Box Office: ‘Avatar 2’ and ‘M3GAN’ reign again as Tom Hanks drama ‘A Man Called Otto’ exceeds expectations

Movie theater operators owe a debt of gratitude to the Na’vi and the new queen of artificial intelligence.

January tends to be a slow time of year at the box office. Yet James Cameron’s hit sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water” and Universal’s viral horror flick “M3GAN” continue to kill in North America, beating out three new domestic releases over the weekend. Martin Luther King Jr. vacation end.

“Avatar 2” remained at the top spot, for the fifth consecutive weekend, with $31.1 million from 4,045 theaters during the traditional three-day period and around $38.5 million until see you Monday. How popular has “The Way of Water” remained at the box office? Well, to put those numbers into perspective, the sci-fi epic earned more in its fifth weekend of release than many pandemic-era films managed to earn in the weekend of release. opening. And it won’t face much competition at the box office until Disney and Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” debuts in late February.

So far, the Disney mega-budget and 20th Century Flagpole has generated $570 million in North America and $1.89 billion worldwide. “The Way of Water” already ranks seventh worldwide in history. It will soon dethrone 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which sits at No. 6 with $1.91 billion.

Meanwhile, “M3GAN” finished in second place with 17.9 million from 3,605 theaters over the weekend and around $21.2 million through Monday, a 40% drop since its debut. Those are killer results for the horror film, which cost $12 million to produce and has raised $59 million to date.

In terms of new offerings, Sony’s “A Man Called Otto,” a tearful starring Tom Hanks as a grumpy widower, successfully expanded to wide release, grossing $12.6 million at 3,802 theaters over the traditional weekend and around $15 million through Monday. Those ticket sales were enough for fourth place, behind Universal’s animated adventure “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” which remained particularly strong over the holiday weekend. The family film added $13.4 million over the weekend and $17.3 million through Monday, bringing its domestic total to $110 million.

After two weeks in limited release, “A Man Called Otto” has grossed $21.2 million. It’s one of the few pandemic-era films aimed at mature audiences that effectively maintained momentum with a traditional platform rollout, which helped “Otto” generate positive buzz.

“It’s a great opening for a character-driven comedy-drama with great turnout from older moviegoers,” says David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research.

Gerard Butler’s action thriller “Plane” and the Warner Bros. of “House Party” also opened this weekend, landing at number five and sixth respectively on the domestic box office charts.

“Plane” took off with $10 million from 3,023 theaters over the weekend and about $11.6 million through Monday, a decent but unspectacular start for the roughly $40 million budget film. dollars. (Lionsgate picked up the domestic rights for less.) The actor, starring Butler as a pilot who rescues his passengers from a lightning strike, only to find things are about to get worse, has received a “B+” CinemaScore from the public. Early ticket buyers were mostly older men, with 77% of crowds over 25 and 55% being male.

“House Party,” meanwhile, soared with $3.8 million over the weekend and about $4.5 million through Monday. The reboot of the 1990 comedy classic was ordered for HBO Max, but the studio opted to release it theatrically. With seemingly little promotion and dismal reviews (with a 25% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), “House Party” struggled to attract a big-screen audience. There’s hope, at least at Warner Bros., that it’ll become a bigger draw by the time the movie hits streaming. The theatrical release, says Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research, is “designed to boost the film’s visibility before heading to HBO. [Max].”

There were several bright spots in the arthouse sector, including A24’s “The Whale” and IFC’s stomach churner “Skinamarink.”

After several weeks of limited release, “The Whale” has surpassed $10 million in domestic ticket sales, a notable achievement for independents in today’s fractured cinematic environment. In a pre-COVID era, those ticket sales wouldn’t be particularly impressive. But the adult-distorting dramas struggled to rebound.

“Skinamarink” debuted at #11, grossing $746,000 from 692 theaters and around $798,000 through Monday (average around $1,000 per location). That’s not bad considering the low-budget horror flick wasn’t granted too many daily broadcast hours at major channels throughout the weekend. “Skinarink”, intended to give viewers night terrors, succeeded mainly through word of mouth. The film only has a production budget of $15,000.

“Once we saw the incredible response online, we knew we had to get this film to as many theaters as possible nationwide,” said Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films and IFC Midnight. . “[Director] Kyle [Edward Ball] made a movie for a new generation and once again proved what horror movies and its community are capable of even on the smallest of budgets. ‘Skinamarink’ is both terrifying and eerily familiar and that feeling demands shared experience.

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