Under the shadow of the coronavirus outbreak, the North American box office had its lowest weekend ticket sales in two decades as viewers stayed home and theaters closed or slashed capacities, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said.
Pixar/Disney’s animated film “Onward” retained the top spot for the second week, but saw ticket sales for the Friday-to-Sunday period plummet from last week’s $39 million to just $10.6 million.
Overall, the box office sank to $53.5 million, a figure even smaller than the weekends after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
The mayors of New York and Los Angeles have ordered all movie theaters to close in their cities.
Shutting or reducing capacities
In second spot for the weekend was new Sony film “Bloodshot,” a superhero film starring Vin Diesel. It took in $9.2 million.
Universal’s thriller “The Invisible Man” placed fourth, at $5.9 million. It stars Elisabeth Moss as the former girlfriend of a man who returns to haunt her after supposedly committing suicide.
And in fifth spot was another new film, Universal’s thriller “The Hunt,” at $5.3 million. Hilary Swank and Betty Gilpin are among the stars in a tale of a dozen strangers who find themselves being pursued, as a sport, by a group of wealthy hunters.
Due to the pandemic, Universal said upcoming releases will be made available via home streaming on the same day they hit remaining theaters. Films currently playing in theaters will be available to stream “as early as Friday.”