UPDATED, Monday AM: Walk-up ticket sales over MLK weekend keep going up and up. Disney is reporting that 20th Century Studios/Lightstorm’s Avatar: The Way of Water had a better Sunday than anticipated at $11.6 million, versus what they thought would be $10.3M. It will get the fifth weekend of the James Cameron movie to $40M over four days. Wow. It’s bigger than the $24.6M that Spider-Man: No Way Home did a year ago over MLK.
Avatar: The Way of Water’s running total is now $572.4M. Next tentpole for this sequel to beat on the all-time U.S./Canada box office list: The Incredibles 2, which ranks 12th with a domestic total of $608.5M.
After a near $6M Sunday, Universal/Atomic Monster/Blumhouse’s M3GAN goes to $18.2M over three days ( off 40%, which for a horror movie is fantastic), $21.7M over four and a running total of $60.2M. Uni’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is also higher with a $5.3M Sunday, $14.4M three-day (+6%) and four-day of $19M, good for a running total of $112M. The movie is running 8% behind the original Puss in Boots’ total cume in its fourth weekend; the first movie ended its North American run at $149.2M in 2011.
Sony’s Tom Hanks drama A Man Called Otto remained solid, slightly up Sunday with $3.6M for a $12.8M three-day cume, $15.3M for four days and a running three-weekend total of $21.5M.
Still waiting on Lionsgate, but its Gerard Butler action movie Plane looks like it was $300,000 higher than what was reported with $2.9M yesterday. If so it will get the movie to a $10.2M three-day and $12M four-day total per AM estimates.
New Line’s House Party came in with a $1.1M Sunday, $4M Fri-Sun and $4.7M for four days.
UPDATED, Sunday AM: 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
SATURDAY AM WRITETHRU after Friday afternoon update: As expected, Disney/20th Century Studios/Lightstorm’s Avatar: The Way of Water remains number one again in its fifth weekend, with an MLK four-day take of $35M after a $7M Friday, -39% at 4,045 sites. 3-day looks to be around $27M-$29M, -39%.
That will get the James Cameron sequel to $566.7M at the domestic box office by EOD Monday, passing The Dark Knight ($534.9M) and Jon Favreau’s The Lion King ($543.6M) to become the 13th-highest grossing movie of all-time in the US and Canada. By Monday, the movie will have been in theaters for 32 days. At that point in time a year ago, Spider-Man: No Way Home had already crossed the $700M threshold.
Avatar 2 has all the premium formats (Dolby, Imax, PLFs) again this weekend. They’ll cede Dolby auditoriums when Universal’s M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin hits theaters on Feb. 3.
The four-day weekend for all titles is expected to come in at $115.4M. Sure, it’s not the best MLK holiday stretch we’ve seen at the box office, off 44% from pre-Covid 2020’s $205.3M, when Bad Boys for Life rallied. But the 4-day frame is +36% from last year’s MLK holiday weekend of $85M, and that’s something the industry can be thankful for, fueled by a phenomenal hold by a horror film and the expansion of an older adult drama playing straight to Middle America.
Strong in second is Universal/Atomic Monster/Blumhouse’s M3GAN, with a $4.85M second Friday, -59%, a 3-day of $17.5M, -42%, and a 4-day of $20.7M, taking the pic’s 11-day running total to $59.2M. Social media metrics corp RelishMix reports that over the last week, M3GAN has added close to 110K followers to its social media, with TikTok adding +49K, Instagram +48K, Twitter 8K, and Facebook 4K — “which is exceptional for new IP.”
Universal also has bragging rights with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish at 3,641 theaters: The DreamWorks Animation title will fly past the century mark by Monday with $109M. The pic’s fourth Friday is $3M, -10% 3-day $12.4M (-8%) and 4-day $16M in third place. Behold the great box office here, as the movie is also available on PVOD, given Universal’s 17-day exclusive theatrical window policy for titles that open to less than $50M. We saw a similar business trend last year with Uni/Illumination’s Sing 2, whereby the PVOD availability didn’t slow that pic’s ticket sales. Well into March, Sing 2 was pulling in weekends north of $1M+. A lot of that has to do with the family demographic and how they make their way to these animated movies for second and third viewings in theaters.
A promising sign this weekend: Sony’s A Man Called Otto is looking to beat its $8M 4-day expectations and actually provide a pulse for older-skewing movies. The pic expanded Friday to 3,802 theaters, and its take was $4M, with an outlook in fourth of $14M over four days — very good for a drama like this in a recovering marketplace. The pic’s running by Monday looks to stand at $20.2M. That’s incredibly better than what Babylon did in its 4-day Christmas weekend ($3.6M) and Tri-Star/Compelling Pictures/Black Label Media’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody ($4.7M).
Audiences on Rotten Tomatoes always liked Otto better than critics, 97% to 69% fresh. In Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak audience exits, the Hanks movie is vibrant at 93% positive, with a 76% recommend. Who came out? Older women. Overall, women turnout is 60%, with overall crowd at 62% over 45, 46% over 55. And the movie is playing to the heartland — a swath of the country Hollywood needs to make more films for if they want to bring the domestic box office back. It’s not all about NYC and LA. Otto saw all top 10 runs come from Mid-West and South, with no L.A. and NYC runs in its top 75 theaters, “which is almost unheard of,” says one box office source.
Pic’s over-indexing cities were Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Tampa, Minnesota, Orlando, Denver, and Detroit. However, there’s a ton of smaller cities I’m hearing that did well, like Toledo and Pittsburgh, the latter where the pic was shot. Other demos were 70% Caucasian, 15% Hispanic and Latino, 3% Black, & 12% Asian/other. The movie cost $50M before P&A, co-financed by SF and TSG.
Lionsgate’s Plane secured a $3.5M Friday, $10.5M-$11.7M 4-day in fifth, the latter range besting the studio’s expectations. The comp for the Gerard Butler title is Universal’s Ambulance, which posted a 3-day of $8.7M. Plane is around $9.5M over 3 days. The movie gets a B+, which is the same grade as the last notable early winter meat-and-potato guy action film , which was pre-pandemic, Guy Ritche’s The Gentleman in January 2020 ($10.6M opening, 3.4x multiple, $36.4M domestic final). PostTrak exits here are also good at 83% and a 63% recommend. Guys showed up at 54%, 47% were between 18-34, with 51% over 35. Diversity demos were 44% Caucasian, 24% Latino and Hispanic, 17% Black, and 15% Asian/other. Plane flew best in the South and the West, where nine of its top ten runs came from. Lionsgate has launched these action pics for dudes before, with a theatrical-to-home entertainment ratio where the latter window overperforms with its prime audience.
RelishMix counts a social media universe for Plane across Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube at 35.1M, which is “under norms.” However, the cast is tub-thumping the pic, with Gerard Butler pushing to his near 16M fans, Mike Colter to 366K, and Daniella Pineda to her near 180K Instagram followers.
Chatter on social is mixed for the pic, says RelishMix: “Gerard Butler fans are excited for a fresh chase, race or fight for the new year, plus added excitement for Tony Goldwyn and Mike Colter — while chatter questions the Airbus aircraft with comparisons to recent flight delays in the news — while other fans wonder if ‘plane may be plain.'”
Warner Bros. has the New Line reboot of House Party, which did $1.4M yesterday, which will get the movie, originally conceived for HBO Max, to a 4-day of $4M at 1,350 theaters in 6th place. The notion with these low-cost HBO Max films, post the Jason Kilar era, is to put them in theaters, then give them some sort of exclusive window before transitioning them through a 17-day PVOD and 45-day run on HBO Max. It’s hard to win over critics with comedies, and this one didn’t make them laugh at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were so-so at 65% fresh on that site’s meter.
1.) Avatar 2 (Dis) 4,045 (-295) theaters Fri $7M (-39%) 3-day $27M-$29M (-39%), 4-day $35M Total $566.7M/Wk 5
2.) M3GAN (Uni) 3,605 (+96) theaters Fri $4.85M (-59%), 3-day $17.5M (-42%) 4-day $20.7M Total $59.2M /Wk 2
3.) Puss in in Boots 2 (Uni) 3,687 (-232) theaters Fri $3M (-10%) 3-day $12.46M (-8%)/4-day $16M/Total $109M/Wk 4
4.) A Man Called Otto (Sony) 3,802 (+3165) theaters, Fri $4M (+162%) 3-day $11.75M (+180%) , 4-day $14M/Total $20.2M/Wk 3
5.) Plane (LG) 3,023 theaters, Fri $3.54M, 3-day $9.5M, 4-day $10.5M-$11.7M/Wk 1
6.) House Party (NL) 1,350 theaters, Fri $1.4M, 3-day $3.6M 4-day $4M/Wk 1
7.) Wakanda Forever (Dis) 1,910 (-345) theaters Fri $524K (-46%) 3-day $2M (-43%), 4-day $2.5M Total $449.4M/ Wk 10
8) The Whale (A24) 1,500 (+665) theaters Fri $418,5K (-1%) 3 day $1.4M (-7%), 4-day $1.7M Total $10.99M/Wk 6
9.) I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Sony) 2,205 (-979 theaters) Fri $300K (-57%) 3-day $1.1M (-54%) , 4-day $1.3M, Total $22M/ Wk 4
10.) Waltair Veeraya (Ind) 350 theaters, Fri $318K, 3-day $1.08M, 4-day $1.2M/Wk 1
FRIDAY AM: On a winter Thursday still ruled by James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, Sony’s Tom Hanks drama A Man Called Otto and Lionsgate’s Gerard Butler action pic, Plane, sought to get an early start with respectively $635K and $625K each.
Here’s the thing, technically, Otto is the richer: If you count the Marc Forster directed title’s Thursday cash of $420K from 637 theaters, the pic made $1.06M yesterday. However, Sony will count the preview night cash from 2,493 theaters (which had showtimes start at 2PM yesterday) toward Otto’s Friday. Otto expands to 3,800 locations. Pic’s running total sans previews through two weeks is $6.2M.
Neither Otto nor Plane looks to rule over the 4-day MLK weekend with respective projections of $8M and $7M-$10M as Disney/20th/Lightstorm’s Avatar: The Way of Water looks to lead with $35M.. Plane had two sets of previews on Wednesday and Thursday which started at 7PM. The Butler pic is booked at 3,023 theaters. Avatar 2 finished its fourth week with close to $60M at 4,340 theaters and a running total of $531.7M. Avatar 2 led all movies yesterday with $2.92M, -8% from Wednesday.
Universal/Blumhouse/Atomic Monster’s M3GAN ends week one at 3,509 locations with $38.5M after a $1.67M Thursday, -6% from Wednesday. The pic is roughly $400K shy of Scream‘s first week take of $38.9M last year.
Warner Bros. theatrical release of former HBO Max New Line title House Party will wrap its previews numbers from last night into its weekend total. The pic at 1,300 sites is expected to do in the mid single digits.
Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish at 3,919 did $1.08M on Thursday, -5% from Wednesday, a third week of $18.3M and running cume of $92.9M.
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