Opening 11-12-2020 in Theaters: Freaky

Theaters: 11/12/2020

Wednesday, week #46 of 2020 (11/12 – 11/15/2020)

This week a sliver of good news was delivered for movie theaters in that a vaccine from Pfizer has received 90% effectiveness in early testing (see: Bring On The Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine that’s 90% Effective, And That Nasal Spray, too, if It Works). It’s still months away for most of us, maybe as much as six months or more, but it looks to be on the fast track to approval.

On a negative note, Regal Cinemas closed again the New York and California movie theater locations, leaving #1 chain AMC and #3 chain Cinemark open in many areas across the United States. Also negative came from Disney in December (see: Another Blow To Theaters From Disney: Free Guy and Death On The Nile are Pulled from December Release)

We are AMC Stubs A-List Members, paying roughly $22/month each and can see 3 new movies in any format at AMC every week. We’re also Regal Unlimited members, but that subscription is on hiatus until Regal theaters reopen. We’ll likely only keep one of the unlimited movie theater plans, but for now we’re only paying for the one that’s active.

Freaky
[FIRST LOOK]

This week Blumhouse is treating us to Vince Vaughn playing a woman trapped in a serial killer’s body. It’s a black comedy horror. We have tickets reserved for Thursday, but the official release date is Friday The 13th: 11/13/2020.

Yes, looking forward to seeing this one. It looks potentially a little silly, if I’m being honest, but we both think it might be fun to watch.

Anticipation: 7/10

Are you looking forward to seeing? Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!

Opening 11-5-2020 in Theaters: Let Him Go

Theaters: 11/5/2020

Wednesday, week #45 of 2020 (11/5 – 11/8/2020)

The week following Halloween greets us with another new movie from Focus Features. They seem to be one of few studios taking advantage of all this cinematic spotlight. Hopefully soon others will join instead of going exclusively to streaming.

Let Him Go
[FIRST LOOK]

Don’t test the depths of a grandparent’s love for a grandchild. That seems to be the major conflict in this film starring two experienced, respected actors.

I’m ready to see what Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are up to in this film.

Anticipation: 6/10

Are you looking forward to seeing? Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!

Opening 10-29-2020 in Theaters: Come Play

Theaters: 10/29/2020

Wednesday, week #44 of 2020 (10/29-11/1/2020)

Halloween weekend is upon us and the theaters will see a LIMITED release of one movie. Maybe there will be others we don’t know about dropping but we have tickets already reserved the the movie below, so confident at least one is coming out this weekend.

Come Play
[FIRST LOOK]

Kara isn’t looking as forward to this as me. Then again she’s rarely that excited about horror films. I like creature films. No idea how this creature will turn out — good, bad or something in between, but we do know his name: Larry. No, not the cable guy.

Anticipation: 7/10

Are you looking forward to seeing? Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!

Opening 10-23-2020 in Theaters: The Empty Man

The Empty Man: 10/23/2020

Wednesday, week #43 of 2020 (10/23-10/25/2020)

Only one new movie this weekend to see in theaters, unless others drop unexpectantly. Last week that happened with The Kid Detective having a limited release.

Let’s get to that solitary wide theater release.

The Empty Man
[FIRST LOOK]

Since posting that FIRST LOOK the first official trailer has been posted:

Haven’t read any of the comic books its based on, but the basic premise sounds entertaining. Right now any sort of virus or communicable disease is going to have a special interest — or maybe not. Maybe some (many?) will have fatigue for these type of stories because they remind too much of the ongoing pandemic.

I’m hopeful this will be one of the better movies we’ve seen since the theaters reopened. It has potential.

Anticipation: 7/10

Are you looking forward to seeing? Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!

Opening 10-16-2020 in Theaters: Honest Thief, 2 Hearts

Honest Thief: 10/16/2020

Wednesday, week #42 of 2020 (10/16-10/18/2020)

It’s up to a thieving character seeking redemption and romance played by Liam Neeson in Honest Thief to set our popcorn munching stage this weekend. 2 Hearts will debut to tug at the romantics heartstrings.

Also, there’s Robert De Niro and friends in The War With Grandpa and the music story Yellow Rose that premiered last weekend for those of us that didn’t have any theaters open nearby to enjoy.

Can’t believe we’re talking about *4* new movies to see in movie theaters. It almost feels like before the pandemic.

Honest Thief
[FIRST LOOK]

This trailer gives me a Taken vibe, especially when Liam Neeson tells the corrupt cop he’s coming for him. That calm “I’m going to F you up” is pure Neeson gold. No idea how good this will be, but it will be our first movie at an AMC theater in 2020 and our 36th new movie watched in theaters this year overall.

Anticipation: 7/10

2 Hearts

Lots of guys without shirts in the trailer! Based on an inspirational true story. Hmm … not sure what to say about this trailer. It’s giving me a lifetime movie vibe which means Kara will like it, but not sure it’s my thing. I do like a good romance and have enjoyed some lifetime movies, so maybe this will be a pleasant surprise, but anticipation is low.

Anticipation: 2/10

The War With Grandpa (premiere 10/9/19)
[FIRST LOOK]

The more times I watch this trailer, the dumber I feel for looking somewhat forward to seeing this. I think it’s the great cast of actors involved (Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, etc). With the $3.6 million it made last weekend with all Regal Cinemas closed makes me think other moviegoers were hopeful this would be entertaining, too. Could also be that it was the only brand new wide release movie available last weekend. Doubtful it outsells Honest Thief this weekend, but good luck to it!

Anticipation: 4/10

Yellow Rose (premier 10/9/2020)

Sure has won a lot of awards. Wait, here comes border enforcement to shatter the country music dream. This could be one of those that I don’t think I’ll enjoy but do. Anticipation is low, but that doesn’t say anything about whether or not it will be good.

Anticipation: 3/10

Which of these movies, if any, are you looking forward to seeing? Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!

Alamo Drafthouse’s Rent Our Entire Theater for $150 Expands to 12 States

in 2019 Alama Drafthouse offered a surprise early showing of Terminator: Dark Fate

We don’t have any Alamo Drafthouse cinemas in Washington state. Not yet, anyway, but I like their idea of being able to rent the entire theater for $150 USD.

The Texas-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse is rolling out a nationwide program where patrons rent out an entire theater for themselves – along with their pandemic pod family and friends – for $150.

Theater chain’s massively successful Covid strategy: You buy every seat | EW.com

For managers of small teams, this could be a relatively inexpensive team party. Rent the theater, pick a movie and invite the team and a significant other to attend. A sales team, for example, could get the team together and watch Glengarry Glen Ross ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ on the big screen.

What do you think of this promotion? Good idea? Bad? Am not just talking about during the pandemic, I’d recommend keeping this deal going. Your thoughts?

Of Course Box Office Revenue Last Year vs. This Year is Ugly

This graph from August 9 on closed theaters vs. open theaters. It’s a little better some 45+ days later, but still … (see: The Top 10 States Having The Most Movie Theaters Opened vs. Unopened)

It’s problematic seeing comparisons with last year box office stats vs. this year. There are so many mitigating factors, the biggest of which is The Thing That Should Not Be Named. We remain believers that moviegoers will return to theaters when the following things happen:

  1. Theaters nearby are reopened
  2. They feel it’s safe in their area to do so
  3. There are new movies they want to see

#1 is out of moviegoer’s control. If your favorite movie theater hasn’t opened yet and doesn’t plan to do so any time soon, then you’re not likely to return. #2 is more challenging to calculate because it involves multiple factors. #3 after #1 is the most important. If new movies are out that people want to see, very little else is going to matter. You know, build it and they will come. Sure, #2 will be a factor, but I think a bigger factor for most moviegoers — I’m talking the people who actually watch at least the average of 3-4 movies in theaters per year — is whether or not there is a movie they want to see.

The biggest movies people want to see, Tenet aside, just keep getting delayed and pushed back. Black Widow has dropped out and it’s up to No Time To Die (Bond #25) coming in November — maybe.

Back to the box office stats today. Why the numbers are wildly skewed?

We look around and see how many theaters, just in our local area, are still closed. Not just a few theaters, we’re talking like 25+ movie theaters dark and doing $0 business.

Factor in all that revenue, whatever it would be, if these theaters were open. None of that money is or can be reflected in the stats this year.

Over the weekend, North American ticket sales were an estimated $13.2 million, according to data from Comscore. For comparison, the U.S. and Canadian box offices hauled in $125.4 million during the same weekend last year thanks to the openings of “Downton Abbey,” “Ad Astra” and “Rambo: Last Blood.”

Movie theater stocks tank after another disappointing box office tally

We remember seeing the movies quoted above a year ago. Rambo: Last Blood was our first 4DX movie ever seen at the Red Rock Regal Cinema in Las Vegas. That theater is reopened and running, but we don’t live in Vegas. We haven’t been back to Vegas since March. We’re planning on going there again after the first of the year. Probably January, Feb or March, but it all depends on what’s going on in the world.

In the meantime, we’re adding our revenue to box office stats. We’re seeing all new wide release movies being released, which is a total of 7 movies since the theater opened south of us.

On a more positive note, Regal brought back FREE refills on large popcorn and soda (see: When Regal Cinemas Reopen “Temporarily” No FREE Refills for Large Popcorn and Soda)

Opening 9-24-2020 in Theaters: The Last Shift [LIMITED]

LIMITED Theater Release

Wednesday, week #39 of 2020 (9/24-9/27/2020)

There are no movies set for wide release until October 9, two weeks from now, when, hopefully, the two movies planned will screen as scheduled: Liam Neeson in Honest Thief and Robert DeNiro in The War With Grandpa.

This weekend a LIMITED release for The Last Shift, some classics including the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

The Last Shift
[FIRST LOOK]

Am warming up to this one upon rewatching the trailer. Something tells me the straightforward, yet dry plot could setup a potentially interesting character sketch. Worked at the same restaurant for 38 years? Long ago, I worked in the restaurant business, so the idea of a 38 year employee passing the torch to a new trainee could be the germ of a good concept.

Putting anticipation at the halfway mark.

Anticipation: 5/10

Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!

Opening 9-17-2020 in Theaters: Infidel

Wednesday, week #38 of 2020 (9/17-9/20/2020)

The one wide release movie in theaters this week offers us Infidel. The financial temperature in movie theater land is lukewarm, buoyed by Tenet being on a gadzillion theater screens, so many that it’s hogging up space for other titles. Maybe that’s all in the cards, but we’d rather see more new movies than Tenet showing so much. Maybe the exhibitors, as they are called, know what they’re doing, but our one lone Regal theater has like 8 of the 15 screens dedicated to Tenet.

Still no idea when our home theaters will reopen. We have around 10 theaters in a 20 mile radius and none of them – zero – are open. The one Regal theater we have to patronize is 30 miles south, as mentioned, and it’s showing all new wide releases except for one classic film, Black Panther.

We’re planning to go on a road trip soon, so maybe we’ll run into some other movies in other theaters in other cities, but in the meantime, let’s measure excitement over the one new wide release available this coming weekend, starting Thursday.

Infidel
[FIRST LOOK]

Barely interested in this one. Seems too familiar to a bunch of other action thrillers with a bunch of unfamiliar actors. We’ll catch this in a theater, likely somewhere while we’re on the road. It’s not going to be a big priority, unfortunately. We’ve had this same low level of anticipation with other titles and have ended up liking and recommending, so never know what will happen.

Anticipation: 2/10

Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!

Opening 9-10-2020 in Theaters: The Broken Hearts Gallery

Wednesday, week #37 of 2020 (9/10-9/13/2020)

The one wide release movie in theaters plan continues with a romcom this week. Tenet box office is still chugging away and passed $150 million worldwide to date with $20 million the opening weekend in the United States.

Meanwhile, Mulan are seeing what kind of numbers they can carve in the experimental premium streaming service space (access for those not in the know requires Disney+ subscription and $29.99 to “own” the movie). Disney asserts this is a one-off and while we want Mulan, if it’s a good movie, to do well, our hope is this new release model is not a success (see: Will Movie Streaming Buffet Keep Adding Premium Titles Like Mulan for Extra Fees?). A success will encourage others to try this space. Pretty soon your streaming service will cost $x/month and some percentage of new movies will require an additional fee in order to access before it is released as part of the subscription. It just sounds like another way to surcharge customers.

Just to be clear, we do favor reducing the 90-day theatrical window (see: Collapsing Theatrical Windows Are Not The End Of Cinema Life As We Know It) and technically this supports moving in this direction, but asking people to pay for a subscription and additionally to access to certain new movies doesn’t seem like a moviegoer-friendly idea. Why not just go straight to VOD/PVOD? Why the requirement to be a subscriber of a service and require an additional fee?

(that’s rhetorical, Disney is hoping this will be an incentive for more people to sign up for a monthly or annual subscription)

Most industry articles and Cinemark and Regal (the other two big theater changes) did not like the AMC 17 day theatrical window deal cut with Comcast / Universal, but we did (see: Good deal – AMC strikes historic deal with Universal to shrink theatrical window to 17 days). I think this shows the general disconnect that theater chains and the general movie community have with moviegoers habits. More are migrating to watching movies at home and the pandemic only pushed this process along further. It is probably never going to completely replace watching movies in theaters — nor do we think it should — but it’s foolish not to recognize technology is disrupting the traditional moviegoing experience.

The Broken Hearts Gallery
[FIRST LOOK]

Since there’s only one new movie coming and we like watching new movies, any movie, no matter how bad or good it looks, is something we’re immediately looking forward to seeing. The trailer looks just OK, and doesn’t spark interest further. We may see it on opening night or wait and see it another day this weekend. It’s not the “hey, we must rush out and see this” like we had with Tenet.

Anticipation: 5/10

Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!