After another encouraging result from a wide release last weekend with Open Road’s Honest Thief debuting on the high end of forecasts and taking the top spot at the box office, the penultimate frame of October is on deck with potential for that film to repeat at number one.
Disney and 20th Century Studios will hope to have something to say about that, though, as they release The Empty Man in an estimated 2,027 locations. Previews for the horror-thriller begin at 6pm Thursday evening.
Starring James Badge Dale, the timely opening just one week away from Halloween could be beneficial in its efforts to attract genre fans. Unfortunately, though, marketing has been scant and social media activity is markedly slow. The film’s first trailer didn’t even debut until the end of last week.
Empty Man had previously been scheduled for the “dump” weekend of December 4 (after a delay from August 7 due to the pandemic), where low-tier horror films have often debuted to lukewarm numbers in an out-of-season window.
The aforementioned Honest Thief is essentially performing along the same lines as Solstice Studios’ Unhinged with very similar target audiences and opening box office performances. The Liam Neeson-led thriller should post a strong hold from its $3.7 million wide debut one weekend ago as it faces little-to-no direct competition this weekend. The film’s 89 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes bodes well for word of mouth going forward.
Also looking to post robust holds this weekend are 101 Studios’ The War with Grandpa and Warner Bros.’ Tenet. The former eased just under 31 percent in its sophomore frame, while the latter Christopher Nolan epic again declined a soft 24 percent as it crossed the $50 million domestic threshold last weekend.
Continuing the trend of re-releases that have come to weekly prominence at re-opened theaters, Disney will re-issue Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. in an estimated 1,875 theaters. That count is comparable to the footprints of The Empire Strikes Back, Hocus Pocus, Coco, and The Nightmare Before Christmas from the Mouse House over the past month or so. The latter of those four pulled a respectable $1.3 million “opening” last weekend, while Hocus has proven to be the top player of the bunch so far with its $1.9 million weekend start earlier this month and a running total of $3.84 million through last Sunday.
Monsters, in its original run, earned $255.9 million domestically and almost $529 million worldwide following a blockbuster November 2001 opening. This re-release could be a candidate for numbers close to Hocus and Nightmare‘s given a similar “modern classic” appeal to a generation of families with kids who may not have been around to catch it in theaters. The previous (and far more recent) Pixar re-issue, Coco, pulled a more modest $603K starting weekend earlier this month.
Meanwhile, United Artists Releasing is getting in on the re-release fun by sending their animated take of The Addams Family back to theaters just in time for Halloween. The film was a breakout hit one year ago when it opened to $30.3 million, onward to $100 million domestically and $203 million at the global box office. A sequel is planned for theatrical release October 8, 2021.
Last but not least, Open Road is scheduled to release After We Collided this weekend, however the studio has yet to report estimated location counts. We are excluding it from our forecast at this time as our parent company’s Showtimes Dashboard reveals the film’s booked showtimes for the weekend ahead do not currently rank among the top ten total screenings confirmed via the exhibition portal.
The Impact of New York State’s Re-Opening
Overall market trends will again be fascinating to watch in the days and weeks ahead as certain parts of New York state begin re-opening cinemas following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s long-awaited approval for doing so arrived last Saturday. Studio sources estimate this will help bring the domestic market close to 85 percent operational from the view of total grossing potential.
If the contribution from those New York state theaters are significant enough, several films — notably, Tenet — could enjoy softer holds than usual. Several of Regal’s higher-than-average performing venues will also re-open in the state under the new allowances (although the rest of the chain remains temporarily closed across the country).
One of the many takeaway’s from Tenet‘s muted domestic performance has been the lack of urban and suburban audience availability (a Nolan stronghold), especially around New York. This weekend may start to put that to a significant test for the first time. Showtimes Dashboard reports Tenet is only losing 4 percent of its booked screenings from last weekend across a sample of 1,504 theaters nationwide, compared to 30 percent one weekend ago and 24 percent the frame before.
New York City boroughs, as well as Los Angeles county in California, New Mexico, Portland, and portions of Ontario and Quebec in Canada remain closed.
Confirmed Estimates of Domestic Location Counts (Subject to Updates)
- The War with Grandpa (2,345)
- The Empty Man (2,027)
- Monsters, Inc. (Re-Issue) (1,875)
- 2 Hearts (1,678)
- The Nightmare Before Christmas (Re-Issue) (1,614)
- The Addams Family (2019) (1,307)
- Hocus Pocus (Re-Issue) (1,277)
- The Kid Detective (857)
- The New Mutants (830)
- Halloween (1978) (Re-Issue) (219)
- Infidel (192)
- The Broken Hearts Gallery (159)
- Yellow Rose (104)
- Shithouse (28)
- A Call to Spy (25)
- Words on Bathroom Walls (21)
- The Wolf of Snow Hollow (19)
- The Last Shift (13)
- Twiceborn (10)
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, October 25||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Honest Thief||Open Road||$2,300,000||$7,500,000||-38%|
|The War with Grandpa||101 Studios||$1,700,000||$9,500,000||-32%|
|The Empty Man||Disney / 20th Century Studios||$1,000,000||$1,000,000||NEW|
|Monsters, Inc. (Re-Issue)||Disney / Pixar||$900,000||$900,000||NEW|
|Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Re-Issue)||Disney / Touchstone Pictures||$700,000||$2,300,000||-47%|
|The Addams Family (2019) (Re-Issue)||United Artists Releasing||$500,000||$500,000||NEW|
|Hocus Pocus (Re-Issue)||Disney||$500,000||$4,600,000||-34%|
|The New Mutants||Disney / 20th Century Studios||$320,000||$23,200,000||-32%|
|2 Hearts||Freestyle Releasing||$300,000||$980,000||-43%|
All forecasts subject to change before the first confirmation of weekend estimates from studios or alternative sources.
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