With North American moviegoing slowly coming back to life, IFC’s horror movie “The Wretched” is leading the weekend with $85,000 at 21 drive-in movie theaters.
“The Wretched,” written and directed by Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce, follows a young boy who discovers an evil witch in the nearby woods. The cast include John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Zarah Mahler, Azie Tesfai and Jamison Jones.
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The horror, which premiered at the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival, has scared up a total of $296,954 since launching on May 1 at 11 drive-ins, including the Mission Tiki in Montclair, Calif., where it had an informal premiere. Friday night’s showing at the Mission Tiki was sold out.
IFC also reported its Beanie Feldstein comedy “How to Build a Girl” took in $36,000 at nine drive-in locations and had a 10-day total of $55,802. The film is an adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s 2014 semi-autobiographical novel about an awkward teen who becomes a music critic.
Sunday’s box office totals were limited as IFC was the only distributor reporting. Drive-in movie theaters have quickly grown in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic with about 150 of the nation’s 306 locations now open, according to Comscore. About 50 brick-and-mortar theaters are now open in states where governments are easing social-distancing rules, including Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.
“If you need evidence that the big screen communal moviegoing experience remains appealing to audiences, you need look no further than the excitement surrounding drive-in theaters in North America and around the globe as movie lovers are rediscovering a pastime of a bygone era that now, in the age of COVID-19 is particularly relevant, essential and yes, modern,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Comscore.
Many studios have opted to either delay releasing major titles or open them on digital platforms, such as Warner Bros.’ “Scoob,” which launched on Friday.
Solstice Studios announced recently it will open Russell Crowe thriller “Unhinged” on July 1 with plans to launch on a nationwide basis. The nation’s three largest chains — AMC, Regal and Cinemark — closed in mid-March as concerns grew about the pandemic. Most theaters are not expected to open until mid-summer with no other major releases set to launch until July 17 when Warner Bros. is currently scheduled to open Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” However, with shelter-in-place guidelines possibly still effective, it’s unclear whether “Tenet” will be able to maintain that date.
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