February promised to generally be better than January, but you wouldn’t know that from this weekend, where no single movie made more than $15 million. This coming Super Bowl weekend doesn’t offer that many new movies, but one of them is a sequel starring one of America’s top stars… that seemingly is not being given as wide a release as a re-release of a movie from 1997.
This Past Weekend
It ended up being a tighter race for first place than anyone (including myself) predicted, as Paramount Pictures‘ comedy 80 for Brady took advantage of promos and early sneak previews to make a strong play to take first place away from M. Night Shyamalan‘s Knock at the Cabin. Granted, the Paramount release opened in 3,912 theaters to Knock‘s 3,643 theaters, but it also had a discount ticket promotion where many theaters were offering matinée prices for all showings.
Shyamalan’s latest thriller stars Dave Bautista, Ben Aldridge (from last year’s Spoiler Alert), and Jonathan Groff, coming into the weekend with generally positive reactions and reviews (including from Below the Line’s J. Don Birnam and Above the Line’s Isaac Feldberg).
80 for Brady had the benefits of a fantastic foursome in Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno, as well as the titular Tom Brady, who also produced the film, based on the true story of four elderly women who dream of seeing him play in Super Bowl LI. Besides the discount tickets for Brady, Paramount also gave the movie more previews than normal, which added up to $1.3 million.
Knock ended up with $1.5 million just from Thursday previews that gave it a slight advantage on Friday with $5.4 million to Brady’s $4.7 million, and that carried through to the weekend when Shyamalan’s thriller grossed an estimated $14.2 million and 80 for Brady opened in second place with $12.5 million. Considering the lower ticket prices for the latter, it probably sold more tickets overall. Knock at the Cabin made another $7 million overseas in 60 markets this weekend.
Paramount provided some interesting data about the audiences for “Brady,” reporting it to be 68% female, with audiences over 55 making up almost half the total audience. Not surprisingly, that audience was also 78% Caucasian.
James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water dropped to third place, its first weekend out of first place since opening in December, with $10.8 million for the weekend (down 32%) and $636.4 million domestically.
DreamWorks Animation’s sequel, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, dropped to fourth place with $7.95 million (down just 24%) and $151.3 million grossed domestically. Overseas, it added another $17.1 million to bring its international total to $217.3 million. It has yet to open in China, and it won’t open in Japan until mid-March.
Trafalgar Releasing’s BTS: Yet to Come in Cinemas, featuring the popular South Korean group, grossed an estimated $6.2 million in 1,114 theaters over the weekend, and $9.1 million, including Weds. and Thurs., more than enough to take fifth place for the weekend.
Tom Hanks as A Man Called Otto was in sixth place with $4.2 million, down 37% from last weekend, and with $53 million grossed domestically, so far.
The thrillers M3GAN and MISSING took seventh and eighth place, making $3.8 and $3.7 million, respectively, with the former well ahead with $83.8 million made in North America vs. MISSING’s meager $19.3 million.
Angel Studios tried to replicate the success of releasing the first two episodes of the third season of its faith-based streaming drama, The Chosen, into theaters last November by doing the same with the Season 3 finale. The movie was released into 1,979 theaters, where it made $1.7 million on Thursday and an additional $3.6 million over the weekend.
UPDATED: The animated The Amazing Maurice, adapted from Terry Pratchett’s children’s book, also got a wide release into 1,692 theaters and it grossed just over a million on Friday and Saturday and is projected to make another $500,000 on Sunday for a three-day total of $1.5 million or $887 per theater.
At the time of this writing, no box office has been reported for Crunchyroll’s anime, Sword Art Online the Movie – Progressive – Scherzo of Deep Night, which was released into 892 theaters on Friday.
After just one month into the year, only one movie had bumped Spider-Man: No Way Home out of the top spot, and that was Paramount’s Scream. A few weeks later, Paramount did it again, as Johnny Knoxville’s Jackass Forever was #1 with $29.4 million in 3,604 theaters, continuing what would be a fantastic year for Paramount.
Things didn’t go so well for Roland Emmerich’s latest disaster film, Moonfall, which opened in third place with just $12.3 million behind Spider-Man: No Way Home, which took second place with $12.5 million as it crossed the $750 million mark domestically.
It’s Super Bowl weekend, which generally means that any movies released will do most of their business before Saturday. This weekend offers one new wide-ish release and a re-release of one of the biggest movies of all time.
Warner Bros. continues to make strange decisions, and releasing the Steven Soderbergh-directed Magic Mike’s Last Dance, starring Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek Pinault, into less than 1,500 theaters has to be one of the strangest. Even when Warners was releasing all its movies day-and-date on HBO Max, they still got 3,000 theaters or more. To be fair, Last Dance was produced for HBO Max, as has been the case with many of Soderbergh’s last few movies, but like House Party and the upcoming Evil Dead Rise, WBD decided to give the new Magic Mike a theatrical release, but barely.
On top of that, this is Soderbergh’s first theatrical release since Unsane in 2018 and Logan Lucky (also starring Tatum) in 2017, although he’s made almost a half-dozen movies for Netflix and for HBO Max since then.
Soderbergh directed the original 2012 Magic Mike for a paltry budget of $7 million, and it opened with an astounding $39.1 million on its way to $113.2 million domestic. That led to the sequel, Magic Mike XXL, three years later, directed by Soderbergh’s producer Greg Jacobs. That opened with just $12.9 million in 3,355 theater and only made $66 million total. (It made the same $56 million or so overseas.)
That big drop and Soderbergh’s movies for HBO Max may be why the finale was originally planned for the streamer. The thing is that Tatum had a particularly good 2022 with Dog, which grossed $61.8 million in North America, followed by The Lost City with Sandra Bullock, which crossed $100 million, the first movie of 2022 to do so.
That low theater count is mystifying, but there still should be enough demand for more Tatum semi-naked dancing that it should do very well in whichever theaters plan to show it, presumably giving it multiple screens to meet any demand. It should be #1 with $9 to 11 million.
Paramount is also re-releasing James Cameron’s Titanic 25-Year Anniversary into roughly 1,800 theaters this weekend, which might make it a little tougher for Avatar: The Way of Water to catch up to its box office record. This will also be in 3D theaters and the premium ticket price should definitely help this do well, but can it get women away from that semi-nude Channing Tatum?
The first time Cameron’s 3D iteration of Titanic got a theatrical release was in April 2012, when it hit 2,674 theaters and opened with $17.3 million. That release added $57.9 million to Paramount’s coffers, but it’s hard to believe that it can pull that same trick twice, especially in fewer theaters over Super Bowl weekend. This one will probably bring in $8 to 9 million over the weekend with a dip on Sunday, though there’s probably isn’t as much of a need for people to go out and see the movie again.
On the other hand, both of the above movies could bring in some business on the Valentine’s Day “holiday” on Tuesday, unless some couples choose to see either of them on Saturday date night.
IFC Films will be releasing Christopher Smith‘s horror film, Consecration, starring Jena Malone, into an unknown number of theaters but fairly wide, and Cinedigm will give the horror film, The Outwaters, a limited release.
Either way, this is going to be another down weekend, especially depending on how the two new movies fare, but the box office should be salvaged next week by Marvel Studios‘ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.net, The Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film Journal, The New York Daily News, Den of Geek, and other places.