FRIDAY AFTERNOON: 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-$28M, -40%.
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 U.S 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.
Strong in second is Universal/Atomic Monster/Blumhouse’s M3GAN with a $5M second Friday, -57%, 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.
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 $105.9M. The pic’s fourth Friday is $2.4M, -29% 3-day $10M (-26%) and 4-day $13M.
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’s expanded Friday to 3,802 theaters is $3.4M with an outlook in third of $11M-$12M over four days. The pic’s running by Monday looks to stand at $18.2M. That’s exceedingly 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. The movie cost $50M before P&A, co financed by SF and TSG.
Fifth belongs to Lionsgate’s Plane which is looking at a $3M Friday, $9.5M 4-day, the latter within its expectation. The comp for the Gerard Butler title is Universal’s Ambulance which posted a 3-day of $8.7M. Plane is between $8.4M-$8.9M over 3 days. The last notable early winter meat and potato guy action film was pre-pandemic, Guy Ritche’s The Gentleman which opened to $10.6M and legged out in January 2020 to a 3.4 multiple from STX with $36.4M.
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.