Avatar: Way of Water Rules MLK Weekend

By Chris Kavan - 01/18/23 at 01:10 PM CT

For only the second time since September 2022, at least three films - or in this case the entire top five - hit $10 million or more for the weekend. Avatar: The Way of Water easily came out on top again - five weeks and counting. Horror film M3GAN had a solid second week, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish continued to draw in the family crowd and A Man Called Otto and Plane both had solid numbers. The same couldn't be said for The Devil Conspiracy limited-wide release, which didn't even crack the top 10. Ratings side of things is quiet this week with no new wide release ratings from the MPAA Bulletin.

Coming in on top five weeks straight, James Cameron's Avatar: The Way of Water had the second-best fifth weekend ever with $32.8 million, coming in behind just the original Avatar ($42.7 million) and ahead of Titanic ($30.7 million) - giving Cameron the trifecta of impossibly good week-to-week holds. At a drop of just 28.4%, Way of Water hit $564.6 million for the weekend, jumping to $39.8 million on Monday's MLK holiday for a $371.6 million total - eighth highest on the all-time charts. It has also earned a staggering $1.9 billion globally and looks to easily top $2 billion by next weekend. Given its current numbers, it should top $600 million domestic next weekend as well.

Coming in second place, M3GAN dipped less than 40% and brought in $18.3 million for the weekend - rising to $21.6 million on Monday - for a weekend total of $56.8 million and a holiday total of $60.2 million. That is an excellent hold for a horror film and even with a more limited theatrical window, it's looking like $100 million is not out of the question. It has two weeks until Knock at the Cabin brings in a major horror threat, so we'll see where it winds up by then.

In third place, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish enjoyed a 6.8% bump with a $14.4 million weekend , $18.9 million for the holiday - and jumping to $111.8 million total. It is the fourth family film of 2022 to top $100 million total. It may have just enough gas to hit the $149 million total of the original Puss in Boots but, in any case, with nearly $255 million worldwide, the animated sequel is going to make money.

Fourth place belong to A Man Called Otto - which expanded by over 3100 theaters to give the Tom Hanks film a wide opening. Enjoying a 205.3% increase, Otto had a $12.8 million weekend, rising to $15.4 million on Monday for a $21.6 million total after its limited opening run. That is another solid opening for Hanks and he is very consistent as 12 out of 20 films released since 2004 have hit $60 million or more. Otto has a good shot at continuing that run if the adult crowd warms up to it. The $50 million film has made $36 million worldwide thus far, it will have to have a decent run to reach a profit, but should be able to pull it off.

Rounding out the top five, Gerard Butler and Mike Colter teamed up for the action-packed Plane and brought in $10.2 million for the weekend - up to $11.8 million by Monday. While that is a higher opening for Butler compared to Gamer or Copshop - the $50 million budget means Plane has a long way to go to achieve any kind of profit and while international numbers may help, Butler-driven action films have rarely made over $100 million overseas. Given all we know at this point, Plane may stay mostly grounded.

Outside the top five: The re-invented House Party (which has gone from theatrical to streaming only back to theatrical) earned $3.9 million over the weekend ($4.6 million by Monday). Like M3GAN, this one has limited window before streaming. Unlike M3GAN, House Party doesn't look like it's going to be a huge draw for audiences.

Faring even worse was The Devil Conspiracy - involving using the Shroud of Turin to clone Jesus for nefarious purposes - and sending an archangel to clean up the mess - playing in 925 theater, it made just $512,104 by Monday.

The Whale hit $11 million by Monday, becoming the rare adult drama to hit that mark. With awards and nominations coming in hot, perhaps the Brendan Fraser-led drama can take advantage where so many other critically-acclaimed films have failed.

Finally, speaking of indie horror, the buzzy Skinamarink opened in just under 700 theaters and managed to bring in $895,280 by Monday. Kyle Edward Ball takes a minimalist approach - two boys wake up to a darkened house, father missing - doors and windows inexplicably gone - and creep factor turned up to 11. Whether you think it's the best horror film ever or a cheap gimmick - it has people talking.

Next week we get Missing, the follow-up to 2018 film Searching - and once again uses screens and technology to tell the story. With solid reviews so far, it could have a decent opening.

MPAA Official Logo

After a decent lineup last week, the MPAA Ratings Board didn't follow-up and a meager update means meager pickings and no new wide release ratings. Thus, enjoy the MPAA Rating Bulletin for what it is:


Rated R for violence, gore and some language.


Rated PG for thematic material, action/peril and language.


Rated R for bloody violence.


Rated PG for some action/peril and thematic elements.


Rated R for language throughout, sexual content and some drug use.


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