Coronavirus Just Caused the Worst Weekend at the Box Office in 20 Years

Hollywood is taking a beating as COVID-19 caution intensifies

The COVID-19 has delivered the film industry its lowest-grossing weekend in more than 20 years, bringing in just $55.3 million since Friday. A combination of theaters scaling down the number of people allowed into screenings and the public’s own fear of infection contributed to this weekend’s historically depressed performance, Variety reports.

Box Office receipts are down 45 percent since last weekend, a crash that began even before major exhibitor cities like Los Angeles and New York effectively shut down.

In its second weekend, Disney-Pixar’s Onward led ticket sales at $10.5 million, a devastating 73 percent drop from last weekend.

In second place was the Christian drama I Still Believe, taking in $9.5 million from 3,250 theaters while its predecessor, I Can Only Imagine opened to $17 million in 2018 and grossed $86 million overall. Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot landed in third place, earning just $9.3 million from 2,861 venues, though not much more was expected from the $45 million production, which took in another $13 million overseas.

Universal and Blumhouse’s delayed R-rated satire The Hunt limped in at fifth place, earning just $5.3 million for its $14 million budget.

This is the worst weekend for the film industry since September 15 to 17, 2000, when theaters brought in $54.5 million from Keanu Reeves’s dud, The Watcher, Jamie Foxx’s fizzler Bait, and surprise breakout classic Bring It On.

Studio executives have postponed the release of several tentpole movies slated for spring,  including Disney’s Mulan, Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II, Fast 9 from Universal, and the 25th 007 flick, No Time to Die.

“These are unique circumstances,” said Universal president of domestic distribution Jim Orr. “But without a doubt, we will get to the other side. The domestic box office will be back, just nobody has a real answer as to when.” As the weekend wrapped up, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive order shuttering all L.A. movie theaters until at least March 31.

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