While there were signs of life once again in the country's leading theatrical market, there was not enough of a pulse to truly bring the box office back to pre-pandemic levels. Even still, with New York City open once again at 25% capacity, the top two films, Disney's "Raya and the Last Dragon" and Warner Bros' "Tom & Jerry," were able to pull in more than $6M each, which is something the box office hasn't seen since before the pandemic.
"Raya and the Last Dragon," handily took the #1 spot, but failed to soar as high as projections, taking in only $8.6M. Last week's topper, "Tom & Jerry," also stumbled from its initial $14M opening, dropping to #2 with $6.6M in its second week. Much of the blame for the "Raya's" theatrical short-fall has to do with Disney itself, who refused to provide more favorable terms to exhibitors in exchange for the day-and-date rollout of the film in theaters and at home on Disney+ Premium Access. As a result, Cinemark, the nation's third largest theater chain – and the second largest that's currently open – refused to run the film, along with a host of other theater companies.
In total, Disney's strong-arm with their day-and-date distribution plan cost the family-friendly film roughly 200+ screens. While other studios like Universal and Warner Brothers have agreed to giving exhibitors a greater percentage of ticket sales in exchange for shorter release windows, or day-and-date premieres on HBO Max, Disney refused to budge. The studio also has not disclosed Premiere Access sales, making it hard to project just how well the film performed in total over the weekend.
Lionsgate's long-delayed sci-fi thriller "Chaos Walking" also opened this weekend to less than stellar numbers. The Doug Liman directed film, which cost $100M to make, only took in $3.8M, claiming the #3 spot. Unlike with "Raya," which received mostly positive reviews and an A+ CinemaScore, "Chaos Walking" was largely panned and probably wouldn't have turned a profit regardless of the pandemic.
The return of New York City cinemas after nearly a year in the dark provided a well-needed boost for other titles like Focus Features' Queens-set "Boogie," which took the #4 slot at $1.2M. Universal's "The Croods: A New Age" also continued to find some box office life, even with family-friendly competition, as it rounded out the Top 5 with $780K. While the next few weeks will be largely starved of big releases until WB's "Godzilla vs. Kong" at the end of the month, the addition of NYC theaters is a welcome one and a positive sign that things are moving in the right direction.
Box Office Top Ten: Mar. 5-7
- "Raya and the Last Dragon" (Walt Disney) - $8,600,000 [New Release]
- "Tom & Jerry" (Warner Bros) - $6,600,000 / lifetime: $23,000,000
- "Chaos Walking" (Lionsgate) - $3,825,000 [New Release]
- "Boogie" (Focus Features) - $1,200,000 [New Release]
- "The Croods: A New Age" (Universal) - $780,000 / lifetime: $53,611,445
- "The Little Things" (Warner Bros) - $550,000 / lifetime: $13,700,000
- "Wonder Woman 1984" (Warner Bros) - $511,000 / lifetime: $44,400,000
- "The Marksman" (Open Road) - $500,000 / lifetime: $13,002,509
- "Judas and the Black Messiah" (Warner Bros) - $282,000 / lifetime: $4,500,000
- "Monster Hunter" (Screen Gems) - $260,000 / lifetime: $14,396,626
About the Author
Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.