'Avatar 2' Box Office Huge, 'M3GAN' Scores Great $30M Opening … – Hollywood Reporter

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Thanks to the two movies, revenue for the first full weekend of 2023 will be up nearly 70 percent over the same frame in 2022.
By Pamela McClintock
Senior Film Writer
Phew.
After an overall worrisome Christmas corridor for moviegoing, the first full weekend of January is bringing relief for Hollywood and theater owners, thanks to Avatar: The Way of Water and new offering M3GAN, a sci-fi themed horror pic from Universal, Blumhouse and James Wan’s Atomic Monster.
The Way of Water, which was the lone movie to do big business at the year-end box office, earned a sensational $45 million in its fourth weekend to jump the $500 million mark at the domestic box office, a feat accomplished by only two other films since the pandemic began, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Top-Gun: Maverick. (Even before the COVID-19 crisis, this milestone was achieved by a select few in any given year.)

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Overseas, the Avatar sequel earned a huge $132.6 million over the weekend for an international total of $1.19 billion and global cume of $1.7 billion, including $526.8 million in domestic ticket sales.
Placing No. 2 was M3GAN, which scared up a stellar $30.2 million opening in North America, ahead of expectations and the top opening for a PG-13 horror film since A Quiet Place Part II in 2021. And it’s the best start for a horror film opening in January since Devil Inside in 2012. Overseas, the film launched to $14.8 million for an early global tally of $45 million.
Thanks to the two movies, box office revenue was up nearly 70 percent from the same weekend in 2022 (historically, the first frame of January is notably quiet).
Directed by Gerard Johnstone, M3GAN tells the tale of a robotic doll who becomes obsessed with a young girl. Critics gave the film high marks, while it received a B CinemaScore from audiences.
Elsewhere, Universal and Illumination’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish came in No. 3 with an estimated $12.4 million for a domestic cume of $87.7 million and $197.4 million at the worldwide box office.
Tom Hanks-starrer A Man Called Otto, placing fourth, is looking at a fourth-place finish after expanding into 637 theaters. The Sony film earned an estimated $4.2 million for a total $4.3 million and $12.7 million globally.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever rounded out the top five in its ninth weekend with an estimated $3.3 million, followed by TriStar’s Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody with $2.4 million for a domestic total of $19.7 million.

Specialty film The Whale continues to impress. The A24 release earned $1.5 million from 714 theaters to place No. 7 and boast the best hold of any film in the top 10, finishing Sunday with a domestic cume of $8.9 million.
Paramount’s Babylon continued to struggle, earning an estimated $1.4 million for a domestic total of $13.5 million.
Jan. 8, 8 a.m.: Updated with revised numbers.
This story was originally published Jan. 7 at 10 a.m.
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