Weekend Box Office: Avatar: The Way of Water Still Strong After Five Weeks

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 claims the throne with an estimated $31.1 million. That’s down just 32% from last week, but with no major tentpole 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 disruption before then, Knock on the cabin and even Magic Mike’s Last Dance has the potential to depose the king in early February.)

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

When the film first opened to just $134.1 million in mid-December, some sounded the alarm, but most of us knew that James Cameron movies tend to play the long game. With nearly $600 million domestically and $1.8 billion worldwide, the film ranks seventh all-time on the worldwide charts, making James Cameron responsible for three of the top seven highest-grossing films of all time. That’s pretty impressive for the guy who sold his first manuscript for $1 while living out of his car.

Producer James Wan says he's been thinking about the larger world surrounding the M3GAN character if there's a sequel

In second place is the killer robot doll movie (the tried and tested genre) M3GAN with another $17.9 million added to its already impressive box office. That represents a solid drop for a horror film at just 41%. With a total of $56.4 million, this $12 million budgeted film is already paying well. Although some people (including our own Chris Bumbray in his 7/10 review) have said they wish the film had embraced its original R-rated intentions, it’s hard to argue with the numbers. Of course the latest horror hit Smile was able to earn an R rating and shatter expectations with over $216 million earned at the worldwide box office, so there’s that!

Third place seems to be the only family-friendly movie (for all ages) Puss in Boots: The Last Wish with $13.4 million added to its box office, officially setting 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 continued to draw in audiences week after week, grossing over $210 million worldwide.

Fourth place belongs to A man named Otto with 12.6 million dollars. Tom Hanks-led remake (of the Oscar-nominated Swedish film A man called Ove) is a big win for more adult angst 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 their way to see a Tom Hanks movie. In a day when many people have proclaimed that the movie star is dead, Tom Hanks is still someone you can trust. The film is enjoying 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 this is exactly what it is A man named Otto is.

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

In sixth place comes the R-rated remake House party with $3.9 million, which is actually pretty solid for a film that was originally intended for a streaming-only release, but was rescued at the eleventh hour by a new regime at Warner Brothers that 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 have to admit that his dedication to preserving the theatrical experience for his films is something I can get behind. While some of these movies tank at the box office, the press they receive from a theatrical release is far more than most movies get that are dumped straight to streaming. This remake (of the far superior 1990 original) has not received the best reviews, with most critics calling it an unnecessary remake that completely forgets the original’s sense of fun. Although our own JimmyO still found plenty to enjoy in his 7/10 review. With an audience score of just 62%, I don’t expect this one to stay in the top ten for too long.

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

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

Did you go to the cinema 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 is your favorite R-rated comedy movie.

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