Cinema Box Office Suffers Worst Drop in Two Decades As Coronavirus Bites

Social distancing and delayed release dates add up to the slowest weekend at the cinemas since September 2000.
IMAGE Unsplash

As anyone who wandered through a deserted city center over the weekend can attest (and if you did, why were you not at home?), it's starting to get a bit spooky out there. Though the UK is yet to experience official lockdowns on the scale of Italy, Spain or parts of the US, concerned and sensible citizens have already started to avoid places where they might spend extended periods in close proximity to someone carrying Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Environments such as, say, a cinema, which is why this weekend the US box office suffered its worst weekend since 15-21 September 2000, a window in which the biggest new release was Jamie Foxx-starring bomb Bait (nope, us neither). Revenues in the US and Canada were just over $55m, a fall of 45 per cent compared to the previous weekend, with the number one filmPixar's Onwarddropping 73 per cent (that's the kind of fall normally reserved for worst-film-ever contenders like Gigli, but which on this occasion doesn't tally with the quality of the film).

This worrying statistic poses two big questions. One, why are enough people going out to sit in dark rooms with total strangers to register even this level of box office? As studios push release dates back until (hopefully) the worst of the pandemic is over, the biggest new releases of the week were the poor-taste The Hunt, in which left-wingers track and kill right-wingers, and Vin Diesel comic book vehicle Bloodshot. Let me just say that neither of these films are worth you risking your healthor the health of your families – to see on their opening weekend.


This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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