‘The War With Grandpa’ Passes ‘Tenet’ With $3.6 Million Box Office Opening

Robert De Niro family comedy is the first in its genre to arrive in theaters since they reopened

War With Grandpa Robert De Niro
101 Studios

After five weekends atop a pandemic-drained box office, “Tenet” has ceded the No. 1 spot to 101 Studios’ “The War With Grandpa,” an indie family film starring Robert De Niro that is serving as a trial balloon of sorts for the genre.

Released on 2,250 screens, “The War With Grandpa” took in $3.6 million in its opening weekend for a per-theater average of $1,604. “Tenet,” in its sixth weekend, took in $2.1 million from 2,215 locations to bring its total to $48.3 million domestically and $323.3 million worldwide. Among holdovers, Solstice’s “Unhinged” is approaching the $20 million mark after eight weekends, while Open Road’s “After We Collided” has grossed $42.3 million globally.

“The War With Grandpa” was one of the films that began development under The Weinstein Company and was reclaimed by the producers after the studio went bankrupt. 101 Studios, co-founded by the film’s producer Marvin Peart, acquired distribution rights to the film this past June. The movie has a 26% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ on CinemaScore.

Of course, the amount of information that “War With Grandpa” can provide on the box office is limited, given that several major cities still have not re-opened their theaters, while Regal Cinemas has closed its locations nationwide. But it’s still noteworthy that the film even released at all considering the reluctance of major studios to release any family films. Disney in particular, made headlines after it chose to abandon plans to release “Mulan” in theaters alongside “Tenet,” opting instead to release it as a premium on-demand title on Disney+.

This past week, Disney chose to take a similar approach with its Pixar film “Soul,” moving it from theaters to a Disney+ release on Christmas Day, though it will not be a PVOD title. One family film from a major studio that could stay in theaters is Universal’s “The Croods: A New Age,” which has a greater incentive to not move thanks to Universal’s deal with AMC Theaters to release films on PVOD as early as three weekends after theatrical release. However, it remains to be seen whether other theater chains will agree to screen the film on similar terms.

“The War With Grandpa” is one of several indie films that will serve as the only new titles for theaters in October. Meanwhile, classic films will be taking up more and more screen time, and Disney is providing the most popular offerings. “Hocus Pocus,” the 1993 Halloween film that made over $2 million last weekend, added another $1.2 million this weekend. Disney also re-released the Pixar film “Coco,” which made $603,000 this weekend.

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