Record week at the box office, and not in a good way

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At least we’re not having to pay $25 for popcorn, candy, and soda.


How did they even make that much, aren’t all the theaters closed? Is someone ordering takeout from the concession stands?


I think box office only counts admissions, not concession sales.

Maybe there’s one or two drive-ins still open somewhere?


“So now I’m thinking probably the box office hasn’t been this low since the late 20s.”

The thing is, movies were quite popular during the depression, so I can’t imagine this was true even then. Basically, I suspect movie industry revenue has never been this low since movie theaters as we know them opened. (I.e. post-nickelodeon)

(Looking up the numbers, the lowest period of movie attendance was in 1932, when the industry lost $55.7 million. Admissions dropped to 60 million a week and ticket prices dropped to 20 cents. Yet it still managed to generate orders of magnitude more revenue than this, even not adjusting for inflation.)

They’re definitely having a surge of business:

But the thing is, it would seem like there’s just enough drive-ins remaining that this amount is weirdly low if we’re counting them. So maybe the stats only count new movies in drive-ins, and that’s only one theater in the country? (Because this does seem like the kind of revenue a movie does when it opens in a single theater.) That seems unlikely.

Or maybe it’s ignoring drive-ins, but there’s a few regular theaters still partially open in states that aren’t in lock-down? (People buying movie passes at closed theaters?) It just seems a weird amount.


Some of this could be from online viewing. I am on the board of a community-owned volunteer-run theatre. We mostly show art house and repertory films. A good number of our distributors have rapidly pivoted to doing revenue-share viewings. Unsurprisingly, this is almost entirely indie distributors as opposed to large multiplex distributors, which is kind of a perfect storm for us. Still nowhere near normal box office, but it may actually represent a full decimal of that number.

Also, shameless plug:

And a huge thank you and shout out to the distributors who are making this happen:


That $5179.00 was probably lost change since they finally had the time to sweep under the seats.


That was my opinion before I moved to Austin and discovered Alamo Drafthouse and their epic food.

So good, in fact, that they are available for food delivery from the various delivery services out there.


The first films that were shown publicly with admission being charged were in 1895 and by the 1920s there were huge movie stars and films were quite popular even though they didn’t have sound and were only in black and white. Fatty Arbuckle was a huge movie star in the 1910s.




I’ve been wondering if they might try and release some of the bigger releases following the pay-per-view model like they do with boxing sometimes.

Note: I have never watched pay per view boxing and haven’t seen a movie in a theater at all in years, much less seen a movie on opening weekend so I’m not the target demo.

But I just can’t imagine the studios not finding some way to keep the money flowing. And just sending everything straight to streaming seems like them giving up.


Hollywood Accounting. It’s it’s own special brand of hypermathmatics.


You know, these movies, they don’t make 'em like they use’ta.


“Onward” was a fine little film with a lot of heart. It deserved 100,000x more success than it received.


The Twitter poster eventually realized that the only time movies have made this little money must have been in the very earliest days of the nickelodeons, some time in the 19th century, before anything like modern movie theaters and ticket sales existed.

Which means this was the worst box office week in the entire history of the movie industry - except, perhaps, during the theater shut-downs of the 1918 flu pandemic. (But it’s unclear how many were closed at one time, as closures happened on a city-by-city basis, though it was devastating to the film industry.)


It’s not streaming like Netflix or Hulu, it’s $20 48 hour rentals. Probably not enough to make up for the lack of theatres but maybe enough to take some of the sting off. Which is why we are going to see big tentpole blockbusters (Black Widow, James Bond, Fast and Furious, etc.) held back until after theatres re-open. Rentals, even at 20 bucks a pop, don’t make the money wide releases do so it makes sense to hold on to a finished film and release it to theatres instead of having to scramble to complete something.

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Wondering where can we start a petition to bring them back… :thinking:


That number sounds low enough to be a coding error. Like some theater accidentally coded the wrong date on a small handful of showings from a previous week and they are counted now. There probably are some non-chain theaters open in areas with no lockdown law but $5000 seems too small to be legitimate.


I know someone working in Hong Kong where apparently they just close every other row of seats and check temperatures on entry.