‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Leads Box Office as L.A. Theater Revival Boosts Ticket Sales

Rebecca Rubin
·4 min read

Disney’s animated adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon” led the domestic box office in its third weekend, illustrating the appeal of family films as Hollywood attempts to mount a moviegoing revival.

“Raya and the Last Dragon” collected $5.2 million from 2,261 theaters through Sunday, representing a scant 5% decline from its sophomore outing. Disney can thank the reopening of Los Angeles movie theaters for the stellar hold in ticket sales. Cinemas in the City of Angels were given permission to resume operations on March 12, but most film exhibitors weren’t able to get up and running until now.

More from Variety

Capacity in Los Angeles area movie theaters will be capped at 25%, or 100 people per auditorium, which is double the limit in New York, where its restricted to 50 people. Even with constraints, Los Angeles accounted for nearly 9% of all movie tickets sold this weekend, according to Comscore.

“This weekend showed solid results from holdovers, demonstrating the revenue generating horsepower of opening the biggest box-office market in North America,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore. “Eager movie fans in Los Angeles showed up in solid numbers to enjoy the big screen experience once again.”

In a sign that moviegoing is on the mend, AMC Theatres, the cinema chain with the biggest footprint in the country, has reopened 98% of its locations, including 40 venues in California, as of March 19. The circuit expects to reopen even more locations by March 26.

“It was exactly one year ago that we closed all AMC locations in the United States,” said Adam Aron, the CEO of AMC. “It gives me immense joy to say that by the end of next week we expect that 99% of our U.S. locations will have reopened.”

“Raya and the Last Dragon” amassed another $8 million overseas from 29 countries. The film, which is available to Disney Plus subscribers for an additional $30, has generated $71 million globally to date.

Without much in the way of competition, “Raya and the Last Dragon” was able to easily repeat No. 1 in North America. Two new movies — “The Courier” and “City of Lies” — opened theatrically while several awards season hopefuls got a post-Oscar nomination boost.

“The Courier,” a Cold War drama led by Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel Brosnahan, landed in third place with $2 million from 1,433 locations. Directed by Dominic Cooke, the movie premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival (with the title “Ironbark”) to a mostly positive reception. Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate, the film’s backers, reported strong turnout in Salt Lake City, Orlando and Dallas.

Meanwhile, Johnny Depp’s “City of Lies,” a crime drama about corruption in the LAPD, mostly fell flat with audiences. The poorly reviewed film cinched 11th place on box office charts, scraping together $275,049 from 501 screens.

Focus Feature’s dark comedy “Promising Young Woman,” which landed five Academy Award nominations on Monday, enjoyed a 117% increase in ticket sales, with $195,000 over the three days. In all, “Promising Young Woman” has grossed $5.7 million at the domestic box office. And A24’s “Minari,” a heartwarming drama about a Korean American family that scored six Oscar nods, saw receipts climb 85%. The film earned $306,000 this weekend, bringing its tally to $1.3 million. Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Father,” one of the few best picture nominees to have a traditional theatrical release, made another $275,000 following nominations, lifting its total earnings to $879,000.

“Raya and the Last Dragon” wasn’t the only title to have a modest decline in ticket sales; none of the films in the top five dipped more than 15% from the weekend prior.

Warner Bros.’ live-action-animated hybrid “Tom and Jerry” remained in second place with $3.8 million, a 7% drop from last weekend. The film, playing on 2,508 screens, is also on HBO Max for 31 days. After four weeks on the big screen, it has made $33 million at the domestic box office. Internationally, “Tom and Jerry” added another $4 million, bringing its tally to $43.5 million overseas and $77.2. million globally.

At No. 3, Lionsgate’s sci-fi thriller “Chaos Walking” took in $1.9 million from 2,132 theaters, marking a slight 14% fall. After three weeks of release, the Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland-led film has made $9.69 million. Universal’s “The Croods: A New Age” rounded out the top five with $620,000 from 1,411 screens. The animated family film has made $55 million since it was released last November. Globally, “The Croods” sequel has made $160 million.

Another Universal title, the Bob Odenkirk action thriller “Nobody,” kicked off internationally with $2.6 million from four markets. It debuts in the U.S. next weekend alongside Warner Bros. monster mashup “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.