Tom & Jerry gives US box office some life with US$13.7m opening
The live-action-animation hybrid starring Chloe Grace Moretz managed the second-best opening of the pandemic following Warner Bros' Wonder Woman 1984.
A not-so-distant recovery for movie theatres could be glimpsed on Sunday (Feb 28), as Warner Bros' live-action-animation hybrid Tom & Jerry debuted with US$13.7 million (S$18.23 million) in ticket sales, the best North American opening of the year.
The better-than-expected opening came despite just 42 per cent of US theatres being open, according to data firm Comscore. Tom & Jerry also played in 2,475 North American cinemas simultaneously as it did in the home, where it's streaming on HBO Max for a month.
Yet Tom & Jerry still managed the second-best opening of the pandemic following Warner Bros' Wonder Woman 1984, which launched with US$16.7 million in December while also landing on HBO Max. The next-closest debuts – Tenet, The Croods: A New Age – eked out about US$10 million on opening weekend.
“With half of theatres still closed, the pandemic still a threat, and Tom & Jerry available at home, this is a very good opening,” said David A Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Under normal circumstances, this weekend would comfortably be above US$35 million – a positive sign for the business and for theatrical’s pull over home entertainment.”
Tom & Jerry has also made US$25.1 million internationally, bringing its worldwide total to US$38.8 million, according to studio estimates. The film, directed by Tim Story and based on the characters created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, stars Chloe Grace Moretz.
Theatres in some crucial markets are also about to come on line. On Friday, New York City theatres will be allowed to open at 25 per cent capacity for the first time since they closed last March. Next week, Disney launches the animated Raya And The Last Dragon in theatres and on Disney+ for US$30, not counting the subscription cost.
Though Warner Bros was criticised by some for abandoning movie theatres when it announced plans to send all 2021 films to both HBO Max and cinemas, the studio is presently a lifeline to theatres. The studio's films – including The Little Things, Judas And The Black Messiah and Wonder Woman 1984 – accounted for roughly 80 per cent of US ticket sales over the weekend.
Private rental bookings are helping the modest return of moviegoing. Family, friends and “pods” have booked an entire theatre. Warner Bros said Tom & Jerry has already seen more than 10,000 such bookings.