Emma Stone stars in Disney’s “Cruella”.
This Memorial Day weekend could offer the right combination of new releases, number of cinemas open, and heightened consumer confidence to break the $ 100 million box office mark.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, theaters have struggled to draw moviegoers back, even with enticing titles like “Godzilla vs. Kong”, “Mortal Kombat” and “Wonder Woman 1984”.
The weekend of April 23rd has the highest weekend grossing since the pandemic that closed cinemas last spring. According to Comscore, ticket sales reached $ 57 million with only around 60% of the cinemas open. The top earners of the weekend were “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” and “Mortal Kombat”.
This Memorial Day weekend, more than 70% of the theaters are open and Hollywood has two blockbuster releases: “Cruella” and “A Quiet Place Part II”.
The last time the box office topped $ 100 million on the weekend was March 6, 2020. In times without a pandemic, the average ticket sales on Memorial Day weekend were around $ 200 million.
Memorial Day weekend in 2020 dipped to just $ 842,000 in ticket sales, almost entirely from drive-in theaters.
“What a difference a year makes when we look at a pivotal movie theater commemorative weekend and, luckily, the start of a real summer movie season that the industry hasn’t seen in two years,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
While “Cruella” will be available twice in theaters and on Disney + Premiere Access, “A Quiet Place Part II” will only be available in theaters. The sequel was widely acclaimed by critics and was seen as a must see movie, especially in theaters. In reviews, critics touted that seeing the film in a theater enhanced the experience because noises – whether on the screen or in the seats nearby – made the thriller more exciting.
With more theaters open and demand pent up, Dergarabedian sees an opportunity for that Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” could usurp “Godzilla vs. Kong” for the highest opening weekend debut since the health crisis began. “Godzilla vs. Kong” opened with a shipping volume of 32 million US dollars the first weekend in April. At the time, only 55% of theaters in North America were open.
The fate of Disney’s Cruella is a little less secure as it will be available in theaters the same day and via Disney + for $ 30. Some consumers may venture to the movies to see the movie, others may stay on the couch and stream. Plus, the movie will mixed reviews.
“The showing of the two new films will increase consumer confidence and enthusiasm for the cinema experience,” said Dergarabedian. “”[They will] also help build perceptions of the movie theater experience as more viable and essential than ever and not as some mistakenly predicted a predetermined victim to the pandemic. ”
If Thursday’s preview is an indicator, both films could be heading for strong openings. “A Quiet Place Part II” had ticket sales of $ 4.8 million while “Cruella” grossed $ 1.4 million. With the weather turning out to be cloudy and gloomy for most of the country over Memorial Day weekend, theaters saw an increase in the number of people who wanted to leave the house.