We’re hearing that some of those nearly 80 theaters that were closed are trying to get open today for what typically is the first of many lucrative moviegoing days as holiday distractions ease. That’s been complicated this year by Winter Storm Elliott in the Midwest, power outages and a deep wind chill that’s keeping many at home.
As far as where the box office stands now, as one distribution source observes, “These numbers are still very fluid.” Studios and exhibitors are hopeful for a bounce in business as the wicked winter weather calms.
Disney is sticking to its estimates on Avatar: The Way of Water, calling a $56M 3-day and $82M 4-day. Rivals believe that a great day is in store and that it could go to about $63M for the 3-day and $95M for 4-day, but that won’t be apparent until later today. Universal also largely is sticking to its 3-day and 4-day of $11.3M and $17.8M on Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Nobody wants to get over their skis in trying to over-project a lackluster marketplace. Best to underestimate and overdeliver. Worldwide, Puss in Boots 2 is at $50.8M.
Said Universal Domestic Distribution Boss Jim Orr: “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is the perfect movie to see this holiday season. This smart, sweet and funny film from DreamWorks Animation proves some franchises, and cats, only get better with age. Audiences across North America are obviously loving this next adventure, and we couldn’t be more proud.” Despite the pic coming in under Sing 2‘s 5-day of $39.6M, the confidence is that the DreamWorks sequel will be the definite second choice behind the Avatar sequel in the next few weeks.
Getting hurt the most under these circumstances are the new adult-targeted pics I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Babylon, which still are close to their single-digit projections. Even under the best of market conditions, Damien Chazelle’s opulent-priced $80M Hollywood period movie still would have suffered off its bad reviews and audiences scores, but we’ll have to see where overseas comes in as well as the next few hopefully normal days at the box office before we assess the damage. We stand corrected: C2 came in on as the co-financier on Babylon. Still, despite this shortfall for the Melrose Lot, the $1.48 billion global bounty from the studio’s Top Gun: Maverick alone will hopefully cover up any red ink here. At $3.5M 3-day and $5.3M 4-day, the Margot Robbie-Brad Pitt movie tanked, but so did TriStar’s Whitney Houston biopic. I Wanna Dance with Somebody didn’t even touch its $12M 4-day projection with an estimated $5.3M 3-day and $7.5M-$9M. But because it’s a distribution deal for Sony, there’s less damage for the studio.
The spoils for Avatar 2 right now remain worldwide, meaning abroad, where it stands at $855M WW through EOD today (broken out $254M and $601M abroad). The James Cameron-directed sequel is the 5th-highest-grossing global release of the 2022 to date and the 6th-highest worldwide for a Hollywood movie in the pandemic era. North American Imax auditoriums made $9.5M, repping 17% of second-weekend ticket sales and taking the large format exhibitor’s U.S./Canada haul to $34.3M.
“Avatar: The Way of Water is showing the strong endurance at the global box office we expected, particularly with its phenomenal performance internationally where several key markets grew their grosses over opening weekend,” Imax CEO Rich Gelfond beamed in a statement. “In just over a week of release, Avatar: The Way of Water is already sailing toward $100 million in Imax box office with no signs of slowing down, as our screens remain the destination of choice to experience this one-of-a-kind film.”
The Christmas box office look to make $39.3M for all titles, 77% from Christmas Eve’s downer $22.2M (which was off 26% from Friday). Christmas Day looks to be off 32% from the holiday a year ago, when Spider-Man: No Way Home was on the marquee, Omicron raged and there were better weather conditions. Since 2003, per ComScore, this is the second-lowest Christmas ever, the bottom being 2020, when NYC and LA theaters and a majority of the nation’s cinemas were shuttered and the day’s entire business did just over $10M.
The 3-day box office per ComScore is $85.9M, -44% from a year ago when Christmas fell on a Saturday. The YTD box office is $7.3 billion, +68% over the same period a year ago.
1) Avatar: The Way of Water(Dis/20th) 4,202 theaters, Fri $19.5M (-63%), Sat $15M, Sun $21.5M, Mon $26M, 3-day $56M (-58%)/4-day $82M/Total: $279.7M/ Wk 2
2) Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Uni) 4,099 theaters, Fri $3.8M, Sat $2.8M, Sun $4.7M Mon $6.4M 3-day $11.35M, 4-day $17.77M/Total $24.6M/Wk 1
3) I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Sony) 3,625 theaters, Fri $2M Sat $825K Sun $2.47M Mon $2.2M-$3.7M 3-day $5.3M 4-day $7.5M-$9M/Wk 1
4) Babylon (Par) 3,343 theaters Fri $1.47M Sat $590K Sun $1.44M Mon $1.88M 3-day $3.5M 4-day $5.3M/Wk 1
5) Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Dis) 2,250 (-1130) theaters, Fri $1M (-30%) Sat $800K Sun $1.2M Mon $1.67M 3 day $3M (-43%)/4-day $4.7M/Total $427.3M/Wk 7
6) Violent Night (Uni) 2,562 (-966) Fri $960K (-33%) Sat $780K Sun $1.4M Mon $1.06M 3-day $3.1M (-38%) 4-day $4.2M Total $42.6M/Wk 4
7) The Whale(A24) 603 (+597) theaters, Fri $300K (+512%), Sat $208K Sun $413K Mon $393K 3-day $924K (+539%) 4-day $1.3M Total $2.85M/Wk 38)
8)The Menu (Sea) 840 (-1035 theaters), Fri $175K (-65%) Sat $145K Sun $297K Mon $283K 3-day $617K (-41%) 4-Day $900K Total $34M/Wk 6
9) Fabelmans(Uni/Amb) 1,122 (+167) theaters, Fri $130K (-43%), Sat $160K Sun $260K Mon $330K 3 day $550K (-26%), 4-day $880K Total $10M/Wk 7
10) Strange World (Dis) 1,390 (-1,480) theaters, Fri $145K (-72%) Sat $110K Sun $155K Mon $265K 3-day $410K (-81%) 4-day $675K Total $35.8M/Wk 5