June 4, 2021: -Over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, North American theaters tallied around $100 million in ticket sales, the best performance from the beginning of the pandemic.
Even though less than half of the $232 million hauls garnered over the same weekend in the year 2019, this weekend was a bellwether for the movie theater industry.
“Any studio executive’s belief that a movie belongs on streaming, that model is shattered with the numbers,” Joseph Masher, chief operating officer of Bow Tie Cinemas, said on Tuesday on CNBC.”
The weekend boasts a $48.4 million three-day haul for Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II,” the highest film debut in the pandemic. For the entire four-day holiday weekend, the film garnered $57 million.
The film started just shy of the first “A Quiet Place,” which gained $50 million across its first on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in theaters in the year 2018. Notably, only 72% of theaters are opening for the sequel.
The film’s strong opening suggests “the demand for theatrical experiences has returned even as few movie theaters in the country keeps going on to operate under certain restrictions,” JPMorgan analyst Alexia Quadrani told investors on Tuesday.
Disney’s “Cruella” grabbed $27 million in the four-day weekend, and even more muted resulted due to the film that got released on Disney+ for $30.
Several studios started experimenting with different release strategies in the pandemic as they waited for movie theaters to recover. Disney created premiere access, a $30 one-time cost to watch the latest kind of blockbuster feature.
As cinemas have started and vaccination rates have increased, the company has chosen to release the films in theaters and simultaneously offer this at-home streaming option.
Warner Bros.′ decided to release its entire slate on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day at the beginning of this year. Universal and Paramount have struck deals with cinema theater chains for shorter theatrical windows that permit the studios to place features on streaming services which than in previous years.
Masher expects that trend to reverse as the coronavirus pandemic eases.
“Sitting in the room with strangers, even post-pandemic, is something you can’t get someplace else,” Masher said.” ‘The Conjuring’ is going to come this week. It will do well. ‘In the Heights’ is in two weeks. It will be available on streaming services as well. The studios realize that theater exclusive is the way to go.”
“We are back and not going anywhere,” Masher added.