This was inevitable given last night’s news that Disney was suspending global box office reporting for the time being: Comscore, the B.O. reporting agency and data cross-ways for exhibitors and distributors, is no longer issuing a North American Top 10, Global chart or commentary in the weekends ahead while theaters are shutdown.
Essentially, if one major studio, especially the one with the No. 1 film doesn’t report, you can’t assemble the chart, not to mention the grosses are drastically low, i.e. Onward last night grossed $33,2K, -46% ending its domestic total before its in-home release at $61.55M.
There were still 233 theaters that played across U.S./Canada last night, but we’ll see who braves it through the weekend. Hopefully the retro Drive-Ins who’ve been putting up the best numbers of the few that have been open.
Comscore Senior Media analyst Paul Dergarabedian was trying to remember the last time the box office was nearly closed down, and it was the Monday following the 1994 Northridge, CA earthquake on Jan. 17, 1994. He was then one year into his career working at box office analytics firm Exhibitor Relations Co., and was unable to get into the company’s Robertson Blvd. offices in Beverly Hills (housed in the Pacific Theatres building).
“The gentleman who ran the company, John Krier, snuck me into the building so I could send the box office estimates via fax to the press and the industry. Philadelphia was the No. 1 film that weekend and nobody in Southern California was going to the movies that day given the enormity of the situation and as I recall, and the building was shutdown for safety reasons. My boss snuck me past the security guard to run the box office sheets through the fax machine to our industry and press clients,” Dergarabedian tells Deadline.
“Today what everyone is focused on is solidarity and being there for each other. While the numbers not going out as usual saddens all of us in the industry, once theaters and restaurants are back online, and day-to-day activities are back to some semblance of normalcy, people will once again be embracing those experiences and the movie theater will be a big part of that,” adds Dergarabedian.
Below is Comscore’s note to the media today:
Dear colleagues, due to this unprecedented situation, Comscore will be temporarily suspending our usual Sunday North American Top 10 Estimates, Global chart and commentary. As always, Paul Dergarabedian will be available for any questions you may have regarding this matter throughout the weekend and in the coming weeks. We will update the status of studio reporting on Monday.
Please be safe and well,
The Comscore Movies Team