A Terrible Box-Office Weekend, and Then ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

Avatar: The Way of Water
Avatar: The Way of Water/Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

A Terrible Box-Office Weekend, and Then ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’:At least the $37 million weekend total is not expected to be surpassed for a very long time. It may be six times better next weekend.

It can’t get any worse than this weekend with a $37 million total. This year, it won’t since James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney) debuts on Thursday and is expected to easily double that figure. The weekend’s sales could surpass $200 million.

This last weekend was the second-worst of 2022. (by only a small margin over the end of January). We can’t blame the calendar because $44 million was brought in on the same day last year. It was $118 million in 2019.

The proportion compared to pre-Covid 2019 (with 20 percent reduced ticket prices) is 31 percent when there are no new studio openings. Jumanji: The Next Level’s $59 million opening that year refutes the notion that this date should be avoided.

Of course, the fact that “Avatar” will be released the following weekend is a major deterrent. Studios are reluctant to compete a blockbuster’s second weekend with a large release since they are producing fewer films.

For the fifth and final time, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Disney), down 37%, was the top film ($11 million, $409 million domestic total). At this point, that’s a respectable hold, but without any noteworthy new competitors, it declined more than all but one of the other top 10 titles.

Give credit to “The Fabelmans” (Universal), which is struggling, for losing only 7%. But there is a catch: the number of theaters added for Steven Spielberg’s movie (now 973) has decreased by nearly a third. The movie has a pulse, but not enough to contest Universal’s choice to release it this week on PVOD in an effort to appeal to more of its core older audience.

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Violent Night David Harbour
Violent Night David Harbour/Allen Fraser/courtesy of Universal Pictures

The hold of “Violent Night” by Universal, which fell by 35%, was far better than usual for a horror title’s second weekend. It’s already at $26 million and will probably get some holiday playdates as #2. Although “Strange World” (Disney) plummeted only 22% at #3, it will never ascend above disaster status. Only down 14%, “The Menu” (Searchlight) is ranked #4. Disney’s $200 million animated entry might lose money to this one.

The only new movie in the top 10 is Focus’ “Spoiler Alert,” which cost $700,000 and expanded to 783 cinemas in week two.

In order to place #9 for the weekend, “Met Opera: The Hours” (Fathom) earned less than that. A single showing on Saturday generated $792,000 in box office revenue across 894 locations. It wasn’t a movie; rather, it was a live opera performance that was broadcast to theaters. Thus, our top ten list includes performances in theaters for which the general public purchases tickets, some of which are not films. We increased the list this week to 11 titles as a compromise to cover 10 movies.

The Top 10

1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney) Week 5; Last weekend #1

$11,100,000 (-37%) in 3,725 (-130) theaters; PTA (per theater average): $2,980; Cumulative: $409,811,000

2. Violent Night (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #2

$8,700,000 (-35%) in 3,723 (+41) theaters; PTA: $2,337; Cumulative: $26,694,000

3. Strange World (Disney) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$3,600,000 (-29%) in 3,560 (-614) theaters; PTA: $1,011; Cumulative: $30,454,000

4. The Menu (Searchlight) Week 4; Last weekend #4

$2,700,000 (-22%) in 2,710 (-100) theaters; PTA: $996; Cumulative: $29,028,000

5. Devotion (S0ny) Week 3; Last weekend #5

$2,000,000 (-27%) in 3,458 (+53) theaters; PTA: $578; Cumulative: $16,972,000

6. Black Adam (WBD) Week 7; Last weekend #7; also on PVOD

$1,340,000 (-14%) in 2,143 (-88) theaters; PTA: $625; Cumulative: $166,873

7. The Fabelmans (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #8

$1,180,000 (-7%) in 973 (+345) theaters; PTA: $1,213; Cumulative: $7,330,000

8. MET Opera: The Hours (Fathom) NEW

$791,734 in 894 theaters; PTA: $958; Cumulative: $791,734

9. I Heard the Bells (Fathom) Week 2; Last weekend #6

$750,713 (-62%) in 1,180 (+98) theaters; PTA: $636; Cumulative: $4,073,000

10. Spoiler Alert (Focus) Week 2; Last weekend #19

$700,000 (+744%) in 783 theaters (+777); PTA: $895; Cumulative: $802,593

11. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) Week 8; Last weekend #10; also on PVOD and Peacock

$600,000 (-30%) in 1,394 (-321) theaters; PTA: $430; Cumulative: $67,514,00


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