September 13, 2020

US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office Report – 9.13.2020


OPENINGS:  Even in a normal box office marketplace, a mild rom-com with no big-name stars like THE BROKEN HEARTS GALLERY (TriStar/Sony) probably wouldn’t have made much money, and it has both a low production budget and limited marketing costs going for it.  All that being said, though, there’s nothing about a $1.1M weekend at 2204 theatres (a $500 per theatre weekend average) that would encourage Sony to test the waters any more forcefully with theatrical releases right now.

HOLDOVERS:  We said last week that we wouldn’t really know how TENET (Warners) was doing until we saw the studio’s decision about its next scheduled big-budget release Wonder Woman 1984, and now we know:  Wonder Woman‘s move from October 2 to Christmas Day makes a conclusive statement about where the US box office stands right now.  (The next currently scheduled tentpole opening is Marvel/Disney’s Black Widow on November 6, and we’ll see if that sticks.)  In terms of parsing the specific Tenet numbers, Warners decided belatedly that they should release last weekend’s Friday/Saturday/Sunday numbers after all, because the comparison of the film’s full-week numbers ($20.2M vs $9.3M, a 54% drop) looks a lot worse than the weekend alone ($9.4M vs. $6.7M, a 29% decline).  But while the 29% number seems to support the idea of a sustained, long-running box office, it comes with asterisks of its own.  For one thing, since last Friday was actually Tenet‘s 4th day of release, this isn’t really a conventional weekend vs. weekend comparison.  For another, the highest-grossing theatres in the country for Tenet this weekend were locations in Orange County CA and Los Angeles drive-ins, which just re-opened or booked the film and which boosted the box office in general and Tenet in particular.  It’s not at all clear when other territories will follow, in particular the key movie markets of NY, LA and San Francisco.  But even if we assume Tenet will have the same soft declines that it did this weekend, and even with a near-total lack of competition for the next several weeks, it’s hard to see how Tenet can land much higher than $50M in the US.  The film is also running out of steam overseas, where the box office is more normal, down 35% to $37.3M with $177.5M to date.  At a $300-325M worldwide total, Tenet may be a 9-digit loss for Warners, hence the move of Wonder Woman.

THE NEW MUTANTS (20th/TSG/Disney) also benefited from the new areas with open theatres, and dropped 33% to $2.1M in its 3rd weekend, still unlikely to reach $25M in the US.  It has $14M overseas after a $3.8M weekend in 36 markets.

UNHINGED (Solstice) is holding well with a 17% drop in its 5th weekend, but at a low $1.5M level, and it’s probably not going to get past $20M in the US.  It has $12M overseas.

BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC (Orion/MGM) plunged 66% to $260K in its 3rd weekend and won’t reach $5M in theatres.

THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD (Searchlight/Disney) fell 41% to $190K in its 3rd Weekend and may not get to $2.5M.

MULAN (Disney) had its long-anticipated opening in China at a dismal $23.2M.  That’s presumably due in part to the controversies that have followed the film, but it’s also worth noting there’s a history of underperformance in China by American movies with direct China connections like Crazy Rich Asians and The FarewellMulan is only playing in theatres in territories that don’t have Disney+, and it’s total weekend was $29.1M in 17 markets for $37.6M to date, with Korea and Hong Kong to come.  (Meanwhile, Disney has been conspicuously silent about the performance of Mulan on Disney+, even given the limited information usually provided by streaming services.)

NEXT WEEKEND:  There are no major releases scheduled.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."