On one of the dullest weekends of the year, it’s good to see some movies overperforming. And we have the fourth weekend of Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever coming in at $17.59M, and Universal/87 North’s horror action comedy Violent Night over-indexing with $13.3M, slightly above its $10M-$12M projection.
As previously mentioned, that opening is just under Universal’s 2015 horror comedy, Krampus, which played the same early December frame, opening to $16.2M and legging out to $42.7M stateside. That pic was PG-13 to Violent Night‘s R. The movie minted a $20.3M global launch from 73 offshore territories. At the end of the day, Violent Night did what it was suppose to do. I hear Universal execs when they were considering a greenlight took the script home for the weekend and came back that Monday morning and said ‘Hell, yeah!’ to Violent Night.
“Violent Night had a terrific debut this weekend. 87North, director Tommy Wirkola, and the incomparable David Harbour as Santa crafted an incredibly original, fun, irreverent take on the ultimate superhero that thrilled audiences this weekend and will for many weeks to come,” exclaimed Universal Domestic Distribution Chief Jim Orr this morning.
With an estimated $56.4M for all movies, it’s the 8th-lowest weekend of the year, the bottom belonging to Jan. 28-30, with $34.9M. That’s when Morbius was suppose to go and Sony pushed it to April because of Omicron. Even in pre-pandemic times, this was never a glowing weekend, as people are distracted with holiday activities, though there’s always been a place for a genre movie to at least play to the 18-34 crowd, which Violent Night did to a near 60%. Still, richer days pre-pandemic: The first weekend of December earned $90.3M for all titles back in 2019.
RelishMix points out that the social media universe for Violent Night at 110M was juiced by 34.4M YouTube views and Universal’s 46.4M social media fan followings, as well as notably the pic’s star David Harbour, who counts around 11M followers after fours seasons of Stranger Things. On PostTrak, close to 40% said they bought tickets because it’s a horror action movie, while 32% said they came for Harbour.
Says RelishMix about the social media buzz for the film, “David Harbour is the hot-trending theme in much of the chatter on Violent Night, and bringing his Stranger Things audience to the comments. Fans are comping the movie to Nobody, Bullet Train, Bad Santa, of course, with Billy Bob Thornton, plus Die Hard — and more recent horror, Smile and Halloween Ends. The tone runs predominantly positive-to-mixed, as fans are happy to have a dark, non-cheesy film to drop into, ‘during the nightmare of the season of merriment.’”
Harbour championing the big screen experience:
Updated PostTrak showed 4 stars for Violent Night, with Men over 25 leading at 36% (82% grade), followed by women over 25 at 24% (84% grade), men under 25 at 23% (71% grade), followed by women under 25 at 17% (85% grade). Those who came with their spouse repped 19% of all ticket-buyers, followed by 18% with a date and 16% with one friend, 14% were solo, while 13% went to see the movie with 2-4 friends.
Top cities for Violent Night were LA, NYC, Dallas, Chicago, Philly, San Francisco, Phoenix, Houston, DC, and Atlanta. Top theaters on the Harbour movie were AMC Burbank, AMC Empire 25 NYC, AMC Grove, AMC Century City, AMC Porter Ranch, Cinemark Downey 14, Cinemark North Canton Cleveland, Harkins Estrella Falls in Phoenix, AMC Dine In in Orlando.
Next weekend, it’s really slow. There’s a reissue of Sony’s Mark Wahlberg title, Father Stu, an expansion of Focus Features’ Spoiler Alert, and finally, the limited launch of A24’s fest season darling, The Whale.
1.) Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Dis), 3.855 (-435) theaters, Fri $4.4M (-76%)/Sat $8.08M, Sun $5.1M, 3-day $17.59M (-61%)/Total: $393.7M/Wk 4
The pic is running 6% ahead of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness through four weekends and has a running total of $733M Worldwide.
2.) Violent Night (Uni) 3,682 theaters Fri $4.88M, Sat $5.3M Sun $3M 3 day $13.3M/Wk 1
3.) Strange World (Dis) 4,174 theaters Fri $1.08M (-78%)/Sat $2.4M, Sun $1.3M 3-day $4.9M (-60%)Total: $25.5M/Wk 2
4.) The Menu (Sea) 2,810 (-418) theaters Fri $1.04M (-49%), Sat $1.5M, Sun $996K 3-day $3.55M (-33%)/Total $24.7M/Wk 3
The genre Mark Mylod directed title is running 2% ahead of Midsommar through its first four weekends (final total on that pic $27.4M), and 11% behind Searchlight horror movie Ready or Not which finaled at $28.7M.
5.) Devotion (Sony) 3,405 theaters, Fri $840K , Sat $1.2M, Sun $760K 3-day $2.8M (-53%) Total $13.8M
6.) I Heard the Bells (Fath) 955 theaters, Fri $424K Sat $796K, Sun $597K 3 day $1.81M/Total with previews $2.5M/Wk 1
Playing in 179 markets, the Fathom Event title had a few decent runs mostly in smaller markets up and down the East coast where it took in close to 61% of its gross versus the norm of 39% for all other titles.
7.) Black Adam (NL) 2,231 (-433) theaters, Fri $375K (-70%), Sat $760K, Sun $530K, 3-day $1.665M (-49%)/Total $165.1M/Wk 7
8.) The Fabelmans (Uni/Amb) 638 theaters Fri $350K, Sat $560K, Sun $390K, 3-day $1.3M (-43%) Total $5.56M/Wk 4
9. Bones and All (UAR) 2,727 theaters, Fri $385K (-54%), Sat $489K, Sun $318K 3-day $1.19M (-47%), Total $6M/Wk 3
10.) Ticket to Paradise (Uni) 1,715 (-523) theaters, Fri $240K (-66%), Sat $390K, Sun $220K 3 day $850K (-54%) Total $66.5M/Wk 7
11.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 1,864 theaters (+1,796), Fri $180K, Sat $310K, Sun $210K, 3 day $700K, Total $717.8M/Wk 28
Hit the 2nd Case 280 theaters Fri $230K Sat $220K Sun $150K 3-day $600K/Wk 1
The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie (Cru) 910 theaters Fri $266K Sat $143K Sun $93K 3-day $502K /Wk 1
Spoiler Alert (Foc) 6 theaters Fri $46K Sat $22K Sun $17K 3-day $85K/Wk 1