosses, easily enough to top another hollow weekend at the box office amid the ongoing pandemic.
Opening in 2,183 theaters, the horror-thriller came in ahead of expectations and jumped 18 percent from Friday to Saturday (Halloween).
Jacob Chase’s directorial debut stars Azhy Robertson, Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr. The project began as a short film which was optioned, developed and financed by Amblin. The budget was a reported $9 million.
Even though every state save for New Mexico is open or partially open in terms of movie theaters, only about half of cinemas across the U.S. are presently operating. Major markets including New York City and Los Angeles are off limits. Most studios have delayed their bigger films, leaving exhibitors to rely on smaller movies and repertory titles.
Come Play‘s No. 1 theater was the AMC Orange near Anaheim, while drive-ins also turned in big numbers. The top market overall was Dallas, while the best theater average was in Sacramento at the Sacramento 6 Drive-in with $12,170.
“Moviegoers all across the country have had a chance to see this film that I, along with the entire cast and crew, put so much heart and empathy into,” Chase said in a statement. “While it isn’t exactly how we pictured the movie coming out when we made it, I’ve been remarkably impressed with Focus getting it into so many theaters safely during COVID. Wear your masks and keep your fellow humans safe!”
Focus movies, like titles from parent studio Universal, can appear early on premium on-demand per a new deal with AMC Theatres.
Overseas — where cinemas have begun shutting down again in major European markets because of a surge in COVID-19 cases — Come Play grossed $574.800 from 12 markets.
Another new entry overseas was Warner Bros.’ The Witches, which was sent straight to HBO Max in the U.S. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Anne Hathaway, the film grossed $4.8 million from its first 17 markets, led by Russia with $1.6 million.
Back on the North American chart, Liam Neeson’s action pic Honest Thief, from Open Road, came in No. 2 in its third weekend, grossing $1.4 million from 2,360 theaters for a cume of $9.5 million.
101 Studio’s The War With Grandpa, now in its fourth weekend, placed third with $1.1 million from 2,365 sites for a total of $11.3 million.
Tenet came in No. 4 with $885,000 for a domestic total of $53.8 million. Overseas, it finished the frame with an international total of $293.3 million and $347.1 million domestically.
The Empty Man, from 20th Century and Disney, fell to No. 5 in its second weekend with $561,000 from 2,051 cinemas for a total of $2.3 million.