Box Office Suffers Greatest Slump Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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The US and Canada box office plunge to a 20-year low amid coronavirus pandemic, with $56million weekend ticket sales which were worse than the after-effects of 9/11 attacks as theatres reduce the capacity for social distancing. 2020 was expected to be a “light” year in Hollywood but ticket sales have plunged to their lowest levels in at least 20 years with coronavirus pandemic leading to one of Hollywood's worst weekends at the box office.

As COVID-19 cases reached over 6,000, studio estimates said receipts totalled about $56million and the impact was believed to be due to audiences staying home.

Disney's latest release from Pixar, Onward, remained the top film, earning $10.5million in its second weekend (Friday to Sunday). Sony's comic-book adaptation Bloodshot, with Vin Diesel, grossed an estimated $9.3million from 2,861 venues. Rated "B" with the audience on CinemaScore, it placed number 3 on the box office.

Not since September 2000 has weekend box office revenue been so low, according to data firm Comscore, when $54.5million in tickets were sold on a quiet weekend. More people went to the movies the weekend after September 11, 2001. The two weekends after 9/11 grossed $66.3 million and $59.7 million respectively. Many theatres pledged to clean theatres in between screenings.

Some theatres opted to close, including many cinemas in New York. Of the roughly 5,800 theatres in the United States, about 100 were closed over the weekend. But the wide majority of North American theatres remained open for business over the weekend.

Most of Europe's cinemas have shuttered in recent days, along with closures in China, India, South Korea, Italy Lebanon and Kuwait. Those closures have already slashed international grosses. The mass closures have already resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenues. Most of the entertainment world has shut down. Broadway theatres, major museums and theme parks have closed their doors. Concerts have been called off.

Festivals including South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and the Tribeca Film Festival in New York have been cancelled or delayed. Most live-action film production has been put on hiatus. Hollywood also has postponed most of its upcoming releases. Studio executives and media analysts recognize the global box office is in uncharted territory, with crucial developments unfolding at a rapid pace.

Next week's most anticipated movie, A Quiet Place Part 2, has been removed from the schedule. Other major releases, including Disney's Mulan, Universal's Fast 9 and MGM's James Bond film No Time to Die have been pushed back.