Numbers are beginning to roll in for this first weekend of 2023 and they are quite promising. Coming as no surprise James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water is continuing its domination of the marketplace pulling in another $10 million on Friday for what is looking like a close to $40 million weekend. That will put the film over the half a billion mark stateside and notches it above The Avengers to become the ninth highest grossing film of all time at the worldwide box office. James Cameron now lays claim to three of the top ten highest grossing films ever made. I guess he truly is the king of the world.
Not to be counted out however is this weekend’s second place finisher: the James Wan/ Blumhouse production M3GAN which secured a solid $3 million in Thursday previews, which rolled into its $11.4 million Friday on its way to a projected opening weekend around $27 million. You hear a lot of internet chatter (well, I guess technically you read a lot of internet chatter) about why would they release a horror movie in January and not in October in the lead up to Halloween? Well, here is your answer! Often times January is looked at as a dumping ground when theaters are still filled with the holiday blockbuster releases and the smaller screens are taken up by the Oscar hopefuls. Somebody, years ago, decided that in those months when nothing huge is being released, why not sneak in a little cold weather chills and ever since, for the most part, January has seen some solid numbers for scary movies. (In 2022 we saw Scream open to over $30 million, in 2019 we saw Escape Room pull in close to $20 million, while 2018 saw Insidious: The Last Key open with just under $30 million.)
Third place looks to be the animated sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish with a $2.5 million Friday and a projected $10 million weekend and a running cume just under $90 million. Not bad numbers for the Antonio Banderas voiced feline, but it looks like it will finish its run a ways away from the original’s $149.2 million domestic take. With the studio sticking firmly to their short theatrical window, Puss in Boots 2 is now available to watch in your own home, so I wonder how much that may impact its box office in the coming weeks.
Fourth place belongs to Tom Hanks with A Man Called Otto bringing in $1.2 million on Friday with a projected weekend of around $3.5 million. Those are pretty solid numbers for the film that is playing in around 600 theaters. As I said in my original predictions, there are still some names that will put butts in seats and Tom Hanks is one of those names! However the big story for this one is actually the big divide between critics and fans. Whereas critics have been pretty middle of the road on this remake of the Oscar nominated Swedish film A Man Called Ove (the film currently sits at a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes with our own Chris Bumbray giving it a 5/10 in his review,) audiences seem to be really enjoying it, giving Otto a solid 97% audience score.
Rounding out the top five is the continued success of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which has been going strong since early November, looking to add another $3 million to its box office this weekend.
Did you make it out to theaters this weekend? If so, let us know what you saw in the comments and don’t forget to check back tomorrow when we have our full run down of this weekends box office numbers.