HomeMoviesAvatar: Way of Water, M3GAN and MLK Holiday: $100M box office
Avatar: Way of Water, M3GAN and MLK Holiday: $100M box office
January 16, 2023
Five films, including “A Man Called Otto” and “Plane,” grossed more than $10 million in a single weekend. This happened only once in 2022.
About $100 million for the three-day Martin Luther King holiday box office weekend, with “Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney) and “M3GAN” (Universal) accounting for about half of that total. That’s not great compared to pre-Covid MLK weekends — 2018-2020 grosses were $130-197 million with lower ticket prices — but three other titles grossed more than $10 million, which was good news for theaters.
One of the reasons it fell short this weekend was the lack of strong Christmas retentions and awards expansions, which is more indicative of a lack of available films than a lack of interest. This weekend saw five films gross over $10 million; last year it only happened once, on July 4th weekend.
The holiday boosted Sunday’s total and reduced the drop-offs, but the 32 percent drop in James Cameron’s hit remains impressive. In the same weekend, opener “Avatar” was up 15 percent and “Titanic” was up 5 percent. “Way of Water” plays more like an excellent blockbuster than a phenomenon. Its total worldwide value barely exceeds 1.9 billion dollars.
“M3GAN” dropped 41 percent, which is an excellent hold for a horror title. “Black Phone” dropped 48 percent in its second weekend, with a 4th of July increase. This Blumhouse production will easily reach $100 million domestically.
The next three titles all came out ahead of industry consensus, but are in line with our pre-weekend predictions. Check out “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” (Universal): Falling just one percent to No. 3 in its second week of PVOD home play. That’s $106 million.
“A Man Called Otto” (Sony) in fourth place with $12.6 million, expanding much better than expected. This film looked dead after its weak platform debut (hurt by middling reviews and lack of awards attention), but it’s here and plays especially well in situations of the heart. In 637 theaters last week, it appears to have benefited from the initial buzz: “Otto” has already grossed more than any of the fall awards aimed at older audiences.
“Plane,” a Lionsgate acquisition, earned $10 million. It’s okay, not great, but exactly the kind that headline theaters need to prop up revenue. The Gerald Butler starrer showed positive initial interest by increasing its preview and Friday numbers by 8 percent on its second day.
“House Party” (Warner Bros. Discovery) grossed $3.9 million in 1,350 theaters. The New Line production was originally slated to debut on HBO Max; instead, it went to theaters with a modest release and lower publicity.
‘Waltair Veerayya’ (indin) is an Indian Telugu language action-comedy that finished at No. 10 in limited release. Directly below is “Skinamarink” (IFC), a micro-budget Canadian horror film that’s getting a lot of attention on social media. It was played in 692 cinemas, in many partial schedules. In 11th place, he earned $746,000, which is impressive for his size.
The weekend was 39 percent better than last year; For 15 days, the total gross is 30 percent better year-on-year. This represents 76 percent of 2020, and the four-week rolling comparison improved to 60 percent. It’s still not great, but we’re moving in the right direction.
Among the nominees for the award, “The Whale” (A24) remains the only entry in the top ten. With a big increase in theaters, it crossed $10 million and has more potential. Other key titles that are getting a lot of attention — “The Fabelmans” (Universal), “LIBRARY” (Focus), “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight) — are getting more momentum in home viewing than in theaters.
Among the new special editions, “Saint Omer” (Neon) is worth mentioning. France’s bid for the international Oscars avoided releasing an unusually wider platform (245 theaters) aimed at boosting attendance during Academy members’ voting. The bottom line was poor ($62,500), but the two key Manhattan races brought in around $10,000 each. The bet is that this strategy increases its chances of getting nominated, which can have cross-platform benefits.
The Top 10
1. Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney) Week 5; #1 last weekend
$17,920,000 (-41%) at 3,605 (+96) theaters; PTA: $4,971; Total: $56,454,000
3. Puss in Boots: The last wish (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #3; Also on PVOD
$13,400,000 (-1%) at 3,687 (-232) theaters; PTA: $3,634; Total: $106,370,000
4. A man called Otto (Sony) Week 3; #4 last weekend
$12,650,000 (+201%) in 3,802 (+3,165) theaters; PTA: $3,327; Total: $18,873,000
5. Aircraft (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 62; Evening. budget: $25 million
$10,004,000 in 3,023 theaters; PTA: $; Total: $10,004,000
6. House party (Warner Bros. Discovery) NEW – Cinemascore:; Metacritic: 41; Evening. budget: $ (unknown)
$3,900,000 in 1,350 theaters; PTA: $2,786; Total: $3,900,000
7. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney) Week 10; Last weekend #5
$2,184,000 (-38%) in 1,910 (-345) theaters; PTA: $1,143; Total: $449,096,000
8. The whale (A24) Week 6; #7 last weekend
$1,450,000 (-4%) in 1,500 (+665) theaters; PTA: $1,500; Total: $10,743,000
9. Whitney Houston: I want to dance with someone (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #6
$1,175,000 (-51%) in 2,205 (-979) theaters; PTA: $533; Total: $21,904,000
10. Waltair Veeraya (Indin) NEW; Evening. budget: $1.5 million
$1,080,000 in 350 theaters; PTA: $3,086; Total: $1,080,000
Films (limited, extended, limited release, and award-oriented release) are listed by week of release, starting with those released that week; after the first two weeks, only films grossing over $5,000 are tracked.