Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED’s entertainment news roundup. Right now, the biggest news in entertainment is the impact of the coronavirus on pop culture. But that’s not all. Here we go.
The US Box Office Just Had Its Worst Weekend in Two Decades
As an increasing number of Americans begin to stay at home in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, US movie theaters are taking a hit. According to Variety, ticket sales at North American theaters hit a low not seen in some 20 years, with the domestic box office coming in around $55 million this past weekend—a number that at any other time could be reached by a single film. That figure represents a 45 percent drop from last weekend’s take, and Pixar’s Onward was the only movie to make more than $10 million.
Even though Covid-19 hasn’t stopped moviegoers from heading to the theater entirely, the odds are there will be fewer opportunities for them to do so in the coming weeks. Several major upcoming releases, from the James Bond film No Time to Die to Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan have been postponed, and more are surely on the way. Meanwhile, theater chains like AMC, Regal, and Alamo Drafthouse are in the process of cutting capacity at their screenings to adhere to social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Meanwhile, all theaters in New York City will be closed starting tomorrow morning.) As productions slow down or cease entirely, the total impact on Hollywood is hard to estimate, though The Hollywood Reporter notes it could top $20 billion.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s Digital Release Came Early
Speaking of families staying home to stay safe, Disney pushed up the digital release date of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last week—dropping the movie on services like Vudu, Apple TV, and Google Play on Friday. (Initially, the movie was set to hit those platforms tomorrow, March 17.) While that film will likely help more than a few folks pass the time, it’s not the only one. Disney also released Frozen 2 on Disney+ this weekend, three months ahead of time, to surprise families “with some fun and joy during this challenging period.”
Pixar’s Soul and Apple TV+’s Beastie Boys Doc Get Trailers
Let’s end with something uplifting. First up, the trailer for Pixar’s Soul, an animated movie about a jazz musician named Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) who makes a misstep and goes to the Great Before, the place where souls go prior to being sent to Earth. Will he make it back to his life? We’ll find out when the latest from director Pete Docter hits theaters on June 19.
Also, here’s the trailer for Spike Jonze’s Beastie Boys Story, which hits Apple TV+ on April 24 and Imax on April 2.
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