Box-Office Slump: Movies In Theaters See Less Revenue Dollars Upon Return

Just a few weeks into the re-opening of theaters, U.S. movies witnessed falling box-office revenues and low-to-modest movie studio national TV spending.

After major theater re-openings on Labor Day pulled in a collective $28.4 million for 25 film releases, according to IMDB's Box Office, the next two following weekends saw declines: $12.6 million for 24 releases (September 11-13) and $11.3 million for 28 releases (September 18-20).

As of Labor Day, 70% of U.S. movie theaters were estimated to have re-opened with social-distance seating.

The best-performing movie over the three-week period continues to be Warner Bros.' "Tenet" -- pulling a total $36.1 million in the U.S. box office, with overall worldwide revenue at $239.1 million. The movie pulled in a very modest $4.7 million in the U.S. for the most recent weekend, September 18-20.



Over a two-month period (July 20-September 20), Warner Bros. spent $7.1 million in national TV advertising for “Tenet” and $11.6 million overall, according to

Orion Pictures' "Bill & Ted Face the Music" doubled the national TV spend of "Tenet" -- $14.2 million since August 1 -- but with much lower results, with just $3.1 million in four weeks worth of U.S. box office revenues so far.

This national TV spending is still well under the average national TV advertising budget for a major wide-release film -- which can range between $25 million and $35 million. Theatrical movies typically ramp up national TV spending 30-45 days before a film's opening.

Other notable movies include 20th Century Fox's "The New Mutants" -- four weeks at $17.7 million in box office (a total of $8.6 million in national TV spending) and Solstice Studio's "Unhinged," with six weeks, at $15.7 million in box office ($5.9 million in national TV spending).

On the big last weekend before COVID-19 pandemic issues forced movie theaters to close, 103 films were screened in U.S. theaters, totaling $100.8 million in box-office revenues for the weekend of March 6-8.

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