How Middling ‘Spiral’ Debut Shows This Summer’s Box Office Is Stuck in a Time Warp

·1-min read

This weekend’s $8.7 million opening for Lionsgate’s “Saw” spinoff “Spiral” was decent given the still-recovering state of movie theaters in North America, but it shows that this summer’s box office is stuck in a time warp. In the 1980s and ’90s, Memorial Day weekend was the traditional start of the summer blockbuster season — but that began to change around the turn of the 21st century as hits like 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode I,” 2001’s “Shrek”2002’s “Spider-Man” began to show the potential profit of releasing films earlier in May. Since then, particularly in the 2010s, we’ve seen the summer box office kick off with an explosive start in the first weekend of May — and sometimes even late April, thanks to Marvel hits like “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019 — providing theaters with box office support as smaller films come out in the tentpole’s shadow. Then Memorial Day weekend rolls around, bringing with it another wave of big hits that gives the charts fresh momentum heading into June. “Cruella” (Disney) But thanks to COVID-19, that’s obviously not happening this year. As Marvel’s “Black Widow” moved from May to July, mid-budget films like “Spiral” and MGM’s Jason Statham thriller “Wrath of Man”...

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