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Freaky still the top movie at quiet US box office

Los Angeles

BODY-SWAP horror comedy Freaky remained as the winner of a seriously subdued US box office with US$1.2 million at 2,057 locations in North America over the weekend.

The Universal and Blumhouse Productions' movie stars Vince Vaughn as a serial killer and Kathryn Newton as a low-profile high schooler who inadvertently switch bodies on Friday the 13th.

Freaky has taken in US$5.6 million in its first 10 days of release amid a reluctance by many moviegoers to return to multiplexes until a Covid-19 vaccine is available.

Universal noted on Sunday that the theatrical box office continues to be impaired due to a notable reduction in the number of theatres in North America, as the domestic theatrical footprint has shrunk to roughly 2,800 open locations from 3,400 last weekend.

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The performance of Freaky contrasts sharply with the same weekend a year ago when Disney launched Frozen II with US$130 million and overall North American business totaled US$206 million, according to Comscore.

With the continuing surge of the virus this fall, another round of lockdowns and curfews are impacting theatres on a regional basis, said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro. "Business is down sharply from last weekend as a result of temporary closures, even for films that had proven to hold quite well over the past few months," he said.

"While the encouraging news of vaccines on the horizon remains a light at the end of the tunnel for the industry, this weekend's dip at the box office is an expected reminder of the endurance that will be required to push through a very challenging holiday and winter season."

The seventh weekend of 101 Studios' comedy, The War With Grandpa, finished in a distant second place with US$737,067 at 1,688 sites. Focus Features' thriller Let Him Go followed in third with US$710,000 at 1,907 locations. Focus' fourth weekend of the horror movie, Come Play, came in fourth place with US$510,000 at 1,364 screens.

Disney's re-release of its 1994 holiday comedy-drama , The Santa Clause, pulled in US$481,000 at 1,581 sites. REUTERS

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