Would audiences pay to see a new movie on the big screen if they could watch the same title at home from the comfort of their couch? Prior to the pandemic, the response from theatre operators and cinema purists would have been a resounding “no.” Yet Hollywood is finding that, at least while a plague of Biblical proportion rages, the answer is: sorta. “The Little Things,” a crime thriller starring Denzel Washington and Rami Malek, topped domestic box office charts, debuting to $4.8 million from 2,171 venues in North America. At the same time, it was available to HBO Max subscribers for a monthly fee that’s less than a single movie ticket in some parts of the country. “The Little Things” is one of 17 films from Warner Bros. that will premiere simultaneously in cinemas and on the HBO Max streaming service. In normal times, those box office receipts would spell disaster. But today, it actually ranks as one of the stronger COVID-era opening weekends. HBO Max didn’t report how many viewers opted to stream “The Little Things.” However, Warner Bros. and its parent company WarnerMedia said the film “immediately shot up to No. 1” on HBO Max. It’s unclear what that benchmark means. “We are absolutely thrilled by how Warner Bros.’ ‘The Little Things’ is performing on HBO Max -- it immediately shot up to number one, where it currently remains,” said HBO Max executive VP and general manager Andy Forssell. John Lee Hancock directed “The Little Things,” which centres on two police officers trying to catch a serial killer.