With more than half the country’s population in lockdown, it followed that the box office would take a tumble, with no title cracking $1 million last weekend.
According to Numero, the top 20 films tallied just $2.9 million, down 52 per cent on the previous.
Overall, it was quietest weekend since mid last November, when there was a dearth of Hollywood product and Victorian cinemas were capped to just 20 people per theatre.
Currently cinemas across Greater Sydney, Central West NSW, Victoria and South Australia are closed amid COVID-19 outbreaks, though the SA and VIC lockdowns will both end Tuesday evening.
Other parts of NSW and South East Queensland are subject to compulsory mask wearing indoors, which may also be detering some moviegoers.
The landscape saw new releases Old and Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins unable to reach their full potential, though both have received mixed reviews.
A bright spot on the horizon is Disney’s Jungle Cruise opening this Thursday. Among those who hopes it will see improvement is Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell, who tells IF: “It looks like it will have wide appeal and The Rock is always popular.”
Old, Universal’s M Night Shyamalan thriller about a beach that causes people to age rapidly, opened on $441,552 from 155 screens. The film topped the box office in the US, and globally has grossed $US23 million so far.
Paramount’s Snake Eyes, led by Henry Golding and starring Aussie Samara Weaving, opened on slightly more screens – 181 – but mustered less, grossing $306,348.
No. 1 remained Universal’s Space Jam: A New Legacy, which mustered just $793,491 in its second, a drop of 65 per cent, to advance to $9.8 million.
Disney’s Black Widow was not far behind, with a third weekend tally of $722,882, down 65 per cent. So far the Cate Shortland-directed Marvel film, simultaneously available on PVOD, has grossed $11.5 million.
Now in its sixth frame, F9 is edging closer to $21 million for Universal, with weekend receipts at $153,434.
Roadshow fast-tracked The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard to PVOD last weekend, though the film remained on 100 screens in its fifth, making $81,719 and moving to $7.2 million.
Boasting the fourth highest screen average for the weekend was Madman’s 20th anniversary re-release of Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, which collected $57,306 from 29 screens.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions and In The Heights posted almost identical results, with the former gathering $48,173 in its fourth and the latter $48,108 in its fifth. Sony’s thriller sequel is on $1.5 million, while the WB musical is on $3.7 million.
Rounding out the top 10 was Universal’s Spirit Untamed, now on $5.7 million after seven weeks, with takings of $44,828.