The Box Office was back! So it seemed to the delight of movie executives who were thankful to still have a job. It started with A Quiet Place II scoring 57.1 million (3726 theaters) in its opening weekend May 28, 2021. The same weekend saw Cruella make 26.5 million (3892 theaters), but the total take isn’t clear because it opened simultaneously on Disney+.
Then on Jun 25, 2001 Universal’s F9 opened with 70 Million (4179 theaters). A number more closely associated with blockbuster movies. Better still July 9, 2021 Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow opened with 80.4 million (4160 theaters) smashing the post box office record especially if we are to believe Disney claiming the Scarlett Johansson lead film earned another 60 million from Disney+ premier subscribers during the same weekend which is the first time they have reported premier plus profits.
Even the following weekend July 16, 2021 Warner Brothers Space Jam: A New Legacy (3965 theaters) took in a surprising 31.1 million dollars at the box office. Perhaps more if not for the simultaneous release on HBO Max. So does this mean the box office is back? Maybe or maybe not? Space Jam: A New Legacy dropped a whopping 69% in its 2nd weekend and though the studio seems to blame the decline on the simultaneous release, it is one of the biggest drops in box office history. Perhaps the fact it wasn’t such a good movie is more likely for the huge decline?
There is no doubt the box office is starting to look better. Just the amount of theaters that are now open is a good sign. Add to that restrictions being lifted with more seats available has also had an impact on the box office. But just when it seemed we were off to the races, news reports of the pandemic coming back strong in some of the biggest markets seem to have studios pumping the brakes. Some studios are still taking a wait and see approach to bringing out their big guns. No Time To Die was all set to be released March 2020 complete with Daniel Craig appearing on Saturday Night Live the weekend before. After multiple delays, it seems MGM is finally set to release the final Craig Bond film in October 2021 as long as the latest outbreak doesn’t delay things longer.
Two things are certain, the box office is starting to show signs of a comeback and we are still in the throws of a nationwide pandemic. Why the bounce in box office numbers? About half of the country has taken one of the available vaccines leading to theaters being comfortable to open. Also, studios are finally releasing decent movies in theaters. A Quiet Place II and Black Widow are both excellent movies and would likely have even higher box office numbers if not for the pandemic. F9 has a big following and being the ninth film in the franchise, with the usual over the top stunts, it feeds a certain base of loyal movie goers. Space Jam: A New Legacy was the first family film to be released, but likely the week 2 numbers are a more accurate amount for the film. Let’s hope more people heed their doctor’s advice and get vaccinated so studios will continue pumping out the hits. Maybe then more moviegoers will be ready to dip their toe in the water and their wallets.