In fairness, Focus Features opened a new film in the United States, but it debuted day-and-date on streaming so hardly anyone showed up in theatres.
Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul., a mega-church satire starring Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown, crash-landed in 14th place with US$1.44 million from 1,882 theatres.
NBCUniversal, the studio’s parent company, did not reveal streaming metrics. By Monday, it is expected to reach US$1.75 million.
Lucky for Focus Features, which bought the well-reviewed movie at the Sundance Film Festival for US$8.5 million, its hybrid release on Peacock will help mitigate the film’s dismal theatrical run.
“Reviews are very good, but the film is not connecting theatrically,” says Mr David Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research.
“During the last two years, movies released simultaneously in theatres and on streaming have under-performed at the box office. That’s part of what’s happening.”
Oddly enough, given the top two films in the US were months old, last Saturday ranked as the highest-attended day of the year according to the US National Association of Theatre Owners.
That is because Sept 3 was National Cinema Day, which brought out an estimated 8.1 million people as more than 3,000 theatres across the country slashed the price of admission.
Participants, including major chains like AMC and Regal, charged just US$3 to any movie in any format – far less expensive than the country’s average ticket price.
The heavily discounted prices may have increased attendance (and popcorn sales), but it did not do much to boost overall revenues over the traditionally slow Labour Day weekend.
In 2021, Disney’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings set a Labour Day weekend record with US$94 million. This year, the collective box office tally for every film in theatres is closer to US$50 million.