The Blumhouse evil-doll horror film “M3gan” got off to a killer start, debuting with $30.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates, while “Avatar: The Path of Water” continued its reign at the box-office at the top spot.
Universal “M3gan” in the pictures is about a robot companion made for a little girl after her parents died in a car accident, riding a strong buzz and viral dancing meme in a more than expected debut. In the low-budget slasher, starring Allison Williams, Blumhouse and producer James Wan is Hollywood’s first hit of the new year, possibly spawning a new high-concept horror franchise.
Audiences gave the PG-13 film a “B” CinemaScore — though reviews (94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) were stronger for the modern, techy twist on a “Child’s Play”-like thriller. It added $10 million worldwide.
But while “M3gan” attracted audiences to mostly 2D movies, large-format screens continued to soak up James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water.” The 3-D three-hour sequel remains the No.
Cameron’s sci-fi scene has now exceeded $500 million domestically and $1.7 billion worldwide. After dominating the lackluster holiday corridor, the “Avatar” sequel almost matches the original’s pace; 2009’s “Avatar” scored $50.3 million in its fourth weekend. “The Way of Water” already ranks as the seventh-highest-grossing film of all time, not accounting for inflation – a total debt to its strength overseas. The $1.2 billion in international movie ticket sales exceeded any film released since the start of the pandemic.
“M3gan” is the only new film in wide release, however Sony pictures’ “A Man Called Otto,” starring Tom Hanks, played in 637 theaters after initially opening in four theaters. The film, a remake of the Swedish film “A Man Called Ove,” made a solid $4.2 million before its nationwide release on Friday.
The third place went to “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” with $13.1 million in its third week of release. The animated Universal Pictures sequel took in $87.7 million in three weeks, plus $109.7 million internationally.
While many awards contenders have struggled in recent months at the box office, Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” proved a modest exception. The A24 indie starring Brendan Fraser seventh in its fifth weekend of release with $1.5 million and a cumulative total of $8.6 million — a good return for a film that cost an estimated $3 million to make.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. The final domestic figure will be released on Monday.
1. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $45 million.
2. “M3gan,” $30.2 million.
3. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” $13.1 million.
4. “A Man Called Otto,” $4.2 million.
5. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $4 million.
6. “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” $2.4 million.
7. “The Whale,” $1.5 million.
8. “Babylon,” $1.4 million.
9. “Cruel Night,” $740,000.
10. “The Menu,” $713,000.
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