This week’s box office surprise was not that BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER came in first place for the fourth consecutive weekend by grossing $17.5M, but rather that it barely topped VIOLENT NIGHT which earned $13.3M in its opening weekend. This indicates that BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER has not lived up to Disney’s mega-blockbuster expectations for the sequel.
Falling by 61%, the picture dropped faster than the original BLACK PANTHER track when it opened in 2018. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of results for the two films over their first three weeks of release.
WAKANDA FOREVER’s relatively steep week-over-week declines will drag down the box office for its overall theatrical run, which Disney had expected would still be going strong at the end of the year. The upcoming opening of AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER will snuff out any significant add-on ticket sales for WAKANDA FOREVER.
Universal’s holiday-themed actioner VIOLENT NIGHT opened Friday and became the #1 movie for the day. As the weekend continued, it drifted down and wound up in second place for the three days with $13.3M. The movie has earned a solid review from critics – a 70% Tomatometer score – and an even better response from moviegoers – an 89% audience score. The future looks promising for the well-timed release, which we expect to hold up nicely through Christmas and the last week of December.
Disney’s animated family film STRANGE WORLD continues to disappoint, grossing only $4.9M this weekend, which is a drop of 60% from last weekend’s tough opening weekend. STRANGE WORLD has had a shockingly bad press since it opened, and Disney’s distribution execs must be looking forward to seeing it fade away as a footnote to the high-profile replacement of its CEO, with Bob Iger taking up the reins once again from his one-time successor Bob Chapek.
Searchlight’s resilient THE MENU finished in fourth place with $3.6M in its third weekend, a decline of only 35% from last weekend. Based on these solid results, the horror hit is assured of maintaining its place in theatres through the end of the year, with the potential to wind up with as much as $40M for its total run.
Sony’s DEVOTION finished in fifth place, with a gross of $2.8M in its second week, a drop of 53% from its debut. This story of the first African American navy pilot will also continue to play through the end of the year, racking up solid earnings.
All titles in the release this weekend earned $53.1M, which is the lowest gross for any weekend since September 16-18. There will be no new wide releases next weekend as the industry awaits the 12/16 opening of AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. A lot is riding on James Cameron’s AVATAR sequel after the 2009 original shattered all box office records.
THE WAY OF WATER will also have a hard time competing with last year’s phenomenal success of SPIDERMAN: NO WAY HOME. The entire industry hopes that AVATAR 2 opens with a big bang and then continues to wow audiences well into the new year.