Considering, y’know, the coronavirus.
This weekend marks the first in ages where big companies decided, for some reason (money, the reason is money), that releasing major motion pictures was somehow safe and appropriate in the United States, a country still utterly ravaged by the novel coronavirus and our government’s broad failure to contain it in any meaningful sense. Which means, for the first time in ages, we have box office numbers to look at. They are concerning.
As shared by The Wrap, The New Mutants, the long-delayed 20th Century Studios X-Men spinoff film starring Maise Williams, made $US7 ($10) million from approximately 2,400 open U.S. movie theatre screens this weekend. That is too much. If we’re talking roughly $16 a ticket, that’s approximately half a million people who went to see The New Mutants, risking coronavirus to go sit in a movie theatre, which is, uhh, not the safest environment to be in right now, despite precautions taken by re-opened theatres.
Now, listen, I don’t want to shame anybody: institutions and business at all levels have failed to communicate how serious this stuff is and therefore it’s a bit unfair to be mad at everyone taking unnecessary risks. But, that is too many, and I am concerned. For what it’s worth, as The Wrap reports, Marvel projected $US8-10 ($11-14) million for opening weekend, so the fact that it underperformed may encourage companies to delay movies instead of releasing them to an audience that can’t see them without literally risking their lives and the lives of those around them. But we’ll see.
The international box office is opening up, too, which is less concerning, as other countries have managed the crisis differently than we have and thus the idea of going to a movie theatre is probably a whole lot less risky than it is here. That re-boot came courtesy of Christopher Nolan’s time-travelin’ Tenet, which debuted to several international markets to the tune of $US53 ($72) million. The open markets this weekend included the United Kingdom, France, Korea, and Germany. The film will release in Russia, China, and (ugh) the United States next week.
In a statement to Variety, who also provided the above figures,Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman, said, “We are off to a fantastic start internationally and couldn’t be more pleased.”
He continued, “Given the unprecedented circumstances of this global release we know we’re running a marathon, not a sprint, and look forward to long playability for this film globally for many weeks to come.”
Or, like, you could just write this thing off until the pandemic is over and make a normal amount of money. But you do you, Hollywood.
The New Mutants opens in Australian cinemas on September 3.