We picked the wrong year to start a movie website. Maybe we should have tried celebrity gossip instead? With summer 2020 movie season gone and theaters only just opening again, it now looks as if a number of states will be forced to reintroduce measures as localized COVID19 flare-ups spread.

Now an analyst at MKM partners has reported that he doesn’t expect any significant theater openings until the autumn. Eric Handler went even further and said his date shows a 70% drop-off in box office this year. With huge releases from Mulan to No Time To Die, Tenet and Dune all queued up this can only mean further delays as no business model can sustain a 30% take against plan when movies cost what they do.

From an investor point of view this is going to mean that movie related stocks will be likely to suffer performance issues for the near future. He went on to say that it is now unlikely that Tenet will open on August 12th, pointing to September as the earliest reasonable date. Given any second wave, if there is one, is expected to be worst over winter this could mean just opened theaters are forced to shutter again.

One entertaining side-bar to all this doom and gloom is the strange box-office we are seeing throwing up some fun surprises. Small independent movies are having their week at #1 in the global box-office after a limited drive-in release. Now 40 years after first release and amazingly 23 years after the Special Edition, The Empire Strikes Back once again tops the box-office.

The few hundred open theaters and drive-ins have let it take between $400,000 and $500,000 from Friday to Sunday which puts it in the top spot and increases it’s domestic US receipts to $290.4 million. Disney were also in the second spot with Black Panther on $110,000, and third as well with Inside Out doing $106,000.