Due to the deflated ticket sales theatrical releases are experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Hollywood studios are deciding to hide their grosses in order to avoid having their films judged unfairly. Searchlight Pictures, the studio behind Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, decided to conceal the film’s sales this last weekend during its wide release.
Although Nomadland has received almost universal acclaim, Searchlight seems to be worried that the amount of money it’s been making could be a detriment to the film’s reputation. Box Office Pro’s chief analyst, Shawn Robbins, understands the concerns of the studios, but is worried that this practice could become a new normal.
“Any instances of studios withholding box office performances presents a conundrum,” says Robbins. “It would be very concerning for such tactics to become part of the new normal as the industry rises back to its feet. At the end of the day, facts should always take precedence over controlled optics.”
A24 also chose to hide the numbers for their awards contender Minari, which has received high praise from both critics and audiences. Other studios, including Universal, Disney (excluding Searchlight), and Paramount are continuing to report grosses transparently.
In other Box Office news, The Croods: A New Age has managed to hold on to the number one spot with $1.7 million at the domestic box office, while recent R-rated films that have seen a hybrid release like The Little Things and Judas and the Black Messiah trailed behind it with $1.2 million and $905,000 respectively. Films that have gone with the hybrid model have seen steep drop offs at the box office. As of now, about 38% of North American theaters are open.