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Halloween Classic ‘Hocus Pocus’ Nearly Beats ‘Tenet’ as Box Office Recovery Collapses


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With no new product in the marketplace, a rerelease of the 1993 Halloween cult classic Hocus Pocus was almost able to banish Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and take the top spot at the weekend box office with a mere $2 million.

That’s a stat no one wants to read, considering this was to have been the weekend that Wonder Woman 1984 unfurled. But, like numerous other fall tentpoles, the superhero sequel relocated out of concern that moviegoers aren’t ready to return to the multiplex amid the ongoing pandemic.

That has forced cinema owners to rely on a diet of holdovers like Tenet — which launched over a month ago — smaller indie fare and rereleases, such as Disney’s Hocus Pocus.

Over the Oct. 2-4 frame, Tenet took in an estimated $14.2 million globally as it crossed the $300 million mark worldwide. That included a domestic weekend of $2.7 million. Because of its hefty $200 million production budget before marketing, Tenet will need to do $400 million or more to break even. One boost could come if cinemas in New York City and Los Angeles are finally allowed to reopen.

The Warner Bros. film has fared far better overseas, where moviegoing has resumed in earnest — until now.

On Saturday night, Hollywood was left reeling when mega-circuit Cineworld revealed it could close its European locations and Regal Cinemas in the U.S. as early as this week. Insiders say it’s not financially feasible for exhibitors to stay open 24/7 until there is a steady flow of event pics, which now isn’t until next year.

The news came a day after MGM, Eon Productions and Universal said they were delaying 007 installment No Time to Die from November to April 2021. The only other tentpole remaining on the November calendar is Pixar’s Soul, but that is now likely to move.

Cineworld is the second-largest exhibitor in the world and U.S. behind AMC Theatres. So far, neither AMC nor Cinemark have said how they’ll respond to the Bond move (both had already reduced their hours of operation at many U.S. locations).

Sources say it could be difficult to release new movies without Regal in play.

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