‘Mulan’ at home, ‘Tenet’ at the theater: Hollywood is making choices

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Yifei Liu stars in "Mulan," which will be available as a premium offer on Disney+ on Friday.

Movies live or die on word of mouth, and in these coronavirus-troubled times, the same may be true of the moviegoing experience.

Last weekend Hollywood rolled out “Unhinged” in a fairly wide with release (1,800 theaters, jumping to 2,300 this weekend) with a fairly big (pardon the pun) star, Russell Crowe, and had some small success. The movie topped $4 million, helping the total domestic box office to a $7 million weekend. (Sleepy late-August weekends last year were about 10 times that.)

But it’s how that $4 million from “Unhinged” came in that may be more noteworthy: The movie’s box office take actually ticked up from Friday to Saturday, indicating that folks were telling other folks about the film and their new-normal theater experience, says Paul Dergarabedian, senior box office analyst at movie industry data company Comscore.

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