March Box Office: Creed III and John Wick 4 for the win

“John Wick: Chapter 4,” “Scream VI” and “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” will make March the best month yet, but the rest of 2023 will be hard to keep up.

If three is the trend, March will do the trick. With four promising sequels, all projected to gross $25 million or more, March continues its 2023 trajectory each month, bettering the previous year. But beware of the time of March when you keep this pace.

March should deliver the best gross of 2023 so far. By the beginning of the second quarter, we can be 28 percent ahead of last year, and at a rate of 9.3 billion dollars. (2019 was 11.4 billion dollars, 2018 was 11.9 billion dollars, ticket prices are 25-30 percent lower than the current ones). From there, the calculations become more problematic.

February’s revenues totaled about $490 million, 34 percent better than last year, and the annual gross exceeded 2022 by 42 percent. Despite this, the improvement falls short of what was experienced in January (50 percent). optimistic projections of a total value of $530-550 million. As much as $650 million in revenue could take place in March this year, but this is only 10 percent higher than in 2022.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (Disney) saw the biggest drop from pre-opening expectations, especially with a 70 percent drop in its second weekend. “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” (Warner Bros. Discovery) and “Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney) also missed forecasts in recent weeks.

If 10 percent is a more accurate expectation for the year’s monthly improvement, that suggests the 2023 total will be closer to $8.5 billion. We’ve got a number of strong titles that could match their 2022 predecessors – but are they strong enough to grow more than 10 percent?

Confession III

“Creed III”


That’s the context for why an overachievement with four key titles in March could make the outlook too rosy with Friday’s “Creed III” (MGM) followed by “Scream VI” (Paramount), “Shazam: Fury of the Gods “. ” (WBD) and “John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate). These franchises must account for at least half of the March gross. At least three (with “Scream” being the least likely) are looking for opening weekends of $40 million or more, with “Wick” topping the month.

As usual, the most anticipated titles come from franchises and sequels. The weaker-than-expected performance of “Quantumania” is scary, as Marvel titles are the biggest business in terms of movie revenue: no one wants to see any signs of sequel fatigue. Exhibitors say that cinemas just need more films, but analysts will be looking for signs of cannibalization.

This year has benefited original titles led by “M3GAN” (Universal) and “A Man Called Otto” (Sony), which were helped by strong openings last weekend for “Cocaine Bear” (Universal) and “Jesus Revolution” (Lionsgate). supported. . The most likely March original in wide release will be “65” (Sony), a space exploration story with Adam Driver directed by the writing team behind “A Quiet Place” — a best-case scenario for $50 million.

Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theaters

Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theaters

Getty Images for CinemaCon

In AMC’s earnings call this week, CEO Adam Aron headlined his company’s expanded popcorn retail business. Inside the fine print was that it pushed back any level of parity (gross; attendance likely never to return due to higher prices) until 2025, five years after theaters close. Despite the improvement, this month’s results may help justify that pessimism.

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