With just 34 percent of North American theaters currently open, Fatale pushed aside concerns about shuttered cinemas and opened this weekend in 1,107 locations.
According to Comscore, the Deon Taylor-directed thriller took in an estimated $925,000, for an average of $836. That was enough for a third place finish at the box office.
The Lionsgate release stars Michael Ealy and Hilary Swank, and features a supporting cast that includes Mike Colter, Damaris Lewis, and Geoffrey Owens.
Ealy plays married sports agent Derrick, who finds himself in a world of trouble after a fling in Las Vegas. Swank portrays Val, a troubled police detective who holds all the cards when Derrick’s life begins to unravel.
The modern-day take on Fatal Attraction was originally scheduled for a June release, but as COVID-19 tends to do, the virus ruined those plans. The film’s release date was shifted multiple times before it opened this weekend.
In an interview during Fatale’s virtual press junket, Taylor told me he refused to give up on his desire for the film to debut in theaters.
After learning about CinemaSafe, a set of coronavirus safety protocols adopted by theater owners, he pushed for the movie to screen in cinemas.
“Theater chains are working extremely hard to make theaters safe,” he said.
Taylor noted that it was difficult for Black filmmakers to get their movies into theaters, even before the coronavirus crisis.
“As a Black filmmaker, I don’t think people realize how hard we’ve been fighting to get our movies in theaters. So, whatever the opportunity was that I could actually get this film into theaters, and working with AMC and all these other amazing theater chains, with CinemaSafe, I was like ‘I’m doing it,'” he said.
Despite Taylor’s enthusiasm about the moviegoing experience, Fatale opened with muted results.
The last two thrillers from his Hidden Empire Film Group, Black and Blue and The Intruder, debuted with significantly higher totals last year. Black and Blue opened domestically with $8.3 million in October 2019. Months earlier, The Intruder — which also starred Michael Ealy — debuted with $10.8 million in May 2019.
Still, Fatale wasn’t the only film to take a hit at the pre-Christmas weekend box office.
Paul W.S. Anderson’s Monster Hunter opened at #1 domestically, with $2.2 million from 1,736 locations. With a reported budget of $60 million, the Sony video game adaptation had been expected to open with at least $4 million, even with reduced theater capacity.
Elsewhere, The Croods: A New Age slipped to a very close second place with $2 million in its fourth week of release.
As mentioned, Fatale took in $925,000 for a third place finish. Half Brothers was fourth with $260,000, followed by The War With Grandpa with $169,730.
For a full list of the top ten, see the chart below from Comscore.