For the first time since 9/11, the film’s opening weekend grossed more than $20 million in theaters.
Despite modest budget successes like Sony’s “The Woman King” and Warner Bros. “Don’t Worry Darling,” this September’s box office hit a quarter-century low.
The total for the month is set to sink to a 25-year low, not counting 2020, when Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” accounted for nearly half of the $86 million box office as most theaters closed at the height of the pandemic. stayed
With just $275 million in North America to date, it will be the first September since 1997 with a monthly total below $350 million. To date, the running total for September 2022 is 20% below last year’s pace and 52% behind the pace set this month in 2019.
Even last year, when theaters were still in the relatively early stages of their pandemic reopening process, September grosses reached $367.1 million.
And with Warner Bros. reporting a $19.3 million opening weekend for “Dont Worry Darling,” this month will be the first September since 2001 — when the Sept. 11 attacks hit moviegoers — that the film failed to make. has been opening weekend of more than $20 million.
Last year, Disney/Marvel’s “Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” earned a Labor Day record $94 million over the four-day weekend. Before the pandemic, Warner Bros. and New Line set the record for “It” with a $123 million opening in September, with the sequel opening to $92 million two years later.
But this month’s $19 million openings for “The Woman King” and “Don’t Worry Darling” are below the pedestrian debuts of early-to-mid September 2000 releases, even earlier. Films with bigger openings include Tim Story’s cult comedy “Barber Shop” ($20.6 million in 2002), Robert Rodriguez’s “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” ($23.4 million in 2003) and Paul W. S. Anderson’s “Resident Evil.” : Apocalypse” ($204 million).
Theatrical success for studio and cinema is not always linked. “Don’t Worry Darling,” with a $35 million budget before marketing, could turn a decent profit theatrically despite all the scandalous headlines surrounding director Olivia Wilde’s thriller. This weekend’s newcomers, Universal’s LGBTQ rom-com “Bros” and Paramount’s horror film “Smile,” could also find low-budget success.
But theaters, still in a huge financial hole due to the pandemic, need to post big ticket sales regardless of the film’s budget. Unfortunately, the only films that can provide these kinds of numbers are tentpole blockbusters and family films, and there are a very limited number of them to be released before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the box office recovery can’t come fast enough for Cineworld’s Regal Cinemas, which is now in the process of bankruptcy while closing some of its theaters. AMC Theaters also continues its fight to stay afloat financially, announcing that it will sell up to $425 million of its new APA shares to help pay off its $5 billion debt load. . The theatrical landscape is changing rapidly under this relentless financial pressure, and no significant relief is expected to return to pre-pandemic movies until at least 2023, if at all.
October movies like Warner Bros./DC’s “Black Adam,” Sony’s “Lyle Lyle Crocodile” and Universal/Blumhouse’s “Halloween Ends” could boost the box office — but no one can count on the October 2021 movies. “Dune,” “No Time to Die” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” did last year. Many analysts and distribution executives project that October 2022 ticket sales will drop 20-30 percent from last year’s $623 million.
November and December 2021 are expected to outperform, with Disney/Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and 20th Century’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” making stronger winter holiday offerings than last year. In a big way, when Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was taking over the box office on its own. Ideally, the holiday box office boom will bring in some better markets in January and an early-year slate led by films like Paramount’s “Babylon” and Disney’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”