January 8, 2023

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 1.8.2023


OPENINGS:  Early January is a potent slot for horror movies, and M3GAN (Blumhouse/Universal) kicked off the year with a strong $30.2M, essentially the same as last year’s $30M for the rebooted Scream, despite all the franchise value of the latter (Scream also had the advantage of opening over the month’s holiday weekend).  M3gan has critical support (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and no meaningful genre competition until Knock On the Cabin next month, and it should easily get past $75M in the US.  Overseas, M3gan has $14.8M after a $10M weekend in 34 markets.

A MAN CALLED OTTO (Columbia/Sony) expanded to low-wide release at 637 theaters with a promising $4.2M, a weekend $6600 per-theater average.  By way of comparison, that’s considerably better than the $2.1M earned by The Banshees of Inisherin when it expanded to 895, and the $2.3M for The Fabelmans at 638.  Otto also has $8.4M internationally, after a $4.4M weekend in 10 markets.

HOLDOVERS;  AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (20th/Disney) followed a powerful New Year’s weekend with a solid hold, down 33% to $45M.  That’s much better than the 4th weekend of Rogue One (down 56% to $22.1M), and suggests that Avatar 2 could reach $600M+ in the US, which would put it (at least) in the top dozen of all time.  As was the case with the first Avatar, Way of Water is finding an even bigger jackpot overseas, where it has $1.19B after a huge $132.6M weekend in 52 territories.

The only other holiday opening with any success was PUSS IN BOOTS:  THE LAST WISH (DreamWorks Animation/Universal, also on VOD), which dipped 22% in its 3rd weekend to $13.1M, and might hit $125M in the US.  The overseas total is $109.7M after a $25.9M weekend in 77 markets.

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER (Marvel/Disney) isn’t yet ready to exit, down 34% to $3.4M in its 9th weekend, and on track for $455M in the US.  The overseas total is a milder $381.8M.

WHITNEY HOUSTON: I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (TriStar/Sony) dropped 39% to $2.4M in its 3rd weekend, and won’t get much past $25M in the US.  Despite the US subject matter, it’s finding more success overseas, where it has $21.8M after a $4.6M weekend in 46 territories.

THE WHALE (A24) widened its theater count by 34% to 835, and gained 9% to $1.5M.  The studio’s hope is that the awards and nominations that will be pouring in over the next several weeks will give the film some momentum.  The Whale hasn’t yet opened overseas.

BABYLON (Paramount) fell 45% to $1.4M in its 3rd weekend, and will lose tens of millions, unlikely to reach $20M in the US.  It’s still US-only for now.

LIMITED RELEASE:  No notable openings, but several expansions of awards hopefuls.  CORSAGE (IFC) spread to 317 theaters with a low $800 per-theater weekend average.  On a smaller scale, WOMEN TALKING (UA/MGM/Amazon) widened to 29 with a $4900 average, BROKER (Neon) averaged $4400 at 17, EO (Sideshow) had a $1K average at 62, and LIVING (Sony Classics) averaged $3900 at 11.  The documentary TURN EVERY PAGE (Sony Classics) doubled its theater count to 4 and had a $4400 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The MLK weekend brings PLANE (Lionsgate) and HOUSE PARTY (Warners).


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."