Of all the businesses hit by the spread of the novel coronavirus, collective forms of entertainment like theatrical movie releases are being particularly heavily impacted. That much is clear from the low box office numbers this weekend, which saw Onward, Pixar and Disney’s newest, coming in at a very low number one with only $10.5 million domestic.
Internationally, that number was, unsurprisingly, even worse, with the film earning only $6.8 million from 47 other release territories. For a Disney-Pixar joint, those numbers are incredibly low, and a showcase for how much theatrical turnout has (rightly) declined in the face of the global outbreak.
Also contributing to the low turnout is a deliberate effort to encourage social distancing, as Mashable reports that AMC and Regal are moving to reduce their ticket sales in order to avoid crowded theaters. Both companies, which together represent a meaningful chunk of the American theatrical distribution, are cutting ticket sales by a full 50%. In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, AMC CEO said, “With this action, we are facilitating the ‘social distance’ between guests who still want to see movies on a big screen.”
Whether these measures will be enough to avoid the more stringent legally enforced lockdowns currently in force in countries like Spain and Italy is unclear. It’s a better measure than nothing, but filmgoers are likely much better off not going to the movies at all for a while. A lot of the spring’s releases are being delayed, anyway.
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