Universal Pictures

The first week of January is generally a pretty quiet one, but occasionally something can break out – especially in the horror genre. That’s proving true for Universe’s darkly humorous and creepy A.I. doll film “M3GAN”.

The Blumhouse-produced feature, made on a tight $12 million budget, is coming in well ahead of expectations. Projections this week suggested the film could pull in a domestic opening weekend haul of $17-20 million.

That has now been blown out of the water following an $11.4 million haul on Friday (including Thursday previews), with estimates now being revised upwards of $26-27 million for the three-day launch weekend.

Reviews for the film have been very good, with the Rotten Tomatoes score sitting at 94% positive and marks the first ‘Certified Fresh’ rated movie on that site to be released on the first week of January in 45 years.

The film’s ‘B’ CinemaScore in audience exit polling may seem low, but for horror that’s actually very good. Other critically well-reviewed films and strong performing genre films of late like “Smile,” “Barbarian” and “The Black Phone” pulled in B-, C+ and B+ CinemaScores respectively and all had long legs at the box-office.

Talk of a sequel is inevitable, but there’s no movement on that front so far.

“James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water” is also coming in a touch ahead of expectations, with its three-day total now looking to be $37 million for its fourth weekend and a domestic gross of around $509 million by the end of Sunday.

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is coming in third and on track for a $10 million haul. The film’s sudden appearance earlier today on premium VOD platforms isn’t expected to have much impact on the box-office as yet, but it certainly has raised some eyebrows.

Sony’s limited release of the Tom Hanks-starrer “A Man Called Otto” took $1.2 million on Friday and is headed for a $3.4 million three-day take, whilst “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” should come in fifth with $3.1 million, and “Babylon” will be sixth with $1.4 million.

Source: Deadline

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