Warner Bros. has once again bumped the pandemic box office back above $10 million in overall weekend grosses thanks to its newest film “The Little Things,” which has earned a $4.8 million opening from 2,171 screens and $7.6 million worldwide.
Starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto and directed by John Lee Hancock, the crime thriller has received mixed reviews with 48% on Rotten Tomatoes and a B- on CinemaScore. But it stands as the highest total for a No. 1 film since last month’s release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” which earned $1.3 million in its sixth weekend to push its global total past the $150 million mark with $152 million.
While “The Little Things” has grossed far less than “Tenet” because of global theater closures forced by new COVID-19 outbreaks, Nielsen reported on Friday that the film logged nearly 2.3 billion minutes of viewing on HBO Max when it was released on Christmas weekend, 35% higher than that of fellow holiday release “Soul” on Disney+.
Sitting in between the two Warner releases is Universal/DreamWorks’ “The Croods: A New Age,” which continues to hold on strong despite being in theaters for 10 weekends and hitting premium video on-demand seven weeks ago. The animated film has crossed $100 million internationally and earned $1.8 million domestically this weekend, giving it a total of $144.3 million worldwide. While that total is predictably short of the $587 million made by the first “Croods,” Universal reports that the 18 films it has released on PVOD during the pandemic have combined for around $500 million in profit.
Sitting just behind “WW84” in fourth is Open Road’s “The Marksman,” which added $1.25 million in its third weekend for a total of $7.8 million. Sony’s “Monster Hunter” completes the Top 5 with $740,000 and an $11.1 million total after seven weekends.
This box office weekend comes after a wild week for the movie theater industry, specifically, AMC Theaters. The chain announced on Monday that it had secured new debt and equity financing that would allow it to keep the lights on through the first half of 2021, as studios begin to push films out of release dates in the spring and early summer. That news was enough to bump its stock up 67% to around $5/share. But that was before AMC saw an enormous surge at the hands of r/wallstreetbets, a Reddit page of daytraders investing in companies hit with debt in an effort to tweak the noses of hedge fund companies that were short-selling them.
Within hours, AMC’s stock skyrocketed to $20/share, and even after trading sites like Robinhood blocked users from buying more stock, the price has still settled at a surprising $13.26/share. AMC has benefitted so much from becoming an internet meme that it has even been able to wipe out $600 million in debt as one of its creditors, equity firm Silver Lake, converted that debt into equity based off of the stock surge. How much longer this surge will continue as it draws the attention of Congress and the SEC remains to be seen.