The Hollywood box office took a punishing blow from the coronavirus over the weekend, with ticket revenue hitting a two-decade low of about $55.3 million. While Pixar’s Onward once again took the No. 1 domestic spot, the animated movie saw its business plummet more than 70 percent from its opening weekend.
I Still Believe, a faith-based romance from the makers of the hit I Can Only Imagine, opened in second place with a lackluster $9.5 million. The previously canceled horror-thriller The Hunt, which seems to exist under a Hollywood hex, floundered on its opening weekend, coming in at No. 5 with $5.3 million.
The overall box office decline was due in part to social distancing measures implemented by AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas, which separately announced late last week that they would cap ticket sales at 50 percent of seating capacity to limit the number of customers at each screening.
AMC, the largest cinema chain in the country, implemented the measure Friday and said it will keep the measure in effect through April 30.
The domestic box office brought in an estimated $55.3 million for the weekend, which industry trade publications reported represents a more than 20-year-low for the domestic box office, not adjusting for inflation.
Onward, featuring the voices of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, retained its No. 1 spot at the box office with $10.5 million, a 73 percent drop from last weekend. So far, the Disney Pixar animated movie has brought in $81.5 million worldwide, a major disappointment for the studio whose movies tend to cost close to $200 million to make.
I Still Believe, directed by The Erwin Brothers, grossed $9.5 million on its opening weekend. Their previous movie, I Can Only Imagine, brought in $17.1 million on its first weekend two years ago. The new movie tells the real-life story of Christian singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp, who was diagnosed with cancer before they married.
The Vin Diesel action movie Bloodshot debuted at No. 3 with $9.3 million. Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man held strong at No. 4, grossing an additional $6 million.
Blumhouse’s other release The Hunt didn’t fare so well. The seemingly cursed movie was canceled last year following mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. Lionsgate resurrected the movie this year but its opening weekend became a casualty of the coronavirus. Audience reaction also helped to kill the movie, which received a C+ Cinemascore rating.
The horror thriller, which tells the story of a group of liberal elites who hunt down a group of average Americans for sport, brought in just $5.3 million for the weekend, well below expectations.
Hollywood has been scrambling to react to the coronavirus pandemic, canceling the releases of major movies and suspending production on numerous movies and TV shows.