Hollywood just ain't what it used to be, but some select theaters and drive-ins continue to function across the country, allowing studios brave enough to commit to a theatrical release to take a shot at the box office. During Comic-Con weekend, Dave Franco's directorial debut, horror movie The Rental topped the box office with a modest $420,871 in 251 theaters during its first three days of release.

While The Rental's claim to the top spot in box office earnings comes with a huge asterisk in the absence of any real competition from other new releases, the indie feature's performance should be cause for celebration for those in the theater industry who are desperately hoping for the business of cinema halls to get back to normal as soon as possible.

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The Rental tells the tale of two couples who rent a house for a weekend getaway. While enjoying their vacation, the four leads realize their rooms are bugged with recording devices. Things get even uglier when a masked man starts attacking the characters one by one.

The movie has received generally positive reviews for the performances and Franco's directorial style. Some reviewers noted that the movie serves as a character study of the four leads in the first two-thirds of the film, before going into full-on slasher mode with the last one-third of the narrative. In an interview, Francos explained that combining both aspects of the storyline was a tricky balancing act.

"Our goal was to create a tense relationship drama where the interpersonal issues between the characters werejust as thrilling as the fact that there was a killer stalking them. And so, at its core, the movie really is about these characters and their relationships. And then, we sprinkled the horror element on top to help accentuate the problems that they're going through."
"The tone was definitely tricky because even though there is underlying tension from the opening shot of the film that slowly builds over time, the first half of the movie really focuses on these characters and their relationships. We needed to find ways to sustain the tension of the movie, even when there was nothing overtly scary happening on screen. And so, I really leaned on my DP and my composers to help just build a tone and an atmosphere in that early portion of the film."

After The Rental, a re-release of the original 1984's The Karate Kid took the number two spot at the box office with an expected $135K gross over the weekend. For the next few weeks, the box-office will continue to cater almost exclusively to a smattering of indie movies and the re-release of popular older movies as studios try to gauge audience interest in returning to cinemas before unleashing blockbuster fare like Wonder Woman 1984 and Tenet.

The Rental is directed by Dave Franco from a script by Franco and Joe Swanberg, with stars Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand, Jeremy Allen White, and Toby Huss doing the heavy lifting on screen. The movie released in select drive-ins and theaters and was made available On Demand on Friday, July 24. This comes from Deadline. Franco's quote is from Coming Soon.

  • Comic-Con Weekend Box Office
  • 1. The Rental - $420K
  • 2. The Karate Kid - $135K
  • 3. The Goonies - $130K
  • 4. Jurassic Park - $129K
  • 5. The Big Ugly - $150K
  • 6. Zootopia - $98K
Neeraj Chand