January 9, 2022

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 1.9.2022


OPENINGS:  It’s likely that THE 355 (Universal) would have been challenged at the box office even in normal times, considering that its level of action spectacle is significantly lower than superhero movies can afford, and that the cast features performers who are extremely talented but with little proven appeal to ticketbuyers.  (The 27% score on Rotten Tomatoes wouldn’t have helped.)  But these times aren’t normal, and a film designed for older women is directed at an audience segment that just isn’t showing up right now.  The result was a $4.8M start, extremely weak even by the standards of the 1st opening of a new year (Underworld:  Blood Wars at $13.7M in 2017, Insidious: The Last Key at $29.6M in 2018, Escape Room at $18.2M in 2019).  With its international cast, The 355 may fare better overseas, where it hasn’t yet opened.

HOLDOVERS:  As usually happens when the studios don’t offer any attractive new product, films already in release held very well.  Of course, that meant another rousing weekend for SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (Marvel/Columbia/Sony), which dipped 41% to $33M in its 4th weekend.  It faces almost no direct competition of note until mid-February, and while it may lose the #1 slot to Scream next week, No Way Home should stay strong for weeks, possibly getting as high as $750M in the US, which would make it the 2nd highest title in the MCU behind only Endgame.  (However, for those eager to argue that the massive success of No Way Home somehow means the box office is “back,” there’s this factoid:  in the first weekend of January 2020, 6 films topped $10M, even though Rise of Skywalker was higher than No Way Home at $34.5M.  This weekend, there were only 2 at that level.)  No Way Home also continues to thrive overseas, where it earned $64.4M in 63 territories (not including China) for a running total of $867.5M.

The only other holiday 2021 release that can claim some success is SING 2 (Illumination/Universal), which dropped 41% to $12M, still on its way to about half the the $270.4M total for the first Sing.  Overseas, Sing 2 has $81.8M after a $17.1M weekend in 54 markets.

THE KING’S MAN (20th/Disney) has held fairly strongly on its low opening numbers, down 28% to $3.3M in its 3rd weekend but still unlikely to get past $35M in the US.  It’s reached $49.2M overseas after a $13.4M weekend in 43 territories.

AMERICAN UNDERDOG (Lionsgate) dropped 38% to $2.4M in its 3rd weekend and might see $25M in the US, with no international release to date.

THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS (Warners, also on HBO Max) fell 51% to $1.9M in its 3rd weekend, on its way to perhaps $40M in the US.  It’s stronger overseas with $90.2M after a $7.7M weekend in 76 markets (and China still to come), but won’t come anywhere near breaking even on production/marketing costs that were well over $200M.

WEST SIDE STORY (20th/Disney) lost 35% to $1.4M in Weekend 5, and is headed for a US total around $35M.  It has $20.9M overseas.

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (Columbia/Sony) continued to hold well, down 23% to $1.1M in its 8th weekend as it makes its way to $130M in the US.  However, it’s only reached $66.1M overseas.

LICORICE PIZZA (UA/MGM) is finding an audience, albeit not a large one, with a 21% slip to $1M in only 772 theaters.  Its studio is planning to expand with the Oscar nominations, and it will hope that some Academy love will pull in a more mainstream audience.  It’s barely opened overseas to date.

LIMITED RELEASE:  PARALLEL MOTHERS (Sony Classics) expanded to 18 theaters with a $4300 per theater weekend average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As noted, the latest reboot of SCREAM (Paramount) will hope to take the crown over the holiday weekend.  Limited releases include the animated BELLE (GKids).


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."