Even with close to 40% of the Canadian box office offline as Ontario remains closed until late July, and the Arclight/Pacific Theatres closed in L.A., the total weekend domestic box office came in at $98.08M per Comscore’s early Sunday AM estimate. Some distributors even have the weekend higher at $99.1M.
It’s a great indication that the domestic marketplace is close to normal pre-pandemic levels, even though 79% of 5,88K US and Canadian theaters are open. At the same time, 44 states are operating without any capacity restrictions.
The last time the weekend box office was this high during the pandemic was over the Friday-Sunday span of the 4-day Memorial Day weekend, which grossed $80.8M.
Granted, Universal’s F9 repped 71% of the total domestic B.O. business this past weekend, with a 3-day of $70M. But it outstripped even pre-pandemic 2020 weekend results, i.e. the weekend of Feb. 28-March 1, 2020, when Universal/Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man opening pushing all titles to $97.3M; the weekend of Feb. 7-9, when Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey debuted, with all pics making $95.4M; and the weekend of Jan. 31-Feb. 2, when all movies grossed $80.8M during the third weekend of Bad Boys for Life.
Even more impressive about the power of the B.O., is that even though Arclight and Pacific theaters are currently closed (AMC and Regal are taking over some of the leases), the total market’s B.O. for F9 in L.A. bested Hobbs & Shaw‘s by close to 30%. It goes to show that despite big theater closures, box office migrates to the next big multiplex in a neighborhood.
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The success of F9 is closing the gap between the 2021 and 2020 domestic box office: For the period of Jan. 1-June 27, the running domestic B.O. is $1.054 billion, -43% 2020 over the same span of time. This weekend at the B.O., per Comscore, is +114% over last weekend.
Let it be known, streaming fanatics: Exhibition and the domestic box office is only going to get better.