AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER was the #1 movie at the box office for the fifth weekend in a row, with a three-day gross of $31M and. AVATAR 2 is holding very well with this weekend dropping by only 32% from last weekend, which itself was only 33% lower than two weeks ago. These week-to-week declines are much lower than those suffered by typical wide releases.
James Cameron’s Sci-Fi sequel has grossed $563M in the 31 days since it opened, and we now feel comfortable predicting that it will wind up with around $650M Domestic by the time it completes its run, making it the tenth-highest-grossing film of all time. That being said, it will fall well short of the original AVATAR, which earned $771M in its exceptionally long initial run of 34 weeks, and $785M to date after subsequent re-releases.
The total worldwide figure for AVATAR 2 will be approximately $2.1B, making it the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time, ironically coming in just behind TITANIC. James Cameron will wind up with top honors in the box office derby, with his films finishing #1 (AVATAR), #3 (TITANIC), and #4 (AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER). I’d say that the kid deserves an encore and that Disney/20th Century should greenlight AVATAR 3, 4, and 5.
Universal’s M3GAN took second place with $17.9M in its second weekend, a drop of 41%. The latest offering from James Wan and Blumhouse Productions has connected with horror fans and is well on its way to a successful run in theatres. M3GAN has earned $56M in only ten days and is likely to wind up with a total of $100M by the time it finishes. This would make it the first “hit” movie of 2023, and very profitable considering it was produced on a budget of only $12M.
PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH finished third place with a gross of $13.4M, a remarkable drop of only 1% from last weekend. The animated sequel now is on track to earn at least $130M in North American theatres, having grossed $106M already since it opened on 12/21.
Sony’s A MAN CALLED OTTO finished #4 in its first weekend in wide release. While exhibitors had hoped to see it in theatres sooner… Sony originally announce a 12/25 wide release… the studio chose instead to begin on 12/25 with a very limited 2-week run at four select locations, followed on 1/6 with a moderate expansion to 637 theatres, and then finally go wide this weekend to 3,802 locations. This platform release may have been the best approach for OTTO since its story focuses on the trials and tribulations of a “bitter widower” played by Tom Hanks and therefore appeals mostly to older audiences.
40+ moviegoers may have more time to get out to a theatre to see the picture after the family demands of the holiday season have passed. Even though OTTO only scored 69% fresh with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, it has been extremely well received by audiences, who gave a 97% score. This positive word of mouth may allow OTTO to do well in the weeks ahead. With a production budget of $50M, the movie should wind up as a profitable venture for Sony.
Lionsgate’s PLANE finished in fifth place in its opening weekend with $10M. The movie tells the story of a pilot played by Gerard Butler whose heroic actions save the passengers on his plane by landing it on a desolate island. Unfortunately, it winds up being an island controlled by a military faction that is unfriendly to the survivors.
With help from a convict who was being transported on the plane, Butler’s character takes on whatever comes their way. PLANE scored a 74% fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but has scored very well with moviegoers, who gave it a 95% audience score. Much like A MAN CALLED OTTO, this high audience rating should result in positive word of mouth about PLANE and sustain ticket sales for several weeks to come. Having a production budget of $20M-$25M, PLANE will wind up as a profitable movie for Lionsgate.
The box office for all movies playing in theatres this weekend was $100M, which compares to $71M from the same weekend last year when SCREAM knocked SPIDERMAN: NO WAY HOME off the first-place perch it had held.