Blumhouse and Universal's Freaky — a twisted take on the classic body-swap pic Freaky Friday — topped the struggling North American box office with a $3.7 million weekend debut.
In the coronavirus era, when nearly every movie scheduled for theatrical release has been postponed, those ticket sales were easily enough to nab first place on U.S. charts. The film played on 2,472 screens in North America. Overseas, "Freaky" grossed $1.9 million from 20 international markets for a global haul of $5.6 million.
"Freaky" stars Vince Vaughn as a savage serial killer and Kathryn Newton as an under-the-radar high school teen, who inadvertently switch bodies on Friday the 13th. Christopher Landon, who wrote "Disturbia," three "Paranormal Activity" sequels and directed "Happy Death Day," helmed the R-rated thriller. The movie, which received overwhelmingly positive reviews, cost $6 million to make.
Compared to rival studios, Universal has been active in releasing movies during the pandemic, largely because of a deal it forged with AMC Theatres. Typically, movies play on the big screen for 75 to 90 days before they move to digital rental services. But under Universal and AMC's new agreement, the studio can put new films on premium video-on-demand within 17 days of their theatrical debuts. In return, AMC, which is the biggest cinema chain in the world, promises not to boycott Universal's movies and also gets a cut of the digital profits.
In total, only 48% of U.S. theaters are open, according to Comscore.
Focus Features' "Let Him Go," a suspense thriller with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, landed in second place on box office charts. The movie generated $1.8 million in its sophomore outing, bringing its domestic tally to $7 million.
Robert De Niro's family comedy "The War With Grandpa" took the third spot, bringing in $1.3 million in its sixth week of release. In total, the film has made $15.2 million, a modest sum during the pandemic.
Another Focus title, the horror movie "Come Play," came in fourth place with $1.1 million. After three weeks in theaters, the film has made $7.4 million.