Only a few hundred movie theaters are even open across the United States right now, and most of them are drive-ins. After the coronavirus pandemic closed most theaters and sent the studios plans for the summer off to the other quarters of the year, exhibitors that remained open were left with few options for what movies to screen. As a result of that, one of this year's new releases, the Universal Pictures hit horror film The Invisible Man, has just set a box office record that will likely never be broken. After sixteen weeks of release, the film reportedly jumped to the #1 spot at the box office this weekend, marking a 14 week time-span between its two weekends as #1, the longest window between weekends at #1 ever.
Deadline brings word of The Invisible Man's success, revealing that the film (which has already been released on home media) brought $383K this weekend and dethroned Trolls World Tour as the #1 movie at the domestic box office. The film, a reinvention of the classic Universal monster series, played in just 147 theaters this weekend, an average of $2600 per venue. The film's total box office haul for the full sixteen weeks of its release now sits at $67.8 million.
There are a few things that make this box office record very unique and almost unbeatable, the big one being the lack of available programming due to the coronavirus. In the larger scheme of box office numbers and records though, most movies that open to the #1 position only hold that spot for a few weeks in a row. A recent hit like Avengers: Endgame was #1 at the domestic box office for three weekends in a row, the same as 2020's current highest grossing movie, Bad Boys for Life.
The film with the longest active streak of being at #1 is 1997's Titanic, which spent 15 consecutive weekends at #1, while the film with the most number of weekends at #1 is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, spanning across 16 non-consecutive weekends at #1. Across E.T.'s 16 weeks of #1 there were some weeks in-between were it dipped to #2 or lower, with five weeks being the longest stretch between #1 weekends for the 1982 movie.
The different between what The Invisible Man and these heavy hitter blockbusters did is nothing short of remarkable. James Cameron and Steven Spielberg's movies were able to hold the #1 spot for months at a time and became cultural landmarks for that reason, dominating the space at the top that entire time. On the flipside, the 3 and a half months between The Invisible Man's #1 weekends comes as a result of audiences being cooped up in their homes and eager for some entertainment.
That isn't to say that The Invisible Man wasn't a success for the studio, because it very clearly was. Produced on a reported budget of $7 million, the film has brought in over $123 million worldwide, with over 52% of that from US theaters. It's worth reiterating though that the circumstances around this specific piece of trivia for The Invisible Man's domestic run are unlikely to be repeated in the near future as studios prepare to release new movies into theaters and exhibitors begin to phase out products that have been playing for weeks at a time. It's also likely that the film disappears from the Top 10 after chains like AMC Theatres re-opens their doors, having previously putting out a statement that they won't carry any new Universal movies.