Sunday March 29, 2020
Box Office: No Time to Die
This photo was posted on Twitter the other day. It's from the Uptown area of Minneapolis—yes, the same as in the early Prince song. It's also the arthouse theater that ran a calendar schedule in the ‘70s and ’80s where I first saw so many classic films: from “Casablanca” to “A Clockwork Orange.”
I like the callout below the marquee to the post-credits scene in “Ferris Bueller.” Nice touch.
My first blog post on the Covid-19 epidemic related to China closing all its theaters in January/February. If I thought the same would happen to us I didn't think it would be this soon. I also couldn't imagine it. China is an authoritarian country so it can do this. In the U.S., I thought, it would take businesses to do it. And they wouldn't do it; they'd lose money. But they did it. They stepped up. Relatively quickly. SIFF closed all its local theaters on March 13. Regal closed its theaters nationwide on March 16. SIFF canceled its annual film May/June film festival on March 18. Studios pushed back release dates for the 25th James Bond movie, the ninth Fast & Furious, Wonder Woman 1984. The Bond movie is appropriately titled “No Time to Die.”
Of course, box office dwindled down to nothing:
- March 6-12: $134 million
- March 13-19: $58 million
- March 20-26: $5,176 *
* How is money still being made in theaters? Apparently, two movies are still playing somewhere. One is titled “Lost in America.”
Against this backdrop, then, it was huge news that China was reopening its theaters. It had flattened its curve and could now tentatively celebrate with re-releases of “Avengers,” “Avatar,” “Wolf Warrior II” and “The Wandering Earth.” From The Hollywood Reporter:
China's theater operators have faced two interrelated difficulties: convincing customers it is safe to return to the multiplex in large numbers and convincing distributors that there are enough customers to resume marketing and releasing their most valuable film titles—and without the latter, it would seem hard to achieve the former.
Agreed. The germaphobe part of me thinks this is premature. It still feels like no time to die.