The second weekend of 2023 is in the books and the top of the box office looks the same as it has for the past five weeks with Avatar: The Way of Water once again claiming the throne with an estimated $31.1 million. That represents just a 32% drop off from last week, but with no big tent pole releases on the calendar until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on February 17, the James Cameron sequel should still have a solid month of play (of course there could be some upsets before then, Knock at the Cabin and even Magic Mike’s Last Dance have the potential to unseat the king in early February.)

Edie Falco filmed her scenes for Avatar: The Way of Water so long ago, she thought the movie had already been released and flopped.

When the film first opened to just $134.1 million in mid December, some people were sounding the alarms, but most of us knew that James Cameron films tend to play the long game. With nearly $600 million domestic and $1.8 billion worldwide, the film ranks in seventh place all time on the worldwide charts, making James Cameron responsible for three of the top seven all time highest grossing films ever made. That’s quite impressive for the guy who sold his first screenplay for $1 while living out of his car

Producer James Wan says he has thought about the bigger world around the M3GAN character in case there's a sequel

Coming in second place is the killer robotic doll film (that tried and true genre) M3GAN with an additional $17.9 million added to its already impressive box office. That represents a solid for a horror film drop off of just 41%. With a running total of $56.4 million, this $12 million budgeted film is already well into profitability. Although some people (including our own Chris Bumbray in his 7/10 review) have said they wish the movie had embraced its original R rated intentions, it is hard to argue with the numbers. Of course the recent horror hit Smile was able to have an R rating and smash expectations with over $216 million made at the worldwide box office, so there is that!

Third place looks to be the only family friendly film (for all ages) Puss in Boots: The Last Wish with $13.4 million added to its box office till, which officially puts the Shrek spin-off sequel over the $100 million mark at the domestic box office ($106.3 to be exact). This is another one that got off to a bit of a slow start ($12.4 million) but has been continuing to pull in audiences week to week and has amassed over $210 million worldwide.

Fourth place belongs to A Man Called Otto with $12.6 million. The Tom Hanks led remake (of the Oscar Nominated Swedish film A Man Called Ove) is a big win for more adult skewing films as that genre has struggled at the box office over the past few years, but as I said in my original predictions, people will go out of there way to see a Tom Hanks film. In a day where many people have proclaimed the movie star is dead, Tom Hanks is still one you can bank on. The film is benefitting from some solid word of mouth with its 96% audience score. Let’s be honest, in today’s world, we can all use a nice simple feel good movie and that is exactly what A Man Called Otto is.

Fifth place will belong to the new release action film Plane with an opening weekend of $10 million. Not exactly setting the box office on fire, but with a relatively modest budget of just around $25 million, this one has the potential to leg out to eventually be profitable. The Gerard Butler led film has pulled in solid reviews (including an 8/10 from our own Chris Bumbray) with a 95% audience score and a B+ Cinemascore.

Coming in sixth place is the R rated remake House Party with $3.9 million, which is actually fairly solid for a film that was originally destined for a streaming only release, but was rescued at the eleventh hour by a new regime at Warner Brothers who is more focused on the theatrical experience. For as much mud that has been thrown at David Zaslav for his unconventional approach to being the CEO of Warner Brothers, I must admit that his dedication to preserving the theatrical experience for his films is something I can get behind. Even if some of those films tank at the box office, the press they receive from a theatrical release is far more than most films get that are dumped directly to streaming. This remake (of the vastly superior 1990 original) has not received the greatest reviews, with most critics calling it an unnecessary remake that completely forgets the original’s sense of fun. Although our own JimmyO did still find enough to enjoy in his 7/10 review. With an audience score of just 62%, I don’t expect this one to stick around the top ten for too long.

The remainder of the top ten look to be your holdovers including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever  which is fresh off its Golden Globe win for Best Supporting Actress for Angela Bassett (something I championed when the film originally opened) with $2.1 million. Next up is The Whale with $1.4 million. People are still seeking out this Oscar Front Running performance by Brendan Fraser (even though he didn’t win the Golden Globe, there is a lot of history there that definitely played a role in him not winning). Coming in ninth place is the biopic Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody with $1.1 million. Sadly this film just didn’t catch on with audiences but will hopefully find new life once it hits home video. 

Making a surprise entry into the top ten is the Indian language action/comedy Waltair Veerayya with an estimated $905,000 weekend. As I have said every time one of these Indian language releases has made the top ten, you can never underestimate the market for these films. They have their dedicated fan base that will show up to theaters whenever they are released.

Did you make it out to theaters this weekend? If so, let us know what you saw in the comments section and don’t forget to check out our weekly poll where we ask what your favorite R-Rated Comedy film is.


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