New York Cinemas Bounces Back With $1 Million Weekend

50 weeks. 350 Days. Let’s say a Year. A whole year! That’s how long New York City cinemas have remained shuttered due to Covid-19.

And finally, this past weekend, they re-opened and set a foundation for a significant sign of positivity to come for the industry.

After reopening Friday, they became the top market in the country for North America despite operating at 25% capacity.

The country’s busiest cinema, the AMC Empire 25 on Times Square also was part of the reopening.

The New York Designated Market Area (DMA) is the most populous and densely populated area of the USA, this includes the five boroughs of the city along with New Jersey, Pike County, Long Island & parts of New York State.

380% Increase in Box Office for New York Cinemas

Vue Cinemas COVID 19

Credit: VUE

Read more: Raya And The Last Dragon’s Trailer Has Landed And It Looks Incredible

Indicating a 380% increase on the previous weekend, according to Deadline, the 88 open locations grossed approximately, $1.07m over the weekend.

The weekend’s box office results according to industry box office analyst Comscore noted that “the overall weekend box office is poised to be the best we’ve seen during the pandemic since theatres reopened in late August”.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news over the weekend that AMC cinema sites, such as 19th Street in Manhattan, were seeing multiple auditoriums selling out.

For films such as Disney’s Raya And The Last Dragon, and Nomadland from Fox Searchlight.

The results are promising, and even though the capacities are well below normal, the momentum can hopefully hold and as restrictions lift ensure the theatrical experience continues and release dates hold.

Elsewhere Amazon released Coming to America 2 on Thursday and reported this morning that the film (which they grabbed for a whopping $125m in October) was a success.

Screen Engine who collates survey data upon PVOD/VOD title performances reported that the Eddie Murphy feature took the number one spot for the biggest weekend of any streaming films in the past 12 months.

Biggest Opening Weekend For A Streaming Movie In 12 Months

Raya And The Last Dragon Trailer 1

Credit: Disney

Read more: Matt Smith Rumoured To Be Up For A Role In Game Of Thrones Spinoff Series House Of Dragons

That means its opening weekend beat out the likes of Warner Bros. Pictures, Wonder Woman 1984, Amazon’s own Borat 2, and Paramount’s Spongebob Movie.

Now while this would indicate a huge initial success, we still don’t have the numbers, as Amazon doesn’t release these.

Furthermore, as Prime comes with the whole Amazon package, it’s difficult to tell exactly if the film increased/kept subscribers for its streaming service.

The film comes from director Craig Brewer and along with Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall returning in their original roles, the cast also welcomes Wesley Snipes and Leslie Jones to the fold.

Elsewhere Disney’s Raya The Last Dragon continued to underperform against expectation.

Have Disney Forgotten Marketing?

Raya and the last dragon trailer

Credit: Disney

Read more: Cineworld Takeover Rumours By The Jangho Group Continue To Surge

Once again, even without numbers, a key difference to Amazon and Disney Plus and seeming success, has been advertising.

When Borat 2 released last Winter, the film still had a lot of marketing in the real world outside of the streaming service, yet as with Mulan in countries that streamed the release, the marketing was non-existent after the cancelled cinematic date.

Again, the same with Raya The Last Dragon, Disney has done a very poor job of marketing the film outside of the Disney Plus app, and evidently, it’s had an effect on the performance.

For an original title, it needs some sort of marketing plan to succeed…

The film topped the US box office taking over $8.7 million and matched this in China with $8.4 million.

However, when China has been breaking box office records over the past 12 months, and films are regularly churning out millions and millions in gross, the results are not positive by comparison.

Understandably in the US, even with the NY cinemas returning, having the second biggest global chain closed Regal has a huge effect.

We also have to consider that Tom And Jerry have continued to perform in its second week (in the current climate) as it’s a well-known commodity with family audiences.

Raya And The Last Dragon is new, a more serious film yet just because it has the Disney logo slapped on a poster, it doesn’t indicate a ticket sale.

If you aren’t watching at the cinema, it’s a cost of $29.99.

Tom and Jerry comes at a cost of either a cinema ticket, or free with a subscription via HBO Max, and it won’t be a risk to watch the film in knowing what to expect like Raya.

The other fallback from the Disney Plus strategy remains that the film will within a few months become free as part of the package.

And $29.99 is quite the cost without a cinema experience involved.

What are your thoughts on the situation?

Have you paid the premium to watch Raya The Last Dragon or wait for it to be free?

Do you disagree with our comments?

Let us know below.


What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!

There are no comments

Add yours

Have your say...