Refresh for updates: Disney/20th Century Studios’ New Mutants got an early jump on the weekend last night, grossing $750K in a pandemic marketplace where only 62% of all movie theaters are open.
Studios have often said that preview figures aren’t perfect indicators of the weekend box office. I beg to differ: It was more predictable during pre-pandemic times. Now, we don’t know what to expect. One of the reasons why Disney is leading with this movie as theaters reopen is because research shows that the 18-34 crowd is more open and eager about returning to cinemas.
Some of the Thursday night comps that Disney is looking at for New Mutants include Stuber ($750K, $8.2M opening), Strangers: Prey at Night ($610K, $10.4M), The Darkest Minds ($550K, $5.8M), 47 Meters Down: Uncaged ($500K, $8.4M), and 20th’s Underwater ($500K, $7M).
It’s the first notable Thursday night previews for a major studio movie that have been reported since the weekend of March 13-15, the last time all the major circuits were open, and the last time that domestic weekend box office was reported in full before the pandemic shutdown. On the evening of March 12, Sony’s Bloodshot posted $1.2M (before grossing a $9.1M opening weekend) off previews that started at 5pm at 2,631 screens; Lionsgate’s I Still Believe had $780K (also a $9.1M opening) at 2,600 sites plus Imax previews; while Universal/Blumhouse’s The Hunt made $435K at 2,200 theaters from showtimes starting at 7pm (translating into a $5.3M opening). And all of that was in a weekend when moviegoer sentiment was ratcheting down over coronavirus jitters.
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