Christmas 2020 marks the historic box office mashup

6:05 am PST 12/24/2020


Pamela McClintock

On December 25, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ will be released on HBO Max and in US theaters, while Pixar’s ‘Soul’ will debut exclusively on Disney + nationally. Debuting only in theaters is Tom Hanks’ star ‘News of the World’.

The year-end party hall is often the happiest time of year at the box office.

This year, however, the two biggest pillars that support the holiday are waiting to open on December 25 – Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul – will debut in streaming services amid the new coronavirus in progress and the general closure of cinemas. The other great title of the season, World News, will play a play only at the theater before being made available on PVOD in several weeks.

Each studio is taking a different approach as the holiday season begins.

From Warner Bros., WW1984 it will also play in more than 2,000 cinemas that remain open in North America, although many major markets, including New York and Los Angeles, remain off-limits. Analysts expect the photo, which brings together director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot, to win $ 10 million to $ 14 million at the box office, considering the many challenges it faces, including a simultaneous release at home and possible piracy.

“In a year of many ‘firsts’, the Christmas box office will be put to the test with a historic – albeit controversial – launch strategy on the same day that will show the industry whether it is really disobedient or legal to offer real box office success on the screen big and small on the same day and how consumers will react to this unprecedented mashup, “said Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

It is unprecedented for a major Hollywood studio to break the traditional theater window, but exhibitors gave Warners a pass on WW1984 considering the circumstances. The release of the film has been delayed several times. (However, this generosity does not extend to a subsequent decision to send Warners’ entire 2021 list simultaneously to HBO Max and the big screen.)

Pixar’s Soul will debut exclusively on Disney + in the US and other markets where the streaming service is available. In other territories, such as China, it will debut in cinemas.

Universal, including its specialized label Focus Features, together with DreamWorks Animation, has released many more films than any other major Hollywood star, thanks to its historic premium VOD contract with the country’s largest exhibitors.

Directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks, World News will open on Christmas Day in approximately 1,900 cinemas. Analysts expect adult drama to make $ 4 million to $ 5 million over the Christmas weekend.

World News is planting a flag in this season’s delayed prize race; ditto for Focus, which will open Promising young woman, starring Carey Mulligan and produced by Margot Robbie, in 1,300 cinemas on Christmas Day.

Other Christmas offers at the challenged box office include the English version of Pinocchiostarring Roberto Benigni. Roadside Attractions is dealing with the Italian film internally.

“There is a typical list of really good movies coming out at Christmas in Wonder Woman 1984, Soul and World News. Unfortunately, very few people will be able or willing to see these films in theaters, as the industry continues to feel the impact of the pandemic, “said Wall Street analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners.