Focus Features has the No. 1 film this weekend with the PG-13 horror film “Come Play,” but moviegoers continue to stay home, as the film took in an opening weekend of just $3.1 million from 2,183 screens.
Even in a normal box office market, it would have been difficult for “Come Play” — or any horror film — to earn strong numbers with Halloween falling on a Saturday. Traditionally, when Halloween falls on a weekend, numbers are lower because most audiences are taking advantage of the calendar to enjoy the holiday elsewhere. Distributors and theaters owners typically see a bigger boost when Halloween falls on a weekday because it elevates mid-week revenue.
Of course, this Halloween is anything but normal. New York City and Los Angeles continue to keep their theaters closed, and San Francisco is only allowing theaters to open without concession sales. This past week, Cinemark announced it would open locations in the Bay Area without concessions, but many other chains are keeping their theaters in that area closed.
Making matters worse is the soaring rate of COVID-19 infections nationwide. The U.S. is shattering global records for daily new infections with each passing day, with the rate expected to cross 100,000 this week. With epidemiologists’ fears of a deadly winter becoming reality, it is expected that films scheduled for Christmas release like “Wonder Woman 1984” will soon be moved to next year.
As for the rest of the currently struggling box office, the Liam Neeson action film “Honest Thief” added $1.35 million this weekend to bring its total to $9.5 million. Robert De Niro’s “The War With Grandpa” has added $1.1 million, bringing its total to $11.2 million after four weekends. Finally, a trio of Disney Halloween re-releases — “Hocus Pocus,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Monsters Inc.” — combined for $1.1 million with “Hocus Pocus” leading with $456,000.