Plane had an uneventful flight, only the boring nerds showed up to the House Party, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Hang on a sec. Do my eyes deceive me? Is that a Top 10 where all films featured scored at least $1 million for the weekend?! For the first time since Thanksgiving?! It is! Hooray! And an entire Top 5 scoring in excess of $10 million! Now the Box Office is definitely healthy and safe once again, in a state of affairs that won’t at all immediately go right back to life-support normal in the following weekends because, Jesus wept, the state of this release slate until mid-February! Sarcasm aside, this is cause for at least minor celebration, and not just cos you take victories wherever you can get them in the world right now.
The vast majority of the holdovers are demonstrating the kind of solid longevity that you don’t get from most releases in the current cinematic ecosystem. Avatar: The Way of Water has obviously made it five weeks straight at #1, with $31.1 million marking a 32% drop as it continues marching towards a potential two-month stranglehold on the chart. But arguably much more impressive to my eyes has been Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Considered a washout after a poor Xmas weekend opening, the animated sequel’s growth and holds across weekends have been truly astonishing; as The Numbers notes, it’s gonna finish Martin Luther King Day weekend with a better three-day haul than it managed on opening. Mad for a film in its fourth week. Meanwhile, M3GAN really has turned out to be a genuine hit rather than a viral goof as its sophomore drop is a mere 41% to $17.9 million. Somewhere, a pair of Universal and Blumhouse execs are furiously trying to get Don Mancini to sign off on letting M3GAN fight the shit Child’s Play remake Chucky in a future sequel, like when Toho had real Godzilla stomp the ass of Roland Emmerich-Godzilla that one time.
But it’s not just about the holdovers! Best of the new lot was the surest sign yet of Cinema returning, a Gerard Butler vehicle of questionable quality! Literally, in this instance, since he’s starring in Plane, centred around a plane which crashes! Don’t you like it when movies do what they say on the tin? Despite the last time that we discussed a theatrical Butler flick, the actually really bloody good Copshop, perhaps foreshadowing that his time in the spotlight had gone, it would seem that enough Butler Buddies still exist to push Plane well past industry expectations; $10 million dead for fifth place, almost $3 mil more than experts had it pegged at going in. Elsewhere, Warner Bros. found enough loose change behind the sofa that it could finally release a new film, the *checks notes* little-marketed, frequently-delayed, originally HBO Max-bound, and apparently dogshit House Party remake. Fun Fact: the original House Party opened to $4.6 million from 520 screens back in 1990. House Party (2023), by contrast, opened to $3.8 million from 1,400 screens. Oh, dear.
To close, just outside of the Top 10, heavily-divisive and much-buzzed-about experimental horror Skinamarink – a movie which actually leaked online in its entirety during its festival run last year – trapped $746,000 worth of people inside a room with no doors, windows, and a creepy-ass toy phone that’s undoubtedly gonna be someone’s new sleep paralysis demon. Normally, I’d be writing this off as a failure, particularly when its per-screen average ($1,078) was a third of what tenth-place film Waltair Veerayya managed ($3,085). But considering that this movie has been circulating online in full for an entire year, and is super-slow like holy shit is this thing not approachable for anyone unwilling/unable to surrender totally to the vibe, I’d say getting within a sniff of three-quarters-of-a-million is real impressive. I look forward to the remake with M3GAN in seven years.
This is your captain speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts, we’re about to encounter some Full List.
US Box Office Results: Friday 13th January 2023 – Sunday 15th January 2023
1] Avatar: The Way of Water
$31,118,000 / $562,919,348
Depending on how the new M. Night Shyamalan does with audiences, whether it’s more of a The Visit or more of a Glass, there’s a very good chance that Avatar’s run at #1 could, after one week of Knock at the Cabin, be supplanted by the Titanic 25th Anniversary re-release. The one-sheet for Avatar 3 is just gonna be James Cameron’s version of that infamous Daikatana “John Romero’s about to make you his bitch” ad; he really cannot be stopped.
$17,910,000 / $56,443,510
*Josh Peck voice* M3GAN…
3] Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
$13,400,000 / $106,369,975
Rewatched The Mask of Zorro with Dad at the weekend. Feel like we all underappreciate that movie, it’s one of the best blockbusters of the 90s. Just fantastic popcorn cinema firing on all cylinders with a megawatt Movie Star performance at its centre. Also, I gotta agree with my friend Moosey that Antonio Banderas here is in the all-time Hottest Men On-Screen. Seriously, please bring back HEAT to blockbusters!
4] A Man Called Otto
$12,550,000 / $18,773,126
Yeah, sure, whatever. Have you seen this pic of Sarah Polley and Johnny Knoxville at the Critics Choice Awards? I hope this leads to Jessie Buckley taking part in one of those public pranks for a future Jackass thing. She’s seemingly up for anything, so I have no doubt that she’d strap on some ridiculous old person prosthetics and pantomime shitting her pants in public or something for the Jackass crew. I will also accept Sarah Polley taking over the Spike Jonze role of “person who keeps appearing in the background despite supposedly being ‘too good’ just cos they love Jackass so much” in these.
$10,004,000 / NEW
Should have seen this by the time the article goes live, but not soon enough to be able to change the text for this entry. In the meantime, you really should go watch Copshop if you’re yet to. A lot of fun!
6] House Party
$3,800,000 / NEW
Need to find time to finally watch the original House Party. One of those films which has been on my “that sounds cool!” list for over half-a-decade but I just never get around to cos it’s never available legally on anything. And also I’m lazy.
7] Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
$2,184,000 / $449,096,372
A new year means a new batch of Throwbacks to make both you, the reader, and I, the person who compiles them for staff consideration, feel horribly ancient and scarily aware of our disintegrating bones! Amy Walker looked back at the highly-contentious Devil May Cry reboot, whilst Leslie Byron Pitt tried to find something salvageable from the Madonna-starring disaster known as Body of Evidence. (Spoiler: he couldn’t.)
8] The Whale
$1,450,125 / $10,743,065
BREAKING NEWS: therapists around the world rubbing their hands in glee of the boom in business they’ll experience post-April 21st once Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid releases.
9] Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody
$1,100,000 / $21,828,718
NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO to ALL of the Amy Winehouse movie details. NO. NO. A MILLION TIMES NO.
10] Waltair Veerayya
$1,080,000 / NEW
Been busy as of late, got a few pieces going live this week as I futilely try to wipe my work-slate clean enough so I can unplug from the world and finally play CAT GAME CAT GAME CAT GAME. First of those was my review of Emily the Criminal, a really good movie!
Dropped out: Babylon, Violent Night, The Menu
Callie Petch already explained their situation to the person they were on the phone with before being bounced to you.