‘Freaky’ hits No. 1 at the weekend box office, marking big wins for Universal, Blumhouse – Fox Business

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Universal and Blumhouse’s body-swapping horror-comedy “Freaky” topped the box office over the weekend, marking an impressive winning streak for the studios amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The film stars Vince Vaughn as a serial killer who inadvertently swaps bodies with a young high school girl. When the duo discovers what’s happened to them, he sets off on a psychopathic killing spree designed to frame the girl inhabiting his old body for his crimes.

According to Deadline, “Freaky” notched $1.4 million on Saturday, putting it on track to earn an estimated $4 million in its opening weekend (which includes Thursday night previews). The outlet notes that Universal is one of the only major studios putting out consistent content throughout the pandemic. In fact, “Freaky” gives the studio its third week straight at No. 1 between “Freaky,” “Come Play,” and “Let Him Go.”

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This image released by Universal Pictures shows Kathryn Newton, foreground, and Vince Vaughn in a scene from “Freaky.” (Brian Douglas/Universal Pictures via AP)

Meanwhile, Blumhouse, the studio branch behind the horror-comedy, now has two No. 1 opening movies in 2020. However, the previous movie, “The Invisible Man,” marks a much more impressive pre-pandemic box office win at $28.2 million. In what the outlet reports is unusual for a comedy, “Freaky” earned an 84% certified fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

While that would be a stunning figure in pre-pandemic days, it’s bolstered by the significant lack of new blockbusters that have been causing theaters across the country to close up shop until state and government restrictions can be lifted and new movies can be marketed.

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Cineworld, the second-largest theater exhibitor in the U.S. and owner of the Regal chain, announced in October that it would close almost all of its theaters in the U.S. and U.K. in light of the coronavirus pandemic not only forcing closures in some locations, but pushing the release of major movies to at least 2021.

Last week, the theater chain announced it will shut the doors on its last remaining locations in New York and California.

Concessions workers stock the bins with popcorn and other treats as the theatre opens for some of the first showings at the AMC theatre when it re-opened for the first time since shutting down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday, Aug. 20, (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

In a statement to Fox Business on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Regal said: “In line with our previously announced strategy, Regal is temporarily suspending operations end of day Thursday at the remainder of our theatres in New York State and California until the public health and operational environment allows for the resumption of a full release slate. This change affects a very limited number of our theatres, which we had kept open following the delayed approval of theatre reopenings in their markets and in line with our wish to allow more of our customers to see ‘Tenet’ on the big screen.”

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The lack of new releases isn’t just impacting Regal. AMC Theaters, the country’s largest exhibitor, said recently that it may run out of cash by the end of the year if the situation doesn’t improve.

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