AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER was the #1 movie at the box office for the fourth weekend in a row, but began to show the first signs of waning interest. By grossing $45M for the three days, it dropped 33% from last weekend which was its second steepest drop since it opened on 12/16. M3GAN generated more revenue on Friday, it’s opening day than AVATAR 2 did but James Cameron’s epic recovered on Saturday and Sunday to reclaim the top spot for the weekend.
When comparing AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER with other pictures, you find that a drop of 33% in a picture’s fourth weekend is actually a positive sign for its ability to hold on to its audience. It may not signal the beginning of the end for WATER’s theatrical run, especially because next week includes the Martin Luther King four-day weekend which usually brings an uptick in admissions. As a result, we expect that next weekend AVATAR 2 will have a smaller percentage drop than it did this weekend. The Sci-Fi sequel has amassed an impressive North American box office of $517M.
Universal’s M3GAN took second place with $30.2M on its opening weekend. This horror film tells the story of Artificial Intelligence gone horribly wrong. It has received praise from critics with a 94% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, though audiences were somewhat less enthusiastic with their 78% rating. These scores are the reverse of the typical pattern for most horror titles, a genre whose movies are usually panned by critics but loved by moviegoers.
M3GAN was created by filmmaker James Wan, with an impressive resume of successful horror flicks including SAW, INSIDIOUS, and THE CONJURING. It was produced by Blumhouse Productions, responsible for the 2018 HALLOWEEN remake and last year’s very successful THE BLACK PHONE. We think that M3GAN has a chance to perform well for several weeks into the future and exceed the consensus industry estimates of $55M-$60M for its Domestic run. With a production budget estimated at only $12M, everyone involved will celebrate a great start to 2023.
PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH finished third with a weekend gross of $13.1M, a drop of only 22% from last weekend. The animated sequel remains on track to earn $110M or more in North America, having already earned $88M. Sony’s A MAN CALLED OTTO finished fourth by taking in $4.2M. The drama/comedy starring Tom Hanks expanded to 637 locations this weekend, after playing at four exclusive locations in N.Y. and L.A. for the past two weeks. Next weekend, OTTO will expand further to 2,500 locations, in an attempt to benefit from increased moviegoing during the four-day MLK holiday weekend.
BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER finished fifth with another $3.4M and a drop of 34% from last weekend. It’s the movie that refuses to go away, having earned a total of $445M after nine weeks in theatres.
The total for all movies this weekend was $104.7M, which compares to $62.2M earned on the same weekend last year when SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME still sat atop the box office.