Nearly 700 Movie Theaters Closed Over The Weekend, Making For A Dispiriting Pre-Thanksgiving Box Office Haul

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to get worse in the United States, many states are tightening restrictions on non-essential businesses and gatherings of people. That may not stop the plethora of idiots who are still forcing their Thanksgiving plans into existence despite the irresponsibility of it all, but it did result in the shutdown of nearly 700 theaters this past weekend, making for a poor showing at the box office on a weekend that is typically full of huge blockbusters.

In their latest box office report, IndieWire noted that only around 2,800 theaters were open this past weekend, a steep drop from the 3,400 that were open the weekend before. Combine that with a lack of major new releases in theaters, and it should come as no surprise that the entire weekend box office haul for all movies in theaters is less than $7 million. That means that the per screen average was $500. With that kind of performance, even multiplexes with eight or more screens aren't making enough to cover their operating costs.

Things may get a little better before they get worse with the forthcoming releases of The Croods: A New Age and the simultaneous release of Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and on HBO Max on Christmas Day. But with more government restrictions likely on the way in other states, it's probably going to get worse as more theaters are forced to shut their doors.

When you look at the box office chart for this past weekend, the impact of losing nearly 700 theaters is clear. The body swap horror comedy Freaky was the only movie on the charts to make more than $1 million, and it barely did that with an estimated $1.2 million for the film's second weekend in theaters. Even though that's a drop of 56%, it was still enough to stay at the top of the box office charts.

Showing some legs at the box office during these dismal times is The War with Grandpa. The movie actually jumped from the #3 spot the previous weekend to #2 this past weekend, and it had one of the lower box office drops, only falling 45%. The family comedy starring Robert De Niro has been in the line-up for seven weeks, and even though it's only made over $16 million, that's enough to make it the highest grossing movie to open in theaters since Tenet.

The next two spots were taken by more recent releases, with the thriller Let Him Go starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane landing in #3 with $710,000 for its third week, and the PG-13 horror movie Come Play at #4 with $550,000 in its fourth week. Both are Focus Features movies, which fall under the Universal Pictures banner, and considering the deals they've been striking with movie theaters for shortened theatrical windows, there's a chance we might see those hitting VOD sooner than later.

To really cement just how dismal the box office was this past weekend, rounding out the top five was a re-release of The Santa Clause from Disney. The holiday comedy pulled in a $461,000, and it was the only re-release to make it into the top 10 on the box office charts this time.

Thanksgiving weekend is probably going to be worse, but with how stupid some people are being about the holidays already, there just might be an uptick at the box office, even with more theaters closed. America!