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Box Office Breakdown: Avatar: The Way of Water Continues to Dominate, While Missing Tries to Shake Things Up

We’re going to have at least one more weekend of James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water dominating the box office, but at least this week, there was another new thriller trying to make a mark on a rather stagnant box office.

This Past Weekend

Not only was Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water the #1 movie for a sixth weekend in a row with $19.7 million, but it also is edging closer to $600 million domestically during that time, to make a play to enter the top 12 domestic grosses of all time

With its $56.3 million grossed overseas this weekend, The Way of Water crossed the 2 billion mark worldwide, becoming only the sixth movie ever to achieve that milestone with $2.024 billion so far, well on its way to getting into the top four all-time for global grosses.

Most were expecting Universal’s M3GAN to remain in second place this weekend. Instead, DreamWorks Animation’s sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (also distributed by Uni) bounced back up to second place with $11.5 million, down just 21% from the holiday weekend. It has recovered nicely with $126.5 million grossed domestically, and with another $17.8 million overseas this weekend, it is inching closer to $300 million globally.

M3GAN did drop to third place with $9.8 million (down 46%), as it brought its domestic gross up to $73.3 million, and it addend another $10.9 million overseas for a global total of $124.6 million.

Sony Pictures released the “Screen Time” semi-sequel thriller, MISSING, into 3,020 theaters on Friday after Thursday previews of $780,000, and it ended up making an estimated $9.3 million over the weekend to take fourth place. Its $3,079 per theater was the second-best for the weekend after “Avatar,” and its strong reviews and Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score show that it might end up doing even better than its predecessor, SEARCHING, which premiered at Sundance five years back.

Sony’s hit dramedy, A Man Called Otto, starring Tom Hanks, dropped to fifth place with $9 million, down 29%, bringing its domestic total to $35.3 million, which isn’t bad at all for a film targeted towards older adults.

Both of last week’s other new releases, Lionsgate’s action-thriller Plane and New Line’s House Party took steep drops in their second weekends, Plane dropping 49% to sixth place with $5.2 million and $19.5 million total, while House Party falling 55% to seventh place with $1.5 million and $7.2 million total.

A shot from That Time I got Reincarnated… / Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll released That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime The Movie: Scarlet Bond into 1,473 theaters where it brought in $1.5 million or $990 per location to open in eighth place.

The top ten at the box office made roughly $70 million, which isn’t bad considering the lack of strong four-quadrant releases in theaters.

Sony Pictures Classics released Florian Zeller’s The Son into 554 theaters where it grossed $239,855 or $432 per location, and other than getting Oscar nominations on Tuesday, this one is pretty much dead.

The Lionsgate thriller, Alice, Darling, starring Anna Kendrick, made $101,000 in 65 theaters this weekend or $1,553 per location.

A24 released Jesse Eisenberg’s directorial debut, When You Finish Saving the World, into 403 theaters on Friday where it made just $135,000, averaging less than $350 per location.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 Avatar: The Way of Water 20th Century Studios $20,133,106 3,790 $598,409,459
2 Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Universal $11,807,355 3,611 $126,767,825
3 M3GAN Universal $9,704,905 3,628 $73,192,415
4 Missing Sony Pictures $9,154,695 3,025 $9,154,695
5 A Man Called Otto Sony Pictures $8,802,122 3,802 $35,148,371
6 Plane Lionsgate $5,280,088 3,060 $19,535,710
7 House Party Warner Bros. $1,670,012 1,400 $7,080,520
8 That Time I Got Reincarnated… Crunchyroll $1,459,515 1,473 $1,459,515
9 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Walt Disney $1,362,609 1,525 $451,843,361
10 The Whale A24 $1,281,249 1,591 $13,191,971


Last Year

Last January looked eerily like the next couple weeks, where only two rather fringe new titles received wide releases with so many studio movies being delayed due to Omicron.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was back in the #1 slot with $18 million as it surpassed $724 million, domestically, while the previous week’s #1 movie, Paramount’s Scream “requel,” fell to second place with $15.8 million, down 59% from its opening weekend, bringing its gross to $54.8 million.

The faith-based period drama, Redeeming Love, opened in fourth place with $4.7 million in 1,903 theaters, roughly $2,460 per theater, which wasn’t terrible for a movie with very little promotion.

Gravitas Ventures released the long-delayed The King’s Daughter (not to be confused with The King’s Man), starring Pierce Brosnan, Kaya Scodelario, and the late William Hurt.  It opened in 2,170 theaters, where it made only $1 million or $478 per theater, which isn’t great, though it was still enough to get it into the top 10 for the weekend.

Upcoming

There really isn’t that much to say about this coming weekend despite there being a number of wide and semi-wide releases

Infinity Pool
Mia Goth (L) and Alexander Skarsgård in Infinity Pool / NEON-Topic

Brandon Cronenberg’s enigmatic thriller, Infinity Pool, which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is likely to be one of the former, getting a pretty quick wide release by NEON into an unknown number of theaters. Cronenberg’s previous film, Possessor, was one of the early releases once movie theaters reopened in 2020, though it only grossed $746,600 domestically. Infinity Pool benefits from having bigger name stars in Mia Goth (fresh off her Ti West period horror two-fer last year) and Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, although it will be relying on early reviews and word-of-mouth to sell it.  It probably can make roughly $4 million, depending on a theater count

The real winner of the weekend might be Yash Raj FilmsPathaan, a Bollywood actioneer opening on Wednesday, which should attract a fairly large audience of younger Indo-American movie enthusiasts, and who knows? Maybe with the popularity of RRR (which opened with $9.5 million in 1,200 theaters last March and has found even more support streaming on Netflix), more filmgoers will be interested in another offering from India, which is opening this weekend in over 500 theaters to take advantage of the Indian holidays of Republic Day and Vasant Panchami.

Filmmaker Deon Taylor, who has had relatively decent hits with films like The Intruder (which grossed $35 million) and Black and Blue ($22 million gross), returns with his horror film, Fear, which was literally the first movie to go into production after the COVID shutdown. This one is being distributed by Taylor’s own Hidden Empire Releasing, which doesn’t have quite the clout of his Screen Gems releases, but this should still be good for a million or two, depending on how many theaters it gets.

Even more fringe than the above may be Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist, a faith-based thriller follow-up to the hit movie and book that opened with $2.1 million in 867 theaters in early 2001. Over twenty years later, one wonders if there’s still an interest in the book’s ideas, but it also could break into the bottom of the top ten depending on its theater count.

Seeing the weekend as a good time to take advantage of any prospective Oscar nominations on Tuesday, U.A. Releasing is expanding Sarah Polley’s Women Talking into over 600 theaters on Friday. It has grossed $1.1 million in limited release with another $380,000 made this past weekend in 153 theaters.


Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas

Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.netThe Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film JournalThe New York Daily NewsDen of Geek, and other places.

Box Office Breakdown will be posted each week by Monday morning. You can read other features by Edward Douglas over at Below the Line.

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