By Chris Kavan - 01/11/23 at 12:22 PM CT
Another big weekend for Avatar: The Way of Water, as well as a great opening for M3AGAN as creeping dancing dolls everywhere celebrate. The MPAA also gives us a hearty update featuring a quartet of wide releases - hopefully a sign of good things to come.
Topping the box office for the fourth straight weekend - and showing little signs of slowing down - Avatar: The Way of Water brought in $45.8 million and a fantastic hold with just a 32% drop. That is over $1 million better than the fourth weekend of Top Gun: Maverick ($44.7 million) and gives James Cameron's sequel a $517.6 million domestic total. The continued question is if the film can continue to sustain its run - but all signs so far point to yes and Maverick's $718 million mark is not only within reach - it could be easy to surpass at this point. In fact, Way of Water could top Avatar's $750 million original total (not counting re-releases). With $1.7 billion worldwide as well, it is also on its way of topping the $2 billion needed to hit profitability according to Cameron and more sequels seem to be well on the way. That would put in in the top five all time in both domestic and worldwide grosses and I don't think it will have much trouble reaching both milestones.
Though Way of Water may have topped the box office, the good news didn't stop there as M3GAN danced its way into audiences' hearts to the tune of $30.4 million. That is well above the opening for 2022 horror hits Smile ($22.6 million) and The Black Phone ($23.6 million) - and given the respective totals of those films, unless M3GAN totally craters, it is looking at a total of around the $100 million mark. The film boasts and uncannily high 94% Fresh rating and a solid "B" Cinemascore from audiences - both good signs this film will have long legs beyond its eye-catching dance scene. As Annabelle and even Child's Play can attest - horror fans just have a thing for creepy dolls. Thrown in that viral dance and some savvy marketing and M3GAN looks to have several good weeks ahead of it. It has already hit $45 million worldwide and with just a reported $12 million budget it's another hit for the horror genre.
Landing in third place was Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, as the de facto family choice dipped just 19.5% to bring in $13.5 million and give the animated sequel a new $88.12 million total. That is a better third weekend than Sing 2 ($11.6 million) though the film has a way to go to catch up to its overall total through the same point ($109 million). Still, with $197 million global at this point, The Last Wish is sitting comfortably in the win column and should break $100 million domestic in the coming weeks.
In fourth place, Tom Hank's A Man Called Otto expanded from just 4 to 647 theaters, yielding a 7,370% increase as it took in $4.2 million for the weekend. It will continue to expand this next weekend and hopefully catch on with a wider audience as well, as its reported $50 million budget will need a bigger boost to at least break even.
Rounding out the top five, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still hanging on after nine weeks with a $3.5 million weekend (down 31.5%) and a new $445.5 million domestic total, It should hit $450 million soon enough while its global cume stands at $837 million.
Next week A Man Called Otto goes wide, Gerard Butler and Mike Colter give us the action-packed Plane, we get to re-visit a House Party.
The MPAA Ratings Board is giving us another round and we have three wide-release films, two of which are sports-related and the other is about dancing (sexy, sexy dancing), so... sports adjacent? Plus one wacky horror/comedy hybrid something or other from a modern master of making people squirm. No looking gift horses in mouths around here.
After several successful Rocky films (okay, and some not so successful if we're being honest), Michael B. Jordan, along with director Ryan Coogler, breathed new life into the series with Creed. After a sequel, Jordan takes on acting and directing duties with Creed III. While Sylvester Stallone may be out, Creed III still has a killer lineup with Jonathan Majors stepping in as an old friend, Damian Anderson, who has spent the better part of his life in prison. At first, Creed wants to help his old friend get his life back but soon it becomes apparent that Anderson blames him for his woes and resents him for his success. He goes from friend to foe quickly - and one who is not afraid for things to get violent. Tessa Thompson also returns as does Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew, Jacob 'Stitch' Duran, Wood Harris and Florian Munteanu. Selenis Leyva and Spence Moore II join the cast. Both Creed and Creed II topped $100 million domestic and I don't see any reason this third film will be any different. Rated PG-13 for intense sports action, violence and some strong language.
From serious sports action to something decidedly more light-hearted, 80 for Brady - based in part on a true story - follows four life-long friends (Rita Moreno, Sally Field, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) and huge Tom Brady fans, as they do everything in their power to reach the Super Bowl and meet their icon. Brady stars - along with fellow teammate Rob Gronkowski and from the looks of the trailer, without actual Super Bowl tickets, these ladies will do anything to get in including a hot-wing competition hosted by Guy Fieri to joining a dance troupe led by Billy Porter. It looks very cute and fun and co-stars the likes of Harry Hamlin, Sally Kirkland, Sara Gilbert, Jimmy O. Yang and Ron Funches. If you need to join some refined Oscar-winners for a much more relaxed time, now is the chance. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some drug content and some suggestive references.
Having missed the first Magic Mike and the follow-up XXL (in 2012 and 2015), I don't think anything's going to change for Magic Mike's Last Dance but Channing Tatum is back and, with some help from Salma Hayek, is realizing his dream of taking his dancing to the next level. With someone who believes in him, Mike Lane (Tatum) finds himself in London where he will put his dance moves to the ultimate test on a stage show meant to make every women feel like the one. Of course this road can't be all smooth and the production faces more than a few hurdles but, based on the trailer, I'm guessing things will work out and many women will swoon at the outcome. Nancy Carroll, Caitlin Gerard and Gavin Spokes round out the cast. Considering this is being released on Valentine's - I'm guessing they know the audience they want to attract and it certainly looks like they're going to bring sexy back. Rated R for sexual material and language.
Finally, and saving the best (personal opinion) for last we have the odd and amazing Beau is Afraid. Starring Joaquin Phoenix in a multi-generational role (with Armen Nahapetian playing the teen version of the same character) and directed by Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) - even after watching the trailer (a few times), I still have no idea what we're in store for - other than it looks confusing as hell but also wildly entertaining. Described as a surrealist horror/comedy it looks as if Phoneix goes on some kind of journey - running into the likes of Parker Posey, Amy Ryan, Richard Kind, Nathan Lane, Zoe Lister-Jones, Kylie Rogers, Michael Gandolfini and Patti LuPone along the way. Some look to play family members and friends - others captors and maybe pure nightmare fuel. This film - like Aster's others - may not be for everyone but the director is a unique voice in a crowded room and I'm willing to give any of his film's a shot - the weirder the better. Hopefully other people feel like me because at a reported $50 million, it represents the biggest budget for an A24 film to date. Rated R for strong violent content, sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language.
Those are the big three for this week but you can check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:
80 FOR BRADY
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some drug content and some suggestive references.
BEAU IS AFRAID
Rated R for strong violent content, sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language.
BIG GEORGE FOREMAN
Rated PG-13 for some sports violence.
Rated R for violence, language and brief drug use.
Rated PG-13 for intense sports action, violence and some strong language.
Rated R for violence, language and some nudity.
LANDSCAPE WITH INVISIBLE HAND
Rated R for language and brief violent content.
MAGIC MIKE'S LAST DANCE
Rated R for sexual material and language.
Rated PG for violence and action, thematic elements, some language and rude humor.
ONE TRUE LOVES
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and language.
THE QUIET GIRL
Rated PG-13 for some strong language and smoking.
Rated PG-13 for thematic material, some violence, sexual material, language including racial slurs, brief drug use, and smoking.
THE TIME I GOT REINCARNATED AS A SLIME THE MOVIE: SCARLET BOND
Rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, some suggestive material and partial nudity. (Dubbed and Subbed Versions)
WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP
Rated R for pervasive language and some drug material.
THE YEAR OF THE DOG
Rated PG-13 for some strong language and thematic elements.