Box Office Sales To Plunge 40% In One Week As Social-Distancing Accelerates In US

North American box office revenues are expected to plunge by 40% over last weekend in yet another example of collapsing consumption as people change their habits to avoid contracting coronavirus.

Disney's "Onward" is projected by Variety to take top spot with $12.5 million in ticket sales - down 68% from its opening weekend. Friday's take for the family flick was just $3.3 million - a 73% decrease from its March 6th premiere. Typical declines for second-weekend showings are in the 50% range according to the report. Total domestic box office sales are projected to be as low as $60 million for the weekend.

AMC and Regal, two of America's largest theater chains, announced on Friday that they have cut capacity by 50% in their auditoriums in order to address safety concerns by letting people sit next to empty seats.

"Movie theaters are doing the right thing by reducing capacity in light of the current situation, but naturally this will have an impact on the box office bottom line this weekend," said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Here's how the rest of the current releases are doing:

Lionsgate’s faith-based drama “I Still Believe” appears to be the one new release that’s performing in line with pre-release estimates and should finish second with about $11.6 million at from 3,250 venues. It was the top performer on Friday with $4 million, and it garnered an A Cinemascore from opening day audiences.

I Still Believe” is based on the life of contemporary Christian singer Jeremy Camp (played by “Riverdale” star KJ Apa) and his first wife (Britt Robertson), who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly after they wed. The film is directed by siblings Andrew and Jon Erwin, who also helmed 2018’s “I Can Only Imagine.” “I Still Believe” is the first production by the brothers’ Kingdom Story Company.

Sony’s opening of superhero pic “Bloodshot,” starring Vin Diesel, is heading for third place with an estimated $9.4 million at 2,861 screens, slightly under pre-weekend projections for a $10 million start. Audiences gave it a B on CinemaScore.

Universal has two Blumhouse horror titles battling for fourth with about $6.4 million each — the third weekend of “The Invisible Man” at 3,636 sites and the launch of newcomer “The Hunt” at 3,028 locations. Elisabeth Moss’s “The Invisible Man” is declining by 58%, the lowest decline among holdover titles in the top 10, and will finish the weekend with around $65 million in its first 17 days.

The Hunt,” a dark political satire portraying elites hunting people for sport, was delayed last year amid backlash over school shootings. The film came in under pre-release forecasts in the $8-9 million range. Opening day audiences were unimpressed, giving the film a C+ on CinemaScore. “The Hunt” carries a $14 million budget.

Paramount’s fifth weekend of “Sonic the Hedgehog” came in sixth with $2.9 million at 3,041 locations, declining by 62%. The video game adaptation will wind up the weekend with $146 million in North America.

Warner Bros.’ sophomore session of Ben Affleck’s addiction drama “The Way Back” was battling for seventh place with Disney-Fox’s fourth frame of Harrison Ford’s adventure story “The Call of the Wild” with $2.5 million each. “The Way Back” slid 70% from its opening weekend and “The Call of the Wild” fell 65% from its third weekend.

Focus Features’ fourth weekend of 19th Century romance movie “Emma” will probably finish ninth with $1.7 million at 1,732 locations. The figure represents a 71% decline. The Jane Austen adaptation will have a total North American take of $10 million by the end of the weekend. -Variety

 Meanwhile, have you seen what's happening to restaurant traffic?