The movie, from RLJE Films, brought in $2,457 from each location — a mix of drive-in venues and traditional theaters. At the Vineland Drive-In in Los Angeles, “The Tax Collector” notched the highest single-day grosses since the theater reopened.
Next weekend, the film will expand to more drive-ins and brick-and-mortar theaters that have reopened. There are currently 1,195 movie theater locations open in North America, and of those, 229 are drive-ins.
On premium video-on-demand services, “The Tax Collector” ranked among the top purchases on many platforms, including Google, iTunes, Amazon and FandangoNow, with reports that it pulled in around $1 million in VOD sales.
In the film, LaBeouf and Bobby Soto play two gang enforcers named Creeper and David who work for a crime lord. The “tax collectors” take their employer’s cut from local gangs, but their entire business is upended when an old rival returns from Mexico. Cinthya Carmona, George Lopez, Jay Reeves, Lana Parrilla and Chelsea Rendon are also featured in the cast.
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“During these unpredictable times, audiences want new content even more than ever,” said Mark Ward, chief acquisitions officer at RLJE Films. “The drive-in and PVOD model have given audiences new and nostalgic experiences, and we’re seeing the demand as we innovate and pivot to the need of consumers. What we’re most proud of is ‘The Tax Collector’ with its ethnically diverse cast, helmed by the legendary David Ayer, is topping the charts in both box office and PVOD. Audiences crave diversity in film, and we are opening opportunities for such representation to be seen.”
Considering most theaters are still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the box office success of “The Tax Collector” is a bit of a surprise considering critics panned the film. In his review for Variety, chief film critic Peter DeBruge said the story is “bloody, barely coherent and about as fun as having your face dragged across asphalt from a moving SUV.”
Elsewhere on box office charts, IFC Films continued to take advantage of the smattering of drive-in locations opened across the country. The company opened romantic comedy “Made In Italy” in 111 locations, where it bowed to $34,481. Meanwhile, horror film “The Rental” brought in $123,744 from 187 screens. The Dave Franco-directed movie has amassed $1.178 million to date.
“We’re beyond excited to have achieved these results solely through rental availability,” said Lisa Schwartz, co-president of IFC Films. “It makes us even more excited for when these films become available to own in a few weeks.”
Though most theaters in North America have remained closed, a number of multiplexes overseas have started to reopen.
In China, a re-release of Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” earned $680,000 from 502 Imax screens in China. Last year’s Golden Globe-winner “1917” earned an estimated $5.16 million after its opening three days in China, bringing its worldwide cume to $381.76 million. The “Train to Busan” sequel “Peninsula” earned $1.3 million at the global box office as well.
In France, STX’s disaster thriller “Greenland” brought in $1.14 million from 540 venues, bringing its international haul to $1.25 million. That’s a solid bounty, considering cinemas in France are operating at 50% capacity and have 25% fewer showtimes. However, “Greenland” cost $34 million to produce and will need to sell many more tickets if it hopes to get out of the red. Next week, the film is expanding to 11 international territories, including Sweden, Denmark, Singapore and Findland.