Movie ticket sales fall

click to enlarge Scene from "I Still Believe."
Scene from "I Still Believe."

By Brooks Barnes
The New York Times

LOS ANGELES — Here is all you need to know about the mindsets of moviegoers as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies: God beat a superhero at the weekend box office.

Seemingly every aspect of American life has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the weekend ritual of watching a movie in the dark with strangers has been no exception. Domestic ticket sales totaled about $55.3 million, a 44% drop from last weekend, despite three new films — “Bloodshot,” “The Hunt” and “I Still Believe” — arriving in wide release.

The No. 1 movie was a holdover: “Onward,” the Disney-Pixar fantasy about two elf brothers who have an accident with magic, collected an estimated $10.5 million at 4,310 theaters in the United States and Canada — a 73% drop from its first weekend. Pixar movies typically decline between 30% and 45% from their first to second weekends, demonstrating the impact of coronavirus fears on moviegoing.

Overseas, where theaters have been closed in some countries in Europe and Asia, “Onward” took in $6.8 million. The animated film’s global total now stands at $101.7 million, Disney said.

In a surprise — at least for Hollywood — an under-the-radar new release rooted in religion, “I Still Believe,” sold the most tickets of the newcomers. It collected about $9.5 million from 3,250 theaters. “I Still Believe” (Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Co.) cost less than $10 million to make. A romantic drama, the film stars KJ Apa (“Riverdale”) and Britt Robertson (“Under the Dome”) and is based on the true story of Christian singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and his first wife, Melissa Henning-Camp, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer while on their honeymoon.

The superhero movie “Bloodshot,” starring Vin Diesel, played on 2,861 screens in the United States and Canada and collected an estimated $9.3 million. Sony, Bona Film Group and Cross Creek Pictures financed “Bloodshot” for about $45 million.

“The Hunt” (Universal and Blumhouse), a satirical horror film about elites killing “deplorables” that cost $15 million to make and tens of millions to market, collapsed with about $5.3 million in ticket sales.