On this weekend in 2019, the top five movies at the box office — which included the debuts of Frozen II and Knives Out — grossed $179.0 million.

Last weekend, the top five movies in America grossed $3.6 million combined. And the number one movie in America, the horror comedy Freaky, grossed just over $1 million.

(This weekend in 2019 was actually Thanksgiving, but if you want to compare the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2019, the results are not that much better. The top five still grossed $63.1 million, thanks to the debuts of Ford v Ferrari and Charlie’s Angels.)

It’s a staggering and devastating reversal of fortune for the box office industry, and it really sums up just how much things have changed in a single year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. And things are getting worse, not better; according to one report, another 700 theaters around the United States have re-closed because of the precipitous rise of Covid-19 cases.

The weekends before and after Thanksgiving are typically among the biggest moviegoing weekends of the year; huge holiday titles typically premiere for the huge crush of families who head to theaters during their time off. In 2020, the biggest rated “debut” of the weekend before Thanksgiving was the re-release of the Tim Allen Christmas comedy The Santa Clause:

  1. Freaky - $1.2 million
  2. The War With Grandpa - $733,067
  3. Let Him Go - $710,000
  4. Come Play - $550,000
  5. The Santa Clause (reissue) - $461,000

Theaters can’t expect their fortunes to change much, at least through the end of 2020. The Croods: A New Age will open this coming weekend, but the last best hope for a true blockbuster this winter, Wonder Woman 1984, will now premiere on HBO Max on the same day it arrives in theaters. It really is a freaky time for the movie business. Let’s just hope things improve in 2021. They really can’t get much worse.

Gallery — What We Miss Most About Movie Theaters Right Now:

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