The movie theater industry is choking to death from the lack of support from the U.S. federal government, as are a lot of people in this country, but at this point it at least seems to be settling into a comfortable—if wholly unsustainable—groove: A movie comes out, it makes a few million dollars from the few thousand theaters that are open, and then when the next weekend comes around it gets eclipsed by some other movie while maybe making a little more than $1 million. Tenet proved that you can’t put out a huge movie and keep it running for a while, because the pace of the country’s recovery is far too slow to make up for that, so all you can really hope for is that your movie makes what it can in its opening weekend and then holds on long enough for someone to come up with a miracle cure for the coronavirus.
The new movie that came out this weekend is Let Him Go, a low-key Western starring Diane Lane and Kevin Costner (Ma and Pa Kent from Zack Snyder’s DC movies, making this a possible Justice League tie-in). It made $4.1 million for this week’s top spot, possibly foreshadowing a new era in which straightforward dramas about older people getting justice replace comic book adaptations as the new blockbusters. Just kidding, that’s not going to happen. We already explained what’s happening. Let Him Go is a new movie, so it made money. Next week it will make a lot less money.
Case in point: Last week’s winner, Come Play, dropped down to $1.7 million for a total of $5.6 after two weeks. Then it’s The War With Grandpa, which managed $1.5 million for $13 million after five weeks, followed by Honest Thief (another movie about an older person being wronged, actually) which made $1.1 million for a total of $11 million. Rounding out the top five is Tenet, which made $905,000 despite the fact that we already know when you’ll be able to see it on home video without facing as much COVID risk as you would if you went to a theater.
Then again, Toy Story made $505,000 in theaters this weekend, and you could probably just play the whole movie in your head from memory. Some people are just going to go to theaters even if it’s not safe and there’s no reason to.
For more detailed analysis of this weekend’s box office numbers, head over to Box Office Mojo.