Russel Crowe's 'Unhinged' Off to a Pandemic-Influenced Start

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Russel Crowe's 'Unhinged' Off to a Pandemic-Influenced Start

Russell Crowe's road raging has provided projectors humming as it becomes the first "new" movie in the U.S. to open in under control pandemic states. masks replace  face painting. Usher patrol to ensure that "social distancing" (for most 50% capacity) is not exceeded.

"Unhuinged" has a $30 million dollar budget. It took in an estimated $4 million dollars from about 1,900 screens. The studio predicts $8 million dollars for the full week, then, a strong second week where "The New Mutants" will be the only "new" fillm competing for screen space.

The long awaited "Tenet" from Christopher Nolan will have previews Aug 31, Sept 1 and 2. 

Stay home pandemic commandments have been softened to WEAR A MASK  maintain vacant seats between your group and others plus lots of extra cleaning at theaterrs. But, no one has contracted the virus at a movie. The mostly independent and mini-majors have struggled to remain open showing "retro" content and "genre" specific (horror/suspense) films. 

There have been no blockbusters, even as outdoor cinemas got a shot turning on their  marquees  with Covid precautions. Considered antiques from by gone eras, the outdoor after dark cinemas rapidly sold out. People wanted to go to the movies.  Officials saw the wisdom of keeping viewers in their car and allowing opportunities to watch films on big screens.

The top five locations for "Unhinged" attendance are drive ins .... many in states like California and Michigan. Indoor champions were in Oklahoma, Texas and Florida. Cinemas near NYC and LA which generally amass 10% of a weekend release still sit closed as the pandemic rages out of control. Instead, Chicago, 

Teen romance "Words on Bathroom Walls" finished third. It's not R-rated but young people are begging their parents for permission to go to the movies. 

Demographics on the weekend skewed ages 25 and above.  Older adults  realized there’s little to no risk in going to a theater and sitting nowhere near anyone but you can continue living in your terrified bubble," one moviegoer told Deadline. Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Las Vegas, Denver, Cleveland, Toronto and Austin were the top grossing cities for "Unhinged." Meanwhile, "Words" had the best attendance in  the Southwest with top markets being Dallas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Minnesota, Houston

NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) has adapted a "Cinema Safe" campaign.

“With so many different guidelines in different states, we believe it is critical that movie theaters commit to following basic guidelines no matter where they are, so moviegoers can return to their favorite pastime with confidence in our commitment to their health and safety,” said NATO president and CEO John Fithian, at a press conference unveiling the CinemaSafe campaign. 

The guidelines, developed in consultation with epidemiologists and industry experts, include policies such as a mask requirement for staff and patrons alike, reduced capacity in each auditorium, increased air filtration measures, enhanced cleaning, and a decreased reliance on touch-points through mobile ticketing and modified concessions sales. 

 Incidentally, China where the virus received its initial spread has only now reopened cinemas and "The Eight Hundred," a Chinese made war film, will take in nearly $100 million this weekend.