Weekend Box Office: As Theaters Close Nationwide, VOD Becomes the New Norm

By Chris Kavan - 03/22/20 at 05:55 PM CT

This isn't so much a typical weekend round-up as a fond farewell (at least temporarily, one hopes) to the standard box office update. The Covid-19 epidemic has caused every major theater chain to close and, at this time, the vast majority of the 200 theaters still open are drive-in theaters. The official numbers from Box Office Mojo show grosses of $753,347 on Monday, $346,334 on Tuesday, $61,529 on Wednesday and just $33,296 on Thursday, the last day they currently have tracked.

The top five are as follows:

Onward at $61.5 million

The Invisible Man at $64.9 million (likely at $65 million by now, even with numbers dwindling).

Bloodshot at $10 million

I Still Believe at $9.8 million

Call of the Wild at $63.2 million

Things aren't going to change anytime soon. Currently the only April releases that haven't been rescheduled (yet) are My Spy and Bad Trip, both still on an April 17th release, though I expect this to change. Most of the major May films have also been rescheduled at this point, including Black Widow, Run, The Woman in the Window, Antebellum, Spiral and The Personal History of David Copperfield. These, along with the major films in April, have no current updated release date as of yet.

But this also marks a major change for studios, who are now focusing on home viewing via VOD. Almost all films that were released in the last two weeks: including Disney's Onward, Universal's Invisible Woman, Emma and The Hunt as well as Vin Diesel's Bloodshot are getting almost immediate VOD releases and, at $19.99, could even be a better deal then taking the family to the theater. Trolls World Tour - expected to be released theatrically and on VOD on the same date, is now going to avoid theatrical release entirely and will be available for home viewing on April 10th. Also notable is that The Lovebirds, an action/comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, originally slated for an April release, has now been bought by Netflix, and should soon be available for streaming. Likewise, those with Disney+ have access to Frozen II earlier than expected and I wouldn't be surprised if Onward soon joins it.

As of now the biggest film coming out on schedule is Patty Jenkin's Wonder Woman 1984 - with a June 05 release date. However, given the current state of things, that release could easily be pushed back as well - though Warner Bros. is adamant they are not going straight to VOD with this title. Sadly, even with so many industries shutting down nationwide - it is still too early to know how widespread Covid-19 is and just how long it is going to affect daily life.

What is known is that the industry is posed to lose billions this year and that a return to normalcy will take several months, provided that it can recover. Who knows how things are going to change once this is all over. For now, this, like the Weekend Preview blog, is going on hiatus. Stay healthy and stay safe, wherever you are.

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