Disney’s magnificent (yes, I went and saw it) RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON underperformed at the box office. That’s underperformed in the relative sense; all movies that have opened over the past year have underperformed, vastly underperformed, compared to how they might have been expected to do, money-wise, before the pandemic. But relative to success in the Covid age, Disney’s latest fell far short of the haul of TOM AND JERRY the week prior. One reason for that, a big reason, was that theater chain Cinemark refused to play the movie, because they didn’t like the way Disney offered its film for livestreaming on the same day as its theatrical release. Supposedly Warner Brothers, who own TOM AND JERRY and who have a similar simultaneous opening strategy, allows theaters a bigger slice of the pie. I’m not sure of the specifics, but suffice it to say that Cinemark has now proven that theaters are not helpless, at the mercy of the studios, and that they can negatively impact a studio’s bottom line. This is good news. We, the movie-going public, don’t want to see the studios holding all the power.
But with the success of TOM AND JERRY and the smaller success of RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, both of them cashing in on the family market, what does that mean for us adults, specifically Horror-loving adults? Are R-rated films a thing of the past, as some “insiders” are saying? Maybe for a while. But once the pandemic is well and truly over, expect the audience for Horror and adult fare to return, eventually building back up to the size it occupied pre-Covid. Remember that just before Covid hit last year, THE INVISIBLE MAN scored big at the box office. Horror will return.