Box Office Results
Weekend Results... 1/27-1/29
For the seventh consecutive weekend, AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER claimed the top spot at the box office with a three-day gross of $15.7M, a drop of 22% from last weekend. While this sets a new post-pandemic record for consecutive weekends at number one, the streak will probably end next weekend with the opening of the M. Night Shyamalan suspense thriller KNOCK AT THE CABIN. Since its opened on 12/16, AVATAR 2 has amassed $621M in the U.S. & Canada and $2.1B worldwide, making it the fourth highest grossing theatrical release of all time.
We stand by our previous projections that AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER will wind up earning $650M in the U.S. & Canada, which would be 87% of the $750M box office that AVATAR earned in its initial run from 2009. The gap in attendance between the two films is even higher, considering a substantial increase in ticket prices over the past 13 years and the relatively higher portion of this year’s ticket sales coming from Premium Large Format Screens (PLFS), which are sold at a premium price. After factoring this in, we project that AVATAR 2 will wind up selling approximately 70% of the number of tickets that AVATAR sold in the Domestic market.
This shortfall in ticket sales has the greatest impact on exhibitors, whose bottom line depends on highly profitable concession sales. After grossing more than $2B worldwide, Disney and Twentieth Century Studios will certainly move forward to make more sequels in the AVATAR franchise, which is welcome news for exhibitors. One hopes that the much quicker appearance of the next sequel – AVATAR 3 is scheduled to hit theatres in December 2024 – will keep interest levels high resulting in more tickets sold.
PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH continued its hold on second place with a gross of $10.6, which was a very modest drop of 10% from last weekend’s box office. The animated sequel has earned $141.8M in North American theatres over the 38 days since it opened on 12/21, and it appears to be on track to gross $160M for its complete run. Results for the DreamWorks-produced animated feature compare favorably to the $149M earned by the original PUSS IN BOOTS from 2011. With a production budget of $90M and a worldwide gross of over $300M thus far, we can expect to see more of PUSS in the not-too-distant future.
A MAN CALLED OTTO starring Tom Hanks moved up into third place with a weekend gross of $6.8M, a drop of 23% from last weekend. Sony has followed a platform release strategy for OTTO, with the number of locations increasing gradually over its first three weeks in theatres. The film has grossed $46M to-date, and is on its way to an overall North American total of $60M. Carrying a production budget of $60M and having sold approximately $70M worldwide, OTTO will need to hold well in the weeks ahead in order to achieve profitability.
Universal’s M3GAN finished in fourth place, with a gross of $6.4M and a drop of 34%. The horror hit is the number one Domestic grossing movie to open in 2023, with $82.2M to date.
PATHAAN from Yash Raj Films was a surprise fifth place finisher, earning $5.9M at only 695 locations, giving it by far the highest per location average of $8,557. The film is a high-octane Bollywood thriller starring Shah Rukh Khan and John Abrams. It has received strong support from critics, with a Tomatometer score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers are not far behind, with a positive 82% audience score. In the past, comparable films have opened in North America with strong results, but not been able to sustain them beyond the first several weeks. We’ll watch to see if PATHAAN has the legs to buck that trend.
2023 continues its winning ways compared to 2022, having topped last year’s results for all four weeks thus far. The total box office for all movies this weekend was approximately $75M, compared to only $35.8M for the same weekend in 2022 when exhibitors struggled with no new wide releases for the second weekend in a row.
|Rank||Title (Distributor)||Week||# Theatres||Weekend $||Per Theatre Average $||Total $|
|1||Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios)||7||3,600||$15,700,000||$4,361||$379,344,377|
|2||Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal Pictures)||7||3,452||$10,620,000||$3,076||$79,680,390|
|3||A Man Called Otto (Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE))||5||3,957||$6,750,000||$1,706||$32,639,550|
|4||M3GAN (Universal Pictures)||4||3,416||$6,370,000||$1,865||$64,810,695|
|5||Pathaan (Yash Raj Films)||2||695||$5,947,369||$8,557||$5,947,369|
Regal Parent Cineworld Has Reached Out To 30 Potential Buyers As It Pursues Sale (Deadline)
This week, more headlines emerged from Cineworld’s chapter 11 bankruptcy process. The exhibitor is actively engaged in talks with up to 30 separate parties to sell off its Regal Cinemas locations. Among the potential acquirers are certain competitive circuits, though there can only be a handful of prime candidates from this group since Cineworld has stated a strong preference to sell off its entire network to one buyer rather piecemeal to multiple parties.
Cineworld also signaled that any interested party should have direct communication with the company, rather than “outside parties.” This statement may refer to news reports that AMC has attempted to negotiate terms with Cineworld’s lenders rather than with Cineworld directly.
As the desperate state of Cineworld’s finances is becoming clearer, there may be opportunities for savvy exhibitors to pick up attractive sites and increase their scale as the box office continues to recover in 2023.
Sundance, Once a Hotbed for Film Deals, Tries to Find Its Footing (New York Times)
This week, the Sundance Film Festival wrapped up its first fully in-person event since January 2020. While the festivalgoers were happy to get together for ten days of in-person screenings and festivities, many also expressed anxiety over the outlook for the industry. Sundance is best known for showcasing independently produced, original dramas and documentaries but these types of films have had a difficult time since the pandemic in finding their audiences, especially in theatres.
In the years before the pandemic, Sundance was renowned for making headlines when studio execs signed expensive distribution agreements for festival hits, only to fall flat at the box office a few months later. Some prominent examples included flashy distribution deals for HAMLET 2, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT, Mindy Kaling’s LATE NIGHT, and BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON.
Some of this year’s most talked about movies are still looking for distributors, including MAGAZINE DREAMS starring Jonathan Majors and the Brett Kavanaugh documentary JUSTICE. The streamers have been among the most active buyers, led by Netflix’s $20M acquisition of the psychological thriller FAIR PLAY from director Chloe Dormont.
Fox Searchlight spent $8M on the musical THEATRE CAMP, featuring Broadway star Ben Platt while A24 acquired the horror title TALK TO ME” for a similar amount. However, neither musicals nor horror films are typical fares for Sundance, reflecting a new sensibility about the films with the best prospects for commercial success.
See also: Sundance Deals: Netflix, Apple Shell Out As In-Person Screening Returns (Hollywood Reporter)
Oscar Nominations Are In, and a Few Big Trends Are Out (The Atlantic)
On Tuesday morning, the Academy announced its nominations for the 2023 Oscars, displaying a broadening in how it determines worthiness. Most of the nominated films had a traditional theatrical release, including Best Picture nods for AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER and TOP GUN: MAVERICK, the two highest-grossing pictures of the year.
This falls outside recent norms for the Academy, which has passed over blockbusters in favor of smaller films. This change may have been driven by woeful TV ratings for the Oscars awards show, with the past two years suffering the lowest ratings in history. Many argue that TV viewers have lost interest because of the Academy’s focus on independent, art-house films that the general public has not seen, or even heard of.
EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, ALL AT ONCE received the greatest number of nominations at 11, and is considered by many to be the front runner for Best Picture. EVERYWHERE may have struck the perfect note by being a solid earner at the box office, grossing more than $100M worldwide, and receiving praise from critics, appearing on most year-end top ten lists.
As always, there were a few surprises, especially in the Best Actress category. Andrea Riseborough received a nomination for her role in TO, LESLIE, a film that earned $27,000 at the box office while Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler were left off the list, despite their high-profile performances in THE WOMAN KING and TILL.
With Jimmy Kimmel hosting for the third time, the show appears on target to have a bounce back in the ratings, which will be important for its long-term survival.
Studio Release Calendar
Studio Releases... 2/3-2/9
Studio Release Calendar