The week of Thanksgiving in the U.S. is typically a blockbuster period at the box office, but this year the COVID-19 shutdowns have crippled the film industry, leaving little doubt that this Thanksgiving the box office set for its worst ticket sales in decades.
“The pandemic has negatively impacted every traditionally important box office holiday from Memorial weekend to Fourth of July, and even sidelined the almighty summer movie season, so it’s no surprise that Thanksgiving would be impacted as well,” [Comscore analyst Paul] Dergarabedian said.
Already, the yearly box office is a fraction of what it was last year, dropping more than 77% to $2.18 billion. Since August, when major theater chains reopened, through Nov. 22, the box office has only collected $279 million. During the same period last year, the box office brought in $2.86 billion.
In recent weeks, the number of coronavirus cases has reached historic highs and the number of theaters open to the public has shrunk. The national seven-day average of daily new cases stands at 174,225 as of Tuesday, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. With cases on the rise, the fear is that people will shy away from public forms of entertainment, despite investments from cinema owners to increase safety measures in auditoriums.
Two weeks ago, there were 2,800 theaters open in the U.S. This most recent weekend, around 2,100 theaters open. It’s unclear how many theaters will be open for Thanksgiving weekend, but if that number shrinks again, so too does the potential box office haul.
This Thanksgiving box office won’t surpass the $46.8 million that was rung up during the five-day holiday period in 1984, which is as far back as Comscore’s data goes. That would make it the worst Thanksgiving box office in decades.
MacDailyNews Take: According to the report, the hope is “that once a vaccine is widely distributed and blockbuster movies are more regularly released to the public, that these trends will reverse,” but the possibility that behaviors have been changed should not be discounted.
A) $19.99 for a first-run movie in the comfort of your own house on a large screen, with controllable audio volume (even closed captioning if you desire), with the entire family and your own all-you-can-eat popcorn, candy, and drinks for under $10 total for everyone
B) At least $80.00 for a family of four with criminally-overpriced often-stale popcorn, candy, and drinks at a potentially COVID-encrusted theater packed with uncouth idiots from who-knows-where talking, eating, coughing, sneezing, crunching bags, looking their phones, getting up to go to the bathroom, etc.
It’s such a difficult choice!
The $10 bucket of 10-cents worth of popcorn and the $6 cup of 6-cents worth of soda are obvious clues that theatre owners don’t have a sustainable business model.
Bottom line: It took a global pandemic to wake up Hollywood and drag it kicking and screaming into the new millennium at least a decade late. We’re sure Steve Jobs was telling Hollywood honchos this would happen long ago. — MacDailyNews, April 28, 2020