After a few headlines around pent-up demand and a rush back to theatres as the world starts to open up, the box-office news from this past weekend is disappointing for studios. Box-office stalls again, despite it being a weekend with a lot of new content. It all fell short of expectations.

Deadline is reporting that the audience didn’t turn out to theatres. Spiral: From The Book of Saw was aiming for a $15 million haul but only scored $8.7 million for the three days. This is around half of what the lowest opening Saw movie, Saw IV, achieved at the box-office.

The Angelina Jolie thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead opened to just $2.8 million. Zack Snyder’s zombie heist movie Army of the Dead had a limited theatrical release ahead of its Netflix debut this coming weekend. It was aiming for a $1.5-$2 million haul and it pulled in just $780,000.

Warners were also pushing Those Who Wish Me Dead on HBO Max at the same time, and the marketing was focused on this channel rather than the theatrical release.

The moral of this story? Firstly, if there is new content that interests customers available of streamers they aren’t coming out to theatres just yet. Secondly, if a movie is available at home either the same day or a few days later, punters likewise are not going to be dragging themselves to the theatre.

If this trend continues then Warner’s day-and-date strategy with HBO Max releases, plus the various other studio deals around much reduced theatrical windows, are likely to come under increased pressure from exhibitors trying to recover their post-pandemic balance sheets. They need a big box-office and lots of snack sales.

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