Box Office: Massive Winter Storm to Inflict a Chill on Northeast Theaters

The massive Winter Storm Jonas will likely limit moviegoing in the Northeastern United States this weekend.

Many of the biggest cities in the Northeast — Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City — will be hit with heavy snow and strong winds between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. Storm warnings have been issued for the Carolinas, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley, central Arkansas and northeast Louisiana.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, told Variety that the storm appears to be so large that it can’t help but have an impact, particularly since it will hit during the busiest days of moviegoing.

“Severe weather is often used as a reason for why certain movies have missed the mark during their opening weekends and in many cases it comes off like the old ‘my dog ate my homework’ excuse: easy to say, but difficult to prove,” he said. “However, this weekend with the National Weather Service predicting at a minimum that 50 million people could be affected, in certain areas of the country this could actually have a material impact on the box office marketplace as a whole.”

Dergarabedian noted that the weekend storm’s impact probably won’t stick around for the long term. “Luckily, like all storms, this one will eventually pass and movies, having an inherently long shelf life, will have a chance to make up the difference down the road,” he added.

“Ride Along 2” and “The Revenant” are expected to again lead the U.S. box office this weekend at about $20 million each, fending off the sixth frame of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and a trio of newcomers: Lionsgate’s comedy “Dirty Grandpa,” STX’s horror-thriller “The Boy”and Sony’s sci-fier “The 5th Wave,” which will battle for the fourth spot in the $9 million to $13 million range.

Dirty Grandpa” and “The 5th Wave” will have Thursday night preview screenings while STX has opted to eschew preview showings of “The Boy.”

One exec noted that although snow always affects moviegoing, the key factor is motivation. In other words, if a customer really wants to see a particular movie, they’ll make it work.

In New York City, as much as a foot of snow is expected. Broadway is prepping for the storm to impact theatergoing this weekend, although venues rarely close because of snow.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:

    Disney and Tencent to Put Out New Chinese ‘Star Wars’ Story

    Disney and China’s biggest online publisher, Tencent’s China Literature, have teamed up to develop a new Chinese “Star Wars” online novel and release 40 older e-books in Chinese for the first time. In an attempt to cultivate grass-roots enthusiasm for a franchise that has not yet managed to find a strong foothold in the world’s [...]

  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

    Film Review: 'A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon'

    No asteroids are hurtling toward Earth in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” though a flying frozen pizza does softly slice the top off an elderly shopper’s hairdo: That’s roughly the level of quirky peril we’re talking about in the latest outing from Aardman Animations, and as usual, the British stop-motion masters cheerfully prove that [...]

  • Slam

    Film Review: ‘Slam’

    The disappearance of a fearless female Palestinian-Australian slam poet triggers suspense and powerful social and political commentary in “Slam,” an outstanding slow-burn thriller by expat Indian filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta (“Sunrise”). Starring Palestinian actor Adam Bakri (“Omar,” “Official Secrets”) as the missing woman’s conflicted brother, and leading Aussie performer Rachael Blake as a troubled cop, Opening [...]

  • Igo Kantor

    Igo Kantor, Producer and Post-Production Executive, Dies at 89

    Igo Kantor, whose Hollywood career took him from Howard Hughes’ projection room to supervising post-production on “Easy Rider” and producing B-movies like “Kingdom of the Spiders” and “Mutant,” died Oct. 15. He was 89. Kantor, who was born in Vienna and raised in Lisbon, met “Dillinger” director Max Nosseck on the ship to New York. [...]

  • The Lion King

    Average Movie Ticket Price Falls 4% in Third Quarter of 2019

    Average ticket prices for the third quarter have dropped 4% to $8.93, down from Q2’s $9.26, the National Association of Theatre Owners announced today. However, compared with the third quarter of 2018, ticket price has risen 1.1% from $8.83. The summer box office is down 2.13% from 2018, though the third quarter box office is [...]

  • Tilda Swinton to Preside Over The

    Tilda Swinton to Preside Over Marrakech Film Festival

    Tilda Swinton, the iconoclastic British actress and producer, is set to preside over the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, succeeding to American director James Gray. Swinton, who won an Oscar and a BAFTA award for best supporting actress for “Michael Clayton,” has been leading an eclectic acting career. She has collaborated with [...]

  • The King Netflix

    Middleburg Film Festival Brings Hollywood to Virginia

    For the last seven years, audiences have flocked to the Middleburg Film Festival. Running October 17th – 21st, and situated in the wine-country hills of historic Middleburg, Virg., the festival usually highlights some of the year’s buzziest titles, and 2019 is no exception. “We’re a smaller festival with fewer overall screenings than other events, so we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content