After a snowstorm laden Christmas weekend caused a lot of concern for exhibition and studios, the MLK frame has provided a lot of hope at the box office, with all studios seeing an improved outlook on their estimates than they imagined. Results for the top five films are higher, indicative of walk-up business.
Avatar: The Way of Water‘s 4-day is now at $38.5M, which still ranks as the 13th-highest grossing movie at the domestic box office at $570.3M, taking over Jon Favreau’s The Lion King ($543.6M). How much gas does the movie have left in the tank? Rival distribution sources believe that Avatar 2 has a shot at flying past the lifetime US/Canada gross of James Cameron’s Titanic ($659.3M). While Sony has the horror thriller Missing next weekend, and there’s no major studio wide release over Jan. 27-29, the prediction is that Universal’s M. Night Shyamalan movie Knock at the Cabin on Feb. 3 is the first title that’s bound to knock Avatar 2 out of the No. 1 spot. The sequel’s 3-day at $31.1M is one of the best fifth weekends stateside, ranking behind the fifth frames of American Sniper ($64.6M) and the first Avatar in 2010 ($42.7M).
Imax screens repped 14.3% of the sequel’s fifth weekend, PLFS repped close to 19% and 3D was responsible for over 62% of Avatar 2‘s weekend ticket sales. Imax alone counted $5.5M over the 4-day, for a $75.2M running total for the large-format exhibitor; their 3rd-highest title ever in US/Canada. At $1.89 billion around the world, Avatar 2 is the seventh-highest grossing movie of all-time.
M3GAN‘s 4-day is now an awesome $21.2M, Puss in Boots: Last Wish with $17.3M 4-day will get the DreamWorks Animation sequel to $110.3M, and Sony’s A Man Called Otto, which had zero LA & NYC runs in its top 50 theaters, is providing a tremendous amount of optimism for heartland moviegoing with a $15M take. Realize, rivals were betting against this Tom Hanks drama in the wake of adult pics Babylon and I Wanna Dance With Somebody flopping over Christmas weekend. This despite the fact that Otto popped to the No. 4 spot last weekend off just 637 theaters, with a $4.2M take and near $7K per theater. The fact that this movie was set to do $8M this weekend, comes in at $15M, deafening its 68% Rotten Tomatoes’ critics rating with an A CinemaScore, is to be commended. Sony, similar to their $90M-grossing pandemic summer sleeper Where the Crawdads Sing, has electrified a dormant audience once again.
Even Lionsgate’s Plane is besting its projections with a $10M 3-day, $11.6M 4-day, which is right in the neighborhood of STX’s pre-pandemic guy action pic, The Gentlemen, which did $11.4M over a nonholiday, four-day stretch during the last weekend of January. Plane, like Gentlemen, has a B+ Cinemascore. To clarify: There was a whole back and forth with this movie. Lionsgate first took domestic and a selection of foreign rights off the table at AFM 2019. Lionsgate has taken rights for North America, Latin America, the UK and India, back then with CAA Media Finance brokering domestic rights, and MadRiver International hanlding the rest of the world. Then Lionsgate exited in November 2020 because the production couldn’t get Covid insurance and the risk became too great a pic that was budgeted at $50M. Originally, Plane was suppose to be shooting in Malaysia but stalled because of a COVID spike there. Then Solstice Studios (remember, them?) stepped in to save the film, taking global rights and apparently finding a way to self-insure the film. But by May 2021, the final points in the Solstice deal couldn’t be agreed upon and so Lionsgate re-acquired the project (N.A., India, UK, and Latin America) for what I’m told was in the low $20M range with the pic shooting in Puerto Rico. P&A spend was also low $20Ms. Lionsgate re-boarded the movie as the world was beginning to open up in the spring/summer of 2021.
Plane star Daniella Pineda celebrating the movie over the weekend, giving a shoutout to fans, and even heading to the cinema with friends to see it.
New Line’s House Party‘s 4-day is at $4.5M ($3.9M 3-day) is right where it was expected to be. The first movie in 1990 opened to $4.6M and had a 5.7x multiple, the second title in 1991 debuted to $6M and had a 3x multiple to $19.4M. The third movie in 1994 had a 2.8x multiple off its $6.8M opening for a $19.2M domestic final. If this reboot winds up doing those sorts of numbers, that’s not too shabby. After all, it was always a cult franchise. At the end of the day for most motion picture studios, it’s better to grab whatever money you can in theatrical, which will set any title onto a conveyor belt of downstream windows vs. going theatrical day-and-date, or worse, not going theatrical at all.
The first 16 days of 2023 are off to a very good start with all titles estimated to ring up $377M, 43% ahead of the same period a year ago.
1.) Avatar 2 (Dis) 4,045 (-295) theaters Fri $7M (-39%) Sat $13.8M Sun $10.3M Mon $7.3M 3-day $31.1M (-32%), 4-day $38.5M Total $570.3M/Wk 5
2.) M3GAN (Uni) 3,605 (+96) theaters Fri $4.85M (-59%), Sat $7.4M Sun $5.6M Mon $3.3M 3-day $17.9M (-41%) 4-day $21.2M Total $59.7M /Wk 2
3.) Puss in in Boots 2 (Uni) 3,687 (-232) theaters Fri $3M (-10%) Sat $5.9M Sun $4.3M Mon $3.9M 3-day $13.4M (-1%)/4-day $17.3M/Total $110.2M/Wk 4
4.) A Man Called Otto (Sony) 3,802 (+3165) theaters, Fri $4M (+162%), Sat $5.1M Sun $3.4M Mon $2.3M 3-day $12.65M (+201%) , 4-day $15M/Total $21.2M/Wk 3
5.) Plane (LG) 3,023 theaters, Fri $3.54M, Sat $3.8M Sun $2.6M Mon $1.5M 3-day $10M, 4-day $11.6M/Wk 1
6.) House Party (NL) 1,350 theaters, Fri $1.4M, Sat $1.4M, Sun $1M Mon $615K 3-day $3.6M 4-day $4.5M/Wk 1
7.) Wakanda Forever (Dis) 1,910 (-345) theaters Fri $524K (-46%) Sat $1M Sun $650K Mon $416K 3-day $2.1M (-43%), 4-day $2.6M Total $449.5M/ Wk 10
8) The Whale (A24) 1,500 (+665) theaters Fri $418,5K (-1%), Sat $589,5K Sun $442K Mon $353,7K 3 day $1.4M (-7%), 4-day $1.8M Total $11.1M/Wk 6
9.) I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Sony) 2,205 (-979 theaters) Fri $300K (-57%) Sat $500K Sun $375K Mon $250K 3-day $1.1M (-54%) , 4-day $1.4M, Total $22.1M/ Wk 4
10.) Waltair Veeraya (Ind) 350 theaters, Fri $320K, Sat $400K Sun $280K Mon $84K 3-day $1M, 4-day $1.08M/Wk 1