Box Office: ‘Hocus Pocus’ Passes ‘Empire Strikes Back’ To Become 2020’s Top-Grossing Rerelease
By Scott Mendelson
October 11, 2020
In box office news that isn’t about Tenet or War with Grandpa, Disney’s DIS 0.0% reissue of Hocus Pocus earned another $1.161 million (-40%) in its second weekend to bring its 2020 cume to $3.086 million in ten days. That puts it above the $1.4 million cume of this year’s Jurassic Park reissue and the $2.4 million from the 40th-anniversary reissue of The Empire Strikes Back to make it this year’s biggest domestic rerelease. The Kenny Ortega-directed flick, about three witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) who come back to life in modern-day Salem, was a critical and commercial flop in the summer of 1993 but slowly became a generational favorite via seasonal airings on Disney-owned TV networks, its value as gay-friendly camp and generational nostalgia from folks who grew up digging the PG-rated horror-comedy.
The whole “older movie becomes relative box office sensation” trend of 2020 may not be over. Alita: Battle Angel, Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron’s sci-fi action fantasy which has attained a rather… passionate online following, is coming back to theaters on October 30. I’m still waiting for Avatar to be rereleased in China, as the movie is just $9 million away from taking back its global title from Avengers: Endgame. Yes, both films are/were deserved global champions, but it’s not like there’s much else to write about these days. As for Alita, it earned $86 million domestic, $133 million in China and $405 million worldwide on a $170 million budget. The Rosa Salazar/Christoph Waltz sci-fi flick was the closest thing to a hit in terms of big-budget, new-to-you action fantasy over the last few years.
The New Mutants earned $685,000 (-34%) in its seventh weekend to bring its domestic cume to $21.991 million. In terms of comic book and/or superhero movies, that’s just between Hellboy ($21.9 million in 2019) and My Super Ex-Girlfriend ($22.5 million in 2006) and Bulletproof Monk ($22.3 million in 2003). It’ll likely end next weekend just under Jennifer Garner’s Elektra ($24.9 million in 2005). The delayed and understandably doomed X-Men spin-off will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on November 17. Yes, I’m curious if we see any additional oomph in terms of post-theatrical life for movies that otherwise might have had healthier theatrical runs in more conventional circumstances. In other Walt Disney news, Coco came back to theaters just as Soul was premiering to raves in London, earning $210,000 to bring its lifetime cume to $209.953 million domestic.
Russell Crowe’s Unhinged grossed $660,000 (-21%) in weekend ten as it lost 415 theaters. Solstice Studios’ road-rage thriller has earned $19.353 million domestic. It’ll end up nearly tied with The Next Three Days ($21.5 million in 2010) but sans that film’s robust $67 million worldwide cume. The film is doing about as well as expected for a stand-alone Russell Crowe star vehicle. Crowe is an excellent actor and a viable added value element in films like Man of Steel, Les Misérables and Denzel Washington’s American Gangster. However, as much as I love State of Play, The Insider and 3:10 to Yuma, in terms of “all by myself” butts-in-seats bankability, Crowe’s been coasting off Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind for 20 years. Unhinged will thrive when it arrives on VOD, which was arguably its fate all along.
Infidel grossed $205,000 (-55.5%) in its fourth weekend as it lost 833 theaters, bringing the faith-based political drama’s domestic cume to $3.819 million. Tri-Star’s winning rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery has grossed $3.947 million in 31 days, an understandably low total for a theatrical sacrificial lamb that should earn a decent audience in post-theatrical. Gravitas’ Shortcut, about teens trapped in a bus fending off a monster, earned $55,321 (-74%) in weekend two for a $758,223 ten-day cume. Paramount’s PGRE +0.1% The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run has earned $4.65 million after nine weekends in Canada. The animated sequel is already on Netflix NFLX +0.1% in most overseas markets but will debut on PVOD sometime next year in America. It’s just one of many Paramount movies being sent to Netflix this year alongside The Lovebirds, and The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Once again, instead of discussing second-weekend holds for Venom: There Will Be Carnage, the first batch of seasonal Oscar contenders and/or if Warner Bros.’ remake of The Witches opened well enough to justify the expense, I’m discussing the rerelease of a 27-year-old movie passing the total gross of a rerelease of a 40-year-old movie while speculating if the upcoming reissue of a 2019 cult favorite will outgross both of them. Don’t forget to vote.