It’s been a strange year for the US box office, with Bad Boys For Life remaining the highest-grossing film in the country ($204.4 million) for 2020. No film has opened to over $1 million in cinemas since the March 13-15 weekend, when the COVID-19 pandemic saw cinemas close around the country–but the new SpongeBob movie just came close.
Box Office Mojo is reporting the weekend numbers for August 14-16, and SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run has opened stronger than any other movie since March. The film earned approximately $900,000 over the weekend from 300 screens–extremely low by the standards of most years, but very high for 2020.
The film will receive a release on CBS All Access in 2021, and the initial plans for a cinema release were cancelled. However, it seems that at some point, a decision was made to do a limited release.
It was otherwise an extremely quiet weekend, as Box Office Mojo is not reporting any income from re-releases. The second highest gross went to David Ayer’s The Tax Collector, which brought in $203,722. Films that have topped the box office in previous weeks in 2020 include Jurassic Park and Star Wars: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Of course, you still shouldn’t go to the cinema if you’re in an area with a moderate rate of community transmission. What this means for other releases planned in 2020, including Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, remains to be seen. Other huge movies still scheduled for 2020 cinema releases include the James Bond movie No Time To Die, Wonder Woman 1984, and Black Widow.
Cinemas have been reopening in other parts of the world, although films are, generally speaking, not making much money–Sonic the Hedgehog recently opened in China to a very low opening weekend.